Monday, 31 August 2009

A Cry in the Dark

Like many others I have written on the issue of the cow head incident. The episode has reached all round condemnation. Unchecked, the condemnations and our own approbation can lead to generalisations such as categorising ALL Malays are like that. Once it has reached that level, the danger is that genuine and legitimate fears and anguish of the Malays are trivialised and worse, ignored. I hope it will not. Our empathy can also cause a lynch mob atmosphere and extinguish a legitimate cry in the dark.

I have personal knowledge that the PM is very concerned about this and has directed the police to investigate and take appropriate action. If the instigators were from UMNO, the application of the law will not be any relaxed if the act was carried out by non UMNO members. He is personally disgusted at any attempts by anyone or group seeking out to disparage the religion of others. He has complete empathy with those at the receiving end. Let us not doubt his sincerity over this issue.

Barely half an hour ago, at the beginning of my sahur, I got this comment in response to the essay I wrote on the subject. I have reproduced it here because, to me, this sounds like a cry in the dark. It is an expression of grief as well as anguish at a sense of powerlessness.

If the PM reads these comments he must know that his 1Malaysia needs to assuage and comfort the feelings of the Malays while at the same time giving as much latitude for constitutional rights of others. Both have legitimacy and are equally defensible.


 

Anonymous said...

dt sak,,

i dont know why but i cried when people make so much noise about this demonstration.

issue here is when it comes to MALAYS RIGHT,, we are called racist,and so many other name.

kuil,babi,arak,judi are things untouchable issue to other races but to when they demand everything that is our birth right,, we are made to look acist,stupid,backward and whatnot..ever wonder why kandang babi never built in their community but near malay kampung also,, orang kampung tak buat bising pun..always being told to sabar

now they want to built their temple at our doorstep, is it wrong to protest.why can we protest,its our right too to voice our anger and frustration..other races protest at the slightest issue concerning their community, remember issue like azan (disturbing them they said,, mind you their dog bark at all times near our community),songkok issue,baju kurung,baju melayu.WHY CANT WE PROTEST.

Like the chinese newspaper branding utusan melayu so many names but what they said about us in their newspaper and blog are worst.we keep quite too.

you know, we malays have feeling too.jangan sampai kita orang melayu lupa diri dan pegangan sehingga kita kabur apa yang perlu kita lakukan

31 August 2009 05:00

I want to remind myself and others, while we be repulsed by and indeed have expressed our disgust at the patently insensitive and inappropriate expression of hurt and insecurity of the Malays, we must not go overboard as to treat our compassion as though it is a requiem on the legitimate hopes and despair of the Malays.

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Sunday, 30 August 2009

The Cow Head and the herd mentality.






The cow head incident.

This incident is the most talked about presently. A group of people, after performing Friday prayers, marched to the government secretariat building with a severed cow head. The object of their volatile outpouring is the relocation of a Hindu temple from section 19 to section 23. The cow head is severed. It was bloody. Protesters held it by the horns and carried the grisly object from the mosque to the secretariat building. Along the way, they shouted God is Great. Inflammatory speeches were made by the ring leaders of the cow head march. One Ibrahim Ismail gave a very incendiary speech. The sun was high. It was very hot. Some people kicked the cow head. It was shown on YouTube.

Section 23 is a part within the sprawling suburb of Shah Alam. The majority of people staying in section 23 as in Shah Alam are Malays. They are also Muslims. They are God Fearing people and good Muslims. If the protesters are residents of section 23, they have shown themselves as 'better' Muslims that their brethren in section 19. They are teaching the section 19 residents how to be good Muslims.

The temple in section 19 is very close to people's residence. You can open the doors of your house, and the Hindu temple is in front of your doorsteps. Yet the people of section 19 have shown uncharacteristic restraint and exemplary patience. Has that got anything to do with the fact, that the government in power during the time when people of sec 19 were being very patient and tolerant was the BN government? Now that the present government is no longer BN, all maters must be resolved instantly otherwise the government can be overthrown?

See the context? Section 19 temple= during BN rule. Section 23 temple= PR rule. So the cow head protest is not only aimed at creating a climate of fear for Hindu worshipers but also as reason perhaps to dispose of the PR government unconstitutionally. Indeed the ringleader of the cow head demonstrators said, the severed cow head wasn't meant to insult the Hindus religion. It was meant to show that leaders of the PR government in Selangor are stupid like cows. Ah ha- the object of his desire is to kick out the legitimately elected government! This cow head demo is therefore just cannon to the political fodder.

Ala Tuan, I think Malaysians have had enough of despatching of governments through contrived unconstitutional means. You take over and form governments through constitutional elections. As a direct threat to the sovereignty and supremacy of the law in Malaysia, this threat must be met directly in no uncertain terms. The police must enforce the law without any further delay. Arrest all those culprits and bring them to deal with the law. This action will only serve to increase the credibility deficit of the BN government especially that of UMNO's.

The severed cow head is symbolic of what? To the Hindus a cow is a sacred animal. Can we infer from the severed cow head, that this dismembered anatomy of a cow, is meant to send ominous signals to the Indian/Hindu community?

If that is so, there is only one option which the PM has. Instruct the police to arrest all those involved and placed them under ISA. All right thinking Malaysians cannot condone and tolerate such blatant racist superciliousness. I am shocked beyond disbelief that the OCPD of Shah Alam said; the situation was too volatile for them to interfere. If I am being wicked, can I take it to mean the police were scared?

Let us be clear yes- this is a relocation not building a new one. Even if it involves the building of a new one, if the request is reasonable, we can't unreasonably withhold our approval. I am sure the PR government of Selangor operates on a similar basis. Unless of course the temple at section 19 was built on illegal land or a TOL land of which permanent title has been refused. No permanent building can be built on TOL land anyway. Since the temple there which was built on titled land, is to be demolished, it is fair that a new location for building replacement be given. Hence an area in section 23. The trustees of the temple and Hindus can refuse relocation if they want and bring the matter to court. I think we must recognise and appreciate this giving spirit.

Isn't the relocation of the temple, the core request asked and hoped for by the majority of Malay Muslims there? I understand in section 19, the location of the Hindu kovil is vey near people's residences such that you can literally open your doors and you immediately face the kovil.

I urge all Muslims to examine the new location. I understand it is on industrial land quite a distance from houses. This distance should accord more comfort than if the temple is unmoved from section 19. I think this is a fair deal. Those in section 19 who don't feel comfortable about being so near a temple should find relief that now the temple will be moved to section 23 and a bit farther from houses.

Therefore if we were to approach this issue with a sense of level headedness, then the cow head incident should not have taken place at all.

That it has taken place, suggests that it is the work of saboteurs and provocateurs out to make political capital of simmering racial uneasiness and create social havoc. If PAS members were involved, the party should take action against them. If PKR members were involved, they will have to face the music too.

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Saturday, 29 August 2009

To Cane or Not To Cane- that is the question now.

Obviously when I wrote an essay titled Philistines and Pharisees, many people forgot and made light of my experience as an ex ADUN in Pahang. During that term I was able to see first hand how government departments function. That included the operations of religious authorities. Accordingly, I know their capacities and limitations. There are very good and righteous people there. But very often, their enthusiasm in carrying their duties is a case of the sprit willing, the body isn't.

Their limitations include the political and social and cultural contexts within which they operate. So I say once again, I do not make light when I speak of religion from a certain aspect of which I am familiar with (the implementation and action). Saya faham akan keterbatasan persekitaran dan linkungan dalam mana institusi perlaksanaan agama Islam beroperasi. Maka saya menyeru, apabila kita membuat teguran jangan lah segera naik angin dan menuduh kita yang mempunyai pandangan berbeza memusushi Islam.

When I wrote my first essay on this issue, it produced many very agitated comments. Ini biasa- those who feel they are a little bit more religious will judge others as less accomplished. One day, I may want to share my experience moving among the faithful when I served as information chief to the PM a few years back when I brought the practice of Ratib Haddad into mosques and musallas in Pekan. If I were to be judgmental, I would be able to say, without exception, those I met to be very religious in their appearances were really paper tigers. Tapi ini bulan puasa, saya tak mahu cakap lah. Saya pun tak mahu di cap sebagai VS Naipaul.

There was even one who asked me not to comment on religious issue in this holy month of Ramadan. Yes sir, I understand the suggestive insinuations there. I am ready to admit my knowledge in these sublime matters of Islamic laws is meagre. Tapi jangan jadikan itu sebagai alasan tidak boleh bertarbiyah dengan hikmah yek? Elsewhere, most other commentators decried what they saw as my attempt in taking this issue lightly. I assure you I am not. I have responded so in my comments section.

If I were to write that essay using a fountain pen, the ink has not even dried up, when the Pahang religious authorities made a volte face. It was reported thus:-

Everything seemed set for her punishment when she was scheduled for caning on Monday at Kajang prison. But Pahang Religious Department officers made a literal U-turn after picking her up at her house and returned her 45 minutes later after stopping by the roadside for 40 minutes.


Ap sudah jadi? The convicted wants to be caned up and she was on the way to Kajang prison to be whipped when the above took place. The moral police got cold feet or what? Where has the holier than thou admonitions disappeared? I also noted that the caning was to be done in Kajang prison. We do not know whether these people in Kajang prison are trained in Islamic caning as prescribed by the laws of Pahang; I think it is safe for me to assume that the caning will be carried out by experienced buttock caners trained in the civil law punishments. If that is so, then the photographs which I included in my posting here are reflective of the type of caning that is going to be given.

But there is another thing I find disturbing. The offence took place in Pahang, sentence was passed in Pahang, but the punishment in Selangor? Apa hal? Pahang hasn't got anyone to cane people kah? As my learned blogging friend, dongtalk said, ini tak payah pakar. Kasi malu Pahang sahaja. Orang yang tak pakar pun takde kah? The procedures to be followed are as follows:-

Alat sebatan yang digunakan hendaklah diperbuat dari rotan atau ranting kecil pokok yang tiada ruas atau buku dan panjangnya tidak melebihi 1.22 meter dan tebalnya tidak melebihi 1.25 sentimeter. Kalau pesalah itu hamil, hukuman itu hendaklah dilaksanakan selepas 2 bulan dia melahirkan anaknya.
Pesalah hendaklah diperiksa tahap kesihatannya oleh Pegawai Kesihatan Kerajaan sebelum hukuman tersebut boleh dijalankan.
Hukuman sebat itu hendaklah dengan kehadiran Pegawai Perubatan Kerajaan.
Sebatan tidak boleh kena muka, kepala, perut, dada atau bahagian sulit.
Pesalah lelaki disebat berdiri manakala perempuan dalam keadaan duduk
Sebatan hendaklah dijalankan dengan kekuatan sederhana iaitu tukang sebat itu tanpa mengangkat tangannya melebihi kepala supaya tidak melukakan kulit pesalah. Jika semasa perlaksanaan hukuman sebab itu Pegawai Perubatan Kerajaan memperakui bahawa pesalah itu tidak lagi dapat menerima sebatan, sebatan itu hendaklah ditangguhkan sehingga Pegawai Perubatan Kerajaan itu memperakukan bahawa pesalah itu sihat tubuh badannya untuk menjalani baki sebatan yang tinggal.
Selepas mengenakan satu sebatan, tukang sebat hendaklah mengangkat alat sebatan itu ke atas dan tidak menariknya.Semasa disebat, pesalah hendaklah memakai pakaian menurut Hukum Syarak.

The way the procedures are put, make them very meticulous and it will require the presence of very learned men to supervise the caning. Certainly the procedures described above are the product of meticulous, refined and sublime thinking. I fully agree they are NOT the product of barbaric slush and sloshing of the mind.

Only that I asked whether they will have the resolve to carry out this form of punishment once it becomes precedent. If the shariah judge hasn't applied his thinking cap on this aspect before sentencing, he must do the honourable thing- resign. How can I get justice from a judge who is flip flopping? Now I know, why my religious grandfather (God Bless his soul) taught us that di akhirat, mereka yang masuk neraka dahulu ialah ulamak terutama ulamak yang kerja dengan keajaan.

So I am asking the shariah judge whether he has the spiritual resolve to stick to his guns and insist that the lashings must take place against a moral turpitude such as drinking beer. .

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Friday, 28 August 2009

Responding to Anwar’s Ngajat?


Anwar's Ngajat?


Neutralising Anwar Ibrahim's Ngajat overtures! That's the only rationale I see behind Idris Jala's appointment.

In 1975 when I was in 6th form at SABS Kuantan, my Economics teacher, Mr Tan Kee Chow, gave us one of the most practical adages. If you borrow RM500, 000 you are at the mercy of the bank. But if you borrow RM500 million, the bank is at your mercy. It couldn't be truer these days. Present day Translation: - If you want to make a mistake, make a gigantic and noisy one. You will get promoted to minister.

What KPI will Idris Jala be implementing? His record at MAS is a very much overhyped one. Losses are masqueraded behind balance sheet cleansing. MAS'' assets are sold for a song. MAS will be having no assets at all. But he has been regarded as the best CEO money can buy. Who does this assessment? The vadey eating Nor Yaakob. Isn't he the one the last time who paralysed Bank Negara with gargantuan losses in the currency market? He made it to finance minister and now heads the EPU. He is now the stumbling block to the proposal by a group to take over road toll concessionaires. Helo mister, that's RM50 billion into the government's coffers. Wang masuk lah, bukan wang keluar.

The only rationale I see with Jala's appointment is Sarawak politics. He is a dayak- Pak Lah thought he was a Muslim and got his chance of becoming MAS CEO. In Sarawak, the survival of BN hinges upon dayak support who form the majority group. After years of neglect and sidelined, Idris Jala's appointment is perhaps a big consolation to soothe things out. It is hoped by this appointment, dayak support to the BN will be secured. I hear Anwar Ibrahim is already learning to do the ngajat dance.

But it can also be seen as an excuse to kick out this dayak from slashing and burning MAS further.

The government's KPI now is winning the trust of the people immediately. Its KPI is key groups targeting. Its KPI is bringing immediate benefits to the lumpenproletariat who don't give a hoot about the 30% quota requirements, or hak here and hak there. The younger generation is repelled by UMNO's positions-for-thievery political philosophy. The younger generation is a thinking public. It is now thinking, for what practical purpose is the appointment of a person responsible for hoodwinking the public that MAS is profitable made?

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Caning for educational purposes(update)








I suppose the above are not the caning approved by shariah laws although the above are the acts of canings in Muslim countries.

I have just read two superb articles regarding the above issue that should also be read by others. One is by a lawyer who blogs under the name snakebite. see his take here. I think this is good caveat. The other one is written by Zaid Ibrahim which i think is a very clear-headed analysis. Read his take here. Ye lah, jangan kita anggap yang mempunyai tanggapan dan pandangan yang berlainan sebagai musuh Islam.


I have to make clear my stand on this issue. This issue caught the attention of many quite a way back as it happened in Cherating about 30 minutes drive from Kuantan towards Kemaman. I have not commented on this issue at all preferring to stay away from legal intricacies which are not my cup of tea.

Yesterday morning I posted a short essay commenting on the issue. I did not question in any way the jurisdiction or the capacity of the shariah courts in administering this form of punishment. I am concerned however on whether when this punishment becomes a precedent; they will be able to execute the same punishment without fear or favour.

To my mind, there is no difference in practice whether the caning meted out is the Islamic way or civil way as the wrongdoer is willing to accept the punishment. So, to her it is academic whether the caning is to be done in way A or B. The fact is she will be caned and a certain part of her anatomy will taste rotan. The pain will not be any lesser even if it's called Islamic and for educational purposes.

The way as to how it is done and the requirements under the administration of Islamic laws in Pahang has been written succinctly by my blogger friend Dongtalk, here. Nothing needs to be added to supplant its clarity. However, may I add, this is only the theoretical part. We may be interested also to read the blogger Art Harun's take here. Coincidentally both are law graduates. Dongtalk is a former magistrate and Art Harun I believe is a practising lawyer.

Readers may want to share some pictures about how caning is carried out. Bear in mind that this form of caning is for educational purposes.

Personally, the irony of the statement 'caning for educational purposes' doesn't escape me. Since the lower social groups are generally uneducated, they must be educated. The privileged groups are assumed to be educated, hence no caning is necessary. Perhaps, this explains the paradox as to why punishments of this kind seemed to target a particular socio-economic group.

I support the caning as not only it conforms to the edicts of Shariah laws but the person caned will also want to see, whether in future, all offenders for the same wrong will be dealt the same. 'All' means, Pharisees and philistines, more Islamic and less Islamic, good and bad believers. This probably explains her willingness to undergo the punishment. In the name of justice, I hope this punishment will be applied across the board.





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Thursday, 27 August 2009

Pharisees and Philistines, Believers and Non-Believers


The Pahang religious authorities insist on the caning of the model caught out drinking beer. They are only implementing the word of God. That makes them emissaries of God's spoken words. All right thinking Muslims will not quarrel with this righteous stand.

If the lady in question doesn't want to appeal, that's up to her. She will receive her punishment in due course. She will know that with each stroke, part of the skin and flesh will be taken out. They will leave permanent scars. I was told that when men convicts get caned, they passed out and the severity of the pain causes permanent damage to their reproductive capabilities. It is probable then, Kartika Sari Sukarno will be barren for the rest of her life.

If the Pahang government insists in remaining a puritan state, it is entirely their decision. This punishment will make Pahang the most Islamic of the states in Malaysia. A few years back, I was amused to hear the then Menteri Besar of Kedah, Sanusi Junid (a favourite of mine for his zany but practical ideas) claimed that Kedah is more Islamic than Kelantan. In Kedah, even married couple can be caught for close proximity (khalwat). Sorry Tan Sri, Dato' Sri Adnan who is your admirer has outdone you.

But I would also like to see the Pahang religious authorities be consistent and steadfast and uncompromising in the application of God's laws. No double standards ok? What if you catch out our social luminaries, leaders and even members of the royal family partaking in the same intoxicating beverage? Do you have the righteous balls to mete out the same sentence? If you don't, you will book yourselves a first class ticket to hell.

But as the Australians say- no worries mate. The inability of being consistent is no excuse not to implement God's laws. At the same time, I hope it will also not be an excuse to turn a blind eye to hard cases.

I have long been puzzled by a very common observation. Most of the time, why is it, that the people ( Malays) who get caught and convicted for various religious offences usually belong to some specific socio-economic group?

Women caught and convicted for various religious offences come before the religious courts come wearing tudungs and appropriate garbs. Men come with the skullcaps ( kopiah/songlok) on. On appearance alone, they could pass as being people of religious bearings and possibly content. And this is even more perplexing. They come mostly from the lower economic strata- factory workers, unemployed, shop girls. Men= unemployed, taxi drivers, FELDA settlers etc.

Ask yourselves this question: why are those people caught out belonged to the economically depressed groups? Kartika Sari Dewi ( the name sounds similar to sukarno's Japanese wife) doesn't look as if she comes from the group staying at Damansara Heights, the night owls of Bukit Tunku or the hip crowd at Bangsar's Menerung super condo. Hassan Ali, the PAS executioner- the man who speaks with flailing arms and the man who induces us to use umbrella if sitting in front of him when he speaks, wants to 'tangkap' bar and pub workers and whoever else who do not fit into his religious profiling.

To me, the religious authorities are capable only of selective persecution. They target the economically disadvantaged groups and the less powerful. Why don't you appoint GOONS (Guardians Of Our Nation's Souls) to be gendarmes at those posh hotels and other happening places- catch also the economically advantaged and more powerful. Even members of royal families.

Boleh kah antum? ahlan wa sahlan wa marhaban bikum!

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Wednesday, 26 August 2009

ABC of Corporate Corruption

Just as I am feeling lethargic to write, I received these comments. See them after the main article. They came in response to my article on corporate corruption.

It appears, that corporate corruption is concealed by our misconception that those with advanced degrees and 1st class qualifications are naturally good in whatever they are tasked to do. That seems to be an exception rather than a rule in Malaysia. In the history of business in Malaysia, no business organisations of any repute have been created by 1st class nerds and overhyped managers. They are good at only that- making great impressions of managing businesses not their own. Since the feeling of 'ownership' isn't there, the business in hand becomes a playground to test out their limited capabilities often to disastrous results.

The degrees they have are over-hyped. The curricula of their fields of expertise may be out of touch with real-world demands, and many programs they followed have a culture that turns a blind eye to cheating. Perhaps that explains the widespread white collar crime. Corporate shenanigans are cleverly disguised behind business terms- downsizing, balance sheet rationalisation, assets rearrangement and other management hocus pocus.

What data there are suggest that businesses headed by the much touted brain boxes have not been very effective. Neither possessing advanced degrees nor superlative grades earned in courses correlate with business success. Most of our managers are moulded after the image of Al 'Chainsaw' Dunlap. Remember him? You cut costs by laying off thousands of workers, selling valuable assets. If you are there and doing because you want to make more money, rather than because you're really interested in how that particular businesses functions, you'll probably mess up everything.

There's too much emphasis on management theory and too little on developing practical skills. We pretend that any bozo with excellent academic records should be a great manager right out the gate, regardless of real-world experience. While many have worked in business, many of them have never managed people and thus lack the perspective to apply the management theory that they learn. Management is just too complex a human behavior to be effectively taught in a classroom environment. You could take a class titled Managing People at Work, where you discuss different theories on behavior, motivation, etc., and do reasonably well academically. But if you don't have some significant experience working with, above, or below other people, you will not really appreciate the full extent of the material. You pluck them out from somewhere and plonk them in some cushy positions and hope they will do the magic.

Here's another punch. Those who decide where these academic mafias go have the notion that these young bucks automatically make great managers are probably people who don't have management potential themselves. They are easily led into believing these boys and girls have the ability and talents. When these people come up with such exoteric terms like KPI or KRA, they think, that's out of the world.

What's really missing is a sense of purpose. It seems that the main motivation is the ability to achieve KPI indicators which often mean nothing in the real world. Ironically, that's just not good enough to make you a good manager.

With this kind of mindset prevalent among the uninitiated policy makers, we encounter the usual corporate collateral damages such as:-

Khazanah compensation was built on the simple premise..u pay peanuts u get monkeys.
That being the basis..They brought in 1st class honors grads from the big name universities..And begin to pay huge sums/salaries to paper pushers like pardas,khalib,wahid etc..To give meat to this mantra.

But the fact remains..business is meant to be operated hands on by business savvy ppl NOT by bureaucrats.Meanwhile,they have BLOATED pay scales to ridiculous levels amongst the UPPER mgmt echelons.

Its ridiculous that a CFO earns almost a million bucks for a basic CFO job or a PR person earns 600k per annum...
And the amount of money spent on consultants is staggering...

Someone hv to take stock and rein in the greed.If goes unchecked.it will destroy the good values built previously.

Go back to the era of CEOs earning 25 to 40 k per month..if the current monkeys can't accept them..get new ppl in.
And lets see where and who would want to pay the current CEO that much money for doing NOTHING..just paper pushing.

Someone needs to get cracking on this ROT cos its stinking all over

25 August 2009 13:25

Anonymous said...

Direct Nego Contracts awarded>>

Gamuda/MMC Double tracking> 12.4b
Ircon --ditto-- > 3.5 b
Penang Bridge (China n UEM)> 4.5 b
Eastern Dispersal JB (MRCB) > 1.0 b
IBS..Ibuzawa n others > 1.0 b

The above plus some other 100m nego jobs means govt awarded myb Rm 25 billion of DIRECT NEGO contracts to maybe 40 companies.

Issues>> profits of 20 to 30 % instead of 10 % on competitive biddinf so country loses at least Rm 5b
>>no spin off..could hv given 1m contracts to 25,000 contractors OR 100k contracts to 250,000 contractors INSTEAD only 40 enjoyed RM 6 to 7 Billion PROFITS

Now...in all his infinite wisdom..PM expects ALL contractors to compete in open tenders.But why allow the BIG people to enjoy the spoils and ask SMALL ppl incl Bumis to struggle to make living?

Its like increase bus fares by 50% and giving discounts to TOLL users,

Its no fun being poor in this 1Malaysia..rakyat di dahulukan but at expense of small guys.

25 August 2009 14:16

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Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Honesty in writing.

When you write on something that you don't believe in, readers will see through the falsity and artificiality. Your writing becomes a product that is so agonisingly contrived.

Brand.

You know UMNO the brand is in trouble. Yet as a loyal UMNO member you try to point out these weaknesses in the hope that the general level of consciousness of members is raised. It is patently wrong to expect that UMNO can change only when the LEADERS want to change. The fact is UMNO can change only when MEMBERS want to, not leaders. We impose a standard on ourselves and apply ourselves to achieve it.

Naturally you can't expect a leadership that thrives on preserving the status quo, the cake of custom as it were, to change.

Product.

Similarly it is with UMNO product. You have a defective product. Example: the candidate for Permatang Pasir. What else can Muhyidin and Zaid Hamidi say other that saying, this chap is the best candidate? You can't SD-ied yourself to prove that you are pristine and pure. What people make of you becomes the final measure. And people decide given the information offered them and filtered by their mental capacity.

Right now, what seems to be filtered out are UMNO the brand and its products. At the basic level, they know and can differentiate between a flawed and wholesome product.

As is customarily the case, UMNO will perform a post mortem on why it lost despite Muhyidin going around saying the winds of change are blowin'. A post mortem is just an elaborate exercise in CYA. (Covering Your Ass). This loss reflects badly on Zahid Hamidi who is the Ketua Perhubungan UMNO Negeri. It also shows Penang has no UMNO leader of standing. During the time Pak lah was PM/UMNO Presiden, what has he done to nurture UMNO leadership in Penang?

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Monday, 24 August 2009

A Bridge too far?


Permatang Pasir- a bridge too far?

On Tuesday, 25th of August, the people of Permatang Pasir will go to the polls. They will decide which party they want as wakil rakyat. I join all UMNO members in saluting the brave UMNO people for campaigning tirelessly. They have carried a heavy burden perhaps one that is beyond their capacity. The Pemuda UMNO must be cited for their single mindedness in their efforts.

Unfortunately like the allied armies sent to capture several bridges in German occupied territories, Permatang Pasir may be the bridge at the lower Rhine. Permatang Pasir may be like what British Lieutenant-General Frederick A.M. Browning, deputy commander of the First Allied Airborne Army, who told Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, the operation's architect, before the operation, "I THINK WE MAY BE GOING A BRIDGE TOO FAR.

What UMNO has done thus far, is similar to what a Pasar Malam trader is doing. They want to pass on the fake article as the original. Or they want to sell a defective good for the price of a wholesome product. Hence a large proportion of their untiring and relentless efforts were directed at defending their candidate. The 'turning over' of the ex law partner of Rohaizat serves only to stiffen people's perception, that it's all an UMNO BIG LIE.

The people of Permatang Pasir will decide on the basis of individual judgement calls. It is true; they have lived under the wakil-rakyatship of a PAS man for more than 10 years. They have adjusted to whatever development they could have under that stewardship. While they lived during those years under PAS, Penang was ruled by Gerakan and the Federal government was BN. Permatang Pasir should have been made an anak emas during all those years, if BN and Gerakan wanted to cultivate goodwill. It is just too tricky to be converted to an anak emas after years of being anak tiri-ed. Has the father owned up to the abandoned wife with his child?

Suddenly the people of PP are flooded with promises to make PP an anak emas. Will they be given the golden spoon to feed themselves? Will Nuri helicopters or even the Super Pumas be used to drop money from the sky for Permatang Pasir people?

You are back to the same arguments about bringing development on behalf of the people. The people of PP have self cultivated themselves under a climate of less dependence on big government all those years, I don't think, they will want to sacrifice their freedom. As far as UMNO is concerned, UMNO hasn't change its spots at all- still deluding themselves that it is THEY who are the dispenser of glad tidings.

The answer as to who will win Permatang Pasir has been given by Rais Yatim. He says he is confident that PAS majority will be reduced. That's about as far as he is willing to go.

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Sunday, 23 August 2009

UMNO’s Challenge and Response

Challenge and response in UMNO.

Now that PM Najib has come back from a much earned holiday, he must seriously ponder the question about the future of UMNO. He has started dismantling some of the institutions from old school UMNO. We have seen how he has started liberalising some aspects of the economy, break up the mandatory 30% rule on equity ownership, dismantle the FICC, and indicate that he wants to carry out changes regarding the iniquitous GLCs and more. Along those lines he must be supported even if it upsets the man who ruled Malaysia for 22 years.

Who is going to break UMNO's cake of custom? PM Najib cannot do it alone. He must have a crack team that's willing to go the distance. Unfortunately if the choice of the Permatang Pasir candidate is any indication, as regards leadership, UMNO is indeed scraping the bottom of the barrel. You come up with hardened sludge.

Unless, enlightened leadership in UMNO is willing to undo the various archaic traditions and customs, UMNO is going down. Not until UMNO members cut through the duplicitous exploitation of things dear to Malays, can UMNO reinvent itself. Unless members realise that those same interests which are hawkishly thrown about, are in fact achievable by other rational methods, UMNO will never change.

For example:

  1. Why should we accept that Malay economic salvation and parity can only be achieved by the 30% formula? Why can't it be achieved by direct economic empowerment of the Malays?
  2. Why must Malay economic advancement be made to depend on government intervention through such means as creating unit trusts, GLCs and other means of intervention into the market economy?
  3. Why must Malay political dominance be made to spend on not changing UMNO leadership? Why indeed after agreeing that UMNO leadership be directly chosen by over 60,000 members, we still qualify eligibility to fight for the top posts with certain conditions? That forces us to accept that whoever are the incumbents have the monopoly over answers how best to serve Malays. Surely that is patently wrong as no one leader in UMNO has monopoly over answers to advance the Malays.

The fact is, Malays are not angry with what UMNO stands for. They are incensed with the old school leadership and any present leadership that stands in the way of needed changes. Unfortunately, the number of progressive and bold leadership is dwindling. The only UMNO personality that could be a rallying point is very much undeservingly sidelined. Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah is treated like a decrepit Quran- you can't throw it away and yet you refuse to use.

UMNO is ruled by entrenched interest whose only mission is to retain power at all costs. Those who subscribed to UMNO's old age customs are inducted into the group and are quickly anointed as standard bearers of the UMNO philosophy. The real interests are always couched in concepts that resonate well with the psychological needs of Malays- security of their interests- religion, political dominance, language, culture etc. By doing that, you have deliberately made UMNO's future as one that is dependent on your ability to stoke the fires of fear and insecurities.

Portraying themselves as uncompromising custodians to what are dear to all Malays, they succeeded in turning UMNO into an organisation that simply refuses to change. I mean, which right thinking Malay would reject and disown their claims on the security of the interests mentioned above? Yet, it is the exploitation of these concepts which has induced resistance to change.

Without a doubt UMNO has been ruled by its template of political customs. Like a society, UMNO is governed by its customs and like a society that is ruled by customs, it remains politically primitive.

Some explanations are in order here. The term 'cake of custom' was coined by the English writer/essayist and intellectual, Walter Bagehot. (Pronounced bad-jit). Those who like to read The Economist magazine will come across this name. Margaret Thatcher is a fan of his writings. The term refers to the paralysing effect of customs, institutions and habits on progress and change. The other notable figure who uses this term is Arnold Toynbee, the great historian. Indeed it is from his A Study of History especially on the topic of challenge and response that I drew inspiration for this short essay.

So we come back to the question as to how can PM Najib break UMNO's cake of custom? He has said, that the age of the government knows best is over. He must now apply the same thinking on the age where UMNO knows best for Malays is also over.

In breaking up the 'cake of custom', PM Najib can no longer rely on the two often cited factors that have been erroneously used to explain progress. They are:-

  1. Race
  2. Environment.

Just as we can no longer defend the thinking that great civilisations depended on the superiority of race as argued by Toynbee, so too at our level, we can no longer expect UMNO to progress by being dependent on this concept of racial dominance and supremacy. Without elaborating further, that can only mean, those fighting for UMNO's progress as being dependent of Malay supremacy cannot be agents of the changes UMNO need. So PM Najib must disown these elements from UMNO.

Second, the view that certain environments, providing easy and comfortable conditions of life must be made available in order to advance is also debunked by Toynbee. Similarly, the view that UMNO through the medium of state apparatuses it controls must paternalistically provide for a comforting environment for Malays to progress must also be treated with much circumspect.

Instead, PM Najib must pose the question of UMNO and Malay progress in terms of challenge and response. He must find out the challenge to UMNO and craft out the appropriate response.

I am afraid, the views on that have to the subject of Part 2.

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Friday, 21 August 2009

Understanding the Problem: Corporate Corruption.

The greatest disservice the government does to Malay economic advancement is the creation of the GLCs. They have only served to crowd out fair competition and as a result, stifle the emergence of robust bumi business people. They run with the Malays hare and hunt with the corporate dogs.

So, if we really understand the problem, the least damaging solution is to dismantle most of the GLCs. That decision will only damage a small number of people but can benefit a lager number.

When I was serving as ADUN in the Pahang state assembly I often spoke about this issue. With all forms of support a typical GLC gets, it can be likened to a thoroughbred horse pulling a milk cart. Why? It does a lot of silly things. Like engaging in small bit businesses. Like developing a 5 acre land. Like riding behind government protection and doing all sorts of joint ventures. Like hiding behind the most overused excuse- we don't have the expertise so we JV.

That same knee-jerk answer can be given by any ordinary Joe who is not a GLC. You have people supposedly with above average intelligence giving answers like an LCE dropout!

My answer to that- if you don't have the expertise, don't do that business. You can't have all the support from the government only to tell legislators and hoodwinking the state's CEO, you can't do this. That would only suggest your bald incompetence.

You don't need a bloody GLC to do all these.

During the last session of the state assembly (it actually turned out to be my last session) I asked a total of 40 questions regarding the state GLCs. Therefore I am not engaging is an orgy of hentam sembrono. My main target was the numero uno of state GLC- the PKNP. I shall not repeat the questions I asked. It's on record in the state assembly proceedings.

My most troubling concern- why haven't the PKNPs of Malaysia, after years of protection and involving themselves in whatever businesses you have under the sun, haven't made the great leap from just a government company into a conglomerate? What's the problem? Yet I and many others see while the company is bleeding, some of its executives are living the lives of tycoons.

Apa sudah jadi sebenarnya? There are two possibilities. One, GLCs suffer from a dearth of corporate leadership of quality. Two, they have been so ravaged by that most insidious of wrongs- corporate corruption. The first breeds a culture of mediocrity; the second eats into health of the GLCs rendering them anaemic.

Sometimes we are misled into believing that corruption, which is understood commonly as the usage of whatever devious methods that allow money to flow out into private hands is just a question of comparing who receives and spends more. The obvious inference is whoever spends more create more chances for pilfering and leakages. That is only the surface of it.

It's not just a question of how much this particular CEO spent over this period compared to how much a later day CEO spent. Let me illustrate. You will remember that Tun Mahathir said he received and therefore spent less amount of money over a longer period than Pak Lah did over a shorter period. That would suggest that Pak Lah lagi takdak guna.

But suppose I compound the outlay that Dr Mahathir received and spent over that period at the current interest rate- maybe what Dr Mahathir spent was bigger than the amount spent by Pak Lah. One Ringgit 25 years ago maybe RM10 now. That is, if we want to go into the bolts and nuts of the argument. That's not the real thing I would be looking out for.

By focussing on nominal money spent, our attention is diverted from a more damaging practice of any GLCs- how tenders were given out. I would like to know for example, what was the value of tenders given by PETRONAS for example, say from 1981 to 2003 compared to the value given out from 2004-2009? And while we are at, can we get a profile of the successful business partners? All GLCs called their contractors business partners.

Apply the same inquiry on the GLCs. How much tender has been given out and to who? Did the GLC manage to pay its contractors? I am deeply annoyed at the inability of our GLCs to pay up contractors. How on earth did they budget for the capex in the first place? It has become the standard modus operandi of GLCs in Pahang when unable to pay up, will contra payments by surrendering state owned lands. Ini bukan bapak hang punya tanah tau?

In more serious cases, the contractor who isn't paid can demand future contracts. There have been so many cases of large areas of land alienated to state GLCs ending up being the property of once chekai contractors. The land in front of the present Universiti Pahang for example ended up belonging to a contractor because the state GLC was unable to pay for the earthworks it carried out. Some land area in Gebeng ended up with contractors because again, the state GLC couldn't pay. Another state GLC with its principal business in oil palm plantation is losing out hundreds of acres of development land because it's wholly owned subsidiary cannot pay the contractor. And the same management team responsible for the 'cessation' of the land in question is now proposing a management buy-out. Yes, I understand the problem, its a scam to may hay while the sun shines.

Let me illustrate further. In Pekan which is the seat of our PM, there is a mega project going on. It's the Tanjung Agas supply base. The whole area affected some 4000 acres belonged to the state government. The custodian of the land vests with PKNP. Terror you!. Who will develop the area so that it becomes attractive for the investors whom the sponsor of this Project has in mind?

I suppose it will be PKNP with the money that the Federal government has advanced- some RM 100 over million. They will do the same things that have been practised before. Give the earthworks and related businesses to a list of contractors. Most probably, they will be the same business partners as in previous projects. Then one day, because of whatever reasons which can be cooked up, the owner of this project which is the state GLC cannot pay these contractors. Senior executives will run to the MB and say- my lord boss, since we cannot pay, we need permission to contra. This way, we save the government from spending more.

The business record of a typical GLC as a rule is aptly described as being Much Thunder, Little Rain.

That's government linked company for you. It started life as company by letter of guarantee. That is, the government guarantees the business dealings of its companies. Since a government can never go bankrupt (it can always print notes), government guarantees are bankable.

Over the years they morphed into a multitude of forms. State owned enterprises, state economic development boards and so on. You legislate into being, a government company doing business in all sorts of dealings. From an economic standpoint a GLC is any company having some equity which belonged to the government. Some have said that to qualify as a GLC, the equity should be around 15%. This is not entirely correct- a GLC is any business enterprise with government equity in any amount sufficient to allow the government to dictate the development of the business. As long as the government rep can call the shots, or even have one veto power, it is a GLC.

But to me the most overlooked feature of a GLC is this. It is a business that enjoys full government protection and immunity from liabilities but enjoys private sector privileges. In other words, make public the liabilities and make the profits private property. Enjoy the profits exclusively, but spread out the poison. That has aided and abated unbridled corruption.

What we have actually condoned and turned a blind eye on, is the fact that we appropriate property belonging to the people and gave them to a bunch of people who make a mess of the trust given. So much so I am inclined to repeat what Proudhon in the 19th century said:-

Property is theft! (French: La propriété, c'est le vol!) This was a slogan coined by French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in his 1840 book What is Property? Or, an Inquiry into the Principle of Right and of Government.

If I were asked to answer the following question: What is slavery? and I should answer in one word, It is murder!, my meaning would be understood at once. No extended argument would be required . . . Why, then, to this other question: What is property? may I not likewise answer, It is robbery!, without the certainty of being misunderstood; the second proposition being no other than a transformation of the first?

Proudhon further explained his use of this phrase:

In my first memorandum, in a frontal assault upon the established order, I said things like, Property is theft! The intention was to lodge a protest, to highlight, so to speak, the inanity of our institutions.

I hope we shall not have to categorise our GLCs as being the subject of the above disapproval. And we have only understood half of the problem!


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Wednesday, 19 August 2009

A Conversation on Faith

I share with readers some material e mailed to me by one Encik Suhaimi Mohamad. Thank you very much for this very interesting piece. It is a conversation that took place between a professor and APJ Abdul Kalam who went on to become India's President. Wishing all Muslims a glorious Ramadan. Ahlan Wa Sahlan Ya Ramadan


An atheist professor of philosophy speaks to his class on the problem science has with God, The Almighty.
He asks one of his new students to stand and.....
Prof:
So you believe in God?
Student:
Absolutely, sir.
Prof
: Is God good?
Student:
Sure.
Prof:
Is God all-powerful?
Student
: Yes.
Prof:
My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to God to heal him.
Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But God didn't. How is this God good then? Hmm?
(Student is silent.)
Prof:
You can't answer, can you? Let's start again, young fella. Is God good?
Student:
Yes.
Prof:
Is Satan good?
Student
: No.
Prof:
Where does Satan come from?
Student:
From...God.. ..
Prof:
That's right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?
Student:
Yes.
Prof:
Evil is everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything. Correct?
Student:
Yes.
Prof:
So who created evil?
(Student does not answer.)
Prof:
Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don't they?
Student:
Yes, sir.
Prof:
So, who created them?
(Student has no answer.)
Prof:
Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the world around you.
Tell me, son...Have you ever
seen God?
Student:
No, sir.
Prof:
Tell us if you have ever heard your God?
Student:
No, sir.
Prof:
Have you ever felt your God, tasted your God, smelt your God? Have you ever had any sensory perception of God for that matter?
Student:
No, sir. I'm afraid I haven't.
Prof:
Yet you still believe in Him?
Student:
Yes.
Prof:
According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your GOD doesn't exist.
What do you say to that, son?
Student:
Nothing. I only have my faith.
Prof:
Yes. Faith. And that is the problem science has.
Student:
Professor, is there such a thing as heat?
Prof:
Yes.
Student:
And is there such a thing as cold?
Prof:
Yes.
Student:
No sir. There isn't.
(The lecture theatre becomes very quiet with this turn of events.)
Student
: Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat.
But we don't have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that.
There is no such thing as cold . Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat . We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it .(There is pin-drop silence in the lecture theatre.)
Student:
What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?
Prof:
Yes. What is night if there isn't darkness?
Student :
You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright
light, flashing light....But if
you have no light constantly, you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? In
reality, darkness isn't. If it were you would be able to make
darkness darker, wouldn't you?
Prof:
So what is the point you are making, young man?
Student:
Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.
Prof:
Flawed? Can you explain how?
Student:
Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it.
Now tell me, Professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?
Prof:
If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.
Student:
Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?
(The Professor shakes his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument is going.)
Student:
Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher? (The class is in uproar.)
Student:
Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor's brain?
(The class breaks out into laughter.)
Student
: Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor's brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, sir.
With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?
(The room is silent. The professor stares at the student, his face unfathomable. )
Prof:
I guess you'll have to take them on faith, son.
Student:
That is it sir.... The link between man & god is FAITH . That is all that keeps things moving & alive.

NB: I believe you have enjoyed the conversation. ..And if so...you'll probably want your friends/colleagues to enjoy the same...won't you?....
this is a true story, and the

student was none other than........ .
Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam ,
the former president of India .

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Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The Ambassador to the USA

My article on our ambassador designate to America drew out several comments. By and large, the comments zoomed in to the question of JJ's character. The incident at a 5 star hotel in Kuala Lumpur was treated as the defining event that forever coloured JJ. There are also some comments which send down UMNO for being devoid of leadership stuff, if a person like JJ is treated respectably.

I recognise these comments. They were not unexpected though because they either came from those who are genuinely opposed to UMNO or from the faction within UMNO who longed for the Old Order. The former deserves respect, the latter deserves scant attention.

I will not trivialise the comments that were sent following my article on JJ. On most of them I agree. I have said what most commentators found troubling. JJ has some questionable business deals, most of which however, I believed were envious add-ons. JJ was a successful businessman. He bought out an unknown manufacturer of switchgears and later listed EPE power. He is after all an electrical engineer. He then went on to expand into other businesses. Therefore, there are strong reasons to believe that a man with his talents, intelligence and networking capabilities could honestly succeed.

Hence, the insinuations that JJ secured prosperity on the back of questionable business dealings may not be entirely true. Those were statements having the nature of insinuations which were mostly unsupported by facts. Their 'truth' value was established through innuendos and corridor whispers. Fortunately, the truth is not established ala loud shouts on a trading floor. These to me, in the famous words of a judge, are not relevant. I am not going to begrudge him for his penchant smoking cigars or dressing in haute couture just because I couldn't afford to or if I can afford it, wouldn't want to.

Let us turn to one particular issue that never ceased to be brought up. The one incident at a leading hotel is treated the tipping point defining JJ's character trait. Although I was also among those who lampooned him over this and shared many good laughs with friends, I do not think they were sustainable. Of course we needled him for that particular event. We punished him for that. But I find it difficult to accept this questionable incident as one that goes to the root of his character making JJ a flawed character ab initio. Do we now condemn his as a perpetual amorous person?

Yet despite this incident, the PM was willing to take diplomatic brickbats and insist on appointing JJ as ambassador suggests the measure of confidence in the man. On his abilities and diligence there are no doubts. To persist in spite of the negative character perception suggests PM thinks the incident was all politics.

From the date of the event until now, there hasn't been a case of sexual harassment brought before the courts against JJ. We can humour ourselves with storied versions as to the reasons why no such a case was placed before the court. Just as the incident gave us the fodder for many a comic relief, why no case of sexual harassment was brought before the courts, will remain matters of conjecture. But for us who insist that JJ was a culprit, no amount of excuses or defences will change our settled opinions of him. On such opinion came from an anonymous commentator who has the smell of rancid kari curry about him.

But suppose we look at the whole mess from a different angle. Granted some untoward incident did occur but not in the manner as was reported in the papers. What if, what actually took place was different from what was reported? The funny thing was, that incident was swiftly reported in the press. Was it a coincident that the press people were there at that time or were tailing JJ?

Just suppose further, unseen hands were at play at the highest reaches of the media world, to knock off Najib's supporters one by one. Begin with JJ first. That JJ is today continuously maligned suggests that there are forces within UMNO itself and outside UMNO, though operating independently, which are worried about Najib-led UMNO resurgence. Why not continue to character assassinate one of his closest confidantes?

After the previous PM lost 5 states to the opposition mainly through his uninspiring leadership, there were ground movements to request him to own up and resign immediately. The ringleader was assumed to be JJ. JJ was to suffer the first consequence. Despite winning the Rompin parliamentary seat, he wasn't included in the cabinet. The former PM would have wished he had stuck to his earlier feel not to put up JJ as candidate. Excluding JJ from the cabinet was therefore a small measure of revenge and consolation.

But JJ is also seen as Najib's chief enforcer, lieutenant and Mr. Fix it, all rolled into one. Why not engineer some incident that will not only incapacitate JJ but also strike fear in Najib's heart? Now, everyone who has come into contact with JJ knows at social events, he can be garrulous and boisterous. Why not exploit these facets of JJ's behaviour into some political capital? At this particular leading hotel in KL, JJ was a familiar face. I have already told readers of JJ's hail fellow well met style of striking friendship. Almost every worker knows JJ. By the way, JJ emits this kind of friendliness not only in this particular place. If one were to encounter him at Nikko Hotel for example, the same style of friendship can be seen.

Maybe there were touching and slapping here and there but not to the extent of suggesting sexual overtures. They became looked as such only when the media people who were obviously tailing JJ there spin that kind of salacious behaviour. It became a scandalised story that not only damaged JJ's character but did not fail to send a coded message to Najib, that if we can embarrass your main man, we can also do that to you.

This whole scenario has to be revisited as it is troubling not only to fair minded Malaysian citizens; it is also disturbing to the ambassador designate. We have lynched him in the press. Now it is incumbent upon us to clear him.

I said he was a role model- back then. Perhaps the commentator who strongly disputed the treatment of JJ as a role model back then, underestimated the background of Malay students in rural Pekan and not so urban Kuantan in the 1960's and 1970's. The appearance of a really bright student in our midst back then, was treated as an inspiration for most of us. I suspect the same reverence is never felt in advanced states where bright students are a rule rather than exception.

JJ has got his share of human foibles. I accept that these shortcomings will make people dealing with him to be circumspect.

So despite this, why do I think good of him still? Perhaps because I feel it justifiable to give him the benefit if the doubt just as I am willing to give Anwar Ibrahim the same. We are herded into thinking ill of him because he is so inviting for that. Perhaps also because as he comes from the same place as I do, there is a sense of shared pride.

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Monday, 17 August 2009

BN for Permatang Pasir.


 

I have criticised some of the things that UMNO has done. I have not spared its top leadership from criticisms either. That doesn't mean that I support what PKR and PR do. I will now tell you why the people of Permatang Pasir must now vote for UMNO and BN. Especially the 15,000 Malays and 5000 non Malays.

This election is between UMNO and PAS. PAS is but a pawn in the bigger scheme of things which is the salvation of Anwar Ibrahim and legitimacy of DAP in Penang. PAS and DAP will be trying hard to convince the people that UMNO is here in Permatang Pasir as part of the bigger plan to persecute Anwar and PKR. Indeed, the issues that will be raised by the soon to be formalised coalition of opposition will be centred on this: - that the PR opposes the persecution of the people by UMNO. It therefore claims it speaks for the people.

Accordingly PR will exploit the issues which the current administration is tackling- issues concerning judiciary, issues related to law enforcement, economic injustice, racial harmony and so forth.

Nothing is further from the truth. The real issue however is your interest- the people of Permatang Pasir. Pakatan Rakyat raises their issues as a diversionary strategy to conceal the startling FACT that it is utterly incapable of looking after the people's interests.

Don't allow your future be held ransom by Anwar Ibrahim.

The member of parliament of Permatang Pauh of which Permatang Pasir is part of, is Anwar Ibrahim. Anwar Ibrahim is facing a host of problems. He may wail here, there and everywhere accusing the whole world of turning its back on him, in the end he will have to answer the charges in court. Those charges are proffered against him in his personal capacity. What he has done and does so cunningly is to make it appear that his personal problems are also that of the people. We have nothing to do with what he does behind locked doors.

What has that trickery led to? It has led to stagnation. The world in Permatang Pauh and Permatang Pasir come to a halt on account of Anwar Ibrahim. We must recognise this situation as it truly is- the future of the people in Permatang Pasir and Permatang Pauh are held at ransom. This is tyranny disguised behind a list of accusations against the ruling government. Anwar Ibrahim is as much a tyrant as those he accuses of by manipulating his personal problems to incarcerate the minds of the people in Permatang Pauh and Permatang Pasir.

Hence Anwar Ibrahim insists his problems are the result of a grand conspiracy between the government, the judiciary, the law enforcers and indeed the whole world. He has accused the ruling government of not playing fair while he himself does not know what is fair to the people anymore. He must do so to stay relevant. Justice exists in so far as Anwar Ibrahim is acquitted from all charges.

He can't forever lead us on a wild goose chase, disputing everything in sight even before they appear before the courts. The whole story about a conspiracy that has never died down since 1998 is always stirred up to divert attention.

We don't know what the outcome of his on coming trial is. Let us not place the future of Permatang Pasir on the outcome of Anwar's trial. To do so would be to hold the future of Permatang Pasir at ransom. Why should the future of Permatang Pasir be made to depend on Anwar Ibrahim's leading us on to believe he is a victim of a grand conspiracy?

I am always ready to give him the benefit of doubt as far as all the accusations of sexual preferences are concerned. But the future and the welfare of the people in Pernatang Pasir and Permatang Pauh shouldn't be held ransom by his personal problem.

This is the fundamental reason why the voters in Permatang Pasir must now vote for UMNO candidate.

Just think about these things.

TERJEMAHAN.

Saya telah mengkritik sebahagian perkara yang di lakukan oleh UMNO dan pemerintah hari ini. Saya telah tidak mengecualikan pimpinan tertinggi UMNO dari di belasah. Tujuan nya adalah untuk membetulkan keadaan. Ia nya tidak bermakna saya menyokong politik PR yang hanya menawarkan ribut tapi hujan nya masih lagi belum turun. Sekarang saya akan memberi hujjah mengapa rakyat Permatang Pasir mesti menyokong dan mengundi UMNO. Mesej ini ialah untuk 15000 penduduk Melayu dan lebih 5 ribu bukan Melayu.

Pilihanraya kecil ini adalah pertembungan antara PAS dan UMNO. kedua dua nya parti orang Melayu yang terbesar di Malaysia. Sungguhpun demikian, kebenaran nya ialah: PAS hanya umpan diatas papan catur yang lebih besar iaitu menyelamatkan Anwar Ibrahim dan mengekalkan kesahihan DAP di Pulau Pinang.

Cara untuk mencapai kedua dua matlamat ini ialah dengan menggambarkan UMNO sebuah parti yang zalim yang masuk ke Permatang Pasir dalam usaha besar mereka untuk menganiayai Anwar Ibrahim. UMNO dan kerajaan akan di gambarkan sebagai parti yang tidak peka terhadap kepentingan rakyat seperti integrity system kehakiman, system kepolisian, keadilan ekonomi dan sebagainya. Sebetulnya, kerajaan pimpinan Dato Sri Najib sedang menangani isiu isiu ini dan inilah yang sebenarnya menggerunkan parti pembangkang pimpinan Anwar Ibrahim.

Kepentingan penduduk Permatang Pasir tidak ada kena mengena dengan isiu yang menjadi bahan pertelagahan antara UMNO dan PR. Isiu yang sebenarnya ialah kepentingan rakyat Permatang Pasir dan ianya tidak ada kaitan dengan perkara2 yang di gemburkan oleh PRakyat.

Jangan biarkan masa depan kita menjadi tebusan Anwar Ibrahim.

Cuba fikirkan perkara ini. Anwar Ibrahim akan hanya releven kepada Permatang Pasir dan Permatang Pauh selagi dia berjaya menggambarkan diri nya adalah mangsa penganiayaan dan kezaliman. Ini lah pendustaan Anwar Ibrahim yang terbesar kepada kita semua.

Ahli Parlimen Permatang Pauh di mana Permatang Pasir merupakan suatu DUN didalam nya ialah Anwar Ibrahim. Satu dunia mengetahui bahawa Anwar Ibrahim berdepan dengan 1001 masaalah perundangan. Dia akan melolong sana dan sini, ke seantero dunia menuduh bahawa satu dunia telah membelakangi dia serta menganiayai nya. Anwar Ibrahim tidak dapat melarikan diri dan akan berdepan dengan perbicaraan di mahkamah undang undang. Dia mesti lakukan tanggung jawab ini sebagai seorang laki laki. Masaalah peribadi bukan untuk di rakyatkan.

Sebagai negara dan rakyat yang mendaulatkan keluhuran undang undang, keputusan mahkamah sahaja yang terpenting dan mengatasi segala keputusan lain. Ini termasuklah keputusan dari 'mahkamah rakyat' yang di metoskan dan mahkamah perasaan kita yang sabjektif. Mahkamah rakyat hanya lah suatu ciptaan mereka yang di dapati bersalah di mahkamah undang undang tapi enggan menerima keputusan tersebut. Mustahil, keseluruhan institusi kehakiman dan perundangan kita tidak berguna. Tapi inilah yang mahu di fitnahkan oleh Anwar Ibrahim.

Semua masaalah dan pertuduhan di halakan kepada Anwar Ibrahim dalam kapasiti peribadi nya. Apa yang telah Anwar Ibrahim lakukan dengan licik serta lihai nya ialah memanipulasi masalah yang bersifat peribadi supaya menjadi masaalah yang mesti di bebani bersama. Tindakan Anwar Ibrahim serupa seperti memperibadikan faedah tapi merakyatkan masaalah.

Yang betul lagi benar ialah kita tidak ada kena mengena dengan apa Anwar Ibrahim lakukan dengan siapa, cara mana, di sebalik pintu yang tertutup. Jika kita tidak ada kena mengena dengan sandiwara dan cengkerama yang berlaku, mengapa pula kita harus menanggung beban keatas masaalah peribadi yang timbul? Sifat permasaalahan yang di hadapi oleh Anwar Ibrahim bukan lah masaalah yang sifat nya boleh dan wajib di bebani bersama.

Apakah yang kita dapati dari silap mata yang Anwar lakukan? Ia nya telah membawa kepada kebekuan dan stagnasi. Dunia rakyat Permatang Pauh dan rakyat Permatang Pasir di berhentikan oleh masaalah peribadi Abwar Ibrahim. Masa depan rakyat Permatang Pauh dan Permatang Pasir tidak henti henti di papancaturkan. Kita mesti menyedari apa yang sebenar nya sedang berlaku. Yang sedang berlaku ialah masa depan rakyat Permatang Pauh dan Permatang Pasir menjadi tebusan Anwar Ibrahim.

Ini juga suatu kezaliman keatas rakyat yang tidak kurang getir dan menjengkilkan seperti juga kezaliman yang selalu di laungkan oleh Anwar Ibrahim di lakukan keatas diri nya. Yang sebenarnya di lakukan oleh Anwar Ibrahim dan konco konco nya ialah menzalimi rakyat dengan memanipulasikan masaalah peribadi supaya memenjarai fikiran merdeka rakyat.

Kerana itulah, untuk menghidupkan kerelevenan nya, Anwar Ibrahim akan terus bersandiwara mendakwa bahawa masaalah yang di hadapi nya adalah hasil konspirasi atau subahat antara kerajaan, insitusi kehakiman dan insitusi pelaksana undang undang bahkan konspirasi satu dunia! Anwar Ibrahim menuduh kerajaan tidak adil walhal dia senditri sudah tidak tahu apa makna keadilan keatas rakyat Permatang Pasir dan Permatang Pauh. Keadilan kepada Anwar Ibrahim hanya ujud selagi ianya memihak kepada nya sahaja.

Anwar Ibrahim tidak boleh menyeru kita mengejar pelangi dan menghambat angsa liar, mempertikaikan semua yang di lihat nya sebelum ianya di adili di mahkamah. Semua cerita mengenai ujudnya satu konspirasi sejak tahun 1998 yang bertujuan menganiayai nya, adalah cerita rekaan untuk mengalih pandangan.

Kita tidak tahu apakah outcome perbicaraan Anwar nanti. Yang kita tahu, ialah jangan kita letakkan masa depan rakyat Permatang Pasir sebagai bergantung kepada keputusan perbicaraan Anwar. Melakukan demikian samalah seperti memperlakukan masa depan Permatang Pasir sebagai tebusan. Mengapa harus kita membenarkan masa depan kawasan kita bergantung diatas kelicikan Anwar Ibrahim menyeru kita percaya bahawa dia adalah mangsa kezaliman konspirasi yang besar?

Saya secara peribadi sentiasa bersedia untuk memberi Anwar Ibrahim the benefit of doubt dalam hal pertuduhan seksual yang ia hadapi. Namun saya fikir, adalah tidak adil menjadikan masa depan dan kebajikan rakyat Permatang Pasir sebagai tebusan kepada perjuangan peribadi yang dia sendiri mesti lalui. Kita mengucapkan selamat maju jaya kepada nya. Tapi biarkan masa depan rakyat Permatang Pasir dalam pilihan mereka sendiri.

Inilah kepada saya, alasan fundamental dan asas mengapa pengundi Permatang Pasir, kali ini mesti mengundi calun UMNO. fikirkan. .

Bersambung.

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Sunday, 16 August 2009

What to avoid in Permatang Pasir.

The danger of a near miss is that it makes you overconfident. Hence in his rousing speech when announcing the BN candidate for Permatang Pasir, DPM Muhyiddin said he was congratulated for a near win in Manek Urai. He said it was strange for him to get congratulatory messages for a loss. You can't miss the gloating he made. He was referring to the near miss of BN winning Manek Urai last month.

I have written about the danger of treating Manek Urai being a swallow amounting to a summer. There were many unique factors in Manek Urai you can't find in Permatang Pasir. There, it was almost 100% Malay constituency with a substantial portion coming from KESEDAR schemes. People in land schemes are easily controlled and disciplined. My personal reading is, if despite the large number of KESEDAR voters, you can't win, there is no reason to crow.

In Permatang Pasir there are no FELDA or KESEDAR clones.

There was also another peculiar tactic in Manek Urai. There was a long pause between the vacancy in the seat and nomination and voting day. The long pause allowed UMNO ground troops to carry out sterling campaign.

UMNO strategists have forgotten this. I would have liked to see the legally allowable period between vacancy and nomination and voting be pushed to the maximum. That will allow the UMNO Permatang Pasir troops to replicate what was done at Manek Urai.

Kelantan had Mustafa Mohamad, a blameless soul not easily disliked even as he looks nerdy. Permatang Pasir has the warlord ketua bahagian Jalil Abdul Majid. According to a political activist, Firdhaus Christopher Abdullah, Dato Jalil who is regarded as the UMNO warlord is generally disliked by voters. He also mentioned the displeasure put up at Zaid Hamidi's shortlisted candidates. Rohaizat Othman may not have his work cut out for him after all.

The campaign in Manek Urai was an exercise in humility. That must have been very difficult for UMNO- to behave humbly that is. UMNO campaigned less nosily save for the pomposity of UMNO's information officer. I am almost moved to ask him, wak lan, aren't you going to tap a rubber tree or stay at locals' houses this time? If there's no tree, do a samy vellu- plant a rubber tree and then tap it.

That night I watched the announcement of the candidate. DPM Muhyidin was in his most strident form. Continuing his harangue on Anwar Ibrahim, the man whom he once loaned his oversized batik shirt, he repeated his drumbeating. He made oblique reference to the fact that Permatang Pasir is in Permatang Pauh and UMNO promises to deliver a loss to the former DPM.

But DPM Muhyiddin is also a man on trial here. His recent utterances to his former team wawasan leader will be the subject of trial in the people's court. You are coming into the man's area, trying to strike a chink in his armour and you want to call him names?

He has called Anwar a traitor to the Malay race. I am an UMNO man- I can't convince myself to label another Malay a traitor to his race just because I find him disagreeable. Probably he meant traitor to UMNO. Then Muhyidin might as well categorised over 1 million UMNO members who did not vote UMNO candidates in the last GE as traitors. He would have to include, those over 3 million Malays, who did not vote UMNO as traitors too. If there were more Malays who did not vote UMNO in the last election, then UMNO is in reality, a minority Malay party.

DPM's Muhyiddin's approach contrasted sharply with the proposed subdued way in which the UMNO candidate, Rohaizat Othman, wishes to carry out. He wants to merendah diri, the DPM wants to thunder. He wants to respect his opponent; the DPM wants to impale the Permatang Pauh giant.

UMNO has about 5300 members in this bahagian. In the last election, its candidate secured a marginally higher number of voters than its members. Its candidate then, Ahmad Sahar Shuib got 5500 votes. That meant only 200 extra votes were secured by its members. UMNO members in this bahagian tidor kah? Since 2008, has the UMNO bahagian worked hard to convert a far bigger number to its cause? The other component parties have negligible membership not capable at all of making any impact on the 5500 non Malay voters.

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