I was up early this morning. Astro TV had sent a car at 0830 hrs. to take me to their studios in Bukit Jalil to record a one hour program "Perspektif Kita: Blog -- Your Mainstream Media?". The audience were mainly youngsters and my fellow guest speakers include other bloggers*, academicians and student activists.
Catch the program tonight at 2030 hrs. on Astro Awani (Channel 501). I believe there will be re-runs on Monday 28th April night at 2300 hrs., Tuesday 29th at 1530 hrs. and Wednesday 30th at 1000 hrs.
"The King of Bloggers residing at the most visited or gate-crashed cyberhome known as Malaysia-Today.net simply called by matey fans as Raja Petra Kamarudin or "RPK" -- often mixed up with PKR, I often wonder about the connection! -- has confirmed he will be present at BUM2008 at the Lake View Club, Subang Jaya on Thursday 1 may 2008 to celebrate Labour Day with fellow 150 Bloggers and Friends!"- Desiderata-ylchong
All aboard !
Registration /payment has been extended to next Tuesday, 29th April 2008. There are still a few seats left. For details click here and here.
The 'notorious' reporting duo of Terence Fernandez and R. Nadeswaran from the Sun disclosed today, here, that passengers who depart from KL International Airport (KLIA) have been paying an additional RM2 to RM6 in airport tax for the last 6 years – no thanks to a lopsided deal between the government and Express Rail Link SdnBhd (ERLSB) which operates the Express Rail Link (ERL). The KLIA Express connects KL Sentral and KLIA. In simple words, departing airline passengers have been made to pay for or subsidise the service even if they do not use the ERL. (Read also Nadeswaran's column on this, here.)
It is learnt that the rationale behind the 30-year concession agreement signed in 1997 with ERLSB, where YTL Corporation is a major stake holder, was to ensure a return on investment for the service which started in 2002. KLIA handled about 25 million passengers last year and the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) about 8 million. “Half of these figures were departing passengers, which means ERL would be receiving in the region of RM80 million a year,” said a source.
So the ERL wasnt exactly a viable enterprise by itself at the outset, was it?
YTL Corporation's boss Francis Yeoh (photo) was also in the news recently (read Jeff Ooi's 'Francis Yeoh and his urgent train' on 15 April, here) when he was quoted by the NST as saying that his RM10 billion KL-Singapore bullet train, first proposed some years ago, is "economically viable, so I think the government will listen to the people and put this project on an urgent basis again."
People? He must mean us poor unsuspecting beggars.
A "little bird" told me that a team of local and foreign consultants engaged by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) for a major study on a national transport policy a few years ago during the previous administration, had concluded then that the bullet train project is not viable. Perhaps Francis is simply trying his luck again. Indeed, human greed has no bounds. (Read also a Petpositive comment, here)
(Footnote: Both Nadeswaran a.k.a. Citizen Nades and YB Jeff Ooi will be guest speakers at B.U.M. 2008 on Thursday 1 May 2008).
Update 23 April: Malaysiakini reports, here, that YTL's proposed KL-Singapore bullet train project has been scrapped.
Call me biased if you like, but in light of whats happening on the judicial front and if goodwill ex-gratia payments are to be made to the wronged judges, lets not forget my friend former High Court judge Datuk Syed Ahmad Idid, the first whistle blower from the judiciary with his 112 allegations of corruption, abuses of power and misconduct against 12 judges in 1996. He had to quit his job after the then A-G Mohtar Abdullah declared that his allegations were "without basis".
Dato Syed Ahmad Idid was apolitical and when he was even threatened with death, he decided to live and see his children through their education whilst he was still alive. He had some inkling of how the government machinery can be (mis) used to put down a good man, so he had to leave the Bench and must now be thankful that Malaysians have at last seen the light and coming to exercise their will and minds. Indeed the Almighty works in mysterious ways.
On Thursday 1st May 2008, Dato Syed Ahmad Idid will be one of the speakers at the BloggersUniverse Malaysia Gathering 2008 at the Lake View Club, Subang Jaya which will feature two brainstorming afternoon and evening sessions involving speakers and audience with the general theme of "TOWARDS A CIVIL SOCIETY". Other speakers include National Alliance of Bloggers protem president Ahirudin Attan a.k.a. Rocky's Bru, academician and columnist Dr. Azmi Sharom, journalist Jacqueline Ann Surin, Jelutong MP cum blogger Jeff Ooi, Human Rights advocate Haris Ibrahim of the Peoples' Parliament, Steven Gan the editor-in-chief of Malaysiakini.com, Dr Lim Teck Ghee of the Centre for Policy Initiatives and journalist R. Nadeswaran of the Sun. There will also a be 'mystery' speaker* for the evening session which will include a buffet dinner.
Don't miss this golden opportunity. Seats are limited to 110 only and on a first-come-first-served basis. The closing deadline for registration/payment of the RM50 fee is 5.00 p.m. on Thursday, April 24, 2008. Click here for details.
Update 23 April: Our 'mystery' speaker has been identified. Its Raja Petra Kamarudin of Malaysia Today!
I have always believed that an occasional kick in the butt may be required to get one out of deep stupor. The recent general elections was indeed one such for our sleepy 'flip flop' prime minister.
Last night at the Bar Council's ‘Dinner for Justice’, the PM finally made amends but short of an apology to former Lord President Salleh Abas and other top judges dismissed from the Supreme Court in 1988 - now regarded as Malaysia's darkest hours in its judicial history. He also announced that the government will establish a judicial appointments commission to identify and recommend suitable candidates as a start to reforms in the judiciary. The government will also make goodwill ex-gratia payments to the six judges implicated in the 1988 crisis, three of whom were later removed. This has been a long time coming. (Read the Malaysiakini report, here. The Sun also has his speech in full, here).
We shall see whether he will walk the talk or whether this was just another one of his public relations (PR) exercises to boost his flagging fortunes.
But my blogger friend Zorro's hantu claims that,"He may cross the floor ... !"
Eh? Now that's stretching it a bit. Like the fella once said, Ain't that a kick in the head? Like the sailor said, quote, Ain't that a hole in the boat? - Sammy Cahn & Jimmy van Heusen
Had lunch with my hometown friend Desiderata Chong at Lingam's (yes, thats right) Curry House in Seremban today. He suggested that perhaps its a "confessional" of sorts that today's NST (no, not the New Shit Times) front paged its editorial with the banner headline 'Get on with the job".
"Enough is enough," it said. Very strange coming from the UMNO owned rag.
Read the editorial in full and readers' comments, here.
I rather thought that its a bit late in the day now that the Barisan Nasional's nightmares have just begun.
I have known this man for almost half a century. We went to school together. He was once destined to become this country's numero uno but because he chose to stick to his principles, he was jailed, beaten, humiliated, tortured and what have you, for six long years. He was also barred from holding political office for a period after he was released.
Today marks the day when he is free to pursue his destiny i.e., his rightful place vis-à-vis this country's future. His detractors and former jailers are now running around like blue-assed flies blaming each other for their failure to maintain the status quo in the recent general elections. Like rats deserting a sinking vessel, some may just opt for the inevitable like jumping ship, which is OK by me.
And as we say: Allah-u-Akbar, God is Great. Truth and justice may yet prevail.
Addressing a conference of Malaysian judges in Putrajaya earlier today, the Regent of Perak HRH Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah (photo) said the time is right for a "judicial renaissance" and to review the way judicial appointments and promotions are made. A significant call indeed from one of Malaysia’s most respected voices. (TheSun has the full text of his speech, here.)
Raja Nazrin Shah said that in the last two decades, judicial independence and integrity have been eroded. The result: lack of confidence in the judicial system and the complete disregard for the law by some quarters. "These are dark stains on our honour and reputations and they have the potential to weaken, if not destroy the nation," he said. "Until judicial power is reinvested in the judiciary in much the same way that executive power is invested in the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Cabinet, and the legislative power in Parliament, it will be difficult to convince anyone, not our citizens and not the world community, that we are a nation governed by the rule oflaw," he added.
In respect for the rule of law, which is a universal ideal, the Regent also quoted his father Sultan Azlan Shah, a former Lord President of the Federal Court:
"(The) right to be governed by laws and not by arbitrary officials is the most precious right of democracy—the right to reasonable, definite and proclaimed standards, which we as citizens can invoke against both malevolence and caprice."
For the record, de facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim has also suggested that the government apologise for the sacking of Lord President Salleh Abas in 1988. He has now the support of the current Chief Justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad.
I am glad that we have enough sane voices advocating the rule of law for the sake of the nation and the rakyat while big time crooks posing as the powers- that-be quarrel amongst themselves to save their party and self interests.
Todays' theSun front paged a report, here, that the new Minister of Transport Ong Tee Keat has promised a full report which will put to rest the controversy over the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project. He said to uphold transparency, the government had the responsibility to explain the issue, which had been exploited by the Opposition in the last general elections. Asked when the report will be ready, he said it will be out soon once a thorough report is completed. “We will not just give a statement to explain everything. The report will explain the economic impact of the project on Selangor and the country."
Whatever happened to the much publicised investigation carried out by the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee headed by Shahrir Samad? A total waste of time and money, I believe, since it was not conclusive.
In another report, former Subang Jaya assemblyman and losing MCA candidate for the Kelana Jaya parliamentary seat Lee Hwa Beng (I didnt vote for him!) is poised to be the next chairman of Port Klang Authority (PKA). Sheeesh.
"When he takes over as chairman, Lee’s task will include resurrecting investor confidence in the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Trade Zone which has the potential of being a white elephant due to limited facilities that are not tailor- made to serve the needs of shipping and logistics companies," says theSun.
It is also learnt that the PKA will also see a new general manager this year as O.C. Phang’s tenure which ends in June will not be renewed. Phang, who has served as general manager for four terms which was quite unprecedented, has been largely blamed for PKFZ’s shortcomings as well as PKA’s dwindling cash reserves from RM500 million, which prompted the authority to seek a RM4.6 billion 'soft loan' bailout from the federal government to finance the project.
I for one, am hopeful that the new Selangor state government, which has recently expressed interest in acquiring the project for a token book value of RM1, will do a proper and thorough due diligence to uncover the truth behind the fiasco. (Read also my earlier blog, here).
My old friend Capt. Subhash 'Fred' Kelkar in San Francisco calls it cajones which simply means balls or bebola, and these are what I find severely lacking amongst UMNO die hards. A pathetic state of the denial syndrome, refusing to admit to their faults and a penchant for blaming everybody else but themselves.
I was invited to the UMNO pasca or whatever organised by MyKmu.net at the Singgahsana Hotel in Petaling Jaya yesterday, where after all the hype about transparency, openness and daring to speak up bla bla, a young grassroots leader was unceremoniously manhandled and dragged out of the hall after he had the audacity to ask why not consider inviting Anwar Ibrahim back into the UMNO fold. Sheeesh. I rather felt sorry for the whole bunch of them, many looking like paranoid Class F bumiputra contractors still harping on ketuanan Melayu*, etc. and all the while I was asking myself WTF was I doing there.
While UMNO in particular and BN in general are breaking at the seams with their leaders at each others' throats, the PKR-PAS-DAP coalition seems to be growing from strength to strength with the formation of Pakatan Rakyat or People’s Alliance. Is a merger of opposition parties on the cards? If this is so, then we are without a doubt moving towards a much coveted two-party system and we can also look forward to kissing goodbye to communal or race politics once and for all. (Read yesterday's Malaysiakini report, here)
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