Sunday, July 31, 2022

Ukraine to evacuate all civilians from Donetsk as Russian offensive continues

Ukraine to evacuate all civilians from Donetsk as Russian offensive continues

Russian tanks on the move.

July 31, 2022

The Ukrainian government has ordered a total evacuation of civilians from Donetsk as Russian forces continue pushing for its capture to complete their control over the Donbas region.

President Volodymyr Zelensky in a late-night television address said hundreds of thousands of people are still in combat zones in Donetsk as well as Luhansk, the other half of Donbas already captured by the Russians.

“The more people leave Donetsk now, the fewer people the Russian army will have time to kill,” he said, adding that evacuees would be given compensation.

On the battlefront, Ukrainian military said more than 100 Russian soldiers had been killed and seven tanks destroyed in its counteroffensive in the southern Kherson region.

It also claimed to have cut the rail line to Kherson city over the Dnipro River and isolating Russian forces there.

The Russians have however managed to capture parts of Bakhmut, which is their current prime target in Donetsk.

Meanwhile, Ukraine and Russia have traded accusations over a missile strike on Friday that killed dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war in the front-line town of Olenivka,.

Russian defence ministry yesterday published a list of 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war killed and 73 wounded in what was said a Ukrainian military strike using a US-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (Himars).

It said Russia had invited experts from the United Nations and the Red Cross to probe the deaths in the interests of conducting an objective investigation.

The Ukrainians, however, denied responsibility saying Russian artillery had targeted the prison to hide mistreatment there.

The UN has said it was prepared to send experts to investigate the incident if it obtains consent from both Ukraine and Russia.

Jusuf Kalla orang tengah antara Anwar dan Najib

Jusuf Kalla orang tengah antara Anwar dan Najib

Jusuf Kalla orang tengah sehingga mewujudkan perjanjian bertulis antara Anwar dan Najib

(Suara TV) – Satu laporan polis dibuat terhadap Datuk Seri Najib Razak dan Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim atas dakwaan mengundang campur tangan asing dalam urusan politik domestik.

Pengarah Operasi Pilihan Raya Bersatu Johor, Badrul Hisham Shaharin, dalam laporan polis di Ibu Pejabat Polis Daerah Dang Wangi pada Rabu membuat laporan berdasarkan pendedahan bekas Timbalan Presiden Indonesia, Jusuf Kalla dibenarkan masuk ke Malaysia secara sulit.

bekas Timbalan Presiden Indonesia Jusuf Kalla

“Sebagai Timbalan Presiden Indonesia sudah tentu setiap perjalanannya melibatkan agensi risikan Indonesia.

“Perkara ini didedahkan sendiri oleh Jusuf Kalla dalam satu wawancara di Metro TV Indonesia. Beliau menyatakan secara khusus penglibatannya menjadi orang tengah sehingga mewujudkan perjanjian bertulis antara Anwar dan Najib,” katanya ketika sidang media di sini.

Kata Badrul Hisham, laporan polis ini dibuat mendesak supaya semua agensi keselamatan negara mengambil serius perkara ini.

“Sikap ahli politik Najib dan Anwar telah meletakkan negara dalam risiko tinggi,” dakwa beliau.


kt comments: Chegu Bard has nothing better to do?

Of past AGs and their present problems

Of past AGs and their present problems

This past week has been a very interesting one for Malaysia’s attorneys-general, current or past. It was great for kopitiam lawyers like me, too, who treat the law with a mixture of awe, incomprehension and dread.

Like many others, I mask these feelings by sneering at lawyers and joking about them savagely behind their backs so they won’t hear the jokes and insults and perhaps issue an injunction or two and sue me.

The legal stories this week were not the usual one of yet another politician suing yet another politician for causing umbrage and spreading odium on their character and reputation, or this being about politicians, the lack of.

A high court judgment came out in a case where ex-attorney-general Mohamed Apandi bin Ali sued the prominent opposition politician Lim Kit Siang for publishing some nasty stuff about him.

By the way, in case any of you are offended, I referred to the ex-AG by his bare name without acknowledging his titles and awards; in my defence I plead that such is how he’s referred to in the said court judgment.

It seems in court you leave your titles behind, and enter, and maybe leave, with the name your parents gave you. What a cool concept – equality before the law! I think we should apply that to every aspect of our lives too, if that’s OK with Tan Sri/Puan Sri, Datuk Seri/Datin Seri, Datuk-Datuk/Datin-Datin…

Based on this alone I may want to go and sue the most storied and titled Malaysian around, and watch all those titles being stripped away and him being left in court, if he’s a Malay, as Si Anu Bin Si Polan versus Adzhar Bin Ibrahim. Would be nice if I could win and be awarded costs too.

Basically, the case is of Mohamed Apandi bin Ali suing Lim Kit Siang for salamandering him as a slippery lizard, or something like that. Mohamed Apandi bin Ali threw everything but the kitchen sink at Lim Kit Siang, while Lim Kit Siang threw back everything including the kitchen sink too.

The kitchen sink was a hit. Judge Azimah binti Omar wrote a hundred pages of judgment quoting precedents and testimony, some in excruciating detail. She quoted important cases from the British courts, revealing a colonialist mindset, but also many from Malaysian courts too.

The landscape of her judgment was fantastical and fabled, with evocative Latin words jostling with mere English and Malay ones, plaintiffs and defendants torting each other, and soaring oratory competing with wildebeests galloping across the horizon.

Sorry, got carried away there. What did happen is that Azimah binti Omar (the judge) said Lim Kit Siang (the sued) had managed to prove that his comments, which supposedly impugned Mohamed Apandi bin Ali (the suer), were justified and also came under qualified privilege, even if not, on technical grounds, fair comment.

I was surprised the “Malu Apa Bossku” defence – which says somebody can’t be shamed and humiliated if he (any reference to the male gender also includes the female gender) is already bereft of shame – which works well in the court of social media, hasn’t quite reached the courts of law yet.

Azimah binti Omar ticked off some aspects of Mohamed Apandi bin Ali’s conduct, character and integrity. It’s all there in black and white, albeit often in undecipherable words – can somebody explain what consanguineous means? My computer crashed when I searched for its meaning.

The judgement has what Malaysians love – somebody getting a whacking!

The Malaysian attorney-general is so powerful he’s literally above the law, his actions being beyond challenge and review, with many people having felt the sharp end of it, so it was that schadenfreude enjoyed a field day.

While it’s nice to be that powerful and non-justiciable (another new word!), it doesn’t mean people can’t say snarky things about you, as long as they’re justified in saying so, as agreed to by the court in this case.

The real powerful person here is the judge, who can say harsh things about your character or integrity, often quoting your own words against you! I want to become a judge when I grow up, though perhaps my daughters are more qualified given, that so many of the cool judges are women.

Azimah binti Omar’s judgment makes for fascinating reading, even if I only understand one word out of three. Being a typical kaypo Malaysian, I enjoyed reading all the titillating details, especially in such exquisite language. You should read it for yourself, or the news report thereof.

Then there’s also the ex-attorney-general Tommy Thomas, who wrote a lengthy article regarding the arbitration judgement against Malaysia won by the heirs of the Sulu sultanate. It reads like a historical crime thriller, with the lawyers being the bad guys, which suits us just fine.

His recounting of the matter seems fair and balanced, with nobody getting whacked (darn….) except for the foreign lawyers. It seems we weaselled out of paying the Sulu heirs the measly sum of RM5,300 per year as a price for getting Sabah in perpetuity.

It boggles the mind that the Sultan of Sulu didn’t build in a mechanism to account for inflation and currency exchange swings in his contract! 5,300 ringgit may have been big, back then, but it’s hardly enough now to buy a gaudy shirt for a local politician. He should have sued his own attorney- general for this.

So, we literally took the shirt off their backs, which obviously irritated them mightily. The Sulu royals shopped around in Europe for a favourable arbitrator who’d give them the decision they sought. Shopping in Europe is of course a favourite pastime of royals.

The Malaysian government has formed a task force, which is their usual go-to reaction to anything that doesn’t seem to be solvable by giving subsidies, invoking Keluarga Malaysia, hopping parties or insulting women.

Tommy Thomas thinks it’s not necessary to form a task force to fight this relatively straight-forward matter. He feels the current attorney-general can handle this without a bunch of politicians prancing around fighting jihad and spending public money on overseas trips.

He’s also quite magnanimous to some of the Malaysian characters involved, some of whom are more accountable than others, even if they may be pathological liars incapable of accepting any responsibility or blame.

So just in the space of one week, Malaysia’s attorneys-general have been in the limelight, showing different personalities and character and integrity or, in one case, the lack of.

In the meantime, we can only hope the current attorney-general will finish off this Sulu matter in Malaysia’s favour as soon as possible, so that the Sulu royals can go back to selling cut-price datukships to Malaysians, which appears to be their core business.

But I do wonder – what’s the point of having a datukship from whomever if you are bereft of it in a court of law under this “equal under the law” principle that apparently is part of our legal system?

Caveat Emptor**. That’s French, meaning potential buyers of Sulu datukships need to be aware of such risks, and perhaps shop locally for their titles instead.

** kt comments: Caveat Emptor is Latin and means “let the buyer beware”

Sabahan flies to Penang, for a Bon Odori discovery

Sabahan flies to Penang, for a Bon Odori discovery

Zaziah Husin dancing at the Bon Odori festival in Penang yesterday. She said people in Borneo laughed over the uproar in the peninsula over the Japanese festival.

GEORGE TOWN: All her life Zaziah Husin never knew what Bon Odori was. It only caught her attention after a recent debate online.

It was the first time she had even heard of it. She was then given more information by her sister who had attended the traditional Japanese festival in the peninsula before.

In the spur of the moment, she and her three friends decided to book a flight to Penang to see what the fuss was all about.

“We wanted to go to the one in Kuala Lumpur, but we couldn’t get leave on that day,” she said as she danced in graceful movements mimicking the Japanese women doing the same at the Penang Bon Odori festival yesterday evening.

Zaziah had even bought a navy blue floral yukata (summer dress), replete with a red obi (waistband), from the Esplanade, saying she was quite smitten with her outfit.

The 44-year-old who works as an executive at a telecommunications company in Kota Kinabalu said she took the advice from religious authorities for Muslims to not attend such events with a pinch of salt.

Zaziah said she was a better judge of what was against Islam and what was not. “Bon Odori is not,” she said.

“I went to a convent school, attended mass at churches and even celebrated Christmas for years with friends.

“If this is going to make me a deviant, then I would have been a deviant a long time ago. I remain a devout Muslim and I know what I’m doing.

“When this issue came up, we in Borneo laughed at the silly things that the people in the peninsula say or do, especially those in power,” Zaziah of Bajau-Chinese heritage said.

Hafiz Othman, 45, with his teacher Yukaga Takahashi (right) playing the Japanese traditional instrument, koto, at the opening of the Bon Odori festival in Penang.

For Hafiz Othman, 45, participating in Bon Odori is a personal choice and has no bearing on the faith of Muslims.

“It was quite clear when the Selangor sultan, who is the state religious leader, said Bon Odori is a cultural event.

“I’m really not comfortable with people telling me what is wrong and right, especially when they are not in a position to say so,” he said.

Earlier, Hafiz, a Kangar native, played the koto, a Japanese string instrument at the opening of the festival in his baju Melayu.

He picked up the instrument, which according to folklore was named and designed based on parts of a mythical dragon that had fallen in love with its sound.

“When I first heard it, the song reverberated in my heart. That made me study and learn it for the past 25 years,” the executive at a Japanese government agency in Kuala Lumpur said.

Software engineer Nor Aida Ismail, 40, and her daughter Puteri Aisyah Humaira Mohamad Nor Izam, 11.

Software engineer Nor Aida Ismail, 40, said she bought a yukata to give moral support to her 11-year-old daughter Puteri Aisyah Humaira Mohamad Nor Izam, who has a yellow belt in aikido.

Puteri and 30-odd aikido exponents later performed on the stage. Aida said she was not too concerned over the advisory to not attend the Bon Odori festival, as she knew her limits.

She said there was nothing wrong in attending such an event as it did not involve any element that was forbidden in Islam, such as idolatry.

Don’t interfere in non-Muslim cultural events, minister told

Don’t interfere in non-Muslim cultural events, minister told

Raub MP Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji said Muslims should not be interfering in the livelihood as well as the business and cultural affairs of non-Muslims. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: A DAP MP has advised religious affairs minister Idris Ahmad against interfering in the cultural events of non-Muslims, saying he should focus on serving the Muslims instead.

Raub MP Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji’s comments come following a parliamentary reply dated July 27, where the minister had said that the Oktoberfest cultural festival should not be held as it had the potential of disrupting social harmony and safety as alcohol would be consumed openly in a festival setting.

“As a Muslim MP, I acknowledge the fact that Muslims should not consume alcoholic beverages and participate in activities that are haram.

“(That being said), Muslims should not be interfering in the livelihood as well as the business and cultural affairs of non-Muslims,” said Tengku Zulpuri in a statement.

“Such an act of interference is against the teachings of Islam. Plus, the freedom to conduct non-halal business activities by non-Muslims is protected under the Federal Constitution.”

Tengku Zulpuri also said that the Oktoberfest is celebrated in pubs and non-halal restaurants around the country, not in open venues as claimed by Idris.

He also claimed that the minister’s statement on the business activities of non-Muslims tarnished the image of Islam as the minister was portraying the religion as being intolerant.

The MP also took Idris to task for repeatedly issuing statements that disrupted the harmony between Muslims and non-Muslims since taking charge of the ministerial portfolio, citing Idris’s earlier statement on the Bon Odori festival.

Last month, Idris had advised Muslims against joining the Japanese cultural celebration, saying it had elements of another religion in it.

His statement then prompted Selangor’s Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah to suggest that the former visit the celebration so that the minister could have a better understanding of it.

Noh Omar made minister to regain Selangor, says PM

Noh Omar made minister to regain Selangor, says PM

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that when he became prime minister, he wanted to give positions to the leaders of Selangor BN to increase their chances of retaking the state in GE15.

SHAH ALAM: Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has revealed that Selangor Umno chief Noh Omar was chosen as a Cabinet minister to help in efforts to retake Selangor from the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

PH captured power in Selangor and four other states in the 2008 general election, and was returned to power in 2013 and 2018 in the state.

Ismail, when choosing the lineup for his Cabinet, said he wanted to appoint Noh as law minister but decided against it as he wanted to give him a post where he could do more in terms of service to the people.

“So, I gave him the entrepreneur development and cooperatives ministry,” he said when speaking at the Selangor BN convention.

“At the time I became prime minister, Noh had no post. I thought that if we gave positions to the leaders of Selangor, there was better hope of us seizing back Selangor.”

Ismail then jokingly asked Noh to channel funds to move the election machinery of the Selangor BN to face GE15, that he said was supposed to be “very close”.

Ismail said it was time to stop the infighting within the coalition and focus on bringing the fight to the opposition.

“Also, don’t sabotage the other candidates’ chances in the upcoming elections,” he said.

Addressing concerns over his administration’s willingness to work with PH via the memorandum of understanding (MoU), Ismail clarified that the only objective of doing so was to achieve political stability.

“The agreement (with the opposition) did not involve policy.”

He said the enactment of the anti-hopping bill, political funding bill and the empowerment of Parliament over its own finances were necessary components of the MoU, in the pursuit of political stability.

When asked by reporters on whether the political funding bill would be enacted before GE15, Ismail said the query could be better answered by law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

Umno veep: Muafakat Nasional Plus stalled when Perikatan was established

Umno veep: Muafakat Nasional Plus stalled when Perikatan was established

Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid speaks during a press conference at Risda Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration in Jalan Ampang May 30, 2022. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

Sunday, 31 Jul 2022 7:28 PM MYT

KOTA TINGGI, July 31 — The proposal to establish Muafakat Nasional (MN) Plus, involving a combination of Umno, Bersatu and PAS, stalled when Perikatan Nasional (PN) was established, said Umno vice-president, Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.

He said at that time there was indeed a proposal to establish MN Plus and Bersatu, but after PN was registered, it was shelved.

He was commenting on the statement of PN chairman, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also Bersatu president, yesterday, that a combination of the three largest Malay parties — Bersatu, PAS and Umno — would be able to comfortably win the general election if MN Plus becomes a reality.

“Regarding MN (Plus), it is his (Muhyiddin’s) personal opinion, but that matter is over and more than a year has passed... my personal view is that Barisan Nasional (BN) in the 15th General Election (GE15) is (contesting) on a solo basis. However, it is up to the party to make a decision.

Meanwhile, Mahdzir, who is also the Minister of Rural Development, said that the Dewan Rakyat’s approval of the amendment of the Federal Constitution to create a provision prohibiting members of the Dewan Rakyat from changing parties on Thursday (July 28), and the amendments of the Federal Constitution related to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) last year, was a success for Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said members of Parliament (MPs) are seen to support the Prime Minister regardless of political party.

“He has two successes, firstly the amendments of the Federal Constitution relating to MA63, which received two-thirds support. There is also support from the opposition... more than 148 MPs (being in favour).

“Once again, the Prime Minister received (the support of) 209 MPs, which is more than a two-thirds majority (on the anti-hopping bill); this is a success for him,” he said. — Bernama

Ismail Sabri: Dissatisfaction against Pakatan does not mean votes for BN


Ismail Sabri: Dissatisfaction against Pakatan does not mean votes for BN

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob delivers his speech during the Selangor Barisan Nasional Convention opening ceremony at the Setia City Convention Centre in Shah Alam July 31, 2022. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Sunday, 31 Jul 2022 7:16 PM MYT

SHAH ALAM, July 31 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today said that Barisan Nasional (BN) can’t assume they have the public’s support just because there are people who are dissatisfied with Pakatan Harapan (PH).

During the Selangor BN Convention today, Ismail Sabri asked the state branch’s women’s wing, Wanita Selangor, to conduct a voter attitude study in order to have some "supporting facts” when preparing the party's general election strategy.

"Now people are comparing us with Pakatan Harapan (PH) and saying they don’t trust in PH anymore to give them a second chance,” he said during the event held in Setia City Convention Centre, Shah Alam today.

"But just because they don’t trust in PH, doesn't mean they will come to us.

"I am afraid that if we don’t do a proper study, then [if we have an election] like in Johor and Melaka, they [voters] end up not coming out to vote.

"If we want to win, we can't rely only on our emotions and must look at the facts. Our foundation is indeed strong. But the supporting facts should be clear,” he added.

Ismail Sabri pointed out that BN has lost Selangor in general elections three times in a row, since 2008 — and that it was time to win it back in the next general elections.

The party had 54 of the state’s assembly seats in 2004, but now only has five.

On a separate note, Ismail Sabri said that it was important for BN members to remember that the government of the day has done much good, such as achieving political stability.

He highlighted that the government had gotten the anti-party hopping Bill passed in the Dewan Rakyat, as well as working on a political funding BIll, among other initiatives.

We offered olive branch, but Bersatu, PAS bit our hand: Zahid hits back at Muhyiddin

We offered olive branch, but Bersatu, PAS bit our hand: Zahid hits back at Muhyiddin

‘Big win’ claim if three Malay parties cooperate only hypothetical, says Umno president

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi acknowledges that Umno will have to consider a post-election pact with rival parties in order to form a government, insinuating that his party would not be able to win a simple majority. – The Vibes file pic, July 31, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR – Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has poured cold water on Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s claim that Umno is to be blamed for the failed attempt to form a cooperation with PAS and Bersatu that would have secured a comfortable election victory.

The Umno president instead accused the two political outfits of alleged backstabbing after his party first extended an olive branch to them.

This is following Muhyiddin’s remark yesterday that the three parties would have won comfortably in the coming election if Muafakat Nasional (MN) had been formalised, which Umno objected after initially proposing the idea.

“That is only a hypothesis and fatamorgana (illusion). We once offered an olive branch to both (PAS and Bersatu), but our hand got bitten,” he told a press conference after officiating the Puteri Barisan Nasional (BN) convention, here, today.

“In fact, something was done to our hand to the point of breaking. But we rebuilt our own strength, and Umno and BN will prove this in the election.”

Zahid, however, stopped short of elaborating what he meant by his statement.

Speaking at a Perikatan Nasional event in Terengganu yesterday, Muhyiddin, who is Bersatu president, had said that his party had received an invitation from Umno and PAS to join MN after he became prime minister in 2020.

He said while he agreed to the proposal, this failed to materialise after Umno later rejected the idea.

Muhyiddin added that had MN been formalised, he was convinced the three parties would have been able to secure a two-thirds majority in the coming poll.

On a separate question, Zahid today acknowledged that Umno will have to consider a post-election pact with rival parties in order to form a government, insinuating that his party would not be able to win a simple majority.

“Politics is dynamic. However, it is better if any effort to translate this dynamic (to cooperate with other parties) be done after the election.

“If we form a pre-election cooperation, every party will be claiming they are the stronger one, even though their strength may have diminished.”

He was asked to comment on his speech at the convention earlier, where he said the party should be prepared to adopt a new formula to ensure political stability after the conclusion of the election.

“Put aside any political, racial, and cultural differences. For the sake of the country, we must be colour blind when it comes to politics,” he said. – The Vibes, July 31, 2022

Johor Umno leader accuses Pakatan of manipulating MoU with govt for own political gain

Johor Umno leader accuses Pakatan of manipulating MoU with govt for own political gain

Johor Umno deputy chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed has accused the Pakatan Harapan coalition (PH) of manipulating the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob for its own political benefit. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli

Sunday, 31 Jul 2022 1:04 PM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — Johor Umno deputy chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed has accused the Pakatan Harapan coalition (PH) of manipulating the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob for its own political benefit.

In a Facebook post, the former Pulai MP said that the MoU was supposedly for a political ceasefire, but instead, the PH coalition took the opportunity to attack the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition and its main component party, Umno.

“Today is the last day of the MoU signed on September 13, 2021 between the government and the Opposition. For me, the end of the MoU signifies that the government is free from the shackles of an Opposition that is smart enough to manipulate it for its own political benefit.

“The period of the MoU was supposedly for a political ceasefire, but the Opposition was more fervent in criticising the government that is led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

“I see the Opposition, especially parties in PH, deliberately playing up various issues to undermine Ismail Sabri’s government,” he said.

Nur Jazlan then accused PH of only wanting to extend the MoU to prolong the coalition’s own political life.

“They want to stay in office as MPs and are quite afraid that Ismail Sabri will dissolve Parliament early. The PH leaders seem to already be addicted, addicted to the power and office they had a taste of when they were in government.

“That is why they are trying to manipulate the MoU, to organise a movement to retake Putrajaya in the 15th general election (GE15),” he said.

He described PH leaders as cunning in their ability to manipulate issues to their advantage and created negative perceptions of the government, Umno and BN.

“They know that by leveraging on politicising issues of the people, the ends can justify the means. They have been harping on the issue of subsidies and the rising price of goods to take pot-shots at the government and Umno/BN.

“They even took to the streets to hold demonstrations and flash mobs to make BN a punching bag for political gain,” he said.

He then questioned why PH would only make Umno or BN their targets when there are members of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition in the government.

As a possible answer, he cited two reasons: One being that PH thinks PN is weak and does not see them as a threat, and the second being that the former is leaving the door open for potential cooperation with the latter when GE15 rolls around.

“Maybe they want to change their minds about being cheated by Bersatu. So now, PH only focuses on Umno/BN, whom they know is regaining the trust of the people. PH is afraid because people have no confidence in them after being given the chance to rule for 22 months and failing.

“PH is afraid that the people will punish them, and they will lose badly at GE15. That’s why PH is always trying to attack and weaken Umno/BN. They are trying to create a negative perception of Umno/BN towards the people,” he said.

He then accused PH of abusing the current economic situation and MoU to only attack the government, but in all their criticism, they fail to provide solutions to these issues.

“It’s destructive, and at the same time, they are not helping anything. On the other hand, at the end of the MoU, they demanded Ismail Sabri and the government fulfil all the demands in the MoU.

“PH still wishes to extend the MoU, which is why they are using all sorts of excuses. To the point that the president of PKR and his colleagues in PH want to meet Ismail Sabri to make the claim that some parts of the MoU have not been met by the government.

“They say that there are many more important Bills that need to be enacted, just like Muhyiddin is trying to cash in on the alleged agreement with Ismail Sabri which was not part of the deal,” he said, referring to former prime minister and Bersatu leader Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Muhyiddin first spoke of the contentious Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) deal on July 2, following his meeting with Ismail Sabri. — Picture by Hari Anggara

Muhyiddin first spoke of the contentious Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) deal on July 2, following his meeting with Ismail Sabri, which the former said was to discuss Cabinet appointments, including that of the post of deputy prime minister.

There has been much back and forth on the topic, with the latest being Bersatu secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin saying that the prime minister cannot just push aside the understanding he has with PN after the coalition put its weight to support him to become prime minister.

Nur Jazlan then slammed DAP national chairman Lim Guan Eng’s request to ensure that all state assemblies enact the Anti-Hopping Law before GE15 is held, accusing him of wanting to avoid GE15 being held this year.

“It’s true, now PH has not only failed to become a government, but they have also failed as Opposition, which is the traditional position they have held since the beginning of independence,” he said.

On September 13 last year, the federal government and PH signed the MoU to ink their bipartisan cooperation for the sake of political stability which comprises a Covid-19 plan, administrative transformation, parliamentary reform, judiciary independence, Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the establishment of a steering committee

Ismail Sabri, a vice-president in Umno, was the third person to become prime minister in short succession following Election 2018.

PH’s pick for prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, was forced out of office after some PKR and Bersatu MPs switched sides, leading to PH’s ouster and the installation of Muhyiddin in 2020.

As part of the deal, Ismail Sabri offered a list of parliamentary and government administration reforms in exchange for support.

He said the government would table an anti-party hopping Bill, which if passed, would prevent politicians elected on one party’s platform from defecting to another party.

Other proposals included ensuring equal membership in parliamentary special committees for both government and opposition lawmakers and granting the Opposition leader the same remuneration and amenities as a minister.

Umno lawmakers have been calling for an early GE15 following what they claim is the “expiry” of the MoU, which is supposed to happen today.

But clarifications from both sides of the political divide have insisted that the MoU will only expire when Parliament is dissolved, with July 31 being the agreed upon date by its signatories before which a general election would not be called.

Tasik Chini risks losing Unesco status, according to report

Tasik Chini risks losing Unesco status, according to report

Years of rampant mining and logging along its shores have poisoned the waters at Tasik Chini and stripped away swathes of natural habitat. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has just two months to inform Unesco on how it plans to nurse Tasik Chini and its surrounding areas back to health, or risk having the site stripped of its biosphere reserve status.

According to Unesco’s first periodical review of the lake released recently, Tasik Chini no longer meets the criteria to be part of their World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR).

However, Unesco has given the Malaysian authorities until Sept 30 to inform the world body on how it plans to nurse Tasik Chini and its surrounding wetlands back to health.

Otherwise, the site will be stripped of its biosphere status, according to a special report in the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

The Hong Kong-based daily said the freshwater lake, Malaysia’s second largest, and its surrounding wetlands were recognised by Unesco in 2009 as the country’s first “biosphere reserve” – sites where sustainable development is supposed to be practised to protect their fragile ecosystems.

“Tasik Chini occupies a special place in Malaysia’s national psyche. Steeped in legend, the vast body of water in central Pahang is rumoured to contain an ancient sunken city, and be inhabited by a mythical “dragon god” that makes its home among the watery depths,” it said.

“But Tasik Chini is now in danger of losing that status, after years of rampant mining and logging along its shores have poisoned the water and stripped away swathes of natural habitat.”

Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman, a field officer for Friends of the Earth Malaysia, said its warnings about the lake were repeatedly ignored by the Pahang state government, which did not reply to the group’s letters or return their phone calls.

“That was until Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah, the current regent of Pahang, made a surprise visit to the lake in June last year and decreed that its surrounding forest reserve should be expanded to 9,147ha from the previous 6,922ha and all mining operations should cease.

“Since then, we have been officially invited to several tree replanting efforts, which have been plentiful recently,” he told SCMP.

The daily added that there seemed to be no coordination with the forestry department and the land office both acting independently of each other, and decisions being made by people “who are far away”.

Mushrifah Idris, a former head of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s (UKM) Tasik Chini Research Centre, was one of many environmentalists sounding the alarm on the lake’s degraded state as far back as 2019, according to SCMP.

“But the authorities showed little interest in doing anything until recently, after it emerged that Unesco was considering stripping the site of its status,” it said.

The daily said Mushrifah was instrumental, as leader of the research centre, to Tasik Chini being listed by the United Nation’s heritage agency in the first place. And she remains hopeful that the years of neglect and damage can be reversed.

“Rehabilitation, restoration, and conservation is never too late, but it takes a while,” she said.

Vape traders claim Khairy misled them on GEG

Vape traders claim Khairy misled them on GEG

Vape industry players have been clamouring for regulations.

PETALING JAYA: Local vape industry players have claimed health ministry Khairy Jamaluddin pressured and misled them into supporting the Generational End Game (GEG) to ban tobacco and vape products for those born after 2007.

Industry leaders claim that they were presented with an ultimatum from Khairy at recent meetings. FMT has reached out to Khairy’s office and the health ministry for comment.

Samsul Kamal Ariffin, president of the Malaysian Organisation of Vape Entity, is among those who claimed Khairy put them under pressure when he spoke at a gathering with other industry people on Friday.

Samsul said he and a few others in the industry had been asked to meet Khairy earlier this month. At the first meeting, Khairy allegedly told them to ask their peers to support the GEG as it was the only way to get vape regulations in place.

Samsul Kamal Ariffin.

He alleged that Khairy said the government would impose a ban on vape if there was no industry support for GEG.

The GEG is being realised through the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill, which is scheduled to be debated on Tuesday at the Dewan Rakyat.

Those who contravene the act face a maximum compound of RM50, according to Khairy.

The bill also provides for enforcement officers to open any baggage or container and examine tobacco or substitute tobacco products and smoking devices, without a warrant.

Meanwhile, another vape industry person who attended the meeting with Khairy and ministry officials on July 21, said people in the industry were shocked when the bill was tabled on Friday.

“Khairy told us that the health ministry wanted a ban on vape and that officially, it could not recognise tobacco harm reduction measures,” the source told FMT.

Several countries like the United Kingdom and New Zealand have adopted harm-reduction strategies including promoting the use of vape as a less harmful alternative to cigarettes.

The source said Khairy said regulations on vaping were needed as many smokers had switched to vaping and a lack of regulations would cause people to turn to black market products.

“Khairy said that he came under fire from health groups when he said he intended to regulate vaping. “He said, ‘I have to give them something, and that is GEG; without GEG they won’t support (vape regulations).”

According to the source, Khairy said he needed the support from the vape industry on GEG. He said the details on vaping regulations could be worked out after the bill was passed.

“But we were shocked when the bill was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat. It is nowhere near what he had told us.” Vape products had been lumped together with cigarettes, contrary to what Khairy had said, and the act of possession, use and sale was made an offence.

“Vape and cigarettes are two very different products, something Khairy acknowledges. Why talk about different regulations when he is trying to bulldoze a law that treats vape like cigarettes?” the source said.

“The fines and punishments listed in the bill are so heavy. Khairy said the maximum compound would be RM50, but that’s not what is listed in the bill.”

The source said more transparency and stakeholder engagement was needed before any law is brought to the Dewan Rakyat.

Why discriminate against non-Malays under matriculation system?

Why discriminate against non-Malays under matriculation system?

From P Ramasamy

The country’s pre-university matriculation system, which had been dormant for two years as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, is back again as a highly-controversial issue.

It is believed that more than 200 straight-As Indian students were denied entrance and were hardly given the required time to appeal.

The nonsensical racial quota of 90% admission for Bumiputras is still in operation.

This means that good and qualified Indian and Chinese students have little opportunity to enter into the matriculation programme this year.

Students coming from well-to-do families have the chance to go overseas. However, such a luxury is not within the grasp of poor non-Malay students.

Of course, they have the option of pursuing their pre-university two-year Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM), a more difficult programme compared with the pre-university matriculation.

While the STPM examination answers are graded under a centralised regimented system, the students in the matriculation programme are graded or evaluated on the basis of classroom performance.

In fact, there is really no comparison between these two pre-university programmes.

Academically, STPM is far superior to the matriculation programme.

In fact, very few Malays with good Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) results will ever want to enroll themselves in the STPM programme.

Why would they want to when the matriculation programme has been tailor-made for them.

Originally, the matriculation system was meant for Malays. It was a pure, undiluted racist set up.

It was just another way to enforce institutional racism in the education system.

However, as a result of demands from the public and parents, non-Malay students were gradually admitted into the matriculation system with an admission quota of 10%.

This was hardly sufficient to address the demand for more non-Malays to be admitted.

Even though the STPM programme was a solid one, however, its long duration, its inflexibility, the development of other pre-university programmes and others have rendered it less attractive and cumbersome.

Due to the two years of movement control order (MCO) imposed as a result of the pandemic, there was hardly any direct admission of students.

I am not sure if there were students who took online courses to qualify themselves for university entrance. But, the controversy of the intake was somewhat kept within control.

Things have now returned to normalcy with the admission of students under the matriculation system.

As a result, racism has reared its ugly head in excluding non-Malay students on the grounds of a nonsensical racial quota.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob should stop all his talk of Malaysia as one family if the matriculation system continues with the current practice.

Given the dateline set for the appeals, MIC and MCA have now awakened from their slumber to seek personal favours in the admission of students on the basis of their appeals.

The time has come for the matriculation system to be opened up for all Malaysians.

If the system cannot be abandoned, then a new system should be put in place to cater for all the races in the country.

It is without question that the admission of students must go beyond the narrow and myopic concerns of race and religion.

Education is not about passing examinations, but about opening up the minds of the young to the plural and cosmopolitan nature of the world we live in.

It serves no purpose to harp mechanically on the theme of “Keluarga Malaysia” but yet at the same time sow the seeds of racial and religious hatred.

Let the matriculation system not be used to punish and humiliate the innocent non-Malay students.

How can a country punish its own citizens by denying entry into a pre-university programme just because they were born as Chinese or Indians.

P Ramasamy is Penang deputy chief minister II.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

DAP’s musical chairs for the Malays

Another post from my "old" matey, Helen Ang who BTW hates both DAP and kaytee, wakakaka, but don't allow that to stop you from reading her masterpiece (obtained from The Mole)

DAP’s musical chairs for the Malays

Written by Syndicated News


July 28, 2022

“Human personalities must not be seen in pure black and white but in different shades of grey,” declared Lim Kit Siang in his July 18 media statement.

And we know that DAP strictly instructs its voter base on which tone – among the 50 shades of grey – any particular human personality is to be perceived.

“Every person is capable of change for the better, added Kit Siang in the same statement.

And we know too that DAP told its Chinese grassroots that Mahathir was “a changed man” and that he had indeed ubah for the better.

DAP lied.

In his follow-up statement three days later on July 21, Kit Siang said “there are Malaysians who cannot differentiate right from wrong and seem to regard corruption and the 1MDB scandal as something honourable”.

We know that DAP has arrogated itself the supreme arbiter of right and wrong in Malaysia, and 95 percent of the Chinese endorse the party’s moral judgment on rightness and wrongness.

According to Kit Siang, the ‘Malu Apa Bossku’ campaign is “promoting the immoral concept that political leaders need not have moral standards of honesty, probity, and accountability”.

In other words, Kit Siang is here implying that Najib is immoral, dishonest, corrupt and not being held accountable for his actions. Elsewhere Kit Siang has labeled Najib a “kleptocrat”.

Yet regardless, Kit Siang has repeatedly said he is willing to work with Najib.

So how, actually?

DAP views Malay leaders like musical chairs — can work with PAS, can work with KuLi (S46), can work with Anwar, can work with Mahathir, can work with Muhyiddin, can work with Shafie, can work with Najib, can work with Mahathir again …

This super flexibility of the evangelist party is practically Orwellian. DAP lurches from a bad-good-bad, all-in-one Malay leader to another like scenes from the dystopian novel 1984.

In the DAP game of musical chairs, one day PAS is a ‘friend’ and the next day the Islamist party and its president are mortal enemies; one day Mahathir is Gandalf the Grey and the next day he is Saruman the White.

DAP is always ‘changing’ — prepared to work with just anybody. The revolving door party has no fixed moral compass pointing true north.

But of course DAP will persuade the Chinese that it is only doing its dizzying u-turns “for the good of the country” and to Save Malaysia Baru Terbaru.

In fact, DAP can flip its political allegiance of the moment as easily as Pak Ramli flips a burger.

Case in point: DAP views Najib as a kleptocrat but was nonetheless willing to work with him in the run-up to GE14 (referring to Kit Siang’s 2016 offer) if such a cooperation could get DAP to Putrajaya in order for the evangelical party to Save Malaysia.

DAP still vehemently maintains that Najib is a kleptocrat but the party is nonetheless willing to work with the Umno-Najib faction post GE15 (referring to Kit Siang’s recent 2022 offer, and the ‘Morning After’ strategy indicated below by Anthony Loke) if such a cooperation could return DAP to Putrajaya in order for the evangelical party to Save Malaysia once more but with a caveat (only on Kit Siang’s condition that Najib first condemns “the 1MDB scandal”).

Yup, DAP will do anything to Save Malaysia.

The evangelical party has said a lot of damming things previously about Mahathir but DAP was nonetheless willing to work with the old man in 2018 because DAP needed a ‘horse’ to ride to Putrajaya in order for them to Save Malaysia together from Najib.

‘Bersih’ means DAP putting Mahathir through the laundry to cleanse him and remove past dirty stains.

Chinese in Malaysia are really colour-blind sheeple. Hence they need DAP to tell them whether to treat such-and-such current Malay leader as a white knight, a blackguard or someone fluctuating in the grey zone.

For earlier general elections, DAP chose to whiten Anwar’s reputation — telling the party’s Chinese base that Saudara Anwar is quite ubah-ed from the firebrand Islamist of his Abim days.

Then for the 2018 general election, DAP took on the formidable task of whitening Mahathir’s reputation among the Chinese community.

The talented DAP possesses a remarkable ability to gradient colour any object or subject so that its obedient party followers will behold the successfully rehabilitated Malay politician as someone yang sudah diBersih-sucikan.

Whereas DAP made Anwar and Mahathir look whiter and whiter in Chinese eyes, DAP at the same time made PAS look blacker and blacker in the same Chinese eyes.

When PAS was in Pakatan Rakyat in the late 2000s, the party appeared in the lightest shade of tinkling silver grey to the Chinese. At that time c.2008 and the 12th general election, DAP was working with PAS to Save Malaysia.

When Pakatan Rakyat morphed into Pakatan Harapan in the early 2010s, PAS assumed a darker shade of smoky grey in Chinese eyes. At that time c.2013 and the 13th general election, DAP was working with PAS to super Save Malaysia but having some years of troubled relationship behind both parties.

And after 2015 when PAS was kicked out of the opposition coalition, the Islamist party assumed a charcoal grey hue among 95 percent of Chinese lookers on.

Hence Kit Siang’s recent reminder that human personalities must be seen in different shades of grey or seen as white if DAP so dictates.

c.2018 and the 14th general election, DAP decided it did not need PAS any more to Save Malaysia as they’d already got Mahathir who suddenly became the Chinese’s shining knight on a flying horse.

DAP had helped the nonagenarian’s change of colour to white making PM2.0 as clean and pure as driven snow.

PAS on the other hand is now being viewed as black by the DAP and Dapsters.

So, for the coming polls, DAP is warning the Chinese that PAS poses a threat to our supposed secularism.

But this ostensible fear of PAS’s Islamic state does not seem to dampen the enthusiasm of DAP’s colourful non-Muslim women for wearing tudung.

Britain’s trains disrupted in second widespread strike in a week

al Jazeera:

Britain’s trains disrupted in second widespread strike in a week

The 24-hour walkout is the second industrial action this week since another 40,000 workers staged a nationwide strike on Wednesday.

About 5,000 British railway workers have staged a new walkout, a month after the largest strike in 30 years [File: Carlos Jasso/AFP]
Published On 30 Jul 202230 Jul 2022

About 5,000 railway workers across almost a quarter of Britain’s network have gone on strike as part of a campaign for higher pay after the country’s inflation rate hit its highest in 40 years.

The 24-hour walkout on Saturday is the second industrial action this week after another 40,000 workers staged a nationwide strike on Wednesday.

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The strike, organised by train drivers’ union ASLEF, was expected to cause “significant disruption” on Sunday morning as well, according to Network Rail, which runs Britain’s rail infrastructure.

Almost all services on seven of the country’s 34 train operators were cancelled, including regional networks for southeast and eastern England as well as long-distance lines linking London with southwest England, northeast England and Edinburgh.

Soaring inflation and patchy wage rises have exacerbated labour tensions across sectors including postal services, health, schools, airports and the judiciary.

Britain’s train services are mostly run on a for-profit basis by foreign state-owned rail companies which receive short-term contracts and operating subsidies from the government. Those subsidies ballooned as passengers stayed home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan said the franchise agreements typically only provided for two percent pay rises for drivers.

“At this time of the cost of living crisis we believe this Catch-22 situation can’t go on,” Whelan told BBC radio.

Steve Montgomery, managing director of rail operator First Rail and chair of the industry-wide Rail Delivery Group, said operators would give bigger pay rises only if train drivers agreed to changes in working practices that would save money.

“We’re not saying to people ‘work longer hours’, but to be more productive within the hours they currently have,” he said.

ASLEF plans to hold another one-day strike on August 13.

Wednesday’s strike was organised by the RMT and TSSA unions, which represent other rail staff.

Britain’s consumer price inflation is currently 9.4 percent, the highest among the Group of Seven (G7) economies.

Millions of workers – including police, doctors and teachers – received below-inflation pay rises as part of an annual pay review for public-sector staff.

Ministers have warned of the danger of a wage-price spiral, while unions have demanded bigger raises for their members.

In June, about 40,000 cleaners, signallers, maintenance workers and station staff held a first 24-hour strike, which marked the biggest collective action in decades.


Who can take on Penang’s 'James Bond'?

The Star:

Who can take on Penang’s 'James Bond'?

Joceline Tan

Who can take on Penang's James Bond? NOT many media people were able to make it to the Penang DAP media night but the party leaders who attended lived up to the movie-themed dinner. 

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow turned up in a tuxedo and those present only caught on that “James Bond” had arrived when he drew out his gun or rather a piece of wood in the shape of a weapon. 

It was quite a cute moment. 

But the costume of the night belonged to “Phua Chu Kang” aka Phee Boon Poh. 

Phee, who is Sungai Puyu assemblyman and a state exco member, looked perfect in his curly wig, shirt dangling over his trousers and the famous yellow boots. 

Moreover, Phee, like Puah Chu Kang, is a Mr Fix-it kind of man and his team had been among the first to help out in Baling the day after the big floods.

Relations between the Chief Minister’s office and the media have improved thanks to Chow’s personality and political style. 

He regards the media as a “strategic partner” and this has percolated down to his staff unlike in previous years when a press secretary was allowed to issue arrogant press statements littered with sarcastic and even nasty remarks about the press. 

Chow, unlike secret agent 007, does not have a licence to kill but his chief rival, Barisan Nasional, is still searching high and low for a chief minister candidate. 

Barisan election chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, who is on a countrywide tour to ramp up the election machinery, told a recent Penang gathering that it was not impossible to defeat DAP. 

But he was stumped when asked to name a potential chief minister candidate. 

Sin Chew Daily took it a step further and asked in a blazing red headline: “Will there be a Malay CM in Penang this round?” 

It is evident the Chinese media in Penang does not regard any of the current Chinese leaders in Barisan or Perikatan Nasional to be up to par. 

“Should Barisan be bold enough to announce its CM candidate and if it is not from MCA, then MCA will be trounced not only in Penang, but elsewhere in the country,” said Sin Chew Daily columnist Jeff Ooi, who was recently named Penang Warisan chairman. 

The Opposition will go to town that the Chinese are being subverted by Umno. 

“That will be the silver bullet the Opposition is looking for. The CM post in Penang is the last remaining Chinese bastion,” said Ooi. 

It would be like the Penang government’s south island reclamation scheme which affects a few hundred Malay fishermen but is perceived among Malays as the DAP-led government not caring for the Malay community. 

How crucial is it to have a chief minister candidate? 

After all, Pakatan Harapan swept to power in so many states in 2018 without committing to who would be in charge. 

But those were whirlwind victories. Voters then were so fed-up that they were willing to go for broke whereas Chow’s government is currently in a sort of comfort zone. 

It is not terribly outstanding but it is not bogged down by controversies with the exception of the undersea tunnel scandal which has damaged DAP’s image. 

However, the undersea tunnel debacle is not Chow’s baby but that of the former chief minister. 

The chief minister post, said a Penang lawyer, will always be an issue for the Chinese each and every election. 

Penang MCA chairman Datuk Tan Teik Cheng ought to have been the choice by virtue of his position. 

He is down-to-earth, connects well with the common people and even opposition supporters seek him out for help. His humble beginnings denied him the opportunity of education but his son is a lawyer. 

He is the typical grassroots type of leader whom the intelligentsia often mock as “longkang politicians” because they love being photographed pointing and peering at drains and potholes. 

Ordinary voters actually like this type of politician but Tan is certainly not chief minister material. 

Many of the Penang MCA division leaders date back to when the party was wiped out in 2008. They need to go, they can no longer be repackaged or recycled.

“MCA must apply the Johor and Melaka formula to have new and young election candidates in Penang,” said former MCA assemblyman Ooi Chuan Aik. 

On the other hand, Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Dominic Lau was recently named Perikatan Nasional chairman for Penang, placing him front and centre as the chief minister candidate. 

On paper, Lau has the qualifications to be chief minister. He has a PhD, is a certified Blue Ocean Strategy consultant and has done well in his field. 

But he has zero political acumen and Gerakan, which used to attract well-educated and moderate people, has been eclipsed by PKR, the only genuinely multi-racial party in the country. 

“Political power in Penang is still very much about what the Chinese want. Things could be better but my take is that the Chinese will go for the status quo, change is not on their mind. 

“Do they want another Lim Guan Eng? I think they will go with Chow. He has been able to hold the fort and keep things going, he is not divisive or nasty,” said a wealthy industrialist from Penang.

Most important of all, racial tensions in Penang have cooled down under Chow’s tenure.