Thursday, January 31, 2008

Just News: Dr Mahathir Unplug But Electrifying

Will Pak Lah speak up this time? Or will he be the weakling he usually is to shy away with an "Elegence Silence" again?

Taken from

Did I say "more remarks coming" yesterday? Salted mouth or "masin mulut" as the Malay would say. After yesterday's Reuter's report, it's no more remarks but a field day for the Press at the post book launch Press Conference.

You may have read comment's at Dato Kadir Jasin's, or Rocky's or Big Dog's or on Malaysiakini. Lets read the full transcript of Dr Mahathir’s Press Conference issued by his Press Secretary, Sufi Yusof.

Dr M: First thing before you begin to ask me questions I would like to thank you very much for your presence today. What my book is all about I have already explained just now so if there are anymore questions you are welcomed to ask, if I can answer, I will, if I cannot I will just shut up. Okay...

Q: Will you contest in the coming General Election?

Dr M : Well like the comedian who was talking about his girlfried, he would like to but he didn't...

Q: How much does the US recession is likely to affect Malaysia?

Dr M : Well actually today the US should close down because it had been bankrupt for several years now. It has deficits. But because the United States owns IMF (International Monetary Fund) the IMF has not taken any action. If we were in that situation we would have been crushed to the ground but this is the US where they can print money and where they can make use of other opeople's money to sustain an economy that is unsustainable.

But unfortunately too many countries have trade and investment links with the uS and some of these investments abroad are really meant to supply the US with their products. If the US is not in a position to buy their products then these companies located in other countries including Malaysia will suffer. So the fact remains that the US economy is so big that its collapse is going to affect the world. So the world is not going to allow it to collapse just like the US will not allow certain big banks to collapse. We will feel the impact, whether we like it or not. We will feel the impact. In fact we are already feeling the impact. Today we are in a state of denial and bad things are coming in the future because it is not going to be easy to ensure that the US recession does not take place. It is not easy to reverse the process

Q: Tun now Malaysia does not trade much with the US?

Dr M : I don’t know the last figure I had was about 30% of our exports still go to the US. So 80 per cent of our trade about...100 billion a year is a very big chunk

Q: Your comment on lacklustre attitude from OIC in response to the problems in Palestine

Dr M : It is usual that they are not interested in the sufferings of the people in Gaza or Palestine. They are too busy with other things. They have never shown any sympathy for the Palestinian, only verbal support but no really tangible support.

Q: Tun akan turun Padang berkempen untuk BN?

Dr M : Saya dulu saya terima iaitu saya akan bantu dalam kempen tapi pada tahun 2004 oleh kerana parti BN begitu popular saya dikehendaki tidak kempen di tempat-tempat tertentu. Saya akan kempen cuma kalau saya percaya orang yang dicalonkan itu ialah orang yang boleh membawa kebaikan.

Q: Politics is dirty because of politicians or is it that politics is just dirty?

Dr M : The politicians, because I am also a politician I don't play dirty politics but when people who have openly told lies and the whole country knows they told lies and they get re-elected...and (this) cause me to lose my respect and lose my faith in the political system as practised by them.

Q: In your book...(not audible)

Dr M : I have claimed to be a Muslim fundamentalist. This one (Hadhari) is modern Islam which is another thing altogether. I go for the fundamentals and the fundamentals of Islam is very good. It is not like the Christian fundamentalist where they are equated with extremism. To equate Muslim fundamentalist with extremism is wrong. It’s a misnomer. If you really follow the teachings of Islam, the basic teachings of Islam, you should be a very good man, a very progressive man, well-balanced person.

Q: (not audible)

Dr M : I always point out that for 1,400 years there have been many interpretations of Islam and many of these interpretations are influenced by the situation occurring at that time so the interpretation today is because we are a democratic country we will have elections and anything that we say can be used by the opposition in order to gain support.

Q: You mean current situation our interpretation is more for political reasons?

Dr M : Yes I think it is political more than religious. If its religious we need to sit down and discuss the basis of this decision and then only we can really say that it is an Islamic injunction not to do certain things.

Q: You say you will campaign for candidates...does this include opposition?

Dr M : No, I will not campaign for the opposition. But I am saying the people who support the BN should be a little bit more selective. Should think, should choose wisdom in their choice of the people they will support. If people name some deadwood, some corrupt politician as candidates even if they are from the BN, BN supporters should not support them. That way we can clean the party, BN and UMNO because there is no hope that Umno can be cleaned from within because everything is controlled now. Nobody can have an opinion and any contrary views they will make (is) sure will not be heard.

Q: Tun mengatakan bahawa pengundi termasuk penyokong BN perlu melakukan perubahan di piliharaya untuk megubah kepimpinan BN dan Umno. Itu maksud Tun?

Dr M : Ya, itu sahaja harapan kita. Itu pun bukanlah kuat sangat harapan kerana saya berpendapat pengundi-pengundi biasa pun kadang-kadang terpengaruh dengan cara yang tidak halal tetapi kita sudah hilang keupayaan untuk menukar pemimpin di peringkat parti kerana parti sekarang ini dibenar cuma mengata "Yes" kepada apa yang presiden kata. Jadi tidak ada real opinion dalam party anymore. No way you can change the leadership of the party or the way the party operates from within. If the people in Malaysia wishes to have a party that is centered on nepotism and corruption then of course they will vote for the same people and will achieve no correction

Q: Are you saying the PM for the moment can be considered in your definition as deadwood?

Dr M : I don’t know about what my opinion is but i know i have differences with him.

Q: Lepas tun lepas jawatan PM ada khabar angin tentang fail rasuah tokoh Umno kelantan yang Tun serah kepada Pak Lah untuk tindakan...

Dr M : Fail kalau ada akan diserah oleh ACA. Bukan saya punya tugas nak serah file tapi saya tahu ada kes tertentu yang harus diselidik dan tindakan diambil. Saya amat sedar bahawa kes corruption bukan mudah untuk kita buktikan. Dengan itu kita cuma akan dengar cerita yang buruk tetapi akhirnya tiada satu tindakan pun yang boleh diambil

Q: When you stepped down in 2003 you said you made a gentleman's agreement for him to stay one term. In this case macam mana?

Dr M : Even if I said I had this gentlemen's agreement there is no way I can prove it. My thinking that since he was older than Najib he should be PM for a term and then Najib should be able to take over.

Q: In the 22 years of your administration, there was fast track development, many things were done in record time...PM now needs more time beyond five years to develop his projects. What is your view?

Dr M : I know it takes time to implement plans and projects but i think if that is to be used as an excuse to stay in power for 18 years that would not be very welcome. But that time to this time only announcements are being made. He is already asking for time to do this.

Q: The PM announced economic corridor, repercussion not now...commitments made are huge. If not able to be delivered what will happen to future PM?

Dr M : What i think is that it certainly will not be delivered by the time of the election. So this is the reason why you should allow the present Government to go on so that they can implement. But the way, the things are being implemented are also questionable. Giving it to the so called GLC which then gives contracts to other people, none of which are very open that is not really the right way to do things.

Q: What is you greatest concern in 50 years looking at Malaysia?

Dr M : Well, I think the Government does not seem to know how to progress, how to implement things. It’s already quite sometime since I stepped down. (It) would have been easier perhaps to just continue with the projects already on the ground but it was decided to postpone ostensibly because of lack of funds. But what I do know is that when I stepped down there was enough money to go ahead with all the so-called mega projects. Now they have decided to go ahead with some of the mega projects but the cost is very high, as much as 50 % more simply because the cost of living, the cost of everything has gone up in the meantime. So the postponement was totally unjustified. Now they realised that these are needed infrastructure.

Q: Time to implement mean he should carry on as PM?

Dr M : It depends upon the record you have shown in some other things that doesn't need too much time. If you show that you can implement it, the smaller projects, i think you should be given more time for the bigger projects. But what you see is just a stoppage, a kind of reversal of the previous policies and projects ostensibly because there was no funds and this is not such a good judgment.

Q: Now you are complaining of cronyism and nepotism in Pak Lah's term...(question not audible)

Dr M : Well I am aware that I was not always right but those people who were called my cronies were not my cronies. As a matter of fact when I was accused of these I published, I made public the list of people who had projects etc and it was clear that they were not people I know except for the very well known figures. I was not practising cronyism but of course these (accusations) were attached to me as a kind of label to undermine my credibility (and) I cannot get away from it. But today we see nepotism creeping in. We see companies getting projects to the extent that many Malaysian entrepreneurs and contractors are now going abroad. They said there is no opportunity within the country.

Q: Tun, as ahli Umno No 1. Are you aware of current happenings within the party, do you get any updates?

Dr M : Nothing, I am completely cut out

Q: Compared to during your time the BN is no longer as united as before...

Dr M : When we have a group of people working together, we must know how to handle them. They have grouses, they have differences but if you handle them properly and tackle the grouses, I think they will sit together. But if you show any weakness, giving in, people will take advantage of your weakness.

Q: In the recent state assembly sitting in Kelantan Datuk Mustafa Mohamad admitted he asked you to stop developing Kelantan when PAS took over Government...

Dr M : Well not only Mustafa but all the rest of Umno felt you should not develop Kelantan because if you do they will tell people..."Look even if you don't vote for BN you will still get development, so why bother to vote for BN?" - that's what PAS will say and that has always been a problem with PAS even in my constituency. If a village is supportive of PAS and i were to give a bridge or whatever PAS will tell people "Look you don't have to support the Government so support us." Because of that we had to hold back.

Q: Do you think political Islam will play a big role in the next General Election?

Dr M : It will be exploited to the utmost by PAS and the Government will have its hands full trying to handle it.

Q: What about racial issues?

Dr M : It is unfortunate because we have never really achieved racial harmony but we have been able to keep it within control. But now people are not only taking action based on race but also on religion. They say Hinduism was not something that will cause a ..... (not audidble)....but now Hindus apparently feel dissatisfied with their lot and have made this demonstration. I don't say that because I agree with them. I don't agree with them. But they see a Government that is retreating and of course they want to take advantage.

Q: Apa pendapat tun tentang sekiranya anak beranak dapat jawatan utama dalam parti umno. Bolehkah orang Melayu terima?

Dr M: Psychology....attitude Melayu berbeza sikit. Dia sokong bukan kerana individu. Sokong kerana parti, kalau bagi a piece of log there or a stone they will still vote the party because this is my party and I cannot allow my party to lose. The Chinese are much more selective. They did not like me in 1969. They made sure I lost the election but they also made sure the Alliance won the election. So if you cause a person that you don't like to lose, it doesn't mean that the party will lose, the party will win.

Q: You were reported that MIC should be blamed for the Indians' plight. Were you misquoted?

Dr M : No, its not MIC as a political party. But the thing is that people, rather Indians, who may not agree with MIC but still wish to support the BN are not given ay chance at all. In their frustration, whether MIC is right or wrong is a different matter, obviously there is no opportunity for anybody else, any other Indians, to come up.

Q: What role are you trying to play in the next General Election?

Dr M : I'm trying to promote cleansing of the party by the people, because within the party it is not possible to cleanse. If I say anything there will be a chorus of people who will curse me including some of my former ministers...they will curse if I'm going to be cursed by them i might as well be cursed for everything else.

Q: Strategi pukul anak sindir menantu...

Dr M : There is a risk in all these things but I hope that we will love this country enough to vote for the best candidate.

Q: Masksudnya Tun boleh terima hakikat pembangkang menang lebih?

Dr M : No, pembangkang tak mungkin menang lebih banyak daripada BN. Lebih banyak dari sekarang mungkin, tapi tak boleh jadi kerajaan.

Q: More than in 1999?

Dr M : 1999 was a different matter. A question of a black eye

Q: 99 was issues of emotion, but now isu harga barang, jenayah jadi kebimbangan pada rakyat...

Dr M : Well the issues are different. There is problem of inflation etc but more important is the quality of leadership, quality of Umno that has degenerated to the point where members cannot say anything. You say something you are hauled up and asked to choose between the PM and whoever. So there is not a slightest freedom that is allowed and in my case I was invited by many people and the people who invited me were called by the police not to go ahead with the invitation, to cancel the invitation. Of course you can use police for implementing the law but there is no law that allows police to threaten people that if they hold the meeting and invite me they will get into trouble. But this is what happened.

During my time, Tengku Razaleigh wanted to make a speech they could make a speech. Anybody who wanted to make a speech, even Tengku Razaleigh, I did not stop him. But here the moment I stepped down almost I was practically not allowed to speak.

Q: How do you plan to cleanse the party?

Dr M : Its up to the people to vote in those leaders who are clean because the party will not clean itself

Q: But what is you plan?

Dr M : I don't know all I can say is talk to you (the Press)...

Q: How about the leadership,,,

Dr M : Its up to the people to make an assessment as to who should continue or who should go.

Q: Your assessment...will there be total change in the line-up

Dr M : I think there will be no total change. There will be some people who will be retained some people who have not delivered they should not be retained

Q: The young generation?

Dr M : Unfortunately the young generation does not even bother to register

Q: Claims of vote buying, any proof?

Dr M : In my case I have proof. People were bribed not to vote for me in my constituency and I expect that to be extended, it was nothing just a small matter but still these attempts were made to prevent me from becoming just a wakil

Q: Do you think there will be outright vote buying?

Dr M : There is that possibility. I was told in the by election that thing happened.
Tun made his first attack on the malaise and negligence of the current administration on June 22nd, 2006 at Paradise Century Club, Taman Melawati, Ulu Kelang, Selangor. Since that speech, he went on a road show to explain and uncover to the UMNO members, particularly the beginning of a dangerous trend in the Abdullah adminsitration.

In Johor Bahru on 10 February 2007, he upped his tempo to tell UMNO to not fear leadership changes. UMNO has made leadership changes when the leadership has steered away from it's struggle.

The recent Royal Commission (RC) is a clear cut case of an attempt by the current administration to discredit him. With no evidence gathered by the investigation to show Dr Mahathir was making a decision based on outside influences, the administration stooped to the pressure from Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the Bar Council.

No substantial outcome is expected from the RC. The crutch of it is that there is no way to show Dr Mahathir was influenced by others in his judiciary appointment, which is rightly his prerogative under the law. Yet the RC is tugging along on irrelevent issues.

In this press conference, he has indirectly called on Abdullah to step down. In the midst of poor voter sentiment and major drop in confidence in his leadership, this will be unnecessary pressure on Abdullah, who seemed desperate to have the GE the soonest possible. Tun has unreservedly call for outsiders to cleanse UMNO since it has no ability to clean the party from corruption and nepotism.

Unless something happens, in the next too distance future, Abdullah will not be able to claim he has 90% support of the people. If it is inevitable that it will be a significantly lower performance and even rumoured of losing few states, is UMNO and the Coalition not reacting to tell Abdullah times up? That is whats needed to save the party.

Is this press conference a reaction to RC? Unlikely, Tun has been consistent on his attack of Abdullah. How will Abdullah react to this? "Elegent silence"? Not this time. It will only show his inability to grasp the situation, a clear sign of weakness. This time he can't walk away from this fight. He's got to show us he's got what he has been showing Jeanne.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Just News: TDM's back, GE Campaign Period and UMNO EGM

He has not been saying much on local political issues since his operations at IJN. There was comment related to the Royal Commission after the book launch at PLF. A short cynical remark, and the attempted spin or slow reception by Dato Ali Rastam, at the launch of TDM's bread venture in KL last week.

Yesterday, Reuters reported on Tun Dr Mahathir, prior to the launch of his latest book containing selected letters to world leaders, for today. The report in full below:

Malaysia’s Mahathir sees no easing of rift with PM

Tue Jan 29, 2008 Reuters

By Jalil Hamid

KUALA LUMPUR - Former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday he would remain a thorn in the side of his successor in the run-up to elections, and would continue to speak his mind.

Until subdued by heart problems last year, the outspoken Mahathir was the most vocal critic of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, accusing his government of lacking “guts” and selling out Malaysian sovereignty.

“I still disagree on several of his policies, mainly allowing Malaysians to be subject to Singapore’s wishes,” the 82-year-old told select foreign media in an interview ahead of Wednesday’s launch of his new book.

The book published for the first time his personal correspondence with world leaders including U.S. President George W. Bush, on issues ranging from terrorism to Islam and Myanmar.

“We are not as independent as before in terms of our attitude towards international affairs,” said Mahathir, who ruled the nation for 22 years with an iron grip. “We tend to be very accommodative.”


In the interview, he took Abdullah to task for “wasting (public) money”, dismissed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim as a “daydreamer” and asserted that the domestic economy was in “bad shape” without a rally in commodity prices.

Mahathir said Abdullah’s ruling front would be returned with a strong majority in the polls, widely expected by March, but said voters must get rid of dead wood in the coalition.

“But there are certain people whose contribution is negative. These people should not be chosen as candidates,” Mahathir, wearing a collarless Nehru suit, said at his office in the 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers.

“I still support the party and I still believe the party will win with a good majority but one must not confuse support for the party with support for the individual,” he said.

On Anwar, Mahathir said his political enemy would not be a major factor in the coming elections.

“He’s not a real factor,” he said. “There’s no more political future for him. If he thinks he’s going to be the prime minister, it’s daydreaming of the worst kind.”

A charismatic speaker, Anwar was sacked from government in 1998 after falling out with Mahathir. Anwar then led street protests before he was arrested and later jailed on what he called trumped-up charges of graft and sodomy.

Released in 2004, his corruption conviction means he cannot stand for elected office or hold political office until April this year.

Mahathir, who has a history of heart problem, underwent a heart bypass in September and doctors have advised him to cut down on travel and other activities, including horse-riding.

The operation was Mahathir’s second such surgery since 1989 and followed two heart attacks over the past 13 months.

His quarrel with Abdullah came to the fore after the government scrapped Mahathir’s idea to replace a causeway linking Malaysia and Singapore with a bridge.

Asked if Abdullah should quit, he replied: “It is up to him to decide. It’s also up to the people to decide. If the people want him to move on, if they think his administration is not benefiting them, they should make a decision.”
It surprises me to hear the repeat of his critics with the General Election expected to be just around the corner. Or will there be a General Election with Pak Lah in the most pathetic situation in the latest released Merdeka Centre survey at a 61% public approval? It seems one set of "advisers" advise him not to have it. While another set of "advisers" desperately needed the new mandate last year to justify and implement their "plans" fast. For pondering, if you read this blog Pak Lah, TDM's approval rating never got this low under the Reformasi onslaught but did some dent.

Whatever will Flip Flop Pak Lah decide of the General Election date, it will be an election of personality over party. Heard over the grapevine that it will be a short campaign period. Most likely, the public will likely vote for candidate they are personally familiar. Thus, letting the public know the candidates early will be a lead start.

Still on TDM's news report, let's not forget that UMNO needs to hold it's own party election by the latest end of June. Hmmm ... will there be a delay around the corner? Perhasp, an Extraordinary General Meeting for another 18 months? Will Pak Lah dare to attempt it when Division heads leaving the hall in midst of the UMNO President's speech? Another 18 months will add into the book of tips of how to prolong the shelf life of "defective good" by 3 years?

TDM is due to launch his latest book at the Perdana leadership foundation office at Presinct 8, Putrajaya at 10:00 pm today, Wednesday. More remarks coming?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tuesday's Gone: Paper Free Tuesday

Train roll on, on down the line,
Please take me far, away
Now I feel the wind blow outside my door,
Means I'm leaving my woman at home.
Tuesday's gone with the wind.
Well my baby's gone with the wind.

And I don't know oh where I'm going.
I just want to be left alone.
Well, when this train ends I'll try again,
But I'm leaving my woman at home

(Tuesday's gone with the wind.) X 3
My baby's gone with the wind.
Train roll on.
Tuesday's gone.

Train roll on many miles from my home,
See, I'm riding my blues away. Yeah.
Tuesday, you see, she had to be free
But somehow I've got to carry on.
Lord And.

(Tuesday's gone with the wind) X 3
My baby's gone with the wind.

Train roll on.
Ahh on.
Cause my baby's gone.
Im riding my blues day.
Train roll on blue.
(Ride on train.) X 2
Ride my blues day.
Goodbye Tuesday. X2
Ahh Train.

-- Lynyrd Skynyrd

The People's Parliament launched the Paper Free Tuesday campaign Monday as their first step to pressure mainstream newspaper to be more ethical and honest in their news reporting. As former Malay Mail Editor turn blogger, Rocky puts it below:

I read the lies that some editors of this day stuff into their Sunday columns and into the news that their papers publish. They condone plagiarism, use the papers to shamelessly promote their own (or their friends, wives, or friends' wives') business interests, and rewrite reporters' articles to safeguard the personal interests of their political friends and masters.
Over at Mee Rebus Tuesday, I asked veteran reporter, Maria Samad about the practises of newspaper before and today. She said that newspaper like New Straits Times has clearly distinguish itself as "Government" newspaper. On that fact, there is no newspaper, even in the so-called free world, that is void of any political or ideological inclination. At least in the past, she said news and fact are reported as it is for readers to make their own conclusion and judgment.

She had a contrarian view to that of Harris and I concur on newspaper exercising public responsibility. Newspaper cannot be anarchistically free. If the need arise, newspaper could withheld news and articles that will compromise national interest and exercebate inter-racial and inter-faith relations, particularly inter-racial and inter-faith disputes.

As far as my concern on this campaign, I have been boycotting MSM, since the ridiculous and vindictive lawsuit by NST "four" on bloggers Rocky and Jeff Ooi early last year. That lawsuit has no relevant claims but was merely attempt to shut critical voices on the state of journalism in Malaysia.

Frankly, these days my information source is the free online news and socio-political blogs/portal. There is more and balanced news, article, and information online than buying from a single MSM. The MSM portals serve me to provide the leading stories but I'd search for more point of views on a given issue. Unlike the MSM reporting these days, the Internet respects me to not only give me the independence to make my own opinion but access to express it.

More information does not make me confused. By the way, confused or keliru, is the commonly used cliche by insecure politicians trying to psycho the public to fear alterntive views. I am a living example that my "self-confusion" to alternative news will not urn one into murtad or aimless liberal or unrealistic critic. It has actually strengthen my faith and ideological belief. I would believed that it will improves the depth in understanding issues by the masses.

There is more that can be done to improve alternative socio-political information. There need to be effort to agglomorate the blogs to ease and reduce scan time. The number of SoPo bloggers and partially SoPo bloggers is fast rising on the blog cum Directory SoPO Sentral of Malaysia. One blog that has risen to play this sort of role is Suara. Check this one out.

There seemed to be overload of the political party-affiliated information and it needs more independent citizen generated news and opinion. So people, boycott MSM, read blogs! Participate in the comments or even start blogging.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Muhibbah Tag

…on Aqeedah, and Thaipusam and Election Beat

I received an SMS from a friend last Wednesday expressing concern over The Star’s news coverage of the Thaipusam celebration.

It first come across as something similar to a no-Valentine-for-Muslim fatwa debate. Then I realised that it implies Malaysians have little knowledge of races and religions in this country other than their own, thus the tendencies to have perceptive than factual views and opinion of interfaith and inter-racial issues. There is insufficient interaction between the different races and religions that Muhibbah tend to be more form rather than substance.

I wish to express an honest personal view with the hope that it will ignite an honest and friendly discussion on inter-racial integration on the Internet. Subsequently, I would tag (memetag) others, and hope it will snowball into a beneficial discussion. Here goes …

Thaipusam Beat

The said The Star news written by Florence A. Samy and Fazleena Aziz reported the Muhibbah musical beat - kompang, bhangra, and lion dance and urimi melam - accompanying the procession carrying Lord Murugam diety to Batu Caves.

The accompaniment was arranged by the Selangor and Wilayah Persekutuan News Vendors Association. As Association chairman Datuk N. Muneandy puts it: “This is our show of support to the devotees and Indian community.”

The Star and the Association believed that it has done a great service to nation building to promote Muhibbah or togetherness. Instead it had inadvertently touched my religious sensitivity.

I am obliged to highlight that the act by the Kampung Batu kompang group can be construed as sacrilegious. Off course, I am assuming the kompang group comprise of Malay Muslims.

The non-Muslim is not at fault for I level blame only on the Muslim reporter for not successfully highlighting to her superior and the ignorance of the kompang group. And, I wouldn’t hold back blame on some politicians’ over exuberance to appease the Indian voters, consequent to the negative political impact of the Hindraf demonstrations.

Thaipusam is purely a religious Hindu affair, thus it is strictly forbidden for Muslims to participate. It is deemed as collusion with deification, an act strictly inconsistent with the monotheistic nature of Islam and the act is syirik or sin of polytheism.

Syirik is the biggest sin in Islam. To quote the Quran, "He forgives all sins, except disbelieving in God". On issues of faith or aqeedah, Muslims are in no position to compromise. When it comes to religion, I rely on the learned and not liberal self interpretation.

Media Ignorance

The religious implication of the Thaipusam act has far more theological implication than consumption of chiuk (pork) and tani (alcohol)by Muslims. Apart from this Thaipusam report, the New Straits Times had put up a distorted Muhibbah image for last Christmas. It displayed a more controversial picture of a Muslim Malay women doing Christmas shopping with a Christian spouse.

These news reports by our English mainstream newspapers – media to the middle to upper class Malaysian - reflect the sad state of racial integration in the country. They promote a liberal view of racial integration and occasionally express critical view of Islamic practices, but the newspapers have a poor understanding in the “religion of the Federation” and tend to based it on their personal perception and judgment.

How could this happen to mainstream newspaper? It could be either negligent or lackadaisical attitude or just plain ignorance. I sure hope there is no cynical intention behind it.

Although Muslim has been unfairly and insensitively stereotyped as myopic or militant in post 9-11, it is not my intention to get even. I do acknowledge that my fellow Muslims can be particular about having non-halal food on their table, but could be negligent in serving beef or meat to non-beef eating or vegetarian Hindu and Buddhist.

The point is Non Muslims and more so Muslims should learn, sensitized and accept each other’s boundaries, even being tolerable is not sufficient. To quote the Yusof Ali translation of the Holy Quran from Sura Kafirun (Sura CIX):

“Say: O ye That reject Faith! I worship not that Which ye worship, Nor will ye worship That which I worship, And I will not worship That which ye have been Wont to worship, Nor will ye worship That which I worship, To you be your Way, And to me mine.”
Muhibbah Perspective

Thats the back"brown" bit and now on Muhibbah ...

Although there is no room for compromise on issue of aqeedah, it does not mean that Muslims do not practise the spirit of Muhibbah with those of the other faith. The spirit of Muhibbah can transcend the boundaries and diversity.

To shed a different light to The Star’s interpretation to the word Muhibbah as togetherness, the Kamus Lengkap described it as goodwill, friendly feeling, feeling of friendship and love. It makes no mention of togetherness.

Article 11 of the Malaysian Constitution guarantees non-Muslims the freedom to practise their religion with the only provision for it to be done in peace and harmony. What religion does not promote peace and harmony? This is a goodwill that we, as a nation and community, have already upheld. Perhaps the PM’s recent announcement of Thaipusam as a public holiday is politically motivated, but it is a friendly support.

Even if Muslims can’t enjoin other Malaysian to celebrate Thaipusam or Wesak, there are other race-based festivals like Chinese New Years to participate. Although it is beyond Muslims to join other Malaysians for prayers at temple and churches, I believe it is fine to make friendly visits for the more cultural and family aspect of the Deepavali and Christmas festivals.

Promoting Muhibbah

The reality is, after 50 years of Independence and more than 150 years or so of co-existence, that many Malaysians hardly know much of Malaysians of other races and religions. What has happened to the song "Muhibbah" taught in schools post Mei 13th, 1969? This underscores the need to promote Muhibbah, beyond politics and government for solution and action, and beyond lip service sloganeering, and rhetorics.

There must be more serious opportunity and effort at the individual level for inter-racial interaction. Yes ... to do more than Jabatan Perpaduan Negara dan Integrasi Nasional.

I am reminded of my parent’s racially mixed residential area back in my hometown and there was interaction for Muhibbah to flourish. In the evening, neighbours intermingle to chat with one another. With that there was cooperation like sharing the burden of sending the children to school and tuition, keeping an eye on each other's children and home, and in cases of emergencies. We were even settling neighbourly frictions.

I remembered of one situation during the Sikh and Indian encounter in India in the '80s. The excitement spread to our neighbourhood. My father and our Chinese neighbours came forward to calm and convince the feuding Indians and single Sikh family to leave their motherland affair behind. They are now Malayians and not Indian nationals.

In one situation that I personally got involved, one Malay neighbour of Arab descendents was burning firecrackers beyond midnight on Hari Raya night. I figured he was doing a tit-for-tat to his next door Chinese neighbour for their customary midnight firecracker on CNY. I requested them to quit for it is not our culture. And, I reminded them that we should give the Chinese neighbours leeway to practise their culture and they have been reasonable, just a token 5 minutes.

Come any festivals, my mother would be preparing muruku or cookies for her close neighbours. In return, they would chip in for our Hari Raya. Before relatives come to visit, our non Muslim neighbours are the earliest to pay respect on Hari Raya. For any wedding and function, we ensure there are non beef and vegetarian dishes for them.

While Muhibbah starts by the form of the many races celebrating festivities together and neighbourly niceties, it needs more inter-racial interactions. Generally, there is racial interaction at the middle to higher echelon of society but it has not translated sufficiently enough down to the masses.

To provide substance to the spirit of Muhibbah, segregation and stereotyping by occupation, schools, residential area, sports, recreation, and work place must be minimised. For instance, hiring Malay should not be restricted only to procure Government jobs.

In addition, we should remove any prejudicial stereotyping of other races. The common one being Malay as lazy, Chinese as self-centred cheats and Indians as untrustworthy.

The common grouse among non Bumiputera that seemed to be the stumbling block in Bumi-non Bumi integration is the "NEP"-type policies. I'm not oblivious to the complains. However, it is more complex and too long drawn for individuals to take up. What do we do in the mean time?

I heard "him" promised a fairer and more equitable "NEP" formula but after more than four years, why am I waiting? Lets's ponder over what we can do as individuals.

The first and most effective place to promote Muhibbah must be in schools. From the first day children get out of their home, they must be exposed to multiracialism and build personal interaction with other races. There must be a political will to break this barrier among children.

Personally, I like to see the end of vernacular language schools, Islamic religious-type school (actually teaching mainstream syllabus), and limit the number of Government boarding schools. For religious/theological schools, I guess it is theoretically multiracial and thats a boundary we have to accept.

For a start, boarding schools must be strictly for social elevation for the lower economic class through education. Middle-class urban Malays have abused this facility. They must begin to take charge in the up-bringing of their teenage children. Too much money is spent building residential schools. I strongly suggest a fair quota for poor non-Malays.

For communications, we must improve and encourage the use of the National language for it is THE language to unite ALL Malaysians. One set-back is the insecurity of non Malay races. My simplistic solution is to have the languages of non-Malays seriously taught as elective. I would have enrolled if I am still in school. Then, it is the reluctance of the middle to upper class Malaysians, usually English or western educated. That we have to awake them from their anglophilic fantasy.

The part involving the school system needs Government's political will but we can, at the individual level, actually begin to do something about it. If anyone saw the recent documentary of the campaign by the Naked Chef to change the diet of school canteens in Britain on Astro's Travel Channel, we can emulate that. We do not need to take the political avenue all the time. Remember Nurin Alert?

The Tag

In summary, I have touched and proposed to promote Muhibbah at the individual level by promoting Malaysians to learn more of Malaysian from other races and religions, respect the boundaries, and celebrate the diversity. I believe we need to do more at the school level and promote the use of National language. There must be a serious attempt by Malaysians to remove segregation and stereotyping, promote interaction, develop inter-racial friendship, and remove prejudice.

To promote a discussion on this subject, I like to tag Nuraina, Galadriel, Bakaq, Desi and Soon Li Tsin. They could discuss an aspect of Muhibbah – what and why – and offer how we as individuals can promote Muhibbah. Try not to be too political and blame Government mode.

From there on, they could tag at least 2 others. Be sure to alert the bloggers you have tagged. Whoever participate, drop me a comment so we could keep track of the tag.

Friday, January 25, 2008

... Hang Tuah ... by Adlan Benan Omar

The Day Hang Tuah Walked Through My Door

Everyone knows who Hang Tuah is. Everyone knows that he was a great warrior, that he was loyal to his king, that he fought and defeated Hang Jebat in a gruelling duel. But I knew more about Hang Tuah than anyone else. No... I didn't read more than anyone else (how much more could a twelve-year-old have read anyway?). I knew more about Hang Tuah because he came to live with us a few months ago.

Yes, you heard me right. Hang Tuah did come to live with me and my family. Abah took him home one day. He had found the old man walking around the local playground one evening, while he was out jogging. It was getting dark and the old man had no place to go, so we took him in. Mak was not too happy about that, she thought the old man looked crooked. He was dirty and he didn't wear shoes. Mak said that people might think our family has gone weird. Abah just laughed. "Kasihan ...dia orang tua," he said.

My friends didn't believe me at first. They thought I was dreaming, or making things up, or just plain lying.

Azraai said that the old man was an alien from Mars and not Hang Tuah. Eqhwan laughed at me and said that either I or the old man must be mad. Anuar said that if Hang Tuah was still alive I wouldn't be able to understand what he said because he spoke classic Malay like in the hikayats. Hilmi (our local school's smart alec) tried to explain to me that the Melaka Empire was no more and that Hang Tuah was just a legend. He said that if Hang Tuah was still alive he would be at least five and a half centuries old and the latest edition of the Guinness Book of World Records stated that the oldest man in the world lived only to 120 years. Only Farid sympathised with me... and that was because he had an imaginary friend whom he always took along to play marbles with us.

I really didn't care what they said. I knew that old man was Hang Tuah. I know because I asked him myself.

The morning after we took the old man in, Mak asked me to wake him up for breakfast. I went to the spare room and found that he was already awake. He was sitting on the edge of the bed with a blue batik bundle on his lap.

"Jemput makan, Tok," I said, politely.

"Terima kasih," he said.

I was curious, so I asked, "Apa dalam buntil tu Tok?"

"Barang Tok... barang orang miskin," he replied.

Then he opened it up slowly. I saw him fiddle for something, then he took out a long keris with an ivory sheath. It was at least a foot long and studded with jewels.

"Ini keris Taming Sari," said the old man.

I snickered, "He! He! He!". I thought the old man was joking. Everyone knew that Taming Sari belonged to Hang Tuah and that it must have disappeared with its master.

The old man looked up at me. His eyes stared into mine. I felt a little queasy at that. His expression changed, he began to look angry. Suddenly his eyes drooped and he looked more hurt than angry.

"Kenapa cucu gelak?" he asked.

"Tak ada kenapa," I answered, a little frightened.

"Tok tahu, cucu ingat Tok bergurau." I kept quiet.

He began again, "Inilah keris Taming Sari yang sebenar. Ini keris Tok sendiri."

"Kalau begitu Tok ni tentulah..."

"Hang Tuah," he interjected, "nama Tok ialah Hang Tuah."

"Tapi Hang Tuah sudah mati."

He laughed, "Tidak, Tok belum mati. Tapi Tok sudah tua..."

"Berapa umur Tok?" I questioned.

"540 tabun."

Mak didn't really like Tok Tuah. But she didn't say anything when he just stayed on and on in the house. She didn't say a word when Abah and I took him to Hankyu Jaya to get some new clothes. She just kept quiet when Tok Tuah joined us to watch TV in the living room after dinner. I told her (and Abah) that the old man said that his name was Hang Tuah. She wrinkled her face (and Abah just laughed).

It was a Wednesday night and RTM had a slot then called "Teater P. Ramlee". It so happened that they were showing Phani Majumdar's "Hang Tuah". P. Ramlee, so young and thin, acted as the hero and the late Haji Mahadi was Sultan Mansor Shah.

When Jebat got killed, Tok Tuah pipped in, "Tidak langsung macam tu..."

Abah stared at Tok Tuah. Mak stared at Tok Tuah. I too, stared at Tok Tuah.

"Aku sudah tua masa tu, Jebat muda lagi. Jebat kuat. Dia sepak aku hingga aku tertiarap, kemudian aku berguling. Aku himpit dia. Aku kata sama dia 'baik sajalah kau mengalah'. Apa gunanya kita dua bersaudara bergaduh?"

Mak started to look worried again.

"Jebat tak mati."

Abah looked surprised. He said, "Habis tu, apa jadi pada dia?"

Tok Tuah said, "Aku tak mahu Sultan bunuh dia. Aku tahu Sultan zalim. Jadi, aku sorokkan dia di Ulu Melaka. Macam Tun Perak sorokkan aku masa aku difitnahkan. Lepas Melaka kalah dengan Portugis, Jebat ikut aku merantau."

I said, "Bila Jebat mati?"

Tok Tuah laughed, "Jebat belum mati. Baru tahun lepas aku jumpa dia. Dia meniaga di Kedah."

"Meniaga?" I said.

"Ya, Jebat duduk di Kulim. Dia meniaga kereta. Apa tu? Kereta 'second-hand' kata orang. Proton, Honda dan Nissan. Laku jualannya. Banyak orang beli."

One day, I took Tok Tuah on a walk around KL. He got bored just sitting in our small bungalow in Bukit Bandar Raya. So after school, we took the mini-bus to Central Market. Tok Tuah really enjoyed the walk. "Banyaknya orang..." he wondered. We ate at McDonald's. He didn't like the cheeseburger (well, he didn't like the cheese, though he loved the burger itself). After lunch, we went to Muzium Negara.

I showed him the frieze of a young Hang Tuah which was sculpted by an Englishwoman in the 1950s. It showed a handsome Hang Tuah in 'Baju Melayu' and 'samping'. He was holding Taming Sari in his hand.

"Siapa tu," Tok Tuah asked.

"Itu Tok-lah. ltulah orang putih gambarkan sebagai Hang Tuah. Hensem, kan?"

Tok Tuah chuckled, "Apa tulisan atas tu?"

"Ta' Melayu Hilang di-Dunia. Eh, takkan Tok tak ingat? Itu kan Tok yang cakap dulu?"

He kept quiet. Slowly he mumbled, "Ta' Melayu Hilang di-Dunia? Tak ingat pun."

Suddenly, he started, "Oh! Bukannya Ta' Melayu Hilang di-Dunia. Silap tu. Tok tak pernah cakap macam tu..."

"Habis tu?" I asked.

"Masa tu Tok tengah pergi masjid untuk sembahyang Maghrib. Isteri Tok ikut sekali. Dia tengah ambil air sembahyang di tepi perigi, kemudian kakinya tergelincir. Dia terjatuh masuk. Orang ramal pun menjerit-jerit sebab perigi itu dalam. Apa lagi, Tok pun terjunlah untuk selamatkan dia. Isteri Tok bukan sebarang orang, namanya Tun Sa'odah, anak Bendahara Tun Perak."

"Kemudian?" I urged.

"Bila Tok bawak dia naik, Temenggung Tun Mutahir ketawa. Katanya, Tok sayang betul pada isteri Tok. Tok pun jawab, "Mestilah... Ta' Isteriku Hilang di-Telaga. Jadi, mungkin orang silap dengar...!"

Tok Tuah stayed with our family for more than six months. He stayed at home in the first few weeks but he felt guilty not doing anything to contribute. So, one morning, he followed Abah to work. Abah was manager of a factory in Sungai Buluh which made video tapes and CDs. They needed a new 'jaga' or watchman. Tok Tuah got the job. Abah said, "Who better to guard us than the great Malay admiral Hang Tuah?"

The workers got along well with him. Amin, Abah's driver, said that Tok Tuah told them lots of funny jokes about Sultan Mansor of Melaka and his fifteen wives. Tok Tuah also got to know Rajalinggam, the sweeper, who he said reminded him of Mani Purindan, the father of Bendahara Tun Ali. Like Rajalinggam, Mani Purindan too came from Tamil Nadu and cooked delicious dhal curry.

One morning, my teacher at school said, "Tomorrow I want you all to bring a model of an old artefact. Then I want you all to explain its importance in front of the whole history class."

Hilmi (always the teacher's pet) spent days working on a matchstick model of the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station. Azraai decided to build a spaceship instead. Eqhwan bought Anuar's origami keris for fifteen dollars and brought that to school. Farid asked his imaginary friend to draw a picture of Mel Gibson as Sir William Wallace. I? Well, I just brought Tok Tuah along.

My teacher was flabbergasted. She said, "Why have you brought this 'jaga' along?"

I smiled, "He's not just a 'jaga'. He's the great warrior Hang Tuah!"

My teacher said, "I'll call your father and tell him you're playing jokes in class."

"Please, Cikgu. Just listen to what he has to say," I insisted.

Tok Tuah stood in front of the class. He coughed. My teacher sighed. I smiled. My friends sneered. "Assalamualaikum," he said. "Wa'alaikum Salam," we answered.

Tok Tuah began his speech. He started out by saying that the Melaka we read about in the history books was very different from the real Melaka. He explained how the Sultan used to let anyone come to the palace with any complaints at all, and he would settle it there and then. He told us that he and his four friends used to go on tours to Pahang and Terengganu and Ujung Tanah, even to Siam, on great galliards with five big sails. He described to us that Melaka had 120,000 citizens, each of whom had land and houses of their own and that no beggars were allowed to go even a day without food and shelter. He mimicked Sultan Mansor's snarl, and Tun Perak's twitching handlebar moustaches and Jebat's swaggering walk. Finally, he told us how Melaka got corrupted by its wealth and warned us not to do the same now.

That day, Tok Tuah got a standing ovation. Even Teacher clapped. I? I got an 'A' for History.

Tok Tuah died seven weeks after that. He was 542 years old. It was during the Puasa month and he took the LRT from Sungai Buluh. He wanted to stop and buy some sweetmeats (he absolutely loved 'pau kaya'). When he arrived at Chow Kit station, he collapsed on the platform with a massive stroke.

They rushed him in an ambulance to Kuala Lumpur General Hospital but he was already gone. He didn't feel a thing.

We buried him at Ampang Cemetery, right across from the grave of Tan Sri P. Ramlee, who played him in that film. I visit the grave sometimes just to tell him that I'm now a lecturer in Malay History at Leyden University.

I still remember the day he walked through my door. It's as if it was just yesterday. Ah, well...

By the way, did I tell you I met King Henry VIII whilst I was studying in Cambridge? He worked as a night porter at my college. But that, as they say, is a different story.


This short story by Adlan Benan Omar (1973-2008) is reproduced as remembrance of this intelligent and impressionable young man. (Apology for unable to quote it's original source.) Adlan passed way unceremonously at 4:00 pm yesterday, January 24th, 2008 in Subang Jaya and buried in Seremban this morning. Read an obituary for Ben by blogger A M Ubaidah S and my comment in his blog.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

ECM Libra ke BERNAS? (Bhg 1)

Disebalik tuduhan BERNAS mengimpot beras tanpa permit.

Disebalik rungutan rakyat mengenai kekurangan bekalan minyak masak dan kenaikkan barang-barang asas pada akhir tahun 2007, satu usaha semacam sedang dirancang dan diatur untuk membina sebuah empayar korporat secara pintas dan ringkas untuk menjadi satu lagi kenderaan tunggangan politik Abdullah Ahmad Badawi dan menantunya.

Seperti pelbagai usaha-usaha era pentadbiran Pak Lah yang kononnya untuk tambah nilai, ia bukan sahaja tidak membawa pertambahan nilai tetapi lebih lazimnya ia membawa penghapusan nilai, lekok pembelajaran (learning curve) dan modal insan yang terbina sekelian lama. Bagai ibarat "tikus membaiki labu", Pak Lah seringkali merungkai pelbagai usaha-usaha strategik untuk membina struktur, keupayaan dan kapasiti ekonomi orang-orang Melayu yang sudah tentu dapat menyegerakan proses kesamarataan antara kaum.

Hanya beberapa tahun lepas dikala tahun-tahun awal pemerintahan Pak Lah, satu usaha pernah dirancang dan diatur secara diam-diam untuk membina satu empayar kewangan dengan secara yang juga pintas dan ringkas untuk menjadi kenderaan tunggangan politik. Hari ini diketahui ramai, usaha tersebut adalah pembangunan sebuah Bank Pelaburan butik, ECM Libra Avenue dari penggabungan syarikat kerajaan - Bumiputera Securities dan Avenue Asset - dengan ECM Libra serta kuncu-kuncu dari Singapura.

Usaha tersebut terdedah sebagai satu skandal kewangan yang melibatkan pelanggaran undang-undang dan pengenepian peraturan serta penyalahgunaan kuasa disetiap lapisan proses, kerajaan dan pihak-pihak berkuasa. Sampai hari ini, isu ini masih belum selesai dan saman menyaman dan injunksi mahkamah yang berkaitan dengan penggabungan ini masih melalui proses mahkamah.

Kasi Kecoh Dahulu

Huruf Cina untuk kecoh atau kelam kabut (chaos) boleh membawa maksud peluang. Maka ditengah-tengah rungutan-rungutan orang ramai terhadap kekurangan bekalan dan kenaikkan harga barang-barang asas, satu usaha bagai dirancang dari dalam serambi kerajaan sendiri dan melibatkan media massa jaluran utama untuk mengkecohkan keadaan agar dapat membuka peluang kepada kekayaan dalam perniagaan yang begitu strategik sekali.

Pada Januari 4hb, 2008 baru-baru ini, Berita Harian mendedahkan BERNAS sedang disiasat oleh BPR kerana mengimpot beras asing tanpa Permit Impot (AP). BERNAS atau Padiberas Nasional Berhad adalah bekas agensi kerajaan, Lembaga Padi Negara (LPN) yang telah diswastakan dan diberi konsesi eksklusif untuk mengimpot beras.

Beberapa hari kemudian, pelbagai akhbar-akhbar lain ikut sama melaporkan perkara ini. Pada Januari 8hb, 2008, Pengarah Siasatan BPR, Datuk Mohd. Shukri Abdull telah mendedahkan butiran pengimportan beras secara haram itu melibatkan sejumlah 25,000 tan beras wangi dari Siam yang bernilai RM60 juta dan kini terkandas di pelabuhan-pelabuhan Kelang, Pasir Gudang dan Kota Kinabalu. Mengikut beliau, 10 orang kakitangan BERNAS, Kementeriaan Pertanian dan Industeri Asas Tani, dan Kastam DiRaja Malaysia telah dipanggil untuk memberi keterangan.

Sekali pandang, sudah pasti pembaca yang singkat fikiran akan membuat simpulan mudah untuk mengatakan mesti ada berlaku kegiatan rasuah. Mungkin sekali, bekas agensi kerajaan yang telah diswastakan ini diibaratkan “pagar makan padi” atau “api dalam serkam”.

Pada tahun 2002/3, satu operasi kastam telah dibuat untuk membantu BERNAS menangani masaalah penyeludupan beras, terutama di sempadan. BERNAS pernah dilaporkan mengalami kerugian terkumpul syarikat sebanyak RM27 juta akibat kegiatan ini. Anggaran kerugian bagi negara kerana kegiatan ini adalah sebanyak RM240 juta dan pernah mencecah setinggi 400,000 tan setahun.

Adakah, setelah satu kempen dilakukan, BERNAS sanggup “menangguk di air keroh”? Bak kata orang putih, “you can’t beat them, you join them”.

Pada hari yang sama Januari 8hb, 2008 itu, Berita Harian melaporkan suara-suara dari Pengerusi Pertubohan Peladang (Kedah), Dato Badri Yunos yang menyokong cadangan kerajaan untuk merombak BERNAS yang dituduh hanya mementingkan keuntungan.

Keesokkan harinya, Januari 9hb, 2008, New Straits Times, akhbar dari kumpulan yang sama, dan sebelum itu, mStar melaporkan Pengerusi, Persatuan Pengilang Beras Cina-Melayu, Datuk Chew Giok Kun menuntut BERNAS memberhentikan kegiatan orang tengah yang mengambil 10 peratus dari keuntungan mereka dan pendapatan petani.

Penutup untuk babak kali ini adalah rencana Berita Harian bertarikh Januari 14hb, 2008 bertajuk "BERNAS mesti jaga kepercayaan" menghidangkan r“nasi tambah” yang pedas sekali kritikan melulunya. BERNAS dituduh pernah melakukan perkara yang sama pada tahun 2004 dan digambarkan seolah-olah BERNAS tidak diurus dengan baik. Menteri Pertanian dan Industeri Asas Tani, Tan Sri Mahyuddin Yassin dilaporkan sebagai kecewa dan agak marah nadanya.

Namun, persoalan diakhir rencana sebenarnya membayangkan hasrat tersirat: “Apakah sudah tiba masanya, monopoli itu dipecahkan supaya BERNAS ada pesaing?”


Dengan asakkan-asakkan bertubi-tubi Berita Harian dan New Straits Times, tidak dapat dinafikan bahawa Dato Hishamuddin Aun, Ketua Pengarang Berita Harian, sedang membesar-besarkan peristiwa ini. Tidakkah Hishamuddin tidak gerun BERNAS menarikbalik iklan-iklannya dari Berita Harian dan NSTP?

Tidak dapat tidak, boleh dibuat kesimpulan mudah bahawa Hishamuddin Aun, yang diketahui ramai adalah sebahagian dari jaringan pemutarbelit Kalimullah-Annuar Zaini-Wong Chun Wai, sedang diperanankan untuk memutarbelit fakta dan memburuk-burukan BERNAS untuk satu "pihak atasan".

Bagi penulis blog ini, dari berita terawal mengenai kes ini, terlalu banyak yang mencurigakan dan tidak boleh diberi kepercayaan penuh. Penulis pun secara kebetulan pernah menjadi penganalisa saham yang mengikuti rapat perkembangan BERNAS dan sekarang mempunyai sedikit pendedahan dalam Industri Pertanian untuk tahu sedikit sebanyak hal ehwal dalaman Kementeriaan Pertanian.

Perkara pertama yang menimbulkan kecurigaan penulis adalah anak syarikat media kumpulan Media Prima sudah hilang reputasi kewartawanan dan tidak boleh dipercaya laporan mereka. Beberapa tahun mutakhir ini, pendedahan atau scoop, kata-kata lingo wartawan, mereka adalah kebocoran maklumat yang terancang dan selalunya mempunya rancangan yang berniat jahat. Malah, penulis merasakan laporan yang terkeluar di KLPos pada Januari 2hb, 2008 mungkin adalah pembocoran yang diatur. (Penulis tidak menuduh KLPos bersekongkol tetapi hanya merasakan maklumat yang diperolehi adalah kebocoran yang teratur.)

Kedua, amat tidak logik untuk sebuah syarikat awam yang perlu memenuhi kriteria ketulusan, pemantauan dan kawalan korporat yang begitu ketat serta mempunyai kerjasama rapat dengan kerajaan untuk melakukan kegiatan penyeludupan beras secara besar-besaran dan terang-terang? Jika benarlah ada sindiket penyeludupan, mengapa perlu melalui proses kastam di pelabuhan? Bukankah rasmi penyeludupan dibuat secara sorok-sorok dan curi-curi masuk?

Ketiga, setelah Pak Lah menang pilihanraya 2004, salah satu tindakannya yang segera adalah untuk membatalkan projek keretapi berkembar yang telah dibrikan kepada syarikat Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary disamping menjadi "tikus membaiki labu" untuk merungkai pelbagai usaha-usaha dan inisiatif-inisiatif pembangunan Tun Dr Mahathir.

BERNAS adalah satu syarikat yang kegiatan perniagaannnya amat kompleks untuk diurus dan memainkan peranan yang amat strategik untuk negara. Semasa dibawah kepimpinan pemegang saham utama dahulu, Dato Ibrahim Mohd Noor, BERNAS sudah ada rancangan untuk membina Lebuhraya Bekalan Makanan yang begitu strategik untuk negara.

Menyedari kekurangan dan kekangan infrastruktur dan sumber bagi BERNAS untuk merealisasikan penuh rancangan ini, Dato Ibrahim terpaksa menjual sahamnya di dalam BERNAS kepada Tan Sri Mokhtar. Ini dilakukan untuk memberi kuasa pengurusan kepada Tan Sri yang mana kumpulan perniagaan Tan Sri mempunyai lebih sinergi dan keupayaan untuk merealisasikan rancangan itu.

Keempat dan tidak semestinya terakhir, negara kita mempunyai seorang anak muda yang teramat besar cita-cita yang mempunyai penglibatan dalam industri makanan halal dan kerap berbincang subjek rantaian nilai (value chain). Isterinya dan anak Perdana Menteri, Nori Abdullah pun mempunyai pembabitan dalam industri yang sama.

Mungkinkah Pak Lah sedang berusaha untuk memecahkan empayar korporat Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar yang sering dijenama ramai sebagai orang korporat Mahathir, walaupun persahabatannya yang begitu rapat dan lama dengan Tan Sri Mahyuddin dari masa ia memegang jawatan Menteri Besar Johor? Adakah ini memberi implikasi politik Tan Sri Mahyuddin sudah boleh di"cucuk hidung" hingga melakukan sesuatu terhadap sahabatnya sendiri?

Mungkinkah ini satu lagi usaha senyap-senyap Pak Lah untuk membolehkan menantu tersayang merealisasikan rancangan kenderaan korporat dan politiknya? Sebagaimana MAS disaingkan dengan tidak adil dengan Air Asia, adakah kita akan melihat timbulnya satu "AirAsia" bagi perniagaan padi dan beras? Adakah akan berlaku lagi kesilapan lepas untuk meniru buta ide-ide textbook tanpa memahami dengan terperinci latarbelakang sesuatu kes? Senarionya berlainan sekali.

Mengapa AP Tidak Dikeluarkan?

Sebenarnya perkara tambahan AP ini sudah menjadi perkara lazim tahunan yang tidak dapat tidak perlu dikeluarkan.

Keperluan beras negara adalah lebih kurang 1.8 juta tan setahun yang mana pengeluaran tempatan hanya terupaya mengeluarkan sebanyak 1-1.2 juta setahun. Sejak begitu lumrah kita diturunkan dengan bencana banjir di zaman pentadbiran Pak Lah, pengeluaran padi dan beras tempatan terjejas dalam 100-200,000 tan setahun. Defisit ini perlu dipenuhi melalui impot.

Mengikut maklumat dalaman penulis, BERNAS selalunya membuat anggaran dan memohon impot untuk jumlah tahap 700-800,000 tan setahun. Permintaan ini sering ditolak oleh Kementeriaan atas alasan peruntukkan ini perlu diturunkan dan ditampung oleh pengeluaran tempatan.

Masaalahnya pihak Kementeriaan terlalu lama seronok di lamun mimpi erotika bahawa petani-petani kita, dengan sikap yang agak lambat proses perubahan cara dan sikap, berupaya mencapai pengeluaran 10 tan per hektar setahun. Walaupun BERNAS ada memberi sokongan di sana sini, tanggungjawab untuk membimbing petani untuk meningkatkan yield ladang terletak pada Jabatan Pertanian dan realitinya ia masih jauh dari pencapaian.

Dengan demikian sejak tahun 2004, pihak BERNAS perlu memohon pertambahan AP pada suku tahunan ketiga yang mana timing masa tidak terlalu cepat dan tidak terlalu lambat.

Dari soksek-soksek yang didengar dari Kementeriaan, BERNAS sudah memasukkan permohonan untuk menampung defisit beras untuk akhir tahun 2007 seperti jadual biasanya. Sepatutnya tiada masaalah langsung tetapi Kementeriaan menghadapi masaalah tandatangan untuk meluluskan AP.

Mengikut Akta Kawal Selia, kuasa meluluskan permohonan AP ini terletak di bawah kuasa Ketua Pengarah Kawal Selia yang mana penandatangan perlu digazetkan. Ketua Pengarah yang lepas, Haji Zaharuddin telah bersara dan tidak lama setelah persaraan pada bulan Ogos, telah meninggal dunia.

Jawatan beliau telah digantikan oleh Dato Ibrahim bin Abdullah tetapi anih sekali, beliau tidak diwartakan untuk menjadi tandatangan. Permohonan BERNAS tidak dapat laksana hinggalah Dato Ibrahim diwartakan. Difahamkan perkara ini telah disampaikan kepada pihak pengurusan atasan Kementeriaan dan mungkin sekali hingga ke peringkat Menteri. Akhirnya, Dato Ibrahim hanya diwartakan pada hari-hari dekat perayaan Krismas baru-baru ini, empat bulan setelah mengambilalih tugas.

Ini adalah cerita benar belakang tabir dan bukanlah seperti pelbagai tuduhan yang dihalakan terhadap BERNAS. Memang lazim ego orang yang lebih berkuasa, walau macam mana salah pun mereka, pihak di bawah dan orang lain juga yang dipersalahkan. Namun cara respons dan penggunaan media yang intensif untuk memutarbelitkan sehendak-hendaknya tidak boleh hanya dianggap sebagai usaha untuk mengalih pandang kesalahan pihak kerajaan.

BERNAS boleh dianggap silap untuk mendahulukan pengimpotan dan mengandaikan AP itu pasti diperolehi. Mereka punya punya pelbagai kesilapan. Namun mereka tidak boleh dipersalahkan sepenuhnya. Cuba dibayangkan jika mereka tidak bersikap proaktif dan mengambil risiko untuk mengimpot terus. Bukankah boleh terputus bekalan beras untuk kawasan tertentu, terutama kawasan pendalaman yang jauh dari pekan?

Berbanding dengan keputusan bekalan barang-barang asas lain, keputusan bekalan beras lebih mencemaskan kerana rakyat kita tidak biasa hidup dengan hanya memakan roti/gandum atau jauh sekali ubi kayu. Bukankah lagi kecoh jika berlaku masaalah bekalan beras tatkala rakyat bersungut mengenai bekalan minyak masak dan kenaikkan harga barangan? Pilihanraya sudah hampir dekat!

Adakah kelewatan pengeluaran AP itu disengajakan untuk menjadikan suasana kurangan beras dan memberi justifikasi untuk mencengkam kausa keatas BERNAS? Walluhu alam. Namun, ternyata sekali ada “udang disebalik batu” dan ada bukti-bukti yang menunjukkan demikian.

Kisah ini akan bersambung di Bahagain ke 2 dan seterusnya untuk merungkai satu lagi rancangan yang mempunyai niat yang jahat.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Musical Interlude: Flirtin' With Disaster

I’m travelin’ down the road,
I’m flirtin’ with disaster.
I’ve got the pedal to the floor,
My life is running faster.
I’m out of money, I’m out of hope,
It looks like self destruction.
Well how much more can we take,
With all of this corruption.

Been flirtin’ with disaster,
Y’all know what I mean.
And the way we run our lives,
It makes no sense to me.
I don’t know about yourself or,
What you want to be - yeah.
When we gamble with our time,
We choose our destiny.

I’m travelin’ down that lonesome road.
Feel like I’m dragging a heavy load.
Yeah! I’ve tried to turn my head away,
Feels about the same most every day.
Speeding down the fast lane,
Playin’ from town to town.
The boys and I have been burnin’ it up,
Can’t seem to slow it down.
I’ve got the pedal to the floor,
Our lives are runnin’ faster,
Got our sights set straight ahead,
But ain’t sure what we’re after.

Flirtin’ with disaster,
Y’all know what I mean.
You know the way we run our lives,
It makes no sense to me.
I don’t know about yourself or,
What you plan to be - yea!!
When we gamble with our time,
We choose our destiny.

Yeah!! we’re travelin’ down that lonesome road.
Feel like I’m dragging a heavy load.
Don’t try to turn my head away,
I’m flirtin’ with disaster every day.
Flirtin’ with disaster, baby,
Y’all know what I mean.
You know the way we run our lives,
It makes no sense to me.
I don’t know about yourself or,
What you plan to be - yea!!
When we gamble with our time,
We choose our destiny.

Yeah!! we’re travelin’ down that lonesome road.
Feel like I’m dragging a heavy load.
Don’t try to turn my head away,
I’m flirtin’ with disaster every day.

-- Molly Hatchet

Sacrifice and struggle only out of one's own freewill. Ain't nobody tellin' ye anythin'. Don't expect nuthin' 'coz nobody owe you anythin'. Don't load it on nobody. There ain't nobody to blame.

Gone thru' a similar road with a certain type before. Uh uh... not gonna go thru' it again, ever! No more a hostage of threats! No more emotional blackmail! No more dragged in by responsibility on others! No more! No more! No more of those bullshit again!

I'm now a free soul, guided by own conscience and reasons, and answerable only to my God. I've earned this humble but valuable privacy of space, freedom to move, and independence to think and decide. It's too precious and nobody gonna deny me of it.

Am movin' on. Ain't waitin' for nobody. Ain't nobody gonna hold me back.

In this life, we made our choice and consequently, it unfolds a chosen path. It could be the common crowded road or the less traveled one.

We took our own risk and seek our own indulgence. Flirtin' with disaster. If we've inflicted pain and problems on ourselves, we gotta help ourself to resolve it. Nobody gonna do it for us. We've got to be responsible to ourselves. Remember we can't have it all if we have none.

Everyone is strugglin' with their own. There is so much we can lay it on others. Others can't be givin' when they ain't have much to share. And, many have heard and given more than they could.

Steady ourselves and strive thru' it. Take in stride without prejudice on others and possibly laugh at it. The humour relaxes our uptight nerves to provide sustainance and stamina.

We are movin' on to destruction ... and I don't wanna no distractions.

(revised January 23rd, 2008 9:00 a.m.)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

U.S. Persistent In Having Control Of OIC

By Kazi Mahmood, World Futures
Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Washington is playing hard ball game by taking advantage of the existing division among the Muslim nations and is forcing its way to gain control of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). The Bush administration want to leave a legacy to future presidents by giving them absolute power to decide for the OIC and the members of the organization are simply sleeping on their laurels without seeing what is happening.

Leaving a sense of power and control over the Muslim states is an essential part of the end of the Bush regime. Hence the multiple attempts at brining the Muslim organization to agree to a deal that will revolutionize the way things are done in the Muslim world.

Recent information obtained by WFOL say the US is seeking higher influence on the OIC. Washington is apparently not pleased with the fact that the OIC is standing united on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the condemnation by the whole Islamic world of the torture and other inhuman methods used by the U.S.

The issue of Guantanamo and the illegal torture of prisoners as well as rendition (which is the kidnap of innocents and their confinement in secret dungeons) have been widely criticized by the Muslim world.

The OIC itself issued statements that criticized the way Muslim captives are being treated and this resonated at the White House as a painful reminder to G.W. Bush that he is not popular in the Muslim world.

The outgoing U.S. president is aware that America is alone in the war on terror and that its foremost ally in the Muslim world, Pakistan, is now a lost cause. The Pakistani government under Parvez Musharaf has lost the war on terror dictated on it by Washington.

Now with the killing of Benazir Bhutto, the wild card and secret ally sent to Pakistan by the U.S. administration, has deepened the loss for the White House in the long and tiring war it is leading against fundamental Islam.

President Bush and other republican presidential candidates wish to strengthen the relationship between the OIC and the U.S. Yet they do not know how to deal with this issue since the public relations of the Bush administration has been a catastrophe since 911.

There are some Muslim nations that are pushing on the other direction that is favoring the strengthening of relations with the U.S. and forgetting the recent violent past where the U.S.Iraq’s pro-American regime in concoction with the mayor of Kabul, Hamid Karzai, is in favor of good relationship with the U.S. Their views as explained by members of embassy staffs in the Asian region are simple. The U.S. helped their governments gained power and has aided them financially and militarily and is still aiding these nations. acted like a bully and Bush like a barbarian.

Pakistan is fully behind the U.S. in its war on terrorism or war on Islamic militancy and Islamic fundamentalists. This gives Washington full confidence that it can bring other nations to support its policies in the Islamic world altogether. Yet the apparent unity with which the OIC condemned the aftermath of the war on Iraq and Afghanistan and the ensuing human rights abuses by the U.S., made it clear to the White House that this was mission impossible at best.

To reverse the situation, Washington is making hard attempts to push public diplomacy and collaborate in many other fields to help increase the confidence level of the Muslim world towards the Americans. The following was part of the plan to recapture the Muslim world’s support:-
  • In March 2007 the U.S. launched the so-called “embassy group” to coordinate political issues between the US and Islamic countries.

  • In June 2007 the decision was made to establish the position of Special Representative of the US President for OIC.

  • Recently, the U.S. supported the proposal for an independent Kosovo despite the opposition from other super powers like Russia and the Serbian nation.

  • In December 2007, the U.S. decided not to engage the Turkish regime by remaining on the touch line despite the constant bombing of Kurdish rebel positions inside Iraq.

    All these were attempts by the U.S. to appease the anger and the anti-U.S. sentiment in the Muslim world.

  • In 2008, the U.S. has other plans and these include the reduction of military troops in Iraq and the handing over of more cities to the Iraqi government. The down pouring of money in several hundred millions of dollars in the Sunni belt in Iraq is also part of the plan to show that the U.S. is winning the war in Iraq.

To create a positive perception of Washington, the White House plans to invite a wide range of young ambitious OIC based Muslims to the US for training purposes. The aim is to establish a course to study Political Islam (a twisted one indeed), to enhance scientific and cultural exchange, to provide help in such areas as Gallup polls and democratic elections in Islamic countries and others.

According to international observer’s opinion in a survey by WFOL, all these measures are aimed at creating a “fifth column” within the OIC. This is done with the intent to help the U.S. occupy a leading position in the OIC and to control their future decisions.

Some observers told WFOL that this will definitely undermine the OIC’s unity and weaken its structure from within, which can result in disruption and much lower efficiency of its work. The OIC is known for its failures rather than for its successes (which are limited by all means). It is also known for its impotence to deal with issues like Israel’s barbaric attacks on Palestinians. However, as an existing organization, it still has some political clout and its criticism of the U.S.Washington.

The strengthening US-OIC relations will have for effect the damaging of the OIC’s image and authority in the Islamic world as a whole. This is because it is well known that Washington has very little credibility in this part of the world as it appears to be the main ally to Israel.

Annapolis, where the Quartet composed of the U.S., the U.N., the U.K., and Russia met with Palestinian representatives and the Arab League (AL), was the first of the series of attempts by the White House to leave a positive impression on the Muslims.

The question is what are the OIC and its members doing to shove the U.S. with the damaging truth of its violence towards the Muslims? The answer is money can buy everything and with the Congress and the Senate playing into the hands of G. W. Bush despite being held by the Democrats, the Americans will be able to buy the silence of the OIC.

Hence in 2008, we can expect the Americans to show a smiling face and the money that is needed to buy the support of several Muslim states, members of the OIC, which will be meeting in Senegal in March this year.

Will the next OIC General Assembly be the wholesale discount of the organization to the Americans? Senegal, being a nation is historically leaning towards Paris, will surely listen to the French President Nicolas Sarkozy – the ultimate European supporter of the Bush regime after Tony Blair. Sarkozy will play the role of the matchmaker between the U.S. and the OIC and the future generations of Muslims may find themselves the slaves of Washington, thanks to the apathy and laziness that characterizes the OIC in general.

Born in the tiny Island of Mauritius, Kazi Mahmood who lives in Malaysia, left behind a few good years of journalism in Africa. His days as a BBC reporter in Mauritius were exciting since he was also contributing to several London based African magazines, including the popular African Business.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

N.U.R.I.N. A.L.E.R.T. untuk Sharlinie


Celcom Prihatin - Sharlinie & Mohd Nasyar - hilang 9/1/2008. Jika anda ada maklumat sila hubungi polis di talian 03-79662222 atau 999. Terima kasih.

Untuk maklumat dan pendapat-pendapat yang lain, sila ke hyperlink Rocky di sini.

Tidak perlu terkejut dan tidak perlu merayu, lakukan saja yang patut.

Apa guna berkuasa, jika tidak tahu apa yang berlaku. Apa guna jawatan dan organisasi, jika tidak tahu gerakan untuk melaksanakan tanggungjawab!

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