Monday, January 30, 2012

Hungry Ghost festival come early in Johor

A close friend advised us to keep the ghost story until after the election.

The problem is the election date is everybody's guess. Some say March, some claim to be May, and some predict in second term of the school holidays. Last but not least, there are those that believed it to be next year.

The way things are moving in Johor, it maybe a wee bit too late.

In the meanwhile, the RM60 billion Pengerang Petronas Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (Rapid) complex is due for commissioning by 2016, which is 4 years from now. There is not much time. The planning work is already on the way, including land acquisition.

About two weeks ago, CEO and President for Petronas, Datuk Shamsul Azhar Abbas had sent Executive Vice President of Downstream Business of Petronas Dagangan Bhd, Datuk Wan Zulkiflee Bin Wan Ariffin to Johor Baru.

There is likelihood that it has to do with discussion on the said project. Simply, because he brought along a member of the Board of Director of Petronas and his fellow MCOBA President, Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin. Otherwise, why the need to bring Megat Najmuddin?

After all, he was once a strong candidate for CEO of Petronas. He represents Petronas, the biggest company in Malaysia and a Government wholly owned company. There is a reason.

In our previous posting here, we've described the massive quick money scheme in flipping properties in Iskandar Malaysia and the Johor Central Business District revitalisatin plan in and out of public listed vehicles.

The Petronas Rapid project in Pengerang, will include a tripatrite gas power plant that can support a petrochemical industry there. Read Bigdogdotcom here.

The power generated by the power plant is to be sold Singapore. It will involve Malakoff, Petronas and Singapore's Keppel Group. Pengerang was chosen because of this purpose and it's deep waters can allow for very large crude carriers and ultra large crude carriers.

It complements plans for the RM5bil independent deep water petroleum terminal, which is to be the first of its kind in South-East Asia. Thus making Teluk Ramunia and Pengerang a true oil and gas hub with supporting and ancillary industries. This will generate about 20,000 jobs and develop this backwater of South Johor and southernmost tip of continental Asia.

There will be gas pipeline built from Pengerang to just short of Kota Tinggi before it turn southward towards Ulu Tiram into Tanjung Langsat and all the way to Johor Baru CBD.

Naturally, the Johor state government will be a joint-venture partner of the project and will provide the required land.

Mention state land and a project of this size, the beepers in the ghost mobile sounds it's alarm. The land for Rapid must be consolidated state land, large tract of private land, and probably even orang kampung land.

There will be the supporting and ancillary industries mushrooming along the gas pipeline. That needs land too!

The gas pipeline and the land it traversed on will be owned by Petronas but for the industries piping the energy from the gas pipeline need land to place their facility.

Could they secure the land? If they could secure, how?

Although we've just celebrated the Chinese New Year, the Hungry Ghost Festival that usually comes in the seventh lunar month came early this year, earlier than Chap Goh Meh.

Securing the land has suddenly become difficult unless one is ready to be approached by Vampires. These vampires are not the European type one see in Hollywood movies that ravages alone but of the Asian variety.

Asian vampires in Hong Kong movies comes in groups and is directed by a ruthless Ghost, in this case the Hungry Ghost. These Vampires are not so smart and idiotically move non-stop in small hops towards their victim. One of this hopping vampire is said to be one Ku Mohsin.

To get their proposal through, these companies must wet the beak of the Hungry Ghost. The problem is it does not just stop at getting percentage equity in the company or some up-front amount.

There are companies already about to commenced work in Pengerang to prepare for facilities like storage. Already it is heard that one oil and gas company, named Kaylog or something to that effect, was preyed on and paid up-front of S$10 million.

The proposer may face the prospect of having these Vampires at the instruction of Hungry Ghost or probably the Hungry Ghost himself determining the proposer's equity in their own business and have to pay for the Ghost or his proxy's equity portion.

The biggest nightmare to any businessman will be when the Ghost determine who are the business partners in their venture. The proposer with the expertise and capital may end up with as minority shareholders.

Wan Zul could have been sent to Johor Baru by Dato Shamsul to deal with these ghosts and vampires. He was asked to bring Megat Najmuddin, whose extraordinary network, personal touch and diplomacy transcend into the supernatural and come handy in "smoothening" discussion.

Perhaps, the trip has nothing to do with meeting Vampires and Hungry Ghost.

But, it does not mean these Vampires and Hungry Ghost do not exist. They have been pretty much at large for the past two years haunting and preying on the rakyat, businessmen, Government servants and politicians.

If this is the way business is run in Johor, foreign investors will get turned off by such sadistic feudel ways. There is no certainty in doing business and too much and exorbitant unstated cost. It could seriously stifle and hamper development of Johor. Such act is an economic threat to the prosperity of Johor.

If the common rakyat knows of such abuse and intimidation, there will not even be sands at the end of the rainbow. Like sands dropping in the hourglass, time may be running out on them.

* Edited 31/1 10:00 AM

Friday, January 27, 2012

Neo-liberals and neo-feudal masters threat to Johor

Rocky described the subject of Big Dog's unusually restrained revelation in his latest posting, "Serving the neo-economic masters" as the ghost of Johor. Read Rocky Bru here.

Most people have never met or seen ghost but many believe ghost exist as a powerful supernatural being. But such supernatural being can only be powerful if one is afraid and believe that beings from different mediums can exist and exert devastating powers in our environment.

Not only has the supernatural being made his writing cryptic, royalist Big Dog was suddenly writing about economic slavery. Earlier in his January 6th, posting, "Leading the laden", he touched on the subject of feudalism, neo-feudalism.

All these in the midst of our battle against those unproductive and destructive young neo-liberals creeping into Johor Corporation?

"Serving the neo-economic masters" tie in with two pieces written in this blog on Johor in January; one entitled Did KPRJ's Johar Salim opposed MACC investigation on IIB and another Meow meow for Big Cat ... still on Johor.

By the way Big Cat, having vent out our 15 years of frustration, we are alright. Rather than Khaled Nordin or Razali Ibrahim or Osman Sapian, Gani is a far better choice of MB.

The focus of Big Dog's latest posting is Dato Lim Kang Hoo and his phenomenal business plan and expansion.

It traces back to a company written before in this blog, Tebrau Teguh Berhad (TTB).

TTB is owned by Kumpulan Perasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRJ) and the current CEO is KPRJ's CEO, Dato' Johar Salim.

Iskandar Investment Berhad, Johor Waterfront, and Iskandar Coast are Khazanah entities having strategic parcels of land bing targeted to be injected into TTB. And, there are some state government-owned premium land parcels all over JB city limits also planned to be injected into TTB.

Lim Kam Hoo is the owner and Executive Chairman of Ekovest Bhd. He had used his Danga Bay projects to be injected into TTB to increase his equity holding and be a more strategic player in the state-company, KPRJ and the Johor property game.

The southern Johor 'property belt' of JB-Iskandar Malaysia stretches 'East-West' from Tanjung Langsat/Pasir Gudang in the east all the way to Tanjung Pelepas in the west province and to include Johor Baru Central Business District (CBD).

JB 'CBD revitalisation' is a program where the Johor State Government plan to consolidate all state goverment's land parcels under into a single basket.

Although it is a state project, it has alerted Lim Kang Hoo's radar. For this, he proposed Knusford Berhad to be the proposed vehicle for the exercise.
Lim Kang Hoo happens to be the Executive Director of Knusford.

Knusford business is modelled to emulate the likes of Gamuda, Killinghall and Antah.

Part of the gameplan is to flip some of the land parcels consolidated under TTB, to Singaporean property developers such as Peter Lim with Knusford having temporary and intermediary presence to justify the 'fee'.

There is already a precedent project as in the TNB land in Stulang Laut, which was recently flipped to Peter Lim with Lim Kang Hoo playing the role of 'middle-man.' Read Rocky Bru's posting dated November 11th here that first break all these ghost stories.

Lim Kang Hoo had involvement with MRCB in the JB Eastern Dispersal Link which passed the doorsteps of a certain ghostly address. That gave the opportunity for the occupant to know Dato' Zaki Zahid closer.

Lim Kang Ho convinced the ghost to request the appointment of Zaki Zahid into JCorp, via Damansara Realty and Kulim. His presence will help them because part of the strategic parcels of land owned by JCorp Group is in JB CBD.

Zaki is the Tingkat 4 supremo of Tun Dol administration day that hides behind his neo-liberal ideology to justify wrecking and plundering of the national economic infrastructure build over many decades since independence.

He is one character that has neither the guilt nor remorse to obligingly help inject those JCorp lands into TTB and/or Knusford, before eventually flipping it to investors. It will mostly be Singaporeans, again.

Zaki has no qualms selling Johor asset to Singaporeans because it was him and Dato Dr Vincent Lim (now with ISIS) that actually conceived the monstrous SJER, later WPI and finally Iskandar which will see Singaporean landgrab under the name of development of South Johor.

Soon, South Johor will the killing field for the big game of corporate exercises.

Any stock punters looking for a tip can look at Tebrau Teguh and Knusford. These counters neither need to raise capital, nor invest and maintain any business, but are money churner by being intermediary PLC to flip properties to Singaporeans.

Caveat emptor. Punters beware.

Make money and run. Do not expect handsome dividends or stock bonuses or splits. The company could be making money, lots of money but it might conveniently sip out, perhaps bypassing the rules of the Bursa, Registrar of Companies and Income Tax Department, to satisfy some ghastly greed.

Many should wonder how come Lim Kang Hoo could pursue such massive and unobstructed plundering without others' complain or competitive presence?

It seems all the leads points to the sands at the end of the rainbow. Somewhere over the rainbow ...

* edited 8:40 PM

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Demand the same on Air Asia

Tony Fernandez, who claims that being competitive was the driving force that made Air Asia for what it is, has just got a lesson of what real competition is all about.

It is about being professional, honest and deliverable.

For a long time, he has been lying to the public using marketing snazz of his so-called capability. To correct the public, Tony F brought Air Asia to what it is today through lies, deceit and negligence of Slumber Dol.

And, the local adverstising authority have not been doing their job to allow him to get away with his unethical RM10 gimmick cheap air fare advertising.

In actual fact, Air Asia is no more a cheap bargain and plus it's inconveneinces, it is a raw deal. In certain flights, the unstated surcharges can mean flying via Air Asia is no more as good a deal as real full service airline.

They could not even compete with MAS's new emerging budget airline, Firefly. To survive, Tony demand on MAS to close up Firefly. Competitive my foot!

In their recent deceitful acquisition of the Sydney route with the help hand of Danny Yusof from inside, Air Asia has just been taught a lesson:

Australian regulator files lawsuit against AirAsia

January 24, 2012

The no-frills carrier is accused of failing to disclose the full price of fares on its website.

SYDNEY: AirAsia was Tuesday slapped with a lawsuit by Australian regulators accusing the Asian budget carrier of failing to disclose the full price of fares on its website.

The Malaysia-based airline, which flies international services out of Australia from the Gold Coast, Melbourne and Perth, with Sydney to be added from April, was named in documents lodged at the Federal Court in Melbourne.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the country’s consumer watchdog, claims some fares sold on AirAsia’s website do not display prices inclusive of all taxes, duties, fees and other charges.

“Businesses that choose to advertise a part of the price of a particular product or service must also prominently specify a single total price,” it said in a media release.

The regulator alleged the fares relate to flights from Melbourne to cities including London, New Delhi, and Hangzhou in China, from the Gold Coast to Ho Chi Minh City and from Perth to places such as Taipei and Phuket in Thailand.

The matter is listed to be heard on March 2 with the watchdog seeking an injunction “to restrain AirAsia from engaging in misleading conduct in the future”.

It also wants a court order “that AirAsia publish corrective notices on its websites regarding the conduct”.

AirAsia could not immediately be reached for comment. - AFP
The Sydney route was taken away from MAS through lies and deceit. Immediately following the collaboration, suddenly Sydney rote was not on MAS business plan when all along t had been a profitable route for MAS. This issue was raised to Managing Director, Dato Ahmad Jauhari during the press conference.

Ahmad Jauhari was also asked by the staff in a town hall meeting of the Sydney route JV. He denied it will be Air Asia. The following week, Tony F announced the JV between Qantas, Air Asia-X and MAS.

In a matter of time, MAS will be knocked out of this profitable route.

Taking a leaf from this experience with the Australian authorities, it is high time that the Malaysian authorities start to impose and the local consumers demand the same on Air Asia.

Malaysian should not allow these conniving businessman to continue to deny them of quality service. It is time he disclose his fares and rates and not allow customers to forever queue and wait.

Alas Malaysian ... this is what you get for paying peanuts, you get monkeys like Tony F.

Thanks to Amokh and Danny, the brilliant Medussa touch pair of Binasa Fikir, now controlling investment decisions in Khazanah, our Government will be investing RM1 billion in Air Asia-X that never made money.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year: The Year of Water Dragon

Wishing All Happy Chinese New Year.

May you find health and happiness in the year to come.


2012 is Year of the Dragon. Dragon is a legendary animal. It is the symbol of power and superior control. Since the Ming Dynasty, it has been used as the symbol for the emperors in China.

Since the Dragon is coated with mysterious color, Chinese consider that the dragon is unpredictable, untouchable and people cannot see its head and tail at the same time. Therefore, we might see something unexpected happening in 2012.

Thus thread the year more carefully. The Year of the Dragon is also the year of natural disaster.

According to Chinese Five Element Astrology Calendar, 2012 is the Year of Water Dragon. The astrological reading is that it is a critical year for humanity due to changes taking place in the people's minds.

The Pakatan Rakyat supporters may like to read it as the year UMNO or Barisan Nasional is ousted out of power. That is if they strongly believe their propaganda has permanently captured the imagination of voters, particularly the middle undecided.

What if it had backfired instead and rationality had reigned in over the excessive politicking of spins, slanders and lies?

We believe the pendulum reached it's maximum and is due to swing back. One reknown opposition inclined political player privately predicted that opposition will bomb out. They could only retain less than 80 seats, lose Selangor and Kedah, and Kelantan caught in 50:50 situation.

But we are not ready to be optimistic till the administration be more serious on committed and perception of corruption, power abuse, and inefficiencies in Government and GLCs. And, UMNO and BN has to mature by ridding itself from the politics of warlords, factionalism, petty bickering, anti-intellectualism and suppression of new leadership talents.

Some prediction say that the changes taking place in the people's mind could be more spiritual than political. There are reading that we are about to pass to a new spiritual era.

Will it mean rise in moral consciousness or reverting back to religion?

Some are predicting that the change and rise in consciousness will give rise to greater appreciation for innovation and ideas in businesses. The economic crisis is not about to be over yet but it signifies the passing of a new era. With so many cases of market failures, latest being Eurozone, business should go back to basics.

In the new era of spirituality, people may begin to realize to not rely too much on money. Having money is fine but there are more important things to consider (for example environment, our spirits, and humanity).

The year could see many new technology trends. More people will become comfortable using technology in their lifestyles. Technology will be used to enable people to become more spiritual.

One does need to believe such predictions. It is good to know to understand the psyche of the significant number of the population in order to heed for eventualities.

To excercise care is not a bad advice.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Blogger Viswanath a/l Kaliamoorthy [see his blog V for Viswa here] passed away yesterday morning due to a hit and run accident along the Kuala Lumpur-Seremban highway.

The accident happened after the Information Chief for the Putera MIC Negeri Sembilan attended a Blog House gathering at the National Press Club. He was found at around 3:00 am and was taken to Seremban Hospital immediately. Unfortunately it was too late.

His funeral procession will begin this morning from his home at No 85 Jln ttjs 3/4 Taman Tuanku Jaafar Selatan, 71450 Sungai Gadut, N.Sembilan upon his mother's arrival return from India. His burial is schedued for 11 am.

Viswa is the youngest in the family. The intelligent young man is the bright ray of hope for the family. He will be sorely missed.

His presence at Blog House gathering is well remembered. With Yogeswaran, he stayed on till everyone left.

We at ABITW are equally shock with his sudden death and wish to express our condolence to his family and colleagues at MIC.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Muhyiddin's closing speech at the International Conference on the Global Movement of Moderates

The following is the closing address by the Tan Sri Dato Hj Muhyiddin Haji Mohd Yassin, Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia entitled by “PROMOTING MODERATION, PEACE AND STABILITY FOR THE WELLBEING OF GLOBAL COMMUNITY” at the closing ceremony of the International Confferene of the Global Movement of Moderates at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

2. Allow me to briefly mention at the outset the historical context in which contemporary discourse about moderation and the moderates emerge. As we know, at the end of the cold war, many people thought that the war between communism and the West was about to be replaced by a war between the West and Muslims. The Gulf War, the Bosnian conflict, the World Trade Centre bombing and the growing influence of Islamist movements in the Middle-East, Turkey, Central Asia and across the Muslim world gave an impression that there lies an Islamic threat against the West.

3. Throughout the 1990s, Samuel P. Huntington’s seminal work, Clash of Civilizations, generated so much interest in the academia as well as in the media. It seemed that confrontations drawn along the fault lines of ideology and religion were inevitable. In particular, the prophecy of an imminent conflict between two great civilizations, namely Islam and the Christian West sent tremors across the world.

4. It was rather unfortunate that the tragic event on September 11, 2001 accentuated the images of conflict between Islam and the West. Eventually, the post 9/11 world was marked by growing Islamophobia in the West and across the world. From Osama Ben Laden to the Taliban in Afghanistan, the vision of militant Islam as a threat to the West has gripped the imaginations of Western governments and the media.

5. For more than a decade, the image of Islam as the religion of peace and moderation was hijacked by violent aggressions of militant Muslims and their network of terror. The events in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kashmir and other parts of the world where Muslim minorities are struggling for self-determination, reinforced the image of Islam as a religion that is prone to fanaticism, extremism and warfare. On the other hand, the global war on terror led by Western superpowers has pitted the West against the Muslims in a scale that has never been felt before.

6. Without us realizing it, the instability of the war inflicted regions in some parts of the Muslim world and the growing fear of terrorism fuelled by Islamophobia in the West overshadowed the voices of moderation, peace and harmony within Islam. People tend to ignore the fact that the phenomenon of extremism, fanaticism and militancy in the Muslim world is confined to only small groups of people usually alienated from the mainstream tradition of Islamic moderation.

The Concept of Moderation in Islam

7. The virtue of moderation was expounded in Islam by a key verse in the Qur’an which describes Muslims as an ummah or community justly balanced. Allah the Almighty says in the Qur’an:

وَكَذَٲلِكَ جَعَلۡنَـٰكُمۡ أُمَّةً۬ وَسَطً۬ا لِّتَڪُونُواْ شُہَدَآءَ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ ٱلرَّسُولُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ شَهِيدً۬ا‌ۗ

Which means, “Thus have We made you of an Ummah justly balanced That ye might be witnesses over the nations and the Messenger as witness over yourselves” (Surah Al-Baqarah; Verse 143).

8. From this verse, Muslim scholars define Ummatan Wasata, or ummah justly balanced, as the primary characteristics of Islamic community as willed by Allah the Almighty Himslef. In this context, classical Muslim scholars agreed that being ummah justly balanced means essentially possessing a combination of interconnected attributes of justice, goodness, avoidance of extreme laxity or extravagance and being in the middle position.

9. Apart from this, the Qur’an also emphasizes the role of Islam as the harbinger of mercy and compassion to all mankind. Allah says in the Qur’an:

وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَـٰكَ إِلَّا رَحۡمَةً۬ لِّلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

Which means, “We sent thee not, but as a mercy for all creatures.” (Surah Al-Anbiya’; Verse 107)

10. With this understanding of Islamic moderation and the message of mercy and compassion that Islam spreads to the mankind, many contemporary Muslim scholars and leaders condemned the act of terror perpetuated in the name of religion. Militant radicalism and religious extremism contradict the very essence of Islam as the religion that promotes the virtue of moderation and peaceful co-existence between peoples of different faiths, creed and color.

11. For Muslims, religious and cultural differences should not be the root cause of hatred and enmity as the Qur’an itself accords spiritual recognition to social plurality and cultural heterogeneity which is part of human nature. Allah says in the Qur’an:

يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلنَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقۡنَـٰكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ۬ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلۡنَـٰكُمۡ شُعُوبً۬ا وَقَبَآٮِٕلَ لِتَعَارَفُوٓاْ‌ۚ إِنَّ أَڪۡرَمَكُمۡ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ أَتۡقَٮٰكُمۡ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ۬

Which means, “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other. Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)”. (Surah al-Hujrat; Verse 13)

The Necessity of Moderation

12. Apart from religious injunctions, the political, social and economic realities that we are facing today necessitate the practice of moderation. On the economic front, Western countries are major trading partners of the Muslim world. As much as the West depends on Muslim countries for natural resources, Muslim countries rely on economic prosperity of the West as major importers of goods and services to accelerate the process of economic development at home. As we know, for decades the peace, prosperous and developed West created millions of jobs and countless economic opportunities for Muslims in their respective countries. It will be folly for Muslims to believe that economic and political destruction of the West will bring economic prosperity and political stability to the Muslim world.

13. At the same time, growing population of Muslims in the West has changed the social and cultural demography of Western society. For instance, in Europe today, a key debate is about how to integrate and assimilate new Muslim population into the European society without necessarily eroding European cultures, traditions and identity. No doubt, the success of this process of integration and assimilation will have far-reaching consequences on lasting peace and stability of European countries.

14. As Muslims are making inroads into the West, bringing together their values and social practices into the fabric of Western societies, the social and political values of the West are also increasingly being embraced by Muslims. The values of human rights, freedom and liberty, which were once associated with the West, now form part and parcel of the life of Muslims. It is not uncommon now to find Islamic groups and Muslim-based political parties together with civil society movements participate in democratic processes and clamor for democratic reform. The political transformation currently underway in Muslim countries shows that the value of democracy can sit easily with the value of moderation, justice and compassion in Islam.

15. The political, social and cultural interactions between the Muslim world and the West, which is now being reinforced by the forces of globalization, brings about new perspective on the relationship between Islam and the West. For Muslims, the classical demarcation line that separates Dar al-Islam (the realm of Islam) from Dar al-Harb (the realm of war) has now become obsolete. It is not proper for Muslims to regard the West as their enemies when the cultural and social demography of the West itself is undergoing tremendous change as a result of its rising Muslim population. Likewise, it is no longer fitting for the West to regard Islam as the new fascism which poses imminent threat to the security of its nations and the future of its civilization. The truth is, the Muslims themselves are becoming more familiar and receptive of the good values of Western civilization.

16. The future path of global peace and prosperity must be built upon mutual understanding and respect between communities which represent the world major civilizations. Be it Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Taoism and other world major civilizations, all must work for the perpetuation of peaceful co-existence between people of different religions and cultures. This necessitates a shift in our perspective from clash of civilizations to civilizational engagement. In this particular context, the practice of moderation and the rejection of extremism is the key to civilizational engagement and global peace. Only by rejecting extremism and embracing moderation will we be able to treat others with dignity, accept our differences and live with each other in peace and harmony. In today’s world, moderation is not an option, but a must.

Moderation in Other Faiths

17. We are fortunate that all major religions and civilizations advocate moderation as a way of life. Christianity and Confucianism abhor extravagance and opulence which symbolize an extreme behavior in the conduct of one’s life. Likewise, in Hinduism, the concept of middle path that calls for divine centered living without renouncing the world is considered the best means to achieve salvation. In the same vein, Buddhism advocates Middle Way between all extremes by avoiding fanaticism and laziness in the journey to nirvana.

18. If we can see the nature of religion through the prism of moderation, we will be able to identify common values shared by all religions. The values are peace, harmony and true happiness which will materialize when the followers of every religion avoid excessiveness in religious practices and in the conduct of worldly life. I believe if everybody can nurture the spirit of moderation, which implies rejection of excessiveness and extremism, there will be no harm done to human kind in the name of religion or ideology.

19. At the same time, we need to address the root cause of extremism and fanaticism which often lead to hatred and enmity between people of different religions and cultures, namely economic alienation, political exclusion and social deprivation. We need to replace economic alienation with equitable distribution of wealth; we need to end political exclusion by promoting political inclusiveness; we need to eliminate social deprivation by upholding social justice and respect for human dignity. We believe that the seeds of goodness will only bear fruit when the root cause of evil are completely annihilated.

Moderation in Malaysia

Ladies and gentlemen,

20. Moderation has been the pillar of Malaysia’s success in dealing with ethnic and religious diversity. Being part of the Malay world where great civilizations meet, Malaysia has been blessed with peace and prosperity that is built upon mutual understanding and respect among its multi-ethnic and multi-religious population. Despite being a plural society from the start, we thank the Almighty God that we have so far been successful in maintaining peace and averting conflict by promoting moderation as a national culture.

21. We promote moderation through active involvement of the government and the civil society in educating the people about the values of moderation and peace. The government working together with religious communities and the civil society have been actively promoting religious harmony as a main pillar of national unity. A Committee on Inter-Religious Harmony was formed with a view to promote common values shared by all religions as a means to encourage mutual understanding, respect and cooperation between different religious communities. I must say that our success as a nation depends on the willingness of the moderates from all religions and cultures to set aside differences and work for a common goal in perpetuating peace, harmony and prosperity for our people.

22. It is my great pleasure today in conjunction with this conference to launch an important work on Islamic moderation as it is envisioned and practiced in Malaysia and the Malay world. Professor Tan Sri Mohd. Kamal Hassan, a renowned professor of Islamic studies from the International Islamic University Malaysia, has come up with a great book entitled “Voice of Islamic Moderation From the Malay World”, which compiles evidences from the Qur’an and prophetic traditions which extol the essence of Islam as the religion of moderation. There are also numerous empirical evidences which epitomize moderation as the foundation of peace, harmony and stability in the Malay world in general and in Malaysia in particular.

23. I am glad to quote a passage in Tan Sri Mohd Kamal Hassan’s book which is of great interest to me. I quote, “The voice of Islamic moderation coming from contemporary Malaysia is a reflection of the Malaysian milieu in which Islamic thought has been nurtured in a multi-ethnic society in which Muslims, though in the majority, have lived and co-existed with non-Muslims of various ethnic and religious groups in peace and harmony … This democratic set-up has molded a national culture which makes political or religious extremism unpopular and uncalled for. The winning formula for all communities has always been one in which there is a realistic recognition of the pluralistic nature of the nation and the need to balance between the particular interest of a community and the larger interest of national stability, national security and national wellbeing, without stepping beyond the limits of freedom as provided for in the Constitution of the nation,” unquote.

24. I believe the value of moderation will continue to provide lasting peace, harmony and stability for Malaysia and for the world community. This requires the coalition of the willing among the moderates of the world to persistently promote moderation as a global value. I do hope that this international conference, the idea of which was mooted by Malaysian Prime Minister, The Honorable Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Abdul Razak, and the actions that will follow from it will provide avenues for the moderates from all major civilizations of the world to work hand in hand in the promotion of just and lasting peace for the wellbeing of the global community.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Najib's keynote speech at the International conference on Global Movement of Moderates

The following is th keynote address by YAB Dato Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Mnister of Malaysia at the opening of the Global Movement of Moderates Conference, at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur from January 17th to 19th, 2012.

Here in Malaysia, moderation has always been our chosen path. It is a testament to how we gained our independence from the British back in 1957; how we restored our relations with Indonesia in 1965; and how we helped build ASEAN in 1967, recovered from the tragic events of May 1969, engaged with China in 1972, and forged the ground-breaking ASEAN security and economic communities in 1993 and 2009. Each was a significant moment for our country, and all were gained through reasoned discussion and debate.

3. But over and above Malaysia’s own achievements, moderation is the fitrah, or essence, of humanity’s greatest heights; the solid bedrock on which all of the world’s civilisations have been built – for without it, we would long ago have succumbed to epicurean pleasures and delights! Yet moderation stands not just in the defence of willpower, discipline and restraint but of acceptance, freedom, tolerance, compassion, justice and peace.

4. Being moderate is not about being weak, about appeasement or about institutionalising mediocrity. And it is not about doing half-heartedly those things that are worthy of our fullest measure of devotion. Far from being an ideology of enfeeblement, as some would have us believe, moderation empowers us to go forward and to leave a mark for good – attending to the needs, frustrations and anxieties of others at the same time as attending to our own.

5. In the words of Robert F. Kennedy, “it is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

6. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the current we are here to build today – and let us make no mistake, we come together at a particularly troubled juncture in our global history. New faces of war, the global financial crisis and natural disasters on a previously unseen scale present us with challenges the like of which we have never had to face before. But face them we must, and the way we choose to deal with these changes will have a crucial bearing on the future of our shared civilisation.

7. The scale and speed of the events that unfolded across the Middle East and North Africa in 2011 at times felt almost overwhelming, but as the chaos and confusion gives way to calm the whole world is united in the hope that – rather than falling victim to an extremism and intolerance that closes in to fill the void – these countries and peoples can forge a peaceful, democratic moderation that will grant them more freedom of expression, not less.

8. Elsewhere, Nigeria has recently borne witness to deadly clashes between its Christian and Muslim communities. But the Nigerian government has made it quite clear that such behaviour will not stand and that there will be consequences for those who seek to hijack faith for violent ends. Because the real divide is not between Muslims and non-Muslims, or between the developed and developing worlds, it is between moderates and extremists.

9. So we have, each one of us, a choice to make: the choice between animosity and suspicion on the one hand and a sustained attempt to apprehend each other’s world views on the other. Certainly, we should never assume that the oceans and gulfs that divide us grant us immunity to the conflicts of others. Tensions in Africa or harsh words uttered in the Americas can have consequences not only for those who live there but for us all. In today’s world of the information superhighway such conflicts travel quickly – and no-one has a monopoly on truth.

10. Of course – much as it would be nice to claim the credit! – calls such as my own for a Global Movement of the Moderates are nothing new. Moderation is an age-old value, and one that runs right to the heart of the great religions. In Islam, the Prophet Muhammad counsels that “moderation is the best of actions”; in Christianity, the Bible says “let your moderation be known unto all men”; and in Judaism, the Torah teaches that moderation in all things is a “way of life” in the truest sense of Jewish custom.

11. But if moderation has long had a home within the world religions, then the reverse is also true: extremism has never been welcome inside our mosques, churches, synagogues and temples. Perpetuating hatred is, by its very nature, a lonely pursuit, flying in the face of widely held morality – and it is this dangerously untethered animus, coupled with a head-in-the-sand refusal to acknowledge the views and the values of others, that makes extremism such a potent threat.

12. And yet, time and again the side of righteousness has triumphed. History has been made not by those who espoused extremism but by those who, without surrendering their beliefs, stayed true to the path of moderation. We are all familiar with the extraordinary strength of will and leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi, but you don’t have to be a world leader to be an inspiration. Moderates can make a difference wherever they make a stand – and it is time for the massed ranks of the moderates everywhere to stand up and to say to the extremists with a single breath a firm, resounding “no”.

13. Because one thing is clear: we cannot rid the world of extreme views by force. Violence begets violence – so we can best foster tolerance and understanding not by silencing the voice of hatred but by making the voice of reason louder. Persuasion, negotiation and co-operation: these must be our weapons in the face of enmity and malice.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

14. The range of speakers and delegates here today is diverse in every sense, embracing experts and thought leaders from all continents and walks of life. This can, I think, mean just one thing: that extremism has at some point affected every country, every profession and everyone. No-one is immune, nowhere is out of bounds and nothing is off limits – for the simple reason that extremists, with their totalising world views, are reluctant to leave any institution, sacred or secular, untouched.

15. Extremists, we know, are driven by orthodoxies – a set of messianic ideals characterised by crass simplifications, misrepresentations and outright lies. Rather than celebrating the sanctity of life, as is required by all religions, extremists emphasise the glory of the afterlife. Rather than seeking out and embracing difference they espouse ignorance, intolerance and introspection. And rather than embracing change they fear it and all who drive it, turning their backs on progress and seeking refuge in an idealised world that always stays the same.

16. The essence, and perhaps the attraction, of extremism is its apparent simplicity – so it falls to movements and gatherings like this one to interrogate these easy truisms with subtlety, intelligence and vigour.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

17. Talk of extremism and extremist acts conjures up terrible images of murder, mayhem and human suffering, but extremism isn’t always violent – and I believe we literalise it at our peril. Take, for example, one of the most extreme yet ostensibly non-violent events in recent history: the global financial crisis.

18. Compared to the shockingly violent images that were beamed around the world in the wake of 9/11 – scenes of devastation on an epic scale that scarred a generation and seared the collective conscience of the world – the pictures taken outside Lehman Brothers on another September morning some years later were much more ordinary, familiar even. A young woman, tense and anxious, carries her belongings out of the firm’s headquarters in a box. A disgraced executive, walking quickly, climbs into his luxury car and speeds away.

19. Nothing too unusual or untoward – and yet, without a single bullet fired, the extremes and excesses of Wall Street would in a matter of days take the world as we knew it to the brink.

20. Fast forward four years and it is clear there is no end in sight. The eurozone is still in crisis. Countless millions have lost their jobs, their homes and their security. And in addition to the human cost, some US$14 trillion has so far been spent on the rescue plan – ten times the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq combined.

21. So if my call for moderation is idealistic, it is hard-headedly realistic too. Many great Islamic scholars have been concerned with how Islam as a religious, cultural, political, ethical and economic worldview can help solve some of the biggest challenges we face today, and these are also questions that interest me – how moderation can solve not only the problem of violent extremism but can guide us through this global economic crisis.

22. Thomas Jefferson once said that “the selfish spirit of commerce knows no country, and feels no passion of principle but that of gain.” It is a sentiment that has been revisited many times in the years and months since Lehman’s fell.

23. No less a figure than the Pope has blamed the global financial crisis on “the lack of a solid ethical foundation for economic activity.” Britain’s Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks has written of the need for employers, bankers and shareholders to be “guided, even if no-one is watching, by a sense of what is responsible and right.” And for Muslims like myself, the structures and principles of Islamic finance have long put public good ahead of individual gain.

24. So how do we create a truly moderate global economy that works in the interests of the many not the few? How can we devise a system that delivers fairness for “the 99 per cent”, not just those at the top? Quite simply, we can no longer allow the workings of the markets to be value-free or value-neutral. Markets, we all know, are the only route to rising global prosperity and sustained, stable growth – but we must do away with the unjust, unfair outcomes they can produce when left unchecked, and with the kinds of reckless economic practices that brought our global financial system to its knees.

25. Massive overleveraging. Mind-boggling credit default swaps. Subprime lending. Like the monstrous creation of some crazy scientist, these new and poorly understood financial practices rampaged out of Wall Street and left the devastated lives of millions in their wake.

26. But what of the men and women, the bankers and the traders, who went about their work with such abandon and with so little thought for anything beyond their own enrichment? A line of mug shots of the culprits would look very different to the “rogues gallery” of extremists we have grown accustomed to in recent years – sharp-suited, desk bound and clean shaven rather than dark skinned, bearded and combat-trained.

27. This flies in the face of everything we have been told about extremism – but it also raises the important question: what do extremists look like? How can we come to know them? The answer, of course, is that extremists, like extremism itself, take many forms – and we can only know them by their acts.

28. It is something I believe the world would do well to remember, for too often in recent times we have seen extremism and Islam discussed in the same breath. In the aftermath of 9/11, for example, Southeast Asia came to be regarded as a 'second front' simply because it had the highest number of Muslims in the world. And yet terrorism has never gained the same grip here that it has secured in other parts of the world.

29. And when a great evil visited Norway last year, so-called experts filled the airwaves to assert that the attack bore all the hallmarks of Muslim extremists. We swiftly discovered that the awful truth was very different, yet around the world politicians, journalists and commentators remain committed to the idea that terrorism and Islam are two sides of the same coin.

30. After Timothy McVeigh brought mass slaughter to the streets of Oklahoma City, nobody suggested that all Christians were somehow responsible. To do so would rightly have been seen as absurd, yet that is the situation the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims find themselves in today.

31. How did this happen? How did acts of extremism by a tiny minority of Muslims come to be seen as a true reflection of the whole of the Islamic faith – and to overshadow the extremism that is being perpetrated right across the world, day in day out, by people of all faiths and none? Such pernicious views cannot be left unchallenged – and it is not enough to say, as many have done, that the solution to extremism is simply for more Muslims to speak up and speak out. We need to hear from moderates of all religions in all countries and from all walks of life – and when we do, the prize of peace is there for all to see.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

32. Malaysia has long been synonymous not with extremism but with moderation, tolerance , inclusivity and even acceptance.. In a predominantly Muslim country with substantial communities of Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Taoists and Sikhs, we know well the “dignity of difference”. We have many ethnic groups, many religions, but we continually strive to be a harmonious and truly united nation predicated on the values of moderation and the spirit of 1Malaysia.

33. We know that we are best and we are strongest when we actively embrace our differences rather than just putting up with them – and it is in that spirit that we come together at the first ever meeting of the Global Movement of the Moderates. But a truly global movement cannot be imposed from above – so we must awaken in all our countries and communities the triumph of truth over ignorance, falsehood and fear.

Ladies and gentlemen,

34. To advance our common cause, I am pleased to announce today the formation here in Malaysia of an Institute of Wasatiyyah, operating as part of the Prime Minister’s Office, to further the pursuit of moderation and balance in all its aspects – respect for democracy, the rule of law, education, human dignity and social justice. In the words of the great scholar Al-Imam Ibnul Qayyim, wasatiyyah – moderation or ‘balance’ – “neither being too lenient nor too extreme is like an oasis between two mountains”, and to encourage many more such scholars in the future we will also be creating an academic Chair of Wasatiyyah, operating under Universiti Malaya, with the postholder to be announced in due course.

35. To spearhead this work at an international level, I am delighted to announce the launch of a new Global Movement of the Moderates Foundation as a centre of first resort for the consolidation and dissemination of information and campaign materials to all those who want to join the fight against extremism, governmental and non-governmental bodies alike. Certainly it is essential that, rather than being an exclusive initiative by Malaysia, the GMM complements other initiatives for global dialogue and co-operation such as the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations.

36. It will not be a campaign for the faint hearted, but we cannot allow this moment to be overtaken by extremists, with those who shout loudest gaining the most. In the words of that great advocate for peace, Mahatma Gandhi, “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” – so it is for moderates everywhere to stand firm and stand proud, to dissipate the pull of the extremes and to deny those at the margins a foothold on the middle ground, ensuring that frustrations, wherever they are felt, are heeded and that voices, wherever they speak out, are heard.

37. Certainly, I hope this inaugural conference will provide an opportunity for us to brainstorm, debate and explore some of the practical challenges ahead – questions like: What does it take for a set of ideas and values to become a truly global movement? How can we inject moderation into our foreign policy decisions and domestic economic measures? And what can we learn from each other in the promotion of understanding, tolerance and peace?

Ladies and gentlemen

38. Maybe I am naïve to hope for a world without terror, intolerance and all of the hatreds and miseries that man inflicts on man – but the price of failure if we dream too small is simply too high to pay. So let us dare to dream big, let us dare to imagine what was once thought unimaginable, and yes, let us dare to answer the clarion call to action. Oppression and tyranny can only win out if good men and women stand idly by, unwilling to turn rhetoric into action and opinions into deeds.

39. So let us here, today, together, commit ourselves to change and begin the task of building a new coalition of the moderates for our times – and may I thank you once again for coming and wish you well in your discussions over the next few days. There has never been a more important conversation, and it is one that we must undertake with temperance, fortitude and courage.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Time to use the reshuffle card

Mingguan Malaysia news today [read here] quoted Dato Seri Najib telling Barisan Nasional (BN) not fear the nationwide road tour of Dato Seri Anwar bin Ibrahim. It is meant to revive BN members' spirit, discouraged by the acquittal of Anwar's sodomy case.

Earlier in the week, he made a more alarming call on UMNO members to wake up from their slumber and face-up to the rising opposition wave. A week earlier, he was at a function that attracted a crowd of 1,000 against Anwar's nearby function of 5,000 attendance.

Najib could be too much of an aristocratic gentlemen to realise that Theory Y alone is not enough. Motivation and incentives, typically money allocation in UMNO, may not necessarily awake them long enough. It is time for the Theory X i.e. to wield the stick.

In a feudel-cultured organisation like UMNO, it has to start from the top. Najib have ignored the reshuffle call many times before using all sort of excuses. The last being mid-last week.

This time he has to use this card. A major cabinet and UMNO's organisational reshuffle is desperately needed to revive confidence in his government and leadership in UMNO. Political balancing will not be ignored, but it is paramount that he shows what the Najib team is made off.

The reshuffle is the best time to showcase the "pencapaian diutamakan (performance first)" portion of his 1Malaysia slogan.

As earlier as May 2010, there was a pro-UMNO bloggers campaign for a cabinet reshuffle and to revive the Pemuda UMNO.

True enough, it is proven today that Najib's current cabinet aka legacy of slumberjack Tun Dol is laden with Ministers who are either incompetent or shooting Najib's feet or both. While, the Pemuda and Puteri UMNO movements are weak and lethargic.

During that campaign, the bloggers' list was wee bit too long and politically not feasible. Some party position must be given cabinet position.

ABITW is giving our honest no hold barred selective comments on the existing cabinet members, to focus on the UMNO Ministerial list and highlighting only few component party Minister. See below:

Dato Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak (Prime Minister/Finance Minister)

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (Deputy Prime Minister/Education)

Prime Minister's Department
Senator Dato Palanivel a/l Govindasamy
Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon (Unity and Performance Management)
He is not running in next general election. Drop him. Racial unity on the decline. Pemandu is Dato Idris Jala show.
Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz (Law and Parliament)
Well suited for this post but could undertake more senior role.
Brig. Gen. (Rtd) Datuk Jamil Khir Baharum (Religious Affairs)
Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop (Economic Planning Unit)
Drop and investigate him. Too much controversies. Legacy icon of Tun Dol aka Slumberjack. Return role to Civil Servant.
Senator Dato Seri Idris Jala (Pemandu)
His policies are too neo-liberal and not in sync with PM's non Melayu liberal spirit. Look for his speech at UiTM in a Perkasa do. PM need to neutralise Idris (and Omar Ong) with more realistic policy thinkers or he will have problem with the Malay constituencies.

Deputies: Datuk Liew Vui Keong, Senator Datuk Dr Mashitah Ibrahim, Datuk SK Devamany, Ahmad Maslan, Senator T. Murugiah
Drop Dr Mashitah. Potential problem.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak
Time to Finance portfolio. time consuming and reduce his effectiveness. Can cut perceived baggage of Nazir. Suggested replacement Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. Could allay rumour of friction between them. If not politically comfortable, suggest Husni Hanazlah.
Finance Minister II: Datuk Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah
Deputies: Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussein
Sent Awang Adek to PM Dept till corruption allegation cleared. Should attend Communication 101 class.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin
Replaced by Zahid Hamidi. Long shot choice replacement: Datuk Dr Puad Zarkashi. The need for continuity in education policy. Teachers are sick with ever changing education policy with changes in Minister. If not considered for Finance, suggest defense.
Deputies: Datuk Wee Ka Siong, Datuk Dr Puad Zarkashi

Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha
Deputies: Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein
Should adapt to new Acts of Home Ministry. Eventually, should be rotated to rakyat-related Ministry.
Deputies: Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop, Jelaing Mersat

Information, Communications, Arts and Culture
Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim
Drop. Failed in his role. Arrogant and cocky. Suggest Ahmad Shaberi Chik. Long shot suggestion: Revive Dato Shahidan Kassim for Information role for purpose of election preparation. Suggest split out Communiction. Consider also for UMNO Information Chief.
Deputies: Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum, Senator Heng Seai Kie
Suggest include young MIC MP for Hulu Selangor, P Kamalanthan

Energy, Green Technology & Water
Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui
Deputy: Noriah Kasnon

Plantation Industries and Commodities
Tan Sri Bernard Dompok
Deputy: Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin

Rural and Regional Development
Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal
Deputies: Datuk Hassan Malek, Datuk Joseph Entulu

Higher Education
Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin
Failed. Should be drop. Personal issue (allegedly of the Anwar kind) is a time bomb. Not clean image and disastrous appointments of VCs, particularly UiTM and UM.
Deputies: Dr Hou Kok Chung, Saifuddin Abdullah
Saifuddin be drop. Disastrous act of accepting memo at PWTC. Interference in police work to protect pro-opposition students break UUCA law. Expected to lose in Temerloh.

International Trade and Industry
Datuk Mustapa Mohamed
Deputies: Datuk Muhkriz Mahathir, Datuk Jacob Dungau
Mukhriz suited for promotion to replace Khaled. Has long activism history related with University student.

Science, Technology and Innovation
Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili
Deputy: Fadillah Yusof

Natural Resources and Environment
Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas
Deputy: Tan Sri Joseph Kurup

Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen
Not clean image arising from Dato Mirza controversy. MCA call.
Deputy: Dato Dr James Dawos Mamit

Agriculture and Agro-based Industries
Datuk Noh Omar
Deputies: Johari Baharum, Rohani Abdul Karim
Drop Johari Baharom. Irrelevent existence. Legacy issue. New blood needed.

Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi
Suggested transfer to other Ministry. Communication 101 class suggested despite having doctoral degree.
Deputy: Datuk Dr Abdul Latif

Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor
Only Tun Dol legacy cum KJ linked Minister doing fine.
Deputy: Datuk Yong Khoon Seng

Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai
Deputy: Datuk Rosnah Rashid Shilin
Drop. Unhealthiest looking "Minister of Health." Like Khairy, need to focus her work as Ketua Puteri. Message that youth wing leaders no guarantee for Ministerial post.

Youth and Sports
Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek
Suggest move to Foreign Ministry or Information, Communication and Arts & Culture.
Deputies: Datuk Razali Ibrahim, Wee Jeck Seng
Suggest Razali be promoted to Youth and Sports Minister. Too inexperienced for hot seat Johor MB post.

Human Resources
Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam
Deputy: Datuk Maznah Mazlan

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs
Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri
Drop. Not effective as Minister. Do not exude perception of confidence. Tun Dol legacy issue. Not expected to survive election in Bera.
Deputy: Datuk Tan Lian Hoe

Housing and Local Government
Datuk Chor Chee Heung
Deputy: Datuk Seri Haji Lajim bin Haji Ukin

Women, Family and Community Development
Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil
Looks likely to be dropped. Pathetic handling of NFC issue. Uncall for action to drag Wanita UMNO, UMNO and other leaders to her personal issue. Still viable, maintain Ketua Wanita post and lay low from Cabinet for few years. Suggested replacement Senator Kamelia to allay internal politics in Perak. Najib must manage factional problem in Wanita UMNO so as not to upset existing team.
Deputy: Senator Puan Heng Seai Kie

Foreign Affairs
Datuk Anifah Aman
Deputies: Datuk Lee Chee Leong, Senator A. Kohilan Pillai

Federal Territories
Datuk Raja Nong Chik Zainal Abidin
Need lesson in Communication 101.
Deputy: Datuk M. Saravanan
Although Najib was reported to have denied a Cabinet reshuffle, he better do it or the RAHMAN matrix of UMNO Prime Minister ends with him. That is no two way now; it is either he reshuffle or he goes in the history book.

Not only he should reshuffle his cabinet reshuffle, he has to do sweeping change of the states's MB and CM post. Time to bring in fresh new faces and young ones. Start with changing the state liaison chiefs ...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Rationale of Judge’s decision should be transparent

One foreign correspondent was focusing his story on Anwar’s reaction when the judge dispensed his judgement of Anwar’s sodomy case. He saw Anwar to be completely surprised by the acquittal.

The acquittal was a surprise to the Gerakan Bebaskan Anwar 901 that they may have forgotten of the three bombs set to explode when the crowd is supposed to be in the midst of frenzy protesting to an expected guilty judgement.

Both sides were surprised with the judgment.

However, what is most unbecoming is Anwar’s sudden change of opinion of the Malaysian judiciary system. Since he launched his 901 nationwide tours on December 27th, he, his family members and pro-Anwar Pakatan leaders including pro-Anwar bloggers were criticising the judiciary system.

Conveniently, his immediate remark upon his acquittal was that the judiciary system is moving towards greater freedom.

Within less than 12 hours after his last ceramah in Kg Pandan, which he attacked the judiciary system, there had been too few or most likely, no changes in the personnel of judges, of judges, prosecutors and lawyers operating in the judiciary system.

It is likely to be the same system that sentenced Dr Khir Toyo to one year imprisonment for buying a price-justified cheaper house one week ago that Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail described as a set-up to sentence Anwar as guilty.

By sentencing Khir Toyo, she claimed the judiciary system would be seen as fair for sentencing a Barisan Nasional leader thus there is no issue of party affiliation when the decision against Anwar is guilty.

Thus, how could the judiciary be any better or any worse after his acquittal? That is the hypocrisy on Anwar. Perhaps, it is a normal hypocrisy of politicians.

The written judgement of judge, Dato Zahidin bin Mohd. Diah, has yet to be available to enable the learned section of the public understand better the basis of his decision. But increasingly many, including the defence lawyers of Anwar, are surprised at Anwar’s acquittal.

Forget the conspiracy theory that judges can be manipulated by politicians.

Leave aside unsubstantiated claims that Anwar’s release was due to the effort of Senator Ezam Mohd Nor, who was brought to see the then Dato Seri Abdullah Badawi (now Tun Dol) by Khairy Jamaluddin in London, to plead for Anwar’s release to enable him to have his so-called back operations in Munich.

Do not even believe that Tun Dol would release Anwar because he refused to inherit Tun Dr Mahathir’s burden and fixed two MCOBA friends of Anwar on the federal court to hear and say nay.

Court decision has to be based on legal rationale of evidences and sound arguments and not of politics and conspiracy theories. Legal rationale can vastly differ from common people’s common sense, speculation and simplistic conclusions.

Until the written judgement is made known, the public have every right to seek answers for every unanswered questions that arise from newspaper reports on the judgement and past court proceeding.

The prosecution’s case is mainly based on Saiful’s testimony in court and forensic DNA evidence. While there are other supporting evidences and testimonies, it is not the main one.

As we understood it, there are other evidences and testimonies that could be introduced but the prosecution team felt it is a straight forward case and sufficiently water tight. There is no need to give room for Anwar to goreng (manoeuvre) into other possible conspiracy theories.

If not for Anwar’s court antics and judge’s high tolerance to his 69 postponements, the trial should not have taken 3 years and 6 months but only 4 months or as long as Khir Toyo’s trial.

Thus, Anwar will still be living with the perception of guilt for his delay tactics, his one week hiding in the Turkish Embassy upon Saiful’s police report, and his reluctance to perform the mubahalah (swear innocence in a Masjid).

The PKR boys on the ground are claiming Anwar had always maintain his innocence as their spin (not answer) to counter any doubts against Anwar acquittal that is still pervading.

The opposition kept saying about maturing politics but still resort to non-factual, simplistic spins and even, childish answers to address issues. But they alone should not be blamed since all political parties practice such communication method to the simplistic and factually adverse public.

There is no way Anwar would have been that confident of his innocence. Not only due to the actions mentioned, Anwar would not have problem being sworn witness in court to be cross examined by the prosecution team to give credibility to his in-court comments.

Anwar would have, without hesitance, voluntarily given his blood sample as DNA specimen to disprove the DNA claimed to be from Saiful’s anus are his. Off course, he would provide it upon requesting certain “personal safety” measures.

Extract from The Star Online report yesterday described judgement basis as follows:
Justice Mohd. Zabidin Mohd Diah said that after going through the evidence, the court could not be 100% certain the integrity of the DNA samples was not compromised.

He said as such, the court was left only with Saiful's testimony, which was uncorroborated, and was reluctant to convict based entirely on this.
Until a written judgment is available to understand the judge’s rationale, the big puzzle on members of the public that ABTW had access to within the last 24 hours is why would the judge raised the issue of DNA evidence in his judgement, after he had called Anwar for defence.

The common reason associated with specimen integrity is usually tampering of specimen.

If our memory did not fail us, the defence lawyers had tried raise doubts on the DNA specimen using tampering of the specimen as issue when cross examining one of the Government Chemist, believed to be Dr Seah.

This was done when the prosecution presented their evidence. If it had been accepted by the judge, Anwar should not have been called for defence. After all, the case is built on only two main evidences - Saiful’s testimony and DNA proof.

Moreover, had there been any issue of relevance on the DNA sample, it would have been on use of DNA sample extracted from Anwar’s drinking bottle, toothbrush and towel while in the police lock-up.

The judge had initially rejected the DNA sample but upon application from the prosecution team, he had reinstated the samples. Thus there is no more issue.

During the defence session, two so-called DNA experts were brought in by Anwar from Australia, namely Associate Prof. David Wells and Dr Brian McDonald. Both had aggressively attempted to negate all aspects of the DNA proof.

Upon cross examination by the prosecution team, one had their credibility as expert seriously in doubt and another had their testimony dissected to pieces. That’s the reason the testimonies of the experts were not given prominence in the wrap-up by the defence team.

In fact, when Anwar’s former spine surgeon, Dr Thomas Hoogland was invited to the witness stand, the integrity of his medical practise were now in serious doubts due to happenings at the Alpha Klinik, Munich.

Hoogland was brought over for Anwar to make a desperate claim of penile dysfunctional. But who would believe with his China Doll sex video at large on the Internet.

As far as the court proceeding as remembered, there were no more problems with the DNA proof. It explains for the need of judges to help the public answer this doubt.

Although judges tend to maintain keep audibility in their court within the confine of only the lawyers, for sake of the judicial integrity, they are responsible to make their judgement and court proceedings in their court transparent to the public, or at least within the legal community.

The written judgement of the judge will be awaited with bated breath by the knowing public. Not only because it is unbelievable to some that Anwar can be scot free, it will mean other sex offenders with DNA evidence pointing squarely at them, will also get away free.

That’s bad news for public safety, especially since Anwar’s Pakatan controlled Selangor and Penang, criminal-linked entertainment outlets are mushrooming even in housing areas. Sex related criminal offenses are on the rise also. So watch your back ...

The Government should assist to help the public understand the judge’s decision. Otherwise, the public may see the Government or Anwar’s side pressure may have had undue influence on the judge’s decision.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

MAS: Fools and Bloody Fools

The infamous former Federal Territory UMNO kingpin, the late Datuk Azman Attar had memorable quote: “If you have power make sure you are powerful, otherwise you are bloody fool.”

Looking at the situation in MAS post MAS-Air Asia collaboration, that quote is apt to described the Khazanah controlled and effectively Danny Yusof-led management, and President Alias Aziz-led MAS Employees’ Union (MASEU).

The management have the power and is applying power but not to revive the already accepted and reknown service credible brand of MAS. But instead, the shareholder and management are blindly applying power only to force the wrongful measures that is widely viewed and agreed as cannibalisation of MAS in favour of Air Asia and to destroy MAS in the shortest of time.

Subsequently, they will foolishly be saddled with a bigger problem of Air Asia that can bring down the regional market in the magnitude the Pan El crisis did in the mid-80s to the stock markets of Malaysia and Singapore.

Aren't they really bodoh or fools?

The staff union, MASEU have the power and influence to stop this, but they are either pussycat scared to apply the power within their disposal or perhaps to bodoh to apply it. In the words of Azman Attar, they fit the description bloody fools!

At the initial stage of the MAS-Air Asia collaboration proposal in October, MASEU had threatened to strike if the collaboration were to proceed. If they had done so, it would have taken the management a back and their views would be seriously consulted upon.

As a union representing the lower-end employee, MASEU is affiliated with ITF and it has the power to discipline the management that have been bulldozing their business plan through lies, deceit and rampant conflict of interest.

MASEU could have used their muscle. Read this news below:

Malaysian airline deal could see workers’ rights eroded warns ITF

International Transport Wokers Union website
Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The ITF has urged the Malaysian government to ensure that workers’ rights are preserved in any future collaboration between Malaysia Airlines System (MAS) and low cost carrier Air Asia. It has been reported that an agreement between the two airlines was reached without union consultation.

In a letter, dated 19 October, to Malaysian prime minister Yab Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, ITF general secretary David Cockroft outlined concerns that a share swap and collaboration between MAS and Air Asia could lead to the erosion of workers’ rights. This could include the right of ITF affiliate Malaysia Airlines System Employees’ Union (MASEU) to represent and collectively bargain on behalf of MAS workers.

The MASEU, he said, was willing to work with management to help the national carrier maintain its international reputation, increase its profitability and build up its market share. However, the lack of consultation with the union, the well-known anti-union reputation of Air Asia and the planned deployment of thousands of staff to new entities as part of a restructuring exercise had created grave concern among the workforce.

Cockroft said: “The ITF and its affiliates are calling on the government of Malaysia and the management of MAS to work with MASEU and other independent unions, and to act transparently and in good faith in implementing any changes within the airline.

MASEU is open to change but insists on the need to protect workers’ terms and conditions, and maintains the union’s right to continue to represent and bargain for all MAS workers, however the management decides to reconfigure operations within the airline.

MASEU has the full support of the ITF and its affiliates, who are clear that legal devices should not be used to remove or dilute the union’s representation rights in the course of this process.

Without these safeguards, the union would be strongly opposed to any further collaboration with Air Asia.”

The impact of a MAS worker strike would be a global boycott imposed on MAS at every airport and stops by affiliates of ITF.

In the early stage, Alias was making press statement expressing concern with the viability of the plan. Alias rose to raise points on the failure of Binafikir's WAU plan at the first townhall meeting where two voices rose to ask for an Airliner led management.

Suddenly Alias turned quiet. Word circulating amongst MAS staff and former MAS officials is that Alias is on the take. He can be easily silenced and it is open secret that he has a cabin cleaning contract with MAS.

But why did the members of the union kept quiet when he was posted to Kota Baru, thus running the union from Kota Baru and being out of the loop of happenings in the head office?

This blog had mentioned before of the unions unsuccessful attempt to meet Prime Minister, Dato Najib Tun Abdul Razak. Apart from the probability of Air Asia-X Director, Omar Ong Rasputin blocking from inside, the stumbling bloack was that the various unions in MAS are not a united voice to enable Najib to broker an agreement.

One problem with the unions was that they are not united. Realiable sources claimed the union representing the Managers are only interested to save their own arse by bodeking the new management to lend them support despite knowing Danny Yusof's turnaround plan fall short of being amateurish work and is doomed to fail again.

Every global corporate player knows Airlines are lousy buy. Too many unions, too many regulations. But the MAS unions are not making their presence to thwart plans by the corporate sharks brought in by shareholder Khazanah.

How bloody fool of them to only realise now when the situation have worsened for them to make noise?

Perhaps the union people only realised that management are retrenching staff without paying compensation using underhanded tactic such as moving the whole MAS headquarter to Sepang and in the pipeline using CIMB style to set KPI which not fulfillable by most staff. There are rampant cases of Managers nit picking on staff for 5 minutes train delay.

MASEU made a desperate press statement on December 19 and it was reported by Utusan Malaysia. These days issues against Air Asia will face problems getting press coverage from the major the English and Business newspapers for fear of being denied MAS and Air Asia advertisements.

The Utusan report below:

Masue minta campur tangan kerajaan

Utusan Malaysia
Disember 19, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR 18 Dis. - Kesatuan Pekerja-pekerja Sistem Penerbangan MAS (Maseu) mahu kerajaan campur tangan dalam pelan pemulihan syarikat penerbangan itu, sekiranya pelan tersebut membabitkan pembuangan pekerja.

Pengerusinya, Alias Aziz berkata, berdasarkan taklimat mengenai pelan itu, nasib kakitangan Malaysian Airline System Bhd. (MAS) terutama anak-anak kapal masih samar.

Melalui taklimat yang diberikan oleh Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif (CEO) MAS itu membayangkan kemungkinan berlaku pembuangan kakitangan syarikat penerbangan itu, katanya.

''Jelas apa yang sedang dilakukan oleh barisan pengurusan MAS ini bertentangan dengan jaminan yang telah diberikan oleh Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak," katanya kepada Utusan Malaysia di sini.

Alias mendakwa dalam pertemuan singkat dengan Najib pada jamuan buka puasa lalu, Perdana Menteri telah memberi jaminan tiada pembuangan kerja di kalangan kakitangan MAS dalam usaha memulihkan syarikat penerbangan kebangsaan itu.

Beliau berkata, Pelan Pemulihan MAS yang baharu itu tidak mendapat reaksi positif di kalangan kakitangan kerana ia mengelirukan kakitangan.

''Ahmad Jauhari memberitahu mana-mana kakitangan akan dipindahkan ke syarikat-syarikat MAS yang akan dijadikan anak syarikatnya seperti MAS Kargo, penyenggaraan, pembaikan dan baik pulih (MRO).

''Kalau macam itu adakah kakitangan sedia ada perlu berhenti kerja terlebih dahulu, sebelum diagih-agihkan kepada anak-anak syarikat tersebut?," ujar beliau.

Tambahnya, tindakan MAS menjadikan MAS Kargo dan MRO sebagai anak syarikat juga menimbulkan banyak persoalan.

Alias mempersoalkan mengapa setiap kali berlaku perubahan pengurusan, aset-aset MAS dipertaruhkan.

''Dulu Akademi MAS dan bangunan MAS di Jalan Sultan Ismail.

''Sekarang, MRO dan MAS Kargo pula. Tidakkah ada jalan terbaik yang boleh mereka lakukan selain menjual aset-aset yang ada?," tegas beliau.

Dalam pada itu, Alias berkata, Maseu juga kurang senang dengan pembabitan Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif AirAsia Bhd., Tan Sri Tony Fernandes dalam operasi MAS secara tidak langsung.

''Kenapa pengurusan MAS membawa Fernandes berjumpa dengan kakitangan MAS. Bukankah beliau berperanan dalam Lembaga Pengarah sahaja?

''Kami tidak suka dan kami akan terus membantah urus niaga pertukaran saham antara MAS-AirAsia," tegasnya.

Malah, Alias mahu MAS menjawab mengapa syarikat penerbangan itu memasukkan penerbangan AirAsia dalam sistem tiketnya.

''Kami mahu MAS menjelaskan perkara-perkara yang Maseu menyifatkannya ia begitu mengejutkan," ujar beliau.

Recently, they have been more forceful and divulging, or perhaps, more desperate in lieu of the heightened implementation of butchering program by management, in their press statement as in this The Sun report on December 28th, 2011.

No to MAS downsizing

The Sun
29 December 2011

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines’ (MAS) unionised staff are unhappy over a potential plan by its management to downsize the workforce as part of the struggling national carrier’s turnaround plans.

MAS Employees’ Union (Maseu) president Alias Aziz told SunBiz that MAS management had indicated its intention to reduce its workforce during a Dec 16 meeting chaired by MAS group CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya and his deputy Mohammed Rashdan Mohd Yusof, which was attended by representatives of Maseu, Malaysia Airlines Pilots’ Association, Airline Workers Union of Sarawak, Air Transport Workers Union of Sabah and MAS Executive Staff Association.

“However, the management did not say how many employees will be affected, although it was told that only 3,000 staff were needed for the airline’s short haul operations which include Firefly and the new yet-to-be-named regional premium carrier (that will be launched by mid-2012),” said Alias on Wednesday.

MAS also wants its employees to first resign from the airline if they opt to join the new regional airline.

Right now, MAS has about 20,000 workers.

theSun had reported on Dec 16, quoting sources, that about half of MAS’s total workforce will be affected by the airline’s business plan, which involves cutting money-losing routes, deploying new aircraft, managing costs and spinning off ancillary businesses.

“We (union members) are not happy with the latest business plan for MAS. We are concern about the impact of cuts on MAS’s unprofitable routes, closing of some stations overseas and spinning off its subsidiaries which may inevitably lead to staff cuts.

“This is not the way to turnaround MAS,” said Alias.

“This (possible job cuts) also goes against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who had in a meeting with me (as Maseu president) in September gave an assurance that there would be no job cuts nor voluntary separation schemes (VSS) to follow the latest reshuffle at the airline,” he added.

Alias said the union members also disagree with the MAS-AirAsia share swap as they see AirAsia benefiting more from the deal, not MAS.

When contacted on Wednesday, a MAS spokesman said any move to redeploy or cut its workforce is “still a work in progress and we will make announcements when details are finalised”.

“These are still in planning stages. We are now engaging staff through a series of meetings for them to understand our plans and hear their feedback and questions.

“We will engage all stakeholders including the media at the right time when we have the detailed information,” he said.

Alas Alias, it may be too late. He should be blamed for being a bloody fool.

Simply, after Alias cancelled plans for a strike, his public statements turned meek and issues raised were watered down issue. Below is an example:

'MAS-AirAsia deal not against anti-trust laws'

Business Times

AirAsia X Bhd chairman, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, said the tie-up between MAS and AirAsia Bhd will not result in monopolistic practices between the two carriers following their share-swap

She also said the share-swap would not result in any behaviour that would violate anti-trust laws.

"We (AirAsia and MAS) are guided by strict anti-trust laws overseas and in Malaysia when the competition laws come into force next year.

"We'll never be able to do anything that violates any anti-trust laws," she told a media briefing on the Malaysia-Europe Forum's Roundtable in Kuala Lumpur today.

The Malaysian Competition Commission is currently reviewing the possible impact of the MAS-AirAsia collaboration on the local market, and would advise both airlines on all possible areas.

She said the collaboration may result in cost-cutting for both airlines and it would be beneficial for passengers and customers as they could give better services.

Rafidah said the MAS management must continuously hold dialogues with all levels of its workforce through its unions.

"This is to explain in detail what’s happening and what’s going to happen, particularly to the employees, and the areas of cost-saving which will translate into benefits," she said.

The Malaysian Airlines System Employees Union (MASEU) has expressed dissatisfaction over the explanation given by the management on the collaboration.

MASEU had decided to write to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and wanted to meet him to convey their views and opposition to the collaboration.

It was also reported recently that the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has urged the Malaysian government to ensure that workers’ rights were preserved in any future collaboration between the two airlines.

The report said an agreement between the two airlines was reached without union consultation.

In a letter dated October 19 to Najib, ITF general-secretary, David Cockroft, outlined concerns that a share-swap and collaboration between MAS and Air Asia could lead to the erosion of workers’ rights.

This could include the right of ITF affiliate MASEU to represent and collectively bargain on behalf of MAS workers. -- Bernama

Who cares about anti-trust laws? This is a clear case of Tan Sri Rafidah trying to make Air Asia and the collaboration look union friendly. MASEU allowed them have a field day.

From the beginning, MASEU knew that the collaboration will not work and it will not favour MAS and employees. They also knew that the management has no idea of how to turnarund MAS and is merely out to chop chop the company.

WTF are they not asserting themselves? Why should they allow diversion of issue into issues like anti-trust laws? Who gives a Mother's damn?

Let's deal with the long list of foolish work by the fools calling themselves management in another posting.

Answer first, why are the unions and staff are not coming out and be more forceful to protect the company and employees from the corporate sharp devouring the company? Instead, most of the staff are selfishly only interested to save their own skin by leaving the company before others flood the job market.

Bloody fools!

My Say