Wednesday, January 31, 2007

AAB and those lying bloggers

"In a country where the legal system has been used to control the traditional media, the Internet has given Malaysians a forum for freer expression.”

“The prime minister's remarks and support for this legal action send a message that could well intimidate online writers and stifle the growth of the country's new media."

- Joel Simon, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) [international media watchdog]

As I mentioned in my previous posting Ikan bilis-ness of chooks? PM AAB has virtually condemned the two bloggers facing a defamation suit as 'guilty until proven innocent' when he stated in the most terribly prejudicial fashion: "They cannot hope to cover themselves or hide from the laws."

CPJ has expressed its alarm over AAB’s unmitigated support for the civil suits against two bloggers. They criticised him for calling his online critics 'liars'.

Lucia Lai, our sterling miss from Penang - Penang lassies are certainly of sterling quality ;-) - has admirably retorted to the PM in her posting bloggers are liars:

"mr prime minister, i am not a liar. i am a blogger with a face and a name. i write mostly based on what the media reported, what i had seen and heard. so if you think what i wrote were lies, then it was them who lied too!"

Then even more succinctly she asked AAB:

"anyway, what is a lie? how do you define a lie? how can you tell that we lied? what made you think we lied? when we write something not to your liking? when we unearth some ’secrets’ you are hiding?"

As I oft mentioned, AAB is just too thin skin, but worse, he is what Penangites would describe as 'hee yaa kheen' (very light ear), meaning that he is a man who's easily influenced by whoever whispers first in his ears (obviously those nearest the throne), instead of checking out the facts.

He may do better to check for himself the reality of the situation in the country, which may possibly reveal the stark naked truth to him that he is now an Emperor without any clothing.

Oh, talking about an Emperor without any clothing, I seem to recall my kindergarten story, a Hans Christian Andersen tale with a moral (Malaysianised by KTemoc). It narrated how two rogues sweet-talked and conned an elegant but vain Emperor.

The two rogues sat up the whole of the night before the day on which the procession was to take place, and had sixteen cemerlang and gemilang lights burning, so that everyone might see how anxious they were to finish the Emperor's new jet plane suit. They pretended to roll the cloth off the looms; cut the air with their scissors; and sewed with needles without any thread in them. “See!” cried they, at last. “The Emperor's new clothes are ready!”


So now the Emperor walked under his high canopy in the midst of the procession, through the streets of his capital; and all the people holding keris and flags standing by, and those at the windows, cried out, “Oh! How beautiful are our Emperor's new clothes! What a magnificent train there is to the mantle; and how gracefully the scarf hangs!”

In short, no one would dare say he could not see these much-admired clothes; because, in doing so, he would have declared himself either a simpleton or unfit for his office party. Certainly, none of the Emperor's various suits had ever made so great an impression as these invisible ones.

“But the Emperor has nothing at all on!” said a little child who would grow up to be a blogger one day.

“Listen to the voice of innocence!” exclaimed his father who himself was a blogger; and what the child had said was swiftly posted on websites and e-mailed from one to another.

“But he has nothing at all on!” at last cried out all the people who read what the blogs published. The Emperor was vexed, for he knew that the people were right; but he thought the procession must go on now! So he called those who spoke the truth as 'liars'.

Ikan bilis in season?

An amazing strategy for solving a major social problem has been proposed by our police. Read about Police preference for ikan bilis rather than ikan yu over at BolehTalk.

Down periscope - dive dive dive!

PM AAB is in damage control again. After the allegation of the US$8 million luxury yacht, the ‘Cobra Sultan’, he has been flushed out into the open to deny purchase of an executive jet worth oodles of millions.

AAB claimed that the government had only leased the aircraft from Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd (PMB), which was not for his personal use only.

But a malaysiakini reader under the appropriate pseudonym of Left Hand Right Hand wrote:

I refer to the malaysiakini report PM: I did not buy a private jet about the PM ‘clarifying’ that the government did not buy the Airbus jet but was merely leasing it from Penerbangan Malaysia Berhad which owns the aircraft.

I find these assertions bizarre and very confusing.

PMB is 100-percent-owned company of Finance Ministry and if PMB already has bought the aircraft, why is the government then leasing it from them?

The plane is still government owned in the end. And why did PMB buy it in the first place?

Isn’t this all the same, only merely a pushing of paperwork around? It’s akin to saying that ‘No, the car is not mine but I am leasing it from my wife’.

Leaving aside the appropriateness of indulging in luxurious form of transportation during a time when the rakyat (people) have been told to 'tighten their belts', is it wrong for the PM to get an executive jet for his official travels? I don’t think so.

But what has been wrong with this government (and its predecessor) has been the oft secrecy and non-accountability surrounding its action involving the spending of public funds.

If the government has made open its plan to acquire an executive jet for the PM’s official use, it would have been a legitimate exercise, transparently open to parliamentary debate, and subject to public accountability.

On this, we also need to bear in mind the difference between the PM's 'official' and 'personal' travels. Visiting his own electoral constituency from time to time to buttress his own political standing is 'personal' but if he combines that with, say, 'Federal-State discussion' with the CM of Penang, then it's official.

As an example of public governance, the PM of Australia was recently billed for making 'personal' travels on a RAAF exceutive jet.

Unfortunately Malaysia has a different attitude and culture towards holding the PM responsible and accountable for his use of public resources because most of us rever him as a semi-Tuanku instead of considering as nothing more than an elected representative, the nation's political leader no doubt, but still an elected representative answerable to the rakyat.

Any attempt to make him answer for his use of public resouces would be met with a ferocious outcry of biadab (disrespectful or discourteous).

As for the yacht with the serpentine moniker, if indeed it was true (as reported that the Turkish PM informed Anwar Ibrahim so) that the ship was a gift by a businessman to the PM, the PM could have declared it in accordance with parliamentary procedures on ethical conduct for ministers.

This is not an unusual practice. It has frequently been exercised in countries such as the USA or Europe, where expensive gifts to presidents, PMs, and politicians (which would be undiplomatic to decline) are required to be reported to a congressional or parliamentary department for this purpose.

The only thing of course is the reported gifts become the property of the State, and do not belong to the recipients of the gifts.
The better option would have been to decline such a gift where international diplomacy was not involved.

In matters of such gifts, a businessman, no matter how rich he is, would not be the diplomatic dilemma as would a foreign Head of State or a foreign minister or official.

originally published at 5:13 am but updated/improved at 08:20 am

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Someone 'won' Batu Talam for UMNO

Read my new posting The Raja is back in (Batu Talam) town over at BolehTalk, where a certain 'someone' has claimed credit for the 'solid' Chinese support of UMNO's victory in the Batu Talam's by-election.

No, it's not poor Ong Ka Ting.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Batu Talam's Yum Seng!

Read about Champagne for 'Victor' of Batu Talam over at BolehTalk. Yum Seng!

Ikan bilis-ness of chooks?

Some readers have questioned my arguments on the defamation suit against Jeff Ooi and Rocky Bru in Are Jeff Ooi and Rocky Bru chooks?

They asked the same stuff as did some commentators which I alluded to in the previous posting - in essence what's so special about Jeff and Ahirudin that they shouldn't be sued?

If they had read my posting more closely, they would have noticed I wrote: "My take is that neither Jeff Ooi nor Ahiridin Attan is unique. But what is unique has been a set of circumstances, as follows: ..." going on then to discuss the 'set of circumstances' rather than NST leaders' right to sue Jeff and Rocky.

My first observation and indeed query has been: "Look mate, it's the same bloke who's hostile to Jeff. He had pursued Jeff before, so ho hum, what would be new this time, excuse me yawnnn?"

Then on one of the defamation issues, the case of plagiarism, what about the BBC which also
reported on the same issue, indeed worldwide.

I recalled there was a threat to sue the BBC unless it withdrew its news report. I also recall the BBC stating the report had been
entirely legitimate.

OK, so where's the NST's treat to sue the BBC for the same social sin? As malaysiakini reader, Nathaniel Tan, lamented: "The NSTP has demanded the BBC retract their story over the same matter and angrily threatened to sue. But today,
the BBC article still stands, and there hasn't been a whiff of a lawsuit against them.”

Mind you, malaysiakini informed us that it has been brought to its attention that NSTP has initiated legal proceedings against the BBC involving the said article. But then, that’s only "been brought to its attention". What is fact is personalities in the NSTP have launched a defamation suit against two ikan bilis (small fry) Malaysian bloggers rather than the BBC for saying the same thing.

Another malaysiakini reader Michael reminded us succinctly of the difference between an online newspaper and a blog. Relevant extracts of his letter are as follows:

All blogs usually post that these are of opinions of the author only. Similar to writing letters to the editor of Malaysiakini or The News Straits Times or The Star. How is it any different?

No matter what your beliefs are, no matter what you think facts are facts and the fact here is that blogs are defined as a personal diary or journal (not to be confused with newspapers which are suppose to report news and the truth). Blogs have never stated their contents are the actual truth but only an opinion of one person(s) that may or may not agree with those of other people.

Look up the definition of blogs and bloggers and you will find hundreds of sites and dictionaries explaining the same as above. You can not simply rewrite a definition just because you do not agree with it. Even if a blogger claims they have conducted research and that their statements are based on actual reports, their content are still a personal journal and nothing really anymore than that.

Lastly, I would just like to say to your readers to do a little research yourself on the Internet and see how many mainstay newspapers around the world have actually taken a lawsuit against a writer or a person for defamation - you will find very few. What most respectable newspapers would do is to instead opt to write a rebuttal about what had been written about them.

Why does the NST not do the same? They have the space and the ability to write even a full-page column about what had been said about them.

Indeed, why don’t those plaintiffs sue the BBC first before they terrorise the bloggers. Lawsuits today are so expensive that those who can’t afford it can be easily bullied into surrendering or silence or suffer bankruptcy.

In fact the defence lawyer for Ahirudin Attan has asked the court to strike out the defamation suit because the claim is vague and a mere fishing expedition, rendering defence impossible as the defendant doesn’t know precisely what he is being sued for?

Then, added to that, why has the PM interfered in a civil suit by defending the defamation suit against the two bloggers. In a visit to the UK, he said: "They cannot hope to cover themselves or hide from the laws."

“… cover themselves …”?

“… hide from the laws …”?

Haven't those comments been strikingly akin to ‘guilty until proven innocent’?

As I wrote in my previous posting on same subject, malaysiakini reader AM Ubaidah S wrote significantly: “… there may also be legal reasons why Pak Lah should refrain from commenting on this matter. Australian journalist Michael Backman once commented in his book Inside Knowledge said that (in his view) Malaysian courts are actually quite independent (contrary to popular opinion), but have this annoying habit of typically passing judgement in favour of or in line with what they perceive are the government's desires; the flip-flop on Anwar Ibrahim's conviction and subsequent release on appeal being the case in point.”

Are Jeff Ooi and Rocky Bru chooks?

So I am a bit late in blogging on poor Jeff Ooi's and Ahirudin Attan’s predicament, where two of Malaysia’s most influential, if not the two most influential, bloggers have been taken to court for libel. OK, I blame it on my being away ... er ... looking for Mr X ;-)

On the sorry saga, some have written to malaysiakini questioning what’s the bloody big fuss about the two being sued – live by the sword, then die by the sword.

While a couple attempted to preempt any questioning of their motives or allegiances by emphasizing that they are avid readers-fans of Screenshots, they, like one particular anti-Jeff Ooi’s blogsite, said the NST personalities have a right to take court action against Jeff Ooi.

What’s the big deal? Why should Jeff Ooi or Ahirudin Attan be unique to the extent that they should be exempt from the defamation action?

My take is that neither Jeff Ooi nor Ahiridin Attan is unique. But what is unique has been a set of circumstances, as follows:

(1) one particular plaintiff has been conducting a vendetta against Jeff Ooi as far back as, admittedly limited by my memory, the Screenshots’ ‘oil & water’ saga;

(2) Rocky’s Bru was the blog that brought out the luxury yacht exposé. That infuriated the PM who strenuously denied* he had ordered the boat;

* I believe the PM didn’t order the yacht but I wonder who did? I love to have one to participate in the Monsoon Cup and get a chance to rub shoulders with high society

(3) the non-scandal of the yacht was followed by bloggers’ revelation of nasi kandar in Perth while Malaysians were struggling against the ravages of the floods in southern Malaysia;

(4) then there is the new exposé of the luxury jet;

(5) bloggers including myself have been mocking the PM’s lackluster performance and cakap ta’serupa bikin conduct – a Bao Gong redux that’s really an insult to the good Chinese magistrate.

AAB is in reality very thin skin. He cannot take too much criticism, unlike the PMs of western nations. He doesn't seem to understand that criticism of a PM or any elected representatives or non-elected public servants is a natural outcome of a democratic system, an outcome that he should be the 'first' to protect and uphold.

Alas, such an autocratic disdainful attitude is not unique to AAB but to most Asian leaders who would voice democratic principles but believe those principles don’t apply to them. Once elected, Malaysian leaders have a nasty belief in their ‘raja-ness’, expecting the usual daulat’s and ampu tuanku’s.

Add some extra spices like a few sycophants, court jesters and who-else’s and soon the utterly naked Emperor would be walking boldly down the cat walk, assured by the inner-most coterie that he’s in full royal regalia.

“Off with their heads, Tuanku?” simpered the coterie in gleeful anticipation.

“Do it straightaway” his Royal Elegance responded.

Indeed, malaysiakini reported that AAB has accused Malaysians [meaning bloggers] of using the Internet to spread lies about him.

Well, as the democratically-elected [I hope he still remembers this] PM, he has the right to refute those lies.

Then he did the disgraceful thing – he came out in open support of the defamation suit against two Malaysian bloggers by the NST people. During a visit to the UK, he was reported to have said: "They [meaning Jeff and Ahirudin] cannot hope to cover themselves or hide from the laws."

Why does the PM of a nation interfere with a civil suit between two private parties, though admittedly one has close links with him?

malaysiakini reader AM Ubaidah S wrote significantly:
“… there may also be legal reasons why Pak Lah should refrain from commenting on this matter. Australian journalist Michael Backman once commented in his book Inside Knowledge said that (in his view) Malaysian courts are actually quite independent (contrary to popular opinion), but have this annoying habit of typically passing judgement in favour of or in line with what they perceive are the government's desires; the flip-flop on Anwar Ibrahim's conviction and subsequent release on appeal being the case in point.”

I believe AAB has been persuaded (or if you wish 'misled') into believing that unsympathetic bloggers would be detrimental to his rule. That the UMNO-linked NST is involved is significant - it's a case of killing a couple of chicken to frighten the monkeys.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Landslide for independent means falling rocks for MCA

Over at BolehTalk I posted my impression of a possible 'landslide' achievement for independent candidate Ng Chee Pang in the Batu Talam by-election.

Oh, how the MCA must be dreading the falling rocks of Batu Talam!

Batu Talam - one mighty rock for MCA to carry

Hi, just back from my 'search' mission. Not entirely unsuccessfully

Even though I didn't manage to track down Mr X, I must have beaten the bush rather vigorously because he wrote to me.

Still, I am not sure where he is, in Machu Picchu or the Annapurna trail? Let's leave that for a while, because I want to write on two other issues, one of which I had been completely in the dark about during my time away.

Poor Jeff Ooi is under seige again, from the usual suspects; this time he has a soul-mate in Ahirudin Attan, Rocky's Bru reputable blogger. I will come to that shortly.

The other issue is the by-election in Batu Talam. Previously I has posted on UMNO's political anxiety in not having an opponent in the by-election. I now read of one Mr Ng Chee Pang presenting himself as an independent candidate to oppose UMNO's candidate.

So today is D-Day – no, not for the voters of Batu Talam because the candidate who would emerge as the winner is already known – one doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to predict the outcome of the absurdity, that of a 22-year old greenhorn standing as a last minute independent against an UMNO candidate in an UMNO stronghold with the latter enjoying the full power and force of the ruling party’s political machinery behind his campaigning.

Ng Chee Pang has no resources other than his dad and brother. He doesn't have any poster, nor even a polling agent. According to malaysiakini reports, he hasn't even made the usual campaugn rounds, though he averred he would in Cheroh.

His platform? He' putting himself as a candidate ‘because he likes to contest’. His father, who doubles as the campaign manager, told reporters that they have no issues to raise and their manifesto is, get this, 'we like all parties'.

It’s not David against Goliath. It’s a hairy chest Godzilla against a mosquito. But alas, as we Malaysians are aware, a teeny weeny itsy bitsy mosquito can still provide an irritating bite. In fact, precisely because of his absurb preparation (or lack of), if he so much as gather any noticeable amount of votes, like say 200 votes, it'll be a shock for the Barisan Nasional.

Yes, today would be D-Day for a number of parties, but in particular the MCA. Ong Ka Ting would be praying that independent candidate Ng Chee Pang not only loses his deposit, but receives less than 100 sympathy votes.

Batu Talam is a Malay majority constituency of 10,500 ‘registered’ voters, of whom only 1,200 are Chinese Malaysians. If young Ng receives anything more than 100 votes, or woefully for Ong Ka Ting, more than 500 votes (50% of Batu Talam's Chinese Malaysians registered as voters), the MCA will lose much face, and the Barisan Nasional may expect a torrid time for the next general election.

Sometimes I feel sorry for Ong as Chinese Malaysians have made him and the MCA responsible for the shenanigans of UMNO. I wonder why the hostility hasn’t been spread around to include the Gerakan and PPP.

Needless to say, Gerakan is wisely keeping an extremely low profile and pretending to be a multi-ethnic party, leaving its real nemesis to suffer collateral damage.

As I had blogged previously, at this point in time UMNO wants a resounding victory against a visible opposing candidate. As the Penangites say, “Boh hoo, hair pun hoe”* meaning half a loaf (of opposition candidate) is better than none.

* no fish, so a prawn would do (perhaps depicting a time when fish were then more valued and thus priced higher than prawns)

But such has been the worry of a hollow victory that the UMNO ameliorating spin has been conducted incessantly. UMNO is deeply worried about a poor turnout (created mainly by the expected boycott from PAS supporters), blaming the opposition parties for persuading the locals to tear up ballots etc.

If they get their 3,000 majority, they’ll spin it to Ben Hur-ish effect but if they don’t they have already hedged the expected poor turnout by piling on the blame on the opposition for discouraging voters in Batu Talam.

Deputy Information Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi even revealed the presence of the bookies in Batu Talam. He claimed that in conjunction with the by-election, the bookies were active in Batu Talam, particularly in Cheroh.

He said: “We want the police to investigate this matter and curb it immediately. This is serious. We hope the Chinese voters, especially in, are not influenced by these bookies.”

Well, …….. I suppose it's those damn bloody bookies, a straw which poor Ong Ka Ting may cling on to and not fall off the face of the Earth.

UMNO's yin-yang candidates for Batu Talam?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Seeking Mr X

Hey, just heard my BolehTalk mate, Mr X, has been spotted trekking along the Annapurna trial, one of the toughest trial on the world's trekking circuit. He was in the company of a bevy of sweet looking scantily dressed women, who all looked like Hindi movie stars.

This is outrageous, leaving me out of his ... er ... 'physical activities'. I am off to join ... er .. I mean ... seek him out, so I won't be blogging for a week or so, but will be back a.s.a.p.

But you can leave a note for me at

AAB's zoo - but who's the zookeeper?

Looks like AAB is caught in another controversy, this time with some dodgy companies, a couple of which are owned by a bloke with a shady past. Raja Petra Kamarudin of Malaysia-Today blog has unearthed the AAB’s silly and indeed inane involvement.

Apparently the private company proposed to raise US$50 billion through its Singapore subsidiary, together with a local company Asasatu Technology Sdn Bhd, which has been reported to be in deep financial trouble (heavily in debt) and already in the process of being wound up.

The fund raising is to finance Malaysia’s 9th Malaysian Plan.

AAB has even instructed the deputy governor of Bank Negara to give the proposal by the private companies serious consideration, by way of a prime ministerial hand-written comment on the letter of proposal. Then his instruction was followed up his political secretary to the deputy governor that he (AAB) has no objection to the proposal.

Why doesn’t the PM raise the needed funds through proper sources, like reputable banks, instead of through such questionable companies, one about to fold up and a couple foreign ones owned by a person who had been accused of business scams?

US$50 billion – got that, not millions but billions, and in US dollars, not ringgit!

malaysiakini reported:

According to Raja Petra Kamarudin, who first broke the story in Malaysia Today, the plan was for the Malaysian government to borrow the huge sum from overseas without being seen as doing so.

“The Malaysian government will not officially borrow the money and the borrower will instead be a small mama-papa private limited company called Asasatu Technology Sdn Bhd. This will keep the Malaysian government ‘clean’ of any foreign borrowings,” he wrote.

He added that it was apparent that when Abdullah announced the RM200 billion Ninth Malaysian Plan, the government had no money to finance the five-year project.

“However, not wanting it to appear like the country is borrowing interest-bearing US dollars, plus is subject to currency fluctuations, to finance its development plans, they used a small private limited company as a front which again used an Australian PO Box company which in turn is backed by Singapore,” he added.

OK, let’s gather the unsettling facts:

(1) private dodgy companies with shady past or about to close up.
(2) AAB personal intervention without due process of public governance
(3) Singapore involvement

Wait, did we just mention AAB’s personal intervention and a Singapore involvement? Hmmm, these are suspiciously Rempit-ish 'indulgent' indications.

In fact, Raja Petra went on to comment (as reported by malaysiakini):

“The whole package was brokered by a Singapore outfit, but so as not to reveal that Singapore is involved, lest fingers start pointing to the prime minister’s son-in-law, they shall put the whole thing through an Australian PO Box that will front as the ‘partner’ for the Malaysian outfit.”

“In short, through many layers or levels of front companies and PO Box companies, Singapore is funding Malaysia’s development proudly touted as the Rancangan Malaysia Kesembilan, or RMK9,” he added.

Oh, incidentally, one month ago I posted I fear the 'Greeks' even bearing gifts.

First, kucing kurap (mangy cats), then Chinese lions, yesterday 'twas toads, now it's a horse. Is there a snake somewhere among the grass?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Croak of sh*t in Selangor

I have just posted The Flawless Toad of Selangor over at BolehTalk.

The toad sure beats the kucing kurap and Chinese lions hands down for sheer hypocrisy. Croak croak croak, no wonder it's raining so heavily.

Note: it's should be a 'crock of sh*t', but so much croaking ... alas ... don't blame me for mis-spelling the title of this posting.

UMNO's yin-yang candidates for Batu Talam?

What did I tell!

Note it’s not an interrogative query but an exclamation of satisfaction.

Remember in my Saturday posting Why UMNO is worried about PAS' boycott of Batu Talam I remarked that UMNO doesn’t want an unopposed victory in Batu Talam. It craves for a competitive victory over a PAS or PKR candidate, preferably PAS (obviously after 'assessing' carefully it will win).

I gave the reason as AAB and UMNO party itself currently suffering from such bad publicity and serious unpopularity, that they badly need an uplifting shot in their arms, indeed very desperately, in the form of a combative victory over a visible opponent. UMNO hopes the blood of the loser a la Roman circus would have a carry-forward influencing effect into the coming general election.

As I commented, a win in an opposition-boycotted by-election would be, given the circumstance, a hollow victory that would taste like kucing kurap (cat) piss in a victory toast. And then, the Malaysian public would probably say the walkover victory was fixed.

Therefore the walkover would add on to the rotten image UMNO now has.

That has been why UMNO has been raving and ranting about the opposition denying the voters of Batu Talam a 'democratic choice'. Such an unheard-of and unbelievable UMNO protestation is like the Israelis insisting on sovereign statehood for the Palestinians, or George Bush demanding the Israelis respect the democratically elected Hamas government.

I wrote that “UMNO might even feel it necessary, nay, vital to put up an ‘independent’ (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) or a former PAS or former PKR bloke to contest?”

Then there were reports that UMNO had said that a DAP member, an Indian bloke and 5 others purchased around 7 nomination forms, and that PAS is putting up one of its members as an ‘independent’ candidate in the by-election.

PAS deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa has come out to assert in no uncertain terms that it is definitely boycotting the by-election and emphatically denied the UMNO allegation, that it will secretly endorse an independent candidate for the by-election.

Meanwhile, malaysiakini reported what KTemoc had predicted, that UMNO is allegedly ‘making arrangements’ to field an independent candidate so that the by-election can proceed.

Remember my “UMNO killing two birds with one ‘independent’ stone” in Why UMNO is worried about PAS' boycott of Batu Talam?

PAS’ Nasharuddin also informed us he received information about a planned sabotage-sandiwara during the nomination process tomorrow by a ‘group of people’ that he in virtuous discretion refused to identify.

He said: “We heard from sources that the group will be going to the nomination centre with PAS flags and logos. We have to state it clearly in advance that we are not responsible for any such action.”

Either he is pre-empting any accusation against PAS or he was making pre-emptive excuses for PAS. But in this case, I believe him.

Times are desperate, and it’s not only the MCA on Operation Clawback.

Note: 'yin-yang' are two opposing but complementary forces

Penang boy's achievement in Canada

The Star Online reported that a Penang boy, has become a city councillor, no not in Bukit Mertajam (that’s far more difficult to achieve) but in Toronto, Canada.

Lee Chin is the first Malaysian-born to hold such a post in Canada. Incidentally Canada’s last governor-general was a Hong Kong born Chinese, and of course I've recently blogged on Melbourne's Chinese-born mayor being voted as the best mayor in the world.

So on the international scene we have China 2, Malaysia 1. Not bad at all.

Lee was elected to the post two months ago and is one of the 44 city councillors in the Toronto city council. He represents around 70,000 residents of Scarborough-Rouge River for a four-year term.

The Star also reported a trivia, that the bloke’s not the average Penangite who’s usually a Hokkien. He’s a Toishan or as we call them in Penang, Sin-Ning Lang.

Bet his parents must be either rich goldsmiths with a shop in Sin Kay (Jalan Campbell?) or a soya-sauce tycoon. Most Sin-Ning Lang I know have been from either goldsmith families or merchants in the soya sauce business.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Iraq - Bush's fatuous fundamentalist folly

After President Bush announced his teflon-ised* intention to send 20,000 more troops to Iraq (against the wishes of both sides of Congress & the American public and even Iraqi , and to the dismay of European and Arab allies), he stated his parallel intention to attack Iran and Syria to stop their support of insurgents. His troops even busted into and ransacked an Iranian consulate in northern Iraq.

* by placing the onus of success for his policy on Iraqi leaders

Remember what I blogged in my earlier posting Bush's goy-ish strategy for Iraq, and who he has gone amok for with his latest policy for Iraq? Well, here we go again, with his plans to whack the two bêtes noires of a certain country.

You have heard of Bush’s so-called ‘Axis of Evil’, comprising Iraq, Iran and North Korea. I now believe that the true ‘Axis of Evil’ for Bush (at the urging of certain members of his original Administration) was Iraq, Iran and Syria.

North Korea was thrown in as a red herring to make it less obvious 'whose' interests dumbo Bush was serving – one hint, it’s not the USA’s.

Japan of course had a mild orgasm when North Korea was included among Bush’s evil triad, but Nippon could never ever stand anywhere near as important as you-know-who in the eyes of Bush Administration. Syria has always been a US 'target'.

Just prior to the invasion of Iraq, I recall reading a ding-dong war of correspondence in malaysiakini between the news portal’s associated ‘resident’ blogger (not Jeff Ooi but someone before him) and a reader on the issue of the ‘Axis of Evil’. That blogger was pro-US through and through.

In a way, reading those exchanges, especially the arguments from the malaysiakini linked blogger, was rather humorous. If my memory hasn’t failed me, the reader challenged the blogger as to the illogic of the US planning to attack and invade Iraq on the mere ‘suspicion’ of WMD while ignoring North Korea which had actually exploded and therefore possessed N-device or devices.

In fact, the reader went on to accuse the US of using the argument of neutralising Saddam Hussein's WMDs to overlay its covert and real aim of attacking and invading Iraq for oil, Israeli interests and deceiving the American public that Bush had somehow punished (in part) the perpetrators of 9/11.

The blogger responded in defence of the US that, words to the effect, North Korea (remember, the one who had conducted a N-test) would be akin to a threatening man with a gun while Iraq (recall, the one with WMDs but based solely on US suspicion) was a menace with a baseball bat, and the US was right to get the latter, the one with the baseball bat rather than the one with the gun.

I am not sure till today whether the blogger was so utterly thick as to offer such a argument, or he was just blindly or obsequiously loyal to Uncle Sam, but I do recall the reader writing back to say he (the blogger) had just ‘shot himself in the foot’ with that (lack of) argument.

The point of this recalling is not to bash that blogger but to illustrate, through the illogical US military action against Iraq, that the Bush Administration’s true intentions was not about Saddam Hussein’s non-existent WMD but rather for the interests of a certain Middle-East country.

But even with those exposed WMD lies, 3,000 US service personnel killed and tens of thousand others maimed in Iraq, losing both Houses of Congress for his party, and overwhelming disapproval by Americaan for his latest policy for Iraq, Bush is still continuing pell-mell down his nose-led charge.

He has sent Condoleezza Rice to the Middle-East to slow-talk Arab States into supporting his new Iraqi policy, and shoring up support (political, military and financial) for Palestinian Fatah against Palestinian Hamas, but of course only she had flown to Israel first to consult its foreign minister.

Rice said of the US intention to back Abbas and his Fatah party: "It is a time when extremist forces are attempting to make it impossible to have the kind of Middle East in which Israelis and Palestinians and other people of the Middle East can live in peace, and in which democracy can make progress."

"We are determined to resist their efforts, but also to strengthen the hands of those who wish to resist their efforts."

The ‘extremist force’ she referred to would previously have been Fatah (with Israel covertly supporting Hamas to undermine president Yasser Arafat), but today is Hamas (with Israel openly supporting Fatah to undermine elected prime minister Ismail Haniyah).

Who then is the “extremist forces ... attempting to make it impossible to have the kind of Middle East in which Israelis and Palestinians and other people of the Middle East can live in peace”?

And as for Rice’s hypocritical blasphemous claim of the US wanting to ensure “democracy can make progress” in the Middle-East, why has the US been undermining the democratically-elected Hamas by unashamedly boosting up the Fatah party the loser of the Palestinian general election, with political, financial and military aid?

Why does the so-called paragon of 'democracy' demand that the Palestinian people shall vote a party to Israel's approval, or the financial account of the Palestinian Authority would be embargoed? Why must the US make Palestinian Statehood totally dependent on the approval of Israel, its irreconcilable nemesis?

If these blatant US insulting inconsistencies, intervenions and interference in Palestinian affairs, and the needless sacrifice of 3000 dead young Americans and several tens of thousands maimed, weren't and aren’t for Israel, who then was the beneficiary of such reckless adventurism by the Bush Administration?

Hornbill becoming a vulture?

Caterpillars metamorphosed into beautiful butterflies but unfortunately tadpoles metamorphosed into even uglier toads.

So what will be the final stage of PBB Sarawak metamorphosing?

Read more at BolehTalk.

Odyssey of Anwar Ibrahim?

The malaysiakini news article on the pally-buddy relationship between the DAP and Anwar Ibrahim starts off with this sentence:

“The DAP decision to invite Anwar Ibrahim to address a high-level party meeting last week and his decision to attend the event suggest the close ties between the two parties.”

Now, what sort of ‘close ties’ was it alluding to?

In the first step of our kay-poh-chnee (busybody) probing, we hear DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng readily confirming that the DAP’s relationship with Anwar is indeed pally-buddy.

He said: “We have been cooperating with Anwar and his presence at our retreat signifies the good ties between the DAP and Anwar.”

Anwar Ibrahim has been invited, again, to the two-day annual retreat of the DAP in the Cameron Highlands. Yes, this is the second time Anwar has been prevailed upon to join a DAP high level gathering. He will be with 80 of DAP leaders, enjoying a quiet cosy chitchat, perhaps by a fireplace. Early last year, Anwar was also invited to a similar function at the same venue.

The DAP being the DAP, dead serious, seldom ever smiling and probably without any humour, you can bet they aren’t going to be playing mahjong or p’ah kow but rather planning strategies for the next general election.

Lim naturally refused to divulge much of what transpired at the retreat – hey, strategy cannot be revealed to the UMNO-led Barisan Nasional - except to say that party leaders and Anwar had “frank exchanges of views” on national issues. He specifically ruled out seat arrangement talks for the next general election.

Then, in a snub to PKR blokes like Tian Chua, Lim stressed (this was the word malaysiakini used) that DAP’s close ties is strictly with Anwar as an individual and does not include PKR at all.

He explained the difference: “It is very different, Anwar is someone we can work with; we share common understanding and consensus on some issues”, meaning the DAP can’t work with PKR.

When pressed to elaborate on why he has problems with PKR (instead of Anwar’s) views, Lim replied evasively:
“They are coming from different personalities.”

Lim said the DAP has no “direct or indirect ties” with PAS. This is hardly surprising considering PAS has a diametrically opposite ideology to the DAP, and Lim must be still mindful of the very punishing 1999 lesson its voters gave to the idealistic but unrealistic DAP.

Just in case the news media plays monkey on his words to allude to a liaison between the DAP and PAS, Lim said:
“I must say it categorically that it is a ‘no’ with PAS.”

Forget about PAS for the moment, what then is going on between Anwar Ibrahim and the DAP, that sees PKR being marginalised by the DAP?

If it's not about the strategic issue of negotiating-allocating electoral seats between DAP and PKR, or working in some form of loose alliance with the PKR, then what would be the reason for the DAP's cosy chummy coopting of Anwar Ibrahim into its top level strategic planning, and mind you, twice at that too, in successive years?

If you recalled Ku Li’s (Tengku Razaleigh) revelation of his chitchat with Anwar Ibrahim (after his release), Ku Li had pointedly advised Anwar that he (Anwar) would have problems getting a ‘safe’ seat or even winning one in the next general election, even assuming the UMNO-led government doesn’t call for the general election before Anwar serves his term of no-holding-of-political-office.

The following was what I blogged in Ku Li's advice to Anwar Ibrahim.

Ku Li said: “I advised him if you want to get back to mainstream politics, or want to be prime minister, you should go back to UMNO. How? He has to work it out. I am not to advise him [on that].

Ku Li told Anwar: "Your wife (Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail) only won because it was your (previous) seat in Permatang Pauh".

However, Ku Li told Malaysiakini he doubt whether Anwar will win if he (Anwar) were to stand again in Permatang Pauh - unless he stands on either PAS or UMNO ticket.

According to Ku Li, Anwar agreed to his advice.

In fact in another of my postings Ku Li bluntly told Anwar that he (Anwar) won’t get very far with PKR, and to stop mucking around the loser party. Ku Li did suggest PAS.

Unfortunately for Anwar, UMNO is currently locked up so tight like one of those extinct species (a virgin! unless of course you go to Indonesia), so who can help him get a seat ... well ... at least until he’s ready to return to head UMNO?

Look towards PAS and alamak lah, that party has been trying to mega-implode itself (believe it or not) with its old tired misogynist myopic marginalising ideologies and policies that’s best suited for some far flung remote corner of the Pakistani NW frontier. Thus PAS is hardly a platform for sophisticated suave slick Anwar Ibrahim who has an international reputation to protect.

So where’s or who’ll be the 'Calvary' charging up at the 11th hour for Anwar Ibrahim?

Well, on 15 August 2006 I wrote about Anwar Ibrahim & the DAP.

Do read it for my guess as to what may possibly be happening behind close doors at Cameron Highlands.

Yes, I am already detecting bad vibes and howls of indignation from PKR. Sorry mates, it's only KTemoc's silly guessing.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

MCA clawing back with lion's help

Well, UMNO might have employed the term kucing kurap (mangy cat) in its politics, but the MCA went for the full blown feline model of panthera leo persica, yes, nothing less than good ole Leo the lion, to assist in its Operation Clawback, a desparate campaign to win back its voters after abang UMNO frightened the hell out of as well as pissed off those erstwhile MCA supporters off.

I have blogged on the MCA's leonine (or pussycat, you decide) effort in Operation Lion Clawback by MCA over at BolehTalk.

Why UMNO is worried about PAS' boycott of Batu Talam

Yesterday I posted PAS' WMD for UMNO wallahs which discussed PAS’ secret strategy in boycotting the Batu Talam by-election.

PAS, PKR and DAP have all complained about the ‘unnatural’ polling list which ‘naturally’ favours the ruling party UMNO. That claim has been indirectly supported by none other than the Election Commission Chairman, Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, who admitted to western news media the ‘supernatural’, that half a million dead are registered as voters.

Then PAS VP Husam Musa gave another wicked chop of his kapak kecil on the grasping hands of UMNO workers by saying the boycott would deny those UMNO gollums any extra income.

But how will this concern UMNO leadership then, because a PAS-PKR boycott means a free ride home in Batu Talam?

Well, everyone in Malaysia knows that UMNO is like a parking meter that runs only when it’s fed money. A money-deprived meter will soon show a nasty red flag, which is bad for the UMNO leadership. No money, no loyalty.

Of course if you don’t like the parking meter analogy, and prefer to continue with the ‘supernatural’ line, there’s the example of the Jinn in a Nescafé Bottle, on how one must feed the creature.

malaysiakini columnist and consultant in strategic think-tank, James Wong Wing On wrote that the boycott has caught the ruling party by surprise. UMNO is now strangely raving and ranting about anak-jantan-ness, the no-ball opposition denying voters the democratic right of choice.

“…denying voters the democratic right of choice …”? A bit rich of UMNO!

Wong said: “…now the opposition is attacked by the other side of the political divide for having decided not to field any candidate. The decision to boycott the Batu Talam by-election is made by PAS and supported by PKR and DAP.”

Apart from the joke about ‘democratic choice’, Wong said the UMNO’s accusation that the opposition decided to
boycott the by-election is because PAS knows it would lose in the UMNO stronghold, and is afraid of demoralising its supporters.

But Wong pooh-poohed that argument away, because he asserted that PAS, PKR or DAP had all lost before in other by-elections without being demoralised. They are still around, even poor PKR.

He believed that the opposition’s strategy allows them to husband their limited resources for the coming big one, while exploiting the argument for electoral reforms to purge the irregularities in the system - a classic case of killing two birds with one 'stony' boycott.

Wong concluded that the opposition has succeeded in showing that the ruling coalition is ‘inconsistent’ or ‘self-contradictory’ in UMNO’s present cry for the opposition to participate in the Batu Talam by-election, when in the past UMNO had criticized opposition parties for fielding kucing kurap (mangy cat) candidates in the strongholds of the Barisan Nasional where there was no chance of winning at all.

But Wong didn’t answer something which he wrote, namely: “Opposition supporters now ask: if the ruling coalition does not like the opposition or considers it to be ‘obstructionist’ [in simply putting up poor quality candidates just for the sake of opposing], then why it is now being attacked for not contesting in the by-election and clearing the ‘obstacle’ for the BN to win without having to confront the ‘trouble-maker’?”

Wong merely stated that “the ruling coalition and its propaganda machinery are now caught in an obvious and serious contradiction by opposition’s strategists.”

Here’s where KTemoc steps in ;-)

The ‘true’ reason why UMNO is raving and ranting about the boycott is not so much about the opposition denying the voters ‘choice’ or being scared that its supporters would be demoralised by a loss. UMNO is always concerned about, guess who? yes, UMNO!

It is about UMNO being worried it cannot provide the much needed high morale of a ‘victory’ for its members, and the feel-good-look-good publicity for its 2008 image.

Both AAB himself and UMNO have been under enormous internal stress and seriously damaging publicity that they badly, very very badly and desperately, need an uplifting shot in their arm. A win in a boycotted Batu Talam by-election would be like tasting piss in a victory toast.

But, wait, maybe there’s hope yet.

UMNO might feel it necessary, nay, vital to put up an ‘independent’ (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) or a former PAS or former PKR bloke to contest? Remember, the red-eyed toyol can do lots of stuff! Besides, hooray, UMNO workers will be back at work.

Why, it’s like killing two birds with one ‘independent’ stone!

BERITA ... er ... BATU ... er .. I mean ... BARU

Walaupun PAS dan Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) mengumumkan mereka memboikot pilihanraya kecil Batu Talam, tetapi Umno Bahagian Raub tetap membuat persiapan rapi ekoran bertambah kuatnya berita yang mengatakan ada calon bebas akan bertanding.

Ketua Puteri Umno Raub, Rosmiley Bontat berkata, pihaknya mendapat tahu ada bekas ahli jawatankuasa sebuah parti pembangkang di bahagian Raub yang ingin bertanding di atas tiket bebas.

“Berita itu semakin kuat diperkatakan sekarang di kalangan ahli Umno dan penduduk Batu Talam. Calon itu juga dikatakan sudah membuat persiapan menjelang hari penamaan calon Selasa depan,” katanya ketika dihubungi malaysiakini hari ini.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The 'late' voters of Malaysia!

Election fever, yes?

Well, Malaysia, with a population of around 26 million people, has some 10.3 million registered voters. Amazingly 500,000 are dead!

Yes, half a million registered voters are dead!

This revelation came from the horse’s mouth, namely, Election Commission Chairman Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman.

It's not that we Malaysians are surprised by the existence of constitutionally conscious cadavers, but the numbers given are truly staggering. Well, that’s certainly a remarkable stats for the Malaysian Book of Records. But I wonder whether we should term them as 'the late voters'?

I am not sure whether Abdul Rashid is a closeted sympathiser of PAS or PKR or good lord, surely not the DAP, because his frank disclosure came almost immediately after PAS and PKR said they would boycott the Batu Talam by-election, as if to support those two parties fears. PAS and PKR complained about dodgy voter lists and a woeful lack of transparency in the election process.

However, Abdul Rashid rejected opposition claims that the ‘walking dead’ voters had led to electoral fraud.

He said:
"When you talk about the dead on the rolls, I admit there are a lot. I believe that 5% of those on the voters' list are dead. That's why we are going from village to village to verify the dead."

Visualise officers from the Election Commission knocking on your door and asking: “Inche atau Nyonya Kaytee Moc?”

“Ya?” my husky/sweet voice thrilled those young salivating bucks and foxy buxom ladies, who most fortunately can’t see me behind the door.

“Are you dead?”

“You mean right now?”

Abdul Rashid blamed the existence of Malaysian zombies on poor data collection, archaic election laws (how?) and bureaucratic red-tape (again, how?).

In one case, a woman voter who died in 1975 at the age of 77 was still listed on the 2006 rolls. I wonder who she voted for in 2004?

PAS' WMD for UMNO wallahs

Read Secret strategy behind PAS' boycott over at BolehTalk, where Husam Musa revealed PAS secret and (extremely cruel to UMNO workers) election strategy!

AAB's sweetener for admin wallahs

PM AAB made a speech at the 7thh Annual Gathering of Civil Servants at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre, where he hinted that the government might be able to give some "relief" to civil servants. He said that he might entertain Cuepacs’ request for a 40% (for lower grades) salary revision for government employees.

Previously he had indicated reluctance to meet Cuepacs’ demand as he claimed that’s one humongous lot of lollies, but now he seems to be singing a different tune. He said the government was “adopting an open mind in the matter and would scrutinise all the reasons submitted by Cuepacs on the salary revision”.

The usual blah blah blah … and ending in "The government has to study all these factors. The reason is that there must be (financial) capacity. And I believe that with the 'spirit of give and take', we can achieve something that will give relief to everyone, InsyaAllah."

Mark my word, the government will time it just in time for the next general election, which may well be just around the corner, probably next year, and likely to be just before Anwar Ibrahim served his full term of no politics.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bush's goy-ish strategy for Iraq

Now, here’s something for us to wonder. Why does President Bush decide against all logical thinking to deploy an extra 21,500 US troops to Iraq as his new strategy for the war torn country.

Consider this:

(1) American opinion is 61% against increasing troop levels in Iraq – instead they want US troops back home. The opinion polls show declining public confidence in Bush's conduct of the war, with the majority opposed to his proposal to send more troops to secure Baghdad.

(2) Both houses of Congress are now controlled by a (hostile to Bush) Democratic Party, which will oppose Bush’s plans, though not too vigorously to the extent the American public sees the Democrats as not caring for their troops already in Iraq. The landslide victory of the Democratic Party in the recent US Congressional election has been seen as a rejection of Bush’s Iraq policy.

(3) His military commanders don’t want to put more troops into Iraq.

(4) His extra troop insertion into will hurt the Republican Party's prospect in the next election.

(5) The Iraqis themsleves, particularly the Shiite majority, want US troops out a.s.a.p, not more coming in, because they are (quite rightfully) fearful of American treachery, in possibly striking a deal with the Sunnis by agreeing to bring them back to power. They know Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan have been whispering in the US’ ears.

(6) The bipartisan Iraq Study Group, headed by his dad’s old Republican Party friend, ‘Uncle’ James Baker, and a former Democrat congressman, Lee Hamilton recommended that the US (1) engages Iran and Syria diplomatically to help stabilise Iraq and (2) sets a goal of early 2008 for the removal of almost all US combat troops.

The President was particularly lukewarm towards talks with the two Middle States, and there’s a reason for Bush's reluctance to embrace ‘Uncle’ James' recommendations.

Bush will not engage Iran and Syria diplomatically, because Israel wants the US to be hostile to its two principal serious threats.

Bush will not yet leave Iraq because, with US troops out of Iraq, the world’s attention will shift to and focus on Palestine, a completely undesirable situation for Israel.

Israel fears that with the departure of the American presence in Iraq, consolidation of Shiite powers will bring an increasing Iranian influence into its neighbourhood.

Need I spell it out any her as to why President Bush is obdurately going against the wish of the American people (and Iraqi people, not that the latter matter), a hostile Congress, his military commanders and ‘Uncle’ James?

It’s precisely for the same reason why he sent his military to attack Iraq in the first place – it’s all for Israel. Mind you, he probably doesn't even know that, and more likely has been fed a tale of ensuring his place in US history as the brave and resolute US President. Whay a goy!

Silent agony of MCA

I have posted Stung by hornet, mute as only MCA can be at BolehTalk.

The posting discusses the MCA's current political predicament as that of a mute stung by a hornet - he feels the terrible pain but he can't even yell out in his agony. I've also provided a little of what I have learnt from old-timers about the MCA's less-than-friendly history with its UMNO taikoh.

Keeping an iron lid on an inelegant stench

Early yeterday morning (5:35 am) I posted AAB's inelegant response to anti-toll outrage, where I noted AAB’s outrageous response to reporter’s query about the PKR claiming it had a copy of a dodgy agreement between the government and one of the highway concessionaires.

The reporter was obviously attempting to elicit AAB’s reaction to the credible PKR’s
revelation that the government had over-indulged the toll concessionaires.

Instead of talking about the issue at hand, namely the dodgy toll agreement or the increase in toll charges, the PM threatened to take action aaginst PKR if the document was classified under the Official Secrets Act.

Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang said what I posted, namely, what aspect of national security had been undermined for the government to take action against the PKR for being in possession of an agreement, that in the first place should be available to the public?

He lambasted AAB:
“When he became prime minister, he pledged a ‘clean, incorruptible, modest and beyond suspicion’ government and called on Malaysians to tell him the truth.”

“All these promises of an open government have come to nought as the people’s right to information is not recognised or entrenched by law.”

“What has happened to all the government talk about protecting whistle blowers to ensure accountability, integrity and good governance?”

Lim said the people have a right to information that would help build good governance, transparency, accountability and participation, and eliminate corruption. He pointed out that countries with access to an information law are perceived to be the least corrupt.

The more the government attempts to keep a lid on stuff that affects the public, that should rightfully be available to the public, the more it actually tells us the government is hiding something dodgy and smelly.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Danger of bird flu & Murphy's Law

No, it hasn’t gone away - bird flu, that is.

Latest casualty from the deadly avian flu has been an unfortunate teenage boy in Indonesia.

Just a mere 14-years old, the boy died four days after being admitted to hospital for treatment with flu-like symptoms. Doctors claimed that he lived in an area where chickens had died recently from the virus.

China has also reported its first human case in months, though the man has since made a full recovery. Unlike the Indonesian case, there was no reported outbreak of the virus among poultry in the area where the farmer was. Medical authorities are wondering how he contracted the disease. Could it be the worst nightmare, that the deadly virus is being spread undetected among birds?

Last month, Vietnam had its first outbreak of avian flu in poultry in a year. Since then it has slaughtered thousands of birds.

But the bad news is that as winter prevails in the northern hemisphere, leading to lower temperature, the virus can survive longer, thus increasing risk of the disease spreading to humans.

In my posting Qu'ils mangent de la murtabak I discussed the sad case of Dr Asmawi Tahir, who holds a doctorate in corporate aangement yet couldn’t get a reasonable white collar job.

He decided to go into quail farming but has had his business plans severely affected by inflation – fuel, transport, toll prices all taking off and soaring away (no pun intended). He found out that the consequential price increase of chicken feed has made his quail business no longer viable.

Asmawi had already spent some RM70,000 on his farm. His fall-back action has been to switch to the exotic bird business, rearing peacocks, lyre-birds, etc.

But I had to open my big mouth and commented that Murphy's Law suggests that there may just be another outbreak of SAR to break this poor man’s heart.”

Sorry Asmawi, I’ll go and wash my mouth - with Dove soap (pun not intended, again).

But we all need to be vigilant and must immediately raise to the medical authorities any observations of suspected outbreaks of the deadly avian flu. In this Visit Malaysia year, we the Malaysian public not only need to look after our own safety and protection from bird flu, but that of our overseas visitors as well.

MCA's death-by-a-thousand-cuts?

I have just posted MCA div leader: "We're as good as dead!" over at BolehTalk, where I highlighted the MCA’s current dilemma, desperation and possible death-by-a-thousand-cuts vis-à-vis the sorry issue of toll charge increases.

AAB's inelegant response to anti-toll outrage

Remember my posting Toll charges - more lies from government's 'pot', where I discussed what PKR information chief Tian Chua revealed, namely, a 'secret' agreement between the government and Litrak which was “lopsided and not done in the best interest of the people”.

Tian explained the agreement was drafted in such a way that it gives Litrak virtually unfettered powers in becoming a money-making machine, with the government only having thumb-twiddling or nose-picking function.

Should we be surprised?

Tian then accused the government of “lying” when the latter claimed it was negotiating with Litrak to reduce the toll rates, because, according to the contract, the rates have been fixed under the agreement for the entire concession period of over 30 years from 1998.

Again, should we be surprised?

And don't forget, DAP leader Ronnie Liu told us UMNO-linked Litrak had already recovered its highway construction cost three years after it started operation and has been recording profits since 2002.

Tian Chua also revealed that the ‘secret’ document allows the concessionaire to continue collecting toll irrespective of whether the company is reaping profits or making losses.

You would be tired by now of my 'should we be surprised?', but alas, it still needs to be said.

Well, in the face of such a damning barrage of criticisms, what has been the response of our so-called elegant PM?

He gave an inelegant response - in fact, damningly pathetic! Should we be surprised? (yeah, I know ...)

AAB said, beat this, the cabinet decision to allow the recent toll increase was based on representations by the concessionaires on their toll collection.

He claimed: "And what they proved to us, to the government, was that the toll had to be increased."

"... was based on representation by the concessionaires ..."? And the cabinet jumped to grant their wishes. What about representation from the public?

Then, there was AAB's assertion of "... what they proved to us ...".

However, when asked the obvious and logical question, for him to reveal the 'proof', AAB inelegantly attempted to bulldoze his escape by saying: "All are public limited companies."

What the hell has that to do with the public wanting to know how the cabinet came to approve the toll charge hike, based on so-called 'proof'?

If the cabinet was satisfied with the so-called 'proof' which is making us, the suffering public, pay more, then let’s see that 'proof'.

But he moved quickly from there to moan about the subsidy the government had to pay the concessionaires, that it was considerable and could not be continued.

Yet Dr Mahathir said the traffic flow through the toll had increased five fold, so why continue the subsidy, unless as Anwar Ibrahim had averred, the increased toll fee (or in our minds, more like extortion) was to hand out early ang pows and Christmas presents to a list of parasites.

Anwar, recalling his conversation with Humpty Dumpty in 1997, when he was then deputy premier and finance minister, said Humpty told him a highway concessionaire sought an increase in toll charges because the extra money was needed as inducements for unspecified individuals.

Anwar said: “He (Samy) still said it was important to increase (the toll charges), and I told him that he should resign (from cabinet) and go work for the company (instead).”

Following his rejection of Humpty's request, a ‘Tan Sri’ from the company appealed to Anwar for the toll increase, saying the company had to pay ‘leaders’ and their families from Perlis to Johor.

When AAB was asked about PKR claims it had a copy of an agreement between the government and one of the highway concessionaires, the PM threatened, of course tangentially to the issue of toll charge hikes, that the government could take action if the document was classified under the Official Secrets Act.

Pray tell us, Mr PM, why should a toll concession involving/affecting the out-of-pocket expenditure of the rakyat (people) be classified under the Official Secrets Act. Where’s or what's the bloody national security issue?

... unless the government imposed secrecy has been meant to deny the cash cows (stupid us) from knowing how rapaciously the government-concessionaire complex has planned to milk us, the long suffering public.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Dr Mahathir claims he was 'stupid' in toll agreement?

Over at BolehTalk I posted Dr Mahathir's unbelievable humility in toll saga.

Obviously the toll price saga has heated up to supernova magnitude that Dr Mahathir is distancing himself from the dodgy agreements, but by effecting self-humility - calling himself a 'stupid' politician - and blaming the government officers for not checking the fine print of the agreement with the toll concessionaires.

Dr Mahathir must make amends to Lim Guan Eng

While I support Dr Mahathir’s condemnation of Tony Blair for the latter’s crime in being a more-than-willing partner in fabricating a casus belli against, and consequentially waging an illegal war on a sovereign Iraq, I criticise the Ole Man for his silence when Lim Guan Eng was persecuted and jailed for standing up for a Malay schoolgirl who had her young body ravaged by the powerful.

In that shameful silence was Dr Mahathir’s failure to stand up for against an injustice within our own land.

In 1995 Lim Guan Eng was arrested and charged by the police after he publicly criticized the government's handling of allegations of statutory rape against Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik, the former Chief Minister of Malacca.

Lim the Younger accused the government of 'double standards' in the statutory rape case, where the Attorney General, Mohtar Abdullah, decided not to prosecute Rahim Tamby Chik, but instead put the underaged alleged Muslim girl, a mere fifteen-year old schoolgirl, under 'protective custody'.

Lim was accused under the Sedition Act of prompting 'disaffection with the administration of justice in Malaysia'.

Compare Lim’s so-called ‘crime’ with the behaviour and public utterances of delegates to the recent UMNO general assembly. Even Marina Mahathir described the authorities' treatment of the girl as a 'mockery of justice' in comments published in an article.

Just to make sure Lim was nailed, he was additionally charged under the Printing Presses and Publications Act for 'maliciously printing' a pamphlet containing allegedly 'false information' specifically because he had used the term 'imprisoned victim' in reference to the alleged rape victim.

Amnesty International had this to say of Lim Guan Eng’s case:

The sedition charges against Lim Guan Eng, apart from being an apparent move to silence a leading critic, appear to be part of an established government strategy of selectively using repressive laws in prominent cases to engender a wider public reluctance to criticize the authorities.

A similar intimidatory stance was reflected in December 1996 when the government threatened to use the ISA against those seeking to organise an NGO forum to discuss alleged abuses of police powers. Threatened with detention without charge or trial, the organizers suspended the forum indefinitely.

Members of the government and ruling coalition have also publicly criticised those regarded as dissenters after questioning their patriotism. In December 1996 Prime Minister Mahathir accused some Malaysian NGOs of acting in collaboration with foreigners to undermine the countrys international reputation and described them as 'traitors' and 'leftists'.

Similarly in November 1996 in a parliamentary speech a senior UMNO parliamentarian accused Lim Guan Eng of being a 'traitor' because he had allegedly referred his case to the Geneva-based Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) thereby 'damaging Malaysia's international image'.

Lim Guan Eng’s courage to stand up for the girl has been such a sterling example of courageous public service, especially for women, that parties like PAS, with too much focus on the grubby issue of sex and lust, could do well to emulate.

Instead of harassing and persecuting women with the inconsequential, PAS could do well to fight for their real dignity and justice, such as protecting them from oppression by abusive husbands and rapacious employers, rather than their nonsensical version of 'dignity' that demanded women to comply with PAS' narrow worldview of aping desert Arabs in dressing. In reality those dress codes masked PAS leadership’s misogynist persecution of womenfolk.

I pick on PAS for the reason I had expected it to be the main counterweight to UMNO, already a lost cause. Yet PAS has let us down miserably by straying into puerile issues.

Yes, there may be some good blokes and women in UMNO like the Johor Baru MP, Sharir, but they are far too few and fearful of speaking up, an when they did speak up, were pulverise into silence by the UMNO leadership.

But indeed the injustice to Lim Guan Eng must not be allowed to be forgotten. That he is from the DAP is coincidental and irrelevant.

If Dr Mahathir is truly committed to a new leaf of human rights value, then he should fight for Lim Guan Eng’s slate to be officially wiped clean, and for the abused Malay girl (a woman by now) to be properly compensated and apologised to.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Dr Mahathir: "Tony Blair is a war criminal."

Dr Mahathir called British leader Tony Blair a war criminal for his role in the Iraq war and the hanging of Saddam Hussein.

On his first count of accusation, Blair being a war criminal for his role in the Iraq war, I fully agree with the Grand Ole Man. Because of Blair’s support of Bush’s illegal attack on Iraq, orchestrated by his neo-cons including many ultra-Zionists, Blair must share with Bush the responsibility for the death of 650,000 Iraqis as well as the dislocation of many terrorised millions from their country.

But on Mahathir’s accusation of Blair being criminal for his part in Saddam’s murder, I hesitate to go fully along with that. Mind you, that is not to say Blair wasn’t partially or indirectly responsible. I believe Blair in his disgusting sycophantic (to Bush) self had gone along passively with the American sinister design.

Blair is known in his own country as Bush’s poodle. It’s a crying shame, a travesty of commonsense and logic and an insult to British pride, that an articulated intelligent man like Blair had to lick the boots of an intellectual pygmy like low brow George W Bush

Mahathir is a member of the International Committee for the Defence of President Saddam Hussein. He merely joined the world (outside of Israel and the Coalition of the Killing) in blasting the mob lynching of Saddam.

Whether the evil former dictator deserved the death sentence is arguable, depending upon one’s values and attitude towards capital punishment, but the point is there was no fair trial as shamefully averred by the White House - its spokesman Tony Snow had the brazen vulgarity to claim the US-backed Shiite-dominated Iraqi kangaroo court demonstrated "absolute proof that the judiciary in Iraq are independent.”

There’s just no limit to the Bush Administration’s blasphemy against the concept of justice and due process.

Blair had been severely criticised in Britain for refusing to speak out on Saddam's trial and execution. But how could he when he wanted so badly to suck up to the American president.

Mahathir told a press conference:
"He [Blair] is as much a war criminal as he accuses Saddam of being."

"The Americans and the British and possibly this little country in the south called Australia, they are also behind this hanging. They cannot say they are not involved."

"I am disgusted at these people because they tell us the death penalty is bad ... but they actively promote the death penalty, Britain in particular."

As I said at the beginning, I agree with Dr Mahathir that Blair and Bush are war criminals, but at least Bush has never hide the fact he loves to send people to the gallows. But Blair is an unmitigated two-face hypocrite, talking down to 3rd World nations on human rights.

But rest assure I won't let Dr Mahathir get away unscathed. I'll be posting something to show Dr Mahathir had not been true to his new found human rights values as well.

Visit Malaysia 2007 - what's overlooked

The PM has asked Malaysians to make 2007 the most dazzling, fascinating and exciting year ever for tourists. He said: “I am sure that if we work together, we can truly make this a fantastic year.”

AAB wants Malaysians to be more helpful and friendlier to tourists.

He reminded Malaysians that if visitors felt comfortable here, they would then be happy to come back again or pass the good word among their friends. He stated: “Friendliness, after all, is one of the specialties of Malaysians. This will also further improve the tourism industry, which is one of the main contributors to our economy.”

Very true, and I support the PM in his appeals. But then shouldn’t the PM look closer into what have hitherto been pissing tourists off, and unless addressed, would continue to cheese the visitors off.

For a start, we don’t want those fanatical khalwat patrols harassing tourists. They are so stupid that a couple of months back they even terrorised an elderly American (white) couple who sailed in Langkawi for a couple of months of relaxation. They did it without the escort of a policeman as should have been the correct procedure.

The wife was so traumatised by the dumbo ayatollahs, who couldn’t even tell ‘white from black’ during its sex inquisition drive, that she left straightaway for America on a plane, leaving the hubby behind with his boat.

Did AAB mention tourists passing word among their friends?

Read my earlier posting Malaysian Religious Zealots terrified elderly US couple.

Then, there’s our world famous police, who apprehended two African Americans, an US Navy lawyer and an ex-Navy servicemen, and then to aggravate their mistake, refused their request to contact the American Embassy.

While I can sympathise with the police's (initial) mistake in their campaign of ‘sweeping up’ illegal African migrants, I can’t their refusal to let the detainees contact the Embassy. Why were they so moronic, or was it they were waiting for the Americans to make the appropriate ‘gesture of goodwill’?

To add insult to injury to the two black American visitors, Tourism Minister Tengku Adnan Mansor, brushed off the incident as negligible. He had the insentivity to say: “One or two cases from the 17.5 million tourists who visited Malaysia last year is a negligible figure.”

The BBC had already publicised the case of Wayne Wright and Yahweh Passim Nam by quoting them saying that they were treated inhumanely by the Malaysian police. Now, besides the two victims telling other Americans of their traumatic experience, all we need is Oprah to have them on her show.

Then there’s of course our notorious taxi drivers (admittedly not all taxi drivers are dodgy, but all we need is one or two rotten apples to contaminate the whole barrell), and the sometimes equally dodgy Custom and Immigration officials.

AAB should address his appeals to and actions against those public service wonders rather than the ordinary people whom he has (correctly) described as ‘friendly Malaysians’.

And please tell his Tourism Minister not to regard African Americans like Indian Malaysians - like sh*t!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Alexandre Hotel, Penang 1932 - Identification requested

Can one of you help identify this place from the very old photo, one in a batch depicting Penang in 1932?

Friend of mine said his uncle came across the photo in one of those email chain letters. He sent it to me for help, but much as I pride myself as a Penangite, I wasn't able to.

The caption of the photo claimed it was the Penang Alexandre Hotel.

I suppose the hotel would be the double-storey building on the left. Could the hills behind it be Penang Hill (Bukit Bendera). I doubt there would be any hotel in the southern end of the island in 1932, so we may rule out Western Hill.

Next to the hotel, further away in the photo, there seems to be a building with a flag post. It looks like a school, administrative building or a police station.

Then the most intriguing feature appears to be the rail tracks. It couldn't have been the Penang tram lines because the photo doesn't show any electrical grid overhead. If those tracks were for a train, which part of Penang Island had a train line? Maybe in 1932, it might have been a tram pulled by horses?

Or have my friend and I been foxed by our presumption this scene was on the island when it could well have been in Province Wellesley (Seberang Perai)?

Can you kind Penangites and former ones please ask your dads, granddads or elderly uncles or neighbours? Thanks.

Some Indians 'happy' to be drunks & slaves?

Want to know more about what a MIC Youth leader said of poor Indians who have been trapped as slaves? Read my new posting MIC blames slavery of Indians on the Indian slaves at BolehTalk.

Qu'ils mangent de la murtabak*

* title translated as "Let them eat murtabak", copying an infamous remark allegedly stated by Marie Antoinette, Queen of France who, when told the French people had no bread to eat, said "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche" or "let them eat cake". The notorious statement was meant to demonstrate the French Queen's lack of understanding of the sufferings of the poor.

Now, this is interesting yet at the same disheartening - interesting because there’s something for us to work out the ‘truth’ if there is ever anything such as a truthful ‘truth’ – disheartening because the ordinary people, those who don’t have stuff like yachts to participate in the Monsoon Cup, are hurting badly, but their pains are not heard by the government.

Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) president Syed Sharir Syed Mohamud said Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had never met with MTUC to discuss the plight of Malaysian workers, unlike his predecessor, the big-double M.

According to Syed Sharir, Dr Mahathir used to consult the MTUC, not just once but on several occasions during his premiership.

Syed Sharir emphasized his point: “It’s not only the workers. There are several other groups whom he had never even acknowledged nor responded to their appeals.”

“The government must be proactive in engaging groups who are trying to relay the grouses of the people. Maybe they are unconcerned about whether there is any support for them or not.”

In his speech as a guest speaker at the Bank Employees (NUBE) 1st extraordinary delegates’ conference function, the MTUC chief called on NUBE delegates to move beyond engaging in industrial relation issues and into national issues that affect all workers.

“Toll, electricity hikes, inflation. Who else is going to speak up for you?”

Meanwhile, as an example of the impact of inflation on ordinary folks, Dr Asmawi Tahir is complaining about the rise in the price of chicken feed.

Asmawi holds a PhD in corporate management (perhaps not from Oxford university) but because he couldn’t even get a job in the white collar world of corporations, decided to make something out for himself, in quail rearing and exporting.

But his plans to produce processed quails for export have been severely affected by inflation, because the soaring price of chicken feed has made it no longer worthwhile.

He said: “When I started quail rearing in March, it only cost RM58 for a 50 kg bag of feed but now it’s RM74.”

Nearly 30% rise in price, though still less than the 60% rise in toll charges for the people of Puchong. Now which ministers had said the jump in toll charges and petrol price won't affect goods?

"Qu'ils mangent de la brioche?"

He lamented: “On the other hand, buyers are only willing to pay RM2 for each skinned bird” – just a mere 20 sen (11%) addition to the earlier price of RM1.80."

Mana boleh man – cost of feed rise by 30% but his product price only by 11%.

Asmawi had already spent some RM70,000 on his farm. He has a fall-back action which is to switch to exotic birds like peacocks, lyre-birds, etc. But Murphy's Law suggests that there may just be another outbreak of SAR to break this poor man’s heart.

Then, has Syed Sharir been right about a PM who's clueless about the plight of the ordinary Asmawi, Ah Chong and Muthusamy, where they face monumental problems of stuff like a RM16 jump in a 50 kg bag of chook feed or a 60 sen jump in toll charges 'each time' they pass through the milking gate?

Mind you, the government can cast hundreds of millions on a sports centre in UK, another humongous lump of such millions on promoting the Monsoon Cup, probably millions on the Cemerlang-isation ceremony, RM400 million on a palace, RM600 million of pork barrelling, etc etc etc?

Hmmm, but of course we need to be aware that Syed Shahrir also leads the Parti Keadilan Rakyat Kelana Jaya division.

So, was Syed Sharir’s views on AAB coloured by reality or political expediency?