Thursday, January 29, 2009

UMNO's Denial Syndrome of Bota Assemblymen's Frogleap


The jump of State Assemblymen Dato Nasaruddin Hashim from UMNO to PKR is a matter of concern. More so, when three other State Assemblymen from the same state made veiled threat to do so also.

UMNO Perak is faced with a crisis. Last heard, Tajul Rosli has offered his resignation.

But we have yet to hear any statement from Pak Lah. In fact, we have yet to hear his comments on few major recent issues - the outcome of the Kuala Terengganu by-election, Kugan's death that could be a renewed Hindraf uprising, and Tengku Rithauddin's strange recomendation yesterday to abolish the various UMNO wings.

Tonight there will an UMNO MKT meeting. We shall await UMNO's official reaction, and immediate action on the development in Perak.

Since politics is not as straight forward as whats written in the press and cliche statements in official blogs and portals, be it from the BN or PR side, I like to highlight the views of Bigdog, rumour from the propaganda machine, KPMU, RMF7, and Tengku Razaleigh.

It is not so much to pursue the truth or real story, but understanding the in-denial syndrome pervading UMNO of today.

Blogger Bigdog was reliably informed that Nasaruddin was promised by Anwar the Perak MB to replace Nizar.

With Nizar strongly seen to have lost the confidence of the Istana, Anwar is eyeing the MB post for PKR. PKR missed their chance because the Malay PKR Assemblymen lack the "academically qualification". Thus, Anwar had no other choice than to go to the "transfer market".

In the meanwhile, UMNO's propaganda machine have gone on it's typical character assasination mode. Nasaruddin was identified as an "Anwar's man" inside UMNO. It is claimed he has financial problem meeting up to the demanding second wife after relinquishing his position as Felcra Chairman.

Their reaction to call upon Nasaruddin to relinquish his State Assemblymen seat and recontest the post under the PKR flag is childish and ill informed. At this juncture, such reaction is out dated. UMNO should be looking at this development with a more serious and mature disposition.

Another character assisination theory making it's round is Nasaruddin reacted as a sore loser. His attempt to unseat the incumbent Datuk Mohd Zaim Abu Hassan for Ketua Bahagian of Parit failed.

He is thus labelled in UMNO's political lingo by portal KPMU, Khairy's cyber political propaganda machine as "kecewa". This is a typical cliche term used by UMNO in countering critical views from within the party. Being labelled as "kecewa" in UMNO is bad. Any opinions and views could be easily dismissed. It seem as though losers have no right to any opinion and views and thus their views and opinions should not be heard. But such lingo does not apply not to the more important voters.

Interestingly, the portal claimed things are fine in UMNO Perak. An indication of a repeating trend of self in-denial.

The story goes that as Naib Ketua Bahagian, he shouldn't be attempting to such. By that feudalistically suppressed logic, it justifies to say padan muka for not getting the allocation for his constituency. Federal allocation for constituency is managed by the Ketua Bahagian.

Nasaruddin should kow-tow or akur. It is said Tajol Rosli had a hand in the fight and exerted his influence in favour of Zaim. This is the untold reason for his offer to resign as Ketua Perhubungan Negeri. Nasaruddin departure could likely be to "teach" UMNO Perak a lesson.

From the information revealed by blogger RMF7, there could be some truth. By comparing Nasaruddin's and Zaim's performance in the recent 2008 GE, Nasaruddin showed a comparatively marked improvement in number of majority in such challenging condition.

As usually the situation in UMNO, what the voters want is not necessarily what UMNO members want. Just like in Kuala Terengganu by-election, there seemed to be "other" considerations to take into account.

Tengku Razaleigh, who has recently got the blogging "kick", saw the departure should be viewed with sincerity and honesty on the part of UMNO. He described UMNO predicament in a rising water situation with the level already waist high since March last year.

Ku Li acknowledged knowing the man and described him as a friend. He viewed Nasaruddin as "an honest and capable man with deep roots in Umno".

Reiterating his call for the party to face to its problems by acccepting reality, he highlighted Nasaruddin's reasons of "the direction of the public’s support since the 12th General Election in March 2008″ and “the condition (of) UMNO and its leadership.”

For UMNO sake, they better hope Nasaruddin keep to his UMNO root and is merely teaching UMNO a lesson. At least, there is a glimmer of hope for the Malay cause.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

There's a 'Baby Boom' change and UMNO have yet to realise


The post-World War II economic boom from Roosevelt's spending to revive America brought about a dramatic rise in new borns. The off-springs from the new peace produced a baby boomer generation in the US that culminated into a youth generation in the 60-70s that rose to reject and seek to redefine traditional middle class American values.

This generation was synonymous with the hippe sub-culture with its psychaedelic lifetyle of dressing, music, sexual revolution, drug use, Eastern philosphy, vegetarian, eco-friendly, and their flower power calling war, nuclear use, and for love.

Unlike the past, this is the first such generation of youth which identifed themselves as a generation different from the past. They idetified themselves as unique generation. It came with heavy rhetorics to bring about change to the contemporary life, and arise from the anti-establishment sentiment from the anti-war movement of the time.

That cultural western influence overflowed into Malaysia but not its philosphy that brought about change to the American socio-political landscape. It can be argued that Malaysia was still struggling with it's economy as a newly independent nation and it was more in search for it's own direction as a nation.

More than 30 year later, there is now prosperity, and the existence of a more affluent population. Is it likely that we are facing decades-delayed baby boom "philosphical" change?

There seem to exist a more exertive and independently minded youth. And there is that possibility that UMNO may have neglect this trend and only realised too late. Read Zubaidah Abu Bakar's piece on the January 23rd, 2009 New Straits Times below:

Power to rule in the hands of young voters

Malaysia's young voters appear to be getting impatient with what they perceive as Barisan Nasional's reluctance and resistance to change, writes ZUBAIDAH ABU BAKAR


WHEN Malaysia holds its 13th general election, in 2013 at the latest, the balance between victory and defeat will hinge on younger voters.

This opinionated group will determine whether or not Barisan Nasional stays in power. And BN should be worried, as young voters have sent a clear message -- not just once but three times in the last 10 months -- that they will only support a political party that shares their aspirations.

Weakened by the March 2008 general election, the Umno-led BN badly needs to secure the votes of young voters, whose numbers are expected to reach six million by the next general election. The biggest headache for Umno and BN is that the majority of young people have grievances with either or both of them, and if this is not remedied within the next few years, the next election results could be even worse.

Based on the country's present birth rate, with 450,000 to 500,000 babies born annually, two million more young Malaysians will reach 21 and be eligible to vote in the next general election.

The power of the young will be further reinforced by four million eligible voters, many under 30, who did not register in time for the 2008 elections.

If all two million youngsters choose to register, the eligible voter population in the country will be 16.9 million, including the 10.9 million currently registered.

This means young voters will hold the power to instigate change, and they can demand that their voices be heard. Ignoring them could spell disaster, as younger voters in the 12th general election and two subsequent by-elections leaned towards the opposition, especially in urban areas.

An analysis of the March 2008 general election results shows that many newly-registered voters and those below 30 supported Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Pas and DAP candidates; all three, to their credit, are ahead of BN in warming to young voters.

Opposition candidates got their messages across through social networking tools on the Internet and mobile phones, while BN relied mostly on newspapers and the broadcast media.

A bitter pill for BN was seeing young voters it ferried back in buses to Kelantan from the Klang Valley, not only voting for the opposition but also persuading their relatives and peers to do so.

In the Aug 26 Permatang Pauh by-election, more than 90 per cent of voters under 30 voted for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

One key reason for this was young Internet-savvy voters obtaining their news chiefly from the pro-opposition alternative media, which they perceive as more credible than the mainstream media.

In the recently-concluded Kuala Terengganu by-election, which BN lost, detailed voting data indicated that the ruling coalition had again lost most support from among those under 35.

Political apathy among youth is long gone. The young are aware of what is happening around them and have varied reasons to vote for the opposition.

BN's disconnect from young people is most alarming in the case of urban professionals, who no longer believe that the ruling coalition is capable of making a better Malaysia.

Non-Malays cannot accept the New Economic Policy, considering it as benefiting only the Malays, while young educated Malays concerned with good governance, human rights and democratic ideals view Umno and BN as corrupt.

Several political analysts think that youngsters tend to favour the opposition because they have more liberal views of democracy, with less preference for race-based politics, which explains the appeal of multiracial PKR.

Young people also do not feel indebted to the government that achieved independence half a century ago. BN leaders should realise by now that campaigning on the basis of track records, especially after Kuala Terengganu, no longer works with younger voters.

There has been no attempt to draw up a plan for Umno or BN to win over young voters since the March 8 electoral setback, despite many politicians talking about getting closer to this group.

It has been suggested that BN field more politicians in their 30s and 40s in the next general election, in the hope that these young leaders can speak the language of young people and connect with them.

The recent United States presidential elections, where more than 63 per cent of young voters backed 47-year-old Barack Obama, is testimony of how young people want leaders to whom they can relate.

According to a Gallup poll in October, even before the polls, young Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 favoured Obama over John McCain by a huge margin of 59 per cent to 38 per cent.

In the Malaysian context, BN leaders need not comprise entirely of the young; older politicians, if they are able to embrace "young people things" and understand their needs and aspirations, are still needed for their wisdom and experience.

What matters to most young people are the two Es: engagement and empowerment. BN needs to engage and give them the recognition they deserve, and help nurture them to explore and expand their potential.

It needs to accept and fulfil sincerely their wish to have a say in the economy and governance.

In trying to reinvent and revitalise, prescriptions for BN to undertake "wholesale reform", "sweeping change" and "fresh initiatives" should be seriously considered.

The focus should be on the economy, political stability, freedom of education, job opportunities and social problems, which are the main issues for youth. Managing the economy will be the key over the next three years, as the economic downturn will affect their job opportunities.

The uphill battle for BN is to rid Umno of its rent-seeking image and hold its own against the attacks of the alternative media, and for all component parties to find new ways and means to engage young people.
Back in 1999, BN was partly saved by the inefficiency of SPR when some 300,000 newly registered voters could not be made available in time for the General Election. Realising this, UMNO still under Dr Mahathir acted to establish the Puteri wing and introduced more effort to attract members into Pemuda UMNO.

That and the new broom helped create a political avalanche for 2004. But it came with the arrogance as Abdullah kept reiterating "90% of population voted him". In actual fact, they won 90% of seats in Parliament and not the popular votes.

They neglected an emerging trend from 1999. That neglect brought about a rude awakening in 2008. UMNO and BN did poorly in the third and fourth channel voters. The same trend continued in the subsequent by-elections at Permatang Pauh and Kuala Terengganu recently.

In Kuala Terengganu, the less arrogant Khairy fared poorly with the youth channels at his Chendering ballot post despite claim by his pied pipered followers of outstanding win vis-a-vis Mukhriz and Khir Toyo performance in an obviously save area. He is saved by the fact that Mukhriz group are not thumping their chest to show he did better to reduce the loss at PAS-inclined Sungai Nibong election post.

If nothing is being done and the same stale arguments, rhetorics and ideas are being spewed, GE 13 may be the death nail. More than 2 young voters and an estimate 5 million new voters are expected to be on stream.

Any change to come, UMNO?

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Hari ini Gerhana Matahari, Minggu depan Gerhana Politik bergelora lagi?


Menurut pengumuman Angkasa Malaysia, kita bakal mengalami gerhana matahari yang tidak menyeluruh (partial eclipse of the sun) pada waktu antara 4:30 hingga 7:30 hari ini.

Dari pengalaman gerhana matahari yang lepas pada akhir tahun 90an, imej gerhana bahaya dilihat terus tetapi dari pancaran bayangan pada air dalam timba. MOSTI telah menyediakan satu laman yang akan memancarkan imej gerhana matahari secara langsung dari Planeterium Kebangsaan di laman web sini.

Gerhana matahari adalah satu fenomena sementara yang akan berlalu. Begitulah gerhana semulajadi yang diatur demikian oleh tuhan dengan tepat.

Bagaimana pula gerhana politik negara? Adakah gerhana politik yang melanda negara hanya sementara? Adakah ia akan berbalik sediakala? Bolehkah gerhana politik dilihat secara terus dan telus?

Sejak kekalahan PRK KT, nampaknya gerhana politik yang berpunca dari mula Abdullah mentadbir negara belum berakhir. Pemergiaan PM sejurus selepas kalah di KT menimbulkan tandatanya. Kenyataannya sepulang dari lawatan menimbulkan lebih banyak persoalan. Itulah dia gerhana, tak dapat dilihat dengan terus melainkan bayangan melalui medium lain.

Kekalkan Pak Lah, UMNO Bertambah Lemah

Sejak Proton di kecilkan saiz dan Jambatan Bengkok dibatalkan hingga PRU12 pada Mac 8hb, 2008, jelas sekali Pak Lah adalah Perdana Menteri yang keupayaan pentadbiran yang tidak cekap, lemah, dan tiada hala tuju. Malah ia dilihat menggadaikan kepentingan negara kepada kepentingan asing.

Selepas PRU12, Abdullah menjadi bertambah lemah dan akibat kedegilannya enggan mengundur, UMNO seolah-olah dibiarkan menjadi bertambah lemah dan tak berhenti bertelagah. Dengan kesanggupan pemimpin dan ahli-ahli UMNO yang sentiasa berkompromi, maka Abdullah yang sepatutnya meletak jawatan diberi ruang masa yang terlalu lama.

Sepanjang masa yang kononnya dipanggil peralihan kuasa, UMNO kehilangan semangat, hilang tujuan dan kucar kacir bagaikan kapal tak bernakhoda. UMNO dilihat tidak berupaya mempertahankan diri dan menangani asakkan, desakan, tuntutan dan kritikan dari pelbagai pihak. Perjuangan mempertahankan hak dan kepentingan orang Melayu dan Pribumi sudah dilihat meniris dan tidak meyakinkan.

UMNO kecundang dalam pilihanraya kecil di Permatang Pauh dan Kuala Terengganu, ADUN untuk Bota, Perak melompat ke PKR, dan SAPP lompat keluar dari BN akibat masaalah keyakinan ini. Walaupun desas desus mengatakan Dato Nasarudin Hashim melompat ke PKR untuk menggantikan MB sekarang Dato Muhammad Nizar, ia menunjukkan UMNO yang tidak stabil.

Pak Lah Masih Mahu Kekal PM?

Yang menghairankan ramai apakah perlu seorang PM yang hanya tinggal dua bulan sebagai Presiden parti dan lame duck PM perlu melakukan lawatan perdagangan luar negera lagi? Apa yang dia sibuk untuk mengusulkan pelbagai reformasi undang-undang dan membuat keputusan korporat seperti untuk Sime Darby?

Blog Mesin Taip Buruk bertanya kenapa Pak Lah tidak membuat persediaan untuk bersara lagi. Manakala, jurublog Syahril A Kadir merasa hairan melihat tidak ada alamat-alamat dia akan berundur. Jurublog ini pun merasakan demikian.

Penangkapan ramai-ramai atas tuduhan rasuah politik wang UMNO agak lambat tetapi satu langkah yang baik. Namun begitu, ada sesuatu yang anih dari perspektif politik. Pernah diberitahu Pak Lah akan gunakan undang-undang cegah rasuah sebagai senjata untuk mempertahankan kedudukkannya. Bagaikan mengikut skrip, ianya segera dilakukan terhadap parti sendiri dalam kesuntukkan masa menghadapi PAU pada Mac 25-27hb tidak lama seteleh Parlimen meluluskan undang-undang.

Katanya, selepas penangkapan Norza, ada lagi tangkapan dari kalangan kem Pak Lah/Khairy bagi mengelakkan tuduhan langkah ini disalahguna terhadap musuh politik. Selepas itu, barulah tangkapan yang melibatkan musuh politiknya yang kemungkinan dari kem Najib, Muhyiddin, Mukhriz dan lain-lain yang condong kepada Dr Mahathir.

Kelemahan teori konspirasi ini adalah apa jadi dengan laporan BPR terhadap Pak Lah oleh Dato Mazlan Harun yang merupakan salah seorang tukang kempen untuk Tengku Razaleigh. Laporan ini datang lengkap dengan bukti gambar, video, barang, wang, dan lain-lain. BPR adalah bawah pengelolaan Jabatan Perdana Menteri. Inilah kelemahan undang-undang pencegah rasuah yang begitu sedia dipersetujui oleh pembangkang pimpinan Anwar Ibrahim.

Antara khabar-khabar angin yang tersebar luas adalah penangkapan atas tuduhan rasuah begitu banyak hingga Pendaftar Pertubuhan akan mengisytiharkan kesemua Mesyuarat Cawangan dan Bahagian UMNO terbatal dan Persidangan AGung UMNO tertangguh.

Ini mengingatkan jurublog ini akan kenyataan Tengku Razaleigh bahawa UMNO tidak boleh mengadakan Mesyuarat Agung selagi masaalah ini masih tertunggak. Persidangan Agung bulan Mac akan ditangguh dan memgikut teori konspirasi, Abdullah akan kekal hingga hampir akhir tahun.

Sementara itu, ada pihak yang beranggapan kekalahan UMNO pada PRK di KT bagai disengajakan Pak Lah dengan memilihan Wan Farid sebagai calun. Najib tidak terlibat dalam pemilihan calun, walaupun dia "mengaku" bersama terlibat memilih Wan Farid.

Sebagaimana diberitahu seorang rakan yang sangat terlibat dalam kempen PRK di KT, tidak ada satu pun komen baik mengenai Wan Farid yang didengarinya. Tidak kira dari pembawa teksi hingga ke orang-orang berpangkat di KT. Ini masih komen sesama orang UMNO.

Biarlah blog-blog Setiakawan cuba gembur-gemburkan Khairy sebagai hebat dan peti undi di bawah saingannya Khir Toyo dan Mukhriz kalah. Yang nyata, peti undi Khairy yang di kawasan selamat Chendering pun menurun dan paling nyata sekali dari kalangan saloran orang muda di 3 dan 4.

Adakah mungkin Pak Lah mahukan kekalahan bagi membolehkan dia lakukan sesuatu yang drastik?

Pemergian Pak Lah ke Timur Tengah sejurus lepas kekalahan PRK di KT dikatakan diiringi oleh lima orang Menteri Besar dan Tun Musa Hitam. Ramai menjangkakan ada perancangan politik sedang menetas.

Ku Li Masuk Kabinet?

Sementara itu, khabar angin tersebar dari kalangan pemberita menyatakan Pak Lah akan mengumumkan kabinet baru. Memang tak lojik bagi seorang PM yang tinggal kurang dari dua bulan untuk melakukan ronbakan kabinet. Kalau betul jadi, ini bermakna Pak Lah akan kekal. Cerita lama mengenai pengguguran Tan Sri Muhyiddin dan Dato Seri Dr Rais Yatim pun berkumandang kembali. Tapi pengulangan kepada khabar angin ini diiringi dengan cerita Tengku Razaleigh dilantik sebagai Menteri kanan untuk Ekonomi dan Kewangan.

Ini suatu twist yang menarik. Ku Li boleh dikatakan satu solution atau jalan tengah antara faction Musa/Pak Lah dan Dr Mahathir/Najib. Andaiannya berasaskan Dr Mahathir kelihatan masih kecewa dengan Najib dan belum memberi endorsement buatnya. Kenyataan Tun M meminta tidak menyalahkan Najib kerana kekalahan PRK di KT hanya untuk mengekalkan fokus tuduhan terhadap Pak Lah.

Walaupun Tun pernah indors Ku Li untuk menentang Pak Lah bagi jawatan Presiden, adakah dia boleh menerima pesaing politiknya suatu masa dahulu sebagai pilihan kompromi setelah Pak Lah tidak mempertahankan jawatan?

Adakah peranan Ku Li setakat untuk membantu memulihkan ekonomi saja? Kalau dingat kembali, Ku Li banyak menyuarakan ide-ide yang bukan konvensyenal seperti reformasi parti, merubah sistem undi perwakilan, unity government, petroleum hub, dan lain-lain.

Adakah Ku Li masih bersikap hanya jawatan No. 1 atau biar tiada jawatan langsung? Atau dia sedia untuk berada di bawah seseorang yang berbanding dengan dirinya jauh sekali keupayaan intelek, mentadbir, pengalaman dan reputasi? Kalau kali ini, bawah Pak Lah kemudian bawah Najib, bekas penolongnya di Petronas. Bolehkah demikian?

Ada antara mereka yang rapat dengan Ku Li masih berasa was-was samada beliau berani berhabis-habisan memperjuangkan agenda politik dan visi kenegaraanya? Adakah Ku Li sedia hadapi kekalahan dan sedia tercatit dalam sejarah politik negara sebagai kecundang yang berulang-ulang? Rintangannya besar kerana Ku Li tidak ada jalan legitimate melalui proses parti, walaupun jika dipersoalkan kesahihan proses pemilihan yang penuh dengan politik wang.

Tak Akan Najib Terus Duduk Diam?

Yang tidak masuk akal dari teori konspirasi ini, mana nak letak Najib yang baru saja diberi portfolio kewangan? Adakah usul Sime Darby untuk mengswastakan IJN dan LCCT baru kepada Air Asia yang berakhir dengan pembatalan adalah disengajakan untuk cari pasal dengan Najib?

Disamping itu, tidak mungkin Muhyiddin boleh dibuang sewenang-wenang walaupun dia dikatakan ketinggalan kepada Ali Rustam. Buat masa sekarang, mulut tempayan boleh ditutup, tapi keberanian Muhyiddin bersuara masa ini tidak ada tolok banding. Abdullah pun sudah membenci Muhyiddin yang satu masa dahulu mahu dijadikan Timbalannnya.

Tempat Najib sebagai Presiden sudah hampir pasti. Apa pula jika Najib memberi petunjuk meyokong Muhyiddin di jam ke 10 dan 11?

Bolehkah Abdullah dengan mudah menukar tradisi untuk kekal sebagai PM, walaupun dia sudah tidak lagi Presiden? Sediakah UMNO untuk mengubah untuk membezakan kepimpinan negara dari kepimpinan parti seperti amalan di Amerika dan Britain? Adakah ada iltizam politik untuk kembali kepada maxim "parti menguasai kerajaan" dengan parti menjadi pendesak dan bukan apolegis untuk kerajaan?

Abdullah boleh merancang, tapi bolehkah dia berhadapan dengan tekanan dari MKT? Tekanan yang di hadapi dari MKT yang menyebabkan beliau terpaksa meletakkan pelan peralihan.

Adakah dia boleh mendapat sokongan MKT kepada perubahan rancangan? Terutama sekali dengan fatigue politik telah melanda UMNO dan akarumbi sudah ditahap menyampah kepada pergolakkan parti yang tiada berhenti. Lompat parti kemungkinan adalah alamatnya.

Bagi kebanyakkan aktivis UMNO yang tulin, apa saja asal bukan Pak Lah lagi. Adakah itu juga pendirian Dr Mahathir?

Selagi Pak Lah masih kekal, pembaharuan UMNO tidak dapat dilakukan. Inikan pula ura-ura Pak Lah akan kekal. Agak anih difikirkan Pak Lah mengatakan pembaharuan akan dilakukan bawah kepimpinan baru UMNO selepas bulan Mac 2009? Apa tersirat disebaliknya?

Sementara itu, tersebar di kalangan kumpulan tertentu bahawa sesuatu drastik akan berlaku sebelum Februari 25hb. Nampaknya gerhana politik belum berlalu lagi.


* Edit 11:00 pm

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

For more than 5 years, Abdullah abandon the two Malaysians imprisoned in Gitmo


On his return from Middle East trip that was seen by many as escaping the pressure of the Kuala Terengganu by-election loss and planning an insidious political move, Prime Minister Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi finally acknowledged the existence of the two Malaysian imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) since 2006 and under CIA detention since 2003.

Today Abdullah expressed happiness to Obama's decision to close Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba. He said Government is seeking more information and offer the two Malaysians for imprisonment here. In actual fact, he is merely pretending.

The two Malaysian had been on the radar of Malaysian blogosphere since September 2006. No officials words have come out from Wisma Putra or Putrajaya since then. Abdullah was reprted to have met former President George W Bush in New York and Washington but reliable sources informed that he never raised their plight in the meetings.

The reason was Abdullah had long been under threat from the American for his son, Kamaluddin's involvement in the Scomi nuclear centrifuge scandal in 2004. His administration is held under ransom and had been at the whims and fancy of the Western powers and their regional stooge. He may have abandoned the plight of these two Malaysians out of his fear for his family.

A leader who abandoned his people has no business to continue in office and do not deserve any grain of respect. And yet, rumours are getting louder that he is trying a manouveour to stay in power.

Bernama reported Abdullah requesting information on the two Malaysians.

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January 24, 2009 10:41 AM

Malaysia Seeks Info On Two Guantanamo Detainees

By Muin Abdul Majid

DUBAI, Jan 24 (Bernama) -- Malaysia is seeking permission from the United States government to allow its police officers to meet two Malaysians being held at the controversial Guantanamo military prison whose closure was ordered by President Barack Obama, said Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

He said Malaysia would like to know what would happen to its two nationals who were among about 250 inmates of Guantanamo, many of whom have been held for years without trial.

"If possible, we'd like to bring both of them home so that they could continue to serve their sentences in Malaysia," he told Malaysian journalists covering his visit to the United Arab Emirates here yesterday.

Abdullah lauded the decision by the new American president to close down the facility in Guantanamo, Cuba, within a year.

"President Obama's decision must have gone down well with many countries and Malaysia too is happy because he has fulfilled his promise," he said.

Besides closing the Guantanamo prison, Obama also ordered a halt to harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects as he sought to restore the US image abroad
.
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AFP reported the two Malaysians as Mohammed Nazir Lep and Mohammad Farik Amin. Both are described by the US authorities as members of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). The report below:

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25/01/2009 at 03:06 AM

Malaysia to accept Gitmo detainees

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said on Saturday the country wants to bring home two Malaysians held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility which US President Barack Obama has ordered shut within a year.

"We'd like to bring both of them home so that they could continue to serve their sentences in Malaysia," Abdullah told state news agency Bernama Saturday.

"President Obama's decision must have gone down well with many countries and Malaysia too is happy because he has fulfilled his promise," he added.

Mohammed Nazir Lep and Mohammad Farik Amin are described by US authorities as members of regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), the group behind a series of attacks in Southeast Asia including the 2002 bombings in Bali.

Both of the Malaysians were arrested in the joint Thai-US raid in Ayutthaya that also captured their boss Hambali in August, 2003.

Hambali himself, described as the operations officer for Jemaah Islamiyah, is an Indonesian and also in detention at Guantanamo. Indonesian officials have requested access to him for questioning several times but never have said they will accept him back in Indonesia.

The two aides were held for interrogation for several years, and then transferred to Guantanamo with several other "high value detainees" in September, 2006.

The two Malaysians also were allegedly deeply involved in an al-Qaeda plot to replicate the 9/11 attacks on the US west coast. That plot failed when the only pilot in the cell opted out of the operation.

Mohammed Nazir, better known as Lillie, is said to have transferred Al-Qaeda funds for use in the 2003 bombing of the J.W. Marriott hotel in Jakarta which killed 12 people.

Mohammad Farik, also known as Zubair, allegedly served directly under JI operational planner Hambali.

Obama, who took office this week, ordered the closure of the prison at the US naval base in Cuba, with its remaining 250 detainees to be dealt with constitutionally.

Of the remaining Guantanamo inmates, only about 20 have been charged, including five men accused of helping organise the September 11 attacks of 2001. - AFP
-----------------------------

The two Malaysian had been on the radar of Malaysian blogosphere as far back since Rocky Bru's September 13th, 2006 posting that referred to Bernama Salmy Hashim's report here.

In her report on the same date, both the Malaysian names were already reported. The two Malaysians had just been transfered then from an unknown CIA detention centre. They were beleived to be captured in 2003 together with Al Qaeda's Hambali for allegedly planning a 'second wave' on Los Angelas after the 9-11 on New York in 2001.

The Gitmo detention camp have been known in existence since 2001. It was established primarily for detaining suspected Islamist terrorist.

On September 19th, 2006, Abdullah met President George W Bush in New York but there was no news of him raising the issue of the two Malaysians detained. Bernama merely reported the meeting initiated by Bush with the then OIC Chairman to discuss matters of "global importance" and "how to keep the peace".

In other word, he did not raised the matter of the two Malaysians. He did nothing but kept it under lid from the Malaysian public.

Abdullah did not express any displeasure or disagreement when a Torture Bill was passed in Congress on Sepetember 29th, 2006 to legalise torture and it's indefinate detention. Nor did Abdullah raised any complain or ruckus when it was reported that the US were doing secret trials of detainees behind closed door without legal representation and away from media in places.

Why is Abdullah pretending to show concern and compassion to seek for further information on them and seeking to bring them back, when for more than five years, he never bothered?

This blogger hold a strong suspicion that it all links together with the 2004 nuclear centrifuge scandal, in a recent development few weeks ago, Scomi CEO, Shah Hakam, was sanctioned by the US. Shah Hakam, son Kamaluddin and former ISA detainee, BSA Tahir are the original shareholders of Kaspadu, which in turn controlled Scomi. Now only Kamaluddin is still scot free. For now, that is.

Abdullah is believed to be leading the country under ransom. He had been making series of decisions to kow-tow to Western powers and also commercial and security decisions in favour their stooge, particularly Singapore.

This Scomi incident have built an ingrained perception on Abdullah as a selfish leader who has no national agenda, then for himself, his family, and cronies at the expense of national interest and security. The plight of the two Malaysian Gitmo detainees may have been abandoned and their fate left to chance.

A leader who abandon his people have no right to stay on and earn any respect. Thus, what can be expected from our leader who is a puppet of the West after the recent development on Scomi? Is it a threat to go easy on Anwar when his trial begin on February 5th, 2009? Or is it a US response to strong language on Israel?

Or maybe, the growing rumour that Abdullah will stay on after the UMNO March election is linked to this development? Uncle Sam wants him to stay on.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ku Li started blogging, and questioned Valuecap and stimulus package


Former Finance Minister and Member of Parliament for Gua Musang, Tengku Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah started a blog, Razaleigh.com. His blog's presence was first noticed when Rocky Bru published his blog link in a posting on the Kuala Terengganu by-election result.

By then, Ku Li, as he is affectionately known, had already posted his luncheon speech at the ASLI's 11th Malaysia Strategic Outlook Conference 2009 on January 15th and statement on the Permatang Pauh by-election.

His blog's initial url address was at http://tengkurazaleigh.wordpress.com but has since acquired it's own domain and moved to http://razaleigh.com. Initially, he was publishing his official statements and speech, but started to response to comments from the public.

Yesterday he posted a critical comment on two Government's economic rescue measures; Valuecap and the RM7 Billion Stimuli Package. He viewed that fiscal public policy must meet the criteria of right spending, large enough and right timing, and the two measures do not meet that criteria.

Valuecap's objective to buy "undervalued shares" was viewed as vague instruction, senseless economic policy, and suspiciously seen as an exit plan for "cronies" at the expense of public's EPF money. On the RM7 Billion Stimuli, he commented that since early November, none of the details are made available, none of the projects go off the ground, and its effect unnoticable.

Many of his critics harshly described Ku Li as out-of-date and practising old school economics. They viewed his Tun Razak's style of Institutional building may not be suitable with time.

The problem with such comment could be becasue Malaysians are too used to talking on micro-specifics rather than the bigger socio-economic overview.

This blogger view that this arised from the increasing exposure of Malays to commerce, and dominance of big business. Malaysians perspective of socio-economic policy tend to be short-term, free market in thinking, and shy from the far sighted outlook and structural issues.

Whatever school of economics one was schooled in, the Malaysian experiance during the short and impactful Tun Abdul Razak days and Tun Dr Mahathir's 22 years was never dedicated to any economic school of thought but relied on common sense adjustment to workable models and development of our own unique policies from our own experiance.

Having followed Ku Li in several of his political campaign, this blogger was hard pressed for not able to hear him reveal specifics of his economic ideas for today's challenges. This blogger is perhaps caught in the same thinking as other Malaysians.

With him beginning to blog, we can now expect more and more of his ideas and thoughts coming out. And, blogger Politica heard he will be appointed as Senior Minister for Economics and Finance.

His posting reproduced in full, below:

Four Months Later ...

We are in the midst of a once-in-a-century credit tsunami”

-Alan Greenspan, October 23, 2008
After the Great Depression, economists thought they had banished economic crashes to the history books. We were said to be in a new economic era in which carefully calibrated management of interest rates and money supply by Central Banks would keep the system humming without major disruption. Today’s crisis, sparked by a reckless greed which implicates the entire US financial establishment, has rubbished that view. The policy thinking of John Maynard Keynes, who puzzled over the causes of the Great Depression and described the remedy that Franklin Delano Roosevelt applied, has been dusted off and brought back to life. Suddenly everybody is a Keynesian again.

Keynes diagnosed recessions as a failure of aggregate demand. Today’s recession is caused by a loss of confidence triggered by credit failure. A mass of worthless American mortgages, packaged and resold all over the world, wiped out trillions of dollars in the value of savings and investments and sparked a global collapse of credit, the oxygen of business. Consumers cut back on spending and businesses cut down on production and investment, reducing demand for materials and labour and leading to even lower confidence. If this self-reinforcing process is not arrested, the system goes into a tailspin.

The government is the only economic agent with the scale and freedom of action to turn things around. It does this either by increasing its own expenditure or lowering taxes, or some combination of both. Each of these measures stimulates demand. By increasing its own expenditure, the government creates demand directly. By reducing taxes, it leaves more money in the pockets of citizens so that they demand more goods and services. The latter can fail if citizens are so uncertain that instead of spending that extra money they save it away. Either way, such fiscal measures are temporary, targetted remedies aimed at reversing a destructive cycle of lowered demand, or at least to cushion its shock to the most vulnerable members of society. It is remedial, like reviving a patient, putting out a fire, or preventing a landslide.

Like all remedies, successful fiscal policy must have the right ingredients in the right dose applied at the right time.

Let me stress this again.

a) It must consist of the right spending. The right type of spending will aim for a combination of short term relief and stimulus, and long term improvement in the productive capacity of the economy via infrastructure investment, economic restructuring and institutional reform. Both the size of the expected multiplier and how quickly it can take effect in the economy need to be taken into account in selecting any particular project.

b) The stimulus must be large enough.

c) And it must be applied on time. Delay allows time for the down cycle to turn, enlarge its effects and cause long term damage. Stimulus measures can take months to take effect. Some of the right decisions have to have been made yesterday.
I am not sure that the two stimulus measures that the government has announced in the last four months fulfill any of the above criteria.

Valuecap

In October the government made EPF put RM5 Billion into Valuecap Sdn Bhd, a company formed in 2002 to buy stocks on the basis of loans, for Valuecap to buy “undervalued stocks.” But just what is an “undervalued” stock? Undervalued by whom? Given that the entire market is perpetually on the lookout for “undervalued stocks” to make a buck off, I’m not sure if this was a helpful instruction. It asks for Valuecap to be smarter than the market. And it’s not as if EPF itself didn’t have perfectly capable fund managers investing in the stock market. So we entrusted RM5 Bil from the retirement savings fund of our workers to a company with a proven track record of being unable to locate that value, a company that prior to this already owed creditors RM5.1Bil that it is unable to pay.

Valuecap’s merits aside, it was not clear how propping up the stock market was supposed to stimulate aggregate demand. But it was clear that RM5Bil, representing 1% of the capitalization of the KLCI, or the value of 3 days’ trading, was barely enough to cause a blip in the KLCI, after which it continued to decline along with other global markets.

If picking ‘undervalued stock’ is a hopeless vague instruction, the real criteria Valuecap uses for picking companies need to be scrutinised. The Valuecap deal was so opaque, so economically senseless, that EPF contributors and the investing public may be forgiven for wondering if the real intention was to cash out favoured parties, leaving the government and EPF contributors holding the bill.

One international fund manager described it as “daylight robbery” of the very people we were supposed to be helping through the recession.

This kind of perception of the Malaysian government’s capacity for governance and policymaking does little to improve confidence in the Malaysian economy. Right now we are in particular need of that confidence.

The 7 Billion stimulus package

It’s hard to comment on the RM7Billion stimulus package the government announced on November 4 because none of its details have been filled in, none of its projects has gotten off the ground, and none of its effects noticed yet. It appears to be a hodgepodge of projects driven by special interest with no economic plan behind it.

The most memorable element in it for me was the provision for RM200 million of this fiscal stimulus to go towards “re-engineering” all Malaysia’s toddlers into “holistic human capital” whatever that is, in nurseries run by an organization led by the wife of the Deputy Prime Minister. Permata curriculum will now be the national early-childhood curriculum and Permata’s teachers will be absorbed into the Ministry of Education’s payroll.

In this grave crisis, it is interesting to see the government support a private effort to the extent of absorbing it into the government and giving it RM200 million to spend. How will that money be spent? Has the Ministry of Finance taken over policymaking on early childhood education? What does this say about governance and transparency?

How this constitutes an economic stimulus in the sense I described above is a question I almost forgot to ask.

In a press statement in October last year, I underlined the urgent need for action. I said we must be vigilant, coordinated and bold in our response to the crisis. The government ignored that view. To date we have seen only denial, indirection and inaction. What measures have been announced have yet to be implemented.

What’s even more worrying is the thought these failures may arise from a failure of capacity, not of knowledge. Our current leadership, and the way it is organized and supported, may lack the very capacity to deal with major crises.

That may explain why it continues to deny we are in a serious crisis, both economic and political.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Abdullah berpakat dengan Pembangkang untuk kekal?

Kenyataan Haji Hadi semalam mahukan Abdullah supaya kekal agak memeranjatkan ramai pihak. Tentu sekali dengan PAS dalam keadaan semangat tengah berkobar-kobar, keyakinan sedang meningkat, dan angan-angan tengah besar, agak pelik untuk PAS beralah satu hari lepas menambahkan kerusi di dalam Parlimen.

Lepas kemenangan di Kuala Terengganu, babak drama peralihan kuasa kedua Anwar sudah bermula. Bukankah kenyataan Hadi akan memadamkan lampu pentas sebelum Anwar dapat memulakan aksi dramanya? Dengan tarikh bicara Anwar pada Februari 5hb semakin hampir, inilah masa terbaik untuk memulakan drama.

Mungkinkah ini reaksi Haji Hadi kepada tentangan dan sikap yang ditunjukkan oleh rakan-rakan Pakatan Rakyat mengenai "core business" PAS untuk menegakkan Daulah Islamiah yang dilengkapi dengan Hukum Hudud?

Mungkinkah Haji Hadi sedar akan bibit perubahan sikap dari akarumbi UMNO mengenai hukum hudud? Semasa polemik hukum hudud yang timbul dari perdebatan dua Erdogan, Husam dan Khairy Jamaluddin, ada antara akarumbi UMNO dan orang Melayu amnya mula mengambil pendirian perlaksanaan hukum hudud sebagai tuntutan tuhan dan tidak harus diperlekehkan dengan retorik politik. Malah ada yang berpendapat sokongan Melayu kepada PAS di KT adalah simpati ekoran PAS yang dihentam UMNO dan parti-parti bukan Melayu dari BN dan PR.

Banyak sudut boleh diinterpretasi dari kenyataan ini tetapi ini bukan pertama kali pandangan ini timbul. Karpal Singh sendiri pernah menyuarakan pendirian yang sama. Pada pendapat jurublog, ini berkait rapat dengan usaha untuk menjatuhkan Najib oleh pihak pembangkang dan pihak tertentu dalam UMNO, dan usaha Abdullah untuk kekal dengan apa cara.

Jurublog mengulang lagi bahawa faktor utama kekalahan Barisan Nasional tidak dapat tidak adalah disebabkan faktor calun; persepsi negatif terhadap Dato Wan Farid Wan Salleh dan isu-isu yang timbul pun adalah berkait rapat secara langsung dan tidak langsung dengan peranan yang pernah dimainkan oleh Wan Farid.

Wan Farid adalah bekas Setiausaha Politik Pak Lah dan terpilihnya Wan Farid mengatasi calun yang lebih berprospek baik dilihat sebagai pilihan Pak Lah. Untuk menangkis kritikan dari dalam UMNO kepada pilihan Wan Farid, Najib menafi dan menyatakan Wan Farid bukan orang sesiapa. Tetapi Najib ada memberi bayangan bahawa pilihan ini adalah pilihan Pak Lah apabila menyatakan mereka bersama menentukan. Kemungkinan Najib menurut kerana tidak mahu fenomena cah keting Kelantan berlaku di Kuala Terengganu. Lojiknya mudah, siapa yang pilih, dia yang terutama bertanggungjawab.

Dari timbal balas yang diterima, Wan Farid kalah atas undi Melayu dan kaum Cina yang berjumlah 11% dan sebagai masyarakat peniaga, tidak terpesong kepada PAS. Tidak dapat dipastikan samada kenyataan Wan Farid menyatakan kaum Cina adalah penentu telah berubah menjadi penyebab kekalahan. Namun begitu, janji-janji dan tawaran-tawaran yang agak berlebih-lebihan kepada kaum Cina untuk mendapat sokongan, tetapi kalah juga UMNO akhirnya, telah mengusik dan menimbulkan cemburu dari pemerhati-pemerhati dalam UMNO.

Banyak juga kesalahan dan kesilapan dalam strategi dan taktik berkempen dan juga penyampaian mesej dan hujah berlaku di Kuala Terengganu. Jika ini mahu disalahkan Najib, ada asas kerana dia adalah Pengerak Jentera Pilihanraya BN. Dan jari-jari telah pun segera dituding ke arah Najib, baik dari UMNO atau pun pembangkang, untuk melencongkan kesalahan kepada Pak Lah yang bagai dirancang telah ke Qatar untuk melarikan diri dari tekanan.

Sebenarnya sama-sama melaksana kempen adalah juga pengatur strategi, pelaksana, penyumbang maklumat, penerangan dan kempen, dan jentera pun turut bertanggungjawab. Berbanding dengan parti pembangkang, gerak kempen mereka jauh lebih teratur mantap, bertenaga dan bersemangat.

Buat pertama kali, Dr Mahathir mempertahankan Najib. Tetapi kenyataannya boleh dilihat sebagai memulangkan buang keras dan menunjukkan jangkaannya betul bahawa Wan farid adalah calun yang salah.

Jari yang menuding Najib mungkin sekali dipengaruh propaganda pembangkang yang sedang cuba menjatuhkan pengganti Abdullah. Semasa PRK Ijok pada tahun 2007, Abdullah sudah berada dalam keadaan telor di hujung tanduk dan fokus propaganda pembangkang adalah untuk mencemarkan Najib. Propaganda ini di bina dari kes pembunuhan Altantunya yang melibatkan Abdul Razak Baginda yang dikatakan pernah rapat dengan Najib. Kes perbicaraan masih sedang berjalan.

Faktor utama kekalahan adalah calun, maka pendek kata tanggungjawab utama tidak boleh dihalakan kepada Najib atau Khairy atau pun perbalahan antara Menteri Besar dan Mantan Menteri Besar. Ia haruslah terletak kepada mereka yang mahukan Wan Farid sebagai calun ia-itu Abdullah.

Dengan demikian, kenyataan Hadi untuk menyokong Abdullah adalah amat pelik sekali. Dahulu sebelum Ijok dan semasa PRU12, Abdullah telah dikritik habis-habis. Mengapa pula mereka perlu menyokong seorang yang mereka kritik hingga tidak diterima rakyat, dan hingga kini pengikut dan pilihan calunnya pun tidak diterima rakyat?

Tentu sekali, boleh dianggap kenyataan Hadi sebagai hanya permainan psy-war untuk mengkucar kacirkan UMNO. Tetapi adakah demikian?

Kalau kita boleh mengingat kembali, UMNO ada berusaha untuk bekerjasama menubuhkan kerajaan campuran dengan PAS di Selangor dan Perak tetapi tidak dipersetujui kerana PAS ingin mengekalkan kesepakatan mereka dengan PKR dan DAP.

Berikutan dari itu dalam lebih kurang bulan Julai 2008, Abdullah ada mengusahakan Muzakarah atau diberi terma oleh Nik Aziz sebagai Muqabalah dengan PAS. Kenyataan akhbar menyatakan perjumpaan itu tidak membawa sebarang pertalian formal tetapi hanya perbincangan dalam perkara yang berkepentingan bersama.

Namun begitu, sumber-sumber dari dalam PAS memberitahu Abdullah ada menyentuh mengenai kelemahan Najib dalam perjumpaan itu. Ini dianggap PAS sebagai usaha Abdullah untuk kekal dalam kerusinya yang semasa itu menerima tekanan untuk berundur dari segenap lapisan akarumbi UMNO.

Jika semasa itu, PAS tidak dapat dipikat, adakah mungkin PAS, yang sudah mengikut strategi PKR untuk menjatuhkan Najib, telah menjalinkan kerjasama rahsia dengan Abdullah?

Cuba diteliti alasan yang cuba diguna Hadi untuk menyokong Abdullah, berikut:

mStar, Ahad Januari 18, 2009

Hadi mahu Abdullah kekal PM selepas Mac

Oleh G. MANIMARAN

KUALA TERENGGANU: Presiden PAS, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang mahu Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi terus kekal sebagai Perdana Menteri selepas Mac ini.

Kata beliau, Abdullah yang juga Pengerusi Barisan Nasional (BN) perlu kekal untuk meneruskan pembaharuan-pembaharuan dalam aspek-aspek lain selain kehakiman dan rasuah.

"Saya meminta Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi terus kekal sebagai Perdana Menteri dan meneruskan reformasi yang diperlukan seperti dalam bidang pilihan raya dan beberapa bidang lain," kata beliau.

Abdul Hadi berkata, Pakatan Rakyat akan memberikan kerjasama penuh kepada Perdana Menteri untuk melakukan reformasi baru tersebut.

Beliau berkata demikian ketika mengulas kemenangan calon PAS dan Pakatan Rakyat, Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut dalam pilihan raya kecil Kuala Terengganu, malam tadi.

Abdullah dijadual menyerahkan jawatannya sebagai Perdana Menteri dan Presiden Umno pada akhir Mac ini.

Beliau akan digantikan dengan timbalannya, Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak.

Antara perubahan yang dilakukan Abdullah adalah penubuhan Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) dan Suruhanjaya Pelantikan Kehakiman baru-baru ini.

Sementara itu, Abdul Hadi berkata, pihaknya juga gembira kerana terdapat sedikit perubahan dalam sistem perjalanan pilihan raya pada kali ini.

Sambil mengucapkan terima kasih kepada Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR), beliau berkata, pihaknya mahu Perdana Menteri terus kekal bagi meneruskan lagi perubahan dalam sistem tersebut.

Ketika ditanya sama ada beliau yakin dengan sistem pilihan raya di negara ini berikutan kemenangan PAS hari ini, Abdul Hadi berkata, masih ada banyak ruang yang perlu diperbaiki dalam sistem tersebut termasuk sistem pengundian secara pos.
Dari segi lojik politik, pembaharuan yang dibawa oleh Abdullah memberi kelebihan politik kepada pihak pembangkang. Tentu sekali, pembangkang sedia mengekalkan Abdullah untuk menguatkan politik mereka untuk PRU13. Mengapa Abdullah lakukan sedemikian? Adakah mungkin satu persetujuan dibuat supaya Abdullah dapat kekal untuk melepaskan permasaalahan yang dihadapi dirinya dan ahli keluarga?

Selain Muqabalah dan kenyataan semalam Haji Hadi, Karpal Singh pernah menyuarakan kenyataan yang hampir serupa pada bulan Oktober tahun lepas, berikut:
The Star, Saturday October 4, 2008

Karpal: No one should pressure Abdullah to quit

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should not be pressured to quit as Prime Minister despite his flaws, says DAP chairman Karpal Singh.

He said he preferred having Abdullah as the Prime Minister than his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as the country would experience another “Mahathir era” under Najib.

“Najib was once Dr Mahathir’s (former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s) blue-eyed boy. It is bound to happen.

“Umno should not write off Abdullah as he received the people’s majority.

“It is not fair to pressure him to step down. It is not in our culture to pressure anyone into submission,” he said yesterday.

Karpal Singh denied he wanted Abdullah to remain in power instead of Najib to make it easier for the Opposition to make their move, saying, “our chances are not slimmer under Najib.”
Semasa itu, kelihatan usaha untuk menjadikan Najib sebagai subjek perbincangan awam dan persepsi negatif terhadap Najib sedang perhebat dilakarkan. Zaid Ibrahim melakarkan Najib sebagai mengembalikan pentadbiran ala Mahathirism.

Adakah boleh Abdullah kekal sebagai Perdana Menteri? Tengku Razaleigh ada membuat penjelasan berikut:
Malaysia Insider, Dec 4th, 2008

Pak Lah can stay on as PM if he wants to, says Ku Li

By Adib Zalkapli

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 — Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi does not need to step down as the Prime Minister after Datuk Seri Najib Razak takes over as party president in March.

“That is his prerogative, he has received the mandate for five years,” said Razaleigh in response to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s contention that Abdullah was still interested to remain in power after the party polls.

He also admitted that he would continue to support Abdullah’s leadership in the government in his capacity as an MP.

“He commands the confidence of the majority of the MPs. And the Prime Minister is appointed by the King and not by the Umno General Assembly,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

The Kelantanese prince however was quick to add that he has no intention of quarreling with the former Prime Minister, who he challenged for the party’s top post in 1987 but lost by 43 votes.

He added that with a weakening Umno, there is no relation now between the party presidency and the premiership.

“Umno today is not as strong as it used to be, we are only in control of 30 per cent of the seats,” said Razaleigh.
Adakah mungkin berlaku dimana Malaysia mempunyai Perdana Menteri UMNO yang bukan Presiden UMNO?

Jika berlaku, ini membawa implikasi besar buat UMNO. Adakah pemimpin, akarumbi dan terutama sekali ahli Parlimen UMNO dan BN sedia menerima kelainan dari amalan tradisi? Perkara ini adalah amalan biasa di demokrasi yang matang tetapi tidak mudah untuk berlaku di Malaysia. Ini boleh juga menjadi penyebab pergaduhan puak-puak yang lebih dahsyat.

PAU UMNO akan berlangsung pada akhir bukan Mac. Jika ianya akan berlaku, ia mungkin berlaku dalam masa sebulan dua. Kalau dilihat, Pak Lah pun sedang mempromosi Ali Rustam untuk mengalahkan calun favourite untuk Timbalan Presiden, Muhyiddin Yassin. Alasan yang diguna adalah Muhyiddin akan menimbulkan gaduh berterusan dalam UMNO, padahal Ali Rustam telah dialatkan untuk menimbulkan perpcahan yang lebih dahsyat.

Cuma persoalan kepada teori ini adalah bilakah Najib akan ditumbangkan? Sebelum atau selepas PAU UMNO? Jika selepas, teori memenangkan Ali Rustam untuk mengekalkan Abdullah agak susah untuk dilihat lojiknya.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Kekalahan KT: Ku Li tegur UMNO yang "balik-balik lagu lapuk"


Kenyataan YBM Tengku Razaeigh Hamzah malam tadi mengulang seruan beliau supaya UMNO melakukan perubahan yang benar-benar bererti. Menurutnya, UMNO kalah dalam "referendum" Kuala Terengganu atas masaalah peringkat nasional dimana rakyat menolak bentuk, watak dan kepimpinan UMNO sekarang.

Mengulang seruannya sebelum ini, Ku Li menyatakan UMNO perlu bersikap ikhlas untuk memberi respons kepada tuntutan rakyat kepada perubahan dan bukan hanya pandai memberi alasan-alasan dan menjawab kritikan. UMNO perlu hadapi kekalahan ini dengan perubahan yang wajar.

Sudah masa, UMNO mencelik mata menerima kenyataan orang Melayu sendiri sudah mula tidak memberi undi kepada UMNO dan kaum Cina sudah mula menjauhi MCA. Jika ini berlaku, asas politik sejak Merdeka yang berdasarkan perkongsian kuasa ini akan berkubur. Selama ini, asas politik inilah yang didakwa telah membawa keamanan sosial.

Beliau mengulang lagi teguran sebelum ini terhadap kerajaan yang tidak menerima kenyataan realiti. Bagaimana parti yang tidak menerima hakikat akan hadapi kemelesatan ekonomi dunia yang semakin mencabar. Lebih lagi sebuah parti yang bagaikan tidak bernahkhoda.

Kenyataan sepenuh Ku Li berikut:

----------------------------

17 Januari 2009

Sudah tiga kali dalam tempoh sepuluh bulan Barisan Nasional dimalukan dalam pilihan raya besar dan kecil. Saya kagum benar betapa gigihnya para anggota parti di medan juang tempatan bertungkus lumus selama dua minggu. Namun kita tumpas atas sebab masalah di peringkat nasional. Rakyat memang menolak UMNO dalam bentuk dan wataknya sekarang, dan mereka menolak kepimpinannya.

Begitu kuat rakyat mencanangkan kehendak mereka pada PRU 8 Mac dan di Permatang Pauh, UMNO sama ada tuli lantas tidak mendengar seruan rakyat yang mendambakan perubahan fundamental atau memang tidak mampu memberi respons yang sewajarnya.

Kekuatan dan kuasa wang, jentera dan penjawat tidak berdaya mengungguli seruan mendesak perubahan. BN akan tewas dan akhirnya akan kehilangan segala-galanya, sehinggalah kita secara ikhlas lagi bersungguh memberikan respons yang sewajarnya. Sayangnya, balik-balik lagu lapuk "ini tak harus ditafsirkan sebagai pengundi mengetepikan BN" yang dikumandangkan. Para pemimpin kita terus menyangkal kebenaran hinggakan anggota parti dan anggota BN yang setia akan terasa mereka bagaikan di dalam kapal yang sedang karam.

Dalam kawasan pilihan raya Melayu pun UMNO dimalukan dengan kekalahan dengan majoriti sebanyak 90%. Kita kalah sebab orang Melayu tidak mengundi kita dalam negeri di mana kita memerintah. Begitu banyak sumber nasional parti yang menguasai Persekutuan ini kita hamburkan namun kita tumpas jua.

Ini sebenarnya lebih menyerupai referendum mengenai kepimpinan dan ujian sama ada UMNO masih relevan. Maka, jika UMNO dalam bentuknya kini tidak lagi relevan kepada bangsa Melayu, rumusan yang bernama BN sudah berkubur. Sebab kaum Cina tiada sebab lagi untuk terus menyokong MCA, dan begitulah seterusnya. Dengan itu ranaplah konsensus perjanjian perkongsian kuasa yang mendasari sistem politik kita sejak Merdeka dulu.

Hal ini punya implikasi amat serius. Selama ini kita mendakwa bahawa bertitik tolak atas perjanjian itulah wujud keamanan sosial di Malaysia. Sebuah parti yang menafikan hakikat sebenar tidak mungkin membentuk kerajaan dengan cukup realisme dan keberanian untuk menghadapi ekonomi yang meleset dan sedang lebur – apatah lagi jika ia menafikan itulah keadaan ekonomi sebenar. Memang kita kini terumbang ambing di segara yang tidak dicartakan dan tiada nakhoda yang mengawal teraju.

YBM Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah
Nota: Tengku Razaleigh sudah bangunkan blog sendiri untuk menyiarkan ucapan-ucapan dan kenyataan-kenyataannya dialamat http://tengkurazaleigh.wordpress.com/

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Sebab kekalahan di KT: Calun, calun, dan calun

Dalam sesuatu bidang, faktor untuk mencapai satu-satu pencapaian itu jelas. Dalam bidang hartanah, ianya lokasi, lokasi dan lokasi. Manakala dalam suasana politik kemaskini, kemenangan untuk pilihanraya bergantung kepada calun, calun dan calun.

Pada suatu masa dahulu, parti yang diwakili adalah penentu kejayaan dalam satu-satu kawasan. Sejak pentadbiran Abdullah, faktor itu sudah berubah. Malah semasa menghadapi PRU 12, Abdullah juga yang berkata pakai songkok saja tak menjanjikan kemenangan.

Semasa PRU 12, Tun Dr Mahathir telah memberi amaran ini apabila dia menasihati pengundi supaya menitikberatkan kewibawaan seseorang calun.

Paradigma pengundi sudah jelas berubah. Secara langsung atau tidak langsung, hampir kesemua isu yang ditimbulkan terhadap BN sepanjang kempen pilihanraya kecil Kuala Terengganu adalah berkait dengan calun. Faktor calun menjadi penyebab Barisan Nasional dan UMNO kalah di pilihanraya kecil Kuala Terengganu.

Sepatutnya UMNO boleh mengubah momentum di Kuala Terengganu, tetapi malangnya Abdullah terlalu mementingkan politik peribadi dan faction dan bukan mengutamakan UMNO dan masa depan politik UMNO. Dia lebih mementingkan untuk menaikkan puaknya. Masaalahnya orang-orang Pak Lah mempunyai masalaah antara imej yang tercemar atau kebolehan yang mediocre.

Menurut ahli Parlimen bebas, Dato Ibrahim Ali, BN sepatutnya boleh menang. Dia melihat PAS tidak mempunyai isu dengan pengunduran Abdullah pada akhir Mac 2009, penurunan harga minyak, dan pertukaran Menteri Besar. Selalunya pengundi Cina di kawasan yang peratusan lebih kurang 11% seperti di Kuala Terengganu akan mengundi BN.

Syaratnya mesti calun yang sesuai. Walaupun Wan Farid adalah Ketua Bahagian dan Timbalan Menteri, dia hanya diterima dikalangan UMNO berdasarkan taktik politik kepartiaan. Ini tdiak semesti kriteria yang sama yang akan diterima pengundi. Untuk menang pilihanraya, fokus adalah kepada kehendak pengundi, tidak kira pengundi itu ahli UMNO atau PAS atau bukan ahli mana-mana parti.

Fakta calun menjadi sangat penting dalam keadaan yang mana keadaan UMNO masih belum stabil. UMNO memerlukan kekuatan calun untuk menaikkan parti. Bukan lagi kekuatan UMNO untuk memberi jalan mudah untuk calun.

Tidak susah untuk mengagak majoriti pengundi untuk menolak Wan Farid. Dia tidak mempunyai tarikkan untuk mengekalkan pengundi UMNO kepada UMNO dan menarik undi penyokong PAS dan atas pagar. Dalam hal Wan Farid, persepsi mengenainya jelas dan tidak samar-samar.

Persepsi dari perawakan luarannya yang dilihat sombong dan tidak mesra bukan mudah untuk diterima pengundi dalam kawasan "rural".

Yang menjadi susah, pengundi rata-rata sudah mempunyai persepsi akan penglibatan Wan Farid bersama abangnya Wan Hisham dan Khairy dalam mencilok Wang Ehsan dari royalti minyak negeri kepada kroni mereka, Patrick Lim dalam projek-projek membazir seperti Monsoon Cup, Pulau Duyong, Masjid Kristal dan lain-lain.

Mengapa diambil risiko meletakkan calun yang dipercaya ramai pengundi terlibat dalam penggunaan peluru hidup untuk meleraikan penunjuk perasaan aman di Pantai batu Burok pada tahun 2007?

Mengambil calun seperti Wan Farid hanya meletakkan UMNO dalam keadaan bertahan atau defensif untuk menerangkan dan menafikan pelbagai tuduhan. Ini membantutkan UMNO untuk bergerak secara progresif, inikan pula opsyen untuk bertindak aggresif.


Sudahlah UMNO berada dalam keadaan bertahan akibat pelbagai angkara dan kelemahan pentadbiran Abdullah dan keluarga. Ini pula ditambah dengan calun yang tidak memberi kelebihan dimata rakyat.

Ini satu persepsi rakyat dari MyKMU Johor:

Bila diumumkan Wan Farid sebagai calon PRK Kuala Terengganu bagi UMNO. Ramai yang tepuk dahi. Dah tiada manusia lain di Kuala Terengganu selain kroni Pak Lah dan juga anak menantu Pak Lah, Khairy Jamaluddin?

Ramai yang tersentak, adakah Pak Lah dan Khairy masih tidak belajar dari kesilapan lampau? Tidak tahukah mereka betapa bencinya rakyat Malaysia dengan Pak Lah, Khairy dan siapa-siapa yang berkaitan dengan mereka.

Tun Dr M sendiri pernah berkata, untuk UMNO kuat Pak Lah , Khairy dan siapa-siapa yang ternampak kroni sebagai kroni kepada mereka berdua perlu dinyahkan dari UMNO. Tetapi Pak Lah kata Tun Dr M tiada relevannya...!

Keputusan PRK Kuala Terengganu dengan kekalahan yang memalukan, majoriti melebihi 2 ribu menunjukkan betapa bencinya rakyat dengan Pak Lah dan Khairy Jamaluddin.

Buat UMNO... pada PAU Mac 2009 ini, buatlah keputusan yang tepat. Tolak Pak Lah , Khairy Jamaluddin dan siapa-siapa yang ternampak seperti kroni mereka. Mereka telah ditolak RAKYAT!
Tersebut mengenai pandangan Dr Mahathir, pasti ramai akan menyalahkan Dr Mahathir kerana komennya yang dilihat boleh mengubah sentimen rakyat. Tidak hairan Dr Mahathir akan dipersalahkan.

Satu lagi komen di MyKMU JOhor:


Sebaik sahaja UMNO menamakan Wan Farid sebagai calon bagi PRK Kuala Terengganu, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad menyuarakan kekecewaan beliau apabila ditanya oleh wartawan. Tun dipetik sebagai berkata, "Wan Farid adalah SEBURUK-BURUK calon bagi UMNO" .

Apabila Pak Lah diminta mengulas kenyataan Tun ini, Pak Lah dengan bodoh sombong dan penuh keegoaan berkata, "MAHATHIR sudah TIDAK RELEVAN dalam UMNO". Pokoknya disini Pak Lah kah atau Tun Dr M yang tidak RELEVAN?

Tun Dr M sebagai seoarang yang tajam fikirannya dan luas pengalamnnya sekilas pandang sudah tahu bahawa Wan Farid bakal membawa kekalahan di dalam UMNO. Sebab-sebab Wan Farid bukan calon yang sesuai:

1. Beliau merupakan kroni Pak Lah dan rakan karib KJ. Rakyat sudah muak dengan apa sahaja yang berkait dengan Pak Lah dan Kj. Apa sahaja yang berkait dengan Pak Lah dan Kj merupakan sesuatu yang busuk dan membusukkan. Penuh dengan integriti yang menjadi tanda soal!

2. Abang Wan Farid, Wan Hisham terlibat dengan Patrick Badawi bersama meratah Duit Royalti Minyak dengan projek-projek tidak berguna untuk rakyat seperti Masjid Kristal dan Monsoon Cup.

3.Pulau Duyung yang dimajukan oleh BN Terengganu dengan "permission " Pak Lah merupakan tanah yang dipunyai oleh seoarang alim, yang sebelum meninggalnya telah mewasiatkan kepada anak beliau untuk mengharamkan hatta setitik ARAK tumpah ke pulau tersebut. Kini di Pulau Duyung terbinanya sebuah HOTEL MEWAH 6 bintang.
Isu ni dimainkan dengan kuatnya oleh PAS dan PKR di dalam ceramah-ceramah beliau.

Bagaimana Pak Lah selaku kepala BN dan UMNO tidak terfikir akan isu ini sedangkan Tun Dr M diluar UMNO boleh nampak dan telah memebrikan amaran yang sewajarnya. Saya mahu bertanya..Siapa yang tidak RELEVAN. Pak Lah atau Tun Dr M?
Siapa seharuanya bertanggungjawab di atas kekalahan ini? Diamati betul-betul, tanggungjawab bukan terletak kepada calun.

Jika isu-isu yang dimainkan pembangkang menjadi penyebab kekalahan, salahnya mesti kepada penyebab timbul isu-isu dan masaalah yang tertangguk. Salahnya semestilah mereka yang bertanggungjawab memilih calun yang salah.

Tidak lain dan tidak bukan, semua tanggungjawab harus berakhir di bahu Abdullah. Mengapa dia masih berdegil mahu kekal sebagai Perdana Menteri dan Presiden UMNO sedangkan sudah ada orang lain yang berhak menjadi Perdana Menteri dan Presiden UMNO. Sebagai ketua parti, dia masih terlibat secara langsung atau tidak langsung dalam sebarang keputusan.

Abdullah bertanggungjawab kerana tidak melakukan perubahan dan melambatkan perubahan dalam UMNO dengan masih mahu mengekalkan jawatan dan dikatakan masih berangan-angan dan mencari jalan untuk kekal terus.

UMNO perlu berubah. Cara lama yang hanya mementingkan diri dan membuat sesuatu keputusan hanya dari perspektif parti sudah tidak lagi relevan.

Semua ahli parti kena berubah untuk memikirkan mengenai masa depan parti, mengenepikan kepentingan diri dengan menghayatai intipati pengorbanan dalam perjuangan, dan utama sekali, mementingkan kebajikan rakyat dan pengundi.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

The ghost of Scomi past coming to haunt Abdullah


It seems now Abdullah was actually nervous of Muhyiddin's announcement that the US-Malaysia FTA negotiation was temporarily stalled.

As Rocky had highlighted, this morning's Singapore Straits Times and CNN news broadcast reported US State Department had designated Shah Hakim Shahzanim Zain, chief executive officer (CEO) and major shareholder of Scomi Group, together with 12 other individuals, including Dr Abdul Qader Khan under sanction for their alleged involvement in nuclear proliferation in 2004.

He must have sensed the special parliamentary seating on Monday could backfire on him. Looks like the ghost from Scomi past have come back to haunt Abdullah.

This blog have extensively written on the Scomi nuclear incident. My last piece was on June 23rd, 2008 just before BSA Tahir was freed. The Scomi nuclear have long been seen as the sword of democles on Abdullah's head and influence to shape his policies in a whole lot of areas, particularly on security and strategic issues.

With this new development, there is no other choice for Abdullah but to resign or await Agong to constitiutionally remove him immediately. He is a security threat to the nation.

And Tony Fernandez ... can kiss his airport goodbye and ready for the wrath of Banks to befall on him. Now we know why the hurry.

Scomi Nuclear Incident

This happened after Abdullah came to office at the end of 2003 and few months before calling for the 2004 General Election.

When it happened, Abdullah had denied his son was involved and claimed Kamaluddin had no knowledge of the nuclear deal. The police cleared them both but the Kaspadu partner and Scomi shareholder, BSA Tahir was held under ISA. Kamaluddin and Shah Hakam was spared.

Source from a corporate personality said Abdullah lied. Kamaluddin, Shah Hakam and BSA Tahir have long been hawking the Libyan nuclear deal about town before his father took office.

Scomi's story in their denial was they were informed the investment was for making machine parts for oil and gas exploration application. However, engineers in the oil and gas industry consulted have long refute the need for such high precision low tolerance tool for oil and gas.

Despite the denial, in August 2006, executives of Mitutoyo Corporation, was held by authorities for illegally supplying to Scomi subsidiary, SCOPE machines capable of making nuclear centrifuge.

Why Now?

The new development is rather strange.

It was reported by CNN in 2004 that the American were supportive of Pakistan's pardon of Abdul Qader Khan, believed to be the mastermind of Pakistan's underground nuclear program and is alleged to have link with BSA Tahir. It may be viewed as an American and Israeli retaliation.

The coincidence of the announcement few days after the special parliamentary seating seemed uncanny. It seemed to be a threat to Abdullah.

If in the past, the threat is on BSA Tahir, now it is on Shah Hakam. It's obviously getting nearer to Kamaluddin.

As a father who is overly protective of his children, Abdullah may not risk his son. Conspiracy theorist have long speculated that it is in the interest of the American and its regional allies to have Abdullah remain as a puppet leader. Will this further reinforce speculation that Abdullah will remain beyond end of March?

From another angle, it could be seen as external forces exterting more pressure on Abdullah. The powers at be are flexing their muscle to prove their influence on the outcome of the Kuala Terengganu by-election.

In the last few days of campaigning, Anwar Ibrahim's credibility have been questioned openly by Ezam. And since the Gaza Holocaust, his close alliance with the Americans have been under scrutiny. He was alleged to be present and a signatory to the Annapolis Summit to reaffirm Israel's sovereign status and set aside people-elected Hamas for PLO.

It could be perceived to salvage the political image and loss credibility of another of their stooge. Could it be a pressure to save Anwar when his Feb 5-6th High Court sodomy trial begin?

The nuclear incident have been long viewed by insiders within Abdullah's network of loyalists for his change of stance to pally to American and Singaporean interest, compromising national strategic interest in economic, investment, infrastructure and security, and surprising liberal socio-political agenda.

This new development confirms the long held suspicion that Abdullah, Son & Partner have betrayed the country and put the national security and interest at risk.

The only course of action left is for the immediate removal of Abdullah or demand his immediate resignation. This development provide a legitimate basis for the DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda under Article 43(4) of the Constitution to remove Abdullah from office.

The full Straits Times and archive of CNN reports to follow.

----------------------------

Straits Times, Jan 16, 2009

Sanctions on Scomi chief

Scomi chief among 13 on US list for alleged role in nuclear proliferation
By Leslie Lopez, South-east Asia Correspondent



KUALA LUMPUR: The decision by the United States to slap sanctions on a Malaysian businessman with close ties to Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi's son is set to revive debate over the country's role in the clandestine nuclear-smuggling network headed by rogue Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Mr Shah Hakim Shahzanim Zain, chief executive officer (CEO) and major shareholder of Malaysian engineering powerhouse Scomi Group, was designated by the US State Department together with 12 other individuals, including Dr Khan, for their alleged involvement in nuclear proliferation.

Also designated was Mr Buhary Syed Tahir, a Sri Lankan businessman and a Malaysian permanent resident, who was recently released by the Malaysian government after being detained for four years under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The sanctions, which the US State Department said comes after a 'multi-year US government review', mean that the individuals designated by the censure order are banned from doing business with the American government, a US government official told The Straits Times. It also severely limits their access to US government financial assistance.

The sanctions, which were announced this week, also dictate that the individuals designated will have their assets and funds in the US frozen, the official said.

The US sanctions do not apply to listed companies such as Scomi Group. But several bankers say that the unwelcome designation of its CEO and main shareholder by the US could hurt the group's efforts to expand its engineering and manufacturing business overseas.

Its core activities include oil and gas and building monorail systems. Currently, it is pursuing contracts for monorail projects in India and the Middle East.

Mr Shah Hakim did not respond to a request for comment for this report, and the US State Department statement did not detail the grounds on which the Malaysian businessman was designated under the censure order.

But regional intelligence officials said that the businessman's designation is related to fund transfers from Libya and Lebanon to finance the manufacture of centrifuge components manufactured by a Scomi subsidiary.

Ever since the nuclear-smuggling ring was exposed in late 2003, Scomi executives have maintained that they were never involved in any nuclear proliferation activities. They also insisted that the company was misled by Mr Tahir, who was a key associate of Dr Khan, into manufacturing centrifuge parts for unspecified overseas customers involved in the oil and gas industry. Mr Tahir's wife was a one-time shareholder of Scomi.

The Malaysian government at the time also cleared Scomi, in which Datuk Seri Abdullah's only son Kamaluddin is a major shareholder, of any wrongdoing.

The Malaysian government has yet to publicly comment on the latest sanctions.

But diplomats and regional intelligence officials said that the US sanctions have raised doubts over those assertions.

The nuclear smuggling ring was exposed in October 2003 when European intelligence officials intercepted a Libya-bound shipment of centrifuge components produced by a Scomi subsidiary.

After a lengthy international investigation, Mr Tahir was detained under the ISA, after the Malaysian police discovered that he secretly brought seven Libyan technicians to be trained to operate high-technology machines at the Scomi-run facility to produce centrifuge parts.

Mr Tahir was released last year after the Malaysian government declared that he no longer posed a security threat to the country. He continues to reside in Malaysia.
---------------------------

CNN World 5th February, 2004

U.S. supports nuclear pardon

From CNN's Islamabad Bureau Chief Ashhar Quraishi

ISLAMABAD (CNN) -- The United States has supported Pakistan's presidential pardon of Abdul Qadeer Khan, after the father of the nation's nuclear program admitted he gave nuclear weapons technology to other countries.

President Pervez Musharraf's decision to pardon Khan was an internal Pakistani matter, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

Musharraf said controls are now in place to stop such proliferation, and no one in his government was involved in the transfer of the technology, which went to Iran, North Korea and Libya.

However, an International Atomic Energy Agency official told CNN that IAEA Director General Mohammad ElBaradei had called the Khan revelations "just the tip of the iceberg."

The official added that ElBaradei is aware of individuals and companies in at least five other countries in Africa, Europe and Asia in the business of proliferating of nuclear technology.

Separately, former IAEA weapons inspector David Albright has urged the United States to put pressure on Pakistan to be more open with the agency.

Albright, now president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), told CNN Friday that the IAEA should be able to interview Khan and other Pakistan scientists involved in the counry's nuclear weapons program.

He said it was likely that people higher up in the Pakistan government knew of Khan's activities.

Khan's confession and subsequent pardon by Musharraf "may be necessary, but it's still a charade," he told CNN.

"There are so many questions unanswered," he said, such as exactly what technology was transferred, when it was transferred, and to whom.

And in a speech in Washington Thursday, U.S. Director of Intelligence George Tenet said Khan's transfer of nuclear technology "was shaving years" off the time some countries needed to develop nuclear weapons.

"His network is now answering to the world for years of nuclear profiteering," Tenet said.

Boucher said that "from the U.S. point of view, the broader picture is to stop the proliferation activity and to help the international community get at the networks that have been involved."

"What's important here is that the government of Pakistan take steps to make sure that Pakistan won't be a source of proliferation, either with materials, equipment, or especially with the intangibles, the expertise that can help other countries develop weapons of mass destruction," he said.

"We see Pakistan taking steps that go to that end."

He added, "The matter of punishment, the matter of what to do about the individuals involved, is a matter for Pakistan to decide."

Musharraf said Khan and the scientists who worked for him were motivated by "money."

He granted the pardon for Khan Thursday after it was recommended by Pakistan's Federal Cabinet.

Khan accepted responsibility and apologized Wednesday in a statement broadcast on Pakistani television.

"Much of it is true," he said of the allegations.

He said he was shown evidence of proliferation activities over the past two decades by Pakistanis and foreign nationals.

"The investigation has established that many of these activities did occur and that these were inevitably initiated at my behest."

He expressed "the deepest sense of sorrow and anguish," saying he knew that actions that jeopardized Pakistan's national security had traumatized the people of Pakistan. "I have much to answer for it," he said.

Khan took all the blame, saying Musharraf's government was unaware of what he was doing.

"There was never ever any kind of authorization for these activities by the government. I take full responsibility for my actions and seek your pardon," he said, adding that such activities "will never take place in the future."

The televised apology came shortly after he met with Musharraf.

The government said Khan had confessed to spreading nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea, and Libya up until the year 2000.

Military officials said nuclear weapons-related designs and components were smuggled to Iran in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Nuclear technology was transferred to North Korea and Libya in the 1990s.

The military officials said their information was based on debriefing sessions with Khan. In addition they said they had independent confirmation of some of the transfers.

Khan met and briefed scientists from the other countries and oversaw a web of transfers, they said.

The officials said direct shipments of nuclear hardware were made from Pakistan through Dubai and the Persian Gulf to North Korea.

The hardware and technology, they said, was smuggled from Khan Research Lab, a nuclear facility, outside of Islamabad.

They said uranium enrichment centrifuges were produced in Malaysia based on a Pakistani design.

There were a number of middle men involved in the transfers, the officials said, including a man now in custody in Malaysia as well as German and Dutch citizens.

There were mixed shipments that included new centrifuges and centrifuge parts.

Khan wrote a letter to Iran to destroy facilities once Pakistani officials opened an investigation.

The IAEA said Khan's statements mean the "cat is out of the bag" and the world now knows there is a black market for nuclear technology, the IAEA official said.

The IAEA's top priority now is to find out where else this nuclear knowledge, nuclear weapons blueprints, and other capability have gone and how far it has spread, CNN was told.

Diplomats close to the IAEA told CNN Malaysia is a major center for the nuclear proliferation business, and named an engineering company they believe is involved.

Malaysian Prime Minister Ahmad Badawi said Thursday police were still investigating these allegations, Bernama news agency reports. Abdullah's son is a shareholder in the company, the diplomats said.

The Malaysian company named in the investigation, Scomi Precision Engineering (Scope), is part of the Scomi Group, which has Abdullah's son Kamaluddin Abdullah as a major shareholder.

-- CNN's Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour contributed to this report

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Ku Li repeat call on leadership to face up to global economic reality


Last week, Abdullah snapped on RTM News at Tengku Razaleigh for describing the current leadership as in a state of economic denial. He said Ku Li does not have access to data and is in no position to insist the leadership face up to the reality of a looming recession.

Ku Li repeated the same message in his speech entitled Restoring Confidence in a luncheon talk yesterday at ASLI's 11th Malaysia Strategic Outlook Conference 2009 held at Hotel Istana, Kuala Lumpur. He reiterated that as a trading nation, Malaysia could not claim to be saved from what Jeffrey Sachs described as “a world economy teetering on the brink of unprecedented catastrophe." In fact, ISIS Director General, Prof Dr. Mahani Zainal Abidin expressed similar concerns in her presentation at the conference.

In his speech, he touched on problem of "middle income trap" facing the nation - not cheap enough to be a low cost producer and not efficient enough to compete with more advanced economy. Malaysia's reliance on cheap immigrant labour delayed it from traansforming the economy to a high income wage model that emphasised on productivity, investment and efficiency over purely low cost. This crutch to take the easy way out have denied the locals for better employment, income and standard of living.

The trend of low growth in the past few years and inequality of income and skills in the economy may place the nation into either a state of decline or relegation. To get out of the current state of economic quigmire, Ku Li proposed in the medium term for a developmental leap to retool and regear the economy through transformational change in governance and politics. In the short and medium term, he stressed on public spending in sectors with highest multiplier effect. In this respect, he proposed two areas namely; oil and gas for its strategic significance, and housing for its social and economic impact.

To compliment all efforts to transform the economy, he stressed on the need for leadership and a reform of public sector to change the centralised operating model of the civil service to a model of government as facilitator, aggregator and convener of business that "targets economic outcome than accounting quotas".

The full speech reproduced below:

A problem of confidence

The present financial crisis started in a speculative housing bubble in the US, inflated on greed and irrational confidence. Shady practices went mainstream under the wing of weak financial governance. When the bubble burst, gold-plated names on Wall Street were implicated. A massive loss of confidence in the financial sector has crippled credit flow worldwide. Consumption has contracted as households put off expenditure out of uncertainty. Investment has retreated. There has been a massive loss of confidence.

2. Expectations are a central factor in macroeconomic booms and busts. If a sharp loss of confidence is an endogenous part of the problem, a restoration of confidence must be the beginning of the solution. However, if we have learned anything at all from the crisis, this cannot be hollow confidence, but confidence based on a clear appreciation of our prospects. The lesson of the global economy is that false confidence based on irrational hope leads to collapse, disillusionment and pessimism.

3. We need a sound appreciation of our reality before we can dream of changing it. We need to face harsh truths before we can believe in ourselves and inspire others to believe in us. In coming to that sound appreciation here in Malaysia we have run out of time for politically manipulated messaging and sugar coated evasions.

4. Let us just begin by acknowledging that we will not be spared the effects of the global economic crisis.

5. Our leaders only undermine the government’s credibility when they paint an alternative reality for us. I understand we don’t want to frighten markets and voters unnecessarily, but we do not live in an information bubble. Only the most resolutely ignorant can now pretend that all shall be fine while the rest of the world deals with what Jeffrey Sachs has called “a world economy teetering on the brink of unprecedented catastrophe.” Leaders who deny the seriousness of the crisis only raise the suspicion that they have no ideas for coping with it. They undermine the government’s credibility when that very credibility, that confidence, is a key issue.

6. We are a trading and exporting nation. While we were relatively shielded from the first wave of financial failures there is no escape from the sharp demand slump in the global economy. The Government and Bank Negara maintain that our growth rate this year will be 3.5%. I fear it could be well under that. The latest numbers show a plunge in industrial activity, with manufacturing output in November, down 9.4 percent from a year ago. December may well be worse. Exports are down. There has been a dramatic swing in the balance of payments to a RM31 billion deficit in the third quarter, from a surplus of RM26 billion in the second. Anyone looking at the size of the downturn and at its swiftness can only wonder if we will be sailing through. This crisis really “went global” only in the final quarter of last year, but within that single quarter manufacturing both here and in Singapore contracted by more than 10 percent on the previous year. Policymakers in Singapore appear far more alarmed than our own. After having declared a recession, they found that the effects of the crisis were far worse than they thought. We are just at the beginning, and the bottom is not yet in sight.

7. Three and a half percent growth, even if we achieve it, will not create enough jobs to employ the large number who enter the workforce each year from our young population. Given our demographic profile and the fact that we are an oil exporter, our baseline do-nothing growth figure is not 0% but closer to 4%.

8. We do have a problem. Now we need to acknowledge that we are not in good shape to deal with it. After early decades of rapid progress, it looks like that economic growth has flattened, our public delivery system calcified and our economic leadership run out of ideas.

The financial crisis in the context of our developmental path

9. Malaysia is squeezed between being the low cost manufacturer we once excelled as, and the knowledge-intensive economy we are failing to become. Our years of sustained high growth ended in 1997 with the Asian Economic Crisis. With the subsequent rise of China and India as low cost producers with giant domestic markets, the manufacturing sector which propelled that growth is being hollowed out.

10. We are in the infamous “middle Income trap”. No longer cheap enough to compete with low cost producers and not advanced enough to compete with more innovative ones, we find ourselves squeezed in between with no economic story. Successful economies, like successful companies, need a compelling story, and we don’t have one. With falling communications and transport costs, the skilled engineers, managers and designers of the rich countries are pairing themselves to the cheaper labour of poor countries to extract productivity and cost benefits. The global integration of labour markets favours both rich and poor countries and stagnates the wages of those in the middle that are neither smarter nor cheaper. That means us. Our working people have suffered stagnant wages and a rising cost of living.

11. According to the World Bank, Malaysia’s share of GDP contributed by services was 46.2% in 1987. How much did you think it was twenty years later in 2007? 46.4%.

How much do you think the real wages of our workers grew between 1994 and 2007? By 2.6% in the domestic sector and by 2.8% in the export sector.

Unskilled migrant workers, documented and undocumented, make up 30-40% of our workforce. Meanwhile, alone in East Asia, the number of expatriate professionals here has decreased. Alone in East Asia, private sector wage increases follow government sector increases, not the other way around.

Did we have to learn about this from the World Bank? What has the EPU been doing? Has the cabinet pondered these numbers? Have we had a national discussion about what this?

12. The only long term path to prosperity is increased income through increased productivity. Sustained productivity growth is the engine of China’s unbroken run of high growth. Our failure to increase productivity and working incomes has been masked by an influx of cheap labour. That cheap labour has become another crutch for us.

13. Low growth

a) The other thing masking our underperformance over the last decade is the fact that in this time the world economy has experienced its biggest expansion in recorded history. We have averaged 4 to 5 percent growth throughout a historic boom over which world economic growth has averaged 4.5 percent. Meanwhile the two most populous nations in the world have been growing at or near double digit rates, multiplying per capita incomes and lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty in the greatest expansion of human welfare in history. That boom is over and we have missed it.

b) By analogy, when we view the report cards of our own children, we set our expectations against what they have been given and what they were capable of in the past. Turning to our own country, so richly endowed with natural and cultural resources, a stable society and good institutions, we see a failing report card. Instead of educating our young to be competitive we have turned out large numbers without the skills and attitudes suited for basic work, let alone for the global economy that is not out there somewhere but on our own shores.
Each decade we have discovered new ‘peer-countries’ against whom we might look decent because we have fallen out of the league of the last set of peers. We fail to notice we have been relegated. Remember that in the 60’s we were classified with Taiwan and Korea, in the eighties with Singapore and Hong Kong. Now we are less “relevant” than Vietnam as an investment destination. I remember receiving delegations from Taiwan and Hong Kong who came to learn from us.

14. Inequality

We cannot comfort ourselves that we have sacrificed growth for social equity. Despite the strong redistributive measures the government has pursued for decades, our Gini coefficient, the standard measure of inequality, has been ballooning. In this region only Papua New Guinea is more unequal. We have the most unequal income distribution in Southeast Asia. If there is supposed to be a trade-off between growth and equity, we have not made it. We are failing on both growth and equity.

15. What does it take to make the leap from middle to high income? The countries that have done it recently, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, have one feature in common: they were able to learn from previous crises. Without a buffer of natural resources, each of these economies was more exposed than we were. In relative terms, because they are even more trade oriented than we are, each may be harder hit by this downturn than we are. But we miss the picture if we stand by and comfort ourselves that we are ‘shielded’ because our capital markets have been less open. Our very problem may be that we have been shielding ourselves from learning, which requires systematic change in behaviour or knowledge informed by experience.

16. The criterion of success for making the developmental leap, the key differentiator between the leaders and the also-rans, is not immunity from economic crises (after all, if you have a Stone Age economy, you are completely immune) but the organizational capability of governments to learn and re-organize around new national economic strategies through these crises. Each major crisis is either an important opportunity to transform the economy or a major setback to our ambitions. The question is whether our policymaking and policy implementing apparatus is set up, motivated and led to learn from this crisis. It is a question of the capability of government and governance.

17. We must also retrain and re-skill those who lose their jobs because of this crisis. This cannot be done in the present ad hoc manner. It must be a coordinated program, with courses matched and tracked to learners according to a National Skills Plan which in turns supports a vision for the Economy. Those lost jobs, especially in the manufacturing sector, will not be coming back. We better have a plan and a vision.

18. What are the consequences of sailing into an economic storm in our present condition, after a decade of lacklustre performance and with no plan, no vision for sustained high growth? We can look at two scenarios: breakdown or relegation.

a) Breakdown
As a developmental state, the legitimacy of our government is based on its guarantee of social peace and economic development.

As Professor Clive Kessler has observed: “Social peace in Malaysia depends upon the continuation, and the continuing expectation, of economic growth and prosperity; while economic growth and prosperity depend upon the continuation and assurance of social peace.” This reciprocal relationship between peace and growth makes us prone to a vicious feedback cycle: if either engine were to fail, the other would fail with it, and take us down a spiral of failure with a painful end. Our margin for error is slimmer than we think. Our socio-political setup implies that we don’t have a smooth glide down to complete irrelevance. Like a bicycle or an airplane we need to be running at a certain speed to avoid falling off.

b) Relegation
On a second scenario we might just coast through the downturn. However we will emerge with an economy that has failed to gear up to the demands of the global economy, fallen yet further behind along our developmental path and locked ourselves tighter into a long term pattern of low growth. Sooner or later will come that painful reckoning described in the first scenario.

19. We should view the crisis in the context of our history as a young nation. The last time the world faced a contraction of this size Malaysia did not yet exist. The crisis is has broken out at a critical point in the development paths of our economy and our political system. Put these three factors together, and we have a perfect storm: an unprecedented need for leadership at just the moment when our system for selecting and legitimizing political leadership appears to be broken.

Where next

20. My reading of where we stand may seem harsh, but perhaps the world is harsher. I don’t wish to offend, but I believe we need to grasp the peril of our situation clearly before we know what to do next.

21. In the medium term we need to make a developmental leap. But a leap is not a straight-line projection of the present. It is not about doing more of what we have done. We are not going to get there putting up more highways, declaring more Growth Corridors or planting more oil palm. The way up is a complex achievement that in turn depends on transformative improvements in governance and a successful reform of our political system.

22. The world recession is a critical opportunity for us to re-gear and re-tool the Malaysian economy because it is a challenge to take bold, imaginative measures. It lights the fire under our feet to make transformative improvements in governance and politics. It also demands that the government spend boldly on the right things, in the right way, to stimulate demand.

23. Two criteria for ‘the right things” would be those public investments with the widest multiplier effects, over the short and the longer term. Over the short term, there are often tradeoffs between impact on demand and on improved economic capacity. Over the long term, the two are the same. The “long term multiplier” is nothing less than the improved capacity of the entire system.

24. So we must think carefully about what we spend the “fiscal stimulus” on. There is no such thing as a free lunch. We will be going into deficit to finance this stimulus, so it can’t be about just spreading money around. So far there has been no impact from the stimulus package announced in November, nor was it clear what the economic thinking was behind that measure.

25. We don’t need another stimulus “package” of spending here and there. What we need, and what the crisis gives us a chance to implement, is a set of bold projects with an economic story behind them to help Malaysia make the developmental leap we have been missing. We have a once in a lifetime economic challenge. We must meet this challenge with a historic sense of purpose. That means, not with a “stimulus” consisting of ad hoc pork barrel expenditures but a set of public investment projects guided by a vision, designed around a strategy and governed with bullet-proof integrity.

26. Let me suggest two programmes and an enabling set of reforms.

Oil and Gas Centre

27. Oil and Gas has served us well, but we have still not tapped our strategic strength in this sector despite our unmatched natural and strategic advantages:

a) Malaysia is the leading Oil and Gas producer in the region. Our proven reserves have been augmented by major discoveries in recent years.

b) More than half the world’s annual merchant fleet tonnage passes through the Straits of Malacca, with most of it continuing into the South China Sea. Oil flows through the Straits of Malacca are three times greater than that through the Suez Canal and fifteen times greater than flow through the Panama Canal. We live alongside the most important oil shipping route in the world. Our fifteenth century ancestors may have done more to tap that advantage than we.

c) We have in Petronas one of the leading oil companies in the world.

d) We have strong trade links to Middle Eastern oil producers.
28. We could do much better. Consider that despite having no oil resources, Singapore is among the top three global players in trading, refining and manufacture of oil and gas equipment.

29. Three years ago, while Malaysia still held the OIC chairmanship, I proposed a National Strategic Plan with the vision of developing Malaysia into Asia’s Oil and Gas centre, with leading capabilities in refining, shipping, distribution, storage and downstream production.

30. We should develop offshore storage facilities for other producer nations with high country risk. Oil and gas exploration, extraction and production are increasingly technology driven, high value operations in themselves as oil becomes scarcer. There will be large payoffs for having our own R&D capability in exploration, extraction and production. We should specialize in energy technology, including alternative energy sources for a carbon-constrained future.

31. We should form partnerships along the value chain. These could include a network of agreements with Gulf producers and with major consumers to improve oil security. We could form G-to-G partnerships in ASEAN, provide tax incentives and craft innovative Production Sharing Contracts,

32. Here’s the exciting thing. For all these ventures to work we need greatly improved capabilities to finance and trade oil and gas. Given our very special geographic and strategic advantages, we should build the first spot and futures Exchange for Oil and Gas in an OIC nation.

33. Whatever the government chooses to do, it should understand that for us to get on a higher growth plane we must specialize, and we must have a government capable of providing the direction, drive and executive capability to foster that specialization. Globalisation requires a relentless focus on competitive advantage. We need our own story.

Housing

34. Let’s start a program to bring home ownership to the whole country. The construction sector creates multiplier effects in more than a hundred other industries. It provides work in everything from insurance to advertising to materials supply. Of all the national projects we could undertake, few could have such a large social as well as an economic multiplier effect.

35. Housing builds powerful social capital and gives substance to citizenship. A national housing project allows us to design entire communities and townships with their transportation, communications, educational and recreational infrastructure with a strong set of standards and social objectives. It lets us plan the housing stock to cater to the lifecycle of home ownership, with a good mix of options for different localities and life-cycle requirements. It is a way to grow racial harmony, build integrated schools, and help the poor without creating a crutch.

36. Let’s commit ourselves to having each and every Malaysian family own their own home. This vision is a radical challenge to the nation to do better. It will require extraordinary improvements in our ability to design, construct and finance housing projects. It will require the setting up of a statutory board to oversee housing development, administration and management. As land governed by the State powers, the States will have to implement these projects. This will require, and hopefully force, improved coordination between the Federal and State governments, especially now that we might no longer expect that the same party is in power in both places.

37. Financing for this investment could come from modifications to EPF, with matched contributions from the government towards the value of the property. Because it comes out of savings, this spending would be non-inflationary. I can think of few better ways to get the economy humming again, give our citizens a focal point of hope and pride, and weave a safety net that also encourages savings and enterprise.

Public sector reform

38. We cannot wait till the crisis blows over to tackle the public delivery system head on. This is because we will need an upgraded public service just to implement such large public programs successfully.

39. The need for improved governance is greater, not less, in challenging economic times. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt implemented the New Deal to push America out of the Great Depression, many feared that this would present a huge opportunity for graft. Confounding these expectations, the New Deal programmes were implemented with unprecedented transparency. FDR did this by building oversight into the implementation of his rescue program.

40. Similarly, the two programmes I have suggested would come to nought if they were derailed by the corrupt practices that have become the norm in this country. Instead of rescuing our economy they would become millstones around our neck. As part of the project management of these programmes we should set up powerful, independent divisions devoted to investigating complaints of fraud.

41. Today the role of the public sector is a lot more complex than anyone could have imagined even a decade ago. A “public delivery system” that was designed for the challenges of the 1950’s cannot possibly cope with the complex demands of the globalised 21st. The current crisis propagated worldwide in internet time as regulators scrambled to catch up. Government now needs to be smarter, tougher and more responsive than before to engage on equal footing with business. We need leadership to change the operating model of the civil service from last century’s centralized planning approach, driven by budgetary plans, to a model of government as facilitator, aggregator and convener of business. Government that targets economic outcomes rather than accounting quotas.

42. We need to demand as much talent and organizational ability in our public service as the private sector does of its own people. Today the quality government is a core component of national competitiveness. However there is nothing strange about the expectation that the civil service should be a high performing organization led by an intellectual elite. It is how the Malayan Civil Service used to operate. Many of us remember it.

CONCLUSION

43. What I have outlined this afternoon are just my suggestions. I am sure there are many other ideas in this distinguished company.

44. Let me end where I began, with the question of confidence.

45. We need to restore confidence in our basic institutions, our leadership, the integrity of the Federation, the rule of law and our national Constitution. This is of a piece with the vital economic confidence needed to unleash credit, investment and consumption, and get everyone working. We need to restore confidence in Malaysia.

46. Real confidence is hope based on an apprehension of the truth. It is social capital and trust in society and its future. It is inspired by leaders willing to take us through an unflinching evaluation of where we are today to a vision of what we are capable of tomorrow. It means owning our own story and banking on it.

47. The country can no longer afford a political class out of touch with reality that trades on yesterday’s political insecurities and a government that has forgotten its purpose. We need a renewal of leadership as a first step to restoring true confidence.

48. The economic statistics are mere indicators of the activities and expectations of the unique national community we are trying to build, so that building an economy and building a nation, providing good governance and being truthful, are not things that can be achieved apart from one another. To reignite our confidence would be to revitalise the project of building Malaysia.

* Update: 6/1/2009 1:00 pm

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