Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The NEM without rent-seeker and patronage require new politics

The previous weekend, this blogger attended the book launch of a fellow blogger Nobisha. [His new link is here].

As the author described, the book entitled "Tunggu apa lagi" is about the change from the current political practise away from endless games of perception.

It is time for archaic politics of "jaga kawasan" moveon to the real politics of legislating law and "jaga kawasan" via serious scrutiny of public policies.

Deputy Education Minister and sociologically trained, Dr Puad Zarkashi, who officiate the launch, had the previlage to read the manuscript on his trip to and from his Batu Pahat constituency and gave a good review. Buy and read the book.

Coincidently, the Prime Minister's first phase unveling of the New Economic Model yesterday spoke indirectly on a similar subject.

Before this blogger could thoroughly study his full speech and a 200-page document that comes with it to give a comment, the first reaction to the NEM would be towards PM's brevity to call for a need to change away from the rent-seeking and patronage culture pervading our business culture.

The PM would not be uttering such words without realising it entails undertaking a major political reform to end rent-seeking and patronage practise related to politics and move political practise to the new politics partly described by Nobisha's book.

To what extent will the PM and UMNO President ready to deal with the well embedded political patronage culture?

Whether it is practised by Barisan Nasional in the past or currently being adopted beyond the public eyes by Pakatan Rakyat state Government, rent-seeking and patronage practices is a pragmatic way to deal with party financing.

Donors to the party coffer are crudely third world in their attitude. They need to see the payback from their political investment to be immediate if not within a short time and direct in the form of contracts.

This is unlike donors in more develop democracies, which donate to support for the position taken by candidates or the political party they represent. The return they seek is in intangible or indirect form.

The reality is politics cannot survive merely great ideas and/or personalities. It needs office, hold event, donation to constituencies, and fund the division and branches operation or activites. Politics like many things in life need money to get going.

They may say revolution needs an empty stomach but beyond the history taught in school, not mentioned is the French revolution had bankers' bankrolling it.

Without sufficient donors, political parties have to find ways to maintain their incumbencies. Unless there are politicians already well endowed with personal wealth, there is no other choice then siphoning contracts to cronies with the agreement that part of the profit is donated back to the party.

Here lies rent-seeking and patronage practice.

To make matter worse, money is needed is to keep party workers and cadre going. Politics is actually a full time job and we are lying to ourselves to say it is supposed to be on a volunteer basis. There is only so much government post available to keep them on payroll.

Nevertheless, the practise in developed democracies is such. The party membership is minimal but come campaign time, it relies on volunteers that helped manned the campaign. These volunteers come forward out of their own conviction and usually work for free or sustainance.

Thats what new politics all about. Politics of conviction, agenda, programs and ideology.

In the case of Malaysia, it means our wakil rakyat has to stop taking charge of "jaga kawasan" and leave the menial task to the local authorities and Government Department.

In fact, assisting the constituencies was described by one opposition YB to this blogger as the 10th role of a parliamentarian. The primary being lawmakers.

The new politics devoid of rent-seeking and patronage means voters for party positions or public offices is not dependent on "filled" handshake but his or her ideas, vision, and capability as leader and lawmakers.

On this note, UMNO have made the first step to dilute the impact of Kepala Agung by increasing the number of voters in party election and diluting the influence of any money politic practise.

But this need to be complimented by a strong action against past offenders. Dato Najib mentioned going after the offenders as one of three main points he expressed in his inaugral address as UMNO President. Till today, what has happened to the 2,500 reported complains? It is unbelievable that none is found guilty.

To reduce rent seeking and patronage, UMNO does not need huge membership in the millions. In most part, the million of party members are fulfilling the role of volunteers in developed politics.

Party membership must be distinctively about those able to comprehend and contribute the serious politics of agenda, issues and law and not about merely filling up halls, putting up posters and banners, become boo boys, etc.

It may mean a smaller and more effective size UMNO. It may mean building networks with NGOs with different profiles, roles and focus. As demonstrated by the emergence of Perkasa, NGO may hold the trump card of power in the future.

Securing votes and support in the future in this agenda-based politics will be about negotiating with this self interest groups. Lessen will be the art of politics but more the science of it. And no more is it about dirty tricks but honouring promises and fulfilling agenda.

But will Dato Najib dare to take such drastic change towards something remotely different from the present? More so, when Pakatan Rakyat are emulating the same rent seeking and patronage practise of the past that he blamed for wrecking the system.

Maybe it is not too bizarre an idea for an initiative to call all political players parties to lay out a new political code of ethics towards a new politics that is free from waste and inefficiencies.

If he dare, this blogger see another Tun Razak in the making.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

SC Chairwoman renewal politics?


Picking up from Rocky Bru's tip off here of Securities Commission Chairman's Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar seeking renewal, my immediate response is as per written by Bigdog here. She has yet to answer and explain her position on ECM Libra debacle.

Few years have past now, and she is up for renewal.

The feedback received from conversations with few banker and fund manager on her have been good. It is her sheer good luck that those spoken are baik sangka (well intention) people. She was described with great superlatives on her integrity, ethic and work rate.

Perhaps the ECM Libra-Avenue merger debacle is an exception. She was then thrown in the deep end of the pool early in her appointment. Would be good if she could clarify the issue once and for all.

However there is some very upsetting turn of event occuring. Is she trying to play politics to get a renewal? If so, then where lies her integrity?

ECM Libra on my mind

Zarinah should know there are people like this blogger who knows very well that she allowed herself to be strong armed by Khairy and Kalimullah to allow the ECM Avenue scam through.

Secondly, she approved the interested parties in Avenue Capital to vote in the EGM thus severely putting the minority shareholders at a disadvantage.

Thirdly, the whole financial restructuring and takeover scheme is filled with inconsistencies with the Merger Takeover Code.

Finally, Zarinah was shielded by then PAC Chairman, Dato Shahrir Samad from being properly questioned at PAC inquiry. She spoke for 15-20 minitues and her words were as basis for others including Tan Sri Nor Mohamad Yakcop.

Zarinah is a close friend of Kalimullah. Her family re close family friend with teh former Prime Minister now known as Tun Lah.

Strange brew

As much as this blogger was extremely pissed with the way rules are connivingly manipulated to favour politically strong parties in the ECM Libra - Avenue Merger debacle, tightening and making the rules stricter does not serve the purpose in a new proposed ruling by SC.

The Star dated March 23, 2010 reported that a new requirement that 75% of shareholder approval needed to approve an asset and liabilities takeover.

The article below:

Mixed review to SC proposal

Dealmakers, bankers prefer simple majority method

PETALING JAYA: Investment bankers and dealmakers have voiced their opposition to the proposed rule change on the assets and liabilities method of buying listed companies.

An investment banker said: “We are of the view that the minimum assenting level should be maintained at the simple majority level and the veto right should not be allowed.”

To recap, the Securities Commission (SC) last Friday issued a consultative paper which proposed to raise the shareholder approval level in an acquisition via assets and liablities from the current simple majority to 75% shareholder approval.

It also suggested an additional requirement that not more than 10% of shareholders present can object to the deal.

“The veto right may lead to oppression of majority shareholders’ rights by a single or small group of minority shareholders.

“Majority shareholders may be held to ransom by the minority shareholders, who could be a single shareholder of a significant block, with its own personal agenda,” the investment banker said.

Under Section 132 (c) of the Companies Act, a buyer only needs a simple majority to take out the assets of the listed company.

This allows the buyer to circumvent the Takeover Code, where the threshold to take over a company and de-list it, is higher at 90% acceptance of shares outstanding that are not owned by the offeror.

This is aimed at protecting the interests of minority shareholders by requiring a higher threshold of shareholder approval before a deal is done.

“Increasing the minimum assenting level and/or imposing the veto right will hinder and stifle merger and acquisition (M&A) activities and consolidation exercises, and in a larger context, would adversely affect our capital markets,” the investment banker said.

He added that by imposing higher approval thresholds, consolidation of the banking industry would also be more challenging.

A second investment banker opined: “We will have to find other ways of doing business and continue to be innovative. It is going to be more difficult to do M&A deals. However, there have been a lot of complaints especially from the minoriy shareholders and the SC’s role is to protect minority rights.’’

A stockbroker said: “It will have an adverse impact on M&As in the capital market. The existing rules already provide adequate protection for all shareholders including minority shareholders.

“Minority protection must be balanced with being fair to majority shareholders – it is in the interest of majority shareholders to negotiate and agree on a fair and reasonable deal as their investment values would be more impacted compared with those of minority shareholders.’’

However, a third investment banker said: “It is a good development to realign our laws with those of the more developed nations. It is fair to increase the threshold to ensure that takeovers are done at fair pricing.’’

Minority Shareholder Watchdog Group CEO Rita Benoy Bushon welcomed the move by the SC to plug the loophole that allows the takeover of listed companies using only a simple majority of votes.

“It is timely that the SC and Bursa Malaysia are doing this as it will go a long way in protecting the intertests of minority shareholders,” said Bushon. She also reckoned the 75% shareholder approval level suggested by the SC was a fair threshold level as it achieved the balance of protecting minority shareholders and at the same time not hindering M&As.

Rita was also impressed with the 10% “squeeze out” clause as it is known in some markets. This refers to the proposal that if at least 10% of voting shareholders oppose the asset sale, the deal can be blocked. “We have been calling for that rule to be implemented in the asset sale situations,” she said.
If clearly stated rules are adhered without waivers being given indiscriminately to friends, do SC need such new rules to safe guard minority shareholders?

Think of the smaller ones

SC should have been more sensitive to the small holders and moniority shareholders. But the nature of her work is such she is socially closer to the industry captains. That is more about her than her responsbility and term of reference.

If there is anything that SC should step in is really about fair market valuation for minority shareholders. Small shares players are not interested to "own" and run the company. What is important is that they do not lose from unfair valuation?

Company valuation should not be restricted to merely asset based or earning based or last market done valuation.

The buck stops at SC and what is to stop SC of waivering rules at 75% level. Is the SC serious to relinquish their discretionary power and be mechanical to the rules about it?

Power play?

There are rumours going around that these rules does not have any specific intention other than the fact that she wants her position to be renewed.

Coincidently or by design, EON Bank is up for grab and Hong Leong and CIMB are eyeing. Need we remind ourself the strong Hong Leong, Merill Lynch and Earnst Young background of most people in ECM Libra?

Quek Leng Chan is Singaporean born Malaysian with family link with the Kwek's Singapore Hong Leong group. One wonders if Kalimullah's hand is busy trying to help expand Hong Leong Bank in Malaysia.

Since Kalimullah is rumoured working together with Anwar in toppling Najib, it is worth reminding of some old corporate history.

Hong Leong has a past history with Anwar Ibrahim who assured them continuous presence in the Malaysian banking sector. It is an open secret that the Queks or Kweks will never get a banking license in Singapore as long as 'ole man Lee is still alive.

Does this new ruling has anything to do with EON bank?

In applying the new rule, some quarter is saying Zarinah is doing a strong arm on CIMB Nizar Razak to get abang to renew her contract. Otherwise, she is giving CIMB hell on the EON bank takeover. Now that is politics.

If she start to wield her power on the corporate in such manner on the PM's brother, what would she do to others? Will it mean she turn monster when Najib is no more PM?

Don't want to sound sexist but cute good hard working professional women and men shouldn't do politics.

And never think blue bloods will always remain gentlemen and graceful all the time. They do f**k, if you play hard on them. Remember that.

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Monday, March 08, 2010

Is Kalimullah and Singapore severing interest with Abdullah?


Ghost of Kamaluddin's past return to haunt.

And, the returning ghost is no other than BSA Tahir, the former ISA detainee whose detention in 2004 was seen as a coverup by Tun Abdullah for Kamaluddin and his Scomi partner, Shah Hakam who also participated in the manufacturing of nuclear centrifuge for Libya deal.

That incident led many to believe that Abdullah's administration was under seige and Abdullah was living under the swords of democles of the American.

BSA Tahir was a subject of a news piece on Singapore Times last Thursday. It was only known to Malaysian political blog readers when Malaysia Today republished the news here.

He is suing his former partners, Kamaluddin and Shah Hakam. The new development can only be expected when one's partner ripped oneself while in the slammer. If he can't get justice, at least get some money out of it. Best wishes BSA.

The significant aspect of the piece is the fact that it was published by Singapore Times and written by Leslie Lopez.#

In case, someone asked what is the big deal, the answer is Singapore Times is not just a publishing company. If that needs further explanation, then find out about Xinhua News Agency role beyond a news agency. It is the same with Singapore Times.

Then apply the 4 Wives 1 Husband analysis to the Singapore Times news below:

Shareholder dispute revives Scomi past

Sri Lankan seeks $31m from ex-PM's son and another businessman

By Leslie Lopez (senior Regional Correspondent)
Singapore Times

A YET-TO-BE published shareholder dispute involving the son of former prime minister Abdullah Badawi is likely a renew debate over Malaysia's role in the clandestine trade of senstitive minitery technology.

Sri Lankan businessman Bahary Syed Abu Tahir has gone to the High Court to claim RM75 million (S$32 million) from the fromer primeir's son, Mr Kamaluddin Abudllah, and another businessman, Mr Shah Hakim Shazanim Zain.

In the suit filed by his wife late last year, Mr Tahir is demanding what he claims is money owed to him for his equity interest in engineering company, Scomi Group, lawyers family with the case told The Straits Times.

Mr Tahir was one of the founding shareholders of Scomi. His shares, held by his Malaysian wife, were in Kaspadu, which has a 34 per cent controlling interest in Scomi.

The remaining shares of Kuala Lumpur-listed Scomi are held by various funds and members of the public.

Mr Tahir's stake in Kaspadu, which amounted to 27.5 per cent of the equity, was transferred to Mr Kamaluddin and Mr Shah Hakim in a private arrangement in early 2004.

It took place amid an international scandal sparked after Scomi's link to the now-defunct nuclear smuggling ring headed by Pakistan Scientist Abdul Qadeer Kahn were exposed.

The deal gave Mr Kamuluddin and Mr Shah Hakim complete control as they are the only other shareholders of Kaspadu. But a dispute over the value of the transferred shares has persisted.

The low-profile Mr Tahir could not be contacted for comment. A lawyer who has acted for him on matters related to his requested to discuss the suit.

Mr Kamuluddin and Mr Shah Hakim, responding separely to The Straits Times' queries, acknowledged that they were entangled in a legal duspute over the equity holdings in Kaspadu.

Mr Kamuluddin said Mr Tahir had invested RM7.025 million toward the total cost of the acquisition and financial restruring of Scomi. As consideration for his contribution, 27,500 shares in Kaspadu were transferred to his wife Nazimah Syed Majid, who held the shares as his nominee, Mr Kamaluddion said.

The two businessmen did not elaborate further on the dispute.

Their close associates said that the original settlement for the Kaspadu shares was RM50 million and that Mr Tahir and his wife had already received half of that sum.

They claimed that the two men had made payment of an additional RM10 million to Mr Tahir's lawyers. But that instalment was never accepted by Mr Tahir or his nominees.

The increasing hostile turn in the business relationship between Mr Tahir and his one-time partners carries major remifications for Malaysia and Scomi, which has been pushing to secure infrastructure contracts outside the country.

The dispute is also likely to revive debate over Malaysia's somewhat cosy handling of Mr Tahir.

Malaysia's international reputation took a beating in late 2003 when a Scomi unit was identified as the manufacturer of crucial centrifuge components destined for Libya.

After a lengthy investigation into Scomi's affair, Malaysia police detained Mr Tahir in March 2004 under the Internal Security Act, which allows for indefinite detention.

They did so on the grounds that the Malaysian permanent resident had put the country at risk of possible sanctions from big power. He was also declared a national security threat.

Mr Tahir was granted a conditonal relase in mid-2008, and all conditonal relase on him were lifted in March last year, police sources said.

The police have long maintained that Scomi was duped by Mr Tahir into producing the centrifuge components for the Khan network, and that Mr Kamuluddin and Mr Shah Hakim were not guity of any crime linked to the nuclear scandal.

Just weeks before Mr Tahir's arrest in Kuala Lumpur, United States officials also publicly absolved Malaysia and Scomi of any wrongdoing.

But after his release, the US State Department slapped sanctions on him and several other individuals, including Mr Shah Hakim and Dr Khan, for involvement in nuclear proliferation.

The State Department said the actions were a result of a years-long US goverment review of nuclear proliferation activities.

ljlepez@sph.oom.sg

***************************

Detained for nuclear smuggling

MR BUHARY Syed Abu Tahir(left), a Sri Lankan national and Malysian permenent resident, remains the only person to have been detained for nuclear summgling under Malaysia's Internal Security Act.

He was declared a national security risk for his involvemtn in an illegal nuclear network, led by Pakistani secientist Abudl Qadeer Khan, which sold nuclear know-ho and technology to Libya, Iran dan North Korea.

Officials said he had also put Malaysia at risk of sanctions from big powers.

He spent nearly four years in detention, but only two of those at the Kamunting prison camp in northern Perak state.

Malaysia police sources said Mr Tahir was transferred to a secreat safe house in Kuala Lumpur that was gazetted by the goverment as a holding facility in mid-2006. He enjoyed regular access to his family.

He was granted a conditional release in mid-2008. The terms of this relase included reporting weekly to the police and limits on this overseas travel.

All restrictions were lifted at the end of March last year, said police sources.

He now lives in Kuala Lumpur with his family and maintains a low profile.
There is a lot of questions that need asking. Why would Kalimullah's own staff wrote a piece damaging to Abdullah's son?

Kalimullah a close associate and Abdullah's appointed GEIC for NST has a close association with Singapore. It was his link to Singapore Times that lost him a job to be the late Ghaffar Baba's Press Secretary when he returned as Minister. Failing that, he rebuilt his inroad into the Malaysian corridor of power through Abdullah and made amass a fortune.

Is there a US or Singapore interest in the play?

There have been some development other than BSA Tahir's release from ISA. As a recap, the nuclear centrifuge was caught in it's destiny for Libya in late 2003 just before Tun Abdullah's ascension to Premiership.

The police believed and cleared Kamaluddin and Tun Salleh Abas's son in law and Scomi CEO, Dato Shah Hakam on the basis that both were duped into it by BSA Tahir. However, my personal encounter with a business associate of Kamaluddin and BSA Tahir dispute that reason.

But, it is the police opinion that matters and BSA Tahir was subsequently detained under ISA in March 2004. The long held believe is that he was detained to save the skin of Abdullah.

At around the time of BSA Tahir detention, the US cleared Malaysia of any involvement.

Since then, Dr Qadeer Khan's nuclear program has defunct. Strangely, the US had slapped a travel sanction on Dr Qadeer Khan and Shah Hakam middle of last year. That's strange, but why now?

More questions.

It is public knowledge that during his premiership, Abdullah basically kow tow to Singapore's every other wishes. He is no more in power, thus the question: why the need to pressure on Abdullah and family?

Or is it a fluke chance of putting some pressure on Malaysia for something through the former PM's son?

Yes off course, that's far fetch.

A more far fetch explanation would be to link it to Singapore Navy's warning statement of piracy threat in the Straits of Malacca last Thursday. The straits seaway is of global strategic importance.

Singapore, the nation of banana people have been ever eager to be an American "Deputy Sheriff" for South East Asia. They have always wanted their involvement in the security of the Straits of Malacca. Any US presence will not stop there and Asean can kiss ZOPFAN goodbye.

A straight forward conclusion is that Singapore is sending the message Abdullah is of no consequence to them. The message is by Kalimullah's people writing on something sensitive and damaging on Abdullah.

They are viewing it as more practical to maintain ties and appease Najib.

In other words, Khairy should not expect police escort any more if he wishes to cruise on Singapore's highway in a Mercedes sportscar with stopovers at Raffles for tea and scones.

* New addition

Why would Kalimullah have ties with Raja Petra to whack on Najib?

Former PKR bloggers are revealing that he provided his wife's apartment at Trinity Court, Bayswater, London for Raja Petra's accomodation. Kalimullah denied such accusation and reasoned that Raja Petra was critical of Abdullah and himself.

The counter spin is simple.

There is no permanent enemies and friends in politics. But there are common enemy, motives, and objectives. It is respectively Najib, bringing down BN and PAP's pre-1965 vision of Malaysian Malaysia.

In at least in one of those, Abdullah is not likely to agree with Kalimullah.

* Edited 8:30 PM

#Correction 13/3 12:30 PM - Pardon for mistake on Leslie Lopez vis a vis Lespie Lau. Nevertheless, it "doesn't change the story".

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Saturday, March 06, 2010

Zaid Ibrahim's inevitable political demise

Back in October 19, 2009, this blogger wrote a posting on Zaid Ibrahim entitled Azmin's seige mentality, Another missed opportunity.

This blog has always taken a critical view of Zaid since his less than sincere attempt to bring about judicial reform was nothing more than being Abdullah and Khairy's political errand boy. He handled the Tun Salleh compensation poorly. Basically, Zaid then was in the way of our fight to oust Tun Abdullah.

In that recent posting, despite citing his past habit of leaving things unfinished, the posting was kinder and supportive of his effort for a 2-party system. It may not be good immediately for BN in the near future and it is not easy for Pakatan so-called component parties but it is for the good of democrasy and in the long term, it is good for BN. Perhaps it nothing to do with all that, but just giving face to a friend and the name sake to the first law firm this blogger has ever hired to handle his first deal.

Since then, Zaid has gone back to his usual gullible self. He shot his mouth against Zulkifli Nordin under the guise of freedom of speech which he himself never practise such when he was Minister. It is obvious fringe thinking and super liberal Zaid despise and have ex-to-grind against Islamist in the likes Zulkifli Nordin.

That landed him to face the PKR's disciplinary board. My mental response was, "Here he goes again." He is returning from leave, and judging by his past habit to sulk and quit, Zaid's foray into politics may see an inevitable ending soon.

This article below echoes a similar view to this blogger of Zaid:


Zaid Ibrahim: A Political Failure

MyKMU

It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them. ~Alfred Adler
It’s been a while since anyone has referred to Zaid Ibrahim as a maverick politician. Perhaps the severe warning from the Pakatan Rakyat’s elders over Zaid’s conduct or rather misconduct and political posturing has taken the wind out of the sails for this one time ruthless defender of Malay rights and beneficiary of UMNO influence.

From an active participant of the Muslim Lawyers Association that was fiercely loyal to the government of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to expelled back door minister in UMNO to a “severely warned” and on 6 months leave and near partyless Pakatan Rakyat member or soon to be ex-member-his failure is near complete.

Zaid Ibrahim has thus far only demonstrated that he is almost never consistent on where he stands on the issues, never loyal to any one political party and its struggles and is simply not a team player.

That raises the question of what does he really really stand for, and fights for whom and on whose platform. His political track record thus far seems to suggest that he stands for Zaid Ibrahim, fights for Zaid Ibrahim and is on (well U guessed it) on Zaid Ibrahim’s shaky platform.

But, surely he must have made some political achievements?

With Abdullah Badawi’s total support way back then and subsequently as the rising star who is whispered to be next in line to lead the charge for Pakatan Rakyat into the 13th Malaysian general elections, what tangible results does he have to show for all the political patronage whilst in either UMNO or Pakatan Rakyat coupled with all that goodwill of the Malaysian people and numerous foreign observers whom were cheering Zaid on?

He failed to bring the so-called judicial reforms that he was peddling as an UMNO back door minister and just quit instead of fighting the good fight and has now caused more than a whimper of uneasiness amongst grassroots members and leaders alike in the opposition coalition. Zaid wasn’t of any good for UMNO and has continued in his political failures for Pakatan Rakyat.

Perhaps, Zaid Ibrahim’s outburst when he was the minister in The Prime Minister’s Department as was reported by the New Straits Times, (29.5.08) wherein he was quoted as saying, “You can say anything so long as you do not violate party principles. You are at liberty to talk rubbish, nonsense or real stuff, but you have to follow the rules” – in respect of a debate on the Royal Address between Mukhriz Mahathir and Zaid Ibrahim offers some explanation to Zaid’s current predicament.

This spat that took place in Parliament was with Mukhriz Mahathir and Tajuddin Rahman of Pasir Salak in which Zaid insisted on action being taken against both of these Members of Parliament. Zaid Ibrahim kept asking during a press conference after the spat - “What did Mukhriz mean hit & run?”

Zaid’s singular actions since has proven this point. Abdullah Badawi whom appointed Zaid Ibrahim a senator and then a full minister over and above other worthy duly elected Members of Parliament was repaid in full by Zaid Ibrahim. What a booboo Pak Lah made by choosing him!

The fact is that we expect our politicians to be fighting for us and a better Malaysia and not talking rubbish and nonsense.

Perhaps, Zaid is making an exemption for those elected politicians of which he isn’t-to bar anyone from making the same conclusions about what he spews out. And apparently, it is Zaid Ibrahim who doesn’t follow the rules in UMNO or Pakatan Rakyat having been convicted of money politics by the UMNO disciplinary board amongst other things and now severely warned by the PKR disciplinary board.

He also doesn’t tolerate the principles of free speech if what is said is not to his liking and will even go so far to sack or destroy party colleagues as evidenced by his attempt to get the Barisan Nasional whip to take action against Mukhriz Mahathir and Tajuddin Rahman during the debate on the Royal Address as mentioned above and most recently Zaid’s attack on and call for Zulkifli Nordin of PKR to be sacked.

Not to mention that all the while Zaid himself is not an elected Member of Parliament.

It was Zaid Ibrahim who proved Mukhriz Mahathir right by joining the opposition despite Zaid’s repeated denials of harbouring any intentions of doing so. Thus, with the expiry of Zaid Ibrahim’s self-imposed “leave” from PKR near, all that’s left is to watch the further damage and chaos that he will inflict on the opposition coalition.

Heckuva job Zaid.
If this blogger's reading of Zaid is correct, he will defy the disciplinary board and land himself in bigger trouble. He is not unfamiliar to digging his own grave.

The reality with fringe thinking politicians like Zaid is that they do not go far. They are merely door openers for other more acceptable version of change to the masses.

With him unable to hold himself everytime he feels like talking and thinking he is right, this blogger is reading the end of his political career is around the corner.

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Thursday, March 04, 2010

The scrap of 2-tier fuel plan reflects the "malas fikir" Malaysians in position


There has been many sources giving information in conflict with the decision of the PM on the MyKad payment system and 2-tier fuel.

When PM announced the cancellation the proposal, there were those involved with the proposal insisting the plan remains for May 1st.

Once and for all ... the two tiered fuel and the MyKad plan is scrapped!

Apalah Ministry and their paid Consultant?

Can't they conceive a plan that not only serve the objective it is intended to and is in tune with the spirit of "1Malaysia: Rakyat didahulukan, Pencapaian diutamakan."

Don't pay those consultants la.

For too long, Malaysian bureucrasy - be it in the public or private sector - are too shallow, lazy and bureaucratic when designing new policy and procedures to do the extra mile to consider the people's side of the story.

Very often than not, they tend to introduce additional procedures in the form of extra forms, extra steps, extra documents, extra signatures, extra authorities verification, etc etc for their selfish purpose of making their job easier and their ass covered.

Malaysian public and private sectors seldom take customers convenience and speed of service as priority.

They rather spend millions on computers and systems to make their process faster than using the neurons in their brains to give due consideration for customer or people's convenince in the planning of the process, procedures and policy.

Then they become reliance on system that they become inflexible. Usually when the system hang or temporary breakdown, their attitude is to stop work rather than revert to manual procedure or take the forms and deal with it later.

They have no guilt at leaving the customer and public wait and wait to build long restless queues and crowd.

Returning to the 2-tier fuel plan, the rejection by the PM is because the procedures and process are cumbersome which serve the bureaucrats needs than rakyat's convenience. The news on the scrapping below:

Tiered fuel plan officially scrapped, no increase for now

The Star March 4th, 2010

PUTRAJAYA: The Government has officially scrapped its plan to introduce the two-tiered fuel subsidy scheme, following negative feedback and response from the public over the proposed restructuring.

Domestic Trade, Co-operative and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the decision to “abandon” the plan was because the Government did not want to implement an important policy that did not get the support from or was not accepted by the people.

“Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has said that this is the people’s government and it is open to views. Today, the Government has proven that it this is not mere rhetoric and that it is true to its word.

“We have heard the people’s voices and now we have proven that we are willing to scrap the plan because the rakyat does not want it to be done,” he told a press conference Thursday.

Ismail Sabri said the price of fuel remained the same for now as “there is no directive to announce a petrol price hike. I don’t know when that will happen, but the public must remember that fuel price fluctuates.”

He added that while the Government’s commitment was to subsidise 30sen per litre for RON95, it was not subsidising nine sen more as the price of the commodity had increased.

The Government is subsidising 16.5sen for every litre of RON97 and 32sen per litre for diesel. In 2009, the Government forked out RM3.4bil to subsidise petrol and another RM1.9bil to subsidise diesel.

The Government had wanted to introduce a new management system for the fuel subsidy this year as it felt that the subsidy did not fully benefit the target group and that even owners of foreign-registered vehicles were enjoying the benefit.

The plan, originally set to be implemented on May 1, was to introduce a tiered pricing system for petrol, depending on engine capacity, while foreigners would have to pay the market price.

It called for the mandatory use of MyKad to differentiate Malaysians from foreigners, requiring the need for MyKad readers at petrol stations.

Subsidised petrol would have been capped at a certain amount of litres a month per user for owners of vehicles with engine capacities of below a certain threshold. The reported upper limit eligibility for the petrol subsidy is 2,000cc. Owners of cars with bigger engine capacities would have been exempted from the subsidy.

Ismail Sabri also announced that a subsidy rationalisation laboratory headed by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala was in place to study the implementation of all subsidies, adding that apart from the fuel subsidy, the laboratory was also tasked to review other areas which the Government subsidises.

“In the meantime, foreigners can still purchase petrol according to the pump price but the policy governing foreigners when purchasing petrol at the border areas remains.

“My ministry will propose to the Cabinet a certain policy to control the purchase of subsidised fuel among foreigners because we need to ensure that the subsidy goes to the targetted group,” he said.

Last December, the Government announced that foreign-registered vehicles would only be allowed to pump a maximum of 20 litres of fuel at petrol stations within a 50km radius from the border.

He also dismissed talks that the restructuring plan was not viable as it was difficult to implement, claiming that a study conducted showed that it could be done without much hassle and inconvenience, or cause consumers to wait long while their MyKad was scanned.
There is also the possibility of someone making a quick buck from supply of card readers.

Thank you Prime Minister for being sensitive to the people. Perhaps you need to push the point of doing the extra mile for the people with your Ministers.

Ismail Sabri seemed so insistance and defensive.

Tak setuju ke dengan PM. Kalau tak setuju dengan keputusan PM, letak jawatan sebagai protes terhadap keputusan PM.

Did Ismail consider that it reflects badly on him as he is unable to conceive a plan that makes sense and could be received by the people?

Rakyat didahulukan. Don't just say it but understand it. Ask himself has he considered the people's concern prior to conceiving his plan.

He could have done a survey to understand the public response and concern before pursuing what he wanted to do.

Sure hope he is not one of those Minister who "malas fikir" and think being a Minister is about the glamour of power.

It is actually artificial.

Things have also changed. Being a Minister is not a reward and to flaunt the glamour of power, it is about working.

Those who aren't capable, please find the door. It is a job many are willing to pay rather than be paid to be there.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Mohsin today .... How will Syed Husin respond?


The amusing thing with the last two jumpers in the last two days - Mohd Fairuz and Tan Tee Beng - was the unbecoming respond from PKR Deputy President, Senator Dr Syed Husin Ali.

Even Husin Lempoyang find it amusing. Read here.

Another bomber came upon PKR today in the midst of their press conference at Tropicana where they had 10 MPs pledging support. Yesterday DAP and PAS pledge support to Anwar to remain as Opposition Leader, no matter what.

A close friend of Anwar, YB Tuan Haji Mohsin Fadzli bin Shamsuri of Bagan Serai quit on PKR. He expressed disappointment and disenchantment with the direction and practise of the party.


Muhsin, who was wearing a white skullcap, cited his disagreement with the position taken by PKR on the issue of Allah as the turning point with PKR. Dato Sallehuddin explained that the party took a position by the arbitrary decisionof few people without a discussion.

This is the 4th PKR MP withdrawal after Dato Zaharain Hashim (Bayan Baru), and Tan Tee Beng (Nibung Tebal), plus former Penang Deputy CM, Mohd Fairuz Khairuddin Hashim crossover to UMNO.

All the pledge of allegiances and commitments is still not answering to Dato Sallehuddin Hashim's claim that there are 10 PKR MPs abandoning ship for independent status. In fact today, he expressed the possibility of two third of PKR MPs leaving.

Could those MPs not there at PKR's Tropicana office be the ones leaving? For sure, "Mike" of Kapar and Azan Ismail of Indera Mahkota can forget about jumping ship. BN is not buying them. Who is buying over MPs of a sinking ship?

Gwo Burne (Kelana Jaya), Gobalakrishnan (Paya Serai) and Hee Loy Sian (PJ Selatan) is not present.

There is also Tian Chua whose High Court appeal, for his 6 months imprisonment for biting an arresting police officer, will be made known tomorrow. Words are Tian will not appeal to higher court should High Court reject his appeal raising the possibility of a by election for Batu.

How would quiet polite Syed Husin venomous response be like today? Will it be another fodder for a Husin Lempoyang joke? These days everything coming out of PKR, particularly from Anwar sodomy case is funny. ... Mokhtar, C.I.F.U.T. and the latest P.U.N.A.I.

Two years ago, 916 was a source of political jokes. Now it seems the joke is on PKR as it is those within PKR that is doing the 916 on Anwar. And please, no cheap conspiracy and blame it on UMNO, if no reason can be cooked up. Really ma, there's no UMNO hand.

With PKR MPs abandoning PKR, what kind of political senario are we looking at? It's too early to tell.

It could be the new trend of a third force of Independent in Parliament. See what Ibrahim Ali could do single handedly with his Malay agenda

It could also be a temporary refuge for these PKR MPs till a shift in power within PLR from the 3As to a new leadership able to provide a new direction the PKR grassroot yearning for.

Anwar has not been providing a direction for the party in the event he is imprisoned. All resources and party machinery is being harness to create Reformasi II albeit too slow pace.

This author is not convince that it is a power shift to BN. UMNO and BN still got their work cut out for themselves to rehabilitate the party.

How about an intriguing possibility of a wild horse in the name of Ku Li as being promoted by the desperately seeking attention Khairy and with some faint of support from certain Pemuda exco. However, this blogger is not ready to be convince. Too simplistic and not numerically possible.

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1Malaysia: Rakyat diutamakan, Tol dikurangkan?


Jawapan kepada Surat Kepada Pengarang di Utusan Malaysia dari blog baru Suara Hati menarik perhatian penulis. Kemungkinan surat ini mendapat siaran Utusan Malaysia, namun ingin saya memberi publisiti pada surat ini.

Surat ini adalah suara rakyat yang tidak boleh diketepikan begitu saja jika intipati disebalik slogan 1Malaysia itu mengutamakan rakyat. Surat tersebut berikut:

SAYA ingin merujuk kepada tulisan saudara Razak Thamrin (Utusan Malaysia, 24 Feb 2010) yang meminta pengguna lebuh raya menerima hakikat akan kenaikan tol terutamanya di lebuh raya PLUS dalam masa terdekat ini.

Saudara Razak masih menggunakan pendekatan lama untuk "menghalalkan" kenaikan tol di Malaysia dengan membandingkan kadar tol di Indonesia, Bangladesh dan Filipina.

Kenapa memilih negara-negara ini? Kenapa tidak membandingkan Malaysia dengan negara-negara maju di dunia yang menyediakan lebuh raya percuma dan tol murah kepada rakyatnya?
Kita masih lagi mengulangi kesilapan dengan menggunakan alasan lapuk apabila ingin menaikkan harga barang atau tol.

Penulisan Saudara Razak sama ada secara kebetulan atau dirancang disiarkan hampir pada hari yang sama keuntungan PLUS diumumkan.

Menurut laporan Utusan Malaysia, Plus mencatatkan keuntungan sebelum cukai sebanyak RM1.62 bilion bagi tahun berakhir 31 Disember 2009 dan kononnya sebahagian daripada keuntungan Plus datangnya dari pelaburannya di India.

Siapa pemegang saham PLUS?

Menurut kenyataan Pengerusi PLUS yang disiarkan didalam laman webnya, 64 peratus saham PLUS dipegang oleh Khazanah Holdings Berhad sementara 20 peratus lagi adalah dipegang oleh KWSP, Perkeso, Permodalan Nasional Berhad, Kumpulan Wang Amanah Pencen, Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera dan Tabung Haji. 10 peratus dipegang oleh pelabur asing dan selebihnya 6 peratus dipegang pelabur awam.

Maknanya, PLUS adalah syarikat milik kerajaan dengan pegangan 84 peratus saham. Dengan kata lain, PLUS, sebuah syarikat kerajaan, mendapat keuntungan dengan mengutip berbilion ringgit dari rakyat dengan mengutip tol dilebuhraya. PLUS juga membayar dividen berjumlah hampir RM800 juta pada 2008 kepada syarikat-syarikat kerajaan ini. Begitu kayanya PLUS sebagai sebuah syarikat kerajaan. (Lihat laman web Plus)

Pada tahun 2008, kutipan tol PLUS berjumlah RM2.2 bilion, yang tertinggi dalam sejarah. Keuntungan yang berbilion ini sesuatu yang 'obscene' atau memilukan ketika rakyat mengharungi suasana ekonomi yang mencabar ini.

Perlukah sebuah syarikat kerajaan mengutip tol berbilion ringgit dari rakyatnya sendiri? PLUS mungkin akan merujuk kepada perjanjian konsesi dengan kerajaan mengenai jadual kenaikan tol. Tetapi ini perkara mudah kerana kerajaan adalah pemilik PLUS.

Saudara Razak perlu ingat bahawa bukan faktor "tol kita rendah, tol negara lain tinggi" sahaja perlu dijadikan landasan untuk menaikkan tol. Rakyat Malaysia sudah berubah. Yang perlu menjadi pertimbangan ialah apakah rakyat dapat menerima satu kenaikan tol ketika kos hidup meningkat? Apakah pertimbangan politik kita untuk menaikkan tol?

Mungkin kenaikan tol sebanyak 10 peratus satu jumlah yang kecil kepada Saudara Razak atau golongan yang berharta. Kepada saya yang mempunyai seorang isteri yang tidak bekerja, lima orang anak yang berada di universiti dan perlu menggunakan lebuh raya bertol untuk ke tempat kerja, ia satu beban yang amat berat untuk keluarga.

Oleh itu, fikirlah semasak-masaknya sebelum menaikkan tol demi kebaikan rakyat.

ISMAIL MAT
Rawang
Kos tol sudah mencapai tahap yang membebankan kepada rakyat dan suatu kaedah perlu dicari untuk menyelesaikan masaalah ini dalam kekangan dan perjanjian yang ada.

Semasa dibuat memang perlu dibuat pelbagai kaedah pembiayaan kerana ianya memakan belanja yang banyak. Rasanya sudah terlalu banyak sangat lebuhraya bertol dibina, terutama di pusat-pusat bandar seperti di Lembah Klang hingga sudah membebankan.

Yang menjadikan ianya suatu yang membebankan adalah jalan alternatif tanpa tol dalam pusat perbandaran bukan sahaja tidak memudahkan tetapi berkurangan. Beban ini ditambahkan dengan sistem minyak tanpa subsidi yang mahu diperkenalkan.

Sesuatu perlu difikirkan dan segera. Jangan sampai isu tol menjadi ahli komponen parti Pakatan Rakyat yang akan mengalahkan Barisan Nasional?

Tak sayangkah hilang kuasa, wahai pemimpin!

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Too early for a "kesyukuran" PC for PKR


Last night, former Deputy Chief Minister for Pulau Pinang, Ahmad Fairuz submited his application to join UMNO. SOurce told me that PKR held a press conference to express kesyukuran with the departure of Fairuz from PKR.

Ahmad Fairuz was the first victim of the DAP's "dictatorship, chauvanistic and communistic" Government of Penang. What was not known then was of Lim Guan Eng's attitude to any critical views and dissent to "fix" them with personal attack.

In the case of Fairuz, he was accused of abuse of power in some quarry deal, purchase of cars which was his entitlement, slackening in his job, and etc. It is believed Guan Eng had spread rumours of the personal attack including through the opposition blogs and was picked up by pro-UMNO bloggers.

Fairuz was investigated and cleared by MACC later on the quarry deal much to the chagrin of BN campaigners wanting to use it against Pakatan Rakyat in the Permatang Pasir by-election. But it was too late, for he had quit and Dr Mansor a close Anwar associate was standing in Fairuz's constituency

It's hardly 24 hours since Fairuz application to join UMNO. This morning Nibong Tebal PKR MP, Tan Tee Beng who is facing disciplinary action by the party has announced quit.


Update: 5:30 PM

In the press conference, he expressed his frustation to the much expectation of PKR in bringing change as per the slogan Harapan Baru. He said that will not happen under the current leadership which he described as cara politik kuno mengikut kesah dongeng purbakala.

The rakyat has been tricked by their promises and lofty ideals.

Tan expressed several reasons for his leaving PKR. First, he cited PKR provide no room to express critical views. He said they did not investigate and look into the matters he has raised with regard to issues in Penang Government. It seems PKR cannot be criticised and contracry to what the public is made to believe, do not celebrate differing views.

Second reason, the Penang Government habitually resorted to dirty tricks of character assisination whenever criticised and issues raised. This can be seen repeatedly happening.

This happened when the issue of local council member was raised by PKR grassroot and it went to the extent of one PKR member being bandied as Muslim terrorist. Again when Dato Zaharain Hashim and Tan himself criticised the much triumvirate of terror in Penang of Lim Guan Eng, Jeff Ooi and Ramasamy made personal attacks to the point of accusation of corruption against them.

Third reason, Tan cited PKR has sacrificed their principal in their overanxious pursuit for Putrajaya. They have ignored their responsibility to the people. Anwar has closed his eyes to the problems in the Penang Pakatan coalition and complains against Lim Guan Eng.

Fourth reason, Tan expressed his uneasiness with the dictatorial manner of administration by Lim Guan Eng and described Penang as a "kerajaan milik keluarga." He said many have become Pak Sanggup who merely shy away from the problem and let the reign of terror continue.

Before PKR Nibong Tebal, upon instruction from DAP Nibong Tebal, call for a kesyukuran press conference like that on Fairuz, it is too soon.

Former PKR Secretary General, Datuk Salehuddin Hashim who was present next to Tan at the press conference said he expect more than 10 PKR MPs are leaving. He confirmed he has quit PKR too.

Before Anwar and any Pakatan leader resort to conveniently blame UMNO, show first where is the UMNO hands. The problems are emanating from within PKR. Neither are the leaving MPs joining BN but are just going Independent.

Zulkifli Nordin has returned from South Korea and facing the disciplinary committee today at 3:00 pm. So hold on to your kesyukuran PCs.

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

Update: 5:30 PM

Venomous DAP-like press release by an unbecoming Syed Husin Ali

Tarikh: 1 Mac 2010

SYUKUR FAIRUS KELUAR KEADILAN


Parti Keadilan Rakyat (KEADILAN) perlu mengucap syukur ke Hadrat Allah (SWT) kerana Fairus Khairuddin akhirnya meninggalkan Parti. Sejak beliau menyertai Kerajaan Pulau Pinang dan selepas meletakkan jawatan sehingga terkini, beliau merupakan liabiliti.

Fairus tiada pilihan lain dari meletakkan jawatan sebagai Timbalan Ketua Menteri kerana beliau ketika itu disiasat SPRM dan prestasinya tidak memuaskan. Apabila berhenti, beliau menuntut supaya Parti melunaskan hutang untuk dua buah kereta mewahnya dan membayar beliau RM15,000 sebulan buat selama-lama yang ditentukannya.

Tidak ada sebab bagi Parti melayan tuntutan itu. Lagipun Parti tidak mampu berbuat demikian.

Atas rasa belas kasihan terhadap anak isterinya seorang baik hati memberikannya “kerja” dengan bayaran bulanan sebanyak RM4,000. Beliau tidak puas hati dan oleh itu terus memburukkan pimpinan Parti.

Kini beliau sudah berjumpa dengan pemimpin Umno yang boleh membayarnya jauh lebih besar dari itu. (?)

Fairuz memberikan alasan kaum dan agama kerana tindakannya. Sangat memalukan. Beliau sendiri, kawan-kawannya dan Allah mengetahui sebab sebenar.

DR. SYED HUSIN ALI
Timbalan Presiden, KEADILAN

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