Thursday, 30 June 2011

Kualiti kepemimpinan UMNO

Bila saya cakap, orang UMNO marah. Penyokong mereka dalam internet pun marah. Tapi tidak apa, semua perbalahan ini akan selesai dalam pilihanraya. Pilihanraya ke 13 ini mungkin akan lebih teruk daripada yang sudah untuk UMNO. Jika saya salah, bagus. Tapi jika pengamatan saya betul, kali ini ramai yang akan kecundang. Bila DS Najib kata kali ini dia akan menampilkan lebih ramai pimpinan muda, itu adalah kenyataan yang baik. Sebab, rata rata rakyat melihat pemimpin lama yang berkuasa, sedang berlumba lumbaan membuat hay while the sun shines. Dan oleh kerana mereka pun tahu the sun is setting extraordinarily fast, perlumbaan makin sengit.
Ramai mat laon ini lupa pula bahawa rakyat sebenarnya yang menentukan turun dan naik UMNO. Dan rakyat akan menentukan bersandarkan kesedaran yang makin meningkat. Jangan pimpinan UMNO ingat rakyat tidak tahu. Mungkin ini kelemahan UMNO yang terbesar- yakni gagal menyedari bahawa persekitaran politik di luar sudah banyak berubah.
Keangkuhan orang UMNO menjadi factor utama yang menyebabkan ia banyak kecundang. orang dan pimpinan UMNO pekak agak nya. Rakyat bercakap mengenai harga hand bag yang berharga USD 120,000 satu. Rakyat juga bercakap apabila anak bekas seorang PM beli handbag berharga RM 750 ribu untuk isteri yang tersayang. Sana sini orang bercakap mengenai aliran air mata berlawanan dengan kilauan permata untuk sebahagian Melayu yang bertuah.
Kalau mereka pergi turba( turun bawah) yang lebih kerap terdengar ialah rungutan terhadap kerajaan dan pemimpin. Tapi media audio visual dan percitakan menutupi rungutan dengan buat cerita yang menyeronokkan.
Sebab kita asyik di dengarkan dengan cerita yang seronok seronok. Tanah kerajaan sungai besi di pindahkan ke syarikat X dan kos kosong. Jika kos nya kosong, sepatutnya kos ini boleh di pindahkan kepada rakyat dalam bentuk rumah yang murah. Tapi rumah yang akan 'mampu' di beli oleh bakal pembeli berharga RM 220,000. Ini bukan harga rumah kos rendah atau sederhana rendah. Jauh lah pula jika mahu disebut rumah PPRT.
Pada harga RM 220k, berapa ramai budak Melayu yang boleh dapat loan beli rumah tersebut? Sebab mereka nanti duduk di rumah diatas tanah Sungai Besi yang masyur yang di bangunkan oleh IMDB itu, mereka terpaksa pula beli kenderaan. Kena bayar loan rumah dan loan kereta.
Berita sensasi seperti ini di ragui oleh rakyat. Tapi pemimpin kita tidak sedar disebabkan desingan retorik sendiri. Tambahan pula akhbar utama dan TV utama mendendangkan lagu yang syok di dengar. Semua OK boss. Akhirnya Boss akan KO.
Pemaju yang membina rumah RM 220k ini bukanlah melakukan suatu yang luar biasa dan membawa rahmat sangat kepada rakyat. Pembinaan rumah rumah ini sebetulnya ada pemulangan kepada pihak kerajaan dalam urusniaga cross-subsidy. Pembinaan rumah 220k itu akan mudah di bayar semula apabila 1MDB membina property lain yang berharga jutaan Ringgit. Ertinya, pembinaan rumah2 RM 220k bukanlah suatu yang boleh kita laungkan dan canang sana sini.
Orang UMNO sudah tidak mahu kerja keras. Buat apa kerja keras, bertandng pun belum confirm. Boleh jadi pimpinan UMNO lupa tabiat buruk orang UMNO. Mereka akan berkerja keras kalau ada chance jadi wakil rakyat dan ahli parlimen. Hello- orang Melayu tidak berkehendakkan wakil rakyat yang tidak berpelajaran dan malas berkerja. Orang UMNO hanya mahu kerja keras kalau di pilih calun.
Di dalam UMNO bahagian Pekan sendiri pun, keadaan nya tidak lah elok sangat pun. Keadaan nya serupa seperti tahun 1990an. Orang ramai khususnya UMNO operatives bersusun susun sambut PM balik Pekan. mereka berhimpun beramai ramai berpesta di kediaman PM di Pekan. berombongan menyambut dan menghantar PM balik dan pulang. Selebih dari itu, UMNO Pekan akan sunyi. Tidak ada orang mahu tunjuka lebih sebab kerana kalau tunjuk lebih pun, boss tak Nampak. Adalah lebih penting menunjukkan kita kerja keras kalau bos tahu.
Kalau PM menang di Pekan, ianya semata disebabkan oleh factor peribadi nya. Body nya sahaja sudah bernilai separuh dari undi yang akan di perolehi nya. Selebihnya datang dari hasil hulur sana sini.
Mungkin kerana inilah sebab nya, penerangan UMNO Pekan tidak perlu aktif. Ketua nya nak jadi calun dan kalau ada isyarat jadi calun baru nak kerje 26 jam sehari. Sampai ke Kuala Lumpur , orang bercerita mengenai kehampaan mereka terhadap prestasi ketua Pemuda UMNO bahagian Pekan.
Saya boleh bercakap sedikit mengenai UMNO bahagian Pekan, sebab saya datang dari sana. Dan saya mengikuti perkembangan UMNO bahagian tersebut. Bendahari dok sibuk sana sini cari upti konon untuk menambah sumber tabung. Supaya UMNO bahagian banyak duit untuk bayar perkerja dan soldadu pilihanraya.
Jika ini berlaku dalam UMNO bahagian PM, ianya berlaku di tempat lain. Saya gerenti inilah yang di amalkan.
Apa yang jadi pada UMNO kita?
Berapa kali saya mahu bilang, yang UMNO nak sokong sangat Ibrahim Ali dan Perkasa ini apa hal? Orang UMNO sendiri sudah tidak boleh bercakap bagi pihak orang Melayu? Ibrahim Ali bukan ahli UMNO dan tidak mewakili orang Melayu. Jika Ibrahim Ali di anggap sebagai bercakap bagi pihak orang Melayu, ini lah hari yang paling malang. Jika Raja Ali Haji atau pendita Melayu yang lain cakap bagi pihak Melayu, itu ada standard. Tapi jika Ibrahim Ali- mana standard Melayu?
Ini tidak bermakna, kita memperkecilkan kemahiran Ibrahim Ali. Dia pakar mengembeling ramai orang turun padang. Tapi setakat itu sahajalah apresiasi saya kepada Ibrahim Ali.
Saya hanya ingin memberitahu bahawa apa yang di lakukan oleh Ibrahim Ali tidak lah unik dan suatu yang luar biasa. Bung Mokhtar, Mohd Abdul Aziz, Tajudin Rahman, Nazri Aziz boleh melakukan perkara yang serupa. Anyone from PEMUDA UMNO pun boleh melakukan apa yang Brahim Ali lakukan. Kerana ia tidak memerlukan kapasiti minda yang luar biasa. Tapi berapa ramai yang boleh melakukan seperti Raja Ali Haji atau Tun Sri Lanang? Itulah maksud saya.
Adakah UMNO sudah tidak percaya kepada kemampuan nya untuk menjadi jurubicara orang Melayu? Mana jatidiri UMNO dan pimpinan UMNO?
Saya mahukan orang UMNO melihat sendiri betapa sedihnya keadaan UMNO hari ini. Apa sudah jadi kepada kualiti UMNO apabila UMNO memerlukan orang seperti Ibrahim Ali bercakap bagi pihak orang Melayu? Bercakap dalam nada bagaimana pula?
Mengajak orang berkelahi, bertumbuk dan tikam menikam. Orang Melayu hendak berkelahi sesama Melayu kah? Mereka masih tidak tahu hidup sesama sendiri walaupun mempunyai pandangan berbeza?
Bagi pihak Melayu macam UMNO yang Ibrahim Ali bercakap? Dan mengapa UMNO sangat takut kepada perarakan Bersih? Adakah mereka tidak percaya bahawa segala budi yang di tanam selama ini tidak di hargai oleh rakyat? Kecuali lah selama ini yang rakyat dapat adalah kulit2 roti manakala roti di baham oleh elit dan bangsawan Melayu. Nampaknya, Ibrahim Ali jadi jurucakap kepada kumpulan seperti ini.
kualiti UMNO berada dalam tahap yang menyedihkan apabila ia hanya mampu mengekali relevance nya pada suatu kelompok orang Melayu dengan bertunjang kepada skendel seks. UMNO melakukan kesilapan yang amat besar jika menyangkakan masaalah nya selesai semua bila molakapkan Anwar Ibrahim. Cara UMNO menangani dan mengendali kes Anwar Ibrahim menunjukkan betapa rendah nya mutu pemikiran UMNO.
Anwar Ibrahim is already doomed. Peluang untuk jadi PM besar kemungkinan sudah tidak ada. Adakah rakyat negara ini boleh bernaung di bawah seorang PM yang menghabiskan 90% masa nya menangkis tuduhan salahlaku seks oleh nya? Tidak ada kerja yang akan dapat diselesaikan jika demikian. Anwar Ibrahim is already a damaged good untuk di jadikan model pimpinan.
Apa yang di lalui oleh Anwar Ibrahim sekarang sudah cukup mengurangkan kredibiliti nya sebagai pemimpin. Namun begitu, tuah Anwar sebenarnya, seperti yang di nyatakan oleh Zaid Ibrahim terletak kepada tongong nya UMNO dalam mengendali kes nya.
Bayangkan ini. Bila Anwar Ibrahim di lokapkan, bagaimana UMNO menjustifikasikan kehadiran nya dalam ingatan orang ramai? Apa jembalang yang hendak di lawani oleh UMNO? UMNO lebih baik basuh tangan daripada melibatkan diri dalam masaalah Anwar dan biarkan Anwar lemas sendiri.
UMNO jangan berfikiran bahawa ia hanya boleh membangun dengan menjatuhkan orang lain. Jika ia berpegang kepada cara ini, maka ia terpaksa mencari dan menyungkil masaalah.
Kenalah UMNO berkerja keras untuk mencungkil skendel seks orang lain pula. Ertinya, UMNO ini menyambung hayat dan kehidupan dengan mencari dan memakan daging saudara nya sendiri . ia bergerak kehadapan bukan dengan mengangkat dan membangkitkan bangsa tapi menyibukkan diri dan tenaga kepada memperjuangkan isiu isiu picisan.
Apa sudah jadi kepada prinsip dan landasan perjuangan UMNO? UMNO ujud pada tahun 1946, membangkitkan orang Melayu menentang suatu bentuk kemungkaran. Kemungakaran tersebut muncul dalam bentuk idea suatu Malayan Union.
Ertinya, sebermula UMNO itu ujud untuk menentang segala kemungkaran. Bagaimanakah perarakan Bersih yang disertai bersama oleh majority orang Melayu boleh di samakan dengan idea Malayan Union? Malayan Union memang betul boleh mengakibatkan peminggiran bangsa Melayu, tapi bolehkah Bersih mendatangkan kesan yang serupa?
Tapi hari ini orang melayu adalah penduduk majority. Jentera kerajaan di kuasai oleh orang Melayu. Kedudukan politik orang Melayu tetap kuat. Sebab jika kita bilang, jumlah MP Melayu tetap ramai. Orang UMNO kena terima bahawa orang Melayu yang tidak berada dalam UMNO, tetap Melayu setulen yang berada dalam UMNO.
Jadi mengapa perarakan Bersih membuat UMNO gusar dan Perkasa melenting? Kepentingan siapa yang jadi terancam?
UMNO and the government are handling the Anwar Ibrahim case foolishly. Semalam kita dengar bahawa mahkamah menyatakan bahawa ia mempunyai hak untuk menayangkan video lucah yang di katakan melibatkan Anwar Ibrahim. Pihak mahkamah membela diri dan menyatakan ia memiliki hak. Dan ia telah menunjukkan akan hak tersebut dengan membenarkan pihak peguambela 3 orang tertuduh, mengistiharkan bahawa mengikut perakuan pakar, video tersebut sahih dan 99.99% actor tersebut ialah Anwar Ibrahim.
Saya tidak tahu, adakah ujudnya kaedah menunjukkan bahan bukti yang baru. Kepada saya, pihak majistret sepatutnya memberhentikan pengistiharan tersebut. Pertama ianya adalah bukti hearsay. Kita dengar nya melalui pihak ketiga dan tidak ada pihak pembela yang di benarkan untuk menghujjahi pembentangan deklarasi tersebut.
Kedua, ianya tidak releven dalam kes ini kerana, terma rujukan mahkamah ialah menghukumi kesalahan menayangkan video lucah dan memiliki video lucah. Terma rujukan mahkamah bukanlah mencari kesahihan video tersebut. You cant justify doing something that is against the law. Jika ianya bertujuan mencari kesahihan video tersebut, pihak mahkamah mesti mengadakan panel pakar untuk mendengarkan kes kesahihan video tersebut. Dan orang yang di tuduh, walau bagaimana kita benci pun, mesti di beri keadilan membela diri.
Jika ini matlamat kes tersebut, mengapa tidak di panggil pakar yang di sebut oleh peguam bela 3 serangkai tesrebut, untuk di cross examine oleh peguam si anwar Ibrahim? Pihak mahkamah sepatutnya memberhentikan cerita pelipur lara hati pimpinan UMNO yang berduka melihat kualiti parti kian menurun.
Dengan melakukan apa yang ia lakukan, apakah sebenarnya mesej yang di hantar oleh sistem keadilan negara kita? Ianya menunjukkan bahawa kita rakyat Malaysia sebetulnya berada at the mercy system keadilan negara ini dan pengamal sistem tersebut dan kita tidak ada peluang langsung untuk mendapat keadilan dan mendapat layanan merciful dari system keadilan kita. Si majistret telah mencemarkan system keadilan negara ini dengan membenarkan penceritaan perlipur lara dalam mahkamah terbuka.
Ini yang menyebabkan rakyat Malaysia dan masyarakat antarabangsa sangsi dan takut kepada system keadilan di Malaysia. Mahkamah kita, dengan membenarkan penayangan video lucah tersebut dan membenarkan penghuraian yang mengikuti nya untuk mamfaat 3 serangkai telah compromise dignity dan integrity dirinya menjadi platform untuk suatu pihak yang berkepentingan berkhutbah mengenai agenda politik. Maka itulah sebab nya, ketua 3 serangkai tersebut, seorang manusia yang bernama Rahim Tamby Chik telah dengan bangga nya mengistiharkan bahawa misi mereka, tercapai?

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Saturday, 25 June 2011

The saga of economic (s)hitman 2.

I was saying to some friends the other day- you have to tip your hat to Ibrahim Ali. Sure I hantam him here and there. But there is no one like Ibrahim Ali in this world. Only Ibrahim Ali can secure a permit and get people riled up shouting profanities of all kind, burnt portraits of comrade Ambiga and all that- as a counter demo to another demo that has not taken place!
How can you demonstrate against something that has not taken place and yet the Malaysian police gave him a permit? We have been watching too many ghost stories including our men and women in blue!
My friends were gawking at the photos of the beauties displaying cardboards condemning Ambiga. And my friend Jali who is a permanent fixture at Cengkih restaurant in Taman Tun says he wants to get to know the photogenic beauties cornered by Ibrahim Ali. He reckons if Ibrahim Ali can get these girls to demo, he has a chance to score.
This Ibrahim Ali is a tireless operator. He went through a heart bypass a few months ago. Today he is up and about directing street demos. He hasn't lost it since the ITM days. Perhaps he has received a blood transfusion with super-budu formulations. He hasn't lost his flair of mobilizing crowds to any cause he chose- laughable or not.
On a serious note, the stand taken by our police is puzzling. It's not consistent at all. Demonstrations carried out by organizations supporting the government were and are often given permission. Condoleezza Rice visited Malaysia the last time, was given a loud reception by the UMNO ketua Pemuda. Demonstrations in support of anti-Israel and pro Palestine causes are easily allowed. Other organizers not supporting the government get arrested.
Either you give everyone permission or you don't give at all. If demonstrations are not allowed, and the law also works retrospectively arrest all those involved a few days ago, who protested aggressively against Bersih and Ambiga.
Otherwise, give permission for all to hold demonstrations in big stadiums. Then we term that as guided demonstrasi.
UMNO is at sixes and sevens as to how to deal with Ibrahim Ali. He is now bigger than UMNO becoming the de facto voice of the Malays.
But it's also an indictment on the current UMNO leadership. It has lost its Malayness and is seen as no longer capable of speaking for the Malay. The more important UMNO leaders simply don't have the personal experience of what it means to be Malay. Hence they can't really empathize with the real Malay.
If Ibrahim is able to tap into the fears and anxieties, imagined or real of the Malays, it means the UMNO leadership has failed to address them. by default, that makes Ibrahim relevant and UMNO, reduced to being a spectator.

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Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The confessions of an economic (s)hitman.


 

Here is the real Ibrahim Ali his supporters must know. Friend to Chinese Cukongs who has made hunting with dogs and running with the hare into a science.

We must know Ibrahim Ali for what he really is. A pompous and loud windbag out trying to establish his relevance in society.

In the late 1970s Ibrahim Ali used to be the head macai for Anwar Ibrahim. He would be present in many of the forums and debates at the University of Malaya. He was from ITM. He would sit at the back of the hall dressed in his trademark folksy dress( just like Anwar in those days) with the Palestinian headscarf normally associated with Yasser Arafat slung over his neck. At the end of each debating session, he would speak under the guise of asking a question about anything Islam. He would be shouting Maududi this, Maryam Jameelah that. On most occasions he would be ignored by UM students. Maybe he was out there to score with the UM freshies or UM students, who knows.

He would be Anwar's number one supporter aping Anwar in whatever the later does. In later years, he would get into business of all sorts always using other people's money. In those days, Tengku Razaleigh would be a source of cheap and easily available funds.

One time, Ibrahim got a substantial sum from Tengku Razaleigh. He went on to splurge himself in a state of the art office. At that time, the use of electronic doors with coded buttons was a novelty. He got one installed. Indeed he got many installed in the many corporate rooms he had made. After one state of the art (then) office was completed) Ibrahim Ali asked a friend or business partner sitting in the meeting room- ok, let's think of a business to do.

In business, Ibrahim Ali's partners are always Chinese. So his call of advice or warning or whatever term he fancies, is farcical and hypocritical. Farcical because Ibrahim Ali survives on Chinese business acumen, hypocritical because he is using a natural bias against the Chinese for his political end.

Yesterday I received an e mail from a voter from Pasir Mas, for which Ibrahim Ali is MP. This was part of what he said:-

I am a voter in the Pasir Mas parliament constituent where Ibrahim Ali is the MP. I voted for him in the last election because he was contesting on the PAS ticket. It was probably the most regretful vote in my life.

You are right. He is a hypocrite. He harbored many Chinese partners in his contracts, including the mega deal Jambatan Tendong project. And yet he is portraying himself as a Hulubalang Melayu. Pathetic. How can the authorities are silent about his rantings?

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Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Ibrahim Ali and a sex-changed UMNO

Ibrahim Ali continues to abuse UMNO and it stands idle. He continues to belittle UMNO every moment he gets and UMNO absorbs the punishment willingly. UMNO must be led by masochists. Are we enjoying receiving pain and getting sexually aroused at that?

Ibrhaim Ali continues to humiliate UMNO and all we can do is say, Ibrahim Ali is harmless and he speaks for the unspeaking Malay.

In July, Bersih is organizing a mammoth rally to demand our Elections Commission to conduct its business professionally. That means to ensure elections are fair and transparent. The intended rally has drawn some xenophobic response from various groups. None more exceedingly intolerant than the one shown by Perkasa, the organization headed by one Ibrahim Ali.

If Ibrahim Ali is more UMNO than UMNO, what has the real UMNO become? UMNO has undergone a sex change. Probably in Thailand.

What has Ibrahim Ali done? He is telling the world that he will mobilize a large number of people to confront Bersih's Rally. He's even talking about a physical confrontation and that he will be at the forefront ready to shed blood. In his self-induced state of hysteria, he has warned the Chinese community not to get involved raising the specter of the racial clashes of May 13 1969.

Clearly what Ibrahim Ali is saying is incendiary and seditious. He's openly talking about bloodshed among the races. That's willful and intentional desire to kill other people. It's a murderous threat. Yet the security authorities appear ineffectual to act against Ibrahim Ali.

If the government doesn't act against Ibrahim Ali it will be seen as an accomplice with Ibrahim Ali in the furtherance of an act or acts of allowing itself to be held at ransom by Ibrahim Ali. If that is not stupidity on our part, what else can it be? What's happening to UMNO? It's allowing Ibrahim Ali to be its voice? Where is the leadership material?

What kind of material is UMNO made of allowing itself to be cuckolded by the incorrigible Ibrahim Ali? Why is UMNO applying kid's gloves on Ibrahim Ali? It must use its knuckle dusters and deal Ibrahim Ali as the law would want to. Quickly.

Ibrahim Ali is not an UMNO member and he isn't a liability to UMNO. It's of no consequence to UMNO if Ibrahim Ali is dealt with properly by the laws of Malaysia. Apply ISA or whatever on him. Get him under the sedition laws of this country or whatever.

If the government doesn't act against Ibrahim Ali, then it cannot but be seen as impotent. People can carry out threats and other transgressions of violent intent and import with impunity and the government stands back.

It's puzzling why the Police has not acted against Ibrahim Ali for such incendiary and seditious remarks. It is also puzzling how he got a permit to hold such an aggressive rally so quickly from the authorities. Yet the same authorities are showing their lead-weighted feet in issuing a valid permit to the organizers of Bersih.

As to the barefaced threats to the Chinese community, Ibrahim Ali's hysteria and UMNO's acquiescence will cause a desertion of Chinese votes. Ibrahim Ali has succeeded where others have failed – to hasten the flight of Chinese votes away from BN. Of course Malay ultras can insist they don't need Chinese votes to win elections. But then they also forgot, the can't get the majority of Malay votes.

Let's see whether Malay support can be re taken by allowing Ibrahim Ali speak brazenly about a re-minted Malay triumphalism. We are allowing Ibrahim Ali to represent the rational and collected Malay voice.

Have we lost our marbles? Ibrahim Ali is a bloody hypocrite. His entire business ventures are done with the Chinese whose blood he is after and the commission of bodily harm he is advocating. His bridge projects were completed and done with Chinese and Chinese money. He was off to Macau last week to meet up with Chinese cukongs.

By keeping quiet and allowing Ibrahim to speak as it were as UMNO's voice, we are showing clearly we have a death wish. UMNO stands idly by and therefore guilty of causing its own isolation. UMNO will be poorly judged.

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Monday, 20 June 2011

Trouble in our journalistic citadel?

I don't particularly like to butt in the affairs of other people. Its pathetic however to see the circulation of NST dropping to around 73,000. Its core business must be selling news. If more revenue is generated from running ads, then NST must get to ready to spin off that advertising bureau and make some people rich.
I read the observations by the blogger uppercaise. Now, I never had the honor to meet this blogger. In so far as writing is involved I think Mr uppercaise is a grammar freak. I mean that in an admiring way. He should be a top rate English teacher. His expertise is much needed to give English language courses to government officers and airline workers. You would want to throw up when hearing the stewardess declaring through the pa system- weighing becoming wayjing and baked becoming bay-ked pronounced as its spelt!. Horrors!
Speaking of horrors, the Malay reading public prefers ghost stories and tales of the supernatural and  of the occult. That is why the circulation of the Mestika Magazine outstrips that of NST. That despite, NST being the roof under which journalistic luminaries park themselves never wanting to go out. Mestika carry out a lot of ghost stories.  

The following figures I take from Mt Uppercaise's article. I am assuming he is a male person.


• NST sells only 73,000 on the street
• Berita Minggu loses 90,000 copies over three years

Sales of all four traditional titles are in decline
• Berita Minggu dropped 30% drop since 2007;
• New Straits Times lost 26%
• Berita Harian and New Sunday Times both fell by 22%

NST sells only 73,000 on the street
The figures I was shown do not include bulk sales — copies sold in bulk to corporate sponsors who give the copies to schools or sales to hotels and other organizations, all at the wholesale rate. Of all newspapers, the NST depends on bulk sales the most. The official ABC figures for 2009 show that bulk sales made up 26% of NST circulation — 28,000 copies.
If bulk sales remained unchanged at 28,000 then the NST managed only 73,000 in open sales. Sad.
• The 'good' news: Metro is soaring ahead

The two Metro titles are now far ahead of the pack and the senior titles seemed to be in terminal decline.


The other paper that sells is Metro. Metro dishes out sex stories which like ghost stories attract a lot of readership.
I have yet to come to my point. My point is this, if ghost stories are good, that would imply ghosts and ghostly characters making their appearance in tabloids, should in theory, help increase the sales of the tabloids where they reside. That is a reasonable deduction, isn't it?
My question then is, why does NST suffer in circulation despite the congregation of so many ghostly characters and journalistic ghosts of the past? We have recycled journalists who were kicked our under a previous regime given positions in NST but seemed to not be adding value to the newspaper.
The answer it seemed is that these ghostly characters have nothing to add further. Being recycled elements they are only capable of churning out the same stories again and again. They are of course legends but only so in their own minds or in the minds of a coterie of pliant supporters who are more interested in gathering around the so called luminaries in happy hours pursuits.
NST has to shake up its entire organization so that over ripened fruits will fall down. They belonged to the old school where once, the flow of information was one directional. You write and the public soaked up never having the chance to counter argue. Now, with the internet, your legendary stature built during that Jurassic age cannot stand competition. Those untrained in journalistic discipline can often write better and out-think you.
I am afraid a person like Mr Uppercaise will find it tough going in such an environment.

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Sunday, 19 June 2011

Tengku Razaleigh speaks.



1.    Malaysia's post-colonial history began with optimism and a grand hope in 1957. When Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, proclaimed our Independence at the Merdeka Stadium in the unforgettable words that "Malaysia is a parliamentary democracy with an independent judiciary," he had a vision of a happy people in spite of the formidable economic problems we needed to solve. After that dawn of independence, there was a search of how we could achieve this happy society, Fulfilling the needs and aspirations of all Malaysians which was to continue for the Generations to come. He symbolized the concept and conviction of generational responsibility in his vision.
2. Tunku Abdul Rahman and his generation were dedicated leaders, not for power but a sense of duty to the present and the future. They were not in politics for the money or for themselves. Indeed, even after they had assumed power, they never used their position to benefit themselves or their families, nor did they build loyal cronies who would act as their financiers or hold any wealth unlawfully earned at the expense of the people.
3. The guiding philosophy was responsibility of public office. Public office was seen as a duty, not as an opportunity. The public office was also part of their sense of political commitment to create a Malaysia that was fair, just, cohesive, and balanced. This was combined by a deep conviction of generational responsibility for those who would come after them.
4. One of the greatest losses in public life and in politics today in Malaysia is that loss of generational responsibility. Everything seems to be surrounded by greed and the desire to be billionaires. This had led to a pyramid of cronies within the incumbent political parties and their associates in business. It is this combination of the hierarchy of political cronies and business cronies that led to the centralization of power in the incumbent political leadership and in the office of the Prime Minister.
5. This power in one individual allowed the manipulation of the political system; I mean by this the institutions of power including the media. In exchange for the centralization of power greed and self-interest was encouraged by example and in the guise of racial loyalty deserving rewards. This is the case in all the parties within the power structure. This state of affairs is one of the most dangerous and difficult to dismantle because there has been three decades of centralized power.
6. The political style that has dominated in these lost three decades has been "double-think" and "double-talk". One of the features which is alarming in this plan to maintain status quo is the encouragement covertly of racial and religious obscurantism. The underlying theme was a policy of using a balance of racialism and religion on the one hand and talks of unity on the other hand in order to make the people hostage to the status quo of power. As a result, racialism and racial concerns seem to have a grip on all aspects of our lives, in politics, economics, education and employment, irrespective of the present reality which has got nothing to do with race or religion. We are deliberately made to feel that we are hostage to these forces.
7. Freedom of speech and expression of our political concerns to change the atmosphere are restrained by how it will be interpreted by those who want to deny us the right to differ. Article 10 of the Constitution which guarantees this freedom is almost non-existence or subject to fear of retaliation or defamation. Legal suits intended to silence legitimate concerns of public responsibility are increasingly used. Unfortunately, our judicial system has forgotten the fundamental importance of Article 10 to the democratic life of Malaysia. Common sense seems to have been taken out of the law.
8. On the economic front, income inequality in Malaysia has widened. Some studies suggest that Malaysia's inequality is wider than Thailand's or Indonesia's. Historically, the concern was about ownership and control of the economy. It was the view of some that if ownership was de-racialized or balanced at the top, economic justice would follow. It is no longer a valid premise for the future. Income inequality is no longer a problem between races; it crosses the racial divide and it is a problem of the majority of Malaysians who feel the pressure of inflation in almost every essential aspect of their lives, challenging their wellbeing of themselves, their families, and their future. Today and the in the near future, this is the most serious challenge we face. It is not an easy challenge to overcome. It is a time when Malaysia needs leadership of the highest quality and of those who have the moral courage to change and re-think our economic policies.
9. It is in these circumstances that we face the serious problem of rising food prices, inflation in price of houses compounded by shortage in housing for the vast majority of young Malaysians. Lack of economic expansion to give all levels an opportunity to use their talents to seek work that is commensurate with their contribution, their needs of daily life, and to narrow the inequality gap, is the threat of the future. Therefore, we should be concerned about the justification of the removal of subsidies that affects the low income because that will further widen the inequality and open the society to social disorder and disintegration, and increase social in cohesion. It is in this context that I raise the issue about Independent Power Production Companies (IPP). The privatization contracts are today protected by the Official Secrets Act, and therefore we are unable to really know whether or not the public and PETRONAS, as trustees of the public, are directly or indirectly subsidizing these companies and the tycoons who are benefitting at the expense of the public.
10. Related to the question of the withdrawal of subsidies is the deficit that the Government suffers from in managing the economy. This question cannot be separated from the way that the Government has managed the nation's finances. If the deficit is as a result of wastage, corruption and extravagance in the use of public funds, then the solution to the problem should not be passed on to the public. What is needed is a reexamination of the management of the country's finances before taking any drastic steps that would affect the well-being of the people. We need to know the reality behind the apparent subsidies that are given to the public and its relationship in the totality of the management of the public finance. Only after we know the truth – and the whole truth – should any change in the policy of subsidies be implemented, as the consequences would have life-changing impact on the livelihood of the people. In the circumstances of rising inflation in food, stagnation of the economy and income, we should not do anything that would widen the disparity of income which would cause social instability.
11. The challenge today is for the return to generational responsibility in politics and public office. This can only be achieved if we have democracy and parliamentary power which is responsible. Democracy was the basis of the founding of the state of Malaysia by the Constitution in 1957. When it was briefly suspended in 1969, the leaders of that generation were uneasy, and they restored democracy as soon as possible.
12. That is because they realized that democracy has an intrinsic value in creating a citizenship that is not made up of sheep but of responsible citizens. Only responsible citizenship that understands democracy can bring about stability, cohesion and economic prosperity. During those days, it was ingrained in that generation of leaders that democracy was not only a form but a value system that respected the essential institutions of democracy like the independence of judiciary, the supremacy of parliament subject to the Constitution, the respect for fundamental rights, and free speech. They also understood the meaning and primacy of the rule of law and not of men. They also knew that democracy is the common heritage of humanity that we inherited and have a duty to continue. The law that they understood was also from the common heritage of all civilized nations.
13. And one of our inheritances is the common law system of the rule of law which is enshrined in our constitution. They knew that the phrase "common law" meant the wisdom that is passed to us in the progress of law and the values that are encapsulated in the law governing public office and responsibility to society. That laws are meant to enhance democracy and freedom but not to maintain and continue political power that is inconsistent with the rule of law and the constitution.
14. Independence did not come with peace but with very difficult problems, particularly the management of the economy and transforming it to bring about a balance between all the racial groups. They realize that some of their problems had roots in the history of Malaysia. There was a serious imbalance between the countryside and the urban sector with racial dimensions which were too sharp. Indeed, poverty was also quite prevalent. There were open discussions and experiments.
15. Some of you may remember that one of the highlights of public debate was organized at the University of Malaya under the title, "The Great Economic Debate" every year. That disappeared with the changes in the University & Colleges Act and the decline of Universities' autonomy. The search was to eradicate a sense of inequality between the various peoples of Malaysia, whether because of one's identity and social origins, or for other reasons.
16. It was as part of this search that during Tun Abdul Razak's time, the Second Malaysia Plan was launched in 1971. We need to be reminded of the objective of that plan:
"National unity is the over-riding objective of the country. A stage has been reached in the nation's economic and social development where greater emphasis must be placed on social integration and more equitable distribution of income and opportunities for national unity."
17. That dream was slowly eroded from the mid-1980. The hope that we had at that time is now challenged in the most serious way.
18. Recently, PETRONAS announced that it had made a 90.5 billion pre-tax profit. If we accumulate the profit of PETRONAS over the years, it would come to a mind-boggling figure of billions and billions. Yet, the greatest poverty is found in the petroleum producing states of Kelantan, Terengganu, Sarawak, and Sabah. This moral inconsistency in a way exemplifies how the nation's economy is mismanaged and how the institutions set up in the 1970's have lost their objective and commitment to solving the immediate and pressing problems of the nation.
19. PETRONAS was set up with the objective of serving the nation's interest as a priority. It was never intended to give PETRONAS a life of its own as an incorporated company for selected individuals to profit at the expense of the national interest, nor was it the objective to allow PETRONAS a cooperate existence independent of national interest. 20. What is needed is for institutions like PETRONAS is to have a national focus rather than maintain a multinational status. The aim of making PETRONAS a multinational cooperation at the expense of national interest is contrary to the Petroleum Development Act. PETRONAS should have a Petroleum Advisory Council to advise the Prime Minister on the operation of the law as well as the management and utilization of its resources as spelt out in the Petroleum Development Act.
21. Another example of the abuse of power is the privatization of certain government institutions which were set up as a public service to serve the people. Bernas is one example of a privatization of an essential commodity as a monopoly for a group of people and owned partially by two companies in Hong Kong. An essential commodity such as rice should not have been privatized for business purposes. We are the only rice producing country that has privatized and given as a monopoly to one company the importation and distribution of all rice products.
22. The reality today is Thailand and Indonesia are self-sufficient in rice and we are dependent on 30% of imported rice. But because it is a monopoly, imported rice is cheaper in Singapore than Malaysia. Privatization for the benefit of private individuals to profit from such an essential commodity is a clear abuse of power. It would not have happened in those days. But with the centralization of power in the office of the prime Minister who had the party under his absolute control, anything was possible!
23. I will suggest to you that there was a deliberate plan to centralize power in the leadership in a surreptitious manner. Unfortunately the nature of racial politics blinded us of the reality behind certain policies and conduct of leaders at that time. The decline of democracy, the abuse of power, and the mismanagement of our economy and the nation's finances, the economic waste, the lack of national cohesion in our economic policies led to the flight of capital in the region of RM880 billion over the years from the 1980s. That was the beginning the lost decades and the full impact of the consequences of the economic policies which has continued since then, is yet to have its full impact on our national lives. And when it does the consequences are unpredictable.
24. The centralization of power in the office of the Prime Minister and the Attorney general had a major role in this state of affairs. The challenge today is to reverse the centralization of power and restore the check and balance of a genuine democracy.
25. We need to reclaim as citizens of Malaysia our rights in a democracy; that power and authority are positions of trust and responsibility, not to serve personal interest or as an opportunity for personal enrichment. We need to reassert as politically active and responsible citizens the concept of social obligation and public service in those who seek political office. Power is duty, NOT a prize.
26. We need to rethink our economic policies. Particularly in the focusing on the national objectives that are urgent; economic policies is not only about wealth creation but needs to have a moral dimension which takes into account the wellbeing of all citizens as the ultimate priority over profits.
27. I have given you a broad sweep of the past and a bird's eye view of the looming problems of managing our economy as it is today. I hope this will open a dialogue which benefits all of us.

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Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The silliness of claiming ownership on wrongs

The problem with the UMNO goons is, they want to claim ownership on some indefensible issue. This is silly, because people will start viewing UMNO as an organization that stands on the side of abuse, of corruption, of mis-governance and as a party that practices discretionary and arbitrary laws. UMNO is fast becoming a dirty 4 letter word.
When someone criticizes the scandalous payments to IPPs, their criticisms were taken as attacks on UMNO? So what does UMNO support? UMNO supports some dubious arrangements to pay the IPPS horrendous prices when the same can be produced cheaper by TNB? UMNO stands for cavorting with the robber barons of today? The Anandas, the YTLS, The Berjayas, the Genting Lims- all friends of Mahathir. Mahathir isn't infallible.
Why should UMNO claim ownership on malpractices or claim ownership on possible corrupt practices? They should disown not own up.
This kind of stupidity will cost UMNO dearly in later years. UMNO should NOT take attacks on policies and on some issues of public concerns as attacks against the Malays or a Malay government. Perkasa doesn't speak for the Malays. It's not the only voice. Ibrahim Ali is no more Malay than I am or I am no less Malay than Ibrahim Ali.
Here is the problem with the IPP issue. People are questioning why the government finds it easy to withdraw subsidies from ordinary people but not that are paid to IPPs. This double standard raises the concern that the government protects the IPPs, coincidentally most created during Dr Mahathir's watch.
People can argue, IPPS get subsidies so that they can charge the public lower. Otherwise they will charge the public higher rates. The next real question is if IPPs have contracts agreed by the Mahathir administration that protect them from price fluctuations, is why were they given preferential treatment. Why protect them from price fluctuations?
Essentially, IPP's are protected from fuel price fluctuations. If the Government cuts fuel subsidy, then, the cost will be passed to the IPP's who in turn will pass it on to Tenaga and who in turn will need to raise electricity tariffs. So, in a sense, IPP's do not really benefit from the fuel subsidies.

The real issue is not why not take away subsidies from IPPs, but rather why did Tenaga and the government then agree to the price Tenaga pays to these IPP's and the "take or pay" conditions. The robber barons are holding the government at ransom and Mahathir who was the PM then, agreed to be squeezed by the balls.
Isn't Tenaga capable of generating electricity at a much lower cost than the IPP's (economy of scale, lower cost of capital, etc)
I read somewhere that some think tankers say that subsidies cause IPPS to be inefficient. Nope, I think subsidy causes not the IPPs but Tenaga to be inefficient or cause Tenaga to operate at sub-optimal level. Tenaga is forced to cater for daily peak and off peak demands and the broader economic cycles which means that Tenaga will have to shut off its own lower cost power stations when demand goes down because those IPP's are on a "take or pay" contract.
Why should we be forced to pay the rates in the first place? Because we are forced to do so, would suggest that really, those responsible at that time, the bankers and the IPPS are screwing us big time. How so?
IPPS get financing from banks right? Banks will finance only if IPPs generate higher ROIs. They must generate higher ROIs than those used and accustomed by Tenaga anyway. How do the IPPs ensure higher ROIs? Only by securing guarantees from the Malaysian government.
So when the Anandas, The Genting people, the Berjaya People, the habibs, the YTLs came before the PM then they said in unison- we can't get financing boss IF we can't get higher rates. So the boss said OK- you charge higher rates which we guarantee in agreements which can't be revealed forever. So they answered- orite boss, we are in business!
As an UMNO man, I am telling my friends in the party stop having to support these wrongs; wrongs are wrongs – don't matter who was the architect.
Don't think we can forever be in power. Can you imagine if another party forms the government, they create a Truth Commission as done by Mandela? Then all dubious contracts and projects will be subject to real forensic investigations which will make many people testicles-less.
So, stop claiming ownership on wrongs committed. That wasn't the reason UMNO came into being.

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Saturday, 11 June 2011

UMNO and PAS: opposing political culture.


We like it when UMNO appoints a young and energetic information chief. At the very least, he does not carry an historical baggage. The original sin doesn't get passed on to him.
That was essentially his premise in calling for renewed efforts for UMNO and PAS to talk about Malay unity. Ahmad Maslan shares the same leadership trait as Naib Tun Razak.Hurrah for him. 
Najib and he are both aspirational but not unfortunately, inspirational. Ahmad Maslan aspires for unity between PAS and UMNO in order to bring benefits to Malays and non-Malays. 
But he doesn't inspire trust and confidence.
The basis of unity as mentioned in the Quran has always been enjoining and joining forces ;cooperate for the common and public good. Two parties work jointly in the pursuit of the public and common good.
Using that as a basis, I don't think PAS or UMNO has problems working with each other. Having a professional relationship doesn't require merging or abandoning principles. Sharing the same goals is sufficient to elicit cooperation. Two parties don't even have to like each other.
Ahmad Maslan is right when he says, that it's not like UMNO lost. What UMNO and the BN do not have is a two thirds majority in parliament. In other words, UMNO does not actually crave for a unity with PAS. UMNO is still the government. But it aspires to have unity for the common good and also because that will ensure Ahmad Maslan and UMNO stays on in power. Except that 'common good' nowadays is no longer common. Privilege and Shylockian practices must be get rid off.
If UMNO has power, then it must be willing to show some goodwill. It wants unity with PAS, it has to be secured at a price. Let's say, the most desired price is conceding to claims for oil royalty by the Kelantan government. UMNO can prove beyond PAS that it desires common good for the Malays who form the majority in Kelantan.
But Ahmad Maslan doesn't inspire trust and confidence. This is how he doesn't.
The greatest obstacle is the way UMNO operates. UMNO operates on the wrong premises. Consider and evaluate what Ahmad Maslan says indicating clearly how UMNO operates. It operates mainly by knocking off each other. UMNO and PAS need to unite because those responsible for creating the split in the first place have faded to the background. Who does Maslan refer to? Tengku Razaleigh? Dr Mahathir?
If we were to take a poll within PAS on who from within UMNO they trust most- the likeliest answer will be Tengku Razaleigh.
In other words, the basis of unity will be achieved by apportioning blame and discrediting others. In Maslan's thinking- those responsible are UMNO veterans. The present UMNO leadership has nothing to do with it.
That's how UMNO operates naturally. Within UMNO, one goes up by demonizing one's opponent. Kill the other bugger off- digging up dirt, conspiring, forming clandestine cliques, hatching palace intrigues.
UMNO operates by way of back stabbing, reneging on promises and betraying each other. Though the original sin isn't inheritable, it seems the devious conduct is. So Maslan is willing to vilify the veteran political players of old, to achieve his aspiration.
When PAS and UMNO split, the UMNO president then was Hussein Onn. Everyone seems to agree that Hussein Onn was a straight arrow. Dull and bland, but nevertheless a straight arrow committed to principles and doing things the proper way. His deputy then, who Ahmad Maslan says is his sifu, was Dr Mahathir. 
Now Mahathir is a real politician. He is true to the Gaullist description of one who doesn't have permanent friends but only permanent interest. His overriding interest has always been to stay in power. Even now in his closing years his interest is to exercise power.
Now, Dr Mahathir has never been known to be magnanimous to PAS. PAS was only a convenient tool for achieving a purpose. PAS was convenient as a platform when DR Mahathir was expelled from UMNO. Dr Mahathir was never desirous of accommodating PAS and was absolutely against sharing power with PAS.
If the route to achieving unity is by way of a willingness to vilify others so as to achieve a strategic advantage, then the basis for unity between PAS and UMNO is inherently faulty right from the beginning.
Unity should be built on the basis of merits and mutual respect. PAS must be thinking- if this current leadership wants unity by way of intrigue, then it's a unity not worth pursuing. Since it's going to be achieved through intrigue and guiltless willingness to kill off your own kind, that way of operating will always be there. For that is what Ahmad Maslan is doing- killing off your own UMNO kind, to achieve a strategic advantage. Killing of each other, betraying each other, is the natural way by which UMNO operates. That is a scary basis for teaming up.
Ahmad Maslan fails to understand, its UMNO's political culture that hinders unity with PAS.

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Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Two opinions on IPP issue

I

Here are 2 comments which I selected to share with readers. The first comes from a person known as OneMalaysia. The second comment comes from a person, residing I presume in Borneo.

Those robber barons were single-handedly created and succored by Dr Mahathir. I remember arriving at the old Subang airport to discover unpleasantly that a large part of the country was plunged into darkness because of some massive explosion or tripping caused by overload. Lo and behold, within weeks the ex-PM announced that IPPs would henceforth supply electricity to TNB because TNB couldn't be trusted to do the job of generation alone.


 

The first off the block was YTL, who until then was just a mid-sized contractor. What distinguished them was Francis Yeoh's contact with the Apa-Nama PM. He was said to be like a godson. Well, that would be putting it rather kindly. Some people have rather unmentionable terms to describe him, which is beyond the dignity of this blog to publish. FY flouted his connection. That's the ironclad, tested way to tell one and all, especially little Napoleons, that he had real connections – don't play, play.

We then have Ananda Khrishnan – Uncle Ananda to the growing Mahathir kids – who came to great wealth through trading Petronas oil. Uncle Ananda of course also got into the KLCC deal and Maxis. But you wonder what experience he had in power generation when he got the sweet deal.

A former rice trader, who also had access to Dr M, also got in. He is now the biggest in terms of total power output, next only to TNB itself. Only days ago, TNB awarded a massive 1000MW coal fired plant to his group, Malakoff, at a juicy 23 sen per kilowatt. Compare this to what TNB can generate at about 13-14 sen.


 

Now, what make these blood-sucking IPPs so lucrative? First, these IPPs have contracts to supply on take-it-or-leave-it basis. In other words, they will generate at the rated capacity and supply to TNB whether or not TNB wants the electricity. TNB must then throttle back its own plants to give priority to the IPPs. Since TNB can generate at a lower cost than the IPPs, it is forced to buy all that expensive electricity - restricting its own cheaper supply - which is then passed on to us. Second, the IPPs are protected should gas prices go up. They have "pass through" cost clauses, meaning if gas price goes up this is immediately billed to TNB, that is, us. Third, at the time when the first few IPPs were created, they sold electricity at 15-16 sen per KW when at that time TNB could generate its own at 12 sen. The later IPPs got a lower rate but are still obscenely profitable. If one wants to understand what rent-seeking means these IPPs provide a perfect example.


 

Is there no role for IPPs? They have, but not on those terms. Firstly, as is done overseas, IPPs must buy gas or coal at market prices. Secondly, they must compete on price to supply to TNB, so TNB gets the cheapest deal. This means the inefficient IPPs will make less money or even losses – no guaranteed off-take at high fixed prices, and no pass-through cost clauses. In short, no sweetheart deals, and no ripping off the public. How can they tell all this to the public? We have Dr Mahathir to thank for this rip-off.


 

II

First of all, I have never commented any of your writings even though I find them interesting. Not that I agree to some of what has been written. But nonetheless they are interesting.


 

Ok now, my thoughts...

Remember Asas Serba's intention to take over the entire toll roads in the country?

Well, I can safely tell you the plan is workable if we only analyse the merits of the proposal. Nothing else... not even who is alleged to be behind the move!

Asas Serba's proposal:

1) No more toll hikes;

2) No extension of toll period beyond PLUS' concession agreement;

3) Immediate reduction of toll rates by 20%;

4) No more subsidies;

5) Assume the entire debts of toll roads; and

6) Remove all government guarantees.


 

If my memory has not failed me the above are the salient features of the proposal.

WELL...? If that is not good, I do not know what is?

Now let us fast forward to the present...

With a little tweaking, the same model works for IPPs...

I know who is behind Asas Sebar for a fact but I shall not dwell into that!

The same core group that was working on the toll road projects were also working on the IPPs... if only the government (read as UMNO/BN) were willing to discard their-know-it-all attitude, the government would not need to subsidize the IPPs...

Without even giving an opportunity to be heard, the government has denied Asas Serba an opportunity to reduce the burden on the rakyat.

Make no mistake! Asas Serba could and would still make money from the toll roads based on their proposal. The same holds true if similar proposal was implemented for IPPs!

When the government denied Asas Serba (largely, I was told because of personality clashes!), the government:

1) Strained its resources by subsidizing toll roads as well as IPPs;

2) Denies Sarawak and Sabah, the chance to have better infrastructure; and

3) A host of other stuff... (can't articulate them now... got to work!)


 

Whether my comments would see the light of day remains to be seen. That Sir is your prerogative that I would not question.

But I know what I am talking about because I have seen the proposal and the complete workings... Unfortunately I do not have a copy of them with me... I suppose I was being too straight when told that I could only read and return them (the proposal) after I finish reading.

Thank you Sir.

Dari Borneo ke Semenanjung Tanah Melayu.

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The bigger subsidy addicts.

The favorite excuse of CEOs and politicians is always to attribute external factors as the cause of our inconvenience. Consider for example, the increase in electricity tariffs. Its unavoidable says the government because cost elements are increasing. What cost elements- workers' wages and cost of fuels? What about subsidies going to IPPs? These are the bigger subsidy addicts who deserve the mandatory death sentence.

Many years ago, our country suffered the worse outage in our nation's history. We were without electricity for many days. Manufacturers lost a lot of money. Industrialists were screaming their heads off and their voices reached Sri Perdana, the abode of the 4th PM then.

He came up with the solution. We have this problem because TNB has a monopoly. Monopoly is not good. Dependency on one supplier isn't strategic. It can be outright dangerous not to mention can cause untold economic damages if the system breaks down.

Let's deregulate the electricity industry he proclaims. So Ananda, YTL, Genting and others came rushing in. we can supply electricity sir. But we need to have iron clad agreements so that our investments are well covered. We must have a guaranteed purchase from TNB at secure prices.

But sir in order to generate our current, we need cheap fuels. Otherwise we bungkus or consumers will have to pay more. Never mind says sir, I control PETRONAS. I will ask them to sell you natural gas at subsidized rates. And so government pays subsidies up to RM 19 billion a year.

As many people now know, the electricity we consumed passes through 4 stages. Generation, transmission, distribution and retailing.

But boss, we will only generate electricity. We won't go into transmission, distribution and retailing. These are costly. Tarak untung. Kadang kadang untung.

In other words, TNB which has to invest in all 4 stages can offer us cheaper tariffs, but the IPPs awarded license which offer only generation of electricity cannot. How can this be? Apa nama? Macam mana?

Deregulation created an opposite effect in Malaysia. We ended up having to pay higher electricity tariffs because TENAGA was forced to buy electricity from IPPs who charged more for the electricity than if Tenaga produced it itself!

We come now to the stupid remark by the minister who says the government is powerless to reveal details of the PPA. Wasn't it the government that 'negotiated' the deals with the IPPs? So why can't we have access to the details?

Who were the first entrants to the IPP business? Genting Sanyen, YTL Power, Malakoff, SEV, Prai Power,Powertek, GB3, Tanjung Bin Power and Kapar Energy are among the two dozen or so IPPs in Malaysia. All of the above are owned by the Genting Lims, Francis Yeoh, Syed Mokhtar and Ananda Krishnan. These were the usual suspects consisting of the connected businessmen who get most of the big deals.

YTL Power's profit for 2010 was more than RM1.6 billion on revenues of RM13 billion. Malakoff in 2009 had a profit of RM380 million on revenues of RM5.6 billion. Powertek had revenues of RM1.34 billion and a profit of RM450 million.

So Francis Yeoh makes RM1.6 billion and Ananda Krishnan makes RM450 million from his IPP while collecting subsidies from public money. Tiuniamakahai!

It is essentially a transfer of funds from the people's pockets to the IPP's vaults, through TNB, aided and abetted by the government. But the imbecilic minister says we can't reveal. Of course we can't reveal because that would expose the scandalous amount of profits these business luminaries make.

Why should we continue selling fuel at subsidized rates totaling RM 19 billion allowing these people to make huge profits? And the only solution offered and supported by the CEO who's is paid handsomely is to raise tariffs further.

Let us illustrate the absurdity of this business arrangement. Look at the Thai power producers. They do not get subsidies and have to buy fuel at market prices. Fuels cost more in Thailand. Yet, despite the higher cost of fuels, Thai power producers sell electricity at a lower price than Malaysian IPPs sell to TNB. Apa nama punya economics ini?

So who really are the rapacious businessmen who are our own version of medieval German Robber Barons? Our robber barons get to keep their subsidies, and their unnatural, undeserved profits.

Peter Chin, the minister in charge of TNB must be mentally deranged. He claims that he cannot release the IPP contracts because it is between two private entities. Tiuniama punya minister. TNB is not a private entity; it is mostly government-owned. And the subsidies given to the IPPs are not private monies, they are public funds!

The reality is TNB is a very inefficient entity especially its operating cost. In 2005, the company's 40.5% operating costs were spent in purchasing electricity from IPP.

For the financial year 2010, TNBs energy cost grew by 2.4% to RM17,379.0 million from RM16,974.4 million recorded in 2009 mainly due to higher payment to Independent Power Producers (IPP), totaling RM12,528.0 million, an increase of 5.9% compared to the previous (RM11,827.0 million) financial year.

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Monday, 6 June 2011

The kacang puteh seller and the GLC CEO

The political blooper of this decade must have been this. The minister of this ministry says- we can't do anything to reveal the details of the IPP agreement.

I think this reaction is shared by many people in Malaysia. We almost fell off our chairs in disbelief. The government has no power to reveal the details of IPP contracts. If the government cannot declassify, who can?

I hope this minister will not be selected as a cabinet member the next time around IF the BN retains power.

Two, this absent mindedness is increased further by the equally bizarre statement by the TNB CEO. By the way, he takes home a RM 1.2 million pay packet per year and we paid him to come out with this kind of statement.

Profitability depends on being able to increase a take it or leave it price. You no pay you no electricity. He was thankful; the government has agreed to raise tariffs. TNB made RM 4 billion on revenue of RM 30 billion he's thankful, rising costs will not eat into the profitability. Yet he was practically crying throughout 2010 urging the government to review this and that.

He ensures profits by raising tariffs but not by tackling the costs centers. Where is the source of much increase in costs? Do they come from increasing wages of its employees or payments to IPPs? Or business misadventures in Indonesia.

The price hike of TNB tariffs is a reprieve for TNB. Pray tell us then, where is the qualitative difference between a TNB CEO and a kacang puteh seller if both depend on a price INCREASE to be profitable? The answer none- because both their profitability is the result of raising prices. Anyone can increase profit by raising prices.

This isn't what we expect from a CEO who earns maybe close to RM 100 k a month. We expect him to be profitable because of efficiency, because of cost cutting measures, because of streamlining operations and because of far sighted procurement policies. So the TNB of now that he helms, hasn't moved qualitatively from the TNB he started to lead. A few years ago, he justified the massive losses in coal purchasing deals that went awry as being not worrying because TNB's earnings are humongous. TNB earns billions each year.

So, because you earn a lot, its ok to lose a few billions of public money.

We therefore hope his contract as CEO will not be renewed. Nothing personal, just business.

As a first start to cost cutting measures, we suggest therefore the top TNB bosses volunteer to have the pay cut and that portion be distributed as wages to lower income staff members. Why? Because TNB staff is some of the lowest paid workers in the country.

The big chiefs in TNB whose only managerial prowess nowadays seem to pressure the government to raise tariffs are shocking. Che Khalib Mohamad Noh earns RM1.8 million a year in total. TNB's second executive director, Azwan Mohd, who was appointed in April 2010, received a total remuneration of RM755, 320.22, including his basic salary of RM457, 440.

What of the TNB 'Indians'? While paying the big chiefs the above amount, in the same year, TNB kept its minimum wage at RM750 a month, only slightly higher than POS Malaysia's RM635.

The wage difference is scandalous. Che Khalib has been responsible for some heavy losses and he has presided over some bad deals over the purchases of coal fields in Indonesia. He should have his salary reduced or even relieved from his post. But as usual, government linked companies (GLCs) which tended to be top-heavy pay their CEOs huge salaries seemingly to reflect their managerial talent.

It's time for the government to cap salaries for the bosses so that wealth could be spread towards the bottom through better wage schemes.

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Sunday, 5 June 2011

UMNO’s nightmares are becoming reality

UMNO's worse nightmares are now becoming a reality. PAS is transforming itself into a credible and viable alternative. If it links up with likeminded people from other parties and the combined forces are led by someone with stature, they will form the next government.
Will PAS implode? It will only if it has the UMNO culture. What differentiates PAS from UMNO is the existence of an eternal idealism. To see the application of more Islamic content in the running of the country wherever and whenever they are applicable.
The recent victory of the Erdogan faction in PAS is also a reflection that PAS has succeeded in attracting more libertarian members into the party. The change in leadership character in PAS can only be possible as a result of a change in the character of the men and women who have become PAS members. If they have enlisted into the PAS army, then UMNO has lost people of this caliber from its ranks.
What will happen to UMNO? Very soon, UMNO members will consist of the riff-raffs and contract hungry divisional leaders and class F contractors. UMNO will continue to be dominated by leaders and followers who make high pitched noises when they can't get something out of the MRT and Pudu Jail redevelopment projects.
Pas is showing it's ready to take the bull by its horns. It shines where UMNO leadership falters. PAS doesn't fear leadership transformation. UMNO shows it does.
UMNO talks but its PAS who walks. The party is now made up of more professionals. They are trained in the secular skills but the people with the skills have spiritual credentials. Plus, they are younger and are being groomed to take over PAS leadership.
UMNO reins in its young fearing backlash from powerful warlords in the party. It doesn't even have the stomach to fill in positions with elected members. Some who lost in the last elections continue to be given positions in government. For all the talk about transformation, the party has shown it's all just rhetoric.
The UMNO president can only offer a meek excuse that UMNO members do not want Khairy and therefore he is let out to pasture. Which members?
In the meantime, the young and restless will continue to be drawn to PAS now that more people with libertarian views are going to PAS. Those not moved by PAS will continue to shy away from UMNO. Because UMNO hasn't shown it's ready to jive in with young. It misleads itself into believing giggly young girls rushing to shake the hand of the PM will convert into votes that will ensure UMNO stays in Putrajaya.
Who in UMNO can speak to the young with credence? Let's be realistic enough. Khaiiry Jamaludin with all his imperfections and perhaps impetuousness can link up with the young. No other UMNO leader can provide the emotional tie up. He is articulate and highly intelligent. His character flaws can be corrected if the UMNO leadership shows more maturity and coolness in decision making. The UMNO president underestimates his own influence on UMNO psychology. If he decides KJ to be given a position in government, the others will follow.
Instead he follows the whispers that blow in the wind. They come from Pro UMNO bloggers who may not be and are not even UMNO members and whose Malayness are questionable. These people continue to berate and cast aspersions on the character on the one person capable of galvanizing the young and capturing their emotions.
Instead the UMNO president relies on people like Mukhriz Mahathir whose support comes mainly from conceited MRSM alumnus who think the hell about themselves. The only semblance of intelligence that Mukhriz has is his receding hairline, fitting the conventional description of professors with balding heads. Well, you can get balding heads by placing your head consistently on a strategic location of the human anatomy of the opposite sex.
UMNO talks about transformation but PAS is the party that converts that into action. UMNO does not even dare hold its party elections fearing that the party will be more divided. UMNO hasn't got the stomach to get rid of its old blood. If PAS doesn't break up despite having party elections, the UMNO leadership will have a tough time defending why its postponing party elections.
Even UMNO people will go away convinced that holding back elections is really an excuse by the UMNO leadership to self-perpetuate. Hence all the cock and bull story about disunity and all that.
It's strange to get the impression that UMNO can stay in power provided the ulamas dominate PAS. Since when is UMNO so chummy to people of the robes? Such reversal of affection can only suggest that UMNO hasn't got a soul. Or it can also suggest the plight of a person going into old age and conscious of his mortality and who now mourns for spiritual salvation.
Does ageing UMNO see spiritual salvation in PAS? If it does, there's no future for people like Ibrahim Ali.

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Thursday, 2 June 2011

Walla’s commentaries on UMNO’s unfinished Revolution

I simply must share this rapier sharp analysis from my intrepid commentator, Walla. I accept it as a singular honour that he finds time frequently to visit my blog. He does too on a few other blogs. When he drops in for a visit, he leaves behind valuable gems of thought.


 

A: 'I miss you, Sir.'


 

B: '(eyes pop, jaw drops, kretek embers land on sarung, burning hole size of ten sen coin)..You do? Well then, goodbye pink mop, and hello Sofea!'


 

A: '(looks at smoke spiraling up) Oh dear, is it hurting?'


 

B: '(grins bravely) Not yet.'


 

A: 'Emm, Shall we not focus on your sartorial simplicity for the moment but ponder what our blogger has written? I think he has written another intelligent piece.'


 

B: '(flicking ash off) that's hardly surprising, Sofea. With only a few exceptions, the others in the Umno leadership also display intellect too. Unfortunately all bovine. Kekeke.'


 

A: 'I see you have not lost your bite.'


 

B: 'But the other wire has also broken off....oh, never mind. What is it that weighs on your lovely brows, Sofea?'


 

A: '(eyes roll). I think Umno's revolution will never be finished because the brobdingnagian challenges it has been facing will soon consume it completely.'


 

B: '(jaw drops again, twenty sen coin). You mean its legacy problems of economics and politics? Give me a minute to respond. (Turns away, opens kamus)...


 

I think it's like this, Sofea. Every organism in life goes through its own phases of growth and decline. Under normal circumstances, they trace a sigmoid curve. First, slow palpable growth, then rapid accelerating growth, and finally slowdown to a plateau before decline to end somewhere.


 

The key to maintaining growth, or in this case political relevance, is to continuously find new S-curves before expiry of the old one.


 

What has been happening to Umno, Barisan for that matter, is that it has not been able to locate new relevance for itself anymore that can not only equal the original kickass spirit at the time of the formation of this country but also provide a real counterbalance to the emergence of new forces of change demanded by the rakyat.'


 

A: 'But, Sir, Umno's government has been delivering the goods to the rakyat, don't you think so?'


 


 

B: '(eyes glint). You really think so, Sofea? Let me ask you two questions.


 

Firstly, which government can govern for long if it doesn't deliver goods to the rakyat? In other words, any government run by any political party worth its salt will have to deliver goods to the rakyat. That's what governments are for, isn't it? So don't arrogate to Umno some transcendental right that only it knows best or can do best. It hasn't and it doesn't and, by the denouement of recent events, it won't. Remove the fulcrum of its spin and you will see its politics has devastated this nation. Let me put it bluntly - even if Umno wins the next general elections, the country loses, and frankly, i think it'll be the end.


 

Which comes to the second point. By itself, politics is just a tool. It is just a tool to levitate and moderate the economics of nation-building. And the fortunes of Umno and Barisan have risen and fallen with the economic fortunes of this land. We must understand why.


 

When Malaya started, much of the country was relatively under-developed so that the potential for growth and development was assured. With expansion of the population, demand for goods and services increased until we reached the high-flying days of the 70's when hot money flowed in followed by massive FDI that had helped build an industrial base beyond our plantations. Public finances were also shored up by oil and gas revenues.


 

Today, all that has changed. Hot money is only here to take occasional pot shots at punters in a market where share prices have had to be quoted in sen so as not to reflect how minute are the valuations. And that is because the fundamentals of good management to build real enterprises have been sacrificed for window-dressed performance not shored by real capabilities.


 

Next, FDI where it really matters is only going into industrial bases in Opposition-run states like Penang and Selangor. The others? Buildings again, as if another complex can produce things for export to earn currency to discharge deficits. Come to think of it, what has happened to Zamry's Perak state projects? He's quiet as a tikus, no? And other investment projects? The announcements are reruns of the same projects, like Rais' tv movies.


 

And let's not belabor how our oil and gas resources have depleted, even for their half-hearted verisimilitude of new finds. Aren't we now importing gas as well?


 

Sofea, the economic legacy of Umno's politics of the 70's is the problem today. That period was growth but few saw that it was growth borne by subsidy. Instead of realizing it hard enough then to build real capability for the future, they just sat back and milked the cash register.


 

So that now when reality has finally bitten, the entire Umno leadership is amok, and right after the Sarawak elections, if you would care to note.


 

Because they have suddenly found the twin threat to their personal survival from the convergence of economic non-sustainability and political irrelevance.


 

All those wild spending in the 70's went into crony projects and piratisation schemes but with financing charges for the treasury's attention.


 

Just imagine, one of many such financing charges is no less than USD1 Billion. The rakyat are indirectly asked to pay for generations to come for a project that was not tendered out properly but benefited cronies who declared huge dividends to themselves while protecting their turf by cabling into Umno to bear the risk on some flimsy rakyat-centric excusatory spin.


 

Now, how did this happen? It happened because someone whose son has just been paid RM90 million for the land where resides Pudu wet market thought he was clever by buying early ahead of future inflation but clean well forgot how financing charges can balloon the final cost, what more on depreciated items.


 

And who will ultimately be paying for these mega-projects from future benefits foregone? Our momentarily happy, jomhebohing, rakyat.'


 

A: 'I see what you are driving at, Sir. In fact i cannot understand how a government which could finally release the details of the road toll agreements could not release the details of the IPP agreements. After all, isn't TNB a government-linked enterprise?'


 

B: 'Exactly, Sofea. Too much dirt has been swept under the carpet. Now the rakyat have the internet as their vacuum cleaner. It's all coming out and the shit has hit the fan running at speed tiga. And our Barisan jokers have the nerve to say seventy five percent of households won't be affected by the power tariff raise.


 

Well, if this government is so clever to talk about positive multipliers for the ETP projects, why can't it answer whether there won't be negative multipliers for this tariff raise? Electricity courses right through all businesses and inflation will kill our poor. Because their income is static with no prospect of near-term dynamic. Meanwhile, their families starve. Shit!'


 

A: 'I empathise and agree, Sir. This country was given only one providential chance to transform itself starting from the 70's. But Umno and Barisan didn't do the right things. It only had the idee fixe about hardware and personal aggrandisement. It did not embrace the necessity to constantly feel vulnerable despite the good times of that past era.


 

It failed to subscribe to a long-term commonweal for all the rakyat but instead did all the pejoratives to only amplify those who could guarantee support of its elites so that they could continue to harvest their positions. Unlike Nottingham forest, the rich robbing the poor.


 

The nations which really thrive are those with weltanschauung, or pragmatic world views. Umno never had that because it infested itself with those displaying only the brains of ocelots which would explain their jejune behavior unbecoming of real leaders. Perhaps that will explain the mad political propaganda of using the youths to protect Putrajaya. Isn't that like the Sheriff of Nottingham using the long-suffering peasants of the land to protect his castle?'


 

B: 'Yes, parsing what you have said, who can deny the present Umno leadership is just made of chicken-livered, yellow-bellied, scrofulous poltroons?


 

Our Malay race, and by that i mean the real Nusantura's, is marked by savoir-faire characteristics. What's that phrase? Ah, semper aequus. Well, the Perkasa's, Utusan's, Gaps and so on, so forth have just finished those characteristics with their racist taunts officially excused off as expressions of community and norm. Before the whole world, how shameful to drag the Malay race down to that level of gutter politics?! Those jabbering and hawing jokers don't even know how to interprete the federal constitution. Sofea, with all that, you can jettison any hope of 1Malaysia taking root. It's finito.'


 


 

A: 'Sir, i sense they knew all along. They just wanted to drive the less-informed segments of the community towards some fear-struck loyalty towards Umno, little realizing that the Umno of today bears little resemblance to that of the Umno of yesteryear which had carried the real torch of our community. Nowadays, that torch is just for a few elites to enter the den of thieves and cart away the national jewels. Anyway, our urban Malays will take the message home to their kampongs and wake up even the dead. Indeed, i am puzzled how the son of an ex-premier can possibly own that piece of land.


 

B: 'Perhaps it's because the father had owned the other piece of prime land along Jalan Tun Razak? He, the man who said he was not interested to know any project below two million ringgit? I give up, Sofea.'


 

A: 'Yes, Sir. Arrogance is manure for the vineyard of error.'


 

B :'(fifty sen coin) Indeed?!'


 

A: 'How do you see the GE ahead?'


 

B: 'Penang, Kedah, Kelantan, Perak, Selangor, Federal Territory plus parts of Terengganu, Sarawak and Sabah. And if the Almighty so decides, a taste of Negri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor as well. Pahang, Perlis and Labuan, Barisan can keep.'


 

A: 'Then the real revolution will be by the rakyat, Sir.'


 

B: 'It always has been that, Sofea. The MENA states in the Middle-East have shown the way.


 

The Almighty is the Final and Ultimate Reckoner and sees through all pretenders. Even those who use the federal institutions to win by unfair and most cruel means.


 

Meanwhile let's pray those PSD scholars will get what they have really earned, not some halfbaked unscrupulous measures unbecoming of our Malay race. I leave unsaid Umno's racist treatment of our STPM scholars. To deny them any full-fledged state scholarship for overseas study of their choice i would count as an execrable act which will exact the full fury of our nonMalay voters.'


 

A: 'Sir, please say no more. We all know why and who. Umno has never had a fair and just gesamtlösung for our nonMalays.'


 

B: 'And that is finishing off this nation.'

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Wednesday, 1 June 2011

UMNO’s Unfinished Revolution

UMNO's unfinished revolution: one step forward and 2 steps backwards.

We can't go back to 1946 and wished the motivations and inspirations that awoken the Malays remained unchanged. That wish would have to assume that every leader is born at the same time and is of similar constitution- boldness in character, dedication to public service, possessing selfless dedication.

Let me illustrate the stark contrast in character constitution that I refer to.

When Tun Razak died, he had little money. His only liquid asset of any merit was the Magsaysay Award. He didn't have enough funds to finance his medical bills in England. After he died, the government had to step in to give his wife a home for her and her children.

When Tunku Abdul Rahman died he too had no money. A few times he was saved financially by Tun Datu Mustapha.

Let's take the case of a more plebian leader- Khir Johari. When he was alive and in power, all sorts of accusations were hurled at him. I remember looking at a picture of him and his wife donning traditional Chinese costumes wishing the Chinese, Happy New Year. It was probably done in good sport. Towards the end of his life, every one found out he had only one house in Bukit Damansara. Those rights over that house were disputed. In the end he had to leave the house and moved into an apartment. He died in that apartment.

What these examples show is that, by and large, these first generation UMNO leaders were actually of selfless material, enjoying the trappings of power indeed while in office, but taking none after they leave.

Present day UMNO leaders are a world apart. The majority are loud in every sense of the word.

This difference can only be explained by one factor. UMNO has been taken over by leadership of different material who is conditioned by different experiences having less service to the public motives. This may be a shocking admission – but I hope the present day UMNO leadership is aware of the general perception that is getting stronger by the day, that present day UMNO leadership consists of a bunch of sly politicians intent on making hay while it shines.

But certainly, what we could expect is to have those motivations and ideals behind the UMNO of 1946, refined and enhanced. From closed mind to openness, from debilitating traditionalism to modernism. These must the founding principles behind the 'betulkan orang Melayu' drive of Onn Jaafar.

Sad to say, UMNO must bear the primary responsibility over the more or less unchanged mental landscape of Malays in general. UMNO alone is responsible for the regressive ideas of Malays. If they have been sleeping over eons, they now have been given sleeping pills to slumber along while the world passes them over. Over the years, UMNO leadership has caused the motivations and inspirations that moved an entire nation to degenerate into besieged paranoia and parochialism.

So before I go on, maybe it's timely for me to remind Malay readers especially of what Zaaba said some time ago.

I tell you not in mournful numbers

That the Malays are a dying race

I only want the soul that slumbers

To wake and work in these bright days


 

I tell you not in mournful numbers

The way in which to improve the Malays

I want that each Malay remember

Modest, contented shouldn't be always.


 

Allow me to explain. What was the catalyst that galvanized the Malay population? Without a doubt, it was the idea of a Malayan Union. Regrettably I am not going to repeat the usual stuff about Malayan Union etc. etc.

Malayan Union must be regarded as a wakeup call for the Malay leadership to understand, that Malay politics cannot remain forever insulated. The rule is that those who failed to adapt perish. Those who failed to acquire tools for survival disappear. The present day leadership of UMNO and UMNO members must be conscious of the bigger designs of the Malayan Union.

UMNO got the Malays a reprieve to adapt. If UMNO fails to do so and Malays do not succeed in adapting, it means UMNO has failed the Malays.

If I were to view objectively the clash between the world represented by UMNO in 1946 and the new world represented by Malayan Union- I would have to say things in the following manner. UMNO's resistance and objection to the Malayan Union then was the result of the awareness of Malay leadership in general, that Malays were not ready for the challenges of an open society. For that is what Malayan Union represented really- an open, competitive and democratic arrangement in the relations of the citizens of a modern world. Malays were not ready.

The mission of UMNO then would have been only one- to prepare Malays to be ready for the open world. Equipped, competitive and having the tools to do so. UMNO's mission was never to dig deeper into a trench and cocooned itself and Malays in general. If those were the objectives of UMNO, it was wrong. If these are UMNO missions as understood by present day leadership in UMNO, then they shouldn't be helming UMNO.

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