Monday, April 27, 2009


In a short while, I am going to hit the road south with a couple of travelling companions to catch a boat in the afternoon at Situlang Laut in Johor. We are going island hopping in Indonesia's Rhio Archipelago for a few days to visit the makam or mausoleums of our Bugis ancestors. A homecoming of sorts ...

Be back Friday.

Update on Wednesday, 29 April 2009 at 1800 hrs: Some photos ...

(With fellow waris at the makam of Daeng Celak on Pu. Bintan.
On far left is well known local artist Hj. Md Sani Md Dom)

(At the makam of Daeng Marewah with my cousin and namesake,
consultant surgeon Dr. Yusof Tan Sri Dato Dr. Mohd Said)

(Final resting place of sailor/warrior Raja Haji Fisabilillah
a.k.a. Marhum Teluk Ketapang, atop a hill on Pu. Penyengat)

(Makam of Raja Ali Haji, who has been named as "Father of
the Malay-Indonesian Language" by the Indonesian government)

(Gurindam Kesepuluh, part of the famous Gurindam Duabelas,
etched in marble at the Makam Engku Puteri Hamidah of Riau)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

PKFZ: RM8 Billion Swindle?

The Edge in its latest weekly edition today front paged the headline: Total PKFZ bill RM8 billion? In a 3-page cover story it has confirmed our worst fears: that this scandalous project built on GREED is going to suck up more taxpayers money now that PKFZ costs are believed to have ballooned from RM4.6 billion to RM8 billion! (Read also DAP Adviser Lim Kit Siang's take on this, here).

The Price Waterhouse Coopers audit report has been ready for some time but the Klang Port Authority and the Ministry of Transport are dragging their feet after having promised to release the report promptly to the public. The given excuses are that they are still getting Official Secrets Act (OSA) clearance for some of the documents involved in the report.

On the other hand, my sources tell me that there is frantic damage control and sinister goings on at the Port Authority to avoid some bigwigs getting implicated. They include a former Minister of Transport, a Sarawak tycoon who heads the BN parliamentary Back Benchers' Club and the outgoing UMNO Treasurer. O boy.

This government's credibility is wearing thin. We taxpayers must be told the truth. So I say shake a leg and out with the report, NOW.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Guess who came to dinner ...

I was among several bloggers invited to dinner last night with Datuk Sri Dr Rais Yatim (photo, right), the new Minister for Information, Communications and Culture at the Restoran Sri Melayu in Jalan Conlay. The sumptuous dinner was hosted by my blogger friend Datuk Ibrahim "Tiger" Yahaya, who now heads RTM.

I didnt see any non-Malay bloggers around. Aside from my friends Pokku, Pak Idrus and Elviza who are fiercely apolitical, I was probably the only other non pro-BN "so-po" blogger present. (Now this will probably make some of my other so-po blogger friends get their knickers all tied up in knots again ... sigh).

After making some mild threatening noises recently, the Minister really had nothing new to add in his speech. But acknowledging the importance and impact of the new 'alternate media' and the internet, he made an impassioned plea for us bloggers to simply tell the truth, and nothing but. Granted that there are some bad eggs amongst us bloggers, but considering that Bernama and other government controlled MSM have been equally guilty of telling fibs and "stretching" the truth lately, perhaps he should also direct them to do likewise.

Or else, we might as well rename the Ministry simply as the "Ministry for Propaganda and Public Enlightenment" * ... or something.

* a la the Third Reich, that is.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

PKFZ: More Clarification Needed

The Malaysian Insider reports, here, that the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will seek clarification again from the parties responsible for the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project whose cost is said to be exorbitant. New chairman Azmi Khalid said the PAC would call within two weeks all those responsible for the "RM1.8 billion-odd" project.

RM1.8 billion? Whatever happened to the RM3 billion?

In 2007, the PAC then headed by Shahrir Samad had summoned the parties involved for an explanation but "there are still matters to be explained further," he said.

If I can recall, Shahrir Samad had failed to summon the Attorney General for his take on the dubious land deal and the subsequent RM4.6 billion government bailout. ("Take" here means his versionlah). The audit report by Price Waterhouse Coopers is ready but Transport Minister Ong Tee Kiat has said, here, that it is up to the Klang Port Authority whether they want to release the report or otherwise.

Passing the buck, if you please. I am really getting pretty tired of this sandiwara.

Any bets that nothing will come out of this?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Unsavoury Characters

To those who have been gushing over Najib's "dream team" new cabinet, sorry if this is going to rain on your parade but former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir has just declared that there are several "unsavoury characters" in the new line up.

In his latest blog posting, here, Che Det a.k.a. Tun Dr M wrote: "The exclusion of Khairy Jamaluddin, UMNO Youth head who was found guilty of corruption by the UMNO disciplinary committee but allowed to contest for head of UMNO Youth seem to indicate a desire on the part of the new Prime Minister to rid UMNO of the blatantly corrupt politician".

"Unfortunately the inclusion of several unsavoury characters who had been accused of being corrupt while in the previous Government, seem to negate this desire," he adds. However, he did not state who these "unsavoury characters" are.

Since Tun Dr M has also vowed to work to oust Najib from the premiership if he appoints corrupt leaders in his cabinet, I do not really envy Najib right now.

B.U.M. 2009

Mark Saturday, May 16th 2009 in your diary for the Bloggers’ Event of the Year.

The new media scene has attracted a lot of interest after its influence and impact at the March 8, 2008 General Elections were duly noted by many quarters, both social and political. Bloggers’ Universe Malaysia (BUM) 2009 will be organising another day long session in a month's time at The Lake View Club, Subang Jaya, with the central theme: "4th and 5th Estates — on Collision Course?"

So as they say, watch this space ... or go direct to the BUM 2009 website for updates, here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Stupid Bridge

For me, Johor Baru is one hell of a depressing town. After more than half a century of BN rule it has degenerated into a filthy and crime ridden southern gateway for the country and an absolute disgrace to us all.

The Malaysian Insider reports, here, "Over the past few days, the mainstream media has been making a case to revive the crooked bridge across the Johor Strait, a project cancelled by Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in his early days as prime minister that irked his predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad". It was also no surprise to me when the JB UMNO youth head was reported as saying that “The people of Johor are placing high hopes on the (new) prime minister to review the decision to cancel the crooked bridge project across the Johor Straits".

Oh no, not again, I thought. Whoever thought of this crooked bridge clearly has got their crooked brains in their crooked backsides. If it was meant as a panacea for all traffic ills then they have got another thought coming because it certainly will not solve the problem of choke holds on both sides (ends) of the bridge.

If it was meant to allow a safe passage for ships, its really a no-brainer because the Johor Strait is too shallow for ships and besides, the swing bridge (on left of photo) is only meant for small craft. This will be very expensive to maintain just so that a few millionaires can sail their luxury yachts through at our expense.

If it was due to environmental concerns to allow water on both sides of the causeway to flow freely, well, haven't they heard of tunnels?

I believe the Singaporeans are also not thrilled to bits about the idea in the first place and I doubt if they will change their minds soon, especially during this economic downturn. Their factories are retrenching workers and with about 300,000 Malaysians in Singapore who may soon lose their jobs, perhaps JB UMNO Youth should look elsewhere to fill their pockets. Lets just forget about it and dont make us all look like idiots of the first order.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Surprises, Surprises

(Source: Malaysiakini)

I believe I am man enough to admit that I am wrong and I was really surprised that the 2-man personal police security detail of Najib, chief inspector Azilah Hadri and corporal Sirul Azhar Umar (photo) has been found guilty of the grisly murder of Mongolian beauty Altantuya Shaaribu some time in October 2006. I had expected them to go free since there was no clear motive for the murder and they never knew the victim from Eve. It was also never established whether the two had acted on their own or were directed to act by someone else. But this morning, Shah Alam High Court judge Mohd Zaki found them guilty and sentenced them to death since "the prosecution has successfully proven its case against both accused beyond any reasonable doubt" based on the circumstantial evidence that had been adduced.

But then again, this is not the end of the story since both men will be appealing to higher courts. Lawyer Karpal Singh, who was holding a watching brief for the Altantuya family, has said the battle is not over as he had filed for a judicial review to compel the prosecution to file an appeal against the acquittal of Najib's pal Razak Baginda, the dead woman's former lover. (Read the Malaysiakini report, here).

Another big surprise is the inclusion of Mukhriz Mahathir, the losing contender in the recent fight for the post of UMNO Youth chief, as a deputy minister in Najib's nondescript new cabinet which was also announced this afternoon. This must be a tight slap in the face of Khairy Jamaludin, the new youth chief, who has been left out in the cold amidst talk of the revival of 'Mahathirism' in the BN government.

Or perhaps I am not really that surprised either.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Fools on the Hills

At this stage of my life, I do not suffer fools gladly.

When the by-election results were announced late last night with Pakatan Rakyat (PR) winning 2 out of 3 seats, the first thing that struck me quite honestly was those 14 independent candidates on the two bukits, who all lost their deposits ... what were they thinking? Or do I smell rats here.

I was also probably the only non pro-Barisan Nasional (BN) blogger at a lunch meeting yesterday, where the quiet consensus was that BN would win 3-0. These poor misguided youngsters will have to eat humble pie now.

And Muhyiddin has the gall to say that 'the feel-good factor' from Najib coming to power on Friday is still 'too new and has not sunk in.'

What 'feel good factor'? The only people who must have felt good about it are the UMNO/BN ship of fools, a delusional former apa nama prime minister, and of course those impoverished dayaks in Batang Ai, who obviously now truly deserve the government they have got.

The writing is already on the wall and the word is: CHANGE.

And change we must, lest we become a Nation of Fools too.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Loose Ends

I think I am a reasonable man, with reasonable expectations. As an old salt, I have always been uncomfortable with loose ends*, i.e., when there is no simple closure or simple answers to simple questions, such as:

Who ordered the 'neutralisation' of Mongolian beauty Altan whatshername?

Where is private investigator Bala whatshisname? etc., etc.

I simply cannot accept pulling of rank by swearing to a higher authority in His house that one is innocent and had nothing to do with all these mysterious happenings and disappearances. I would if I was born yesterday.

One of the first things Najib did as the new PM was to release 13 Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees and also lifted the ban on two opposition publications. Big deal. He also espoused a new 1-Malaysia concept, whatever that means.

Sounds familiar? Before we go gushing over this, many of us old timers may recall that former PM Tun Dr Mahathir (Oh how we adored him!) also pulled the same stunt when he became prime minister. He released some ISA detainees but a few years later dumped many others into the slammer in Ops Lalang. Remember BCA for Bersih, Cekap, Amanah? Now where did that lead us.

More form than substance I would say. So lets not be bloody gullible here.

Lets not fall for the so-called 1-Malaysia claptrap either.

* Nautical etymology: based on the idea of a wire or rope with untidy ends that are not neatly tied or spliced together.

Friday, April 03, 2009

A Day of Infamy

I didnt buy the rumours via SMS going around town that the swearing in ceremony of the new PM at the palace was being postponed from 10 a.m. today to a later date. Despite some cock-ups about protocol (read about it, here) and a petition by 81 MPs asking the King to postpone appointing Najib as PM until he was cleared of allegations against him, etc., I believe the ceremony would go on as scheduled.

The petition noted that "Lately the DPM has been implicated in many scandals such as the commission for the purchase of French submarines. The most shocking is the murder of the Mongolian woman in which his name has been implicated. This has been published by newspapers around the world.

“Because of all these things and the fact that the position of the PM is very important, it is appropriate for Seri Paduka Baginda postpone the swearing-in ceremony of the PM until all the allegations are investigated by an independent commission and his name is cleared.’’

I am not really surprised that His Majesty has chosen to ignore this petition.

Folks, our nightmare has just begun.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

April Monkeys

In the run-up to the April 7 by-elections, the opposition is now barred from bringing up a number of controversial issues including the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu in their electoral campaign. This was announced by Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar, probably as his last hurrah if he cannot make it into incoming premier Najib's "dream team". (Read the Malaysiakini report, here).

This must really take the cake especially since the poor dead woman's name is now already well known in every town and kampung in this country.

My old classmate Dr Nik Azam in Kelantan writes of his kampung coconut plucker who has named his female monkey "Altantuya" and happens to be a staunch "dacing" or BN supporter. Not to be outdone, his only business rival in the same kampung who is a "bulan" or PAS supporter has named his male monkey "Razak Baginda".

Now what will our men in blue make of this?

Sokmo mu, Pak Habib. Benata beruk.