Sunday, November 30, 2008
In a small village deep in the rugged terrain of the mountainous region of Kalafgan district in North East Afghanistan ten-year old Amir Hosseni listened intensely to his religious teacher of the Madrasah dīniyyah (religious school) attended only by boys of mostly Pashtun tribe.
In most villages and towns in Afghanistan religious schools are only for boys.Girls have to learn the religion at home from older family members.The traditions had been passed down through many generations and had over the millennium remained unchanged in many parts of the country.This is a country where Islam and tribal laws entwined each other to become the most radical brand of Islam, the doctrinal Islamic brand of the Talibans.
Hosseni was a student of the madrasah where he learned to recite the Quran and listened to the daily sermon about Islam, how it is the only true religion in this world that all other religions are false and their followers the kafirs ( non-believers) were destined to burn in hell in the after life.No kafirs will ever go to heaven.He also learned that heaven is only reserved for good Muslims who followed and practised the teachings of Islam as prescribed by Allah in the Quran and the Hadith (oral traditions relating to the words and deeds of Prophet Mohammad) and practised in the strictest sense.He was told that jihad (struggle) against non-believers and the killing of those opposed to Islam would have cleansed him of all his sins and guaranteed his entry to heaven where Allah had provided the indulgences and pleasures of life not found on earth.
Hosseni was a model student, he was both a qari (reciter of the Quran) and hafiz (know all verses of the Quran by heart). His education was only limited to Islamic teachings.The path he took would lead him to one of the training camps of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and eventually as a trained-terrorist.
In Afghanisation Islam has a central and pervasive influence throughout Afghan society.Small community-maintained mosques stand in villages and towns.Other than serving as houses of worship these mosques also serve multitude of functions, including shelter for guests, a place to pray or gossip and as religious schools.
Thousands of miles away from where Hosseni lived and in a village in Central Java in Indonesia a young man listened attentively to the ustaz (religious teacher) in his school.Rustam Sutowo heard the same sermon that echoed in the classroom of
Hosseni's school delivered by a local ustaz of his village.He would take the same path as Hosseni and joined a militant group in South East Asia called Jemmaih Islamiyya.
Abjan Abdul Talip is a Suluk of the Tausug tribe and live in a village on the island of Jolo in the Philippines.He first learned to read the Quran from his uncle when he was eight years old.Over the years he managed to recite the Quran and learned some of the basic principles of his religion.He took the same path as Hosseni and Rustam and joined another South East Asia's Islamic militant group known as Abu Sayyaf.
Throughout the Islamic world in small villages and towns whether in madrasahs or mosques the message is loud and clear that only Islam is the greatest of all religions because it is the only true religion that God had sent down to us through his messenger Prophet Mohammad.The words of the Quran are words of God.The Quran had stayed in its original form since the day it was written and compiled by Mohammad's companions.The Prophet had no hand in the writing and compilation of the holy book because he was illiterate.The written text was compiled in 633 AD , a year after Mohammad's death.For most Muslims the Quran is a divine guidance and direction for mankind.The Hadith had become the user's manual for all Muslims.
Hosseni,Rustam and Abu Talip are the products of severe indoctrination of radical Islamic teachings.All three can recite the Quran with ease, pray five times a day, perform Friday prayers at the mosques and fast during Ramadan but none of them understand the meaning of the Quran or cares to find out whether what they have been told are in accordance with the true teachings of Islam.They have never for one moment dare to question the authority of their teachers.
Many Muslims had very little concept of the Quran other than knowing how to recite it and have little understanding of the actual teachings of the religion other than what they learned from some bigoted ulamas,imams,mullahs and anyone who has some knowledge of the religion and add their own ingredients into the interpretation.Even some Islamic scholars admitted that some of the Arabic words used in the Quran are so ancient it can only create ambiguity in its interpretation.
How could the three Muslims coming from completely different cultural background come to the conclusion that killing innocent people in the name of Islam is justifiable and approved by the religion? Are there flaws in the teaching or in the religion itself that led to some Muslims forming militant groups to terrorise the world and to kill innocent and defenceless people without any remorse on their part?
We blamed the West of branding Muslims as terrorists but can we run away from the fact that most global act of terrorism were committed by Muslims.
The hijacking of four planes and used them to carry out an attack to demolish the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon on 11 Sept 2001, the Bali bombing in 2002, bombing of the Marriott Hotels in Jakarta in 2003, London underground bombing in 2005,assassination of Benazir Bhutto in 2007,Marriott Hotel bombing in Pakistan in Sept 2008, countless suicide bombings in war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan and just two days ago terrorist attack on 10 locations in Mumbai killing close to 200 innocent lives were the work of Muslim militants.These terrorist groups often described their actions as Islamic jihad.
If they truly believe in jihad and wanted to die a shaheed (martyrdom) why are they not taking on the armies of their enemies as what Islam would require them to do in a jihad instead of killing innocent people.
To be continued.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
NEXT POST:A Time To Kill
The writer takes a look at religious fanaticism and Islamic militancy and its roots.Why Islam had become a contemptible religion in the West and the involvement of ulamaks,mullahs and religious schools in propagating fanaticism and militancy in the religion.
The recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai will spur further and more active military involvement of the US in the region and how it will help escalate Islamic militancy to greater height.What the West should do to stop it?
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Would you believe me if I say the KLCI is headed for a fall below 800 anytime before Christmas? I am sure many of you wouldn't. Just like the price of crude oil my guts feeling is telling me it would in spite of the huge three-day rally on Wall Street.Most Asian markets rose in tandem with Wall Street.They will, likewise, fall together with it.Wall Street is the doyen and barometer of the world of equity trading.
There is absolutely no reason even for Wall Street to rear its bullish head other than on false sentiments of make-believe.There is not a drop of good news to usher a steady pattern of positive long term improvement of the markets.The only good news is the forthcoming departure of that mad man in the White House by January 2009 before he could screw up the US economy any further.The euphoria on Wall Street is a flash in the pan.More bad news will come.
No news is good news, bad news is now no news. Nothing new had come out of the US economy except troubling economic figures.The US gross domestic products contracted by 0.5% annual rate for the 3rd quarter (July-Sept).Twenty-two banks have failed so far this year and more are expected.Citibank, one of the largest in the US is in the doghouse and needed huge dose of heart worm injection to stop its demise.It was given $300 billion bail-out, giving respite to the decline on Wall Street.The three giants in Detroit, GM,Ford and Chrysler are still stuck in the muck awaiting lifelines.
American views of the economy remain the gloomiest for decades as they grapple with massive layoffs, dwindling retirement funds and slumping house prices.American consumers, the lifeblood of the economy --- spending continues to slide down.The unemployment rate is 6.5% and expected to rise.The $700 billion financial bail-outs have not been able to restore stability to the financial markets and help the sinking economy.
With a massive $7 trillion in bail-out money and a huge budget and trade deficit where the hell are the Yanks going to get the money from? Issue more Treasury Bonds, print more dollars or starts World War III?.
It can start by bombing Iran first, than North Korea, than all Muslims nations and than last China and Russia will join the war to stop the Ugly Americans.Isn't that a good recipe for a world war and an excuse not to pay your debts.
In Malaysia the government has not released any economic figures to show how much the economy had shrunk.Even if they do, I suspect it would be slightly sugar-coated to make those gullible enough to believe that our economy is fine.
Looking at all the bad news the probability of the global economy shrinking further for the rest of this year and into early next year isn't pure fantasy.
HONG KONG, Nov 26 - Most Asian stock markets rose today after Wall Street extended its gains, but Japanese shares lagged the region as leading automaker Toyota Motor Corp. saw...Read More
Like everything else, you have the good and the bad.This world is not perfect, you can't have it all good.We should be happy if there are more good than bad.
Should a few rotten eggs make the whole basket of eggs inedible.Should we upset the applecart because we feel slighted by some idiotic remarks made by some equally idiotic people.
The government have always been known for not knowing what the left hand is doing when the right hand is busy.Two of a kind saying two different kinds.One to the left, one to the right.
See who is talking sense and who is talking nonsense.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The group against the ISA organise regular show of their anti ISA stand by having what they called candle light vigil in various locations in Peninsula Malaysia.
What they intend to achieve by this regular maniacal show of solidarity against the ISA is hard to tell.It's almost like banging your head against a brick wall trying to push an issue against a government that only aren't listening but reacted with negative responses.
I am not against the anti ISA vigils.That's not really the issue I am concerned with.It's fine if they confine the vigils only to adults.It's the children. I can see in many of those vigils the presence of children as young as 3-4 years old.Both organisers and parents should be taken to task for exposing their children to this kind of dangerous culture. They knew fully well they are breaking the law and knowing our police force who do not take kindly to illegal assembly those children could get hurt or got lost in a melee.
If those parents brought their children to use them as instruments of compassion so the police wouldn't arrest them because of the children than there is something seriously wrong with them.Those children should be at home in bed not out in the streets late at night to participate in political activities of their parents.
Those in Hindraf had also shown similar irresponsible behaviour by using children to write letters,messages and sent flowers to meet the Prime Minister to appeal for the release of the Hindraf detainees.Aren't those children too young to be used in a political struggle.
Those who organised the candle light vigils and those parents actively involved should open their conscience and think hard whether those children should be there in the first place and whether they should ignore the potential dangers they are putting those children into.
He should be tried by the World Court under the Geneva Convention after he stepped down as President.He has done more harm to world peace and the global economy than any other President or leader of any nation.He has killed more Muslims out of revenge and put Islamic nations in turmoil than any other President before him.He deserved to be locked up...... Hantu Laut.
By Robert Fisk
American lawyers defending six Algerians before a habeas corpus hearing in Washington this week learned some very odd things about U.S. intelligence after 9/11. From among the millions of “raw” reports from American spies and their “assets” around the world came a CIA Middle East warning about a possible kamikaze-style air attack on a U.S. navy base at a south Pacific island location. The only problem was that no such navy base existed on the island and no U.S. Seventh Fleet warship had ever been there. In all seriousness, a U.S. military investigation earlier reported that Osama bin Laden had been spotted shopping at a post office on a U.S. military base in east Asia.
That this nonsense was disseminated around the world by those tasked to defend the United States in the “war on terror” shows the fantasy environment in which the Bush regime has existed these past eight years. If you can believe that bin Laden drops by a shopping mall on an American military base, then you can believe that everyone you arrest is a “terrorist”, that Arabs are “terrorists”, that they can be executed, that living “terrorists” must be tortured, that everything a tortured man says can be believed, that it is legitimate to invade sovereign states, to grab the telephone records of everyone in America. As Bob Herbert put it in The New York Times a couple of years ago, the Bush administration wanted these records “which contain crucial documentation of calls for a Chinese takeout in Terre Haute, Indiana, and birthday greetings to Grandma in Talladega, Alabama, to help in the search for Osama bin Laden”. There was no stopping Bush when it came to trampling on the US Constitution. All that was new was that he was now applying the same disrespect for liberty in America that he had shown in the rest of the world.
But how is Barack Obama going to repair the titanic damage which his vicious, lying predecessor has perpetrated around the globe and within the U.S. itself? John F Kennedy once said that “the United States, as the world knows, will never start a war.” After Bush’s fear-mongering and Rumsfeld’s “shock and awe” and Abu Ghraib and Bagram and Guantanamo and secret renditions, how does Obama pedal his country all the way back to Camelot? Our own dear Gordon Brown’s enthusiasm to Hoover up the emails of the British people is another example of how Lord Blair’s sick relationship with Bush still infects our own body politic. Only days before the wretched president finally departs from us, new U.S. legislation will ensure that citizens of his lickspittle British ally will no longer be able to visit America without special security clearance. Does Bush have any more surprises for us before 20 January? Indeed, could anything surprise us any more?
Obama has got to close Guantanamo. He’s got to find a way of apologising to the world for the crimes of his predecessor, not an easy task for a man who must show pride in his country; but saying sorry is what – internationally – he will have to do if the “change” he has been promoting at home is to have any meaning outside America’s borders. He will have to re-think – and deconstruct – the whole “war on terror”. He will have to get out of Iraq. He will have to call a halt to America’s massive airbases in Iraq, its $600m embassy. He will have to end the blood-caked air strikes we are perpetrating in southern Afghanistan – why, oh, why do we keep slaughtering wedding parties? – and he will have to tell Israel a few home truths: that America can no longer remain uncritical in the face of Israeli army brutality and the colonisation for Jews and Jews only on Arab land. Obama will have to stand up at last to the Israeli lobby (it is, in fact, an Israeli Likud party lobby) and withdraw Bush’s 2004 acceptance of Israel’s claim to a significant portion of the West Bank. U.S. officials will have to talk to Iranian officials – and Hamas officials, for that matter. Obama will have to end U.S. strikes into Pakistan – and Syria.
Indeed, there’s a growing concern among America’s allies in the Middle East that the U.S. military has to be brought back under control – indeed, that the real reason for General David Petraeus’ original appointment in Iraq was less to organise the “surge” than it was to bring discipline back to the 150,000 soldiers and marines whose mission – and morals – had become so warped by Bush’s policies. There is some evidence, for example, that the four-helicopter strike into Syria last month, which killed eight people, was – if not a rogue operation – certainly not sanctioned by Washington or indeed by US commanders in Baghdad.Read more.........
Although I hate to admit that Minister of Home Affairs Syed Hamid Albar would be the last person I would agree with, I wouldn't put aside his proposal of code of ethics for bloggers.It depends on how we go about doing it.
Self-censoring one own writing is not too difficult if we can use the same principle as when we need to use our self-restraint from doing something that can harm us.The problem with some writers they lose self-control when they are reproachful and start using malicious rumours, lies and God's forsaken language against those they are not politically aligned with or those they have an axe to grind with, throwing caution to the wind, without an care and consideration for the sensitivities of others.
Public figures are subject to scrutiny and criticism but such reproach should be within the bounds of acceptable social behaviour.
If you write like this not only you need code of ethics you seriously need code of conduct.If yours is a political blog than I think you should stay within the confine of the subject and conduct your language accordingly.If your are running a smut site than such smutty materials are acceptable and nobody should complain because you target specific audience.
As Rocky Bru said it is not easy to initiate let alone accomplish which I completely agree with.It's the same with any other rules there are bound to be people who don't give a damn and break it.So to pass a general consensus code of ethics among bloggers wouldn't work, it would be just academic, an exercise in futility.
Laws are made to deter but they are also meant to be broken.That's why you still have people committing murders and other crimes.What we need is a little bit of education in self-censorship or in another word self-restraint and a self-imposed code of ethics.Bloggers associations can play a part in bringing awareness and to educating bloggers on the proper ethics.
Unlike mainstream media in blogging you are reporter,editor and publisher rolled into one.There is no one to edit, accept or reject your material.
You are the boss.
Monday, November 24, 2008
In my earlier article "Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned" I said I place my bet on Shahrizat winning the race against Rafidah.I still do and the ground swell is moving in favour of Shahrizat.
Rafidah has burned almost all her bridges to the top leadership in UMNO including former PM Tun Mahathir Mohammad and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.She only respect those who wield power and have no qualms about running them down once they ceased to be of any use to her.The many years of being in one of the most important ministries has made her lost her balance and made her arrogant,abrasive and completely inconsiderate.She has no finesse and social grace in dealing with her colleagues and the public.She and Azalina both need to go to finishing school.You can be tough yet graceful but unfortunately both of them are not.
During his tenure as prime minister Mahathir ignored the many allegations of abuse of power and corruptions against her and closed his eyes and ears to such talk.When Mahathir announced his resignation she was one of the first on stage, cried and pleaded to him not to resign.Her recent tussle with Mahathir on the issue of AP(Approved Permit) is a lingering reminder of her imperious,ungrateful and opportunistic nature.
Her biggest undoing maybe her recent barbs at Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.She told him he was so unpopular that he wouldn't be able to get enough nominations to contest the presidency and asked him to cut short the transition plan .This is the man who defended her from Tun Mahathir attacks during the AP controversy.Gratitude is not in her lexicon.
Isn't she "The pot calling the kettle black" by asking Abdullah to cut short the transition period.What is she doing contesting the Wanita Chief post and hand it over three months later.Isn't there element of insincerity in that promise.Since she going to forgo the position why not just let Shahrizat contest it and be done with it.
I believe majority of members of Wanita UMNO had already decided who they want as their leader.
Will the US dollar crash and become an insignificant currency? Some pundits have predicted that the use of the dollar would decline and eventually be abandoned as an international currency.
At the moment the dollar is the most important international reserve currency.Many countries pegged their currency to the dollar and some even used it as their de facto currency.It is the currency used most in international trade transactions.Most countries kept their international reserves in dollars.
I believe the world is not yet ready to abandon the dollar or move to a multi-currency monetary system.The next most important currency after the dollar is the Euro which had taken over some of the dollar's role but were not big enough to displace the dollar significantly.Even Airbus, a consortium of European corporations still uses the dollar in its pricing.
Click to enlarge
The above chart shows the percentage of global currencies. The currency that has the potential to replace the dollar would be the Euro.A complete replacement is not envisaged in the near future.The Euro, successor of the German mark which used to be the second most important currency after the dollar had taken a bigger role in foreign exchange reserves.The dollar still maintained a leading role in being the most important currency.
About 64% of foreign reserves are still held in dollars.The importance of the dollar came about after the Bretton Wood Agreement to adopt a monetary policy that maintained an exchange rate of each country's currency within a fix value - plus or minus 1% - interm of gold.
In 1971 the Nixon administration abandoned the Bretton Woods system without consulting members of the international monetary system or even with his own State Department.This was later to be known as the 'Nixon Shock'
The US suspension of convertibility from dollars to gold created a situation whereby the US dollar became the reserve currency of all the nations that had signed the agreement.
You can't trust the US, can you, when its interest is at stake it will do anything including breaking international agreement.The Iraqi War is another example where it failed or refused to respect international law, going to war without UN Security Council approval.
With the current financial meltdown in the US which have affected other nations many people expect the dollar to lose some of its value.Strange as it is the dollar had appreciated against many major currencies.Against the Euro it has strenghtened to 1.26 as at 22 November.The rate before the meltdown was hovering around 1.57.
The US budget and trade deficit are worrying signs that it may not be able to meet its financial obligations and the dollar may take a heavy beating making it worthless.It has happened before under Nixon will it happen again? The US keep printing its currency to be sent overseas to finance its war and trades?
The ideal situation would be to have two major currencies.The Euro would be the only potential currency that can fulfill the need not to be fully dependent on the dollar.
A good start to bring other currency into international transactions is to switch some of the petrodollar to Euro and eventually introduce the Euro into other international trade transactions and currency reserves.
In the meantime, the dollar is still king.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
This was sent by a friend.Thanks Roger, it's a nice picture.Not bad pair of legs too.Wonder if they are hers?
Click to enlarge
"When this collapse happens because the government is totally broke, the welfare checks will stop. Almost immediately thereafter, civil unrest will erupt and we know who will be doing that. . . . don't we?
Now you know why Barak Obama is being pushed so hard for President. The powers-that-be know what's coming and they want a black man in the White House with the hope he can control "his" people. It won't work. They'll just call him an Uncle Tom or an OREO cookie and then go on their merry way to rape, rob, pillage, burn and kill.
In fact, to prove I'm right about the Obama situation, check out what VP candidate Senator Joe Biden said this past weekend. Biden 'guaranteed" that Barak Obama "will be tested by an international crisis within his first six months in power and he will need supporters to stand by him as he makes tough, and possibly unpopular, decisions." Telling us all that we're going to lose 90% of the value of our life savings sure will be unpopular.
I wonder if the Secret Service agents who lose their life savings too, will bother protecting Obama from assassination; or might they kill him themselves? After all, the Zapruder film proves the secret service agent driving John F. Kennedy in Dallas, turned around and shot him in the head. That's why his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, tried climbing out of the back of the limo after it happened! She saw who shot her husband. It happened once, it can happen again!"
You can read the full story here.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Hooray! The price of crude had fallen below $50 a barrel.The price slid to as low as $48.64 today.Who was right those mumble-jumble sycophantic economists or .........? Than you have those who made foreccasts and predictions but didn't have the balls to put their names on it.
Employing academicians who spent more time trying to please their bosses to listen to what is pleasant to their bosses' ears rather than doing some serious research to predict short and long term economic trends is as good as not having any of those blighters on board.They are not worth their salt.
It is even more disheartening to hear that almost every leader in our government are sold on the idea of the nation's immunity to the global economic meltdown purportedly due to our strong banking/financial system and strong fundamentals whatever that might mean.
Strong finances and healthy foreign reserves are just some of the many components that make up the whole economic pie.There is an array of other things that influence the workings of the economy which eventually boils down to one single objective, the making of money.The more money a nation has the more prosperous the people are .There are only two things money can't buy in this world, the air we breathe and immortality, everything else costs money.
In economics, one must not forget the law of supply and demand, the very essence of market forces.Dearth of supply will increase prices, abundance of supply will depress prices.Than there is a new element, not found in the old economic theory, that have been added to the new scheme of things to influence market and market prices, it is called speculation.Speculation can be a powerful tool in setting market prices.These are the wonderful inventions of the economic gangsters.These are bands of white collar criminals loaded with other people's money to raid the world markets in search of anything they can get their hands on and steal your whole life saving away from you. Would you in your wildest dream ever imagined that the price of palm oil can touch RM4,500 per ton ? Do you honestly think that's the real value of the commodity? Do you think price of crude oil at US$147 a barrel is a reasonable level for optimum economic consumption? Just like a balloon if over inflated it would burst and burst it had.
Over the past two decades the world has been teetering on the verge of an economic disaster never seen before due to over-speculative indulgences in every aspect of its commercial activities.The bubble had burst and would take a while to recover.
If the Malaysian government think they have consummated defences against catching the bug that most other more developed countries are caught in and are presently in the throes of recession than there must be something wrong with the yardstick we used to measure our economic activities.The sooner we wake up to the reality that the honeymoon and the good time will be taking a break soon the better it would be, at least to have a contingency plan in case the situation turned bad.
In the United States (US) the three big car makers in Detroit have recently declared they are in serious financial trouble.General Motors(GM) the leading car makers have cash reserve of US$30 billion and have declared they would be running out of cash in 2 to 3 months time.With the dramatic decline in sales of its cars the company have to use its cash reserve to pay for its recurring expenditure at the rate of US$5 billion a month which means the total reserve would be completely exhausted in 6 months.So, even if you have money when things go bad, that money will be gone in no time.As at September 2008 Malaysia's foreign reserve stood at US$32.3 billion, not much bigger than the GM's reserve.
The three big car makers GM,Ford and Chrysler were not on the original list of patients for bail-outs when the US Congress approved the bail-out package.They are now seeking government bail-out which they probably will not get.Their troubles are of their own making, incompetent management and products quality problem.The same problem faced by Proton here.
I believe the US Government will not bail them out but would ask them to file for Chapter 11, a bankruptcy protection from creditors that allow the company to reorganise without threat of foreclosure from creditors.Some creditors may end up as shareholders of the company under a reorganised scheme.
I have said in my earlier posts there is usually a time lapse before we feel the effect of the global recession.At the moment everything seems fine but it may not be so by the end of the 1st quarter of next year when the recession bites in,unless something dramatically good happened along the way that changed the whole global economic scenario.
Precaution is better than cure.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Sometimes, you wonder whether some of our Federal ministers know what they are doing and whether they know the boundary of their jurisdiction.Where they should poke their nose and where they shouldn't.
I am surprise that the Federal Minister of Tourism Azalina Othman jumped on the bandwagon without first checking her facts.What makes she think she has jurisdiction over land matters and development in Sabah.These are state matters and she should buzz off.Simply reading something in the newspaper and jumping to conclusion that something was very wrong with the development and making stupid statement in the media just to seek publicity goes to show that she has poor grasp of her functions and responsibilities.
“I am personally unhappy because I believe that the place is best left untouched" she said.How much does she know about Sabah let alone Mabul and Sipadan. Does she know there were at least four resorts built over waters in Mabul and no one made any noise before. As a politician can't she tell between a politically motivated action and those that really concern the environment.
Mabul reef was bombed to smithereens before those resorts came to Mabul.Every bit of coral was blown to pieces and in some area one can only see white patches of broken corals.
Clean your own backyard first before you start poking you nose into something that doesn't concern you.
Only the Prime Minister can talk or instruct the Chief Minister of Sabah by virtue of it being under the BN Government and the PM is the ultimate boss.Other Federal Ministers have no right to tell the CM what to do on state matters.They are below him in protocol when they come to Sabah.It goes without saying Sabahans being more cultured and more civilised in manners (except Bung Mukthar) always give due respect and show of hospitality not only to Federal ministers but to anyone who come to visit the state.Unfortunately, some are just too moronic to understand this simple social etiquette and mistook it as they are superior in rank.
If Sabah is under the opposition like Penang,Kelantan,Perak,Kedah and Selangor even the PM has no power or authority to interfere in state matters.In fact Sabah and Sarawak have bigger autonomy in state matters than other states in Malaysia.Those were conditions set by the two Bornean states when Malaysia was formed.
How bright can one be to have the audacity to propose the building of a sport complex in London at the expense of the Malaysian taxpayers on a mindless reasoning of training our athletes to challenge hypothermia to acclimatise them to polar climatic conditions.
So, Azalina know you stuff first before you start barking up the wrong tree.It is people like you that put Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in a badlight.
Sabah has its own Minister of Tourism.You are complementary.
In Sabah, we call this kind of action 'temberang'.
The contest for the top post of Wanita UMNO is taking on the shape of a match between David and Goliath.It seems so but might not be so.
The shrewed, aggressive and volatile incumbent Rafidah Aziz got 117 nominations against potential challenger Shahrizat Jalil who got an impressive 73 nominations in spite of the fact that she is supposed to contest the deputy post and not the chief post.There are voices of discontent in Wanita UMNO against Rafidah pushing her luck.
Rafidah didn't expect someone to spring a surprise and challenge the deputy Wanita position putting the whole succession plan in disarry and a threat to Shahrizat's chance of taking the deputy post and successor to the Wanita Chief position when Rafidah step down in June next year. Her refusal to bring forward the succession plan to March as requested by Shahrizat and the new development is likely to cause Shahrizat to challenge her.Do not underestimate her capability to spring a surprise of her own.The demure Shahrizat may not be as aggressive and volatile as Rafidah but she could be a wolf in sheep clothing.
The ground is swelling in opposition to Rafidah's power crazy decision to contest the Wanita Chief post which she had held since 1984 with a short break of three years when she lost to Dr Siti Zaharah Sulaiman.Many in the Wanita wing felt she has been there far too long.
Many leaders in UMNO have surpassed their shelf-life but refused to go, wanting to keep their position for life and Rafidah is one of those that may have reached the end of her shelf-live.How she obtained such high number of nominations is a mystery.
She has also been implicated in the over-indulgence of issuing of Approved Permits (AP) for the benefits of a few people close to her.Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad blamed her for the losses at Proton due to the big invasion of imported cars that compete with the national car.In spite of this allegation the issuance of AP continued unabated during her tenure.
Prime Minister Abdullah has said he would mediate the two to resolve the problem.I think the Prime Minister should leave the two ladies alone, let them fight it out.There is no such thing as the tussle would split the party, it is good for the party, it should teach people how to compete.Such argument is reserved only for those who are coward, unsure of themselves and feared being challenged.
Shahrizat felt she has been played out and I don't blame her for being so.With more than sufficient nominations there is no reason why she shouldn't take on Rafidah.Better to die fighting the champion than die fighting an unknown killer.
They say 'Hell hath no fury like a women scorned'. Shahrizat can surely rock the boat in a sea of discontent and send Rafidah plunging into the sea.
I place my bet on Shahrizat.
In my post 'Where Crude Oil Heading For' I predicted the price of crude would fall below US$50 per barrel.The likelihood of it going below that level look more and more realistic now.The huge stockpile in the US helped to drive price down.OPEC's production cut have not helped to stabilise price.The cut of 2 million barrel a day since September had no effect on keeping price sliding further down. The group are calling for further cuts.
India and China would require less need for energy as their economies begin to slow down in the next few months.Japan, one of the largest economy in the world is in a recession.The US,Europe ( the largest in the world) and most other countries are already in a recession.Only Malaysia and most third world countries are not ?
The current US crude price stand at US$53.90.The London Brent closed nearer the $50 mark at US$51.84 a barrel.Unusually cheaper than WTI ( West Texas Intermediate) which used to get around $1.00 to $2.00 higher than Brent.WTI is sweeter than Brent with lower sulphur content hence the higher price.
In 1998 the average price for crude was about US$12.00 a barrel and 4 years ago the average price was about US$38.00 a barrel.The price peaked at $147 few months back not so much due to supply and demand but more due to speculations by nasty speculators.
Middle East producers which have lower production costs may be able to sustain such low prices but new oilfields and those in deep waters may lose money due to higher production costs.
Those in Petronas may not be the happiest people now if they don't have huge forward contracts. If they didn't have any than production cut should be an option to cut down losses.
Malaysian motorists should be happy soon if the government continued to pass on the cheaper price.If price falls below US$50 a barrel than the price of petrol and diesel can posssibly be adjusted to as low as RM1.50 a litre.
Before 1990 the price of petrol was RM0.89 a litre.The drastic increase was this year when crude price shot up to as high as US$ 147 a barrel.At least for the next few months Malaysians should be happy with cheaper fuel and falling prices of other consumer goods.
Farmers must be the dumbest people. At least in Sabah they are.The prices of green had gone up about two weeks ago when most other items are falling.
The price of crude may pick up again during the 1st or 2nd Quarter of next year if the global economy do not slide further down and those greedy hedge funds stopped screwing the world's financial markets again.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
My fellow blogger Jed Yoong asked me do I think the Malays still need the NEP.My answer is no. I don't think they need the NEP and I don't think the NEP are meant for the Malays.The NEP are there only to expedite wealth for politicians,their relatives and friends.
If giving huge contracts to relatives and friends to make easy money are part of the NEP than I think the NEP is a disgrace to the Malays and many ordinary Malays are ashamed that their race are being used to benefits a small group of power hungry and greedy politicians.
After more than 50 years of independence and over 30 years of the NEP it would be shameful to admit that we Malays have still not learned to walk properly to better ourselves in business and other endeavours and have to depend on crutches provided by the government.Those crutches are made exclusively for the use of UMNO and its lapdogs, other Malays are just like the non-Malays, with the exception of priority and privileges given on education and the civil service, have no use of the NEP.
There are many capable Malays who were just unfortunate to be born on the wrong side of the track and not been able to prove themselves.These are Malays who are not in UMNO and, therefore, didn't get the chance to prove it to the world that they are just as good if not better than the non-Malays or the Malays in UMNO.
Unless you are politically connected, getting a government contract is next to impossible.Even if you are a good Malay businessman but do not know how to oil the cogwheels you can wait till kingdom come to get any government job.Only the sycophants,cocksuckers and ball carriers will get what they wanted.It is who you know not what you know.The only expertise you need to know in this business is how to sell your contract to a China man to make that quick profit.If you know some politicians and do not know how to ride the gravy train with him than they would call you stupid.That's what some of my friends and relatives told me.You must use your politician friends to make money.
Even more disgusting are those who made money in this most appalling of ways and think of it as being smart.They can't discern between smartness and craftiness.That's how smart they are.You just have to take a look at the huge mansions and expensive cars of this 'cepat di masak sedap dimakan' instant riches.Some were stupid enough to show off their instant wealth and ill gotten gains by building their huge mansions in the petit bourgeois community and bear the resentment of the hoi polloi. Jack and the Beanstalk would be full of envy for these people.At least Jack had to climb the gigantic beanstalk to steal the giant's treasure and risked getting killed.
The biggest recipients of the NEP would be through nepotism and chronic crony culture.Many government linked companies were privatised and given to cronies on the platter.One shining bright example of where the NEP failed miserably was MAS.The company was given to Tajuddin Ramli to own controlling interest and management at over sweetened price.Within few years he successfully screwed up the company and brought it to the brink of bankruptcy.The government had to rescue MAS and paid him above market price for the shares and took back the company and injected fresh capital to save it from crashing to the ground.Than there were people like Amin Shah who screwed up the Lumut Naval Base and naval vessels contract to the tune of a few billion and abandoned the project.No legal or criminal actions were taken against him for this very expensive blunder that cost the government billion of ringgit.
There are many others like them who had become rich at the expense of taxpayer's money.Are these people true entrepreneurs or they are more suitable to run kedai runchit ?True entrepreneur starts from nothing and built his business empire from the ground up.Is this the kind of NEP the government wanted to perpetuate? Manufactured entrepreneurs with no business acumen that destroy more than they can build.
Another even more strange phenomenon and most noticeable are the business successes of almost all of the male offspring of former and current prime ministers of the country, from the late Tun Razak to Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.They all seem to have their own businesses listed on the KLSE or in private holdings.It must be a miraculous coincident that most of them are such good entrepreneurs.
When the late Tun Razak mooted the idea of the NEP he had the noble intention of helping the Malays to improve and be at par with the other races in the country, never in his wildest dream he intented it for amassing wealth.
You don't need the NEP to help poor Malays.What you need are honest, sincere and dedicated leaders.
With the new regime soon to take over let's hope things will change.
The Malay would say "Cakap Tak Serupa Bikin"(Not doing what you preach) or "Lidah Bercabang Bagai Biawak"(Forged tongue like an iguana).
Now, the great Anwar Ibrahim is changing his tune back to ketuanan Melayu(Malay supremacy),Islam as the official religion and Bahasa Melayu as the national and official language and not to question those that have been agreed and laid down in the Federal Constitution.He claimed all components in his Pakatan Rakyat have agreed to this sudden change of direction.
Aren't they the same as what UMNO and the BN have been practicing all along. Now, what have happened to his 'ketuanan rakyat',dismantling of the NEP, fair and equitable distributions of the nation wealth to all irrespective of race,colour and creed.
Isn't he true to his colour, the chameleon that many who knew him well have said before.Can you trust him and his band of desperadoes to govern and govern fairly when they can't even have a consistent ideology.
We have heard one lie after another and listen to his fairy tales from time to time.
Give him enough rope he will hang himself.
Monday, November 17, 2008
In Malaysia some people took pride in calling themselves environmentalists and object to anything and everything they perceived can cause grievous hurt to mother earth.Some joined environmental organisation because it has become fashionable to do so.Than there are those who are mad enough to risk their lives to pursue their ideals.
The extreme end of the spectrum are those highly glorified kamikaze environmental warriors of Green Peace.If you have nothing better to do and think mother earth is going to die soon because of human folly than you can join the Green Peace and chase Japanese whaling ships all over the world's oceans.These are the true warriors of mother earth.
If you are a lazy environmentalist like me than you can just sit on your arse and do nothing.If you are lazy,ignorant and with some degree of stupidity and need some publicity to promote yourself than go to your nearest news hungry reporter and spill your guts out on how some destructive force is out to kill our dear beloved mother earth without first checking your facts.
If you are really stupid and ignorant, just stay that way and you wouldn't become a prick and used by someone to make noise and object to any project under the guise of protecting the environment.
When come to the environment Sabahans are probably the most conscious among all Malaysians but they are also the most confused.
For the past two years the question still lingers whether Sabah should have a coal-fired power station or not.In spite of the fact that the state suffers frequent power breakdown due to acute shortage of power generation there were still strong objections from environmentalists and majority of the population when the government first announced the project to be sited near Lahad Datu.The location has now been moved to Sandakan and the people stood their ground and insisted not to have it.They would rather live in darkness than face the prospect of living in a polluted environment.
Gone were the days when coal were mined in Newcastle and we often see the ugly faces of coalminers in newspapers and magazines that scares the shit out of us how shitty coal was.Today's technology had made using coal more friendly to the environment.It may not be 100% pollution free but are much better than 50-60 years ago.It is also an alternative source of cheaper fuel for power generation if other sources are not available or too expensive.
A new voice of disapproval against another project has risen, more out of commercial consideration, rather than care of the environment.This time it is the proposed resort development on waters of Mabul Island.
The President of SEPA(Sabah Environment Protection Association) Wong Tack asked if the resort development was necessary because one could easily see fishes swimming in the clear Mabul waters.He went to say "How can approval be given to such a massive project before the terms of the EIA are known?”
Obviously, Mr Wong had been used by existing resort operators to voice their unhappiness under the pretext of caring for the environment.It has been proven that where there are proper environmental friendly resort built over waters the reef takes on a new dimension under natural regeneration because all resort operators won't allow any fishing or fish bombing anywhere near the resorts.
My Wong should visit Lankayan,Kapalai,Sipadan Water Village and see for himself that he was wrong.There are more marine live now than before those resorts were built. The coral have grown back attracting more marine creatures.If he can't afford to visit those islands than he can go to Gayana on Gaya Island which probably is the nearest to him if he lives in Kota Kinabalu.
If you have visited Mabul ten years ago you be utterly shocked to see that every bit of coral surrounding the island are dead and broken due to constant fish bombing.Fish bombing are still being carried out in outlaying reefs.The fishes swimming in the waters of Mabul that Mr Wong saw are the results of the many resorts on the island's waters.
Kapalai which was completely built over a reef isolated from the main land is another example of a properly planned resort with no discharge of sewers into the sea.The sewers go to a treatment plant on the resort itself.The waste water are used to water plants in the resort.The reefs are teeming with all kind of marine creatures.
Well, the next time you feel you need to go and object to something and before you embarrass yourself go and do your homework first and make sure people don't use you to further their own business and political agenda.
The people of Mabul are quite happy to welcome more development on the island that can provide more jobs for them and their children.
Guess which politician stir up the villagers of Mabul with his crap story of the people losing their land to outsiders? Read the story here.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
My first visit to Sipadan was in 1989 when the island was still undiscovered for its legendary underwater wonderland.There were no permanent structures on the island except a jetty and a hut owned by the turtle eggs collector.
I was there with a group of friend to fish and not being a diver then didn't know the existence of the vast marine wonderland beneath the surface that have now made the island famous and one of the top five dive sites in the world.A jewel in the crown that have made Sabah well known to the diving fraternity world wide.
Sipadan is the only oceanic island in Malaysia rising 700 meters from the ocean floor in the Celebes Sea and has earned its reputation as an underwater paradise.The endless scenes of patrolling hammerhead sharks,circling schools of barracuda,millions of technicoloured reef fishes, scores of turtles and diversity of coral reefs can be intoxicating to those who are privileged to be able to journey below the surface of the ocean. This island have also taken the lives of those who were foolish enough to go beyond the limit of their endurance.
The island used to have several resorts on the island itself and all divers stayed in the resorts and can do as many dives as they wish.There were fears that pollution and over-population would overwhelm the marine bio-diversity on the island and surrounding waters.
Back in 2002 the government in order to protect the island from pollution and over-populated human presence changed all that by evicting all resorts from the island and imposed a maximum quota of 120 divers per day.The island was placed under the control of Sabah Parks and BKN(Bahagian Keselamatan Negara-National Security) which has now been renamed MKM (Majlis Keselamatan Negara).A fee of RM40.00 per diver per day is charged by Sabah Parks.
Since the eviction of those resorts off the island there have been many complaints from resorts owners and divers on the management of the island by Sabah Parks and MKM.Many foreign divers who come regularly to dive in Sipadan have expressed shocking disappointment at the deteriorating conditions on the island and below the surface.There are traces of line fishing discovered by some divers and on some occasions divers could hear blasts of fish bombing going off in the vicinity of waters near the island.How far off the fish bombing is difficult to tell as sound travel much faster underwater than on land.
MKM, a division under the Prime Minister's Department is responsible for security of the island and its surrounding waters.They are only concerned about piracy and left those fish bombers to their own devices.Typical of most government servants irrespective of whether they are from state or federal department, when the cat is away, it's time to play.Just sit on their arses and do nothing if not told.
Many resort owners are also complaining at the way the quota are being distributed among the resort operators. For some unknown reason a particular resort seems to get a bigger slice of the allocation putting some of the other resort owners in a dilemma and the prospect of being black listed by their overseas travel agents for non-performance of contract.
Overseas divers paid a lot of money to come to Sipadan and most of them expect at least three dives a day. This has been the standard policy since the opening of the island in the late 80s.
After having paid huge sum and to have travelled thousand of miles to find out later that you could only dive once or twice would certainly make you feel cheated.Some divers have even threatened to start a campaign overseas to boycott the island.
Resort operators have spent millions to build their resorts and have a break even point where they needed certain amount of occupancy before they can start making money.They can only survive if they have a reputation of being reliable.To tell your guest that he could not dive that day because you don't have enough quota, because the government fucked up the system, is a sure recipe for disaster and the prospect of losing your future business is as surely as death.
One amusing if not embarrassing story told to me by a divemaster about a Japanese diver who was highly agitated because he could not have enough dives told the dive master that in Malaysia everything can(Malaysia Boleh), why he is not doing it.He is asking the divemaster to bribe the people who issue the pass to get more quota and he is prepared to pay for it.So much for our reputation of 'Malaysia Boleh'.
Another complaint is the idiocy of those blithering idiots at Sabah Parks and MKM to check diver's identification against the list provided by the resort operators and insisted they must be the same person.I was told it is foolhardy to try challenge and tell these little napoleons that what they should be concerned about are numbers not names.As most morons do they would make life even more difficult for you.
The idea of imposing quota is to limit the number of divers.By their stupid action they have deprived the operator of the flexibility of using the quota by replacing the diver with another one in the even the named diver fell sick or for some other reasons couldn't dive that day.I am sure this complaint must have reached the chiefs in Sabah Parks and MKM and they have done nothing to correct this act of stupidity and discretionary blunders.
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, the civil service and men in uniforms are never lack of it.They pride themselves on appalling bureaucratic procedures,red tapes and unimaginable foolishness.
The resort operator submit application for quota to Sabah Parks who than submit to MKM for approval and than back to Sabah Parks and back to the operator.What the hell for Sabah Parks to put personnel on the island if they have no power to approve the quota.What are they there for? Makan gaji buta kah!
Sipadan is within state jurisdiction, why must MKM be involved and given authority to do so? Even more ridiculous the dive fees collected by Sabah Parks were given to MKM for funding the security of the island if what I was told is correct.What are the taxes collected by the Federal Government from Sabah for? Isn't it their responsibility to provide security by the money they have collected in the form of various taxes.
I do not wish to be rude but what are the Sabah politicians doing to have agreed to this most ridiculous of demand by the Federal government to collect this meagre sum of money which rightly should go to state coffers for improving facilities on the island
Land matters are constitutionally under state control and Sipadan is part of Sabah and the Federal government has no rights over its administration and collect monies other than providing security.
The Minister of Tourism should look into this matter before Sipadan becomes the pariah of the diving fraternity and a tourism loss to Sabah.
Lastly, I must add that Sabah Parks are run by one of the most incompetent bunch of morons.Just take a look at the islands in the Tengku Abdul Rahman Park and see how disorderly,dirty and unhygienic the conditions are on the islands.The restaurants run by their cooperative KOKTAS are bloody disgrace.The toilets are awfully dirty and in state of disrepair.They collected gate fee for boats and visitors and how this money is spent one wouldn't have a clue because very little improvement can be seen on any of the islands.They cordoned off the beach completely for swimmers without giving any consideration to other users.
Two weeks ago I went sailing with some friends and decided to stop at one of the islands.Much to our annoyance we found there is no where we can reach the shore to beach our sailboat.They have completely cordoned off the entire beach.We have to tie our sail boat at the outer side of the buoy and swam to shore.Upon reaching the shore one of the park rangers, a moron, came and told us we cannot tie our boat there and when asked why he said it is swimming area, when he knew fully well the boat is outside the swimming area.This idiot can't tell the difference between a sailboat and a motorised boat and asked us to move the boat and anchor farther out in deep water.When I asked him how are we to get ashore he said just try and stop any of the boats passing near us.
You see this is what I say, morons employ morons.A small sailboat has no manoeuvrability and is at the mercy of the wind and don't usually carry anchor.
Morons at the top,morons in the middle and morons at the bottom.That's exactly what Sabah Parks is, from ocean deep to moronic high.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I must be the only mad person in the whole country when it comes to predicting the state of the economy and the coming of recession to Malaysia.Almost every one, from the Prime Minister,Deputy Prime Minister and now to the very person who is the central figure of the economic apparatus and one that advises the government on its financial and monetary policies have said there will be no recession in the country.
The Governor of Bank Negara Zeti Akthar Aziz said “Half the world will likely be in a recession. We are not in a recession and we don’t expect to be in one,’’ Read the story here.
A very reassuring statement indeed and completely opposed to what the rest of the world are grappling with, the fear of a deep recession, and one that can lead to an economic nightmare that the world have not seen since the depressions of the 1930s.
Where did we get the immunity that makes us so recession proof ?What are the fundamentals that make us so different from the rest of the world and one that can shield us from the contagion of this global epidemic.Almost every developed country have declared that they are already in recessions.
A few months before the US financial meltdown some optimistic economists predicted only slower growth and mild or no recession in the US.They are proven wrong. The problem is bigger than one would like to imagine.Now, fear of deep and prolonged recession is on every world leaders mind except Malaysian leaders who keep telling us not to worry as there won't be any recession in Malaysia, we are insulated and isolated from such nonsense.Only the rest of the world will suffer.Malaysians have natural antibodies against recessions.
The problem is, only the bad news has arrived, the deepest cut is yet to come.The Malaysian economy has not slowed down yet.There is always time lapse of at least six months between what happened in the West and us, before we feel the blow.This lapse of time should not be taken as an indication that all is well.
How can Malaysia be insulated when it is one of the top twenty trading nations in the world and a GDP highly dependant on selling to the world markets particularly Western nations. Won't it make sense that if there were recessions in the West there would be less money,less buying and,therefore,less exports from Malaysia to these markets.Than there would be the domino effect, sales gone down,profit down and liquidity tight.Those directly or indirectly involved in export business would start to lose money and face with cash flow problems and, therefore, unable to service their debts.Bad liquidity would bring about increase in the NPL(non-performing loan) with banks and other financial institutions.
If the recessions in the West stretch for more than six months the likelihood of Malaysia seeing bad times is extremely high, whatever rosy picture the government may wish to paint, catching the flu may be slow but sure.
I shall be damned if I am wrong.
Friday, November 14, 2008
It's really difficult to make out this statement of Mahathir.There seems to be inconsistency in his idea of democracy.Up till now he has been asking for the party to remove the hurdles to allow for more contests in the party and asking Najib to go against Abdullah and to remove him from the premiership.Now when his favourite is being challenged he is accusing other contenders of money politics and asking them to be arrested under the ISA.It looks like he has different strokes for different folks.
There is little doubt he is not happy with Ali Rustam and Muhammad Taib, the two spoilers of an almost perfect equation to politics of the oligarch.
Are we moving back to his old ways?
Thursday, November 13, 2008
We have one of the highest wastage of public funds through corruptions and incompetence.It wouldn't be an over-statement to say that at least 30% of taxpayers money are lost to these two evils in government.
We are also blessed by exploitable natural resources that gave us a sound economy that allow us to survive the pilferage,incompetency and inefficiency in the system.The biggest source of government funding comes from taxes and oil revenue.With falling global price of crude oil a big chunk of this revenue would be wiped out requiring the government to look for alternative source of financing for its budget.
If the world markets for crude oil and palm oil do not improve in the near future and with the decline in exports of manufactured goods the government would have a serious budget deficit.The liquidity problem is much more serious than those in government have anticipated.A near negative growth in the following year is not a far-fetched scenario.
China, now the second largest economy after the US, which have had double-digit growth the past few years will face a downturn in its economy soon.With two of the world largest economy slowing down there would be huge decline in demand of commodities including demand for crude oil.How long the recession would last is difficult to guess.Bail-outs in the US have not picked up momentum or showed any improvement to the economy.
Finance Minister and Prime Minister in waiting Najib Tun Razak would have to crack his head to find a solution to the problem.
A recent proposal to sell government assets to raise funds sounds impractical and would be easier said than done.Unless the government is prepared to sell these assets at very low prices there would be few takers.Those with money to buy would look for real bargain.Chances are it would go to cronies even at more depressed price.It would lose future income if income-generating assets are sold.Only loss-making corporations and non-income generating assets should be considered for sale.
Selling government controlled blue chips would be killing the goose that lay the golden eggs.The PM and Finance Minister should not agree to the sales of any of these golden assets in a depressed market.
Worst case scenario, the government may have to trim its development expenditure to reduce the budget deficit.
In October I predicted that the price of crude would fall to around US$50 per barrel before the end of the year in my post "Where Crude Oil Heading For" .The price had tumbled to US$55 in spite of OPEC cut in productions.This means that demand had gone down faster and bigger in volume than OPEC cut in production.
Prolonged period of depressed crude market would spell trouble for Petronas and the Malaysian government spending.
On a lighter note, I find Malaysian generally more interested in politics than the state of the economy.
The good news is prices of consumer goods would go down as well and consumers should be smart to avoid those businesses that are profiteering by not adjusting prices.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Members of UMNO are beginning to show some political maturity and greater sense of democracy.Gone were the days of Mahathir's autocratic style of leadership where challenge to the top leadership were frown upon and made difficult by changing the party constitution to increase the height of the hurdles making it a daunting task for a challenger to take on the incumbent.
The no challenge concept for the two top positions had given UMNO a stagnated political mindset.Political ideology more suited for the 18th century rather than in today's modern democracy.The party is in dire need of new ideas and new democratic ideals.
Although, I must admit it has worked well during Mahathir's tenure , times are changing, a liberal policy and more freedom should be allowed in the rank and file to choose leaders of their choice.The hurdles should be removed to allow for new crop of political thinkers and leaders to reach the top tiers of the party.
There are new kind of political awareness in the country.People are more conscious of their rights.The old ways will not work anymore, in fact the old ways had worked against the party.The outcome of the 8 March General Elections was the telling sign that Malaysian are generally fed up with the way the country are being run.
With the party nomination of candidates closed, the stage is set for a fierce battle for positions of the Deputy President and Youth Chief, the two most to be closely watched races.Those predicted to reach the chequered flag first may not make it if money politics ruled the day.
In pole position for the deputy president is Muhyiddin Yassin.For the youth chief the leading contender is Mukhriz Mahathir.
Muhyiddin who initially thought it would be plain sailing for him now found himself challenged by two others, Ali Rustam of Melaka and Muhammad Taib of Selangor.Although he is the favourite to win, an upset shouldn't be ruled out by any of the other two contenders.He has been portrayed as the most qualified due to his educational background and better command of the English language.
Speaking good English may not be a criteria to winning party elections and is not the yardstick to judge a person's intelligence.Like any other languages it is just a medium of communication and happened to be widely spoken and understood internationally.
Muhyiddin is also seen as playing it safe and has not been vociferous in pursuing the Malay agenda as much as the others.The other most crucial element in this game is which of the three will throw the most money.To think that only those at the lower level used money to buy favours is blissful ignorance.
In 1987 when Mahathir was challenged by Tengku Razaleigh for the Presidency, Mahathir got three-fourth of the division nomination but only won by a measly majority of 43 votes.In his case the huge nomination he got was meaningless and misleading, he won by the skin of his teeth.Will Muhyiddin face the same situation or worse still loses out to the so-called non-starters.
If money and return to Mahathirism are not the deciding factors than Muhyiddin would win handsomely but if money is the object and the delegates wanted a balance between Mahathirism and Pak Lah's openess policy than Muhyiddin may have a challenge on his hand.
With Najib as President and Muhyiddin as Deputy President, if he won the election, the return to Mahathirism is imminent as both candidates were endorsed by him.Greater emphasis would be given to the Malay agenda,ossifying the social contracts and die-casting the ketuanan Melayu.Najib would not make the same fatal mistakes as Pak Lah, ostracising Mahathir can be deadly as Pak Lah has just found out a little too late.
One only need to see the number of hits the former premier gets for his blog to know how popular he is out of office than when he was in office.From reading the comments on his blog one can safely assume that majority of his fans are in their youth.Since its inception some eight months ago his blog has received 9.4 million hits.In comparison the Deputy Prime Minister who started his blog recently didn't seem to attract that many comments and has no hit meter to show the traffic to his blog.
Mahathir still has widespread support in UMNO and had been the catalyst in the forthcoming departure of Pah Lah as Prime Minister and President of the party.Over the past three decades he has serially destroyed the politicial career of Musa Hitam,Tengku Razaleigh,Anwar Ibrahim and now Abdullah Badawi.
After his departure as PM, Abdullah is unlikely to be playing significant role in the party.
Anwar Ibrahim had made a political comeback due to a weakened UMNO but as good as it gets he would likely be staying in the opposition for a long while or worse in prison.His sodomy case is still hanging over his head like the sword of Damocles.
His son Mukriz whose political future looked bleak when he followed his father's foot step and started to decry Abdullah's incompetence after the March General Election has now taken a sudden upswing in support from the Youth wing of the party.He is leading in nomination for the post of Youth Chief and is expected to win against Khir Toyo and Khairy Jamaluddin, the bright rising star that's beginning to dim and falling out of favour with the rank and file because he soon won't be the Prime Minister's son-in-law.
Ironically, among the three, Khir Toyo seems to be the most popular if blogs were to play party to winning an election.His blog attracts hundreds of comments and have had reasonably good hits while the other two have very few comments and didn't install visible site meters. Khairy posted most comments good or adverse,Mukriz only posted selected comments in praise of him.
Some called him the most hated man in the country, aggressive,arrogant and too smart for his own good.Khairy Jamaluddin had been accused of pulling the rugs from under other UMNO warlord's feet and stole their lucrative contracts.How much truth to these allegations ? Khairy called it an 'urban legend' in his recent interview with the Star newspaper.He has also denied his ambition to be PM by 40.True or not he certainly has what it takes and UMNO should not ignore his ability to return as Khairy the son of Jamaluddin and not as Khairy the son-in-law of Abdullah Badawi.
The real fight may be between Mukriz and Khir Toyo but things can change as they approach nearer elections day.Mukriz may have the highest number of nominations but, unlike his father, he lacks the grit and forcefulness of a leader.When proposed to a debate with Khairy he refused to take up the challenge and said:
"Pemilihan UMNO adalah soal keluarga dimana kita tak seharusnya berbincang mengenainya untuk tontonan umum, lebih -lebih lagi untuk tatapan pembangkang. Perjuangan UMNO ialah sesuatu yang tersirat dan ianya tak perlu dibahas-bahaskan secara terbuka dan disensasikan.Kita menggunakan pemilihan ini untuk memperkukuhkan parti, dan perlu elak dari membuat sebarang perkara yang mampu melemahkan parti tatkala kita dalam keadaan yang agak tidak kuat berbanding dulu. Dengan pencalonan yang sedang dilaksanakan dan pengundian yang bakal dijalankan, terbukti perwakilan dah kenal calon-calon dengan rapat dan matang untuk buat pilihan".
Sunday, November 9, 2008
As the first African-American children to take up residence in the White House, Malia and Sasha Obama can look forward to a gilded life of elite schools, the finest healthcare, unbounded career opportunities and – for now at least – perhaps the most exciting prospect of all: the new puppy their father has promised.
When Barack Obama’s captivating children skipped into the limelight alongside him as history was made in Chicago last Tuesday night, Sasha, 7, waved happily at the ecstatic crowd as Malia, 10, strode serenely alongside their mother Michelle.
For a few moments, as this strikingly attractive family group basked together in the roar of election victory, the magnitude of Obama’s achievement was written on the faces of his wife and children: a black family en route to Washington, to the finest address in the land.
“Each of us will always remember this moment,” exulted Henry Louis Gates Jr, one of America’s foremost African-American historians. “My colleagues and I laughed and shouted, whooped and hollered, hugged each other and cried.”Yet as the euphoria inevitably gives way to the harsh realities of recession and war, Obama’s young daughters may come to symbolise more than a great moment of racial progress. Their privileged lives will serve as a constant reminder of the lingering inequalities of American life, and the scale of the challenge that Obama now faces as he attempts to turn election promise into lasting social change.
“In this country – of all countries – no child’s destiny should be determined before he takes his first step,” Obama declared during the campaign.
“No little girl’s future should be confined to the neighbourhood she was born into.”
For the vast majority of African-American schoolgirls, having a father to care for them at all is a rare gift. More than 70% of black babies born in America last year were born to single mothers. A young black woman growing up in America faces a list of disadvantages so daunting that even Obama, in a speech on urban America in Washington last July, asked with a note of disbelief in his voice: “How can a country like this allow it?” A black baby girl is more than twice as likely to die in infancy as a white child. She is more likely to contract childhood diseases such as asthma and diabetes. She will be more prone to obesity and will most probably end up in an underfunded and understaffed state school, where her grades will be significantly lower than for white students.
A black woman faces a life expectancy that is five years shorter than for white women. Throughout her life she will be paid on average less than two-thirds of a white man’s wage for her job; she may have trouble finding a husband who has not been to jail, and more problems finding a house in a neighbourhood free of drug-dealers. She is more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer and will not live as long after diagnosis as white women in a similar condition.These are some of the many inequalities that Obama has pledged to address through his sweeping proposals for universal healthcare, education reform and redistribution of wealth. Yet it was clear last week, as black communities across the country rejoiced at his election, that many African-Americans have hopelessly unrealistic expectations of what their new president might achieve at a time of severe economic retrenchment.
Even before the votes were counted, Peggy Joseph was in little doubt about what an Obama presidency would mean. Gushing with enthusiasm at an Obama rally, she told one television interviewer: “I won’t have to pay for my [petrol] any more. I won’t have to work to pay my mortgage. He’s going to help me.”
In Washington on election night, Isaac Johnson was wandering around the Eastern market in a daze, tears running down his cheeks. “It’s all changed, man,” he kept saying. “We’ll get respect now, we’ll get our dream.”
Spike Lee, the African-American film director, declared the election a “seismic shift”. Oprah Winfrey, the television chat show queen, opened her postelection show on Wednesday by screaming “Whoooooo!” over and over again. Read more.......
Barrack Obama is now the most popular person in the world, more popular than any of the top Hollywood actors.The whole world wanted Obama.As President of the United States he is the de facto leader of the world.Would he be a better president ? He hasn't taken office yet and it's too early to tell.
After tumultuous years of George Bush's horrifying administration the change to the edifying and virginal Obama would bring some fresh air to mother earth and hopefully peace and prosperity.
Below are some pictorial and caricatured images of Barrack Obama:
All photos courtesy of About.com
Saturday, November 8, 2008
The Prime Minister managed to pacify Bernard Dompok by promising to set up a petrochemical industry in Sabah. Whether this promise will materialise is hard to say. Are there other considerations that we are not privy to? Pak Lah is leaving office soon and good luck to Dompok if he thinks that's going to happen.
Pak Lah has less than 5 months in office and the project has a gestation period of 5 years.Will Najib makes good Pak Lah's promise or would it end up the same as way as Pak Lah's promise to Mahathir to continue his legacy but didn't ?
You can read the story here
Friday, August 22, 2008 Hantu Laut
Personality cult have existed from time immemorial.It generally started with hero worshipping a person which later can transform to personality cult when the person attained political power.This deification can eventually lead to dictatorship or absolute tyranny.
History has given us cult of personality in the regimes of Stalin,Hitler,Mao,Sadam Hussein,Kim II Sung,Pol Pot and others.It's more common in a totalitarian system but have also been known to exist in some democracies.Eva Peron and her husband Juan Peron are examples of personality cult in a democracy.
These type of leaders were presented as god-like and seen as infallible by those with blind loyalty.The degree of blind loyalty can extend from giving simple moral support to committing atrocities,murders and genocide to keep such leaders in power.
Since gaining independence Malaysia has not had such leader and even the longest serving Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad would not fall into that category.
The support for Anwar Ibrahim is dangerously turning into a personality cult.Some of his supporters wouldn't give second thought to resort to violence to deliver their message.Read more.....
From Malaysian Insider:
What does Anwar really want?
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 8 — Sleepy Batu Caves became a hot spot of controversy recently — all because of a 12.2m-high painted plywood cut-out of a smiling Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, in a blue shirt and red tie and with his right hand held high. The opposition leader's supporters in the area had put up the RM5,000 replica of him in time for Hari Raya Aidilfitri. But it quickly drew flak from the Mufti of Perlis and Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Mohd Ali Rustam. They accused Anwar's supporters of idol worship — and thus, being anti-Muslim and anti-Malay, since idol worship is anathema in Islam.
The cut-out has since been dismantled, but its exaggerated homage does raise a question about Anwar: is he keener on becoming the next prime minister of Malaysia than on shaping a credible alternative government?
Those aims are not mutually exclusive, of course. But since leading the opposition coalition to victory in five states in the March general election, Anwar has spoken of little else besides getting enough ruling coalition MPs to cross over to the opposition so he could become prime minister. He boasted that he would accomplish this feat by Sept 16, the anniversary of Malaysia's founding in 1963. The day has come and gone — and Anwar is still not yet prime minister.
Whose cause is he more interested in championing: his or the people's? Many Malaysians now say that it is Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, not Anwar, who has what it takes to be prime minister of Malaysia. Read more....