Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Yam Tuan

pinang pulang ke tampuk,
Seperti sireh pulang ke gagang ..."

The Tunku Besar of Seri Menanti, Tuanku Muhriz ibni Almarhum Tuanku Munawir, was proclaimed as the 11th Yang di-Pertuan Besar or "Yam Tuan" of my home state of Negeri Sembilan yesterday following the death of his uncle, Tuanku Jaafar ibni Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman on Saturday.

The four undang or territorial chieftains from the luak of Sungai Ujong, Johol, Jelebu and Rembau have chosen him over the three princes of the late Tuanku Jaafar. An only son and at the age of 19, Tuanku Muhriz had been passed over by the then undang in 1967 upon the untimely death of his father Tuanku Munawir, the 9th Yam Tuan, as he was considered too young then. His uncle Tuanku Jaafar, then a career diplomat, was installed as Yam Tuan instead.

This must come as a huge relief for many of us orang nogori as we have watched with some anxiety and trepidation over the years the extravagant goings-on in the lives of the Jaafar siblings. Avid party goers, they have been busy filling the high society pages of the Malaysian Tatler, the men elegantly tuxedoed and their women dripping with jewellery. Of late, they have also been featured in the business pages of the local mass media, but perhaps for the wrong reasons.

I do believe the undang yang berempat have made no mistake this time.

P.S: Although he is a few months younger than me, Tuanku Muhriz was one year my senior at the King George V Primary School in Seremban in the late 50's. A good pupil, he had earned a double promotion somewhere along the way.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Season's Greetings

Merry Xmas to all my Christian friends and a Happy New Year 2009 to all.
Peace on Earth and Goodwill to all Men.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Treachery... Again

(Source: The Malaysian Insider)

Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat, who promised a couple of days ago to reveal all in the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) debacle, offered instead a gloating testimonial of his own apparent success in revitalising the scandal-ridden project that helped force his predecessor Chan Kong Choy out of office. Read The Malaysian Insider report, here.

Ong (photo, left) told a press conference today that the PKFZ occupancy rate, employment, investment status and cargo movement have increased since the change of management in May. Occupancy rate for all facilities had also increased, with the leased office block recording the most significant increase from one per cent in March to 19 per cent as of November. For open land and light industrial unit facilities, the occupancy rate is now 18 per cent and 17 per cent respectively. Most importantly, said Ong, was the number of employees in the area which had increased from 972 to 1,659 within the last eight months.

“I still can remember when I first set foot in the area, people said this is a ghost town,” said Ong.

Well, I have got news for you, Ong. I was there a couple of weeks ago and it was still very much a ghost town. The "1659 employees" must be invincible. But I am also personally involved in helping a foreign investor friend set up a factory with 2000 workers in PKFZ to be ready by the end of next year, which I believe will be one of the biggest investments there to date. So dont give us that bull crap.

Ong has also refused to blame his predecessors Ling and Chan. “That is the question that only they can answer at that point of time,” he said.

Which brings us back to square one. If this isnt treachery and deceit, then I dont know what is.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Same Old, Same Old

Sorry folks for the longest break I have had since I started blogging a couple of years ago and believe me, I badly needed one.

Barely a couple of weeks now left before we say bye-bye to 2008, there was really nothing new happening apart from a repeat of an earlier disaster we didnt learn from, the usual crap promises we get prior to a by election, etc.

But for me, the only good news I feel worth mentioning is the fact that the report on the RM5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal will be disclosed to the public by the Ministry of Transport (MoT) either today or tomorrow, so says minister Ong Tee Keat. (Read the Malaysiakini report, here)

Ong told a press conference yesterday that the MoT report would disclose, among other things, the chronology of events both before and after the change of guards at the ministry (under the then-minister Chan Kong Choy), PKFZ and Port Klang Authority (PKA). A separate report is being finalised by independent auditor Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PWC), which will be presented by the PKA as soon as PWC gets the green light from the Ministry of Finance (MoF).

Ong had earlier stated that his ministry's investigation is focused on the qualitative aspects of the matter, while PWC's audit looks at the quantitative aspect. The previous parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chaired by minister Shahrir Samad had failed to complete its probe on the fiasco.

Now lets see whether Ong will walk the talk and whether PWC will ever get the go ahead from MoF.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

My Name is Khan

(Click arrow to play)

Resplendent in black Malay baju, complete with samping and songkok, famous 43-year-old Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan received the Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka (DMSM) award from Malacca state governor Tun Khalil Yaakob yesterday. The award carries the title Datuk and Khan is first foreign actor to be honoured.

The award was supposedly in recognition of Khan's indirect contribution to the local tourism industry, where since the filming of his 2001 movie, One 2 Ka 4 at a popular holiday resort in Malacca, the number of Indian tourists to the state has increased significantly, state officials say.

At a post-investiture press conference, Datuk Shah Rukh Khan also disclosed that he will star in a new movie exploring the issue of Islam in the post 9/11 world and the misperception that all Muslims are terrorists. The movie "My Name is Khan" tells the story of six people with Muslim surnames who suffer suspicion and prejudice years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

"Islam does not in any which way tell you to be violent," Khan said. "I think the whole concept of jihad, the whole concept of warring needs to be explained as Allah meant it to be in the Koran. (The film) is an attempt to try and do that in an entertaining way," he added. Filmmaker Karan Johar will direct while top Bollywood actress Kajol Mukherjee, who has acted in several hit movies with Khan in the past, will co-star. (Read today's The Hindu report, here)

There has been some controversy and protests by a few local artistes over this Malacca award. Although having been "weaned" on the old classics of Dev Anand and the legendary Kapoor brothers, I have never followed Khan's more recent Hindi blockbusters which I believe are very well received globally. But if his new movie succeeds in some measure to dissipate some of the anger and outrage being felt in India and elsewhere over the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, or help bridge the widening gulf between Muslims and non Muslims worldwide, then this state award from Malacca will surely be the least that he will deserve.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Adha to all Muslim friends.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Invitation to a Forum and Book Launch

A forum on "New Media and Democratization in Malaysia" will be held today Friday, December 5, 2008 from 8.00-10.00pm at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall auditorium. Selangor state assemblyman Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad will be keynote speaker.

The occasion will also witness the launch of a book titled “Blogging and Democratization in Malaysia" and its co-authors Prof. Wan Zawawi Ibrahim and Jun-E Tan, will be present to speak about their work. Other speakers include representatives from the organizations collaborating in the programme.

Members of the public are invited to attend the forum which is jointly organized by the Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI), SIRD-Gerak Budaya, the National Alliance of Bloggers (All-Blogs) and the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH).

The Forum was initiated mainly by the CPI YouthSpeak Section which has the objective of promoting discourse through writings and discussion at the CPI website coordinated by Wan Fadzrul and John Lee, and via public forums such as this, to encourage the youth of Malaysia to take part actively in the democratization process in the country.
THEME: "New Media and Democratization in Malaysia".

Date/time of Forum: Friday, December 5, 8.00pm-10.00pm
Venue: KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall auditorium,
No. 1, Jalan Maharajalela, Kuala Lumpur

1. Welcome speech by YL Chong, Editor, CPI
2. Keynote speaker: YB Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad
3. Wan Fadzrul Wan Bahrum, CPI YouthSpeak Coordinator
4. Yeoh Lee Hin, CPI (Chinese) Web administrator
5. Jun-E Tan, co-author of "Blogging and Democratization in Malaysia"
6. Prof. Wan Zawawi, co-author of “Blogging and Democratization in Malaysia”
7. Teh Yee Keong, KLSCAH Representative
8. Ahirudin Attan, protem President, National Alliance of Bloggers (All-Blogs)
9. Q and A session
10. Refreshments
NOTE: For further information, please contact:
YL Chong: 012-9702285
Helen Ang: 013-2240985

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Letter from Mumbai

My old buddy Capt. Jimmy Shroff in Mumbai writes tongue-in-cheek to the Times of India in response to the anger now being felt in India over the recent terrorist attacks.

His simple suggestion: Have a cup of chai (tea).

Or as they say in Cantonese: Yum cha (飲茶)

To: The Editor, Times of India

Subject: We do care… A cup of tea as follow-up to anger

Dear Sir,

What follows is a suggestion for the formation of an inclusive organization called "CHildren and Adults' Initiative International" or CHAI (International) as a long-term channel not so much in response to the 26-11 terror strike but certainly initiated by the apparently horrible event.

There is no comment on the immediate response being contemplated, whether resulting in armed conflict or not. We may justifiably shatter more human bodies but we must simultaneously strive to build up our more subtle bodies, namely the networked bodies comprising of our emotions and thoughts. We need to improve ourselves. If we expect to have high-caliber persons to represent us in government we need to be high-caliber citizens first.

The immediate action of caring for the injured and the orphaned also does not need any comment.

The main aim of the organization is based on what M.K. Gandhi says so beautifully: We must become the change we want to see in others….. and in the world. But the above is not so much an aim as a technique towards inching for the ultimate indisputable goal: To help us live at a higher level of joy, fortified with knowledge of our self. For the most beautiful concepts and constructions on this planet will tumble but the knowledge of our self will never let us down.

The terrorists have done their work well, meaning that without their conscious knowledge they have inflamed us with their acts, waking us and forcing us to act. If we act well we will be setting up a movement which will eventually engulf the world, not in a destructive fire but in the more powerful fire of love. Eventually the terrorist strike will be seen for the wonderful opportunity given to us.

Although all actions are initiated by our emotions and desires, the intellect and will are roped in to supply the means and the power to bring about the actions dictated by our emotions. A cup of tea will aid us in tempering our emotions so that we do not unknowingly initiate actions which may likely have self-destructive consequences.

Nearly 200 persons were killed during the recent terrorist strike. It is a sobering thought to recollect that a greater number of children have taken their own lives out of fear and frustration of not performing as well in their school exams as expected…… as expected by us parents, by us educators who hide behind academia minutia, and abetted openly by the rest of us taking cover in the corporations who demand the best and brightest of these children for cannon fodder for our own peace machines and machinations.

In other words, if you are not good enough you deserve to die and if you are good enough then you deserve to be given the honor of serving as cannon fodder.

There is no sadder experience than to watch your own child take his life, infinitely sadder than being killed in a surprise war attack. If the above is not terror unleashed by us on our children then perhaps you have another word for it. We have identified the two most important arena where change will be most beneficial to all of us : Schools and at our places of work:


We must set aside some time, at least one period each week, to develop confidence of the children in their own power of thinking of the world at large and their place in it, of arriving at conclusions and eventually being given a platform and opportunity to act upon valid conclusions.

A little attention by us adults on the state of our children will convince us that the above time will have beneficial results. Doctors are complaining that they are seeing clinical signs of stress in children as young as first grade toddlers. At the same time these children display a higher level of knowledge than what we or our parents' generation ever did during first grade. These children are perfectly able to do original thinking and in the process be able to ward off stress that we adults, knowingly or unknowingly, bestow on them.

This so called Socratic method has been used with success in some Scottish schools. Children benefited by this well spent time in school will never fall into the trap of living and dying for other persons' expectations, not even for their beloved parents. So while we adults mess up the world let the children know about the state of the world outside their school, a world they will soon be inheriting, and give themselves and us a chance to do less damage and in the process live a more enjoyable life.

Life is a chance to dance and the basic enjoyment is obtained through the exercise of problem solving. Problems themselves are not a problem. A life without any problems becomes tragic and can lead to the only possible termination of life : death due to boredom.


Almost all adults work and many children too are ensnared in working at adult jobs. Thus a major portion of the human population spend a major part of their adult waking hours at their place of work. Considering this fact, the atmosphere generated from the attitudes of the top boss downwards play a considerable influence to generate trust or mistrust which in turn results in hostility or warm co-operation, not only in the offices but in the world at large. Wars, including terrorist strikes, and environmental problems are not something thrust upon us from the outside but are a direct result of our seemingly innocent life led day-to-day within our homes, schools and places of work.

The atmosphere at home requires no comment since all of us would agree that love is the unspoken binding factor to have a happy home life. It is only at schools and places of work we slip on our impersonal masks and become stiff as robots, slipping into our well worn roles as teacher and boss and students and employees with their own stilted protocol wherein the prime life enhancing ingredient of love is subdued or altogether neglected as having no practical value. The sorry part is that the place of love, the home, is also creaking under the stress of our unloving ways.

The old saying among our seafaring fraternity, that "a happy ship is a safe ship" has been personally tested for many decades and has been found true without any exception.

With the above introduction of focus for our CHAI international organization, we can slowly formulate the subsidiary aims, select our office bearers from our volunteers in every city, town and eventually every village, form our local, national and international agendas to make all of us feel included. For this organization will be an umbrella wherein each of us will be respected, wherein each of us can have a cup of tea without scalding others. A cup of tea has the amazing property of both warming us and cooling us down before we plunge into joyous arduous labor.

This organization can be many kinds of platforms for many kinds of projects. But it should never become a platform for any narrow-minded vested interests. We should never allow our CHAI to be hijacked for any dubious aims no matter how rosy they may appear outwardly.

The recent terrorist strike was different to earlier terrorist strikes and not just in the modus operandi. For this time many of the victims belonged to what may be termed as the jet set, not to be seen as a derogatory term. The victims at the railway station remain for the most part as faceless as the human beings killed in terrorist activities in Kashmir and other parts of the world.

Not so the persons killed at the two five star hotels and the Nariman House building. Many of them were highly acclaimed professionals, well respected in their fields and in associated social circles. They were articulate and used to independent thinking. Consequently the friends and families of the persons who were brutally killed are also of the same caliber. This was the one mistake the terrorists' puppet master has made which will see not only the gradual elimination of the terrorist but also an immense liberation in the world at large.

Have a cup of tea.

Jimmy Shroff
(A chai-walla)

Update: Jimmy wasnt really kidding. Join him at his new International Tea House or Chai International by visiting the website, here: www.chaii.org/

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

How Now, Brown Cow?

There was a time when I could roughly tell the state of the country's economy by simply looking out of my office window and counting the number of ships anchored in the harbour. But these days I am not too sure, what with conflicting reports in the media and feel-good assurances by politicians whose credibility leave much to be desired. As the year draws to a close, perhaps its time to take stock and ask the question, "What next?"

I am one of those who have been very disappointed that the Anwar Ibrahim-led Pakatan Rakyat failed to topple the federal government on Sept 16. But as pointed out by PKR president Wan Azizah at their recently ended national congress,"Victory is not just about winning in an election but the ability for us to stand up and fight again. Yes, Sept 16 did not happen but we must stand up and fight again."

"Now we are elected representatives, state executive councillors and state assemblypersons. Don't criticise Umno about this or that. What about ourselves?" she asked.

Bloody right.

Reading the headers in today's Malaysiakini gives me the shakes:

In UMNO polls, contractors rule

Mukhriz: Close down vernacular schools

Victory glee, hero worship dominate PKR meet

Intense politicking. Horse trading. Games of one-upmanship. Bla bla.

But at the end of the day, for the man in the street its the results that count.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mumbai Massacre

I have vivid and happy memories of dinner dances at the ballroom of the Taj Mahal Hotel (photo) and many lunches and dinners at the Leopold Cafe in the Colaba district of Mumbai during my pre-sea cadet training ship days there more than 40 years ago. So it was with profound shock and horror that I read that both places were among a few which have been attacked by militant Islamist gunmen a couple of days ago, leaving many dead and wounded.

My blogger friend MarinaM has also written about this, here, pointing to an online petition started by an organisation called Avaaz.org. This is to register our sense of outrage and extend our undivided support and show solidarity with the people of Mumbai at their hour of grief.

To sign the petition, go here:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Yoga Ban: A Right Royal Concern

Yesterday's NST online front page headline, here, says it: "Yoga Ban: Don't question fatwa, says Council" referring to the recent ban by the National Fatwa Council on the practice of yoga, a form of Indian exercise, breathing technique and mind control popular worldwide, by Malaysian Muslims.

But in a breaking news today, Singapore's The Straits Times headline screamed: "Sultan questions yoga ban" when it reports, here, that HRH Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah of Selangor has made an 'unprecedented comment bordering on rebuke' when he said that "Before banning Muslims from performing yoga, Malaysia's top Islamic body should have first consulted the country's nine hereditary rulers who are considered upholders of Islam here".

In his statement, HRH said he hopes that in future, any fatwa decision that touches on issues involving the general public should be referred to the Conference of Rulers to be approved first before it is announced. "This is to ensure that the process of channeling the fatwa decision is implemented wisely to avoid any confusion and controversy," he said.

HRH also said that the fatwa or religious edict on yoga is still not enforceable in Selangor because it has not been brought to the state's Fatwa Committee. "The committee will meet to discuss this matter in greater detail regarding yoga activities in Selangor so that a decision is not made hastily," he said.

None of the other rulers - including Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu, the current Yang Di Pertuan Agong - have commented publicly on the yoga ban since the Council gleefully went on a fatwa issuing spree recently which also include one for tomboys or 'girls who act like boys' or whatever ...

So how about a fatwa on the ISA then, eh?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Klang Chaos

(Source: Star Metro)

Sorry for being too busy the past week to update my blog. I have been helping a friend who wants to build a factory in, you wont believe this, the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) in Pulau Indah. But I am glad I moved out of Klang and set up home in Kelana Jaya after I retired early about 10 years ago, especially after narrowly missing the havoc caused by the rain in Klang town yesterday.

There seems to be no end to the daily chaotic traffic nightmare in Klang. (Read the Star Metro online report, here). The new rerouting of traffic over the last two weeks is adding to the already utterly confusing and disorderly traffic situation caused by the ongoing construction works on a roundabout and a flyover in the town centre. This has also caused a number of fatal accidents. Having spent most of my life in Klang and suffering the never ending traffic problems there, I can understand the frustration felt by many Klangites.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Press Freedom

For me, the subject first cropped up almost 40 years ago when as a young officer aboard a ship in a home port, I was visited by a relative* who was then managing the Utusan Melayu. At dinner, when asked by a fellow officer (an Englishman) about how free and independent were the newspapers in Malaysia then, he merely shrugged and said, "As free as we can be, bearing in mind that we need licenses to publish and these have to be renewed periodically".

Fast forward 40 years, the situation have changed but the requirement for licensing remains although several of the national mainstream newspapers have for the most part evolved into ruling party media organs. With news being skewed to reflect only government positions, these rags have begun to lose credibility and even readership. It is no wonder that online news portals and weblogs have become very popular, especially amongst the younger set.

Perhaps it was with this in mind that the government now no longer regards online news portals and weblogs as alternative media but as part of the mainstream and have proposed the set up of a Malaysian Media Council, to include bloggers' representatives. To my mind, this would probably end up as another regulatory body if laws such as the Printing Presses and Publications Act and the Official Secrets Act are not amended first.

At a meeting of 40 editors and media activists and chaired by the Home Ministry's Chief Secretary to discuss the proposal yesterday, Ahirudin Attan a.k.a Rocky, who is the pro tem president of the National Alliance of Bloggers (All-Blogs), was of the view that blogs and on-line portals SHOULD NOT be included in the proposal to set up the Media Council. He said that it was very ambitious on the part of the sponsors of the idea to think that a single council would be able to deal with old and new media. He suggested the formation of an independent Press Council instead. (Read his take on the meeting, here)

I truly and wholeheartedly agree. Just leave us bloggers be.

* Dato Idris Hj. Ibrahim, later an MP and founder of Pemadam.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Raja Petra Freed

On my way to Port Klang this morning, I received a cellphone text message from my lawyer friend Elviza at the Shah Alam High Court that blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK) is to be released by this evening. Justice Syed Ahmad Helmy had ruled that his detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) was illegal and unconstitutional. I immediately then made a detour to the courts complex to meet and congratulate RPK's indefatigable wife Marina, her lawyers Malik and Haris and the many supporters present.

The judge ruled that Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar had not followed proper procedure under Section 8 of the ISA to issue the detention order against Raja Petra. There was also no relevance for the minister to issue the order on the basis of mala fide. "I agree the formulation of the ISA was to protect the security of the nation and is constitutional. However, the court can review the detention order if it finds instances where the minister could have acted beyond his jurisdiction to issue the two-year detention order," he said.

In other words, it was implied that there was an abuse of power by the minister. (Read the Malaysiakini report, here)

Pak Habib, please resign now that you have made a complete ass of yourself.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


(Click arrow to listen to Obama's victory speech)

Americans yesterday elected Barack Hussein Obama II, a young African-American, as their first black president of the United States. The incumbent junior Democrat Senator from Illinois is expected to take office as the 44th President on January 20, 2009.

Congratulations to the American people who clearly voted for change.

Meanwhile, Malaysiakini reports, here, that Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim said the decisive victory signals a new chapter in the history of America. "The support that president-elect Obama draws from across racial, religious and generational lines parallels the sentiments felt by many Malaysians from all walks of life, who earlier this year cast votes in vehement opposition to the failed policies of an incumbent regime," he said in a statement.

At the end of his victory speech, Obama had said, "Yes We Can".

Malaysia Boleh?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Unanswered Questions

When a blogger cum lawyer friend SMS'd me the other day from the Shah Alam High Court that Abdul Razak Baginda has been freed from charges of abetment in the Altantuya murder case, I couldn't resist asking her: "Is this good news or bad news?". She must have been absolutely flabbergasted when she shot back: "Haven't the faintest idea!"

Whatever it is, questions remain. The acquittal will not help the rakyat trust the judiciary as the decision reflected the outcome in a string of SMS messages from the PM-in-waiting and his lawyer bum chum, which the former had insisted were private and did not constitute an abuse of power. "Be cool," he had said.

So Razak is now free. But is our judiciary free too?

Has justice been finally done and should the people just accept the verdict?

The two para-military cops facing charges of blowing up the Mongolian beauty with C4 explosives didnt know her from Eve and the motive is seriously lacking here. So who authorised her "neutralisation" and why?

It'll be an insult to our intelligence to suggest that they did it for fun.

Whatever happened to and where is private investigator Balasubramaniam who had suggested Najib himself had an affair with Altantuya, only to retract it the very next day and then disappear into thin air?

Questions, questions. Perhaps to put an end to all these, everyone involved should just do a sumpah laknat in a mosque and be done with it.

Now that'll be fun ... and "cool" too, baby.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

PKFZ Redux

(Source: Malaysiakini)

In an exclusive, Malaysiakini reports today, here, that a six-member team from the accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) has begun auditing the controversial RM4.6 billion 'soft loan' provided by the government to Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ), according to Klang Port Authority chairman Lee Hwa Beng. The assignment is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

On why auditing has been delayed - when an announcement on this had been made in May - Lee attributed it to procedural requirements. Indeed, this is welcome news especially since for quite some time I have been trying to confirm rumours that the audit firm has not even received its appointment letter.

Transport Minister Ong Tee Kiat had entrusted Lee with appointing the auditor and to assist the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) should the latter conduct a probe. Lee, however, said there has not been any follow-up on the matter by the PAC since he took over the post. This is hardly surprising since to my mind, PAC under previous chairman Shahrir Samad had failed to complete its much-hyped job when it did not summon the Attorney-General to explain the dubious PKFZ land deal.

If you recall, the Sun had reported in May that Lee has stated that PKFZ was a bad idea to start with. “People have no confidence in the ACA (Anti-Corruption Agency) or PAC (Public Accounts Committee), so this (audit) is the best option,” he also said. (Read my earlier posting on this, here).

Lets hope this wont be just another extravagant exercise in futility either.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Happy Deepavali

Happy Deepavali to all my Hindu friends here and everywhere.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Money Politics

No less than UMNO veteran and foreign minister Rais Yatim has confimed that "the majority" of UMNO members were more interested in making money out of the election than in voting for the right person. (Read the Malaysiakini report, here). He said he had been asked to pay for votes in an upcoming contest for top posts, and warned that money politics would destroy the organisation.

So what else is new.

"The majority of UMNO people want to look for money and not for good leaders," said Rais, a member of UMNO's decision-making committee who is vying for the vice-presidency. ""We have been approached under the cloak of assistance and cloak of contribution. (But) I'm not a player so you don't see my marks going up very high," he told reporters.

In other words, if you dont want to play ball, you can kiss the VP post goodbye. This really doesnt say much about the leadership, eh wot?

Rais, who has been with UMNO for over 33 years, said money politics within the ruling party should be eradicated or it will "surely kill the party." He adds, "If UMNO cannot curb this practice, UMNO's future is done for because this has been (talked about) for the past two decades and it has not been curbed."

Well, since no one seems to be doing anything about this, I am all for "curbing" this corrupt party before it drags down the whole country into deep shit.

Meanwhile, the Star online also reports, here, that Rais told reporters that “If the scourge should take further hold in the party, it would be just better for UMNO to have a tender system so that anyone who contributes the highest amount can be a leader!”


Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Last Honest UMNO Politician

At the invitation of my second cousin Datin Halimah Said, I was back in my hometown Seremban this morning for the launching of Galeri JASA Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Mohamed Said bin Mohamed, at her family home in Gedung Lalang. It was a most welcome homecoming indeed for yours truly to meet long lost kith and kin, also for a belated Hari Raya gathering.

Galeri JASA commemorates the life and times of her late father and my uncle Dr. Mohamed Said (photo) as the first elected Mentri Besar of Negeri Sembilan, the first Malay medical doctor and an individual of profound literary interests. The gallery houses rare documents of our Linggi-Bugis heritage, his medical research into rare tropical diseases such as elephantiasis, kwashiorkor, gangrene and others, his published memoirs and articles documenting his thoughts and challenges as the first elected MB of Negeri Sembilan after merdeka.

The launch was officiated by Tun Dato’ Seri Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid, who served as a young District Officer in Negeri Sembilan under the late Dr. Mohamed Said's administration. Tun Ahmad Sarji describes his former boss as "an outstanding Malay leader of impeccable integrity and intellect”.

Educated at the Malay College, Kuala Kangsar and later at the King Edward VII College of Medicine in Singapore just before World War 2, the late Dr. Mohd Said was a pukka upright gentleman of the old school and honest to a fault. He served as MB for two terms (1959 to 1969) and steadfastly refused a federal cabinet post as Health Minister under the Tunku, our first prime minister.

After his brief stint in politics, Dr. Mohamed Said went back to private practice for a few years before retiring and leading a quiet life, reading and writing his memoirs*. He passed away after a short illness in 1996. Indeed, his old wooden bungalow turned kampung kindergarten is miles apart from the palatial 4-storey mansion built by an also departed ordinary UMNO politician in Port Klang. (Read my earlier blog: "Rich Politician, Poor Politician", here)

To my mind, the late Tan Sri Dato Dr Mohamed Said bin Mohamed was the last clean and honest UMNO politician.
*Memoirs of a Menteri Besar : Early days
Author: Tan Sri Dato' Dr. Mohamad Said bin Mohamed.
Publisher: Heinemann Asia, 1982 .

Friday, October 17, 2008

Scaredy Cops

I could hardly believe my eyes when I read today's the Star online report, here, that a police beat base in the Chow Kit area of downtown Kuala Lumpur was closed down because it was in a location that was considered unsafe, according to Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar.

In a written reply in parliament to Dr Lo’ Lo’ of PAS, Syed Hamid said the beat base was located in a "dirty" area where there was a possibility of being exposed to contagious diseases. "The presence of criminals also posed a threat to the safety of police officers," he said.


Dr Mohd Hatta of PAS then suggested that Syed Hamid resign if he is worried about the safety of police in that area. "Maybe it would be better to put the beat base in army barracks,” he said. “The police are there to make a place safe. If they themselves are scared and run away, then how can we hope for others to want to be there?"

He adds, “And what is this about contagious diseases on Jalan Haji Taib? The only kind of contagious diseases that are present there are sexually-transmitted ones. Is the minister scared that his charges will contract such diseases?"

He probably have never heard of "safe sex" either.

Read also my friend Shar101's take on this, here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How did these jokers pass muster?

Looking at UMNO's line up as they play musical chairs, one begs to ask the question.

I have absolutely no respect for jokers* who cannot make it on their own steam but have to hang on to daddy's coattails to get to their exalted status. Heading the list is a mama's boy whose very integrity is suspect and stinks to high heaven. O boy.

And then there are the has-beens who think we all have short memories.

That the country's leadership will be decided by 2000-odd class F contractors and their ilk sends shivers down me old timbers.

Surely we Malaysians deserve better.

* Tun Dr M's word, not mine.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


(Click arrow to play)

By the end of 1978, there were nearly 62,000 Vietnamese ‘boat people’ in camps throughout Southeast Asia. As the numbers grew, so too did local hostility. Adding to the tension was the fact that several of the boats arriving on the shores of countries in Southeast Asia were not small wooden fishing craft but steel-hulled freighters chartered by regional smuggling syndicates and carrying over 2,000 people at a time.
-TIME magazine, Dec. 04, 1978

The 1500-tonnne m.v. Hai Hong was an old coastal vessel and a regular caller at Port Klang until one fateful night 30 years ago on November 9th 1978, when arriving at the southern pilot station, the ship's master coolly radioed my Pilot Office for permission to proceed in on her own and anchor in the harbour.

It was fortunate then that one of the office staff remembered reading in the newspapers that the vessel had been sighted at sea a few days earlier off the east coast, filled to the brim with refugees. He promptly ordered the ship to anchor near Pulau Pintu Gedung at the southern approaches of the port. There was also no advice from her local agents, so the police, immigration, customs, harbour master and port health authorities were quickly alerted.

The ship remained outside port limits under heavy guard for a few months while the Malaysian government decided what to do with the 2500-odd Vietnamese refugees living in very cramped and deplorable conditions aboard the tiny vessel. Food, water and medicine often ran short of supply and diseases were rampant.

After initially ordering the vessel to go back to wherever she came from, it was only due to representations from UNHCR and after the United States' Carter administration and a few other countries agreed to resettle them all that the refugees were finally brought ashore by the authorities. They were taken to a makeshift and fenced-in camp in Cheras, along the new north-south highway, which had been specially built for the purpose. From here, they were all then flown directly to the USA and elsewhere in small batches, but only after long drawn-out processes which took many months.

Meanwhile, the Hai Hong was brought in to anchor in North Shore at the entrance to the South Port where she remained for some time after the owners and crew had abandoned her. Tenders were out to auction and salvage her for scrap but there were no takers. The ship was subsequently towed and anchored at a site out of the way of shipping traffic, off Pulau Tonggok in Selat Lumut near the new bridge to Pulau Indah and leading to West Port and the Port Klang Free Zone. There she remained for a few years until one day she took in water and sank, very slowly, into her watery grave and disappeared completely from view.

I hear the site is now a favourite spot for weekend anglers in Port Klang.

P.S.: Sorry folks, but I was getting a bit cheesed off with the turn of events in the local socio-political scene that I decided to write about something else instead in the meantime ...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Perlis Mufti to Quit

There is a 'strong possibility' that religious leader Dr. Asri Zainul Abidin (photo) will quit at the end this month as the Mufti of Perlis. Malaysiakini reports, here, that he may retire one year early instead of serving out his full term till October 2009.

Dr. Asri confirmed reports of rumours that he will retire much earlier after serving as a state Mufti since 2006. He said he is under "great pressure" to do so but refused to elaborate. Internet reports have made much of the fact that he has been extremely vocal on several issues including the recent use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) by the government to arrest dissidents. (Read my earlier posting: 'Whither the Muftis?", here).

In light of the PM's power transition plan, Dr. Asri has written in his blog "Minda Mufti", here, on the responsibility of Muslims to choose leaders with integrity. He also pointed out that leadership change among Muslims is a major issue and leadership posts are not "spoils of war" to be divided at will amongst them.

I have only one request for the good Dr. Asri as his last hurrah before retiring: Issue a fatwa banning the use of the ISA ...

Friday, October 03, 2008

Enemies in the Blanket

At this point in time, I do not really envy Anwar Ibrahim. The Sun online reports, here, that DAP national chairman Karpal Singh said any crossover by MPs to Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is “deplorable and unethical”. He also said PR should not rely on “traitors and disloyal elements” from Barisan Nasional (BN) to form a new federal government.

Karpal now joins Tan Seng Giaw and Lim Guan Eng (responding to media request to comment on Tunku Aziz's (who?) statement on crossover MPs ...

With friends like these, who needs enemies.

Personally, I have no qualms about people who want to jump ship if it is for the common good. Morality be damned. The country is going to the dogs and I am all for whatever it takes to put this right. (Read my earlier posting: "And now, a word about jumping ship ... ", here).

My blogger friend Shar101 asks: Is UMNO’s future path and survival synonymous with the national agenda?

He opines, "top most in terms of a national agenda particularly after BN’s disastrous outing in GE12 is national reconciliation which UMNO, with its present ‘hand-me-down’ leadership transition plan, is ill equipped to provide because its own democratic reforms are virtually non-existent."

Disgruntled UMNO and BN MPs who want to jump ship should be welcomed with open arms. The national agenda should always take precedence.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Eid Mubarak

Selamat Hari Raya Idilfitri to all my Muslim friends.

Maaf Zahir Batin.

And drive safely too.

To those of you going around the kampung with your kinfolk for takbir raya tonight, here's a little something to print and take with you in case you forget the words ...

(click on leaflet to enlarge)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Whither the Muftis?

Some time ago, I wrote, here, that "on 18th August 2004, a group of 22 ISA detainees challenged the Malaysian Council of Muftis to make a fatwa on the ISA, which ex detainee Saari Sungib argued, violates 'principles of human rights and the rule of law enshrined in the Scriptures'. But somehow this was kept out of the mainstream media and nothing came out of it. No prizes for guessing why".

A commentor then wrote: "Kepada saya, ISA hakikatnya adalah perbuatan menunjuk samseng kepada Allah s.w.t."

To date only Dr. Asri Zainul Abidin, the Mufti of Perlis, has the balls to speak out against the use of the Internal Security Act or ISA. He said,"Islam bukan agama yang bacul. Perbuatan ISA kerana kesalahan agama seolah-olah hendak menggambarkan orang Islam tidak mampu berhujah, terus tangkap orang. Mereka akan kata mereka benar kerana kita takut berhujah dengan dia."

He adds,"Dari segi politik Islam atau siasah, kerajaan berhak menahan orang dan beri tempoh siasatan (14 hingga 30 hari) bergantung pada keperluan. Tapi kita tidak boleh hukum 2 tahun tanpa diadili. Ini zalim."

The operative word here is "zalim" or "cruel" and the ISA is indeed barbaric and hence downright bloody unIslamic. We also deserve the government we have got. Yet no one from the government has commented or dared to refute the learned Mufti's words and I half expected someone or other to say something stupid like "sometimes its necessary to be cruel to be kind", or some shit. So really its up to Anwar Ibrahim now to help us rid of this oppressive government and get Raja Petra Kamarudin and all the other ISA detainees out.

Perhaps we will also need to review the position of all the muftis in this country.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Breaking Bread with Ku Li

I was invited to an iftar at Tengku Razaleigh's (photo) palatial "White House" mansion in Kuala Lumpur's exclusive diplomatic enclave yesterday. What was initially supposed to be a private dialogue with a few bloggers ended up as a full fledged press conference when what appeared to be the entire local press corps arrived much earlier than expected.

Offering himself as a candidate for UMNO president in December, "Ku Li" insists that he is the best man for the job because he doesnt carry any "baggage'. The veteran politician also says he is "friends with everybody" and doesnt need a pact with Muhyidin Yassin or anybody else. He also spoke of the possibility of forming a "National Unity Government" involving even the Opposition if the need arise, if he gets elected that is, to end the intense politicking in the country which is having serious repercussions on the economy.

On the arrest of Raja Petra Kamarudin under the Internal Security Act (ISA), Ku Li says it was a gross mistake since the man should not be deprived of his rights especially after he has been charged and awaiting trial for similar "offences'. He agrees that the ISA should be reviewed now that circumstances have changed and also in order to prevent future abuse.

Meanwhile, Malaysiakini reports, here, that blogger Syed Azidi a.k.a. Sheih 'Kickdefella, who was arrested under the Sedition Act for displaying the national flag upside down on his blog site has been released on bail after he spent three days in prison. "Sheih" claims that his detention was politically motivated and intended to send a stern warning out to other bloggers. "I am hoping that they will charge me," he said. "Then I can ask the prime minister to be a witness because it was his statement, saying that what I did was evil and malicious, which compelled the police to investigate me."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Public Disservice

"My creed is that public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people and to the nation with full recognition that every human being is entitled to courtesy and consideration, that constructive criticism is not only to be expected but sought, that smears are not only to be expected but fought, that honour is to be earned, not bought."
- Margaret Chase Smith

They say that there is honour even amongst thieves, so perhaps its not too much to expect the same amongst our nation's law enforcement officers. After public uproar and with the release of MP Teresa Kok and journalist Tan Hoon Cheng after being incarcerated, albeit briefly under the dreaded Internal Security Act (ISA), it would appear that our policemen are quite clueless and hopelessly eager to please their political masters. There is rampant crime in the streets but our men in blue are not just playing cops and robbers but also racial politics. Their lame excuse of "threat to national security" is now laughable and their so called "independence" is indeed questionable.

The ISA was supposed to be used only against violent terrorists and not politicians, writers and journalists. Now that Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK) and Sheih Kickdefella are still in detention, I believe the police are still not too sure what crime these two scribes have committed. With their gung ho stance, I also believe that Anwar Ibrahim cannot really discount the possibility that the police might just go after him too, despite assurances by the government that there will be no more arrests under the Act.

There is great public disservice here. Like honour, respect also has to be earned, not bought, demanded or forced upon. It will be a long time indeed before the police will regain the respect of the rakyat.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Selective Persecution?

I was appalled to read that another blogger, Syed Azidi Syed Abdul Aziz aka Kickdefella, was arrested in Kota Baru yesterday under the Sedition Act. Malaysiakini reports, here, that Sheih, as he is popularly known and who works for the PAS state government, was detained at about 5 p.m. by a three-member plainclothes police team. His laptop was also confiscated.

In a posting on his blog dated Aug 23, Syed Azidi (under the title 'Siasat Kickdefella Dibawah Akta Hasutan') had written that a pro-UMNO website by a minister was calling for him to be investigated under the Sedition Act. It would appear to me that the police are quick to act on calls by pro UMNO instigators but completely ignore police reports by others.

Fellow blogger Haris Ibrahim of The Peoples' Parliament in his latest posting titled "Are you on this list?", here, suggests that "in the run-up to the impending takeover by Pakatan, many in the civil service, the police, the judiciary, the prosecution have gone beyond the call of duty to frustrate Pakatan’s march to Putrajaya". A list is being prepared "to try these opponents of democracy, these traitors who reneged on their duty to serve the rakyat and instead embroiled themselves in illegalities to pander to their BN masters".

Although Anwar has said that there will be no witch hunt, justice must yet prevail. But lets go for the big fish, the others are just "following orders".

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A New Dawn

(Photo courtesy TV Smith)

At a 15,000 strong rally (photo) in the 30,000 seat capacity Kelana Jaya Stadium last night, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim claimed that he has the numbers to take over the government and that he has sent a letter to the beleaguered prime minister requesting a meeting to discuss a smooth handover of government. However, Pak Lah has since pooh-poohed the idea.

In a breaking news today, however, Malaysiakini reports, here, that at a packed press conference this afternoon, Anwar insisted that he has in excess of 31 government defectors. He calls on the PM not to implement emergency rule to stop MPs from going to Parliament or arrest (government) MPs or stop them from joining Pakatan Rakyat during the takeover.

The Malaysian Insider reports, here, that the four demands that had been issued in the letter to the PM yesterday are that MPs are not stopped from defecting; the Internal Security Act not be used to detain defecting or PR MPs; a state of emergency should not be declared; and no roadblocks be set up to stop MPs from going to Parliament.

"We have chosen to take the soft approach and to be conciliatory. Then only will we move on to seek an audience with the King," says Anwar.

We shall wait and see. As I have mentioned in an earlier blog, who really givesashit about deadlines now as we look forward to a new dawn. And we are indeed living in interesting times.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Blog House Vigil

(Photo courtesy BandarSungaiLong)

It was a last minute thingy, but about a couple of hundred concerned citizens of all races including young children assembled in the intermittent rain at the Blog House in Damansara last night for a candle light vigil. The meet was to show solidarity in support of blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK) and Seputeh MP Teresa Kok who has been arrested under the dreaded Internal Security Act (ISA) and whose whereabouts are not known.

(Sin Chew Daily's Tan Hoon Cheng has been released after a 24 hour "protective custody", so says Syed Hamid who probably thinks we are all idiots).

Many prominent bloggers addressed the crowd, including yours truly (photo). Other guest speakers include Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and MPs Wee Choo Keong and Sivarasa Rasiah.

Meanwhile, Malaysiakini reports, here, that Pakatan Rakyat has announced a mass rally against the government crackdown on the eve of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim's deadline to take power through defections from the ruling coalition. The rally will take place tonight at the Kelana Jaya Stadium. Be there.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The arrests have begun

I have delayed writing about Raja Petra Kamarudin's arrest under the Internal Security Act (ISA) yesterday afternoon because I had a sneaking suspicion that there was going to more, and I was right. This was after the ban on his website Malaysia Today was lifted and "Pete" had foretold that the BN government was up to something sinister. Read the Malaysiakini report, here.

Hot on his heels, Sin Chew Daily News reporter Tan Hoon Cheng and MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok were also nabbed by the police late last night under Section 73(1) of the Act. The former was arrested for breaking the news on the mamak boria, who got away lightly (read my previous blog) and the latter for allegedly complaining about noise pollution. These two ladies who were only doing their jobs are deemed by a desperate government, now in shambles due to infighting, as being a "threat to national security".


The rakyat is now expected to take to the streets in protest, but lets not lose our marbles like the way they did. Its now up to Anwar to make good his promise of sending these BN goons packing come September 16.

BN and ISA must go.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Malay/Muslim Hysteria

Now that the hysterical UMNO mamak boria show in Penang is over with the chief protagonist just given a slap on his wrist, perhaps its time to ask some hard questions: How did this happen and will it happen again?

You can bet your sweet rasgoolas it will.

My old MCKK buddy Zaharan Razak (ZR), who shoots from the hip, says its just part of the Malay/Muslim psyche. Its time to throw out the baby with the bath water. For the liberation from the fear of their own shadows, he says,"Malays must accept the possibility that one day, if not Lim Kit Siang or Koh Tsu Koon, a Chinese will become the prime minister of Malaysia".

ZR further concludes that "Those who oppose this idea are either victims turned perpetrators or power and influence holders, seekers and their hangers-on who fear they will lose their moorings and bearings, their hoot and toot."

Read his blog: "I" of the Storm, here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Press Statement

Joint Press Statement by National Alliance of Bloggers (AllBlogs) and Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI).

SOS on Raja Petra Kamarudin to Fellow Malaysians

During the last few days there has been an ominous and increasing crescendo of messages – written and verbal – indicating the imminent arrest and detention of fellow blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

We hope that the Government is not contemplating this action. To alleviate the widespread public uproar and concern – national and international – that this shortsighted action will precipitate, we call on the authorities that may be planning this action to take heed of this SOS; to immediately cease all targeting of Raja Petra through the ISA or any other repressive measure; and to come out instead with an assurance that

1. no such ISA order is being envisaged to be served on Raja Petra

2. Raja Petra is free to continue his writings on the vital matters affecting the country

3. the draconian legislation of the ISA will not be used on Raja Petra or any other Malaysian blogger to punish them for their dissenting views and opinions.

In our view - and if the Government should care to undertake an independent survey, in the view of the great majority of Malaysians and non-Malaysians - Raja Petra in no way poses a threat to the country’s peace and security. Rather, he poses a threat to those individuals and organizations that he perceives as engaging in unconscionable and dastardly acts and activities that are bringing ruin to the nation.

Many Malaysians too are of the opinion that his website contains some of the most incisive analysis on the ills that beset our nation. Further attempts to take down his website or to shackle his freedom of expression is not only an attack on a fearless, principled and ethical patriot but they will also be construed as an attempt to restrict our freedom of information and expression, a move that will take the country further down the road of authoritarianism.

While we respect the right to freedom of speech and information, we also advise all Bloggers and other online writers to exercise the same high ethical standards expected of journalists in the traditional media. We do not condone lies and malice in the Internet and should not only stand by what we write - we must be able to defend the truth of what we write.

We emphasise that in our view the current laws pertaining to Sedition and Defamation apply equally to print and online media and should be deterrent enough to check “irresponsible” writings. Hence we urge that there be no resort to a draconian law such as the Internal Security Act to hold peace-loving Malaysian writers to ransom.

A democratic government should not for one moment entertain - let alone pursue - the charges that have been leveled against Raja Petra. To isolate those forces in the system that are bent on using the repressive instruments of the state against various opponents for their own benefit, we call on

1. all fair-minded and honest leaders from the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat parties to speak out - privately and publicly - against any attempt to use the ISA against Raja Petra;

2. component parties of the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat to publicly oppose any intended incarceration of Raja Petra under the ISA;

3. civil society, professional and other organizations and private individuals to demand that the Government guarantees Raja Petra’s freedom of expression and undertakes not to use the ISA against him now or in the future.

We hope that good sense will prevail in our country’s leadership. Any act of repression against Raja Petra especially at this particular time will not go unquestioned or unanswered. We are confident that hundreds of thousands - if not millions of Malaysians – will stand firmly to make their dissenting views known should the Government choose to silence Raja Petra through the use of the ISA.

Statement released by:

Ahirudin Attan,
Interim President, National Alliance of Bloggers (AllBlogs)

Dr Lim Teck Ghee,
Director, Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI)

Kuala Lumpur, 9 September 2008

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Panic Stations!

"My God. We should not create an unnecessary perception that we are afraid of Anwar, and look like we are panicking!"

- An unnamed UMNO MP to The Straits Times, here. He was dismayed to find out that Abdullah and Najib had endorsed the overseas "study trip" for 40 Barisan MP's which he had initially believed was a frolic of the Backbenchers' Club. This has sparked rumours of a bid to pre-empt crossovers.

Of course they are all panicking, you dumb twit. And as usual they are also in a constant state of denial. Again, another "coincidence" and in the holy month of Ramadan too, when they should be staying put with their constituents instead of going gallivanting abroad on taxpayers' money.

Meanwhile, its still 10 days to go and Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim said today in Jakarta that he is on track to meet the Sept 16 deadline to recruit enough members of parliament to topple the government.

The junket may indeed throw a spanner in the works but who really givesashit about deadlines now. The BN ship is already sinking fast.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Al Fatihah

The great A. Samad Ismail is no more.

Just before iftar this evening, I received SMS messages from his daughter Maria a.k.a. Tok Mommy and also from his nephew, fellow mariner Capt. Kamal Kamarudin, that he has passed away at the Pantai Medical Centre. The funeral will be at the Bukit Kiara Muslim cemetery after Friday prayers tomorrow.

One of the last few surviving national freedom fighters, Pak Samad as he was fondly known has been ill for some time. The first and the last time I met him was when I was invited to his 83rd birthday dinner by his other daughter, fellow blogger Nuraina, a few months ago. He was already bedridden then but when he found out that I was a seaman, he wanted to hear more about my sailing days, so I jokingly asked him,"How much time have you got?". And he laughed.

May Allah bless his soul. Al fatihah.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Wind of Change

As we celebrate our 51st National Day, we don't really have much of a choice. Its either Anwar or the same old shit. He has been called all sorts of names, but the fact remains that after he had served his time, rightly or wrongly (and there are many others still getting away with murder), he has been brave enough to want to consign blatant racism in this country into the dustbins of history.

To those who still harp on what he did (or didn't do) when he was in government, go suck a duck. He wasn't the captain and the buck didn't stop with him, so stop pointing fingers at the wrong man.

I still love my country right or wrong and I'll be damned if I am going to let her go to the dogs with the morons now running the show.

Time for change, shipmates, so lets whistle for a wind.

To all my Muslim friends: Selamat Berpuasa.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Stifling the Voices of Dissent

Malaysia Today Homepage

Truth be told, I have never even heard of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) until it ordered all 19 Internet service providers (ISPs) in the country to block the Malaysia Today (MT) news portal of Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK) a couple of days ago, which must be a signal for the start of a crackdown of the blogosphere. The biggest joke must surely be the fact that as of this morning, MT is still up and running via a mirror site, here.

Home Minister Syed Hamid has defended the blocking of access, saying MT had ignored warnings against publishing "libellous, defamatory and slanderous" articles and comments by its readers. Sheeesh. Coming from a trained lawyer, this must surely be the stupidest shit among the drivel originating from this man's mouth. RPK has a democratic right to operate his website and there are enough laws in this country to charge him if he steps out of line.

Stifling the voices of dissent will surely prove to be this government's downfall. Don't they ever learn?

Update at 1500hrs: Malaysiakini reports, here, that former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today himself condemned the government for reneging on its long-held promise of not censoring the Internet - a policy in which he was the architect. He said the government's action shows "a degree of oppressive arrogance worthy of a totalitarian state".

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Next Target: Bloggers

After running out of excuses for their demoralising defeat in Permatang Pauh, the BN government is now expected to bring their heavy guns to bear on more convenient scapegoats: bloggers.

The Malaysian Insider yesterday in an article "Government to target blogosphere next", here, said the government reached a sober assessment that it could all end in tears for the Barisan Nasional at the next general election if tough action is not taken to counter allegations on the Net and hold owners of blogs accountable. This conclusion was reached during a meeting last week involving several Cabinet ministers and senior government officials.

With the recent arrests and subsequent release of bloggers Bakaq a.k.a Penarik Beca and Raja Petra Kamarudin, it is believed that the government has begun a crackdown and will now come down hard on bloggers. This follows a disturbing worldwide trend as reported by a World Information Access (WIA) study project at the University of Washington, here, that since 2003, 64 citizens unaffiliated with news organizations have been arrested for their blogging activities in several countries which include Malaysia and the United States. The WIA report also predicts more arrests in 2008. (See table summarizing global blogger arrests below).

(Click on table to enlarge)

Anwar to Swear

"All this controversy of oath will be resolved because I have now decided to take the oath," he quipped in referring to his oath-taking ceremony as a parliamentarian in the Parliament soon. Read the Malaysiakini report, here.

Official EC tally - Anwar Ibrahim got 31,195 votes, Arif Shah Omar Shah, 15,524, Hanafi Hamat, 92. Anwar won with a handsome majority of 15,671. The official voter turnout was 81.01%.

To the people of Permatang Pauh: Thank you.

Update at 1630 hrs: Malaysiakini reports, here, that Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia announced this morning that Anwar Ibrahim, the new member of parliament for Permatang Pauh, will be sworn in tomorrow. He is expected to be the new Opposition leader.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I Swear

(Source: Malaysiakini)

When we were children, I remember my parents used to chastise my siblings and I whenever we used the words "aku sumpah" (I swear) during arguments. Perhaps this was simply because to "sumpah" also means to "curse" in Malay and should not be used lightly.

So it is with utter contempt that I have for BN leaders and their stooges who lately have begun to use this, i.e., swearing by the holy Koran in a mosque to "prove" their innocence. After hundreds of years of "Islamic civilization", the juries are still out on the validity of this act and it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out why the so called ulamas now being paid good salaries by the BN government are mostly "pro" this juvenile practice. Thank God that Anwar has not fallen for this too.

Therefore it was like a breath of fresh air that I read in Malaysiakini today, here, that an obviously more God-fearing Ustaz Ramlang Porigi (photo, right), the Imam who had "officiated" at Saiful Bukhari Azlan's recent oath taking at the FT Mosque, has revealed that he was "ordered from above" to do so. On whether he thought that the timing of the swearing was a political conspiracy, Ramlang said: "For me it is, as it was done on the eve of nomination day."

Of course there will be charges that the man has been "bought over" by PKR, but I seriously doubt this. With less that 24 hours to go, its now up to the people of Permatang Pauh to help us rid of this "cursed" government for using imams and mosques to further their evil ends.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Far Too Many Coincidences

Once is happenstance.
Twice is coincidence.
Three times is Enemy Action!
(from Goldfinger by Ian Fleming)

Thank you, Anwar Ibrahim.

The enemy is now running scared. Petrol is suddenly now down by 15 sen per litre (and bananas at this morning's pasar tani in Kelana Jaya was up a whopping 100%!). But Pak Lah still says its just a coincidence and not a populist move aimed at shoring up his flagging popularity, nor was it intended to help swing votes in the Permatang Pauh by-election. (Read the Malaysiakini report, here).

But its just too many bloody coincidences of late and I have lost count how many. He must think we are stupid.

And Najib says the government might reconsider issuing rebates if the people do not appreciate its initiatives to help reduce their financial burden. Sheeesh.

Meanwhile, the annual inflation rate soared to a new 27-year high of 8.5 percent in July, way above analyst forecasts for 7.8 percent in a Reuters poll, and sharply up from 7.7 percent in June.

Pure coincidence, old bean.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Least Favourite Child

The Singapore government has always prided itself on maintaining racial and religious harmony in Singapore. But has this outward appearance of tolerance translated into true inclusiveness for all races? During their recent National Day celebrations, the Straits Times on 10th August published an article by one of their journalists, a young "tudunged" Malay/Muslim woman, about her thoughts and hopes on being a Singaporean.

In her article, Nur Dianah Suhaimi poignantly concluded, "Each year, come Aug 9, my father, who never had the opportunity to do national service, dutifully hangs two flags at home - one on the front gate and the other by the side gate."

"I wonder if putting up two flags is his way of making himself feel like a better-loved child of Singapore."

Read the full article, here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Now or Never

The battle for the parliamentary seat of Permatang Pauh is heating up and DPM Najib was reportedly having said that the government has specifically agreed to approve scrap metal collectors' licences for the long marginalised local Indian community, numbering some 3,500 voters. As if they are not good for anything else. This is going to piss off my friend Alex for sure.

While Anwar has on record said that "Anak Melayu anak kita, anak Cina anak kita, anak India pun anak kita. Mengapa harus kita bezakan?”, this twit is still mouthing his racial agenda.

To the people of Permatang Pauh: Its now or never.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Alex joins DAP

Only about five hundred supporters turned up for a brief ceremony at the Dewan Hamzah in Klang this morning to watch my friend Alex Thiagarasan (photo, left) hand over membership application forms to DAP leader Ronnie Liu (photo, center), the Selangor state Local Government and Research Committee chairman and also ADUN for Pandamaran.

Former MIC Klang division chief Alex was expecting at least a thousand Klang MIC members to join him en bloc today but claims that SMS messages went out late last night to inform members that the ceremony has been postponed to a later date after the Permatang Pauh by-election. Alex vows to find out the culprits behind the hoax and to organise a bigger turnout at a future date.

Alex is undeterred after being expelled from MIC recently. He is also facing a RM10 million defamation suit by Samy Vellu after he had lodged reports with the police and ACA alleging that the MIC boss had misappropriated huge funds meant for the Indian community. Samy has also obtained an injunction barring him from making any statements relating to the issue.