Saturday, September 30, 2006

A neighbourly letter

Dear Neighbour,

Limpeh tell you all the marginalisation talks are just nothing more than a teh-oh in a teapot ... er, sorry, I mean … teacup – hehehe, we don’t want to dig up that Sky Kingdom thingy, do we?

You have your keris, I have my own weapons, namely words to frighten the sh*t out of my countrymen
(I wouldn’t use the ‘sh*t’ word in public, you know - I have to jaga standard, maintaining my Pukka accent – afterall, yours truly holds a Mat Salleh royal award).

I just wanted to show my people they ought to be jolly grateful that I had looked after them. I had to make reference to your … er … people to draw out the comparison or rather, contrast. My people were slacking so I had to inject that ‘rugged society’ bull again, intravenously if necessary.

Look at the youngsters of today, our successors – they lack our wit, guile, brains and may I even say, flair, but they have plenty of ‘mouth’, so sometimes we are compelled to show them we have even bigger 'mouths’ which we only use when it matters.

I am sure you personally are familiar with young people and their ‘mouths’ in recent time. For example, your in-law has been acting like an out-law, using words in a crude indefensible fashion, which I (of course) had employed more skilfully. I pronounced mine in an international forum instead of an unique-ethnic one.

But don’t worry, my people see him regularly down here so we can jaga and groom him up to be worthy of his fine education, even though I have to say, and I hope you won’t mind me doing so, that a Cambridge education is always superior to that of those damn set of colleges over in the Midlands.

Oh, by the way, if you need any help or assistance with that has-been, just let me know and I’ll get the old news media here to whip up another 22 questions again. Originating from here, you will be Teflon coated when the sh*t (don't forget, old boy, this is a private letter, OK?) hits the fan over at your place.

I’ll drop across soon for a private chitchat on our investments in your area. I must say the recent paraochial sentiments have been dampening to further trans-LK (longkang) investments, to say the least. But until them, just hold that dignified demeanour and you’ll come out smelling like a cempaka.

Yours in anticipation,


Questions I've always wanted to ask - models

Why do the majority of female models scowl or look like zombies, while the majority of male models smile?

Why do the majority of female models look scrawny (some 'healthy' cleveages would be nice for a change), while the majority of male mdoels look like studs?

Why do female models walk as if they have jerky pendulums stuck up their ... er ... never mind, while male models stroll around casually, easily and nonchantly?

What Hitler's SS used to do

al Jazeera reported that:

An Israeli missile has destroyed the home of a senior Hamas commander in the Gaza Strip, causing no casualties, Palestinian witnesses said.

The witnesses said the family had evacuated the building, in the town of Khan Yunus, after they were told by telephone to flee minutes before the attack on Friday.

The Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed the military had telephoned them. She said the target was a warehouse used to store weapons. Israel has often accused Palestinians of hiding such facilities inside their homes.

Collective punishment - you're dare to struggle against the Nazis or Israelis, your family would be punished. Proof, evidence due process or legality not required, just the way Hitler's sturmtroopers operated.

Use of disproportionate force? Haven't you heard the arrogant assertion of Dan Gillerman, Israeli ambassador at the UN, regarding Israeli devastating destruction of Lebanon? He said "You're damn right we used disproportionae force!"

Fairness? Hey, we are talking about Nazis and Israelis!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Professor Shamsul denied dismissing Asli's report

Professor Shamsul Amri Baharuddin replies to the bumi equity controversy:


On Sept 27, 2006, malaysiakini published an article entitled 'Bumi equity: Prof disputes study' which totally misrepresented my opinion of what I have to say about the study conducted by Asli (Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute) entitled “Corporate Equity Distribution: Past Trends and Future Policy.”

When I was asked about my opinion of the report, my respond was brief and simple:
“I don’t know about the study, I haven’t read it and I have no opinion to offer regarding its content.”

Therefore, I categorically deny that I said what I had purportedly said, including “the study did not contain accurate facts” and the rest of it. By the way, I am a lecturer in social anthropology and not in political science as reported.

It is unfortunate and a great pity that my purported comments have attracted many negative, even crass, reactions from a number of malaysiakini readers. They have the right to do so if those were really my statements. But they were not.

What I offered instead were some general comments on previous such reports on the New Economic Policy (NEP), and not this particular report by Asli.

The gist of my general comment was that some of the reports that offered evaluation on the NEP thus far are not only inaccurate but also biased.

For example, some Malay-based interest groups would claim that the NEP has been well-received by all Malays. This is simply untrue. The Malay response to NEP has been a highly mixed one.

I have researched and written extensively about this with concrete empirical evidence. Those interested are invited to read my book Rancangan Malaysia Kedua:Tujuan dan Pelaksanaannya (1977) and also From British to Bumiputera Rule: Local Politics and Rural Development in Peninsular Malaysia (1986).

I have argued that the nature of NEP’s implementation has been, to borrow Wertheim’s famous words, “betting on the strong few and not on the weak many,” especially NEP’s second objective “to restructure Malaysian society”.

I also mentioned in my general comments to malaysiakini then that from my close reading of the numerous reports and analyses by academicians and non-academicians on the NEP in the last 25 years, I noticed two clear patterns.

The first exhibits a polarised pattern between, on the one hand, pro-establishment and on the other, critical of the establishment. Within each approach I find there exists a number of schisms, often based on ethnic lines and sometimes ideological ones.

In this context, it is not surprising at all that some of the reports on the NEP were highly ‘ethnicised’ in the sense that the studies were not motivated by the need to seek the truth but often to fulfill the ‘ethnicised’ agenda of a particular group.

The second pattern also exhibits a polarised one between, on the one hand, to view Malaysia and its NEP from an “alarmist perspective” and the other from a “consensus perspective.”

To the alarmists, the NEP is perceived as something negative to the general good of the society hence it is said that it could lead to a massive dissatisfaction amongst the various ethnic groups, which in turn could lead to an equally massive ethnic conflict in Malaysia.

Those in favour of the consensus perspective argue that Malaysia, with its NEP, is a society continuously struggling to find a fulcrum and, since it has to contend with a moving one, it is experiencing an almost perpetual state of ‘stable tension’ underlined by an unending negotiation to seek consensus-based solutions.

As such, in my opinion, some of the reports on the NEP had to be viewed with a dose of skepticism for methodological and epistemological reasons.

Therefore, I have indeed nothing to say about the Asli report as reported by malaysiakini, but got plenty to comment on published and unpublished reports and analyses on the NEP.

Finally, I definitely would like to obtain a copy of the Asli report and offer my genuine comments if I am given the chance, but perhaps, it will not be in the distorted and sensational form that appears in the article.


Malaysiakini declares that it is standing by its reporter and will not retract its report. However it has, out of fairness, published Professor Shamsul’s reply today.

Do you accept Professor Shamsul's clarification that he wasn't commenting on Asli's report but rather, the NEP in general when he was asked for his views by the reporter on Asli's finding?

A Study in Sarcasm

Asli might have written a study regarding bumiputera equity, but a Malaysiakini reader who calls him/herself Kaum Pendatang wrote the following letter, which is a classic study in frustrated sarcasm, or should it be sarcastic frustration?

As a Chinese Malaysian, I can't agree more with FN's enlightened statements.

Every day, as I step out of my chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce, I look down from my gigantic mansion at the kampung below the hill and marvel at how tolerant the non-immigrant Malaysians have been to allow immigrants like me to continue to live peacefully in their country.

Neither myself nor my immigrant parents nor my immigrant grandparents nor my immigrant greatgrandparents ever paid a sen in taxes nor contributed to the economy in any way in the short 100-odd years we have lived in this country.

How could they? My paternal grandfather was merely a rubber tapper, while my maternal grandmother lazed away her days in the tin mines of Perak. My father served in the armed forces during a time when Malaysia was at its most peaceful (God knows why they called it the Confrontation) while my mother was a civil servant.

I also had the privilege of representing my state in sports, not because I was any good but mainly due to the graciousness of the selectors at the trials. Thank God, I chose to come back to this country after completing my overseas education, which my parents did not have to fork out a single sen for as it was all paid for by our generous government.

Every April, I'm almost ashamed to see non-immigrant Malaysians queuing up to pay their income taxes while I am 100% exempted since I'm a guest of the country. Plus the fact that I don't have a single non-immigrant friend nor do I speak a single word of Bahasa Malaysia, and I always wonder to what do we owe this kindness.

Lastly, I would like to take my hat off to our great heroic former prime minister. Despite having an immigrant father, he chose to discard with all the privileges that come with it and insisted on toiling along with the rest of the non-immigrants the hard way and actually contribute to the nation. No wonder he has no patience for the rest of us immigrant parasites.

So to my fellow immigrants, stop behaving like rude guests and be grateful for the privileges accorded to us by our gracious hosts.

More verdict on bumi equity issue

Terence Gomez is the research coordinator at United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD). He wrote the following letter to Malaysiakini on Asli’s study showing bumi equity has already reached 45%, but which UKM Prof Shamsul Amri Baharuddin dismissed as a sinister motive by non-Malay researchers.


There is no need to racialise this discussion on equity ownership. Prof Shamsul Amri Baharuddin has probably not read the report by Asli’s Centre for Policy Studies, which is why he has denigrated it as a document with a race-based agenda.

I and other scholars had the opportunity to contribute to this study and other parts of the report and can affirm that the document was written by academics genuinely interested in contributing to the discussion on policy planning for the 9th Malaysia Plan (9MP).

On the issue of corporate development, the report has made the important point that the government had played an effective role in helping redistribute wealth more equitably among all Malaysians.

Currently, government-linked companies (GLCs) are among the major holders of corporate equity. The prominent role of the GLCs in the corporate sector, in terms of ownership and control of business equity, brought into question the argument that the wealth attributable to the bumiputeras is less than 20%.

The report has, to my mind, rightly questioned the government's continuing fixation with figures like 30% for bumiputeras. One outcome of their increased ownership of corporate wealth, from 2.4% in 1970 to 18.9% in 2004, has been the creation of serious intra-ethnic class difference. The government appears unaware or unwilling to accede that ethnically-based corporate ownership figures 30% mean little or nothing in terms of ensuring equitable wealth distribution for all Malaysians.

On the issue of methodological weakness on the part of the government, I would like to highlight (drawing reference to the 9MP) a few points.

First, it is odd that even though the GLCs are majority shareholders of the largest companies quoted on the Bursa Malaysia, the non-bumiputeras are listed as owning more equity than the bumiputeras.

Second, who are the owners of nominee companies, which own a massive 8% of corporate equity, even more than bumiputera institutions which own only 2.2% of such wealth? If the government now claims to advocate a more open and transparent corporate system, why do they retain the practice of using nominee companies?

There is more reason to question these government figures if we look at the 9th Malaysia Plan. Individual bumiputeras and the government were said to own 51.7% and 31.2% respectively of privatised entities at the end of 2005, while non-bumiputeras owned only 8.9% of such equity, which would presumably include firms like Telekom Malaysia, Tenaga Nasional, and MISC.

Since the government holds this equity on behalf of bumiputeras, the total volume of privatised firms attributable to this community would amount to a colossal 82.9%. Yet, the 9MP also insists that the volume of corporate assets owned by bumiputeras has not increased from 19% between 2000 and 2004.

There is clearly some concern and differences of opinion about how the government tabulates equity ownership figures. I would suggest that academics collectively ask the government to release its methodology for tabulating these figures. I would also welcome the opportunity to work with other academics, including Shamsul, to analyse the impact of affirmative action on wealth distribution and the corporate sector in Malaysia.

I would also argue that we should then move on to encourage the government to promote policies that are universal in orientation, developed to help groups in need, regardless of race.

Like Prof Shamsul, I too entertain suspicions of sinister motives, but in my case, of the UMNO-led government.

But unlike Prof Shamsul I am not a learned academician, who should have exercised far greater discerning analytical responsibility based on professional assessment of the methodology and data presented by Asli.

Therefore, unlike the learned professor, I can't be accused of the most shameful and un-academic conduct.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bolehland, where official pyromaniacs eat baked pies

This is a letter of sheer frustration by SK Wong, a Malaysiakini reader. Please read it to understand the feelings not just of Chinese but all right thinking Malaysians:

Reading the news and readers' comments nowadays is an increasingly depression-induce undertaking. In every piece of news I read about Malaysia, I have to shake my head in disbelief and disgust.

Where else but the Bolehland black can be white and vice-versa?

Where else but the Bolehland self-confessed corrupted politicians can go scot free while righteous politicians are chastised and reprimanded?

Where else but the Bolehland a deputy prime minister can dismiss the facts with a straight face and still claim to be "principled"?

Where else but the Bolehland the police behave more like hoodlums than law-enforcement officers?

Where else but the Bolehland the powers-that-be who spew hate speeches and instigate intolerance, wielding a weapon and threatening harm are condoned while apologies are demanded from those who speak the truth?

Where else but the Bolehland a sincere dialogue and meeting of the minds is eschewed in favour of patronising monologue?

Where else but the Bolehland an apartheid-style policy can be defended in the name of "peace", "unity" and "harmony"?

Where else but the Bolehland street gangs can be heroes with a stroke of a pen, or a keyboard?

The Chinese have a proverb that aptly describe this state of affair - allowing the officials to create conflagrations; prohibiting the citizens from lighting lamps.

We had greater peace and harmony until they came along. The Umnoputras think they own everything. They are obsessed with quotas because they get to divide the pie others baked rather than doing the hard work themselves. But when it comes to building vernacular schools, they quickly forget about quotas. Their mindset can be summarised as ‘what belongs to you is mine, what belongs to me is still mine’.

The ruling parties behave like an insatiable monster that is ever ready to wreck havoc if not well-fed. I salute those who doggedly fight the good fight, but I have totally given up hope on Malaysia finding any form of redemption anytime soon.

We have only ourselves to blame if we keep deluding ourselves with their empty promises time and time again. As the saying goes, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

I have only one appeal to the voting public come next general election: it is hazardous to rear a tiger, if you let it run loose, be prepared to be mauled.

30% bumi equity insufficient - additional condition required

Well, Prof Shamsul Amri Baharuddin isn’t the only one to dispute the correctness of the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli) study titled 'Corporate Equity Distribution: Past Trends and Future Policy' which said bumiputera’ equity is already 45% and not the 19% the government based its 9th Malayisa Plan on.

Prof ShaMsul questioned the study because it has been made by a particular race.

Zainol Abidin Abdul Hamid, treasure general of the Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia (DPMM) said that Asli’s study cannot be accepted because the facts are incorrect.

His reason?

“Our government says corporate bumiputera equity is 18 to 19 percent, how can Asli say it is up to 45 percent?”

Well, at least here’s a man whose conclusion is based on loyalty rather than race of the researchers. I wonder what Prof Shamsul would make of this since the 19% equity was also made by a particular race?

But wait, another university academician, in fact an economics lecturer at University Paling you-know-what (UPM), Judhiana Abdul Ghani, also disputed the findings.

She said many people would disbelieve the report because the distribution of wealth is not comprehensive.

“… distribution of wealth is not comprehensive …”?

Comprehensive? What did she mean?

She said: “On the overall, the (30%) bumiputera equity ownership may have been achieved with the inclusion of GLCs but it is only focused on a small group while the rest of the community does not enjoy it.”

“Actually what’s most important is to let more bumiputeras acquire that said equity.”

If you read what she said, she has actually acknowledged that the 30% equity has already been achieved but, by her own introduction of one new word into the equation, namely 'comprehensive', shifted the goalposts – bumiputera equity is no longer equity per se. According to her, the 30% equity will only be achieved when that’s distributed across the bumiputera community.

Was this ever the objective of the NEP?

Of course f**king not, because that would be akin to 'communism' or if we want to be generous to her, 'socialism'.

She has basically defined a new NEP objective, one setting an impossible goal with an idealistic socialist (or communist-like) distribution which will never ever be achieved even when the bumiputera has acquired 100% equity, unless of course she wants to recruit Chin Peng out of retirement to make Malaysia a communist state.

Hmmm, maybe that’s the plan – keep shifting goalposts to ensure the NEP remains there forever.

Aussie anti-Muslim racism

From the Aussie ABC:

The former prime minister, Gough Whitlam, says Muslims in Australia are being marginalised in the same way that the Chinese immigrant community once was.

Mr Whitlam says both groups have been made political scapegoats at different times in Australian history.

He says Chinese people had faced institutionalised racism for much of the first half of the 20th Century and now history is being repeated, with the Muslim community as the new target of discrimination.

"It has never been so important to acknowledge how difficult it has been for these large communities to win their rights and their honour and respect in the face of prejudice, intolerance and politically contrived racism," he said.

"It is urgent because it is happening all over again."

Mr Whitlam made the comments at the launch of a Great Wall of China art exhibition in Sydney last night.

KTemoc's take is that while there's certainly a heightened emotion of Islamaphobe in Australia today, it's similar yet different from the anti-Chinese racism.

Australian racism against the Chinese half a century ago was based on both fears (of the frightening 'Yellow Peril') and pure dislike of an alien race, while the anti-Muslim racism is based mainly on 'fears' fanned by a government who has frequently resorted to political exploitation of anti-Islamic anxieties among Australians since 9/11 and the Bali bombings. I'll blog on this soon.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Chinese researchers - sinister motives?

On Sunday I blogged on Bumi's Equity is already 45%, in which I posted that the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli) estimated Malay equity should currently be 45% based on September 2005 Bursa Malaysia figures.

Asli explained that in its study titled 'Corporate Equity Distribution: Past Trends and Future Policy'.

I also noted that the director of Asli, Dr Lim Teck Ghee, complained of the difficulties of obtaining government methodology in declaring that Malay equity was only 19%.

He said: “Our study was established based on the best available information and informed opinion. The government does not make data available easily (to the public).”

Lim had hoped the government would exercise more transparency and publicise the methodology used by the government in providing its own figures.

I doubt it would, for the purpose of perpetuating the bull that bumiputera equity hasn’t reached 30% yet.

Today Malaysiakini reported that Prof Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) political science lecturer and director of its Institute of Malay World and Civilisation, expressed his scepticism at Asli’s study.

And his reason for averring that the study did not contain accurate facts?

He said: “I am very sceptical about the study which has been carried out by a particular race. They (the race) usually have their own agendas.”

“So I want to know who conducted the study? When was it done and which angle they (the researchers) were looking at? What is the motive behind the study? Is the research for the public or for participants of a certain form?”

Great stuff, this professor based his scepticism on the basis of race. He wants to know the “motive” of the (presumably) particular race, or participants of a “certain form”.

Prof Shamsul didn’t query about Asli’s methodology but instead the race of the data analysts. He can’t question the data because Asli had already declared them to be the September 2005 Bursa Malaysia figures.

I would have imagine a professor demanding to know the methodology, verify it or re-check the data, but instead he questioned the “motives” of the researchers because they were of a “particular race”.

Prof Shamsul was the man who gave AAB’s SIL, Khairy Jamaluddin, a generous spin down in Australia when the professor was interviewed by ABC radio. He responded to presenter Sen Lam’s queries, as follows:

SHAMSUL: Khairy was talking to a group of UMNO youth and people around the different divisions in the country, telling them UMNO has to be strong, that if you are not strong, you would be taken advantage of, by other parties in the BN (Barisan Nasional coalition) because this is a competition. He didn't mention anything about any particular party there. But the MCA representative from Kajang, if I'm not mistaken, raised the issue at the MCA meeting, and said that this is an insult to MCA and other parties in BN.

[well, f**k it, Khairy said “the Chinese community” and on top of that, “I don’t have to apologise when I speak in defence of my religion and race”!]

LAM: Do you see though, why the MCA might have cause to feel upset, having loyally supported UMNO for the best of the past fifty years?

SHAMSUL: I wouldn't say the words of a speaker or representative from one small place called Kajang represents the whole of MCA. But it was a voice no doubt. So I believe this is not MCA's position, but this is an idea from the floor, so to speak.

[“…the words of a speaker or representative from one small place called Kajang …” and "... not MCA's position ..." - if the professor wasn’t ‘spinning’, please tell me what was it? Even Lim Keng Yaik called the SIL a 'low standard opportunist']

LAM: Khairy, apart from being UMNO Youth's deputy chief, also happens to be the son-in-law of the prime minister. And there have been murmurs that he is the "power behind the throne," that he has an inordinately huge amount of influence over his father-in-law, the prime minister. What do you make of these rumours?

SHAMSUL: I don't know how much a father-in-law, or a son-in-law can influence a father-in-law in Malay society, but it is a different context and I also believe that (former Indonesian President) Suharto's children had been powerful, I don't know whether we want to see Abdullah Badawi in that light, in the same way we analyze Suharto. Or there is really something. He (Khairy) was once a speech-writer for Abdullah Badawi, no doubt. Nobody wants to talk about Mahathir's son now, and how he is involved in all sorts of business. And (dy pm) Najib's brothers who are involved in big businesses. So I would like to talk about kinship in politics, likely circumstances and beyond the prime minister actually, in Malaysia.

[best distraction away from Khairy and AAB would of course be to bring in Suharto, Mahathir and even Najib and their family - I am surprised he didn't mention Ehud Olmert or George Bush]

Sad, isn’t it, that a university professor rejects a fairly startling finding of a study with important political ramifications for Malaysia, purely on the basis of the race of the researchers, without even challenging the research methodology or accuracy of the data.

I've added his interview with ABC about Khairy’s infamous insult to put the entire tragedy into context.

Where marginalisation of bumiputera occurs

Now, here are some bumiputera who have been completely marginalised.

The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) made a visit to the interior of Sarawak, and discovered that the Penan people’s living conditions have not improved over the past five years.

For a start, it found that most of the Penan still don’t have identity cards and have never received assistance under the poverty-relief programmes.

The delegation of four commissioners visited groups at Sungai Asap who had been relocated due to the Bakun dam construction, and Ulu Belaga, where several Penan groups are domiciled.

They found that many people in the Sungai Asap area have not even received compensation for their dispossessed land, while others have yet to receive formal letters indicating that the plots of land belong to them.

Suhakam examine several issues afflicting the natives, including those pertaining to their lack of access to surrounding forests that have been placed the control of logging companies. Locals have complained about lack of compensation for loss of livelihood, after sources of food such as fruit trees were allegedly destroyed by logging companies.

In Long Singu and Long Jaik, the Penan claimed that their sources of livelihood have been affected by logging and the emergence of oil palm and reforestation estates.

Commissioner Chiam, who was on the Suhakam trip in 2001 to the two areas, said almost nothing has changed and that many communities still live in deplorable state.

“The Penan have been deprived of their right to an existence. It’s still at a point where the river in which they bathe is where they also defecate.”

Delegation leader Denison Jayasooria said: “Some areas have totally changed. Everything has been wiped clean. If I had not gone to the site, I would not have experienced the shock of seeing jungle turned into desert land.”

Well, talking about marginalisation ….. surely these natives take the cake.

Marginalisation of Chinese Malaysians - Case for

Here’s the case for the ugly accusation of 'marginalisation of Chinese Malaysians', part of an article by Kim Quek:

Amidst the chorus of angry protests against Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew’s recent remark that Chinese Malaysians have been marginalised, can the protesters answer a simple question?

If there has been no racial marginalisation in Malaysia, why has the word ‘meritocracy’ been taboo in politics ever since the race riots of May 13, 1969?

This is the only country in the world that has virtually banned the concept.

Other questions come to mind.

Why has there been a massive and unrelenting brain-drain ever since the debacle in 1969, resulting in a countless number of Chinese Malaysians excelling in many fields in foreign lands?

Why has there been a virtual monopoly by one race - numerically as a whole as well as in the top hierarchy - of the entire spectrum of the public sector, namely, the army, police, civil service, judiciary, public universities, semi- and quasi-government bodies, and government-controlled financial institutions and enterprises?

Why has there been, year after year, the spectre of top Chinese Malaysian students being barred from universities, only (for some) to be admitted later upon begging by Chinese ministers in the cabinet?

No doubt Lee may be faulted for lacking diplomatic niceties, but he has spoken the truth. And I think every Malaysian irrespective of race knows that, at least in the deepest part of his heart.

Yes, we have been practising racial discrimination, which is a zero-sum game. When race A is barred so that race B can get in, it is one side’s loss to another side’s gain. It is sheer dishonesty and hypocrisy to deny that any race has suffered disadvantages as a result of this policy.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

PPP - end of the road?

I think the days of PPP boss, M. Kayveas, are almost over.

The first sign of the Barisan Nasional’s disenchantment with the president of the PPP has been their recent and deliberate
snubbing of him when the Coalition appointed Bukit Gantang MP Tan Lian Hoe as the coalition’s chairman in his (Kayveas) backyard.

Gerakan president Dr Lim Keng Yaik revealed that Mentri Besar and Perak Barisan chief Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazali appointed Tan as the Barisan head in Beruas.

Kayveas is currently occupying the Taiping seat which was previously in the hands of the Gerakan since 1974. Prior to that, the MP for Taiping was Gerakan former deputy president Kerk Choo Teng who held that seat for three terms from 1990.

At the last polls in 2004, the BN gave the Taiping seat to Kayveas, who threw a humongous tantrum when he was given another seat which he wasn't too confident of.

Even then, Taiping wasn't a safe seat for him. The 2004 combined votes for the DAP and PKR in Taiping were more than what Kayveas had received, though that didn’t necessarily mean, had the DAP or PKR not contested in a 3-corner fight, Kayveas would have lost. A vote for, say, the PKR wouldn’t automatically translate into a vote for the DAP if PKR stayed out, and vice versa. But he certainly will face daunting odds if he is allowed to stand there again.

Recently, Perak Gerakan chief Chang Ko Youn stated he wants the Taiping to be return to Gerakan, based on a purported agreement at the last polls. In the so-called agreement, Kayveas was originally named to contest in Bukit Gantang.

But a Chinese-language newspaper reported that Kayveas has threatened to contest as an independent candidate at the next election if the Taiping seat were to be taken away from him and returned to Gerakan.

However, Dr Lim was either evasive or diplomatic when he said only the Barisan supreme council could decide on the issues. He said:
“I don’t know whether we will contest in Taiping or Bukit Gantang (at the next general election). But the time is not here yet. So don’t speculate or debate on it.”

At the beginning of this year, Kayveas had offended many BN leaders when he called for the 9 BN leaders including Ong Ka Ting, Lim Keng Yaik and Samy Vellu to be sacked from the cabinet after they withdrew their memo to the PM on a religious issue.

In my posting
King Sabo I did warn (Kayveas) that “he’s a bit unwise asking for them to be sacked because his Taiping seat is very much dependent on Gerakan’s goodwill and support."

"If we remember, in the last election, he was crying out loud that the other parties had ignored and not helped his campaign. Showing childish tantrum against Lim Keng Yaik may be foolish if he wants to retain his Taiping seat.”

Additionally I see the PPP not adding any value to the BN, with Kayveas unwanted on both sides of the political fence. So I suppose AAB no longer has much use for him or the PPP. I woudln't be surprised if AAB cuts him loose or ignores him in the next pre-selection, and WTF can the PPP do? The once-powerful PPP is not even a pale shadow of its old self; nowadays it’s just a sore pimple on the BN’s backside.

In Humpty Dumpty blasted King Sabo I wrote: “I dare say that PM Abdullah Badawi must be wishing secretly the PPP would do the obliging step and commit political seppuku or at least make itself disappear into thin air."

"In each pre-election, the PPP stood out like a sore thumb for Badawi and previously, Mahathir, when it came to the difficult task of distributing the seats among the major players. They must have found that trying to factor in the PPP was an annoying nuisance. The last election saw Kayveas throwing a tantrum when he was thrown an iffy constituency."

If Kayveas so much as carries out his threat to stand as an independent in Taiping, he’s toast. But then, the poor bloke is virtually dead meat anyway. I'll miss his clown-ish ways.

Cowards & Clowns in Parliament

Int Sec Ministry gagged Chinese press on alleged embezzlements

Deputy Higher Education Ong Tee Keat alleged that officials had misused funds meant for Chinese schools' refurbishment.

Education Minister Hishamuddin blew his top at the allegation and in a storm of (contrived?) rage and petulance managed to get Ong's boss, the Higher Education Minister, to apologise whilst convincing the cabinet to reprimand Ong.

DPM Najib tip-toed through the tulips by declaring that the cabinet reprimand was on a matter of procedural correctness and not related to the facts of the issue.

Well, the facts of the issue have been that Ong Tee Keat’s allegation has since been supported by a key witness. Was there then any rehabilitation of Ong’s standing? Has there been an apology from Hishamuddin or the cabinet to Ong?

But don't worry about apologies for UMNO never apologise demi Bangsa dan Agama*. As the salesman said, "wait, there’s more" because Ong had but merely scratched the surface.

* for race and religion

The Chinese press have unearthed similar cases of alleged misuse of the special funds in two other schools - SRJK Mah Hua in Kepala Batas, Penang and SRJK Sin Bin in Klang, Selangor.

On Saturday, the Chinese newspapers reported Works Minister Samy Vellu’s visit to Mah Hua primary school to probe the alleged misappropriation of funds.

However, reports in Sunday’s evening editions of all four major Chinese newspapers - Sin Chew Daily, Nanyang Siang Pau, China Press and Guangming Daily - on the alleged misappropriation of funds in Klang’s SJKC Sin Bin involving work worth RM5,000 for an allocation for RM40,000 - strangely failed to appear in their morning editions today.

“…failed to appear in their morning editions today …”?


Well, it seems that the Internal Security Ministry has instructed the media to
stop reporting on the alleged misappropriation of funds earmarked for the repair and maintenance of Chinese primary schools nationwide. The ministry wrote to the editors last Thursday demanding “immediate cooperation” from the media to not highlight the controversy - especially if those contain FACTS.

OR ELSE obviously!

Chinese successful, marginalised & compliant?

This in essence has been what Lee Kuan Yew said:

Chinese minorities are systemically marginalised because they are successful and hardworking. The attitude of both Malaysia and Indonesia towards Chinese-dominated Singapore has been shaped by the way their own Chinese minorities behave under the constraint of their government’s systematic marginalisation, namely being ‘compliant’. Those two Malay-dominated governments want Chinese Singapore to be equally compliant.

Let’s examine his points more closely, but with regards to Malaysia only (because we live here):

(1) Chinese citizens of Malaysia are successful and hardworking

(2) They are systematically marginalised because of that

(3) Malaysia sees their Chinese minorities as compliant

(4) Therefore they want Chinese-Singapore to be equally compliant

There are 3 factors in his statements on Chinese Malaysian – (a) successful & diligent, (2) systematically marginalised, (3) compliant

However, these three features are not automatically related nor flow from one to the other, though in some cases they may be. Let’s look closer:

(1) The MCA and Gerakan members are generally successful but not all are diligent

(2) They are compliant but not necessarily systematically marginalised

(3) The poor Chinese (non-BN members), poor Indians (could well be BN members), poor Malays (usually though not all non-BN members), many non-Malay bumiputeras and most Orang Asli are obviously not successful though could well be diligent

(4) They are marginalised but not necessarily compliant.

(5) The DAP and PAS members are definitely marginalised but far from being compliant

(6) Most are generally hardworking and some are even successful

I could go on and on with all sorts of combination but basically what I wanted to show was that, in LKY’s couple of sentences that were tossed around, those words involved so many factors which may not automatically be related to one another, or the consequences of another.

BTW, what does LKY meant by being ‘marginalised’? KTemoc knows he had been ‘marginalised’ (personal experience) but that doesn't mean Vincent Tan, Patrick Badawi or Ananda Krishnan are.

And what is meant by ‘compliant’? Well, Raja Bodek is certainly ‘compliant’ but then, he is an extreme case so we won’t be able to use him as a clear example of that LKY-alleged characteristic.

Hmmm, let’s see – how about Lim Keng Yaik and Ong Ka Ting, or their predecessors like Dr Lim Chong Eu or Ling Liong Sik or even Tan Siew Sin?

What about former DAP strong man Lee Lam Thye? Now, this bloke would provide an interesting case study - please be fair on him!

What about the Malays in Singapore? Could LKY’s words about Chinese Malaysians be applied equally to them?

What are your views?

Monday, September 25, 2006

LKY's dual conflicting personalities

Lee Kuan Yew has once again annoyed Malaysian UMNO leaders, and embarrassed Chinese MCA and Chinese-dominated Gerakan, when on Friday he told an International Monetary Fund conference in Singapore that Malaysia and Indonesia had problems with their Chinese minorities because they (the Chinese) were successful and hardworking and therefore systemically marginalised.

From that assertion he postulated that the attitude of Malaysia and Indonesia towards Singapore was shaped by the way they treated their own Chinese minorities – those two Malay-dominated nations would like to see a compliant Singapore, just like their own Chinese citizens.

DPM Najib was correctly mild in his response, just brushing Lee aside by saying he (Lee) was ‘naughty’, while Mahathir, an old foe of Lee, remonstrated with great disgust. And right immdiately behind them, the one and only, His Ampu-ness Raja Bodek, rushed out to show his Malaysian-ness, as did a number of other Chinese Malaysian leaders like Gerakan Lim Keng Yaik and MCA Ong Ka Ting.

However, DAP’s Lim Guan Eng – probably more to hentam (wallop) Raja Bodek than to support Lee Kuan Yew – took the opportunity to criticise His Ampu-ness and the other Chinese leaders.

Lim expressed his disgust with Raja Bodek and the others for denying an ‘obvious fact’, which according to Lim is that “... The Chinese and other non-Chinese have been systematically marginalised by discriminatory government policies that only favour the rich and politically connected.”

“Such politics of denial is dishonest as BN leaders themselves have stated that discriminatory policies such as quotas and the New Economic Policy (NEP) are necessary for racial harmony and national stability.”

Lim zero-ed in on Raja Bodek for saying that LKY did not understand nor appreciate the challenges in administering a country that’s bigger and more complicated and diverse than Singapore.

Lim stated: “This is perverse logic. If so, then can we support the apartheid policies of South Africa in the 1980s just because South Africa is bigger, more diverse and complicated than Malaysia?”

He condemned Raja Bodek for being so thick skinned as to say the Chinese are not compliant when he (Raja Bodek) was compliant towards UMNO by not daring to even respond to the attacks by Penang UMNO Youth leaders who humiliated him publicly with demonstrations and banners.

OK, that’s the usual Malaysian politics. We can virtually predict who would say what. But why did LKY say those things?

LKY has this habit of wanting to show he’s both tough and intellectual, a sort of brainy Schwarneggar. Years ago, he instituted a social programme to turn Singapore into a ‘rugged’ society. He also like to play intellectual games with many, relishing crushing people with his wits and intellectual manoeuvres.

There’s no doubt he’s intelligent, far sighted and had done well for Singapore, but his weakness is his conceit which is much bigger than his Singapore Island, even the modern version with reclaimed land.

I have read his 2-volume autobiography, where he would make much ado about which world leaders praised him or his speeches. It’s true that Margaret Thatcher admires him – in a TV interview Thatcher named him as one of 3 world leaders she admired, the other two being Deng Ziao Ping and Ronald Reagan.

But when LKY mentioned one other British PM (was it James Callaghan?) as having praised his (LKY) speech or something, I read that British PM’s book to verify how true LKY's assertion was, and found only a fleeting reference to LKY, certainly lots less than what Big-Head had inflated it into.

Now you wouldn't believe this, but LKY has what I suspect is a cultural cringe towards the British, one that he would never admit to. He was awarded some British honours, and oh, in his book he crowed and coo-ed at how much that meant to an ex colonial like himself.

I was just amazed at how he was overwhelmed by his British honours. In fact I was deeply disappointed that he, a so-called intellectual and most certainly a man who had propelled Singapore into its First World standing, ‘looked up’ to such a useless meaningless piffling nonsense as a British (or any) royal award.

Look, there are lots of toothpick-using, street-spitting Hongkie towkays who have been made knights of the British realm for lesser reasons. Can you ever imagine tough, intellectual, assertive world-class Harry Lee lapping up a royal pat on his head by the Great White Mother in dear old England. What a split personality.

But yes, LKY like to poke at others whom he reckons are beneath his ‘towering’ intellect. But as Dr Mahthir said, the ‘real’ Chinese, the ones in China, ignore him.

Un-marginalised Patrick 'Badawi' Lim

Dr Mahathir has dropped another scandalous cluster bomb at AAB.

He accused AAB of allowing his 31-year-old SIL, the one and only Khairy Jamaluddin, and (Khairy’s) businessman friend Patrick Lim to virtually rule the state of Trengganu.

Now, Mahathir isn’t the first to say this about the state of affairs in Trengganu being 'managed' by Hang Putih. Raja Petra Kamalrudin of Malaysia-Today blog had posted this sometime ago. Raja averred that the menteri besar (state premier) of Trengganu had been bypassed where developments and the associated money are concerned. Hang Putih is in charge, with Patrick Lim as his advisor. If the MB refuses to 'cooperate', he receives an immediate telephone call from you-know-whom.

Dr Mahathir said: “This Patrick Lim is Patrick Badawi.” Ouch!

“This is the new constitution that is changed without the knowledge of Parliament. The new constitution says the son-in-law and Patrick are ruling Terengganu.”

In regards to this, let me share with you what reader Mohd Rafidi Daud informed me of the list of honorific titles for Malaysia's PMs:

1. YM Tunku Abd.Rahman: Bapa Kemerdekaan
2. Tun Abd.Razak: Bapa Pembangunan
3. Tun Hussein Onn: Bapa Perpaduan
4. Tun Dr. Mahathir: Bapa Pemodenan
5. Dato' Seri Abdullah Badawi: Bapa Mertua


It’s not just Dr Mahathir or Raja but many, even and especially in UMNO, have criticised AAB for allowing his SIL to run the nation for him as if he (the young laddie) is the de facto prime minister.

Well, at least Patrick Badawi Lim is one Chinese who isn’t marginalised, as Lee Kuan Yew had averred Chinese Malaysians to be.

US Intelligence: "Invasion of Iraq worsens world's terrorism"

The classified US National Intelligence Estimate, representing the views of 16 US spy services, has given the Bush Administration its worst news.

The intelligence report asserts that since 9/11, Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat before US onslaught, has spread across the globe.

The intelligence report says that the American-led invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since 9/11.

In fact the Estimate attaches a more direct role to the Iraq war in fuelling radicalism than the White House and the House Intelligence Committee reports were willing to admit.

What it wouldn’t say (because it’s not its job) is that the US wanton bombings, occupation of foreign land and persecution of their inhabitants have killed mainly innocents, as well as instigated inter-ethnic conflicts of the worst kind as we have witnessed in Iraq. In sum, everyday more people are being killed because of the US selfish avaricious bulldozing conduct. And thus the terrorists get more and more willing recruits filled with hatred in their hearts for the US.

But it did say precisely that
"the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse."

An unidentified US official said:
"It paints a fairly stark picture of what we all know, and that this is a movement that is spreading and gaining momentum around the world. Things like the Iraq war have given the terrorists recruiting tools and places to ply their trade and a training ground."

It’s not as if the US intelligence community just discovered what we all knew eons ago, that without ‘hearts & minds’ which the Bush Administration is least capable of (because of overwhelming Deutronomic influence). They (National Intelligence Council) had already predicted in January 2003, two months before the Iraq invasion, that the ‘approaching’ war (& invasion of Iraq) had the potential to increase support for political Islam worldwide and could increase support for some terrorist objectives.

The latest report merely confirms that prediction.

‘Hearts & minds’ – something just beyond the Bush Administration. It’s a pity that the British under Tony Blair, so eager to brown-nose the Americans, didn’t offer their expertise on this vital concept to defeating terrorism. Afterall it was the British (Thompson) who designed the ‘new village’ concept which together with ‘hearts & minds’ won the war against the communist insurgents in Malaysia. Too busy with his nose stuck between Bush’s buttocks?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Bumi's Equity is already 45%

A think-tank tells us something most of us knew long ago, that the bumiputera 30% equity has not only been reached but exceeded. But we all also know that the official line won’t acknowledge that because the NEP and affirmative action for bumiputeras only would lose its justification.

Anyway, the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli), has estimated that the rightful Malay equity should currently be 45% based on September 2005 Bursa Malaysia figures.

The study - titled 'Corporate Equity Distribution: Past Trends and Future Policy' - estimated that 70% ownership of government-linked companies (GLCs) was attributable to bumiputeras. Based on a 2005 report by UBS Equity Research Malaysia, the study said GLCs made up about one-third of total market value at the time.

The director of Asli, Dr Lim Teck Ghee, said the top-10 GLCs alone - which include Tenaga Nasional, Telekom Malaysia, Maybank Bhd - roughly made up around one-third of the market value in 2005.

When he was asked to substantiate the 70% estimation, he said: “Our study was established based on the best available information and informed opinion. The government does not make data available easily (to the public).”

And for a damn good reason, to perpetuate the bull that bumiputera equity hasn’t reached 30% yet.

Lim hoped the government would exercise more transparency and publicise the methodology used by the government in providing its own figures.

Dream on, Dr Lim.

Western Double Standards Again

Here’s another case of double standards.

Western nations lead by Canada
neutralised an Arab and Islamic states’ bid at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IEAE) meeting on Friday to declare Israel's reputed nuclear arsenal a threat that must be removed.

Canada, which has recently changed to a right wing pro-US government, sponsored a 45-29 ‘no-action’ ballot that prevented IEAE member states from voting on a motion demanding Israel use atomic energy only for peaceful purposes and help set up a Middle East nuclear arms-free zone.

Now, tell me, what's so wrong about the Arab-Islamic proposal? Why sabotage that motion? Why prevent a call for peaceful use of nuclear energy only by Israel? By default, those Western countries are saying Israel has the right to possess and use N-weapons? Then why the double standards with Iran?

The United States, European and other Western allies combined to maintain the double standards that undermine their crdibility as balaced brokers. However, those US-led Western nations said the Muslim motion was politically divisive and undermined the IAEA's traditional consensual approach. But I don’t see the US support of a 'consensual' approach when it comes to Iran!

US foes such as Venezuela and Cuba and some developing nations like South Africa joined the unsuccessful Arab-Islamic effort to put it to a floor vote.

Arab and Islamic countries are pissed off with the double standards seen in Western pressure on Iran to shelve its fledgling nuclear energy program, while Israel faced none despite a batch of UN resolutions urging it to scrap its alleged atomic warheads.

Israel has ignored more than 80 UNSC Resolutions, yet the hypocrite is demanding that the UN must ensure Resolution 1701, esepcially in the disarmament of the Hezbollah, be implemented pronto, while it sowed some 350,000 cluster bomblets in Southern Lebanon within the last 72 hours prior to the start of the ceasefire.

The US, Israel nor their allies have no moral authority to tell 3rd World countries what not to do.

What happened to British 'Freedom of Expression'?
European 'Freedom of Expression' took nosedive!
Europe's Dilemma - Holocaust Denial vs Caricatures
Israel & Palestine - a study in western hypocrisy & bias
Jewish Goose, but no Arabic Gander

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Mukhriz Mahathir begged de facto PM?

In the ding dong battle between Dr Mahathir and AAB over their sons’ profiting gi-normously in business contracts from their parents’ patronage, Dr Mahathir dropped a bombshell, but let’s look at the start of their Battle of the Sons.

Dr Mahathir had started the battle rolling by criticising AAB’s son and the latter's Scomi Bhd’s involvement in government projects. Mahathir has alleged that Scomi - controlled by Abdullah’s son Kamaluddin - received numerous government contracts since Abdullah took office in 2003.

In retaliation, documents pertaining to the business dealings involving Mahathir’s children miraculously started to
circulate on the internet.

Sources in the know said this had been being done to put Mahathir on the defensive. One of the documents being circulated in a ‘pro-Umno’ blog is the agreement letter to appoint Opcom as the supplier of fibre optics worth RM214.2 million to TM. The letter, dated Oct 7, 2003 and bearing the Finance Ministry letterhead, showed that the contract (for Mahathir’s son) was obtained through direct negotiations and not via a tender process.

However Dr Mahathir retorted that his son Mukhriz his son went through the proper channel to obtain the Telekom’s deal.

But Dr Mahathir is a man who likes to attack rather than defend, and that’s when he dropped the N-weapon of revelation. In the Battle of the Sons, the spectre of AAB's all powerful SIL was raised again.

Dr Mahathir tells us that after he had retired, the contract won by his son was scrapped. His son Mukhriz was forced to beg the ‘powerful’ SIL to restore the contract.

Though it was eventually restored, the project for Mukhriz was slashed up to 15%

'... slashed up to 15% ...'? I am not sure what the Malaysiakini report is implying - that Mukhriz was left with 15% of the original RM200 million contract, or he was given 85% of it, with 15% slahed off?

That’s the problem with the standard of Malaysiakini reporting lately – poorer standard of English and indeed editing.

But regardless of the amount, if true, what surprises me – bullsh*t, I lied, I am not surprised but just being rhetorical – that a non-minister like the SIL (his only political appointment is UMNO Youth deputy chief, though his only but most powerful government appointment was advisor to PM AAB) had to be begged by Mukhriz to have the Opcom-TM project reinstated.

What a powerful non-minister!

Now, AAB might have denied this - and we know that AAB has denied a lot of un-deniables - but it showed what critics had claimed all the while, that Khairy influenced and I believe still influences the PM’s decisions, and virtually acted as the country’s de facto prime minister.

What an even more powerful non-minister! But of course, if indeed he's the de facto PM!

Again, if true, I wonder whether Khairy enjoyed making the son of his FIL’s predecessor’s son crawled. I wonder too whether this act of humiliation suffered by Mukhriz had hardened the Grand Ole Man’s heart against the SIL?

I was told that the reason Anwar Ibrahim had fallen was the plot by other factions against him, rather than Mahathir wanting him out. The other factions were worried about Anwar’s faction (rather than Anwar himself) ‘taking no prisoners’ in the fight over UMNO’s cake.

Is there a lesson for UMNO here, that unless the Malaysian cake is nicely divvied up in the traditional kampung style of a piece for every faction in UMNO, the rest of the disadvantaged kampung folks would turn against the ‘grab-all’ faction?

A sort of frenzied gory attack among sharks and piranhas!

We're loyal, loyal, loyal, loyal, loyal ...

The Star Online reported something that's probably unique to Malaysia, the periodic and constant declaration of loyalty and support by one particular political party. The following explains:

All Umno divisions in Sabah have given their support to party president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his deputy, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“All the 25 divisions – including the Youth and Wanita wings – give their full support to the current party leadership,” Sabah Umno chief Datuk Musa Aman told reporters after chairing the state liaison committee here on Friday.

Asked if any particular resolutions were brought up at the division meetings, he said: “No. Our resolution is to support the president and the deputy president.”

Musa, who is Sabah Chief Minister, said issues raised by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, had been explained to party members by the respective division and information chief before the division meetings that ended on Sept 10.

There may be many conclusions to such a need for regular declaration of political loyalty and support, such as:

(1) There's deep trouble within the party
(2) The Branch feels its loyalty is being suspected
(3) Bodek-ing is a NP, that is, national past-time or necessary party-requirement.

Add more if you can ...

Blackmailing families of ISA detainees?

In criticising the US for the detention of two Malaysian al-Qaeda suspects and calling for their open trial, AAB said that the Americans had broken its own laws. But Malaysians shot AAB down for practising double standards while ISA detainees are being detained here without trial.

I want to comment that – (1) AAB did so just to "show" his “concerns” but I would imagine he would rather the news of the two Malaysians weren’t revealed; (2) the Yanks used to condemn other countries for ISA-type detention without trial but just look at them today, numero uno in that department – they even have an additional draconian avenue of making people talk, namely extraordinary rendition.

The USA must never and can’t ever talk down to others again on due process, legal morality or human rights.

But there’s more to just detaining people without trial. The Malaysian Branch has even taken to a new form of pressure tactics, a form of blackmail.

Malaysiakini has reported that the authorities have been warning families of detainees not to participate in campaigns against the ISA Act, or getting involved in the lobby group, Abolish ISA Movement (AIM), on pain of their loved ones being detained longer.

Norlaila Othman, wife of one of the detainees, Mat Sah Mohd Satray, claimed she had been advised by a member of a recently-released ISA detainee’s family to stop being involved with AIM’s campaign:

“The family told me a police officer in Bukit Aman (federal police headquarters) had asked the ex-detainee to inform other detainees’ wives to refrain themselves from attending AIM activities should we want our husband released earlier.”

“We have faced police
harassment continuously and this has been directed against my family, such as monitoring our movement or calling us repeatedly. This is the first time that they tried to use other detainees’ families to pressure us.”

Norlaila said that her husband had also told her of the same thing during a visit last month to the Kamunting detention camp in Taiping, Perak.

Pressure tactic eh? Hmmm, maybe that may explain what the universiti-universiti malu had been rehearsing for, perhaps testing out the curriculum for a post-graduate diploma in 'peace persuasion'.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Musharraf: "US had threatened to bomb Pakistan back into Stone Age"

In a posting in March 2005 USA - Consistently Inconsistent! (2), I stated the following:

The only reason why Pakistan had succumbed to American demands that it joined the anti-Taliban and anti-al Qaeda Coalition had been nothing more than Pakistani self preservation.

Pakistan had assessed that an enraged America immediately post 9/11 in alliance with an anti-terrorist and anti-Pakistani India were far too intimidating for its own good. It HAD to ‘temporarily’ come across to the American side (with the unhappy implication that it could then be on the same side as archfoe India) for political expediency rather than genuine support of the USA.

It awaits an opportune moment to resume its alliance with the Taliban-Afghanistan, so necessary for its strategic objective of, and life-long obsession with Kashmir. The eventual reckoning with giant India requires Pakistan to have space (to trade for time, hence Afghanistan) and resources (Taliban) to fight its nemesis. Taliban-Afghanistan had provided and will once again provide that essential strategic factor in Pakistan quest for Kashmir.

I discussed the Pakistani pretend-action against the Taliban which I brought up again in another posting The True Obsession of Pakistan!. In this second posting I provided my reason why I reckon the Pakistani weren’t about to finish off their kinfolks, the Pashtun Taliban. If the Americans had expected that, then they would be dreaming.

I have maintained my belief of Pakistan’s predicament and political manoeuvring in:

(1) Pakistan - America's Afghan Problem
(2) Paki's Sacrificial Lamb for Kashmir
(3) Pakistan short changing US
(4) Pakistan's Dicey Ménage à Trois

Now, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf himself has confirmed my belief. In an interview with CBS show 60 Minutes, he said that after the 9/11 attacks, the US threatened to bomb his country if he did not cooperate with the US campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The American official who passed the Bush Administration’s threat to Musharraf's intelligence director was Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

Musharrafrevealed: "The intelligence director told me that Mr Armitage said, 'Be prepared to be bombed. Be prepared to go back to the Stone Age.' I think it was a very rude remark."

He explained why he had to acquiesce: "One has to think and take actions in the interest of the nation, and that's what I did."

And of course, never dropping his eyeball on Kashmir in the longer term.

He also revealed that Armitage gave Pakistan seven points to comply with, two of which were the requirements to (1) end logistical support for bin Laden, and (2) give the US blanket overflight and landing rights for military and intelligence flights.

Hope you readers understand the significance of the term “blanket … rights”. It’s like surrendering your sovereign airspace to a foreign nation.

Musharraf agreed to all seven US requests the same day, but he was furious by US demands that Pakistan turn over its border posts and bases for the US military to use. He said some demands were ludicrous, including one insisting he suppress domestic expression of support for terrorism against the United States.

He said:
"If somebody's expressing views, we can not curb the expression of view.”

Why doesn’t Musharraf ask the Palestinians and Lebanese this question?

Musharraf had reacted with displeasure to Bush’s statements two days ago that if he (Bush) had firm intelligence bin Laden was in Pakistan, he would issue the order to go into that country.

Musharraf declared:
"We wouldn't like to allow that. We'd like to do that ourselves"

Musharraf was being diplomatic in not saying
“if you think Hezbollah or the Iraqis are bad, you haven’t dealt with us Pashtuns yet.”

Anyway, he continued, putting on a brave face and spin:
"After 9/11, Pakistan made a strategic decision to join the war on terror and has since been a steadfast partner in that effort. Pakistan's commitment to this important endeavour has not wavered and our partnership has widened as a result."

Mr Armitage was not immediately available to comment and a Bush administration official said there would be no comment on a reported conversation between Mr Armitage and a Pakistani official.

Why has Musharraf embarrassed his American host?

Apart from the tit for tat to Bush’s arrogant undiplomatic statement of militarily gate-crashing the territory of a foreign sovereign nation, a kind of diplomatic "don't f**king try it", Musharraf is facing enormous problems at the domestic front where he has been extremely unpopular for his support of the Americans. It’s one way of telling his enemies at home that he did it for Pakistan’s survival.

A Pakistani told me he wouldn’t be surprised if Musharraf is assassinated or more likely, toppled by his own army colleagues. Most Pakistanis hate the Yanks, and detest Musharaaf for making Pakistan a US 'ally'.

But mark KTemoc's words, the Yanks have created a very unforgetful and unforgiving enemy out of Pakistan for humiliating the latter by wiping its boots on Pakistan's sovereignty, pride and honour. Pakistan will of course continue to pretend to be its buddy.

Bush Scomi-ed AAB?

The Malaysian Foreign Minister was among the pack demanding blood out of stone from the Pope, although the Papal head had already apologised. Admittedly, if we go back to the source of the problem, we could say that the Pope could have been more sensitive and avoided the needless quotation from a medieval era. But he has already apologised for his hurt to Muslims.

An apology is an apology and really, one could go on endlessly dissecting the Pope’s or anyone’s apology 18 thousand different ways without ever coming to a satisfactory situation if the intention is to raise the ante, retaliate and hurt back.

But voila! President told AAB that the Pope’s apology has been sincere, and before one can say ‘Scomi’, AAB has performed a U-Turn from Malaysia’s original non-compromising stand against the Pope.

I wonder what ‘other’ issues were raised?

Yang Arif Muda

De facto law minister Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, apart from insulting wheel-chair-bound Karpal Singh of the DAP for the latter’s unfortunate physical condition, has appointed a youngish 22-year old Kelantan princess as magistrate.

Tengku Amalin A’ishah Putri hasn’t yet been conferred her degree, though she has completed a bachelor’s degree in Law at the International Islamic University in May. In June she was immediately appointed as a magistrate in Kelantan.

malaysiakini photo

The DAP’s M Kula Segaran (Ipoh Barat) raised the questionable appointment during his debate on the Budget 2007 last week. Kula said that the appointment of such a young lassie contradicted the Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim’s statement that a magistrate must possess five years' experience before appointment.

Mr Jantan defended the young lassie’s appointment. She is obviously the youngest magistrate in the country.

Nazri spinned in his written reply to Kula:
“It is true that it is the judiciary’s aim to place those with experience as a magistrate but this aim cannot be implemented immediately. It has to be implemented in stages.”

“Those without or lacking in experience will be placed in courts which have senior court officers that can assist or guide them (the inexperienced magistrates).”

On the young magistrate not being even conferred the degree, Nazri said she can be placed as magistrates on contract basis if she have fulfilled other criteria stipulated by the judiciary services commission.

What other criteria?

I wonder whether the fact that she is Sultan Ismail Petra’s only daughter was one of them.

And to be frank, I am not sure of the maturity level of a 22-year old magistrate, though it most certainly deserves an entry in the Malaysian Book of Records.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Higher Education Minister in Shameless Denial

Higher Education Minister Mustapa Mohamed is shameless, claiming the university campus elections this year have been the most fair, open and transparent when compared to previous years.

Almost everyone in Malaysia who follows the news knows it’s the exact opposite.

He couldn’t satisfactorily answer opposition queries on election anomalies such as the
free hotel stays given to pro-government students in Petaling Jaya (at public expense), the rejection of National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam)'s request to monitor the elections (why afraid?), the seminar conducted in Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in which allegations of a Jewish sponsorship were made against the anti-establishment candidates (why resort to such underhanded bullsh*t?), and the non-transparent e-voting (especially in the absence of an independent body like Suhakam to monitor such devices, what more can I say?).

There have also been sabotage of non pro-government student groups, some so crude as to beggar belief. In one incident, the serviceability of the audio system was strangely affected when non pro-government campaigners attempted to speak whilst in the next moment, the system instantly became perfect when the pro-establishment group had the mike.

In another, students residing at hostels who refused to come down to listen to a pro-establishment dialogue had their hostel electricity turned off by the authorities. The students were told to vote for Aspirasi or pro-establishment candidates.

Mind you, these were only campus elections. Why are the authorities so scared of student groups who have chosen to be independent minded? Would the over-doing of these excessive controls, lies and strongarm tactics be training exercises for the coming general elections?

Usaha Paling Malu (UPM)

Here’s action at an institution of ‘higher’* learning.

* there's a Cantonese word sounding somewhat like that, which would be more appropriate to describe the 'learning' after you have read on.

Universiti Paling Malu (UPM) ‘pro-establishment’ camp apparently has circulating a VCD that badmouthed all opposition parties, some media organisations and NGOs are ‘puppeteers’ out to create chaos and disharmony among students in public universities.

In other words, only the Barisan Nasional is not a puppeteer.

The VCD was distributed last week. Its clips specifically target the ‘anti-establishment’ Students Progressive Front (SPF), ahead of campus elections nationwide tomorrow. It’s a bit of a wasted effort because the SPF in UPM will
boycott the polls anyway, because eof the non-transparent and extremely biased conditions.

A UPM student, who is obviously afraid to reveal his/her identity, told Malaysiakini the VCD was distributed by Student Affairs Department officials to members of the student representative council and the hostel committee.

The clip painted the SPF as an illegal group that uses the university’s Mandarin Language Society as a platform for political activity. It states that students in this camp are mainly Chinese Malaysians.

Thank goodness, though the VCD didn’t say it but its implicit message is obvious, that Malay involvement is minimal or even non-existent.

But Malay opposition parties or NGOs were not spared. The VCD blacklisted the DAP, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), PAS, Parti Socialis Malaysia (PSM), Suaram and the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH).

Personalities implicitly condemned were DAP leaders Lim Kit Siang, Anthony Loke and Teng Chang Kim, PKR information chief Tian Chua and PSM pro-tem secretary-general S Arulchelvan, Suaram executive director Yap Swee Seng, KLSCAH Youth chief Tan Soon Lim and malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan.

They were described as “mentors” of SPF.

Then, in its ultimate spin (yang paling malu), the UPM VCD claimed that the 40 thuggish students, who were led by UPM’s student representative council president Abdul Manaf Ariffin, were actually provoked by SPF members, who had refused to co-operate and were unwilling to heed advice.

I suppose then, as claimed by UPM’s VC, that to further 'persuade' the recalcitrant Chinese students to be more discipline, those thugs broke out into the rah rah rah campus song.

But regrettably, the slant of the VCD, while not sparing PAS and other Malay opposition parties or less-than-friendly NGOs or independent news media like Malaysiakini, took on a decidedly anti-Chinese theme.

Well, our future leaders will ensure the keris is always sharpened and regularly drawn.

Malacca's Elegant Accounting in Low Gravity?

Has there been dodgy accounting of the Malacca government’s coffers?

In 2004, the state was declared bankrupt (what an utter disgrace!) after the auditor’s report showed a RM35.76 million deficit. However, the following year saw a surplus of RM119.26 million.

This is one humongous bounce back of low gravitational magnitude!

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who spotted the startling difference in the state’s accounts, will seek clarification from Auditor-General Ambrin Buang in Putrajaya tomorrow. He is not satisfied with Ambrin's explanation.

Lim raised the issue on 9 September, alleging a cover up in the state accounts by the Auditor-General.

But Ambrin responded in a letter dated Sept 18, saying that the state audit office had treated consolidated public trust funds - one of three main categories of finances in all state accounts - as ‘assets’ and not ‘liabilities’ as done in previous years.

said: “It is not proper to treat all (trust funds) amounting to RM194.57 million as liabilities due to the fact that the source of funds being put into these accounts are mainly from government’s contributions and not from the public.”

“The crux of the matter is the treatment of trust funds. Trust funds with contributions from the government should be referred to as assets and not liabilities. That is all there is to it. There has been no cover-up. Covering up such a thing is a serious matter as liabilities have to be repaid. Examples of funds categorised as assets are grants meant for specific purposes.”

In fact, Ambrin went further by advising all states to rectify this problem and not do what Malacca had been doing. He would be issuing a directive to standardise ways of treating such trust funds would be issued soon
“to avoid misunderstandings over state accounts”.

But Lim, an accountant by training, said that consolidated trust funds should be recorded under ‘liabilities’ rather than assets, because the funds are public and do not belong to the state.

He declared:
“A trust is something held on behalf of other people, it is not (the state’s money). How can you say it is (the state’s funds)?”

Lim pointed out that Malacca is the only state where public trust funds are recorded under ‘assets’. In all other states, this is placed under ‘liabilities’.

He shot back at Ambrin:
“This is not a state-level problem, it is a national-level problem. He is saying that the other 13 states’ accounts are wrong because they included the trust funds as liabilities rather than assets.”

“If (the accounts in) 2004 are wrong, then you must say they are wrong. It questions the veracity of our accounting records. Are you falsifying and manipulating accounting records?”

He warns that Ambrin’s ‘indulgence in creative accounting’ would result in manipulated accounts resulting in unreliable financial statements, which in turn would affect investors’ confidence.

Maybe the government doesn't want to see Malacca's accounts being painted red all the time, as that too may affect investors' confidence, a view totally opposite to Lim's more-logical concerns.

All kow-tim?