Thursday, 31 December 2009

Langit kian mendung.

As we move into 2010, UMNO must examine itself. How do we prepare ourselves for the challenges ahead? I am most wary of claims that say UMNO is on the mend. What are the indications? Having a new UMNO president with high approval ratings at the initial stages is not conclusive to suggest UMNO is on the mend.

The 300 or so interviewed by a research group recently may actually be people succumbing to the 'halo' effect. If you were to interview a division secretary for example, would you expect him to say bad about UMNO's leaders? When Pak Lah succeeded TDM in 2003, he obtained the same sentiments which fizzled and ended in UMNO's most dismal performance in 2008.

When the PM recently stated that we have ourselves to lose, I hope the UMNO members in general, appreciate the significance of that statement. Unless, UMNO cultivate itself, it cannot hope to sustain itself wishing calamity to befall our adversaries. If we chose this option, then UMNO survives on nothing but default by others.

Sometime in 1976, I read a very interesting book which I find very intriguing till today. It is a book with the title " Langit Makin Mendung" by a writer no doubt using a nom de plume of KiPanjiKusmin.( Kiyai Panji Kusmin).

Some people thought, the person behind the pen name was HB Jasin, a famous Indonesian man of letters. Jasin put up a very spirited defence of KP Kusmin when controversy erupted around the publication of this book.

The book raised a storm in Indonesia as well as ripples here in Malaysia. The book was a satire describing the general malaise afflicting Muslim people. The book made very liberal use of imageries about  Allah, the Prophet and the Islamic religion. The lab chosen to experiment with the satire, so to speak, was Indonesia.

I especially remembered a passage about Sukarno singing. According to the writer, Sukarno had been sick for some time. Comrade Mao dispatched some doctors to treat Sukarno. He recovered and to celebrate, threw a party. In that party, Sukarno boasted:-

"Padahal (menunjuk dada) lihat badan saya, saudara-saudara, Soekarno tetap segar-bugar. Soekarno belum mau mati. (Tepuk tangan gegup gempita, tabib-tabib Cina tak mau ketinggalan). Insya Allah, saya belum mau menutup mata sebelum proyek nekolim 'Malaysia' hancur lebur jadi debu. (Tepuk tangan lagi)."

Acara bebas dimulai. Dengan tulang-tulangnya yang tua Presiden menari lenso bersama gadis-gadis daerah Menteng Spesial diundang.

Patih-patih dan menteri-menterinya tak mau kalah gaya. Tinggal hulubalang-hulubalang cemas melihat Panglima Tertinggi bertingkah seperti anak kecil urung disunat.

Dokter pribadinya berbisik.

"Tak apa. Baik buat ginjalnya, biar kencing batu PYM tidak kumat-kumat."

"Menyanyi! Menyanyi dong Pak!" Gadis-gadis merengek.

"Baik, baik. Tapi kalian mengiringi, ya!" Bergaya burung unta.

Siapa bilang Bapak dari Blitar

Bapak ini dari Prambanan

Siapa bilang rakyat-Indonesia lapar

Malaysia yang kelaparan …!



"Mari kita bergembira…." Nada-nada sumbang bau champagne.

Re-reading Langit Kian Mendung, reminds me of the many media practitioners doom-saying the condition affecting the many opposition parties. We find ourselves on the reversed side, playing out the role of Sukarno wishing Malaysia is sick. We forgot our body is ravaged with cancerous growth.

Never a day passed, without some minor disagreement within the opposition, not written and read as some major catastrophe about to engulf the opposition parties. It's as though, we the ruling government can only hope to overcome our own shortcomings, and thereafter triumph, when the situation over the other side is not good.

Now, what UMNO and other BN component parties are doing are exactly similar to what Sukarno was doing in that story. We delude ourselves wishing that our adversary is in shambles.

This is a highly deceitful attitude. We hope to become stronger by hoping and wishing that our adversary becomes weaker. So, in the meantime what do we do with ourselves? We don't cultivate ourselves? Build our strengths so that we prosper, advance and triumph by leveraging on our own strengths rather than hoping the other side weakening?

Siapa bilang bapak dari Blitar

Bapak ini dari Prambanan

Siapa bilang UMNO tercemar

Pakatan yang berkocakan



Suddenly the views of 300 over delegates taken as a sample are elevated as indicating that UMNO is on the mend. Are we crazy or what? These are 300 people who probably secured places as delegates employing the very tactics which UMNO wants to obliterate. And their views are taken as definitive to signal that UMO and its president are in good stead?

Hello- the over 3 million Malays who didn't vote UMNO candidates during the 12th General Elections will probably say, the findings by the Merdeka Centre as 'frivolous'. The more cynical ones will likely say in Augustine Paul-esque manner- not relevant! These are not the 300 Spartans at the battle of Thermopylae my friends. These 300 were probably those out for a good time during the UMNO general assembly wishing actually, for contests for the top posts.

It is we who are keenly judged by the people. We are because it is we who run this country, manage the economy and govern. People will make comparisons- how the pakatan governments are doing to what we are doing.

It seems obvious to me, we shouldn't depend too much at what the dunderheads in the media and the propaganda boys tell us.

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An afternoon with The Oracle of Syed Putera-Part 4/4

Part 4.

How would you think, UMNO should treat its past Presidents? Tun Dr Mahathir in particular. He is a larger than life figure

You know, Singapore has got it. After all is said and done, Singapore has got it right. It knows how to take care of its former PMs. It cost then little but the benefits are much more. It gives you a sense of continuity and certainty. Certainty implies dependability. Investors like it. Other governments appreciate it. It implies no major changes in policies.

Seriously, I think it's all for the better if the PM calls on TDM regularly. You know, once a month. Have tea with him. Maybe inform him, I am doing this and that. Consult him and engage him.  Consulting does not mean getting his consent. He is not looking after honours any more. He has done everything. But he needs to feel appreciated.

I am thinking O Oracle; wouldn't it be a good advantage to Malaysia, if we appoint TDM as a roving ambassador? He is after all a brand unto himself. He is the master salesman. That would be profitable for this country. We get the additional advantage of having TDM on our side instead of him taking pot-shots which get bigger and increasingly voluble.

It bodes ill of the country. You have discontinuity, uncertainty, volatile policies.

Certainly, it would be advantageous. I was happy to hear of the idea of making TDM a roving ambassador. Tun Daim told me he spoke to Mustapha Mohammad about this. A proposal was made to formalise such a position with an annual budget of a few million. TDM could help achieve for Malaysia much more than any price can reflect.

Unfortunately when the proposal was placed before the cabinet, I am told there were some jokers who shot down the idea. They say it's too expensive! I said what? You want to scrooge about a few millions a year? TDM is someone no money can buy. Yet some jokers adopted a penny wise pound foolish attitude.  See PKFTZ.  Losing billions is OK!!

You can't keep a person like TDM down. He is fuming mad at the current administration. Luckily our friend Tun Daim is around to console Dr Mahathir. I hear Tun Daim telling TDM- perhaps it's better to tone down his criticisms. We may have an imperfect office holder, but this country must tolerate some deficiencies…  Give the man a chance.

What do you make of the spat between Nazri and TDM, O wise Oracle?

If the PM is not careful, the whole thing may backfire with a vengeance. People can interpret it as something which is endorsed by the PM. People can say –there is the hidden hand of the PM. He wants to avoid confrontation, but he lets his hangman cast the noose.

All these things said about BTN would have been more effectively tackled quietly. Within closed doors perhaps.

Nazri is causing self inflicting damage. I am afraid he gains nothing out of his defiance which he has mistaken as heroism. In fact, his outbursts and diatribes cast long shadows of aspersions on the PM…certainly so unMalay. Malay here means UMNO and unMalay can easily translate into loss of votes.

What can you do to heal UMNO? I am sure, if we know Tun Mahathir – when he wrote  that UMNO is rotten to the core, he is also thinking along the same lines. That UMNO is indeed rotten to the core. You know Dr Mahathir's style.

Very difficult. It must start from the top. You know they say, the fish rots from the head. The PM must take the lead. He needs a new team. He needs a team of robust advisers. Not those who think they are beholden to him.

I had an opportunity to discuss these matters with the PM. He is reluctant to make radical changes citing this loyalty thing. PM says the people around him have been loyal to him.

Yes, I say. Loyalty has its merits. But it serves at a certain level. Loyalty doesn't automatically translate into competence or good advice. You need these. As PM you are operating on a different level where loyalty is junior partner to competence and ability. I will have to talk about these matters again with the PM.

I was also talking to the PM the other day. UMNO's next battle front is cyber war. It must take possession of the ground. But UMNO doesn't seem to go on the offensive. They seem to underestimate the impact. True, the general population doesn't access the internet.

But the educated and the intelligentsia do. And they expand on the material they read. The multiplier effect is tremendous.

Look at UMNO HQ itself. They don't reorganise with emphasis given to new technology, to the internet. UMNO is not going to dandily walk through the park this time.

Again it must begin from the top. The way I see it, most UMNO leaders and others are behaving as though they know they will lose the next elections. So everyone looks out for their own interest. Sad, isn't it.

Oracle Sir, what do make of the MCA crisis?

You are handling it the wrong way. Ideally, both should go away. But now, that is no longer an option. UMNO seems to be taking sides. That is not the way out of the problem.

The way UMNO handles it, as leader of the BN is treating MCA as a subsidiary company. Just look at it…. Your suggestion for fresh polls was rebuffed twice. You call for meetings; the MCA President says he has stomach ailments. Twice? With the same ailment? Certainly a subject for jokes.

I think it's a matter of giving face. You know, giving face is a very strong cultural trait among Chinese. You can't embarrass MCA that way. MCA loses face means the Chinese lose their faith and trust with MCA.

I bumped into the MCA president a few weeks ago. He was asking me, how does he respond to UMNO's tactics? UMNO must give face to him and allow him to sort things out. People forget…MCA is the only party that sets a time limit for its leader to hold on to office. Some UMNO ministers won't retire until they are dropped or voters reject them.

So give face to MCA to sort things out. Each faction has its followers. We are doing the greatest disservice to MCA and to BN if we make MCA leaders lose face. Hope UMNO knows that Chinese Press is anti MCA and anti BN.

By now, I think I have exceeded the Oracle's hospitality. We started at 4.30pm and its approaching 6pm. I need to stop.

You want to ask any more questions?

No, thank you O Oracle. Thank you for your time. It has been a fruitful session. Have a good trip tomorrow. The Oracle has to take a flight at 4am in the morning. He has been invited by a very VIP on a trip. He will come back on the same day.

I rose to my feet, took the Oracle's hand to kiss it. After the usual Muslim salutations, I excused myself. On the way out, I tap on Madam Secretary's glass door to thank her and said bye bye.

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Wednesday, 30 December 2009

An afternoon with The Oracle of Syed Putera-Part 3

Part 3.


The Oracle continued:-

So, we focus on the economy. Don't create Achilles Heels. You want people to fight on the beaches, in the landing areas, in the streets, fields and hills? Get the professional soldiers. Give them the tools and stand aside. Let them finish their job.

The leader of this country should look at two things; very essential and fundamental, I think.

First he needs to look at the toll tariffs.

Two, look at electricity.

I just heard, electricity tariffs are going to be increased. People will get frustrated. The cost of coal is unbelievably high. We are buying at what? USD90 per ton? Furthermore, you are buying at Spot Prices. It's more sensible if you do a term contract- forward buying.

A group of Malay boys came to see me. They have a solution they say. I find it encouraging and very interesting to see our Malay boys doing this. Years ago, no one can imagine Malay boys coming out with such a practical idea. I think the idea has got merits.

What's the idea, O Oracle?

Build stockpiles. We buy coal and have them stockpiled. You have one stockpile in Pahang, one in Selangor and one in the south. Maybe another one in the north. The boys tell me, they can buy the coal and sell it to the government at around USD60 per ton. Do a little bit of Hedging.

We can imagine not only cost savings for TNB but also profit estimates. Research by the firm Macquarie for example, estimates that for every US$1 per tonne reduction in coal prices would add 1% to TNB's profit estimates.

Imagine that. You get to save USD20-30 per ton. Multiply that with the total tonnage consumed.

But I am told the idea is not received favourably. The TNB CEO should look into this idea. You operate on the spot market, and you confine the tendering to 2 or 3 suppliers- people are bound to ask questions. Because the price of the lowest tenderer is still above the average market price. I think the idea of having stockpiles is a good one deserving of a try. Save money. People get to buy electricity tariffs at acceptable level.

Managing the economy becomes more difficult if you have your own people working at cross purposes. Example: the proposal by a company to take over PLUS toll concessions. It would have meant reduction of toll rates by 20% which the people will see as popular. It will mean we have RM50billion into the system. For God sake- we don't have the money. We should be thinking of raising money this way instead of groping in the dark.

How much do you get from GST? RM 1 billion? In principle, I am not against GST.

Yet you have someone from the government saying that it will cost over 200 billion to take over. Each year, the government is paying billions in subsidies. We should get out from this quicksand. Get the private sector to do this.   Generally, Government must not do business.

I was itching to ask this question. O Oracle- how do you see the government selling down stakes in the GLCs. The ones Khazanah is handling?

The leader of this country must set his priorities right.  We should be paying attention to what Khazanah is doing.  Khazanah was formed to invest in strategic industries.  Why the selling down in the first place? I heard it was all just a strategy to sell government businesses by some people uncertain about their future. There were these rumours you see- at one time, the CEO of Khazanah wasn't sure of his tenure. Probably he wanted some golden handshakes. Maybe his guys thought about the idea of selling down. Not sure whether this idea will be implemented now that his tenure has been extended.

It's time to look at Khazanah. For example why is the minister in charge of the EPU still a board member? It should be the Finance Minister 2. You must let go. Then again, look at the position of the Finance Minister himself. Maybe no longer suitable to be the chairman because it can give rise to the possibility of conflict of interests. What if as Finance Minister, he needs to implement policies not palatable to Khazanah? He is there. Yet he must implement policies of the government. Worrisome isn't it?

Khazanah selling down has become a sort of priority. We are reacting to foreign pressures. Some people from abroad, tell you- you need to trim down because of this and this- what do you do? 

You react as though what they say as gospel truth. This is certainly not the way. You do something because it is right.  Khazanah can't think for themselves?   These executives are highly paid.  Foreigners direct Khazanah?  What did they do with Proton's Augusta  and Pantai?

Some industries and holdings must be in government's hands for strategic interest. Most countries practise this.The same with strategic assets.   Just because some people from abroad come here and tell you this is wrong (an assumption not tested) we responded in a knee jerk manner. Slow down, think before we do anything.

Take the case of Land for example. What's the extent of land in Kuala Lumpur that is still owned by Government? The government is doing something very fundamentally wrong.

Just look outside. You see Mid Valley which used to be what? Kampong Abdullah Hukum. I bet many in KL don't even know who he was.  Many people now  don't even know that a Malay Kampong known as Abdullah Hukum ever existed. Yet you are tendering out these strategic lands. If you tender! What do you get? Maybe one miserable building owned by Bandaraya. Do a case study on Mid Valley, Sentral and 16 acres of land at Brickfields given to UDA.  Government seems not bothered. 
What about land banks of Tenaga and TM?  You check.  These companies are part of Khazanah.  What is their contribution to NEP strategy?   The classic case is railways.  Year in and year out, slow losses.  What did they do with their premium lands at Kenny Hill and Sentul?  Compare that to Indian Railways.

I am not saying don't sell the land because the land is owned by Government. But we could have kept the land as a contingency measure should we face economic crises. When we do, we have land- valuable land and maybe we can get better return. These land parcels are mostly located in prime areas.

The government is doing the same to the land around Jalan Imbi. You know the area where there were government quarters. This is not a good way of dealing with valuable assets.

What the government should do is to draw up a master plan over the land. Then sell the land together with the master plan. It becomes a package. It shows the government has put much thought into the strategy. In that way, you not only get to sell at better value, you also get to manage what's going to be developed there. Maybe you can even tailor the development there in accordance to a wider vision.

About this Khazanah selling down. Who do they sell the interests to? Most likely to the same players. Will they be managed properly?

Anyway, like I said just now, let's prioritize. Why is the PM more in interested in chairing meetings of Khazanah. The value of its portfolio is nothing compared to PETRONAS. Yet the PM seems uncomfortable to deal with PETRONAS. We are surviving about half on PETRONAS's contributions. We should be directing our energy and ideas at PETRONAS. More so now as its Profits are almost reduced to half from usual. That's worrying too.

You want to restructure PETRONAS? What do you want to do with the present CEO/President? Make him the chairman. He has been in the industry for donkey years. He knows the ins and outs. He can still frustrate you through his network of workers. So, if you want to restructure PETRONAS, make a clean break. Find a new person altogether. Or don't change anything at all.

There was the idea being floated- put Syed Hamid as chairman? Why? He can't possibly overwhelm Hassan Merican. Oh—because he was promised that job by the previous PM? If he is good, he won't have problems finding rewarding careers elsewhere.

Oracle sir, I have been meaning to ask you this. What do you make of the new economic model?

I myself am not totally clear what the government means about the new economy. What economic model do they mean?

But luckily I am very fortunate to know Tun Daim Zainudin.if there is anyone who should be able to tell a thing or two about what the new economy is all about, it is Tun Daim.

Ah ha, I was thinking. The Oracle knows Tun Daim personally. Things will get more interesting. Can't wait to know of juicy tales in the Temple.

Do you know Tun Daim, O Oracle?

I do. We came from the same state. Same town in fact. Went to school with the man. Played football together. I know practically all the members of his family.

I am sure you remember he was our Finance Minister. A man with a few words. Always with a serious demeanour. I have known Tun Daim for a very long time. You can practically say, all my life.

Tun Daim narrated an interesting story to me. His Majesty our King asked Tun Daim one day, what's this new economic model all about? What do we mean by going up the value added ladder?

What did Tun Daim tell you, O Oracle?

The Oracle continued.

Well, this was what Tun Daim told me. The new economic model means we are going to build our prosperity on new industries. For example industries which are knowledge- based, service based, emerging technologies such as biotechnology for example and all that.

How perceptive of Tun Daim, I said.

Most certainly. My firend Tun Daim has his ears close to the ground. Of course I, being his lifelong friend was able to share in the insights of this remarkable man. I won't be surprised if he has investments in such industries.

On the other hand, the shift into the next economy requires serious planning. Our leaders must be knowledgeable. Read up on the subjects. I am appalled at the shallowness of some senior ministers. One needs to speak with authority. And convincingly so. Dr Mahathir had those qualities. He knows what he is talking about.

Hence when the government says about the new economy isn't going to be a straight forward matter after all. We can proclaim agendas, programs etc. but we need to determine what directions economically do we take?  What do we do to reduce our dependence on natural resources?

Just look, PETRONAS has suffered reduction of its profits recently. The cost of explorations is not going to be  any cheaper. That alone should heighten our sense of urgency. I find this sorely lacking in the minds of our leaders.

We pride ourselves on palm oil. Have we looked at our productivity lately? FELDA has large acreage under Palm Oil in Sabah and Sarawak. But the productivity, people tell me is very low. Yet no one in FELDA seems to care.

Why is FELDA straying away from its core business? It has long departed from the agenda and vision set about by Tun Razak.  We read, now it has hotels and resorts all over the place, restaurants in far flung places. You stretch your resources on unrelated portfolios. You are going to get your fingers burnt.

Eager to contribute to the discussion, I offered my thoughts. If we are going to move up the value added ladder, we should concentrate on our areas where we have comparative advantage. Maybe services. We Malays are good in service industry. The knowledge based and IT businesses. These are the new frontiers, I think, O Oracle.

They are. But let me say something in which Malays can excel. The arts are an obvious example. You want to an actor? An actress? Be the best in the field. Cultivate yourself with the required skill sets. Be professional. Look at those Bollywood actors and actresses. They are making money. We have had one superstar- P. Ramlee; he could have become a super millionaire in today's terms.

You want to paint? Be the best artist. Be the best in your field. Invest in yourself. Point is, you have to be the best in the field where you have comparative and competitive advantage. Let's face it- we can't be the best in all fields. The Chinese- they excel in certain fields because they work hard at being the best there. We shouldn't t envy them for that.

Of course, IT and knowledge based industries are the future. But how do we handle that? We certainly can't do it by following misguided policies. Let me give you an example. We have produced many thousands of Malay graduates. Yet the number of unemployed graduates is biggest among Malay. Why?

Ok maybe, they face natural barriers of entry into certain areas. We know that. But probably the more important cause is our misguided policies on education. We wanted to produce Malay graduates of any kind. We ignored the requirements of industry. We produce square pegs for round holes. There is widespread misfit between industry requirements and skills we have.

We must have critical mass to make that leap into the next level. Right now, we are not doing well in that area. Industries are moving out. From here to the Philippines. Even to Vietnam where they are multilingual you know. They can pick up English and they can speak French too.

We don't build capacity, investments will fly. FDI is decreasing. We need to arrest this downward trending. We must go out. Bring investments in. DR Mahathir travelled extensively. Selling the virtues of Malaysia. We don't seem to repeat the enthusiasm.

Let's look at the contents of education. What subjects do we stress? We want to go to the next step? Into IT industry? We need to have trained technicians and engineers. How many engineers does India/China produce yearly? We don't do that.

Realistically, our desire to move into this kind of industry is a long term program. Restructure the education industry with emphasis and priority in new emerging fields. Train the Malays in that industry. Then, they can make the leap from traditional to ultra modern economy.

The better bet is move to biotechnology. Because this is where we have some comparative and competitive advantage. We have biodiversity that cannot be replicated by other countries. The government should be looking here. The Pharmaceutical industry can be leveraged on our biodiversity. On our flora and fauna.

Right now, we are in a catch 22 situation. We haven't built the critical mass of human resource that will allow us to leap easily into the new economy. Second, we don't have the absorptive capacity. Even Malay graduates are migrating elsewhere where there are markets for their skills.

O Wise Oracle. I was thinking… We have a few good GLCs. In media and communications for example. But I am puzzled as to why they don't go the full 9 yards. For example, TV3 the last time. Why didn't they think to have a second ASTRO for example? You get to beam in serious content into the homes of millions. Look at the current ASTRO. They have so many Tamil content which we can't begrudge because that business is owned by a Sri Lankan of Tamil roots.

Certainly they should. Maybe it has something to do with the quality of management. I am not sure. Generally speaking, if you have civil service mentality running businesses, you probably can't match the private sector mentality. Definitely, they need to push themselves to the limit. The whole 9 yards as you say.

Take a look at the broadband services. Our companies such as TM can do better for example. Now I hear the Chief Sri Lankan mega Tycoon wants to do the Last Mile broadband hook-up. He most certainly is capable of doing it. If he does it, TM should create another Astro.

I am thinking, The Oracle has been talking for a long time on economic issues. I fear the session may end soon. I was eager to move on to other issues. Normally the Oracle would grant 45 minute sessions. Our conversation has by now extended beyond one hour. I don't want to overstay the Oracle's hospitality either.

Can we talk about political issues please O Oracle?  How do you think should UMNO treat its former Presidents? In particular how do you think should we treat the larger that life figure of Dr Mahathir? I have even characterized Tun Mahathir as the Man who can walk on water.

That will be in Part 4, I am afraid.

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Tuesday, 29 December 2009

An afternoon with the Oracle of Syed Putera-Part 2

I have elected to narrate the story on an afternoon with the Oracle of Syed Putra ala dialogue style. My questions and thoughts appeared as normal lettering while the answers and thoughts of the Oracle appeared in italics.

Part 2.

Just I was allowing my thoughts to ponder over the questions; The Oracle entered the waiting area.

When did you come to KL?

This afternoon, O Oracle.  I quickly got up to greet the man. He, who has walked the corridors of power; one who has entered, walked and exited, undiminished.  A personalized version of "Veni, vidi, vici", I thought.

I extended my hands to shake the Oracle's and in accordance with the customary Malay practice, brought his hands to be kissed.

As if on cue, the Oracle seated himself on the middle sofa with the seat pillow.

After some brief exchange of pleasantries, it's all business. The Oracle seems upbeat this time. He is a picture of health. He is dressed in his usual cotton short sleeved shirts and  Dockers. He appears to be completely at ease.

I have read the questions that you sent- but let's not confine our session to those. I prefer to talk freely.

Thank you very much, O Oracle.

Maybe you can find out this story. The Oracle began.

It may just be rumors. People tell me disturbing news about the handling of the 1 Malaysia fund. If the rumors are true, they will be reflect badly on the PM. He has started on a good footing. The gains he has accumulated can be cancelled out.

Have you heard of the 1Malaysia Malaysia Development fund? I want you to find out more. Now, I am not saying it is true. Who knows? Rumors in Malaysia somehow emerge bearing some truth. But the story does raise some consternation, if there is some truth in them.

I could detect the Oracle stressing the importance to establish the veracity of the story. He is clearly troubled. It has wide implications. Not only for the country.  It will also for the PM, personally.

I quickly realized that whenever you have a discussion with the Oracle, you will need to update yourself with current events and knowledge. You have to- because as I have discovered thus far in several of my encounters with The Oracle, he speaks in a staccato manner- short unfinished sentences which require you to know how his short statement ends. He is not going to explain to you more than necessary. He assumes and indeed expects you to have some background reading on current and topical issues.

You have to be attentive to know the drift of the conversation. You can only do this, if you update yourself with current knowledge. And he is a voracious reader. You certainly don't want to appear inadequate before The Oracle to sustain his interest in you.

Indeed I have. O Oracle. I knew that the Fund is now managed by an authority known as 1Malaysia Development Berhad. 1MDB. I suppose, the fund it manages should be known as 1Malaysia Fund.

You know, this fund was originally  for Terengganu. You know, the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Terengganu?  The one that was supposed to be managed by the Terengganu Investment Authority? (TIA). Now that it has become a federal concern, it will be known as 1Malaysia Fund. No longer handled by TIA but by 1MDB. It was restructured and is said to have the blessings of the PM.

I am worried over the handling on the 1 Malaysia fund. I hear disturbing news.

How so, O Oracle?

Who is controlling the Fund? During Pak Lah's administration, we had this person. Good looking fellow of mixed parentage. People call him Pat. I suppose that is his name. He was said to be very close to Pak Lah. Very influential.

We were told he was able to control the application of Wang Ehsan Terengganu. So, you have crystal mosques, exclusive holiday homes amidst weather beaten Kampong dwellings, Monsoon Cup- all that glitter which is not exactly gold.

Imagine that- one person can create so much havoc. His presence and interference in the end, proved to be detrimental to Pak Lah.

Picture this. One Pat was damaging enough. What if you have 3 or 4 Pats now, during PM Najib's time? You literally have 4 daggers pointing to PM's heart. That means, it's 4 times detrimental. Not politically healthy, you understand.

There's this young guy who feted his friends in New York recently- he seems to be very influential. He spent what? USD 170k for a party? He has proven to be a smooth operator. He meets up the PM and says, the King commanded me to see you. He goes over the King and says, the PM asked me to see you. The ease, by which he does this, indicates this fellow is a mover.

My mind flashes back. Yes I remember reading about this fellow. Said to be in PM Najib's inner circle. More probably DS Rosmah's several advisers. He is no longer another low-profile businessman. He was said to be a key architect of a multibillion-ringgit sovereign wealth fund established by the state of Terengganu.

His name is Low. Jho Low. Probably shaken, not stirred.

He is from Penang. He is said to be an adviser to Malaysia's King, Sultan Mizan, and has close ties with several Middle East investment funds. Hey- how come all Rasputin-esque advisors all seem to come from Penang?

Anyway, I don't know what he says, but he has certainly sold the idea to have a 1Malaysia fund whose applications are not exactly clear yet. The fund is slotted to have a capital of RM 5 billion. But this RM 5 billion will be in the form of bond issue. A bond is essentially an IOU. Who guarantees the bond issue? The Federal government. That means, the government underwrites the liability.

I am disturbed when our government goes into bond issuance guarantee. You know…you have the PKFZ thing. Over in your state, you have your own Tanjung Agas which you are worried of. And rightly so. At the end of the day, if anything goes wrong, our government steps in.

I was thinking in my mind. Oh no, not another Patrick Lim. Who else can it be who is called Pat? There was this guy who was very influential over Pak Lah. He was reputed to be so powerful that he was able to commandeer the wang ehsan meant for Terengganu.  This time, there is another copy cat Patrick Lim in the present administration? 

To make matters even worse, there are now four of them? Is this the dreaded Sign of Four? It reminded me of Sherlock Holmes's encounter with the 4 convicts who made a pact over the stolen treasure. It's eerie. Life does imitate art.

And I was also thinking- I though this style of playing off one person against another was the modus operandi of an ex DPM.

Where will we invest the fund? Remember you have to service the interest. There were suggestions that the fund could be pumped into new oil and gas explorations. With that much of fund, why not invest in an ongoing oil and gas venture? You know, oil exploration takes a long time to bear results.

Buying into an ongoing project is better. That is more sensible right?

The disturbing thing is, even at its conception, there's already RM300 million gone. That's bad governance. You have already leaked RM 300 million before determining where you are going to invest.

You are going to pay 200 million a year in interest and it carries a coupon rate of 5.75 percent and if you don't have portfolios to invest, you will fritter away the I Malaysia fund.

Here is the problem. You have a massive fund which you can operate. Possibly make money. If the fund is intelligently applied. But you must have good people running it. You cannot run the Fund by having 3 or 4 people on the outside tinkering with the operations.

Three or Four? I thought. It's true. There are more Patrick Lim copycats.

I hear the board of trustees is made up of good people. At least in the initial stages. You have people from FELDA, from LTAT, from Tabung Haji and so forth. Trustees with credible records. But you can't function with professional integrity if you have a young person always overseeing and maybe countermanding you. The chairman has left the board.  The trustees have gone to the PM and explained what's going on. The PM is very aware of these developments but have yet to act decisively.

What's the significance of all these O Oracle?

The significance is this. PM Najib has started on a good slate. People are giving him their support. Tun Dr Mahathir is on low gear. You have favorable winds to sail.

But can PM sustain this with the shenanigans coming out? The goodwill and support can easily be eroded if the PM is made to look careless and reckless over the governance structure of the 1Malaysia fund. Even worse, he will be found wanting if he doesn't exercise control over the Fund. Don't shoot yourself in the foot.

In the previous administration- it was easy. We can blame it on the 4th floor boys. We can crucify Patrick Lim. Even call him Patrick Badawi. I am not sure whether he's the Pat people tell me about. They became easy and convenient targets. You have a Patrick Lim and other boys to be the Mexican Pinata.

In my mind's eye, I can see, those clay pots suspended from ceilings being whacked with sticks and canes until the innards become disemboweled. In Mexico the children will sing as they whack the piñatas;

"Dale, dale, dale, no pierdas el tino,
Porque si lo pierdes, pierdes el camino."

Hit it, hit it, hit it, don't let your aim go astray,
Because if you lose it, you lose your way.

I am thinking. The PM doesn't hit it, we lose the plot, and we lose our way.

  Now, you have other young boys running around. They work overtime on ingratiating themselves to people very close and intimate to the PM. That makes life not easy for the PM. These young people certainly know which levers to push.

When you have these young people exploiting the relationship they have with people closest to the PM.  It is a cause for worry. With that kind of perceived patronage, they can prevail over the decisions of others. Others get intimidated you know.

You have a sizeable fund such as 1Malaysia Fund slowly being turned into a private piggy bank whose contents therein are being applied in ventures of dubious merits.  What's the most worrying aspect?

The fund is controlled by a few boys with powerful patronage. The PM will become ineffectual. Not good.

It's the economy. How we manage the economy. People want that. People want to see good governance in operation. Allowing interference in the management and application of this huge fund isn't good.

Wanting to expand on a grand concept- that's ok. So you have 1 Malaysia. DR Mahathir had his vision 2020. Pak Lah had Islam Hadhari. We can understand and relate to that. But don't lose sight of the economy. One must provide leadership there.

My thoughts quickly went back to what Lee Kuan Yew said many years ago. ".. People want economic development first and foremost. The leaders may talk about something else (I Malaysia, having chicken rice now or whatever), what is it they want? The right to write an editorial as you like? They want homes, medicine, jobs, and schools. …..there's no question about it".

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Monday, 28 December 2009

Learning from India: The auto industry

You think China is the biggest exporter of cars in the world? You would if you observe the rapidity with which China companies gobble up the brand names in the auto industry. They have taken over Hummer, they have taken over Volvo. There are about 150 registered auto manufacturers in China. We see China made cars here in Malaysia- the Cherry's, Geelys Great Wall Motors (GWM) and so on.

Over here in Malaysia, those in the auto industry or industries related to it are also affected by recent developments. Proton has announced its improving. I am not sure whether it has overtaken Perodua in passenger car sales. The main investors in Proton are of course Khazanah Nasional and EPF. It is a GLC. Proton acquired Lotus sometime in the late 1990's from the owner of the bankrupt Bugatti. It has recently announced that it will enter F1 formula racing under F1 Lotus after BMW- Sauber exited. The Malaysian F1 Lotus team is sponsored by a few corporate players such as Air Asia, Naza. It was of course banking on the money from PETRONAS and now that PETRONAS has announced that it's not sponsoring Malaysia's F1 Lotus, perhaps Air Asia will finance our racing hopes. Just don't ask Proton to come up with the money.

Consider this. Wouldn't be better if all that money that is going to be spent on F1 racing be channelled into propping up Proton itself so that we can produce better cars, more affordable vehicles and our Proton city in Tanjung Malim can emerge as a manufacturing hub for a regional market? You are going to spend RM 1 billion a year for what? So that some people whose imaginations we look at in awe and admiration can realise some phallic dreams of driving in super charged cars?

Look again at India. No one gave the country a tinker's cuss about its capability to emerge as the biggest car exporter. We would have thought China will swamp the world market. Maybe Proton may want to look at the reasons that propelled India into first place as a car exporter. Don't get dragged into pouring money into F1 racing now that uncle PETRONAS isn't going to give you money.

Don't fault PETRONAS- it must after all operate on strictly business principles. If it thinks that sponsoring Mercedes will give better premium and returns to PETRONAS and this country, we must support it. This isn't an issue whether Hassan Merican is a maverick or not. As PETRONAS CEO he has to make hardnosed business decision and if Mr Omar Ong is not up to it, then probably his stint as consultant in Mckinsey was wasted.

India has overtaken China as a car exporter this year, exporting 201,138 cars in January-July against China's 164,800. What accounts for India's success? We don't see anyone drafted from an Indian Perodua coming out with some visionary planning? Or talk in grandiose terms about a Long-term strategy. India's triumph was completely unplanned. No planning document ever envisioned or planned for beating China.

Look again at China. Analysts say China has become a great auto exporter because of huge subsidies, an undervalued exchange rate and dirt-cheap credit. Sounds similar to Proton eh? India didn't go for an undervalued exchange rate so that its exports are cheaper. Indeed, India's interest rates were always among the highest in Asia. It has inflexible labour laws, with adverse effects on productivity and wages relative to Asian competitors. Indian strategic vision does not include giving special provisions or subsidies to the auto sector like our Proton has. Indeed, the sector for years suffered exceptionally high excise duties and sales tax. Suppose Proton is subjected to high duties and high sales tax, do you think it can survive the rigors of competition?

Ah yes, COMPETITION. The word has become a byword for nightmares of some kind spooking many policy makers. But that is precisely what revved up India's auto industry. In the early 1990s, auto production was freed for investment by any domestic and foreign investor. Indian planners as well as foreign investors regarded India as a low-skilled, low-productivity country producing third-rate cars like the Ambassador and Premier. Foreign investors came only because car imports were virtually banned. The small size of the Indian car market created serious scale diseconomies.

Everyone criticized the new auto policy. Leftists claimed foreigners would decimate the industry. In Malaysia, nationalists claimed this. Tun Dr Mahathir became the chief spokesman for this new form of economic colonialism. Some economists complained that foreigners were being wooed to create an inefficient, high-cost industry behind high tariff walls.

But nobody foresaw what fierce competition would do. Auto companies compete by constantly producing new models with improved features like fuel efficiency. As we know, Indian consumers are very price-sensitive, so design changes to reduce costs are also vital. Cheaper and affordable cars are demanded. India's auto parts companies had rarely been asked for innovative changes during the old licence-permit raj, when the Ambassador and Premier faced little competition. Here, Malaysian auto parts manufactures will gang up t press for higher prices. They want to be protected under our own version of licence-permit raj.

What happened on the Indian scene? The MNCs brought in competition, and started a dialogue with auto ancillary manufacturers on constant design changes. To their surprise, they found that Indian engineers had considerable skills, and could make improvements quickly and cheaply.

For example, Bharat Forge, a company which makes auto forgings like crankshafts and axles, was among the first to realize that India's big advantage was not cheap labour but cheap skills. The company decided to have no blue collar workers at all, only engineers. This yielded a huge rise in innovation and productivity, and soon made Bharat Forge the second biggest auto forging company in the world.

For new auto components, global giants like Delphi and Visteon typically took three months to go from concept to design, prototype, testing, removal of glitches, and final manufacture. But Bharat Forge found it could do the entire sequence in just one month.

Soon, every auto company and parts maker in India focused on using cheap skills to constantly produce better and cheaper parts and vehicles. Bajaj Auto once relied on knowhow from Kawasaki for motor-cycles, but soon found that its own R&D produced far better bikes or Indian conditions. Maruti Suzuki made India a global hub for R&D. And Tata Motors created the Nano, the world's cheapest car, making the world sit up.

This then is the secret of India's success. Don't waste time with strategic planning and picking winners. Simply let competition happen. You will be surprised how the most unlikely sectors can become world class. That's how India has just beaten China.

Don't waste time with Formula 1 racing. PETRONAS is doing the right thing in sponsoring Mercedes team. Let our Lotus F1 team qualify itself first to justify spending on them. If you can ask that requirement from ordinary Bumi companies, why not ask the same thing from Lotus F1? Better to pump money into Proton to study how India does it.

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Sunday, 27 December 2009

The Sky’s no limit


 

The air force came out with the statement that they kicked out the BG because he was incompetent. Therefore the BG is not our Ali.

Why are there conflicting news coming out from the government? The defence ministers appeared to be suggesting that this ex BG and 40 other people were involved in the theft. Now, the RMAF appeared to contradict their minister by saying the BG was sacked because of incompetency. Are they referring to the same BG? Could it be possible there were two generals involved? One known or be made known to minister Zahid, the other known to RMAF? The IGP says, the police are questioning a few generals.

The air force may be doing an exercise in damage control. Military debriefing, they say. There was only one BG involved. The BG may be the prime suspect. But the premature exposure may derail better investigations. The BG may take measures to cover his tracks. RMAF suddenly realizes it is too excited. They have blown open their action. The suspects got wind and they are countering.

It is impossible for a person to attain the rank of a BG to have done so through incompetence. That would suggest his superiors were more incompetent than he. Or it would also suggest that the system it has as regards career progression is compatible and suitable to allow incompetents to rise through the ranks. This would then lend credence to the expression, not only does the cream rise to the top, the scum does too.

If that is, then it calls into question, the quality of our airmen. Can they be depended upon to defend our country? If one incompetent BG is a measure of the general quality of his subordinates( the entire division which he heads), our air defence is suspect.

Then we might as well say the whole RMAF is full of morons; you join at the age of 20 and then maybe attain the rank of BG at the age of 45. That means for 25 years, RMAF couldn't detect your incompetence? If they couldn't detect this, can they interpret what's on our radar screens?

Therefore, it is highly unlikely that the BG was sacked because of incompetence. He must have committed some gross misconduct which warranted dismissal.

It is better for RMAF to shut up and not issue any more public utterances about this mater. How do we know those issuing such statements are not incompetent themselves? If you are stupid, let the stupidity stays with you. Don't make us stupid too.

Suppose, like someone said- the engines theft is only the tip of the iceberg. What does this statement mean? I am thinking that we need to lose at least 14 F-5Es to arrive at the figure. Remember we have lost RM 100 million or USD 29 million. One unit of F-5E costs USD 2.1 million.

What have we actually lost that could total up to USD29 million? Perhaps more than 20 planes each costing around USD900k like A4 Skyhawks for example? What if, for the past 10 years, this syndicate has been selling a number of engines and planes each year?

At regular intervals, you booked out a few engines for repairs somewhere. They were never returned or some people just 'booked' in the same number on paper. Not until a physical inventory check is carried out, will you become aware that physically the engines were not there. For the whole scam to work there must be close collusion between the various departments.

There must be a dummy company somewhere which acts as the exporter. This company processes the necessary export documents, gets customs clearance, does all the shipping or even air freighting arrangements.

Do we now trust, the incompetent RMAF to conduct a thorough investigation into the sordid affair? Now, by their own inadvertent admission, the FMAF is full of incompetent people. We therefore cannot afford to depend on the RMAF people for who knows, the investigation team may be led by another incompetent person- a colonel maybe, a BG perhaps. We must therefore set up an independent auditing team to investigate the full scale and extent of any larceny that is going on. This is simply an aggravated burglary.

If we have lost so many planes, then there must be an internal syndicate in the RMAF which has been consistently stealing our assets. That would make any claims by anybody that the auditing and or stock taking system within the RMAF as being 1000% solid are just brinkmanship talks.

The phrase 'tip of the iceberg' can mean, the RMAF is full of even worse morons. The incompetent BG is only the tip. That can either mean, those subordinate to him are all confirmed mental retards or those above him are even worse mental retards. If I am not mistaken, the current PAT is an air force 4 star general. Is he competent or not?

It can also mean, the RM100 million lost is miniscule compared to the actual loss/theft/corruption that occurs within the RMAF and by extension right through the defense ministry.

Now, that sets me thinking on another unrelated matter- the ex general who suffered calamity and personal loss when his residence was hit by a massive landslide had his suitcases with RM300-400K recovered- were those loose change, mein general? That was also the tip of the iceberg, no?

Let us further assume that, the real intent of the leaked information was to highlight the magnitude of the corruption and other forms of thievery that are occurring within the entire defence ministry. The plane engines were just a decoy leading us to bigger game. That bigger game is corruption within the defence ministry.

Our next question then is to ask why did the theft of the engines take place with such superciliousness and impunity and more alarmingly, taken lightly by the relevant authorities charged with overseeing these matters? The thieves and those responsible for stealing engines or bleeding the military coffers dry were doing what they did with extraordinary boldness. Strange indeed.

That would suggest many things.

  1. They had some leader powerful enough who was daring enough to thump the nose of the upper echelons in the military establishment.

Or, they were emboldened enough to carry out what they did, because everyone knows that everyone who matters in the defence ministry were responsible for even greater larceny.

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Friday, 25 December 2009

USD29 million: what did we lose actually?





Holy Mary! Mother of Jesus! Even while partaking in the Christmas goodies, people are talking about the lost plane engines.

I hope this will not spoil your Christmas celebrations. Saya ingat saya mahu cuti , tapi tak boleh.

First, I find it incredulous. I don't believe we lost over RM 100 million through 2 smuggled out F-5E engines. They couldn't be that expensive. One unit of F-5E plane costs over USD 2 million. We are talking about USD29 million. We need to lose at least 10 F-5E planes.

But then again, I could be wrong. If one packet of Maggie Mee can cost over RM 8, a screw driver can cost over RM 30- it is like AR Tompel says—POSSIBLE, P-A-W- ssible. .

How on earth can we cart off 2 huge and heavy engines? Each engine may be 12-14 feet long. It weighs maybe a few tons. First we need a loader. Second, we need some authorization from some big shot at the admin office. We need to go to the hangar to physically load the engines, and have the necessary papers signed off by some authorizing officer. The loading must have been supervised. Having loaded the engines, we need to drive through the gates. The sentries on duty will check through the papers to ascertain authorization. Then the loader is let through.

Where are the pressure points? They must be in the documentations and therefore the persons who authorized and document them. Who issued the work order to dismantle the engines? Who then decide to have the engines serviced elsewhere? Who determined they have to be serviced elsewhere? The only possible explanation to account for the engines being transported outside is a need to have the engines serviced or repaired at another location. So who and where is the location? Is this the fence?

The transporter. It has to be an authorized contractor familiar to the top brass and the admin and operations staff. Only a transporter/contractor that is well known to the airbase personnel can enter and exit with relative ease.

So there is a whole line of people involved in the sting. 40 seem to be a nice number. But we must get to Ali.

The defence minister said that 40 people were involved. Including one retired BG. He is our Ali then. In our neighboring country, BGs go on to become ministers and even prime minister. Here, a retired BG ends up as chairman of some GLCs. Maybe in this particular case, the said BG was given chairmanship of Tabung Haji(?) to sit there and perhaps contemplate on the evils and sins he has committed. If he is a retired BG, then he must have joined the air force during a time when the officers'' mess was synonymous as being centers of drunken and maybe other sinful orgies. Such a person needs to atone for the sins committed during those Christmas past.

The defence minister has warned bloggers not to twist the story. Mana ada Herr Doctor Z? The one who broke the news was the NST and other MSM papers. Tangkap dia orang semua dulu. Other bloggers are asking questions only. We can't stand if MSM and papers indulge in debauchery and an orgy of misinformation.

Consider this one for example.

The other night, the newsreader on TV 3 says the 2 engines we lost are in South America. Perhaps it they will be refitted for use to fight drug distributors there or flying over the Amazon or guarding the largest underground water reservoir there. Maybe flying over the Pampas.

These engines, it has been reported, cost us USD29 million. Ini bukan saya cakap. Ini pemberita TV bilang. Ini TV, Prima Media punya. Kerajaan punya. Takkan dia mahu tipu sama kita?

At the exchange rate of 3.8, the cost in Malaysian Ringgit is over RM100 million. That would make each engine RM50 million. Plus all other parts and instruction manuals, the total cost is over RM 100 million.

What did we lose actually? What kind of engines? Anyone researching into these matters will be surprised that one F-5E fighter plane is priced at over USD 2 over million. Yes, TWO Million. That is the cost of the entire plane. If ONE place costs USD2 million, how could ONE engine cost more than the plane itself?

So what engines did we lose? USD29 million can buy us one unit of  the famous F-15 fighter planes- the ones used by Israel and Saudi Arabia. If we had lost 2 engines belonging to F-15 fighter planes, then that would sound more reasonable to have incurred a loss/theft of RM 100 million.

So, we don't know what the NST reporters meant- F-5E or F-15? Malaysia has no F 15 I think. We have bought 18 Sukhois- that we know. But F 15? Never heard of that.

So we come to the question. Malaysian TV announced we lost USD29 million. The MSM reported we lost RM 100 million.

What have we actually lost really?

That sets people thinking. We have lost more than engines. To have lost more than RM 100 million could only mean we have lost an entire fleet of planes or something more valuable. Because this is highly implausible, the reports by the MSM could not be true.

The MSM, especially the NST which led in exposing the story may have lied to the Malaysian public. The lie could be deliberate. Or maybe they have sent a rookie reporter who has just passed his SPM and to top that, maybe one who can't string a decent sentence in English- he was the one who came up with the preposterous news.

If all this is a big lie, why did the NST publish the story without further verification? That would suggest monumental carelessness on the entire editorial staff at NST. Who is going to be responsible for this extraordinary slip of the mind that would further suggest, gross inadequacy for such an important job?

Let's leave that issue for later.

Or could the Air force itself be embarking on a misinformation briefing? I don't think newspapers can get such stories, unless people inside the military, notably those in the top echelons who have an axe to grind or are on some chosen vendetta, leaked such misinformation. If they indeed leaked such misinformation, it was done for a purpose.

So we need to ask for what purpose?

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Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Mamasita and I would like to wish a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our friends who will be celebrating tomorrow.

We extend our best wishes and a happy new year to De minimis, Ben( de minimis's nephew) Walla, Mr. Bernard Khoo aka Zorro, Paula of Masterwordsmith ( we all trail behind the sheer volume of your writings) , Patricia, Donplaypuks, Antares, Whisperer, Anil Netto ( yes I do read you), Patrick Teoh ( whom we listened through our school days), Tommy Yew, Covert 78  and all other bloggers and blog readers who will be celebrating Christmas tomorrow. God bless you all.



Christmas time


Its Christmas time again
The season of renewal
Love, faith, charity
And all that is beautiful
Chimes greatly in to every heart
Beating in celebrations
Of Spirit, togetherness, and affirmation.


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Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The Debate: How should UMNO treat MCA?-3


 

I was watching CNN the other day. It carried news about the dilemma of Arab American soldiers who found themselves serving in Iraq. They are asking the big question- why are we in Iraq? The Talibans are in Afghanistan or in the hills of Pakistan Northern frontiers. We should be there instead of in Iraq.

America didn't find WMD- the excuse given by Bush and American war mongers to justify invading Iraq. When they didn't, they came up with a disingenuous excuse. Regime change. Here is what troubles many of us.

The universally accepted principle is, regime change is an issue the local people have to answer. America can't answer on behalf of others. They can't be the busy policemen of the world. Spread Democracy through Bombs!

This is precisely the same mentality a person like Shamsul Anuar has. How does he justify UMNO meddling into MCA? First because he says UMNO is the big brother just as USA is big brother to the rest of the world. America does what it does, because of what it is- the only unchallengeable super power. UMNO can do what it likes because of what it is, the single dominant political power. If MCA, and by extension any other junior partner do not like it, they can FO!

The perception by people is UMNO gets under MCA's blanket because it wants regime change. Regime change is MCA's problem and issue. It says it's working out party elections soon. So, let it work out for itself. By the reasoning which Shamsul gives which implies that UMNO does not need MCA, then if MCA is mauled at the next general elections, it will be an inconsequential loss. Allow MCA and MCA alone to flush out its foreign or domestic devils. Then, it alone shall answer to the country.

Suci Dalam Debu said...

Aduhai Encik Shamshul,

Perkataan "Apartheid" sungguh menyinggung hati engkau.

Saya nak tanya sedikit

1. ASB untuk siapa dan di mana dividenya datang dari mana dan dibiayai oleh siapa?

2. MARA itu kalau di bawa ke Parlimen Afrika Selatan hari ini, kau ingat boleh lulus tak?

3. Kalau diberi nama apa sekalipun, tahi tetap berbau seperti tahi juga.

4. Affirmative action dalam bentuk sekarang masih mendapat sokong padu from you. Saya rasa malulah.

5. You think Khir Toyo, Zakaria Mat Deros dan sebagainya adalah abberation?


I am sorry to say that despite all the education you have been provided for, you remain an "uneducated" person hiding behind a mask.

You seems to fit the Brahmin Bumiputera group to the dot.

21 December 2009 11:48

Suci Dalam Debu said...

Shamshul,

I forgot to add. The buntings you were asking for is like

Mulai hari ini,ASB dan MARA di buka untuk semua orang di Malaysia.

Did you see it somewhere, on TV3 perhaps, or maybe Utusan Malaysia.

Maybe they also mention cows can fly at putrajaya.

Then I can start believing in you.

21 December 2009 11:52

shamshul anuar said...

Dear Suci Dalam debu,

To make 1 Malaysia slogan meaningful, then the only way is to start from young; meaning from school level.

Separate school system breeds separateness. Why not have one school system with compulsory Mandarin class for Chinese and Tamil for Indians. The point is learn under one roof.

Believe me in the land that cries of meritocracy there is also affirmative action. Like in USA where special care is accorded to Native, minority, women, etc.

As for "Brahmin Bumiputera" , there is no such thing in Islam or malay culture. I am from a very humble background. There is nothing to be embarassed about.

As for MARA, please understand that the provision is accorded in recognition on the fact that at eve of independence, Malay Rulers agreed to granting of more than 1 million citizenship to your fore fathers, thus changing them from immigrants to citizens.

As such, something must be given back to malays. I agree with help given to Malaysian irregardless of race. But once you question other rights, so be prepared to have the other side question your rights.

21 December 2009 13:40

Suci Dalam Debu said...

Dear Shamshul,

Please stop trying to assume my identity.

Sekolah berbagai aliran sudah wujud sekian lama dan muhibah di antara berbagai kaum lebih baik di zaman itu berbanding sekarang.

Ingatlah bahawa yang menjadi petualang dan perosak kepada kaum melayu adalah tidak lain dan tidak bukan UMNO sendiri.

Usah menuding jari kepada orang lain. Jangan mengharamkan apa yang dihalalkan dan jangan menghalalkan apa yang diharamkan.

Orang Melayu, Cina, India, Iban, Kadazan, berbagai suku kaum dan khasnya orang asli sudah lama bersetuju untuk bersatu di bawah panji Malaysia.

Yang memecah-belahkan rakyat Malaysia adalah UMNO dalam bentuk yang ada sekarang (mungkin dah 30 tahun)dengan berselindung di belakang topeng DEB, media massa dan duit Petronas.

Tengku Razaleigh pun sudah sedar. Apakah kamu masih dalam lamunan?

Maaf jikalau tulisan saya menyinggung persaan saudara. Semoga tidak cepat melatah.

Marilah kita bersama-sama Dato' Sak membina era baru dan belayar menuju samudra bahagia.

21 December 2009 20:00

shamshul anuar said...

Saudara Suci Dalam Debu,

Sejak bila pula saya menghalalkan apa yang haram dan sebaliknya.

Yanbg memudaratkan umat melayu bukan UMNO tetapi sikap orang melayu yang suka mendengar fitnah dan tidak suka usul periksa.

Mulut berbuih cakap "fitnah lebih dahsyat dari membunuh" tapi setakat dimulut saja. Peringatan Allah swt akan betapa perlu meneliti sesuatu berita hanya jadi hafalan tanpa mahu mengamalkannya.

Berita dari orang fasik dan munafik dipercayai terus menerus. kebencian sesama Islam melampaui batas. Tidak ada tolak ansur tetapi begitu sanggup bertuankan musuh seagama sebangsa. Bagaimanapun ini bukanlah perkara pelik. Raja-Raja arab Sepanyol pun dulu perangai macam itu juga. Berbaik dengan musuh ugama untuk jatuhkan saudara seagama. Kesannya amat buruk.

Kesalahan UMNO Yang terbesar ialah membenarkan sekolah berbagai aliran. Kesannya kita tidak lagi kenal mengenali sesama sendiri.

Saya pun rasa tak ada hormat pada ADUN yang mewakili UMNO tetapi dengan mudah memfitnah UMNO kononnya satu dosa hanya kerana jadi parti teras dalam BN.

UMNO memang dominan dalam BN . Ini adalah hakikat. Dan bukan jadi satu kesalahan untuk jadi dominan dalam BN kerana ia memenangi lebih separuh kerusi yang dimenangi BN.

Mestikah UMNO dipersalahkan bila pemimpin MCA sendiri minta bantuan UMNO untuk selesaikan kemelut MCA. Kenapa dipandang serong bila MCA sendiri minta bantuan UMNO.

Apakah satu dosa bila memenangi kerusi aDUN dan Parlimen dan bentuk kerajaan. Nak harapkan PAS, sokongan Melayu padanya merosot kerana orang melayu tak suka ia berbaik dengan musuh Melayu hakiki, DAP.

Apakah hinanya DEB? Apakah salah UMNO guna kuasa untuk biayai pelajaran puluhan ribu anak Melayu di luar negeri. Nak diharapkan DAP, mungkin saudara bermimpi.

Saya tidak tahu identiti saudara. tapi kalau saudara orang Melayu, saya rasa sedih melihat saudara rasa terhina hanya kerana saudara sebangsa saudara berkuasa.

Lebih sedih lagi saudara suka dengar fitnah yang tak tentu hala. UMNO macam manusia lkain atau Rasulullah sekali pun memang ada kelemahan. Tetapi tak kan saudara tak nampak langsung jasanya.

Mengenai Dr Khir Toyo, telitilah sendiri bukti resit pembelian banglo beliau. Apalah nak heran sangat seorang bekas MB beli banglo harga RM3 juta ringgit. Janganlah percaya sangat fitnah orang.

Jahat sangatkah MB yang anugerah tanah ratusan ekar pada penduduk kampung contohnya di Batu 13 Puchong. Kenapa berita dari orang fasik lebih dipercayai.

Dan saya bukanlah jenis Brahmin. Saya tak tahu saudara siapa tapi yang jelas dalam budaya dan ugama saya tak ada kasta.

Saya berasal dari kampung. Isteri saya anak pelombong bijih. Kerana ada pemimpin Melayu yang sayang bangsanya( dianggap satu dosa kalau Melayu sayang bangsanya tapi bangsa lain boleh), maka saya , beliau dan ratusan kawan saya dihantar belajar diluar negeri.

Kini kawan saya ada yang jawat jawatan senior di MIDF, FRIM, MIDA, Petronas , dan banyak bank komersial. Tanpa pertolongan dari kerajaan( melalui kuasa UMNO) , tak mungkin ayah saya seorang kerani awam mampu hantar saya ke sana.

Apa pun saudara kata pasal Pariah atau Brahmin, saya tak rasa malu. Terus terang saja. Tanpa UMNO, usahkan belajar di luar negeri, pijak tangga kapal terbang pun susah.

Mungkin Pariah atau Brahmin itu "sinonim" dengan saudara . Syukur alhamdulillah, ugama saya tak ada kasta macam itu.

Kalau ada cacat itu bermakna sikap manusia bukan kerana dilahirkan tak boleh sentuh bayang atau kerana kena bagi emas pada Brahmin sebelum tetapkan tarikh perkahwinan anak.

Ini bukan bermakna saya hina bangsa lain atau ugama bukan Islam. Hak mereka dijaga. Tetapi saya fikir saya tak perlu fitnah bangsa saya hanya untuk dilihat sebagai "modern" atau "liberal" oleh bukan Melayu.

21 December 2009 22:39

sakmongkol AK47 said...

shamsul,
i suggest you re read my article on UMNO and MCA. UMNO is not to be blamed for the mess in which MCA finds itself.
my point is, the way by which UMNO is handling this MCA problem is faulty and flawed. it will lead to more damage.
that's 2 different things.

now, as to yr other ramblings about being not ashamed or whatever- you are entitled to that.
my own view is, it is the mark of someone who is not able to argue his case, to accuse his opponent of trying to be looked at as liberal or acceptable. thats condescension disguised behind a patronizing tactic.

hence, using yr tactic, i am able to say this:
you have not been an ADUN before or may not even be an active UMNO member- so dont go around to lecture other people on the ethics of being a true UMNO member.

22 December 2009 00:02

Suci Dalam Debu said...

Sir,

Sorry for going off topic but I hope you will allow me this space. Thank you.

Dear Shamshul,

Sangatlah baik awak tahu bersyukur kerana mendapat bantuan daripada kerajaan....kerajaan UMNO maksud kau.

You got some crumbs and they took the whole cake, yet you sing high praises for them. You turn a blind eye to their robbing of this country. They gave you a tire but stole the engine, bersyukur Alhamdudillah. Macam partners in crime aje ni.

So you believed that the mansion is worth only 3 million and he made it after 8 years as MB? I wonder what has been clouding your mind dan ada selaput apa kat depan mata?

I got no problems when people have different opinions on a certain issue. If you like a black cat or a brown dog, that is fine by me but if you label a Black cat as a brown dog, that is NOT okay with me.

Similarly, if you like NEP, MARA et al and it suits your selera, it is fine by me. Giving them a nice name and calling it fair is NOT okay with me.

If you say apartheid smells like tahi ayam, it is okay with me but to say apartheid smells like roses, it is definitely not on.

Kalau kau sayangkan UMNO, saya tak bangkang. Tetapi menuduh orang lain tak berjuang untuk melayu dan Malaysia, itu tak betul.

I suggest you read more of Tengku Razaleigh's writings.

Have a nice day.

22 December 2009 09:33

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The Debate: how should UMNO treat MCA?-2

I say leave MCA to tackle their problems. Only Leow Tiong Lai seeks big brother's protection. What special talents does UMNO have to help out MCA? Their members are as bright as UMNO members and maybe, even as pride prevents us from admitting it, they have more talents in their overall leadership. At least in academic achievements. Shamsul Anuar may want to go though the qualifications of UMNO law makers and compare them with MCA law makers across the whole spectrum, to establish this statement.

Rather than expend time and energy on other peoples' problems, let us spend resources on re-discovering UMNO or rather the essence which we have lost.

Has it got any experience in dealing with the MCA problem is a new way? It can't possibly do a repeat as to what Tun Ghafar Baba did ages ago. Each generation has its own uniqueness that demands unique approaches.

So, what in essence does UMNO have? It has, as Shamsul Anuar consciously said it- its ' bigness'. That is what it has and that is what entitles UMNO to throw its weight around. It is a 'given'- the 'reality' which Shamsul Anuar wants us to look at. To me, that unmistakably points to having the Brahmin Bumi mentality. That you can and will do as you like because of who you are( the acsriptive element), you confer upon yourself the ultimate authority as final arbiter( the particularistic element) to determine which faction can lead MCA and you treat the private space of others as your own( the diffusiveness of roles). You not only own MCA, you own the space within which they operate. You don't own Ong Tee Keat, but also his home, spouse and children.

These, are the signals I get from an operative like Shamsul Anuar. Examine how he debates with the others:-

shamshul anuar said...

Dear Wenger Khairy,

This is my observation;
1) Malay support for PAS and PKR is steadily eroding. PAS is perceived as "submitting " to DAP which is to Malays is the most racist party in Malaysia. Besides, PAS used to ridicule UMNO for its alliance with non Malay political parties. So, PAS is at lost to justify its alliance with DAP.

2) Anwar is a traitor from viewpoinnt of many Malays. He lost respect when he refuses to swear. Swearing before Kuran is seem as ultimate act of telling the truth. And Anwar refuses. Besides, he is seen as being vengeful and playing dirty just like when he was with UMNO.

3) Malays start to warm up to UMNO as they are dissapointed with PAS becoming "slave" to DAP.

19 December 2009 23:22

dua sen said...

Shamsul,

You're going a bit off tangent on DS's essay.

If memory serves me right, during UMNO crisis in 1987, did MCA ie Tun Ling take advantage of the situation when he held the fort in Parliament when UMNO deregistered ? The issue is not which party contributes more. Otherwise, don't call it BN. If UMNO thinks that it can go alone, then cubalah...

20 December 2009 00:07

Wenger J Khairy said...

Shamsul,
Look at Selangor. If UMNO fails to win 65-70% of the Malay vote it will lose the state once again. These are facts, read here. The difference is I actually do my background research before I open my mouth. I back what I say with facts and figures. That is my style. Parpu and similar people just bark without having ZERO STRATEGY and when they LOSE, CRY LIKE A BUNCH OF BABIES.

These are facts Doc. I was there!

20 December 2009 04:01

Peter said...

Shamsul,

The more you post the more it looks rediculous. There are a lot of crabs in your posts.


You wrote..
"Perhaps you should reread carefully what I wrote. Nowhere in my writing that I used the word "Ketuanan Melayu"." One does not have to post the word "ketuanan Melayu" to be seen as one. Just read your post! It is full of "I am majority kind , and you listen to me" kind.

You wrote...
"What i stress is a fact. Was it not MCA leaders who made "courtesy calls" to UMNO leaders due to the latter's position as leaders of the govt of the day.
It was MCa leaders who asked help from UMNO to solve the problem. So, do not blame UMNO for this."
How shallow your statement and using this as argument. In any alliance, "courtesy calls" are normal like paying respect to the elders of the family. Yes, the very trouble of BN is this kind of structure. You have the elders who commands over the others and as you said they have to pay "courtesy calls" to their abang. What you call this? You see this happening in Pakatan?


"UMNO is dominant in BN. And it earns the dominance through winning in ballot box. Let us face it. It won 79 out of 139 seats held by BN.
Yu may loath to accept but that is the fact. It has the most influence due to its winning the most number of seats. That cant be construed as being arrogant."
If you lord over others just because you have the most seats and expect everyone to listen to you is not "arrogant" what is? Your very posting shows it! Hey go and look up in a dictionary what is the word "arrogant" means

"As for Peter, do not get upset. Do reread my comment. Nowheew in my writing that I deny the votes of non Malays. Rather, I only tell the truth. In the last election, MCA, MIC and Gerakan were saved from total disaster due to their alliance with UMNO.Check the results. Majority of seats won by these parties are Malay majority areas such as Tapah, Grik, Pandan, Simpang Renggam. "

Sure those Chickens did win in Malay majority seats ... because UMNO must ensure they survive ! Come on if you are a Chinese and look at how compliant MCA had been all these years , and how the rights of their community are being abused day in and out, would you really vote for them? The fact is that, without the Chinese votes in many areas , UMNO would have lost to PAS too. Not all Chinese or Indians believe in PAS in March 2008 I mind you and they voted as many years before for BN.

Perhaps you should do an analysis in those seat in Malay Majority seats. take away all the NON Malay votes times 2(because when a vote switches you need 2 to compensate) and compare the majoriy won , how many UMNO seats you have left among all the parliament seats?

"I never say it is OK to be arrogant. Rather, I do not agree with Salmongkol's blaming UMNO for trying to help MCA out of this messy problem. What is wrong in agreeing to help?

Merely trying to help cant be construed as bullying other into submission. I however, understand the tagline "One vote for MCa is one vote for UMNO" was used very succesfully by DAP to instill hatred towards UMNO."

Is this true in the first place? If so what gives? Where have you been all these years? Outside the country and not realising what has been said and not said prior to mar 2008?

20 December 2009 10:28

Peter said...

Shamsul ...

You said...

"It is however a double sword. If you care to analyse( if only), you will find that Malays also start behaving like Chinese community. Many of them, upset at being accused as racist or worse still "conducting etnic cleansing), vowed to vote only for Malay candidates even they are from PKR or PAS.
That is why BN candidates for Teluk Kemang, Bandar Tun Razak, Pasir Panjang, Kuantan, Lunas lost among other."
You lost because of the lost of trust, corruption, and the Internet when their children went home to pass the message. Today is not 50 years ago when MSM rules.


"But I also give credit when it is due. For decades, UMNO was ridiculed for agreeing to let MCA and MIC won in Malay majority areas. Is that not an act of generosity?"
UMNO should not have. It would have left UMNO with far far few seats than it is holding today . NOt more. Why? Without non Malay votes UMNO would have lost in many many other seats as well.

"Remember, PAS used to belittle UMNO as being "sinful" for asking Malays to vote for MIC or MCA?
And who is the hypocrite. Do remember that way back on JUne 1998, Karpal Singh during DAP convention in WP said Anwar is a homosex and challenged Dr Mahathir to sack him."

As for PAS and DAP , both as far as we know today kowtows to no one. Both are still very deep rooted in their believes. They just agreed to disagree and have a longer term strategy of a common good. Get rid of BN and form a new govt and this is bad for you.

As for your claim that PAS ever give way to DAP is totally false. When has PAS ever given way to DAP or DAP given way to PAS ???? None whatsoevery.

Just tell us what has PAS given way to DAP other than DAP's fight for rights denied under the constitution to the other races in Malaysia? The only problem they have given away is they do not believe in "Ketuanan Melayu". They believe in Ketuanan Rakyat. ..that means "ketuanan You and Ketuanan ME". Is that wrong?

Still say you are not brainwashed by BTN?

20 December 2009 10:28

Suci Dalam Debu said...

Shamshul,

A good big brother is one who guides and protects his little brothers.

If UMNO is considered a big brother, then it is a wicked big brother.

You conveniently forgot that it UMNO lost it all in 1999 and his saviour were none other than the little brothers.

It is pretty obvious that you are similar to the white south africans during the apartheid years.

Insaflah sebelum kamu diinsafkan.

20 December 2009 18:40

shamshul anuar said...

Dear Dua sen,

I believe you misinterpret my response. I never say that UMNO claims it can go all alone.

Rather, I do not agree to the allegation that UMNO is accused of bullying other parties simply because it is the dominant party in BN.

That is why I beg to differ with what Mr Sakmongkol said. I do not agree with the preposterous allegation that MCA lost faces on allegation( allegation , not the truth) when UMNO interves.

UMNO intervenes due to request by MCA top leadership. If youy care to reread the newspapers, you will find that MCA leaders had been urging Najib( on his capacity as BN Chairman and PM) to help.

My point is that Sakmongkol is being unfair in blaming UMNO for the mess MCA is facing now. In another word, do not blame others for unfavorable predicament you are facing. That is my point.

It is an rony that those who hate UMNO so much here also recognise UMNO's eminent position in BN and also in Malaysian politics. If not, they would not chided BN as UBN Govt. Meaning they still recognise UMNO's dominant position.

Just like DAP being dominant in PR, UMNO is dominant in BN. So, there is nothing to be embarassed about.

Just like Chines is dominant in economy by earning it through sheer hard work and close alliance with the ruling party, UMNO earns the dominance by winning through ballot box.

As for Suci dalam Debu, well I hope you do not forget your mannerism( in case you have one). If you can associate UMNO with apartheid, then please explain why there are vernacular schools in malaysia, an unheard phenomenon in many countries.

If UMNO practises apartheid, you will find bunting declaring " Chinese or Dog" not allowed into Tasik Perdana.

Upset? So, please be careful with your words. For decades , UMNO stands by its allies in BN. It maintains that it is not "haram" to vote non Malay candidates when PAS never fails to poison Malay community that it is sinful to vote for non Muslim candidates.

In Pasir Panjang, Dr Vasan lost to Nizar partly because PAS members sent leaflets in surau and mosques telling Malay community that "haram" to vote for MIC candidate.

So, which part of UMNO's action that you deemed "wicked?". Is it the part when UMNO responds to MCA's request for intervention?



As for Peter, so please ask MCA why on earth the leaders are willing to pay "courtesy call". Why? Please also tell me which party in BN has the most influence say in Perak. UMNO with 28 seat and MCA with 1 seat.

Or in Penang where UMNO has 11 with Gerakan and MCA and MIC none ? Or in Selangor where UMNO has 18 seats and other BN components have 2 seats?

THe recognition comes naturally , not because they are forced to. As for MCA, if they want to be independent of BN, well MCA then cant expect UMNO members to vote for them again. So, Ong Tee Keat may most probably lose in Pandan.

Since when UMNO "lords" over others? Being dominant does not mean that you lord over others.

As for PAS, why on earth the support from Malay community is eroding. Because , many Malays feel that it "kowtows" to DAP. It is now willingly said that the goal is no longer Islamic state.

UMNO leaders in Perak were dumbfdounded when Nizar himself said that PAS never has Islam in its Constitution.

Just to be on good book of DAP, PAS is so willing to drop "Islamic state" concept. and no Malay can forget how Nizar was chided as puppet during his tenure as Perak MB. Why PAS influence among Malay community decrease as shown in Bukit Gantang. No doubt he won but why Malay support decreases for PAS?

You are dreaming if you can not detect how upset Malays are with PAS when they are so willing to abandon principle just to be in good book of DAP.

As for MCA, the problem( beside leadership issue) from Malay perspective is that it dares not stand to DAP's lies that any alliance with UMNO is a symbol of weakness.

21 December 2009 01:18

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