Friday, May 20, 2022

“Two countries kissing each other”: Ramasamy slams Tajuddin’s ambassadorial appointment

“Two countries kissing each other”: Ramasamy slams Tajuddin’s ambassadorial appointment

PENANG deputy chief minister II Dr P. Ramasamy has joined the chorus of voices criticising the appointment of Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman as the ambassador to Indonesia.

In a statement he said that Tajuddin’s appointment is an example of how an inept and ineffective politician was appointed to an important post normally reserved for career diplomats.

“Malaysia happens to be one of the very few countries where inept politicians are given recognition even after their disastrous performance,” he commented.

Ramasamy was referring to Tajuddin’s dismissal as chairperson of the Government’s public transportation company on May 25, 2021 after the latter’s disastrous handling of the two-train collision on the LRT Kelana Jaya line that injured over 200 passengers.

Tajuddin’s description of the collision as “two trains kissing each other” had inevitably drawn public ire and he heavily criticised for his lack of empathy for the victims of the tragedy.

Calling Tajuddin a “rabble-rouser” in Parliament Ramasamy said that Tajuddin’s appointment was the “perfect example” of the politics that were present in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s Government where “cronies and loyalists were rewarded”.

“Indonesia is a regional power that Malaysia must respect and as such Malaysia’s representative must have the credentials, reputation and public standing to match the importance of Indonesia as a growing power,” he noted.

“By appointing Tajuddin as the ambassador to Indonesia Malaysia has shown no respect or recognition to Indonesia as a country to be reckoned with.

“It is not that Malaysia has a shortage of diplomatic talents in the foreign service – I’m not even sure how Tajuddin’s appointment would even advance Malaysia’s diplomatic interests.”

Describing Tajuddin’s appointment as a “permanent blot” on Malaysia’s reputation, Ramasamy opined that it was not too late for Ismail Sabri to rescind his appointment.

“If Indonesia wants, it can reject Tajuddin’s appointment although this might cause a diplomatic misunderstanding but even if a misunderstanding is unavoidable, it is still worth the effort to cancel Tajuddin’s appointment,” he reckoned.

“With Tajuddin’s appointment there are concerns that if anything goes wrong between the two countries in the future, he might describe the situation as ‘two countries kissing each other’!” – May 19, 2022

Beruas MP urges action against heads of govt departments for setting 'dress code' to customers

Beruas MP urges action against heads of govt departments for setting 'dress code' to customers

Beruas MP Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham said he had received complaints that some government offices are setting dress code for the public in need of service before allowing them to the offices. ― Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, May 20 — Beruas MP Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham today said action should be taken against government heads of departments who go overboard policing the outfits of customers who came to seek service.

Ngeh said he had received complaints that some government offices are setting dress code for the public in need of service before allowing them to the offices.

“A farmer in shorts and singlet or an Orang Asli in their traditional clothing or a poor person who has no means to buy a decent attire are entitled to be served by public servants.

“Similarly, I have received a complaint from a lawyer who was not allowed to enter an Education Department’s office for wearing a skirt — above the knee.

“There was also another complaint, where a television reporter was denied entry at a Road Transport Department’s office in Taiping for not following the dress code,” he told Malay Mail when contacted.

The DAP MPs' spokesperson for Law and Parliament pointed out that heads of departments do not have power to make such rules.

“Cabinet ministers and government officers derived their powers from the laws passed by Parliament. Acts of Parliament often give powers to ministers to make subsidiary legislation or regulations.

“However, if a minister makes regulations outside the scope of powers (ultra vires) conferred by the Act of Parliament, such regulations are illegal and void. I know of no law, giving powers to government officers to prescribe the attire that must be worn by the public before service can be rendered to them,” he said.

He urged the Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali to remind the heads of departments to focus on improving the poor performances of their respective departments instead of checking the dress code of customers

Sticking with PN will cost PAS in GE15, says analyst

Sticking with PN will cost PAS in GE15, says analyst

The Melaka and Johor election results should convince PAS leaders that being in PN is of no advantage to them.

PETALING JAYA: An analyst predicts that PAS will pay a price in the next general election if it continues to work with Perikatan Nasional (PN).

Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara said PAS’ current association with PN was damaging the party.

“If the Melaka and Johor election outcomes cannot persuade PAS leaders that being in PN is of no advantage to them, I do not know what else can convince them,” he told FMT.

PAS lost all eight seats it vied for in the Melaka election last year and won only one of 14 contests in the Johor polls last March.

Referring to PAS’ strained ties with Umno in the Muafakat Nasional (MN) pact after it joined PN, Azmi alleged that the party’s top leaders were not willing to admit they had made a mistake because they had let their egos get the better of them.

PAS signed the MN charter with Umno in 2019 but officially joined PN last August.

Azmi said PAS, if it remained in PN for GE15, would lose some of the parliamentary seats it currently held as Umno was getting stronger in Kedah and Terengganu. But it might retain those seats if it decided to work with Umno and Umno was agreeable, he added.

Kuala Nerus MP Khairuddin Aman Razali, who quit PAS last March, recently said his former party must acknowledge its role in the failure of the MN alliance.

He said MN would work as an alliance if Umno and PAS formally agreed to cooperate and if negotiations for seats did not stop midway.

Another analyst, Lee Kuok Tiung of Universiti Malaysia Sabah, said PAS could not survive alone and it was best for it to remain with PN since Umno might no longer want to work with it.

He said it was better for Umno to work with its partners in Barisan Nasional than with PAS.

“BN’s defeat in GE14 was linked to rumours that Umno had secretly collaborated with PAS,” he said. “Not everyone can accept the Islamic ideology of PAS.”

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PKR man sees irony in Saifuddin’s talk against race politics

PKR man sees irony in Saifuddin’s talk against race politics

Nik Nazmi Ahmad has reminded Saifuddin Abdullah that he left 
PKR to become a member of race-based Bersatu.

PETALING JAYA: PKR organising secretary Nik Nazmi Ahmad sees irony in Saifuddin Abdullah’s call for curbs on racial politics, noting that the foreign minister belongs to a race-based party.

He alleged that Saifuddin played into racial politics when he joined Bersatu after quitting PKR.

“He betrayed Pakatan Harapan and PKR and decided to become a member of Bersatu, which we all know is a race-based party,” Nik Nazmi said.

In 2018, then Bersatu chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in defending the party’s race-based approach, said it was a “realistic” course since Malaysians were split along racial lines.

Nik Nazmi told FMT he nevertheless agreed that racial politics should be curbed.

Saifuddin spoke against racial politics and other manifestations of race consciousness in a formal speech he gave last Tuesday.

He urged the government to work towards curbing racial politics, which he said was the source of various social diseases.

He said hate speech and other shows of racism would cause animosity and could lead to violence.

He called for racial tolerance, inter-racial understanding and the embrace of cultural diversity, saying these should form the foundation for peaceful coexistence.

Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto said Saifuddin’s suggestion should be tabled in the Cabinet.

“I would like to hear the reaction of the other Cabinet members to the idea of eliminating racial politics as most of them opposed the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination when PH was in power,” she told FMT.

She said Saifuddin should act on his words.

She asked whether Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob was ready to dig deeper and weed out race-based policies, which she said had led to racial discrimination.

Klang MP Charles Santiago said this was a tall task as the system of governance in the country revolved around race and religion.

“The government must make a commitment, especially since we are approaching the elections,” he said.

Bad MPs why Malaysia not a mature democracy, says Ambiga

Bad MPs why Malaysia not a mature democracy, says Ambiga

Lawyer-activist Ambiga Sreenevasan says lawmakers in the old days were more mature and professional.

KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyer-activist Ambiga Sreenevasan said Malaysia should not be considered a mature democracy due to bad parliamentarians in the Dewan Rakyat.

Speaking at a forum here today, she criticised the MPs, particularly government MPs, who do not read the bills and vote according to the demands of the government instead of using their own judgment.

Her statement followed earlier remarks by Damansara MP Tony Pua who said Malaysia has “stupid ministers” because smart people avoid politics.

“When we (civil society groups) were lobbying against the hideous National Security Council Bill, we went to Parliament and I can tell you that there were government MPs who were going to vote on the bill who had not read the bill,” Ambiga said during a forum linked to the book “Parliament Unexpected” by former Dewan Rakyat speaker Ariff Yusof.

“As far as they are concerned, it is not their job. They are there to just vote the way the government wants them to vote. Full stop,” she added.

Ambiga said MPs in the old days were known to be mature and professional in their debates in the august house, as shown in the Parliament’s Hansard.

Now, the quality of the parliamentary debates has disintegrated, she added.

She stressed that a mature democracy is achievable in Malaysia when voters elect good MPs, whom they can trust to carry out reforms.

“I trust Hannah (Yeoh). I trust Syed Saddiq (Syed Abdul Rahman),” she added, referring to two other MPs who were also panel members of the forum.

As usual, MENHEN panics, backtracks, and tok-kok

I didn’t advocate violence, Kit Siang tells Najib over Sri Lanka comparisons

DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang says it was not his intention to incite any unrest.

PETALING JAYA: DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang has denied advocating violence in drawing comparisons between Malaysia and Sri Lanka, which was recently plagued by unrest.

This comes after Najib Razak accused the Iskandar Puteri MP of inciting the public by questioning whether Malaysia will suffer the same fate as Sri Lanka, with the former prime minister urging the police to arrest Lim.

In a statement today, Lim maintained that he was merely warning that Malaysia should learn from its Asian neighbour’s ongoing experience and prevent its political and socio-economic conditions from deteriorating.

He also said he had changed the heading of the statement in question, which was initially titled “Will the houses of the prime minister and ministers of Malaysia be set on fire by angry protesters as happened in Sri Lanka last week?”, after being advised by his political secretary.

“I had no objection to changing the heading as my intention was not to incite any unrest, but to warn of the dangers of allowing the political and socio-economic conditions to deteriorate, like what happened in Sri Lanka for over half a century.

“I expected opportunists to twist and distort the meaning and purpose of my statement as one of incitement, but I had not expected a former prime minister to head the charge,” he said.

Yesterday, Najib said Lim should not have issued the statement and instead enjoy life as a retiree. But Lim told the Pekan MP he had retired from “competitive politics”, not politics as a whole.

Earlier this month, the houses of several lawmakers from Sri Lanka’s ruling party were set on fire by anti-government protesters.

An MP from the ruling party was also killed in a violent protest which forced Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign as prime minister.

MENHEN still sh*t-stirring as ever

Najib accuses Kit Siang of inciting public after Sri Lanka comparisons

Former prime minister Najib Razak tells Lim Kit Siang to enjoy life as a retiree.

PETALING JAYA: Najib Razak has accused DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang of inciting the public by questioning whether Malaysia will suffer the same fate as Sri Lanka, which was recently plagued by unrest.

The former prime minister also called on police to arrest Lim.

Najib said Lim, who recently quit active politics, should not issue such statements, adding that the latter should enjoy life as a retiree instead.

“Why the need to continue lying and inciting the public? You have been doing it for the past 60 years, are you not satisfied?” he asked in a Facebook post.

Earlier today, Lim expressed concern that Malaysia would become a failed state like Sri Lanka in three to four decades.

The Iskandar Puteri MP also did not rule out the possibility of similar protests like the ones in the republic occurring here.

“Will the houses of the prime minister and ministers of Malaysia be set on fire by angry protestors as happened in Sri Lanka last week?,” he wrote in a blog.

Earlier this month, the houses of several lawmakers from Sri Lanka’s ruling party were set on fire by anti-government protesters.

An MP from the ruling party was also killed in a violent protest which forced Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign as prime minister.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

BN leader makes list of PH’s ‘stupid mistakes’

Selangor BN information chief Isham Jalil has drawn up a list of instances to show how ‘stupid’ the PH government was.

PETALING JAYA: A Barisan Nasional leader has made a list of several instances which he claimed showed how “stupid” Pakatan Harapan ministers were in the past.

This comes after Damansara MP Tony Pua said Malaysia did not have “bright ministers” because smart people tend to avoid politics.

Taking to Facebook, Selangor Barisan Nasional information chief Isham Jalil questioned whether Pua was referring to Pakatan Harapan (PH).

“Tony, are you talking about the 22 months when PH was in power when you say we have stupid ministers?” he asked.

The list he made included then primary industries minister Teresa Kok’s call for Malaysians to drink a spoonful of palm oil, the RM30 aid given by the previous government, then entrepreneur and development minister Redzuan Md Yusof’s flying car idea, then education minister Maszlee Malik’s idea to change school shoes from white to black, and then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s clarification that the manifesto was not a holy book.

The list can be found on Isham’s Facebook page.

Flashy display: MsPuiyi bares breasts at British Museum

Flashy display: MsPuiyi bares breasts at British Museum

Donning red bra, adult star’s photo garners mixed reactions from netizens

Malaysian model, YouTuber and cosmetic entrepreneur Siew Pui Yi has a huge following and boasts of having 17 million followers on her Instagram. – MS PUIYI Facebook pic, May 19, 2022

GEORGE TOWN – Malaysian adult star Siew Pui Yi is back with some titillating controversy after she flashed her breasts with a red bra at a camera in the British Museum in London.

She shared a photo on her social media platforms that showed her smiling at the camera.

So far, her post has received more than 34,000 likes and “hearts”, as well as nearly 1,000 comments.

Among the comments were critical of MsPuiyi’s actions, accusing her of disrespecting an historical institution.

But others pointed out that the museum did not need to be respected, as it displayed items pillaged from the colonial era of the British.

The adult star hit the national headlines after appearing nude on Penthouse’s January edition and as its cover model.

The Malaysian model, YouTuber and cosmetic entrepreneur has a huge following and boasts of having 17 million followers on her Instagram. – The Vibes, May 19, 2022


kt comments:

If I were PM Malaysia, I would have appointed her as "Special Advisor" to the PM on history & culture. 😁😂😅😆😊

Controversial lecturer Kamarul Zaman appointed PM’s special officer

Controversial lecturer Kamarul Zaman appointed PM’s special officer

This follows Prime Minister’s Office poster featuring UUM academician

Universiti Utara Malaysia lecturer Kamarul Zaman Yusoff shot to infamy in March 2017, when he lodged a police report against Hannah Yeoh, who was then Selangor speaker, for allegedly driving a Christian agenda through her book Becoming Hannah: A Personal Journey, which was published two years earlier. – Screen grab pic, May 19, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR – Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) lecturer Kamarul Zaman Yusoff, who has been embroiled in a number of controversies over the years, has been appointed as special officer to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

A source familiar with the matter confirmed this to The Vibes, but stopped short of providing details, including the commencement date of his service.

His appointment as part of Ismail Sabri’s office first came to light this morning after the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) uploaded a poster of a symposium on promoting Bahasa Malaysia on its social media accounts featuring Kamarul Zaman.

The poster had attributed the lecturer as the “prime minister’s special officer”.

The post on the PMO’s official Facebook page was later edited to attribute Kamarul Zaman merely as the symposium’s director, but a check on its edit history showed that he was first mentioned as the prime minister’s special officer.

The tweet published today morning publicising the event was later deleted.

Meanwhile, a separate posting by the Melaka government’s Facebook page maintained Kamarul Zaman’s designation.

The post by the Kerajaan Negeri Melaka page was later shared by Segambut DAP MP Hannah Yeoh on her Twitter account, as she sought confirmation from Ismail Sabri on Kamarul Zaman’s appointment.

“I’m sorry PM, I just want to ask. Is it true this person has been appointed as the special officer to the prime minister?” she posted this evening.

Dozens of users have since responded to Yeoh’s tweet, questioning how a controversial figure like Kamarul Zaman could be picked to work closely with the prime minister, while lambasting Ismail Sabri for his choice.

The political pundit shot to infamy in March 2017, when he lodged a police report against Yeoh, who was then Selangor speaker, for allegedly driving a Christian agenda through her book Becoming Hannah: A Personal Journey, which was published two years earlier.

Several DAP leaders came to her defence as they issued separate statements against Kamarul Zaman, resulting in a defamation suit filed by him in 2020, which was struck out by the sessions court here last month.

In April last year, Kamarul Zaman was accused of stoking religious tensions after he reportedly questioned Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim’s motive of helping a Malay youth delivery rider by giving him a motorcycle, and described the lawmaker as a “Christian evangelist”.

The academician also made headlines in 2018, when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad made a surprise appearance at a pre-general election forum in which Kamarul Zaman had harshly criticised the former prime minister for his old age.

A video clip of a photoshoot session during the forum became viral then, in which Dr Mahathir could be seen giving the lecturer a “death stare” as the latter stood awkwardly on stage.

Almost immediately following Pakatan Harapan’s victory in May 2018, Kamarul Zaman resigned as the director of Universiti Utara Malaysia’s Institute for Malaysian Political Analysis, although he is still a lecturer there.

In June 2020, he was banned by his university from posting any political material on his social media accounts. – The Vibes, May 19, 2022

Ahmad Maslan: Dr M abhors 'cash is king' but adopts 'crony is king'

Ahmad Maslan: Dr M abhors 'cash is king' but adopts 'crony is king'

Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan today provided three reasons why he believed Pejuang leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad was "less relevant".

One reason, he said, was Mahathir's snide remarks aimed at former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak for uttering "cash is king, king is rakyat" during a televised debate recently.

"(Mahathir) should remember that during his era, 'crony is king' and not the rakyat, rakyat and rakyat who were put first.

"(Mahathir's) economic ideology was to enrich a small group of cronies with the assumption that others will benefit. This didn't happen.

"Instead, his small group of cronies got rich and the normal folks, especially the Malays and bumiputera, are not as successful until this day.

"Mahathir has said before that he does not have cronies and only (helped) those with talent. It's impossible that with 32 million Malaysians, only his cronies are talented," said Ahmad.

Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan

‘Mentally unsound’

Najib participated in a televised debate with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on May 12.

At one point, Najib said the best way to help the poor was by transferring cash directly into their bank accounts, because "cash is king, king is rakyat".

Four days later, Mahathir criticised Najib for being mentally unsound (kurang siuman) for making such remarks and that Najib's past practice of wealth distribution was highly skewed.

Ahmad's second reason for Mahathir being "less relevant" was that the latter did not appreciate Najib-era policies such as BR1M (targeted cash handouts), Klinik 1Malaysia, Kedai 1Malaysia and other subsidies which benefited Malays and bumiputera.

In contrast, he said Mahathir's second stint as prime minister with the Malay Dignity Congress and the Shared Prosperity Vision has not brought any tangible benefits.

"Recently, he claimed that he had many plans for the Malays that could not be implemented because he was removed as prime minister.

"He has forgotten that he resigned on his own accord and caused a crisis. This had led to the fall of the government which was elected during the 14th general election," he added.

Finally, Ahmad's third reason for Mahathir being "less relevant" was that the latter could no longer manage Malaysian political dynamics.

He argued that Mahathir had failed to "control" Muhyiddin Yassin and DAP during the Pakatan Harapan administration.

Jokowi Rushed To Meet Elon Musk To Attract Investment – While Sabri Rushed Home To Attend Self-Praised Party

Jokowi Rushed To Meet Elon Musk To Attract Investment – While Sabri Rushed Home To Attend Self-Praised Party

Joe Biden hosted ASEAN leaders in Washington last week for a special summit to commemorate 45 years of US-ASEAN ties. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, founded in August 1967 and consisting of 10 nations, is an important political and economic union in the region as it covers a population of 660 million with a GDP of US$9.7 trillion.

In comparison, the European Union has a population of less than 450 million even though its GDP is higher than ASEAN. The meeting was long overdue and was supposed to take place under Trump administration, but deferred due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Between the European Union and ASEAN, the U.S. has a closer relationship with the former.

It was a huge mistake that the ASEAN leaders had flown to Washington to meet with the U.S. president. Biden should be the one travel to ASEAN to meet the leaders. That’s because ASEAN is China’s largest trading partner after the EU. China’s trade with the ASEAN totaled 1.35 trillion yuan (US$212 billion) in the first quarter of 2022 – an increase of 8.4% year-on-year.

The U.S. wanted the ASEAN leaders to travel all the way to Washington to show off its influence, telling China that it could order the Southeast Asian leaders around. To show Washington’s appreciation, Biden threw away US$150 million investment for the region. It was actually an insult because China pledged US$1.5 billion to help the region fight Covid-19 and achieve economic recovery.

But the U.S.’ real objective was to pressure ASEAN to counter China in Indo-Pacific as Biden smiled broadly as he took a group photo before the dinner with representatives from Brunei, Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines. However, ASEAN has refused to be dragged into the geo-political rivalry between the U.S. and China.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said that Cambodia will not choose between China and the U.S. – “Whether or not you force me to take one, I will refuse”. Ahead of the summit, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has pre-emptively expressed Thailand’s neutral stance on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The best remark, arguably, came from Vietnam.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said that “between independence and dependence, our choice is always independence … Between negotiation and confrontation, we choose negotiation. Between dialogue and conflict, we choose dialogue. And between peace and war, we choose peace. Between cooperation and competition, we choose cooperation.”

Indonesia, scheduled to host G20 summit in November, was more diplomatic. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said – “Indonesia expects this special summit will produce a partnership that can contribute to peace, stability, and regional welfare”. But meeting “Sleepy Joe” Biden was not Jokowi’s top priority. There was someone who is more important than the Commander-in-Chief.

Immediately after the non-productive ASEAN leaders meeting with Biden, the Indonesian president met on Saturday (May 14) with Tesla CEO and the world’s richest man – Elon Musk – at the SpaceX launch site in Boca Chica, Texas. They discussed the potential investments and technology amid speculation that Tesla may choose Indonesia for a manufacturing base in Asia.

Nickel, a key raw material used in electric vehicle batteries, saw supply disruption after the Ukraine war erupted as Russia is a major producer of nickel. But Indonesia has the world’s biggest nickel reserves, and the ambitious Widodo is keen to develop the nickel industry, supply of batteries for electric vehicles (EV) and even assembling electric vehicle industry at home.

It was a follow-up meeting by Jokowi, who is eager to accelerate development of Indonesian nickel industry to supply batteries for electric vehicles after Tesla executives visited the nickel production hub of Morawali on Sulawesi island. Indonesia has been trying for years to secure a deal with Tesla on battery investment and potentially for Musk’s SpaceX aerospace company.

President Jokowi arrived at the Stargate SpaceX Building at around 10:30 a.m. local time and was greeted personally by Musk, who then gave the Indonesian leader a tour of SpaceX’s rocket production facility. During the private meeting with Elon Musk, Jokowi invited the billionaire to visit Indonesia in November, during which he will host a summit of the Group of the 20 big economies in Bali.

In response, Musk said there could be room for “partnerships in many things, because Indonesia has a lot of potential”. The billionaire, worth a staggering US$221 billion, has agreed to buy Twitter for US$44 billion, but in a latest twist, said the deal is on hold until he has more clarity on how many accounts are fake, which Twitter said is less than 5%, but Musk estimates around 20%.

Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, has earlier struck multi-billion dollar deals with South Korean and Chinese companies to take advantage of its nickel resources. A consortium led by South Korea’s LG Energy Solution Ltd, the global second biggest maker of EV batteries, announced plans last month (April) to invest US$9 billion in Indonesia.

In the same month, China’s top battery producer, Contemporary Amperex Technology, an existing Tesla supplier, announced a US$6 billion Indonesia investment. The Chinese company will partner with local state-owned PT Aneka Tambang and PT Industri Baterai on a mega project to build everything from nickel mining to battery materials, recycling, and an EV battery factory.

Last year (August 2021), South Korean conglomerates Hyundai and LG announced a 50:50 joint-venture to build a US$1.1 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Karawang, Indonesia’s West Java province. With annual capacity for 10 gigawatt hours of battery cells, Hyundai and LG can churn out a whopping 150,000 battery-run electric vehicles.

Tesla, however, is spoil for choice. Besides having deals to source batteries from the Chinese and South Korean companies, the American electric vehicle maker has also just signed a long-term deal last week with Brazilian miner Vale to supply “Class 1” low-carbon nickel from its Canadian operations in Ontario. Vale has nickel operations in Indonesia.

The talks between Tesla and the Indonesian government started as early as 2020. Initially, Elon Musk, struggling with battery supply, was only interested in scouting for mining companies to increase nickel production. However, Indonesia was not interested in selling the raw materials, in an effort to develop a full supply chain – from extraction, processing to making batteries to meet the demand for electric vehicles (EVs).

Indonesia’s value proposition is not merely nickel. Jokowi is trying to upsell with proposal to deliver a secure and long-term supply of other raw materials like cobalt, a key ingredient of lithium batteries. As one-stop solution, the country could also deliver alumina, tin, graphite, manganese and the rare earth Monazite. Jokowi also tries his luck to convince Musk to set up rocket launch pad there.

It will be a huge win for Indonesia if Jokowi could charm Musk. Interestingly, neighbouring Malaysia too is lobbying for Tesla to open a plant in the country. Unlike Jokowi, however, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Ismail Sabri is a failure. During his meeting with the US-ASEAN Business Council, Ismail merely asked the American business community to play a larger role in attracting investments to Malaysia.

The turtle-egg man invited several Fortune 500 companies, especially Tesla, to invest in Malaysia. But that was all he did. He didn’t take advantage of his trip to the U.S. to visit and lobby Elon Musk personally. Perhaps PM Sabri thought “Ketuanan Melayu”, the ideology of Malay supremacy espoused by the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), means the billionaire should visit him instead.

So, while Malaysia waits for Tesla to make the first move, President Jokowi got his hands dirty – quietly and humbly paid a visit to Elon Musk, and won a rare tour of SpaceX as well as a prospect to win Tesla’s investment. The Indonesia leader previously met Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg in 2014 in Jakarta to discuss ways the social network can contribute to his country’s economy.

It was already bad that Malaysia does not have nickel and other raw materials to entice Tesla to the country. It becomes worse when Jokowi approached Elon Musk personally, offering value propositions that the clueless Ismail Sabri has no idea at all. Which country do you think Tesla will pour billions of dollars into? Of course, Sabri has more urgent matter to attend.

As Jokowi rushed to meet the founder of Tesla and SpaceX for long-term investment, the incompetent Sabri rushed back home for a 5-minute “syok sendiri” (full of oneself) party as his supporters had pre-arranged a hero welcome home for him. The prime minister proudly uploaded a video showing him being greeted by a large crowd upon arriving from his trip to the U.S.

Exactly what was there to celebrate is beyond comprehension. It was both comical and childish that Ismail Sabri’s band of apple-polishers cheered and clapped for him. It was also deplorable that the UMNO supporters shamelessly carried banners that read “DSIS, Our unsung hero” and “Malaysia is on the right track under DSIS leadership”. Heck, they even sang songs of praise for him.

It might make sense if this happened in 1947, when then-Malayan Airways Limited flew its first commercial flight, allowing Ismail Sabri as the first Malay to travel to the U.S. for the first time in history. Obviously, after his humiliating Arab tour to the U.A.E. last month, his minions desperately needed something – anything – to cheer him in preparation for the coming 15th General Election.

Someone should tell Ismail Sabri that those banners should be in “Bahasa Melayu” (Malay language), not English. Someone should also inform the turtle-egg man that the US$150 million investment pledged by Biden is for ASEAN, not some jackpot money that he had won in the U.S. Hilariously, Sabri was the only ASEAN leaders who had received a self-praised and self-congratulatory party.

Harapan has only two options

S Thayaparan

“They said that I should lose my ideals and begin to believe in the methods of practical politicians. Now, I have not lost my ideals in the least; my faith in fundamentals is exactly what it always was. What I have lost is my childlike faith in practical politics.”

- GK Chesterton

COMMENT | For the record, as someone who agreed with Ong Kian Ming and Tony Pua on the subject of Muhyiddin Yassin’s olive branch, this idea of Ong’s that Pakatan Harapan needs to keep its options open is complete bunkum.

There is an ocean of differences between the olive branch deal and the big tent/options strategy that Ong and others are advocating.

The olive branch was a deal with a weakened leader which offered tangible long-term benefits to this country and which could have possibly slowly started the process of dismantling the ketuanan system in place.

It was a gambit that only a desperate man like Muhyiddin and his coterie could have agreed to and the fight to get those reforms through would be part of the process of building bridges with disparate allies and bipartisanship that political parties had for decades told their respective bases was anathema.

When Ong said it was understandable why some DAP leaders found it difficult to accept Muhyiddin’s offer for a CSA at the time because the latter was facing massive public backlash, this is an indictment on a voting public that has been weaned on partisan politics for decades.

Genuine leadership sometimes means going against public expectations for the betterment of the country and polity as a whole.

The fact that both Pua and Ong were disavowed, even though one assumes that they did not make these deals in the shadows, should tell rational Malaysians something about the way Harapan operates.

Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming

If they did make this deal in the shadows, that would have been impressive, to this writer at least.

So what are these options that Ong thinks Harapan needs? First of all, what is Harapan at this pivotal juncture?

Public meltdown

We have Amanah, DAP, Pejuang and an assortment of NGOs waging a political war led by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (Umno) against PAS in Kelantan, although Umno and PAS are part of the federal government. Amanah is twisting itself into a pretzel in this endeavour.

Meanwhile, PKR which is going through a very public meltdown because its internal election mechanism is apparently conspiring with anyone who would have PKR so that the prime minister in perpetual waiting, Anwar Ibrahim, may have a short sit on the throne in Putrajaya and of course, PKR is slowly losing its status as the anchor of Harapan.

DAP, who some partisans think that Ronnie Liu and his “Chinese-educated types” are in ascendance, have drunk too much of the kool-aid to understand that the gaslighting by the intelligentsia of the DAP has resulted in a class backlash against a party which claimed to be the most principled party in the coalition but which had no problem selling anyone down the river if it brought DAP closer to political power.

Not to mention only the most rabid partisan would be oblivious to the kind of racial politics this supposedly multiracial party practices.

So this is Harapan at the moment. For better or worse, everyone knows what Umno/BN is.

Everyone knows that the internal politics of Umno is the swamp from which every bad policy decision crawls out of. With all this, Harapan alone as a coalition against BN and PN is still the rational choice.

Who are the other opposition parties that folks who want to champion the big tent want us to believe would stop Umno/BN from coming back to power?

There is no point in listing them because they are in one way or another the product of Umno, including PAS. Let us not even talk about Sabah and Sarawak.

Pakatan Harapan chairperson Anwar Ibrahim

The big tent

Ong, like most political operatives, uses vague terms like “flexibility” and qualifiers like “… suggesting flexibility, it means being in government with PAS and Bersatu. That’s not what I’m saying,” so that nobody will be able to pin him down.

But honestly, what exactly do Ong and people who advocate for a big tent approach mean? Who is excluded from this big tent?

If Malaysiakini reporting is accurate, the DAP is part of the move to kick PAS out from Kelantan, which would be awkward if PKR decides to collaborate with PAS on some other level. And where does that leave the DAP in all of this?

Furthermore, the only reason to have this big tent is that the opposition does not want Umno/BN to come back to power, so this really means that there will be no common policy goals beyond the wanton accumulation of power.

Now on a state level, we have seen how destabilising such a strategy is, but more importantly, how a cunning adversary could bring down states where the federal opposition governs but only with the most tenuous of numbers.

Even if Harapan by some miracle manages to claw onto power with this big tent strategy, what happens when the dust settles?

You will get all these political midgets thinking they are goliaths because, without them, the whole house of cards crumbles.

The “opposition is not killing each other”. The reality is that the Malay establishment is killing PKR and further isolating the DAP.

In case some folks have not caught on, the adversary for Harapan is not Umno/BN. The adversary is the corrupt ketuanan system in which all these Malay uber alles parties are proxies and which the majority polity has suffered the worst under.

Harapan either goes at it alone and even if Harapan loses, lives to fight another day, or goes in with a nest of vipers, wins and then is left for dead on the political battlefield - which would be much worse than losing.

Those are the only two options that Harapan has.

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. Fīat jūstitia ruat cælum - “Let justice be done though the heavens fall.”

Ex-Ngee Ann Poly lecturer in Singapore charged with making racist remarks, insensitive comments about religion


Tan Boon Lee outside the State Courts, May 17, 2022. The Ngee Ann Polytechnic lecturer was charged with making racist remarks, insensitive comments about religion and possession of obscene films. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, May 17 — A former Ngee Ann Polytechnic lecturer, who was seen in a viral video confronting an inter-ethnic couple and making racist remarks about them last year, was charged in court today over the incident.

Tan Boon Lee, 61, faces one count of making racist remarks and two counts of making insensitive comments about religion, including once during a lecture at the polytechnic.

He also faces one count of possessing 64 obscene films on his mobile phone.

Today, Tan’s lawyer Johannes Hadi told the court that his client was not ready to decide whether or not to plead guilty and asked for a three-week adjournment.

District Judge Lorraine Ho granted the postponement and set his bail amount for S$5,000 (RM15,818.81). She ordered Tan not to contact the victim or any of the prosecution’s witnesses, whether directly or indirectly.

Confronted inter-racial couple

Court documents said that the the alleged incident happened on June 5 near Anguillia Park in Orchard.

A viral video of the confrontation between Tan and the couple was first uploaded on Facebook by Dave Parkash the next day.

In his post, Parkash — a Singaporean who is half-Indian and half-Filipino — alleged that he was confronted by Tan about his girlfriend, who is half-Chinese and half-Thai.

Tan, who is seen wearing a red sports jersey with the word “Singapore” across his chest, admits on camera to being a racist and tells Parkash that he is also being racist for not “marrying” an Indian girl.

Tan is heard on video saying: “I have nothing against Indians, but I think it is racist for an Indian to marry a Chinese girl.”

Court documents also stated that Tan allegedly told Parkash not to “come in... and disturb the race” and that he thinks “it’s racist that the Indian prey on Chinese girl”.

In a statement on June 17, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, where Tan worked as a senior lecturer in the engineering department, said it was terminating Tan’s employment following its investigations into the incident, as well as its investigations into allegations by a former student that he had made Islamophobic remarks.

After the video of the confrontation surfaced on social media, a former Ngee Ann Polytechnic student, Nurul Fatimah Iskandar, 22, took to Instagram to claim that she was on the receiving end of Islamophobic comments.

Nurul alleged that during a lesson on June 28 in 2017, Tan went on a “full-on discourse about Islam which escalated so badly”.

Court documents allege that Tan told his students during that class: “What type of father tells you to worship him five times a day and threatens to send you to hell if you don’t?”

He also allegedly told his students that they “need to be smart enough to identify if the religion we follow is fake or not” and drew a comparison between how Allah treated his people with how “animals will treat their children”.

Between August and September 2020, Tan is also said to have responded insensitively to questions on an online forum about religion.

To a question on about whether there is a psychological explanation for people being “overcome by the Holy Spirit”, Tan allegedly replied: “Overcome by the Holy Spirit or evils (sic) spirit or ghost are exactly the same.

“One cannot distinguish between these spirit. And people under the influence of drugs or epilepsy have the exact same experience. ‘Chasing the dragon’ is the term, drug addicts used or in the presence of god is what a Christian would describe it.”

And to another question on the same forum on whether a particular flavour of the Chupa Chubs brand of lollipops are Halal, he is said to have replied: “Allah is a lie. Quran is a lie and imams are liars.”

Tan will return to court on June 24 for pre-trial conference, where he is set to confirm whether he will plead guilty or contest his charges.

For uttering of words with the deliberate intention of wounding the racial feelings of a person, a convicted offender can be jailed up to three years or fined, or both.

Anyone found guilty of committing of an act prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious groups can be punished under the Penal Code with three years jail or fine, or both.

Possessing obscene films carries a punishment of up to 12 months jail, a fine of up to S$40,000, or both. — TODAY

Guessing game continues over Pua and Yeo's GE15 plans

Guessing game continues over Pua and Yeo's GE15 plans

After Bangi MP Ong Kiang Ming announced he would not contest in the next general election, speculation was rife that two more DAP lawmakers, Tony Pua and Yeo Bee Yin, would opt-out as well.

Met at the sidelines of a fundraising event in Petaling Jaya last night, the pair was non-committal, adding fuel to the guessing game.

"There is no announcement, so the question doesn't arise," replied Pua, who is the MP for Damansara, without elaborating.

Yeo, on the other hand, refused to comment if she would contest or defend her Bakri seat in Johor.

Meanwhile, DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke, who was also present at the dinner, announced in his speech that Pua had been appointed as his policy advisor.

"Several weeks ago, I discussed this with Pua, and he agreed to serve as the policy advisor to the DAP secretary-general.

"I waited until tonight to make this announcement before the residents of Damansara and Petaling Jaya that Pua will continue to play a role in DAP," he added.

DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke

Loke also dismissed the perception that DAP is purging its English-educated leaders.

"After the party election, a lot of people asked what happened to DAP, why were leaders like Pua and Yeo not elected into the central executive committee while Ong decided to not contest in the coming election?

"Many questioned if DAP is purging all the English-educated leaders, all the 'Oxbridge' graduates in the party. No such thing.

"DAP is a party for all, we appreciate and welcome everyone. As a party leader, I appreciate every single talent in DAP," he added.

Pua, Yeo and Ong are known as DAP's "Oxbridge trio" because of having graduated from either Oxford or Cambridge.

On April 14, the three were appointed as DAP's parliamentary spokespersons - Pua for finance, Yeo for climate change, science and technology and Ong for international trade and industry.

However, in a recent interview with Malaysiakini, Ong said he would serve the party until the next general election, after which he wanted to devote two years to academic pursuits.

Reluctance to investigate journalist’s assault needs answers – Terence Fernandez

Reluctance to investigate journalist’s assault needs answers – Terence Fernandez

Reclassification of case involving The Vibes’ reporter could see victim being suspect

Police must clarify its decision not to take further action on the case of a The Vibes’ journalist who had lodged a report of being harassed and manhandled by a security guard at the Urban Transformation Centre in Pudu Sentral not just to her, but also to the general public at large, editor-in-chief of PETRA News Terence Fernandez opines. – Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia pic, May 19, 2022

Terence Fernandez

DANG WANGI district police chief Noor Dellhan Yahaya has some explaining to do – not only to The Vibes’ journalist who had lodged a report of being harassed and manhandled by a security guard, but also to the general public at large.

Less than an hour after Qistina Nadia Dzulqarnain lodged a police report over the now viralled May 14 incident at the Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) in Pudu Sentral, which also saw the security guard from Sri Lanang Protective Services Sdn Bhd seizing her phone, we were told that police will not be taking further action.

Leaving the Dang Wangi district police headquarters at 7pm, I had not even arrived home when we were informed close to 8pm that the matter has been classified as “Refer to magistrate” (RTM), and that Qistina Nadia will be given a form to fill in the event she intended to pursue a civil case.

If one has any doubts of police’s position on this matter, one can simply refer to this letter (reproduced below) from investigation officer Muhammad Fikri Abdul Manan, who had just an hour prior taken Qistina Nadia’s statement.

The letter reads that “it is not an arrestable offence” and “no further investigation would be conducted”.

This would undoubtedly mean that police had chosen not to investigate the matter further, and this would be tantamount to no further action by police except for the complainant to refer the matter to a magistrate.

One does not have to be an expert in both languages to understand what “Tiada siasatan lanjutan akan dijalankan” as stated in the letter means.

RTM is initiated under Section 108 of the Criminal Procedure Code when police have decided not to investigate a case.

Perhaps following publicity, the OCPD was put on the backfoot, telling Malaysiakini that the case is not closed.

Noor Dellhan must acknowledge that scant attention was paid to this case when the police report indicated the reporter’s wrist was held and her cell phone seized.

He seemed to have also made up his mind that he was not going to pursue this case even as we were pulling out of the car park – without a statement taken from the security guard in question nor witnesses.

Could it be because another government and enforcement agency – the Immigration Department – was involved? Or that the UTC comes under the jurisdiction of the Finance Ministry?

Lack of action such as this unnecessarily opens police to unhealthy speculation from the public.

Then on Sunday (May 15), Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigations Department (CID) chief Habibi Majinji told The Vibes that the case will be reclassified under Section 160 of the Penal Code – causing an affray or commotion.

Which means both parties – the security guard and our reporter – will be subject to investigations and a possible charge.

Habibi said witnesses will be called, and the parties concerned will be summoned to have their statements taken – something that Dang Wangi should have done in the first place.

Speaking of the Dang Wangi district police headquarters, for the entire two hours that we were there, police personnel were more preoccupied in ensuring we surrendered our cell phones at the guardhouse – despite the video of the incident contained in these phones.

I was kept at the guardhouse for almost an hour, as they decided if I should be allowed to accompany Qistina Nadia and our social media head Lancelot Theseira.

In the pouring rain, they were also adamant that my vehicle should not be parked in police premises.

To be fair, the personnel were polite and, in some cases, apologetic, saying this was “orders from the top”.

I was eventually allowed to accompany my colleagues. As my phone had coincidentally (and conveniently) run out of battery, it was left at the guardhouse.

These are misplaced priorities.

It is due to similar experiences that perhaps people are discouraged from lodging police reports, as in some or most cases, after a harrowing experience, the process of lodging a report bears with it its own sets of trauma.

And as in Qistina Nadia’s case, the victim may now become the suspect. – The Vibes, May 19, 2022

Terence Fernandez is editor-in-chief of PETRA News, which publishes The Vibes and its Bahasa Malaysia sister portal Getaran

Bersatu Youth chief congratulates Najib's 'wedding', gets pounded online

Bersatu Youth chief congratulates Najib's 'wedding', gets pounded online

Bersatu Youth chief Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal today “congratulated” Najib Abdul Razak’s “wedding”.

Wan Fayhsal did so in a comment to Najib's Facebook post on a visit by Singaporean foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

“Selamat pengantin baru Dato Seri!” wrote Wan Fayhsal.

At the time of writing, Wan Fayhsal’s post had received 383 reactions and 197 replies.

Wan Fayhsal's comment came amidst the widespread circulation of a photograph depicting Najib posing with a woman, arms linked, at a party with others.

This has led to widespread speculation online that Najib has a new family.

Wan Fayhsal’s comment received mostly brickbats from other netizens, with many reminding him of his previous faux pas such as offering “support letters” as part of his campaign to be elected the Bersatu Youth chief and suggesting that the government “print money” to solve economic woes.

Najib married Tengku Puteri Zainah Tengku Eskandar in 1976. At the time Najib was 23 years old.

Together, they had three children - Mohd Nizar, Mohd Nazifuddin and Puteri Norlisa.

Najib divorced Zainah in 1987 and married Rosmah Mansor. Together, they had two children - Mohd Norashman and Nooryana Najwa.

Malaysian Malaysia Is Not Enough

Malaysian Malaysia Is Not Enough

OutSyed The Box

By Syed Akbar Ali

May 17, 2022

Well, I was sad to read that the DAP’s Ong Kian Ming has decided not to run in the 15th General Elections. Here is something I received today. My comments in blue.

Ong Kian Ming – the archetype of political brain drain

Friday, May 13, 2022

Fifteen years ago, the DAP came up with an experiment to change the face of the party. They recruited a 34-year-old Oxford graduate named Tony Pua. His story was compelling.

Pua grew up on the outskirts of Batu Pahat, Johor where his father was a small-scale poultry farmer to support a family of six.

He started an e-business consulting firm “youngest person to have listed a company in Singapore” at 29.

(OSTB : Err..does anyone know what happened to that company?)

Two Cambridge scholars, Yeo Bee Yin and Ong Kian Ming (joined DAP)

served in Malaysia’s first-ever non-BN cabinet, performed well in 20 months.

DAP is the home for talents – best and brightest will be appreciated.

But things started to crack in 2018.

Pua did not make it to the top 15 party leadership positions.

He finished in 18th place, tying with Jamaliah Jamaluddin.

Ong finished 14th.

DAP election saw purge – Pua, Yeo, Ong failed to make 30-member committee

Ong’s decision to not run in the 15th general election.

Ong’s high-quality policy work in electoral boundaries, economics, and education.

Malaysia may change for the better – but what if it doesn’t?

Is the cause worth your life?

What if it isn’t?

My comments :

You see folks, if you are a political party in a democracy, you must win votes. That is rule no. 1. If you win votes you get to last for sometime.

But to get to power you must win the majority votes – in the States, in the Federal Parliament.

To win the majority votes you must convince the majority of the voters that you are good for them.

And in Malaysia the majority of voters are still the Malay and the bumiputra voters. (Although this vote is not one united bloc anymore – plus there appears to be a divide between the Peninsula Malay Muslim voter and the rest of the non Malay but bumiputra vote, whether Muslim or non Muslim – largely based in Sabah and Sarawak).

If you ignore or do not care enough for the majority voter group you will not win power.

Yes you can form coalitions, sign MoUs etc but those things do not last.

The word that you are looking for is TRUST. Can the people TRUST you? Can enough of the voters TRUST you to take care of their future?

I recall when Ms Yeo Bee Yin was the Minister of the Environment, Science etc she banned the use of plastic bags and plastic drinking straws?? Apparently a turtle got a plastic straw stuck in its nose?? She was constantly griping about global warming. The Chinese chicken rice sellers complained so much because they could not use plastic bags to sell chicken rice.

Folks I am over 60 years old now. Since I was about seven years old I have bathed in the sea around Batu Ferringgi and Teluk Bahang in Penang. The rocks that we used to swim to and climb on are still there. Old family pictures that go back to the 1940s and 1950s show cousins and uncles also standing on the same rocks in the beaches in Penang. They have not been submerged by any rising sea levels.

And the Maldive Islands are still there. They have not sunk below the sea yet. Here is the Maldives Airport, first built in 1960. The runways are still right by the sea.

To be inflicted with “politically fashionable” policies banning plastic bags and plastic straws was felt as more punishment by the people including Chinese chicken rice sellers who had just helped to get rid of 50 years of bullying, racial discrimination, corruption and pure foolishness. The people did not bargain for any new tyrants (no matter what their education or great intentions) to replace the old tyrants.

To me this is the opportunity the DAP missed.

Then there is that other major hurdle : what does the DAP have in store for the Malays? Say it plainly and say it now. Why? Because they are the majority voters – at least in the Peninsula.

Affirmative Action has to stay. Perhaps for another hundred years. How do you make it workable and useful for the entire country. It is possible. You can easily marry Affirmative Action with a market economy.

My other question to the DAP is – you were 22 months in power. Why didnt you make public the list of AP holders in the country?

Why didnt you unwind ANY of the many monopolies that have been created for the UMNO/BN cronies. Not one.

Gobind Singh first put the Sedition Act into cold storage and then took it out of the freezer, heated it in the oven and dished it out to the people again. Bhiyya what happened?

You did not reduce the ridiculous import duties, taxes, levies, APs etc on imported cars. If you had reduced car prices by even 10% or 15% the chicken rice sellers would still have voted for you.

If you had reduced the highway tolls by 20% or 30% everyone would have voted for you.

These are real bread and butter issues. But you did not address them.

The DAP had a golden opportunity to effect change. But change you did not.

State clearly what are the policy changes that you will enact. Be clear and precise. And be open and transparent about it. If people vote for the DAP what will we get in return.