Sunday, March 25, 2007

Border Song: Holy Moses, Isn't WPI Abdullah's Idea?

Holy Moses I have been removed
I have seen the spectre he has been here too
Distant cousin from down the line
Brand of people who ain't my kind
Holy Moses I have been removed

Holy Moses I have been deceived
Now the wind has changed direction and I'll have to leave
Won't you please excuse my frankness but it's not my cup of tea
Holy Moses I have been deceived

I'm going back to the border
Where my affairs, my affairs ain't abused
I can't take any more bad water
I've been poisoned from my head down to my shoes

Holy Moses I have been deceived
Holy Moses let us live in peace
Let us strive to find a way to make all hatred cease
There's a man over there what's his colour I don't care
He's my brother let us live in peace
He's my brother let us live in peace
He's my brother let us live in peace

-- Elton John & Bernie Taupin, Elton John (1970)

Open U-tube of song here

The general Malay rejection and pro-free market Chinese acceptance can predictably be expected from Tun Musa Hitam's press statement to seek for WPI exemption from Malay affirmative action policy. One will expect Tun Dr Mahathir to raise a barn this Thursday; he is due to speak in Johor Baru.

Is PM Dato Seri Abdullah Badawi serious about WPI to set as the precedent towards abolishing NEP? For the sake of FDI? After all, he and Dato Seri Najib gave words of comfort that credible Bumiputera would have their fair share.

Dark Musa

The lead to that question lies in a comment received from an UMNO political veteran. "Musa is all about politics. He doesn't speak other language." True enough, Musa's first line in a March 9th Straits Times interview was, "I was a political activist".

This latest episode confirms the prediction of the late MGG Pillai's Christmas 2002 article that spot-on predicted Musa working behind Abdullah to revenge, disassemble the legacies, and reduce former boss Mahathir into a non-entity in Malaysian history.

Vision 2020 diluted into Islam Hadhari, a grandiose heresy and National Mission 2057, confused mission beyond possible predictability. With Proton due for sale soon, the can-do spirit driving Mahathir's Industrialisation will extinguish. To replace, mega corporate with objective lacking vision, sense of mission, and compassion for society. The Malays is asked to "Balik kampong tanam kacang" by returning to agriculture.

Analyse this and other events, and Musa's background, you'll see Musa written all over. Musa is decades out of touch and these reversals are Malaysia according to Musa.

His hands-on familiarity is only rural development of Tun Abdul Razak's day, administrative function, and political positions in UMNO. Musa's understanding of global economy is only as, to quote from his interview, "a 'copycat' economic climate". He missed and misunderstood the essence of Mahathir's Mini Industrial Revolution. Never touch base with the Information Age.

How will it jive with 60% urban population, according to latest World Bank data? And, a rapidly rising population?

With his accomplice running Mahathir to the ground, Musa is in a last ditch attempt for more space of himself in the history book. With the help of protégé Abdullah, his public visibility has revived. He was made Eminent Person to chart the direction of Asean + 3 in a KL Forum in 2005, despite not knowing the head and tail of it. A job better suited for the originator of the EAEC idea, Mahathir.

Already, "I made it", exclaimed Musa privately to his former boys on the Tunship award. A similar tone of excitement can be found in his words on super mega WPI. For that, he is willing to throw away his lifelong UMNO struggle with the proclamation of "No place for nationalism in the globalised world."

Another episode in Malay annals of betrayal by its leader.

Back Against The Wall

FDI, economy, general election, Chinese votes, and public confidence.

The five birds of problem Abdullah is trying to kill in one stone, before he can comfortably call for an early General Election. Read the excerpt of AP news report today, March 24th, 2007 below:

"Malaysia's ruling coalition faces a tough task trying to keep its large parliamentary majority in the next general election, a news report quoted the country's deputy leader as saying, amid speculation that polls could come within a year."
Using the word made famous by Musa, Abdullah is in political "desperado". He won 90% of the Parliamentary seat and recaptured Terengganu in the last 2004 General Election with a 53% popular vote majority. His election manifesto and sloganeering touched the heart of Malaysians.

The tide receded and it's getting more difficult. If the recent Merdeka poll is any indication, some 60% of non-Malay vote is going Opposition. These are the voters that saved UMNO in 1999. Although Malay support looks secured, UMNO was denied the chance to test at the Raub by-election. Words are Anwar Ibrahim orchestrated the boycott.

Abdullah will face a General Election with his nice guy and "Mr Clean" image tattered by Mahathir's expose of his nepotistic and questionable political practices and business dealing. His silly comments, factual ignorance, and off guarded antics at press conference, speeches and public event is common fodder for ridicule. And, he's been caught lying too often.

No press control and manipulation can stop the barrage from alternative media, and the ground talking, both within and without UMNO. Abdullah could not deflect the attack on his weak leadership and administrative ability, imposing son-in-law and his band of anarchist in Abdullah's office. Too much fire to extinguish for his "bomba".

Grumbling amongst Malay professionals, businessmen and middle class will spillover to the rural power hinterland. Abdullah has been undertaking major reforms beyond his own ability to comprehend. Its pro-IMF policy is dismantling the 50 year-old political economy structure of Malaysia and antithesis to UMNO's nationalism with multiracial cooperation ideology.

His austerity drive in the early one two years, badly planned and executed GLC reform, and de-industrialisation program put the economy directionless with low growth, high inflation, massive retrenchment of educated middle class, and graduate unemployment. There is no new sectoral growth area and FDI has plummet.

However, by hook or by crook, Abdullah needs a General Election soon. The theory goes that having delayed UMNO's party election, he needs the General Election to rid his distracters to enable him to stay long enough for Khairy's probable succession to Premiership.

Give a person power and constant praising; even a mediocre will start to have dreams.

SJER is My Idea

The first salvo came from Mahathir as he questions some insidious automotive policies to "kill off" Proton. But, it was the flip-flop cancel-build-cancel of the Johor Bridge that turned into an all-out war on Abdullah and opened the Pandora Box of other issues from Scomi, ECM Libra, Pantai, and lots more.

The Johor Bridge or Scenic Bridge was Mahathir's plan to boost Johor as a serious competitor to Singapore as a logistic centre with multifunctional role. Till today, no justifiable reason was forthcoming. The fear of lawsuit from Singapore cannot be a basis because both disputing parties have to agree for an International Court settlement first. It is crystal that Abdullah succumbed to Singapore pressure to what is within our sovereign right? Some believed he is "bought".

Certainly, having Johorean revolt is something no UMNO President can ignore. Johor is home base and historical origin of UMNO with 500,000 of the 3,200,000 UMNO memberships. It was Johor's Constitution that gave justification to oppose the 1946 Malayan Union. It was Sultan Ibrahim of Johor that supported the formation and movement of UMNO till Malayan Union was disbanded and the Independence could be seriously sought.

Abdullah need to remove the ghost of the Johor Bridge. Led by Zaki Zahid, his Head of Policy and Dr Vincent Lim, his Chinese Political Secretary, the boys put together a team of ten to hatch on a plan for Johor. This is done outside the usual planning process of EPU and State UPEN.

To fit with Khazanah's long outstanding Nusajaya development, the South Johor Economic Region or later named as Wilayah Pembangunan Iskandar was hatched.

The monstrous property development was given a political touch for Abdullah to announce. No Malaysian will forget or convince when Abdullah claimed, "Ini semua rancangan saya, bukan rancangan orang lain".

Seeing through the mishmash of the elaborate conceptual plans, WPI is nothing more than beefed-up extension of Nusajaya township development meant to attract foreign purchases. Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim, managing director of UEM Land commented in November last year, "I don't think there is enough (local) market to pick it up."

It's basically an expanded idea of Free-Trade Zone from Musa's working days, with Free Access Zone. This way Singaporeans and other Nationalities, including Israelis, can seamlessly enter and exit, own properties, work and lounge around without need for passport. Employers are not restricted to employ locals. Goods can enter and leave seamlessly.

To give comfort to Singaporeans, they call it another Shenzhen. The difference is Hong Kong and Shenzhen are in the same country. And, Singapore Changi and PSA are claimed as the main transport hub. There is even discussion for Singapore to open a Consulate, thats just 20-30 miles away from the border.

All this to bring in some US$105 billion investment over 20 years? That's more than our existing EPF money. Even the biggest project of Mahathir era, Bakun Dam is only expected to cost RM6 billion. Do you think Abdullah's leadership, managerial panache, and technical savvies can ever pull off a project of such magnitude that even Mahathir never would attempt?

After some four months, investors shied from the project. Why would "kiasu" Singapore want to empower Johor with huge capital, without lots of concessions?

This is not concessions as precedents from Multimedia Super Corridor or Labuan Off-Shore Financial Centre, as Dato Shahrir claim. These are impetus for specific sector of the economy. In fact, one key member of the ten men think-tank, privately questioned the economic rationale of WPI.

Even during the launch of WPI November 4th last year, Johor Sultan still insist on destroying the Causeway and wasn't serious in the use of his name. Without his Majesty's full blessing and heart in it, many Johor Baru locals believed this a super mega project doom for failure.

This is something Abdullah could not afford to do since WPI is practically his life craft. Already, he has bamboozled last year's Johor UMNO Convention, before the UMNO General Assembly, from uttering any word of SJER. Just 2 weeks earlier MB Dato Gani Osman was reported in Utusan Malaysia of his intention to discuss at the Convention.

Can the land code cater for the planned Federal involvement in WPI? Malaysia is technically a Federation of States and not a unitary State. Federal Government cannot interfere in state land matters.

Desperation is written all over when more incentives and even had Musa asked for the revocation of NEP for Johor. Don't forget Musa the fox. That remark is likely an attempt to appease non-Malay voters for the coming General Election.

Will it hold water? Asks any Malay men, don't be alarmed to hear a response, "Langkah mayat aku!"

Lets stay calm. This is not about NEP. Let's not be duped. The problem of NEP is its implimentation. NEP's principle is fairly accommodative and flexible.

  • Its about a GLC stretching its resources with political muscle, insensitive to socio-political implication!
  • It's about Abdullah playing racial card for political support!
  • Its about Abdullah desperate for FDI!
  • Its about Abdullah haunted by the ghost of the Johor Causeway!

He's my brother let us live in peace

A Voice
Kuala Lumpur
January 24th, 2007 11:45 p.m.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

KeranaMu Malaysia IV: Will Parliament Vanquish KJ in the ECM Libra Scandal?

Buruh, nelayan dan juga petani
Gaya hidup kini dah berubah
Anak-anak terasuh mindanya
Lahir generasi bijak pandai

Pakar IT, pakar ekonomi
Jaguh sukan dan juga jutawan
Berkereta jenama negara
Megah menyusur di jalan raya

Alam cyber teknologi terkini
Kejayaan semakin hampiri
Biar di kota ataupun desa
Kita semua pasti merasa bangga

Keranamu kami mendakap tuah
Keranamu kami bangsa berjaya
Keranamu kami hidup selesa
Limpah budi kemakmuran negara

Keranamu kami bebas merdeka
Keranamu myawa dipertaruhkan
Keranamu rela kami berjuang
Demi bangsa kedaulatan negara (ulang dari mula )

Keranamu Negara Malaysia
Malaysia...Terima kasih Malaysia!

-- Composers and Lyrics: Pak Ngah/Siso Kopratasa

"Saya kena jadi lebih putih dari putih (I have to be whiter than white)", said Khairy on the rostrum at the opening of the Paya Besar UMNO Division, a place not far from Kuantan. The crowd seemed to be eating from his hand as he claim he refuse offers to buy from foreigners and non-Malays and sold at a loss to another Malay, Tan Sri Azman bin Hashim.

That was on Sunday August 13th, 2006. A day earlier, Saturday August 12th, the news headlines were his sales of 10.2 million ECM Libra Avenue Berhad shares. On August 10th, the PAC Chairman stated the Minister of Finance (MoF) and Securities Commission official had abide to the various regulations and procedures.

Khairy claimed that the decision to sell was made independently, despite MoF and SC's clearance at PAC.

How coincident that the Merger announcement was made 2 to 3 months after his purchase of ECM Libra shares in December 2005? And, how coincident his sale was affected just around the time of the PAC enquiry and season of UMNO Division meetings?

Could the fact presented by those officials really absolve the questionable Merger?

The SC's presentation by its Chairwomen on August 10th concluded, as I translate below that:

1. The Mergers and Acquisition abide with the requirement in SC's Guideline
2. Avenue Capital & ECM Libra will benefit
3. An Independent Adviser (K&N Kenanga Berhad) was appointed to act as Independent Adviser for Minority Shareholders
4. Valuation of ECM Libra and exchange of shares were fair
5. The Merger was subject to the approval of both Company's shareholders

She seemed somewhat protected from rigorous questioning for reason being new in her job and was hurried to make way for the Ministry of Finance officials. SC, the most important authority in this sham, was not recalled again for the August 16th hearing.

Almost similar, the presentation by the Tan Sri KSU of Ministry of Finance, concluded:

1. The Merger did not resulted in the Government losing value in the short term
2. The Merger would enhance the value of Government investment in the long term
3. Both the shareholders approved the Merger in its EGM

Since the Tan Sri was not conversant with the detail, he was also somewhat saved from technical questions.

He did say it was decided at the official level and Dato Shahrir affirms, "Nampaknya peringkat pegawai sahaja (yang lulus)". Till today, we have yet to know whom? My sources say it's a lie.

The answers refuting all these claims, particularly the questionable valuation issues and the Independent Advisers advice, is in abundance on the Internet websites and blogs, like MyKMU, Malaysia Today, and

In "Follow the ECM Libra Money Trail to SC", I've focused on the SC and the mechanics of a fraudulent EGM. With SC's position well covered, Tan Sri Nor conveniently took refuge recently, "The Securities Commission had given clearance for the merger".

That's what he said but what did Shahrir said. "To say we are satisfied (of the explanation given) is not right since the PAC consists of representatives of various political parties. We all have a different degree of satisfaction." Isn't it obvious?

Aftermath Proved MoF and SC Lied

The biggest lies by both MoF and SC are demonstrable in the aftermath. Khairy's sales is mere politics and within regulations.

What about the sales by David Chua and Kalimullah at about the same time? David Chua sold all his shares. Dato Kalimullah confidingly sold his equity below 5% to escape declarations.

These two major shareholders are key individuals on the Board of Directors and Management. Shouldn't there be a Moratorium from immediate sales? Aren't they confined to sell within a prescribed time window? These is people-resource business and Moratorium is relevant.

That's one episode.

On February 9th, 2007, slightly more than two weeks before Tan Sri Nor Mohammed Yakcop's testimony at the PAC, the Government sold its entire 18% equity in ECM Libra Avenue Berhad to Tan Sri Azman's Company.

So, what's all these crap on long-term benefit for the Government's investment by having the Merger? The rationale for economic synergy and efficiency, Investment banking and cheaper entry cost, diversification, and export of financial services overseas?

What happened to the Company?

Profitability plummeted. With revenue only slightly higher around RM28-30 million per quarter from about RM20 million, the latest quarterly performance is a RM15 million loss.

Announced in September last year and completer end of October, 23% staff was retrenched. Wonder how many was Avenue Capital's?

MOF lied! SC allowed the lie!

There are decaying Police Reports in some stations somewhere against SC. Who will watch the Watchdog? This is what happens when the Implementor is also the Investigator. Any Merchant Banker wants to work with the Pollice?

PAC Absolve, Parliament Vapourise

Much hope on the PAC didn't happen. If anything that Shahrir manage to achieve, apart from leaving bread crumbs for Bloggers to read in between those lines, is to press for some form of Committee to monitor performances of these GLCs. That's monitoring the Ministers and Cabinet in political-speak.

What is to happen with the enquiry's finding? None was mentioned by Shahrir. He was blabbering over PAC's advisory role in running of GLCs.

As one former Parliamentarian told me, the PAC could only investigate and table at Parliament their finding, presumably in the current seating. But, there will be no debate on it. From the pre-session press comments, looks likely they will not hover over this issue.

PAC absolve, Parliament vapourise the issue. For Khairy, he is just happy his skin seemed whitening, without any whitening cream tip from Dato Khir Toyo.

Black Pigments Remain

Shahrir did say and to, "We also enquired about government concessions given to private companies, which had been listed and since they are listed, foreigners can buy into these companies, gaining advantage of the government concession."

That reminded me of Pantai and they have shares in Avenue Capital. The original local shareholder was disgusted with the manner of the Merger and sold everything. But he sold his Pantai shares to Singapore's Parkway that later need to have Khazanah to whiten Temasek's track.

Remember the MV Agusta you wish to up the bid more than 2 Euro? Who is the buyer for a Company, which reliable source put the hidden value at more than 300 million Euros? I would imagine this does not include the replacement value to develop the various technologies. Proton Chairman, Dato Azlan Hashim, should know. Could ECM Libra Avenue know? He is Chairman of Westcomb Financial Services that has links with ECM Libra.

ECM Libra was very much instrumental in the fund raising exercise of AirAsia, particularly its listing exercise. Surprise! Surprise, people! Check the owners of the new Tune Hotel at WIP, Johor. There is Dato Kalimullah, Lim Kian Onn, and Dato Tony Fernandez. Now they even sleep in the same bed with the clients.

How about the Whitewash Procedure for the fraudulent EGM? Well, the concept was used for the plantation mega merger without the M&A practices to get Minority Shareholders approval. Hereon, not only are Minority Shareholders sitting duck, they can't even quack.

There are those that do not agree ECM Libra is an Enron. I agree. I think it is worse than Enron. Allow me, a patriotic Blogger to sign off.

KeranaMu Negara Malaysia
Malaysia...Terima kasih Malaysia!

A Voice
Kuala Lumpur
March 22nd, 2007 10:30 p.m.

Get Me to the “Poll” on Time: Register Before 31-3-2007

Sing to the tune of Get Me To The Church On Time

How much time I’ve got left, Alfie

There's just a few more hours.
That's all the time you've got. A few more hours
Before they “cast the vote”.

There are drinks and girls all over KL,
and I've gotta track 'em down in just a few more hours!
Set up me darling

I'm “going voting” in the morning! Ding dong!
The bells are gonna chime. Pull out the stopper!
Let's have a whopper! But get me to the “poll” on time!
I gotta be there in the mornin'
Spruced up and lookin' in me prime.
Girls, come and kiss me;
Show how you'll miss me.
But get me to the “poll” on time!

If I am dancin' Roll up the floor.
If I am whistlin' Whewt me out the door!
For I'm “going voting” in the mornin'
Ding dong! The bells are gonna chime.
Kick up a rumpus But don't lose the compass;
And get me to the “poll”, Get me to the “poll”,
For Gawd’s sake, get me to the “poll” on time!

I'm “going voting” in the morning
Ding dong! the bells are gonna chime.
Some bloke who's able Lift up the table,
And get em to the “poll” on time!
If I am flying Then shoot me down.
If I am wooin',
Get her out of town!

For I'm “going voting” in the morning!
Ding dong! the bells are gonna chime.
Feather and tar me;
Call out the Army; But get me to the “poll”.
Get me to the “poll”...
For Goodsake, get me to the “poll” on time!

He’s “going voting” in the morning! Ding dong!
The bells are gonna chime. Pull out the stopper!
Let's have a whopper! But get me to the “poll” on time!
He’s gotta be there in the mornin'
Spruced up and lookin' in his prime.
Girls, come and kiss me;
Show how you'll miss me.
But get me to the “poll” on time!

If I am dancin' Roll up the floor.
If I am whistlin' Whewt me out the door!
For he’s “going voting” in the mornin'
Ding dong! the bells are gonna chime.
Drug me or jail me, Stamp me and mail me.
But get me to the “poll”, Get me to the “poll”,
For Gawd's sake, get me to the “poll” on time!

Girls, come and kiss him;
Show how we'll miss him.
But get him to the “poll” on time!

Kick up a rumpus Don't lose the compass
But get him to the “poll” on time

If I am flying Then shoot me down.
If I am wooin',
Get her out of town!

He’s “going voting” in the morning!
Ding dong! the bells are gonna chime
Some bloke who's able Lift up the table,
Get me to the “poll” on time!

Starlight is reelin' home to bed now.
Mornin' is smearin' up the sky. “KL” is wakin'.
Daylight is breakin'. Good luck, old chum,
Good health, goodbye.

I'm “going voting” in the mornin'
Ding dong! the bells are gonna chime...
Hail and salute me Then haul off and boot me...
And get me to the “poll”, Get me to the “poll”...
For Gawd's sake, get me to the “poll” on time!

-- Get Me To The Church On Time, My Fair Lady” (1964)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Apolitical Blues: Register as Voter Before March 31st, 2007

Well my telephone was ringing
And they told me it was Chairman Mao
Well my telephone was ringing
And they told me it was Chairman Mao
I don't care who it is 'Cause
I just don't wanna talk to 'em now

I've got the
apolitical blues, yeah
Apolitical blues
The meanest blues of all
I don't care if it's the unholy four, John Wayne, or Dorothy Lamour
I just don't wanna talk to 'em now

-- Little Feat, Sailing Shoes (1972)

Apolitical or its synonymous terms, non-political or un-political, means having no interest in or association with politics, or a matter having no political relevance or importance.

If our social sphere is wide enough, we should observe that significant percentage of Malaysians is apolitical. Come election, campaigning by candidates is to convince these apolitical citizens or undecided voters, which in some areas could make or break a candidate.

What made some Malaysian apolitical? It's no disease but personal priority. You're likely to find this phenomenon in every country in the world, even countries with liberal freedom of speech and expressions. It may have a different percentage and profile but they exist.

There is a gamut of reasons to explain for these apolitical Malaysians. It could be out of ignorance and/or inability to comprehend complex socio-political issues. At the other end of the scale, it is apathy. "Urgh! This is politics. Cannot do anything lah. No point talking." This is the typical reaction to any serious discussion of public interest.

Indifference maybe the seldom quoted reason, however apathy could be a reaction brought about by frustration or disenchantment with bureaucracy and inefficiencies of civil servants, local council, regulators and authorities. It could also be due to impatience with the tedious and strenuous political process, and insufficient understanding of issues.

Actor Bruce Willis made a cute quote to express his frustration, "I hate government. I'm apolitical. Write that down. I'm not a Republican." It's his not-so-subliminal expression of his Democrat affiliations humorously expressed as apolitical. At that moment, the Republican must be in power and he is driving the fence sitters the Democrat way.

Then, there is the common repulsion "politics is dirty". Well, it's the people that made it so, but enough to put off many.

Certainly to many, politics is a luxury many could ill afford to spend time on, especially with the present confusing state of the economy. Ironically, with so many middle class and professionals affected by the poor handling of the economy, the noise from this usually apathetic segment is getting heard. It just goes to show that no one is permanently apolitical. Conversely, no one is permanently political.

To a significant many, they opt for a pragmatic political participation of middle ground politics based on the possibility for problem solving and addressing issues. This is often translated to affiliate "within the system" of Barisan Nasional (BN) political parties and its history of consensual politics.

Some became political reactionaries by turning to opposition politics to vent their critical energy. They see turning the distant possibility of changing the ruling party to be not so distant as the only solution. And, there are those throwbacks to feudalism days, whose involvement in politics come out of idolisation of personalities.

Politics is obviously perceived differently to different people but it is generally accepted to relate with government and power. A common simpleton view of politics is about achieving positions in public offices or political parties. There is also the cheeky perception of politics "as art of the possible".

Politics is the process and interplay of human social groups in making of decisions. Be it within government, corporate, academic, religion, and even the smallest social unit of family, politics is the "social relations involving authority or power". It has its science and art - theory, practice, description and analysis of system and behaviour. The whole shenanigan to justify the existence of political scientist, analyst, and political science professors.

One major determinant in politics is perceptions. Perception could be created via communication, media, and ear whispering and is said to be everything in politics. Political career could be created or destroyed by perceptions. Since the medium for publicity and airtime is limited commodity, there is tendency for quite a number of politicans to economise their political product and optimise the place and promotional elements in marketing themselves.

This is the area lacking in our politics. Politics of conspiracy is perpetuated rather than politics of governing. Instead of being more cerebral, our politics tend to be emotional, unjustified, and devoid of proper objective. The political behavior in the acquisition and application of power need to be more rationale. It must be based on rational political philosophy, ethical public behavior, and deliverables.

Sometimes, seemingly justified heli-view is misplaced hypocrasy. For instance, talking about racial integration but supporting vernacular schools. Promoting an Islamic branding but devoid of true values and content. There are those argument based on the Letters of Law and yet is in conflict with the Social Agreement of our forefathers as embedded in the Constitution.

If Malaysia is moving towards a k-Economy, so it seems said our Prime Minister with a Father of k-Economy title, then it is high time we move towards k-Politics. That's politics based on fact, information and rational arguments, rather than perception, hearsay, and cloak and dagger story of coffeehouses, warung and tai pai dong. The Prime Minister could even launch this k-Politics with all the pomp and pageantry he desperately desire for the next General Election hype. But do start by answering those unanswered questions.
Whether a person is considered political or apolitical, they generally have natural concerns. Everyday, we hear the berating, concerns, suggestions and argument for and against our government, and public officials. Are these voices legitimate voices? As citizen, it's their right to express their piece for or against. The subsequent question is: Are they responsible voices?

Responsible citizenship is not just about expressing their opinion. The bigger responsibility is to cast their vote to select the representatives for Parliament or State Assembly. This is an important aspect of citizenship. These representatives are the avenues to express our voices at the highest institution of Government.

The basis you vote could be for any reasons. You could be voting for the ability as lawmaker or at the other end as community problem solver. Whether you voted based on the candidate's likeable personality or his party affiliation or just on his ability, the vote is yours to cast. I do hope the basis is rational and come with practical expectations.

Many people are perceptive and eloquent in indentifying, analysing, and arguing of issues. If they do not vote, are they worth any salt? Think about it. If they can't even exercise the very simple and basic right as citizen, does it indicate the seriousness of their concerns?

So, if you are a registered voter, come out and vote.

If you qualify but yet to register as voters, do so. Read the Election Commission Malaysia (ECM)'s website for instruction. In a news report on March 16th, 2007 mStar (The full news report here), Secretary of the ECM, Datuk Kamaruzaman Mohd Noorin is reported as follows:
Beliau menasihatkan mereka yang ingin mengambil bahagian dalam pilihan raya akan datang agar mendaftar segera, sebaik-baiknya sebelum tempoh semakan terakhir tamat hujung bulan ini.

Please register before the voters' roll is closed this March 31st, 2007.

But if you registered as voter or qualify but did not register to vote, forever hold your peace.

I don't care if it's the unholy four, John Wayne, or Dorothy Lamour.
I just don't wanna talk to 'em now.

A Voice
Kuala Lmpur
March 16th, 2007 7:30 p.m.

Brothers In Arms: First Million to Trillion, Rocky?

These mist covered mountains
Are a home now for me
But my home is the lowlands
And always will be
Some day youll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And youll no longer burn
To be brothers in arms

Through these fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
I've watched all your suffering
As the battles raged higher
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms

Theres so many different worlds
So many differents suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones
Now the suns gone to hell
And the moons riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die
But its written in the starlight
And every line on your palm
Were fools to make war
On our brothers in arms

-- Dire Straits, Brother-in-Arms (1985)

Ask any tycoon, they'll say the first million is the sweetest. Surely hitting your first million is a pleasent achievement. Jeff Ooi hit his first mil in 2003. Rocky just did his. Many will start to aspire to touch the sweet million.

I agree with Jeff, you ain't seen nothing yet babe. Commentators have turn to bloggers. What will snowball from thereon? Maybe lets not be surprise that Rocky's first million achieved from May last year could even be 1 trillion hit a month of Malaysians through their blog voicing their concern, fear, and love for this country.

Perhasp, its time all the Kali, Brendan, Hisham Aun, Shaziman, Fu Ah Kiow, and Rehman Rectum of the world should start to live with this new reality. Ku Nan realised it. Bloggers are individuals and they are voicing themselves. Some are responsible and some not quite responsible. Just like in mainstream medialand. Trust the people with sufficient blood flow into their cereblum and cerebrum to distinguish it. And, certainly let em decide.

Congrats Rocky, for this sweet milestone and success ...
On our brothers in arm.
A Voice
Kuala Lumpur
March 17th, 2007 7:20 p.m.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Dear Prudence: Is EPF Purchase of RHB Scandalous?

Dear Prudence, won't you come out to play
Dear Prudence, greet the brand new day
The sun is up, the sky is blue
It's beautiful and so are you
Dear Prudence won't you come out to play

Dear Prudence open up your eyes
Dear Prudence see the sunny skies
The wind is low the birds will sing
that you are part of everything
Dear Prudence won't you open up your eyes?

Look around round
Look around round round
Look around

Dear Prudence let me see you smile
Dear Prudence like a little child
The clouds will be a daisy chain
So let me see you smile again
Dear Prudence won't you let me see you smile?

Dear Prudence, won't you come out to play
Dear Prudence, greet the brand new day
The sun is up, the sky is blue
It's beautiful and so are you
Dear Prudence won't you come out to play

-- The Beatles, White Album (1968)

My first impression to the accusation by Tony Pua, the new Economic Adviser to DAP Secretary General, on EPF purchase of RHB as scandalous seemed alarming (Read in FreeLunch 2020 here). For one with no or limited experiential knowledge in portfolio management and banking, his political statement seemed commendable.

While his headline got me to sit up, I am not easily taken-in in the wake of strange headlines like our RM1 trillion "good" economy these days. Mind you, scandal is synonymous with offense. As I surgically read his statement, I fail to see any conclusive offense made under law or abnormality in industry practise, be it in a professional or regulatory role.

And, to simply prefer EON Capital or Kuwait Finance House to takeover RHB, just because both are financial institutions, is certainly a naïve remark.

Let not nit pick like a lawyer enlisting troubling issues from some textbook checklist.

Fallacy of the Accusation

Behind those liberal uses of technical jargon and numbers, the seven issues are inconclusive, arguable and speculative. Allow me to elaborate below:

1. EPF has humbly recognised their lack of expertise in managing Bank. The management provided by Khazanah. This will assist their process of building expertise within the organisation. As one who attended the courtroom proceeding in the trial against Dato Ismail Zakaria, the presumption of Sime Bank's failure is way of mark.

2. While the 18% exposure of its total equity investment seemed large, it is still a mere 3.5% of total fund under management. Do the scenarios and do the math. Will it significantly impact EPF return? The way the Capital-asset Adequacy Ratio risk is presented, it seemed only a Bank with no loans activity is satisfactory to DAP. And, to apply gearing practise of other business to Banking, it is a serious flaw.

3. For big organisation like EPF, it is within their means to create the structure to manage their investment. Lets not create hearsay that EPF will be distracted away from their decades old core business of Fund Management.

4. On the speculation that EPF is average down investing on RHB, is it not a common investing methodology? Sieving through his arguments that EPF is "throwing good money after bad money" and void of proper judgement, strangely there is too many "if"s. Does that warrant an offensive scandal label? If any, barking at the past does not move one to the future.

5. Regulatory uncertainty occurs when there is no precedent. As it is, there is no Malaysian law limiting ownership of Banks beyond 20%, only Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) policy regulation. There is a precedent to allow certain Institutions of national interest like PNB to own majority stake in a Bank. And, there has been leeway of time for divestment of shares to Tan Sri Azman Hashim dan Tan Sri Teh Hiong Piow. Where is the regulatory uncertainty?

6. The raising of doubts on the unanimity of the Boards' decision on this acquisition differs wildly from positive remark by Bloggers BigDog on the existence of 3 professional Bankers on the Board (Read here). If there is confirmed inside information on the Board divergence view, it should certainly be shared. Otherwise, it is too speculative to call for an offensive scandal. As all Boardroom practise, decisions are made collectively.

The Bigger Perspective

Right up to the late 80s, the bulk of EPF investment is in long-term Government Bonds of 15-20 years with gorgeous coupon rates of 7.5 - 8.5%. Since the recession of 1986, the Government have progressively reduce deficit and consequently lesser amount of Bond are issued.

Come the 90s as Government was on a balance budget policy, Government Bonds have a much reduced rates commensurting with the shorter tenure. That explains for EPF declining return. For EPF to sustain a growing fundsize and limited choices of investment to meet its fund objective for capital preservation and modest return, and the terms in the deed of trust, investing its funds is a formidable and daunting task.

One investment model that has proven well in Malaysia is PNB, Tabung Haji, and LTAT. These institutions manage their Fund well and manage their invested companies. Even the legendary Investment Guru Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway has his hand on main investment, GEICO. So does, Ross Perot.

Managing your major invested company helps reduce the risk of being railroad by other managing shareholders. This certainly applies in the ruthless Malaysian corporate scene and EPF has fall victim to many such situation.

I certainly welcome EPF move to "take the bull by the horn", should it be the direction it is taking. As compared to investing PFI and Corporate Bonds, it promises a better control on its return. EPF is certainly not without Boardroom experience in control and monitoring of strategic investment, particularly in Banks. In fact, EPF have been managing MBSB from time immemorial.

This acquisition can be bring about many possibilities and opportunities, even cooperating with with the other bidders. The whole sequences of corporate exercises are still not known publicly but it must be made known to BNM. Hold on to your horses.

In the nutshell, this is the dilemma of investment decision - investing or divesting or do nothing. Whatever it is, investment can never be risk free and risk avoidance is impractical. Just balance the risk with expected return.

Here's to responsible bogging and gentlemen agreement to disagree.

The sun is not that gloomy.

Dear Prudence won't you come out to play

A Voice
Kuala Lumpur
March 11th, 2007 4:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Stupid Cupid: Law Needed For Stupidity Against Women Bloggers

Stupid Cupid, you're a real mean guy (stupid cupid)
I'd like to clip your wings so you can't fly (stupid cupid)
I am in love and it's a crying shame (stupid cupid)
And I know that you're the one to blame (stupid cupid)

Hey hey, set me free
Stupid Cupid, stop picking on me

Can't do my homework, and I can't think straight (stupid cupid)
I meet him every morning 'bout a half past eight (stupid cupid)
I'm acting like a lovesick fool (stupid cupid)
You've even got me carrying his books to school (stupid cupid)

Hey hey, set me free
Stupid Cupid, stop picking on me

You mixed me up for good right from the very start
Hey, go play Robin Hood with somebody else's heart

You've got me jumping like a crazy clown (stupid cupid)
And I don't feature what you're putting down (stupid cupid)
Since I kissed his loving lips of wine (stupid cupid)
The thing that bothers me is that I like it fine (stupid cupid)

Hey hey, set me free
Stupid Cupid, stop picking on me

You've got me jumping like a crazy clown (stupid cupid)
And I don't feature what you're putting down (stupid cupid)
Since I kissed his loving lips of wine (stupid cupid)
The thing that bothers me is that I like it fine (stupid cupid)

Hey, hey, set me free
Stupid Cupid, stop picking on me (stupid cupid)
Hey, hey, set me free
Stupid Cupid, stop picking on me

Stupid Cupid

-- Connie Francis, Single (1958)

Shin Chew Jit Poh
March 8th, 2007

Tengku Adnan: Bloggers are Liars

80% are Unemployed Women
(Kuala Lumpur) The Tourism Minsiter Tunku Adnan lashed out today that all bloggers on the Internet are liars, out of which 80% are unemployed women.

“All bloggers are liars, they cheat people using all kinds of methods. From my understanding, out of 10,000 unemployed bloggers, 8,000 are women.”
Tengku was addressing the media at the 2007 Malaysia GP Sales when he was asked about allegations made on a blog by a female TV presenter. The guests present were shocked at first, but burst into laughter.
He said he may lose some female voters but did not retract his statement or indicate that he was just joking.
He said that bloggers spread rumours, disrupt social harmony and many bloggers are slanderous and are cheating people with their blogs.
“All bloggers are not in favour of national unity. Our country has been successful because we are very tolerant with each other, if not, there will be civil war, the Malays will kill the Chinese, the Chinese will take revenge and kill the Malays, and the Indian will kill everyone.”
He urged the rakyat not to simply trust bloggers, and gamble our future away because the achievement we gain in the 50 years of independence is not an easy task.
“We have to show the world our positive attitude, if the world learn to be as tolerant as us, the world will be peaceful, without war or civil war.”
He said that the tourism ministry has been promoting the country for the rakyat’s benefit, not just to benefit his own ministry.
He stressed that the Malaysian tourism industry is now in a critical moment as the competition from the neighbouring countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines will be stiffer and Malaysia must respond proactively.

Translation from Jeremiah Foo

No analysis required. We need a law against stupidity!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Superwomen: International Women's Day

Early in the morning
I put breakfast at your table
And make sure that your coffee
Has its sugar and cream

Your eggs are over easy
Your toast done lightly
All that's missing is your morning kiss
That used to greet me

Now you say the juice is sour
It used to be so sweet
And I can't help but to wonder
If you're talking 'bout me

We don't talk the way we used to talk
It's hurtin' so deep
I've got my pride, I will not cry
But it's makin' me weak

I'm not your superwoman
I'm not the kind of girl that you can let down
And think that everything's okay
Boy, I am only human
This girl needs more than occasional
Hugs as a token of love from you to me, ooh, baby

I fought my way through the rush hour
Trying to make it home just for you
I want to make sure that your dinner
Will be waiting for you

But when you get there you just tell me
You're not hungry at all
You said you'd rather read the paper
And you don't want to talk

You like to think that I'm just crazy
When I say that you changed
I'm convinced I know the problem
You don't love me the same

You're just going through the motions
And you're not being fair
I've got my pride, I will not cry
Still I can't help but care

Chorus (2x)

Oh, baby, look into the corners of your mind
I'll always be there for you through good and bad times
But I can't be that superwoman that you want me to be
I'll give my everlasting love if you'll return love to me


If you feel it in your heart
And you understand me
Stop right where you are
Everybody sing along with me

Hoo, hoo, hoo, ooh, ooh, hoo
Hoo, hoo, hoo, ooh, ooh, hoo
I'm the kind of girl that can treat you so sweet
But you got to realize that you got to be sweeter to me, oh, ho, ho

Hoo, hoo, hoo, ooh, ooh, hoo
Hoo, hoo, hoo, ooh, ooh, hoo
I need love
I need just your love


I'm not your superwoman

-- Karyn White, Karyn White (1988)

To that superwoman that bore this life and gave it a soul ...

... and other superwoman and men ...

To that superwoman that persevere through uncertainty ...

To those superwomen behind such greatness ...

... and in absence is resigned to mediocrity ...

To those superwomen determine to resist cruelty ...

... voice against humiliation ...

... and fearless to take up arms for freedom ...

To those generations of superwomen facing up to abuse of ignorance ...

To that superwomen Audras that fought to give a life with her man calling MustStopNow (Zorro that came to the rescue. And, many others lending their voices.) ...

To that superwoman return to her Al Mighty (Read on Nuraina's sister, Allahyarhamah Nuraida here and here. My Fatihah for her. May her men and superwomen be strong.) ...

To those superwomen where tomorrow lies ...

So women, you are that half that hold the world. Cease denying ...

I'm not superwomen.

A Voice
Kuala Lumpur
March 8th, 2007 10:00 p.m. International Women's Day

Monday, March 05, 2007

Kau Yang Satu: Is Islam Hadhari Submission to Neo-Con's Theological Warfare?

Kaulah Yang Maha Esa
Kaulah Yang Maha Pengasih
Kaulah Yang Maha Penyayang
Tiada hidup tanpaMu

Kaulah Yang Maha Agung
Kaulah Yang Maha Mengetahui
Tuhan dunia akhirat
Tiada aku tanpaMu

Bilaku rasa pilu
Bilaku rasa resah
Bilaku kekosongan
Kau tempatku mengadu
OH Tuhan yang satu
Engkaulah Tuhan yang satu

Segala puji-pujianku
Tujukan padaMU..padaMU
Dan hidup dan matiku hanyalah
UntukMu... untukMu... untukMU

-- Ramli Sarip, Perjalanan Hidup (1987)

If one could describe Ramli Sarip's surreal song, "Kau Yang Satu", it is a spiritual journey towards submission to God. From the conscience of God's existence and attribute, to God for emotional consolation. And, with gratitude come submission. It's ultimately about one God.

The gist of God's revelation to Muhammad to convey is the single precise and clear message of the essence, unity, attributes and worship of God. If one looks at the diverse faces of Islam today, it's intriguing to see the evolved mosaic of different cultures, political nation states, and practices. Still unified by Aqeedah as specified in the Doctrine of Faith, the diverse opinions, thoughts, and philosophies should have deepen its knowledge bank. To the contrary, Islam is divided by fanaticism to personalities and sects.

It is this observation that had the venerable Tun Dr Mahathir call for a reversion to fundamental Islam, Islam of the word of God. The Quran is one true message; devoid of sectarian "branding" of Sunni vs. Syiah, Wahabi or Salafi vs. Sufi, and myriad schools of Tariqah, Mazhab and Iqtikad with each hurling accusation to the other.

Opportunity for the Marchivellist

Islamic history is laden with stories of its enemies taking opportunity from the divided Islam.

Classic movie enthusiast would remember "Lawrence of Arabia" inspiring Nationalism into the Wahabis of Saud family for separation from the declining Ottoman Empire. The movie portrayed a romantic and inspiring uprising for freedom. But, history disclosed that it is by design to break-up the Ottoman Empire.

The recent US military and media-instigated Sunni-Shiah division in Iraq was another such opportunism. In the recent PGPO Conference, it was claimed that such division never existed in Iraqi society. It not only fit the "divide and rule" mantra, but for the ulterior motive to stay longer for "Haliburton" to get contracts, cheap oil for gas guzzling American, and the American hegemonic domination of Mother Earth.

The list is long.

Religion Building of Civil Democratic Islam

Khadija Abdul Qahaar, a Canadian convert interviewed by Malaysia Today's, described the dependent on American FTA saw their intrusion into sermon prepared by the Al Azhar for Egyptians mosque. This revelation in Egypt is by design a theological warfare on Islam.

Ever since 9-11, authors, policymakers and so-called think tanks were churning to publish and advocate policy and strategy in dealing with the Muslim world. One such report is "Civil Democratic Islam - Partners Resources and Strategies" (CDI), released by the US Defense Contractor RAND Corporation in 2003 with fund raised by the conservative Smith Richardson Foundation. (Downloadable here)

CDI was authored by Cheryl Benard, an American sociologist and women theme-fiction writer. She is married to Zalmay Khalilzad, Special Assistant to President Bush and chief National Security Council (NSC) official for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia.

Khalilzad is probably the first and only Afghan-American neo-conservative and in the 1980s worked in the State Department's Policy Planning Council under Paul Wolfowitz.

CDI proposed a "religion-building" strategy of Islam i.e. redefining Islam "to encourage a moderate, democratic interpretation and presentation of Islam". This, the author acknowledge, is a more daunting, perilous and complex process than "nation-building".

The proposed direction was about, to quote, "devising a judicious approach [requiring] a finely grained understanding of the ongoing ideological struggle within Islam, to identify appropriate partners and set realistic goals and means to encourage its evolution in a positive way."

By choosing "elements, trends, and forces within Islam they intend to strengthen", Islam and the Islamic world could be influence into an outcome favourable to the interests of the West. The strategy is similar to how the West dealt with Christianity, which "included the necessity to depart from, modify, and selectively ignore elements of the original religious doctrine".

Divide and Conquer - A Proposed Strategy

Benard divides the Islamic world into the following four categories - Fundamentalists, Traditionalists, Modernists and Secularists.

The author views, to quote, "modernists and the secularists as being the closest to the West in terms of values and policies. However, they are generally in a weaker position than the other groups, lacking powerful backing, financial resources, an effective infrastructure, and a public platform."

A multi-prong strategy was designed:

  • Provide financial and political support for the modernists first. Support secularists on a case-by-case basis.
  • Back the traditionalists tactically against the fundamentalists. Recommendation to "encourage disagreements between traditionalists and fundamentalists", "discriminate between different sectors of traditionalism", encourage certain schools of law versus others, to "build up the stature of sufism", and encourage "sufi influence over school curricula, norms, and cultural life".
  • Consistently oppose the fundamentalists. Paint fundamentalist as immoral and hypocrite, corrupt leaders, and promoting backwardness.
  • Assertively promote the values of Western democratic modernity. Encourage secular civic and cultural institutions. Focus on the next generation. Provide aid to states, groups, and individuals with the right attitudes.
Islam Hadhari

The Prime Minister, Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad, acknowledge the divisional problem in Islam. He even pointed out the need to solve the problem of Sectarianism in his speech at the OIC Conference in Islamabad on November 6th, 2006 last year.

His speech fell short and addressed it more from an intended purpose for economic opportunity and eradication of poverty. He was more obsessed in promoting his Islam Hadhari agenda.

Islam Hadhari has been the political mantra of Prime Minister Abdullah since his ascension to Premiership. Tun Dr Mahathir promoted Islamic value program and Vision 2020. Anwar already had an Islamic image and chose to promote "Civil Society".

Abdullah, despite coming from a religious political family and having an Islamic study degree, pursue a Nationalistic political agenda and a career in public administrations. Islam Hadhari, as rhetorical and void of specific programs as it is, was his much needed Islamic political branding. Its close similarity with Vision 2020 seemed indisputable.

On the surface, the 10 principle aims of Islam Hadhari seemed noble and harmless. The respected scholar Professor Syed Naguib Al Attas has long been preaching for a progressive Civilisational Islam. Mufti like that of Perak, Dato Harussani supports its concept. The young and liberal minded Perlis Mufti is living it.

Critiques questions equating Islam and Hadhari. Islam means submission and the doctrine of faith leaves little to no room for interpretation. The issue of semantics arises in equating Islam Hadhari as progressive Islam. Is that right to claim opponents to Islam Hadhari as regressive Islam?

Upon acceptance to the doctrine of faith and devoutly carryout obligations as per the five pillars of faith, one is a Muslim. There is no such thing as a progressive, moderate or extreme Islam and middle grounds. As Tun Dr Mahathir pointed out recently, Islam Hadhari is confusing.

Islam Hadhari and CDI's Moderate Islam

Commentators viewed CDI as written based on a stereotype and bigoted view of Islam that would not serve its claimed purpose to ease the tension and allow for better interaction between the West and the Islamic world. In fact, it is perpetuating the blame game on Islam that dates back to 19th - 20th Century European Orientalism.

The study falls into a typical western mistake of analysing Islam from a Western perspective - demanding conformity to contemporary global culture and lifestyle, and painting Muslims as despots, terrorists, and fanatic suicide bombers.

Through the Western eyes, the ideal Islamic community should conform to their expectation of being democratic, economically viable, politically stable, and socially progressive and kow-tow to the rules and norms of international conduct. More comment from Google on CDI here .

Many quarters view Islam Hadhari to fit the description of moderate Islam in CDI with several western ideals planted in Islam Hadhari. Two that stands out is the 7th and 9th principal. It is not much the justification to the principal but the stress for a lesser importance issue to equate with Islam.

The 7th principal on minority and women seemed to win favour in our multiracial population and to accommodate the increasingly stressed issues on women rights by the western NGOs. The 9th principal on environment seemed to appease the western environmentalist pressure group. Not realising, it is an additional barriers to check economic competition from developing countries.

Shallow and devoid of specific program, Abdullah received his much needed attention to speak on Islam Hadhari at the recent World Economic Congress in Davos. There were many more prior to this, particularly in Muslim countries.

It would not be a surprise that the Dubya Bush Administration is monitoring the acceptance and progress of Islam Hadhari as a test case of a modern version of an accommodative Islam acceptably "progressive, liberal, democratic and civil" to the West. Only in Malaysia, with a Muslim majority and reasonable level of standard of living and education, can it be done.

When Tun Dr Mahathir gave a news headline "No such thing as a moderate Muslim" and plead to stop seeking acknowledgement as moderate and liberal Islam, he is far sighted enough to see the geo-global implication. Does Abdullah realised this big gameplan or is he in his ever state of zouk or insulated?

One God, One Message and ...

UntukMu... untukMu... untukMU

A Voice
Kuala Lumpur
March 5th, 2007 5:00 p.m.

My Say