Saturday, January 31, 2009

When The Buying Stops The Killing Stops Too

Hantu Laut

Happening right on our doorsteps.The slaughter of this most unnecessary way of earning a livelihood. This is the way they live and the only way they know how to supplement their meagre income.This is where poverty plays destructive role on nature and the environment.This is were government failed.This is where we have Fisheries Department that is completely dysfunctional and headed by idiots who sat on their arses and do nothing to educate the fishing community on the proper way to fish to protect the marine ecosystem and maintain sustainable balance of the resources.

From fish bombing, cyanide poisoning to slaughter of sharks,whale sharks,turtles and many other endangered marine species, the authorities have done nothing to bring this most shameful act under control.They only jump out from their slumber when something like this came to light and, shamefully, it is always concerned citizens or even more shameful, visiting tourists, who exposed such undesirable act. The Fisheries Department, Marine Police and those given the responsibility to police the sea and look out for such illegal activities are big bloody disgrace.They are always the last to know, when the damage are already done.

The recent discovery of shark finning in Mabul on regular basis is going to cause grievous damage to the marine ecology in the surrounding waters of Sipadan Island. The photos are evidence of the active participation of villagers on Mabul, a fishing community of lazy fishermen, who resort to the laziest way of catching fish, either bomb,poison or do what you see in the photographs.

Click to enlarge

Some may think it is all right to kill sharks just for their fins and discard the rest of the body.Considering the meagre amount of money you get for the fins and the huge damage you caused to the marine ecosystem you have to be a moron to do such a thing and, unfortunately, these people from the southern Philippines are morons and one of the laziest people I have came across and they will always be poor because they killed the very resources that suppose to sustain their livelihood.

It is a sickening trade and the Sabah government should impose a ban on shark finning.It has successfully banned the collection and consumption of turtle eggs, the same can be done to this awfully cruel trade.

There is no nutritional value in shark fins.Stop the buying and the killing will stop too.

Many UMNO Leaders Seen At SAPP's Do.

Hantu Laut

Sabahans are known for their friendliness, generosity, hospitality and less partisan in politics.These harmonious relations can be seen at major festivals, religious or otherwise and putting politics aside, where Sabahans visited or hosted friends and foes with courtesy and civility.Religion had never been a dividing force for Sabahans.

At the SAPP's Chinese New Year open house many leaders from UMNO Sabah can be seen visiting its President Yong Teck Lee.Most of the UMNO leaders were from the ethnic association called USBO (United Sabah Bajau Association) let by its President Salleh Keruak. Also seen was Tun Sakaran Dandai, the President of USIA (United Sabah Islamic Association).The one that raised an eyebrow was Unity,Culture,Arts and Heritage Minister Shafie Apdal, who is reputedly close to Najib and rumored to be the future Chief Minister of Sabah when Najib becomes the prime minister.Others from the BN was Bernard Dompok and Edward Khoo and from PKR Jeffery Kitingan.

Some political analysts said something may be brewing on the political horizon.SAPP might be considering returning to the BN after Abdullah's departure.I think it was just normal visits on a festive occasion but than in politics any thing can happen.

Since most of the UMNO members who were there were from USBO.Is something brewing in USBO ?

Only its President Salleh Keruak would know, who is also rumoured to be wanting to become chief minister again.

After his disastrous term of zero economic development for the state that would be bringing back the Achillis heel and setting the clock back.

Friday, January 30, 2009

UMNO's Woes:Pak Lah's Patchwork

Hantu Laut

Can you do politics without money? The answer would be 'yes' if it was yesterday but 'no' if it is today.Why so ? Because yesterday's politic was an honourable profession, people joined out of sincerity and pride to serve.Desire to serve the people, country and king. Ultimately, to do good and took pride in one's achievements and be remembered for having done good.The benevolence of politics rang louder before under Tengku,Razak,Hussein and even Mahathir, whatever sins he may have committed in the eyes of certain people. Today's politic stings and smell of pecuniary interests.

Today's politics attract different breed of cattle. It's like bees to honey, attract all kind of opportunists from the good, the bad and to the ugly.From the squeaky crooks to hopeless professionals.

First, let us look as to the motives of joining UMNO.Why are the Malays fighting tooth and nail for positions in the party? Who's to blame for the mad scramble to be office-bearers in the party and what are the rewards.

UMNO is business ! Big business!.You don't have to be smart to be in UMNO, you just need to be cunning, the more cunning you are the better it is, even better if you have that bit of kampong slyness in you.Then you look brazenly indomitable and intimidating.If you have gift of the gab and master of the glib than that will put you ten steps ahead of your nearest rival.The ultimate, the best of all, is if you have some money to invest, than you don't need the rest, the money will do the talking for you.Once you are inside the chamber of plenty the money you spent, your investment, will multiply thousand times and the return is immeasurable.

That's why money politics is rampant in the party.It's just irresistible.This regime of easy acquisition of wealth is not the fault of the rank and file, it's the fault of the leadership.They allowed it mainly to benefit themselves and those close to them.Now, it had become a monster they can't control.

The people are not stupid they can see how the ruling elites treated the nation's Treasury as their own coffers.How easy and how quickly one can become wealthy if one is prepared to sit in the rogues gallery.For some, they don't even have to be UMNO members, just hang on to the branches like flying foxes and with a bit of patience, perseverance and skin as thick as that of a buffalo hide, the pot of gold would come by.

UMNO is the route to El Dorado and it is for the taking, the first one to reach it will get bigger share, the slower ones might just get the crumbs or a crumb of hope.The windfall is guaranteed once you reach certain level in the party hierarchy.

Why is Pak Lah wasting time asking the MACC to nap the foot soldiers and washing dirty linens in public, bringing more shame and disrepute to an already tainted and disreputable party.Everyone knows almost everyone of those vying for positions in the party have dirty hands, none are less guilty than the others.Nap some and leave the rest out, what kind of message is he sending out to party members.

What's the use of the party Disciplinary Committee if it can't handle its own problems.The present Chairman Tengku Ahmad Rithauddin is too antiquated for the post and should have been made to retire long ago.He is just not cut for the job and is none the wiser.His recent call for the party to abolish the Putera, Puteri, Wanita and Youths wings to get rid of corruptions shows how bankrupt of ideas he is.He might as well ask for UMNO to be completely abolished as proposed by another antiquated and delirious politician, Lim Kit Siang of DAP.

Public perception is not going to change because he is not looking at the bigger picture.The people are not interested in what is happening in UMNO, they are interested in what is happening in government and the nation. This 'wanted to be seen doing something for change' is knocking on the wrong doors.It has not and would not achieve anything else other than opening the Pandora's Box.

The only hope UMNO has to salvage its sunken image is to have a thorough spring cleaning, head to toe.Selected patchwork is not going to help salvage the sunken wreck no matter how much historical treasures went down with it.

In accounting term, UMNO has a very sick looking 'Balance Sheet', it is too high gearing, it has more liabilities than assets and it has wiped out its net asset and the shares are worthless.In another word it is bankrupt and needs rehabilitation.

Remove your hand from the till, govern with fairness, transparency and accountability.

That's all what the people is asking for.

The Ultimate Abominable Man ?

Hantu Laut

Many have written about him.He made some of the most ridiculous statements.Never have said the right thing.He is probably one single man that had done more damage to the government than any other minister.He thinks he is smart but his answers revealed otherwise.

"We arrested her under ISA to protect her" and he thinks that was smart.
(Is the ISA a Witness Protection Programme?)

"Don't regard criminals as heroes" and he thinks that was even smarter.
(Is a suspect without a criminal record a criminal?)

"Umno must change before the people pass a death sentence on it" he said incriminating himself.
(Isn't he one of the biggest culprits that brought UMNO to its death-knell?)

How the hell they made this man a minister ! Isn't he a liability to UMNO and should be removed from his ministerial post before he can do more damage to the party and the country.

When he is Prime Minister, Najib should think about it and consider making him Ambassador to Saudi Arabia or Yemen.

Obviously, he never read any book written by Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt"
Mark Twain

Do I have to give a name? I guess you know who he is.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Part II: British Foreign Office/CIA/MI6 and 'The Fall Of Sukarno'

Hantu Laut

The birth of Malaysia was not without intrigue, espionage, psychological war, military intelligence and counter-intelligence. Sukarno had suddenly become the most dangerous man in the region. A crazy expansionist that needed to be checked, removed or liquidated.

Sukarno withdrew Indonesia from the United Nations as protest to the UN Security Council's recognition of Malaysia and threatened to form an alternative world body, the Conference of New Emerging Forces (CONEFO)

On 10 March 1965 Indonesian saboteurs bombed the MacDonald House in Singapore, killing 3 and injuring 33.

In the early stage of confrontation British and Commonwealth forces were not allowed to cross the border to pursue the enemy.Prior to the Singapore bombing in April 1964, the British government gave permission for its troops to cross the border into Kalimantan up to 3000 yards. In January 1965 the order was extended to attack up to 10,000 yards.British and Malaysian military intelligence also secretly gave aid to rebel groups in Indonesia, in Sulawesi and the restive province of Aceh in Sumatra, as way to weaken Sukarno's military confrontation campaign and destabilised his government.

The British were alarmed by Sukarno incorrigibility and possibility of a full-blown military adventurism.Something had to be done to get him out of the way.

Earlier, in 1962, it has been claimed that a CIA memo indicated that British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and US President John F.Kennedy alarmed by Sukarno's confrontation and the possibility of it spreading elsewhere in the region have agreed to 'liquidate' Sukarno.The plan was never carried out.John F.Kennedy was assassinated on 22 November 1963.

In a series of exposes by Paul Lashmar and Oliver James of the Independent newspaper of the involvement of the Foreign Office's IRD (Information Research Department) and Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) exposed that the decision to unseat Sukarno was decided by Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and then executed under Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

To weaken the Sukarno regime the Foreign Office coordinated what it called 'psyops' (psychological operations) together with the military to spread 'black propaganda' casting bad light on the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), Chinese Indonesians and Sukarno.

Coordinated by the British High Commission in Singapore the propaganda machinery brought in the mass media, the BBC, Associated Press (AP) and the New York Times all filed sexed-up and embellished reports on the crisis in Indonesia.The manipulations by the Foreign Office's IRD included a report by BBC of the communists plan to slaughter the citizens of Jakarta.The false report was based solely on forgery planted by Norman Reddaway, a propaganda expert with the IRD.

Sukarno who fought the Dutch for independence of his country succeeded in declaring independence in 1945 and was appointed president.Although, outwardly he appeared a strong leader, Sukarno were actually weak and inexperience, easily influenced by people around him and lacked the administrative skill to run a nation.His management of the nation's economy was a total disaster. Bad economic planning resulted in failure to lift its citizens out of severe poverty and brought widespread famine and starvation.

Sukarno knowledge and understanding of economic problems was minimal and apparently below the level expected of a moderately intelligent high school student.He, himself, had admitted and said "I am not an economist, I am a revolutionary".

As far as Sukarno cared, his ministers were there to provide the President with funds for both his public and private use.A special budget was set aside for his expenditure on his overseas trips, his mistresses, his wives, girl friends and his other worldly pleasures.Sukarno also had a weakness for beautiful women and sought them out everywhere he went.To take advantage of him, some world leaders pandered to his licentiousness and provided him with what he desired.

Dewi Sukarno

When she was younger.

Sukarno officially married eight wives and the youngest was Dewi Sukarno, formerly Noko Nemoto, a young and beautiful Japanese girl he met on his visit to Japan.She met Sukarno when she was only 19 and was an art student and an entertainer.She had one daughter with Sukarno.

The Western powers, particularly the US increased their aid to Indonesia hoping the country would recover from its economic woes.The American only came to realise later how large sum of the money was squandered on Sukarno's project of "Crush Malaysia" campaign.When the US condemned his anti-Malaysia stance Sukarno blew his top and told the American to keep their money and told the US Ambassador "Go to hell with your aid".A month later he coined a new slogan "Banting Stir Untuk Berdiri Diatas Kaki Sendiri"(Turn the wheel around and stand on your own feet). By then the economy was in shambles.

The country was in default of foreign debt estimated at $2.4 billion.Foreign exchange earnings were unlikely to cover one month of import, tax collection was declining and uncontrolled government expenditure added to the already precarious economic situation.The greatest beneficiary of this economic disintegration was the Communists party.

The PKI (Parti Komunis Indonesia) which had a moderate support in 1950 had grown to almost 3 million members by 1965 and with its other auxiliary organisations the party have added another 20 million supporters.Its leader Ahmad Aidit said that if elections were held there and then the PKI would have captured more than 50% of the votes.The PKI had become the largest political party in Indonesia and the third largest communist party in the world after China and the Soviet Union and Sukarno's open patronage was well known and one that would eventually lead to his downfall.

The fateful day came on 30 September 1965.

At around 3:15 A.M. on October 1, seven groups of troops in trucks and buses comprising soldiers from the Tjakrabirawa (Presidential Guard) the Diponegoro (Central Java) and Brawijaya (East Java) Divisions, left the movement's base at Lubang Buaya, just south of Jakarta to kidnap seven generals, all members of the Army General Staff. Three of the intended victims, (Lieutenant General Ahmad Yani, Major General M.T.Haryono and Brigadier General D.I.Panjaitan) were killed at their homes, while three more (Major General Soeprapto, Major General S.Perman and Brigadier General Sutoyo) were taken alive. Meanwhile, the main target, Armed Forces Chief of Staff, General Abdul Harris Nasution managed to escape the kidnap attempt by jumping over a wall into the Iraqi embassy garden, but his Aide-de-camp, First Lieutenant Pierre Tendean, was captured by mistake after being mistaken for Nasution in the dark. Nasution's five-year old daughter, Ade Irma Suryani Nasution, was shot and died on 6 October. The generals and the bodies of their dead colleagues were taken to a place known as Lubang Buaya near the Halim Perdanakusumah Air Force Base where those still alive were shot, and the bodies of all the victims were thrown down a disused well.

At 5.30AM, General Suharto was woken up by his neighbor and told of the disappearances of the generals and the shootings at their homes. He went to KOSTRAD HQ and tried to contact other senior officers. He managed to contact the Naval and Police commanders, but was unable to contact the Air Force Commander. He then took command of the Army and issued orders confining all troops to barracks.

Due to poor planning, the coup leaders had failed to provide provisions for the troops on Lapangan Merdeka, who were becoming hot and thirsty. They were under the impression that they were guarding the president in the palace. Over the course of the afternoon, Suharto persuaded both battalions to give up without a fight, first the Brawijaya troops, who came to Kostrad HQ, then the Diponegoro troops, who withdrew to Halim. His troops gave Untung's forces inside the radio station an ultimatum and they also withdrew. By 7PM Suharto was in control of all the installations previously held by the 30 September Movement's forces. At 9PM he announced over the radio that he was now in command of the Army and that he would destroy the counter-revolutionary forces and save Sukarno. He then issued another ultimatum, this time to the troops at Halim. Later that evening, Sukarno left Halim and arrived in Bogor, where there was another presidential palace. Most of the rebel troops fled, and after a minor battle in the early hours of October 2, the Army regained control of Hali, Aidit flew to Yogyakarta and Dani to Madiun before the soldiers arrived (Wikipedia)

Aidit was shot in Yogyakarta by pro-government forces led by General Suharto. General Omar Dani and Foreign Minister Subandrio, both communist sympathisers, were jailed and eventually sentence to death for treason.

Below is an extract from Times magazine:

When Indonesia's Communists attempted a coup in September of 1965, General Omar Dani was commander of his country's MIG-equipped air force. As a Communist sympathizer, he allowed Halim Airbase near Djakarta to be used as headquarters and staging area for the plot; in turn, he was promised that he would eventually become chief of state. But the plot was smashed by the Indonesian army, and Dani, along with Foreign Minister Subandrio and other top government officials, was put in jail on charges of treason. Subandrio was tried by a military court and sentenced to death in October. On the day before Christmas, Dani got his: after three weeks of testimony before another military court, he too was sentenced to death.

As in the Subandrio trial, much of the evidence against Dani suggested that President Sukarno himself had known about, condoned, and even taken part in the attempted coup. Dani's trial, like Subandrio's, brought renewed demands from Indonesia's anti-Communist professional and student associations that Sukarno himself be removed from his position as President and brought to court. The father of his country, however, seemed unfazed.

Last week, in a brief ceremony at his summer palace in the mountain resort of Bogor, Sukarno calmly swore in one of his old leftist cronies, Suwito Kusumowidagdo, as Ambassador to the U.S. The appointment hardly pleased the military regime, which now claims most of the power in Indonesia, and it raised eyebrows in Washington. The Bung's only answer was a sentence of advice to his new ambassador: "Tell them that Sukarno is still President of Indonesia and that he is the man who sent you there."

Suharto immediately blamed the PKI as the masterminds of the attempted coup.The army with the help of the locals went on a rampage to kill suspected communist.There were widespread purging of communists and their sympathisers.It was reported that almost a million suspected communists had been killed.

Sukarno was stripped of his presidential title on 12 March 1967 and remained under house arrest until his death at age 69 in 1970. Suharto was appointed President.

The American and British propaganda machines had, somehow, helped to destabilise Sukarno and the PKI.Although, such clandestine operations were seldom admitted by the US administration, the CIA had been active in many parts of the world to bring down leaders not favoured by the US or deemed as threat to world peace.

The confrontation stopped under Suharto.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Making Of A Nation

Hantu Laut

Ten years after giving up power of its biggest colony on the Indian sub-continent, she was getting tired of administering the last few remaining colonies in its far-flung empire in the Far East. World War II had shaken its resoluteness and weakened its economic might.

The lost of the 'Jewel In The Crown' was a wake-up call for Britain to return rightfully what didn't belong to them. It's time for decolonisation. It was time to pack up and go home. The last few remaining colonies of the British Empire in Asia and Africa literally had independence thrown on their laps. It was a peaceful and smooth transition of power from colonial masters to colonial subjects without the horrific bloodshed that some less fortunate colonies had to suffer to get independence from the colonial masters.

We might have shed some sweat and tears but otherwise it was the most civilised manner Britain had conducted itself when it gave independence to nations in this region. There were no real heroes of independence that one can really talk about in the lore of nationalist heroes the like of Mahatma Ghandi, Che Guevara and other freedom fighters, but there were a few groomed champions.

Malaya then comprised of Federated State, Unfederated States and the Straits Settlements.In January 1946 the British proposed for a Malayan Union to unite the whole of Malaya under a strong central government, but the proposals were resisted by the Malays, who quickly formed a political party known as United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and for Malays only.

The Malayan Union concept was abandoned and in its place the 'Federation of Malaya Agreement' was signed on 21 January 1948 and came into effect on 1 February same year. A common citizenship was created for all who acknowledged Malaya as their permanent home and gave their undivided royalty. Citizenship were also given to the Chinese and Indians immigrants as one of the conditions stipulated by the British. 

After the fall of Malaya and Singapore to the Japanese during World War II the communists mounted a campaign of active resistance against the Japanese and hope to gain control of the country in September 1945, but the attempt was thwarted by the arrival of the British military administration. The communists insurrections continued until after the end of World War II and after Malaya gained independence on 31 August 1957.

Those who depicts Chin Peng as liberator and hero of independence were trying to rewrite the history book. Chin Peng was a leader of a communist insurgency that tried to take over the country through violence and armed struggle.The Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) continued its arm struggle trying to overthrow a legitimate government.

Chin Peng renewed the insurgency in 1967, which went on until 1989. How could Chin Peng be termed a hero, a liberator and freedom fighter when he wanted independence from an already independent nation and a government elected by the people using violence and armed insurrection.

For anyone who want to learn to rewrite history read Gavin Menzies' two books, he has the knack of rewriting history (Menzies wrote the books '1421' and '1434' that changed the history of navigation and discoveries, giving all credits to China as the pioneers,discoverers, inventors, including the discovery of the Americas by the Chinese, not Columbus).

After the independence of Malaya, the last remaining colonies of the British Empire in the Far East were Hong Kong, Singapore, North Borneo (Sabah), Sarawak and its protectorate Brunei. Britain feared that the Borneon states would eventually be victims of territorial grab by the region's bigger power if given independence on their own, unless, Britain were prepared to guarantee giving security and defence in the event of external aggression from its neighbours.

The fear was Indonesia and the Philippines. This fear was proven true when the formation of Malaysia was announced. Indonesia's Sukarno immediately launched a confrontation against Malaysia with its 'Ganyang Malaysia' (Crush Malaysia) battle cry and promising that he would take over Malaysia before the cock crows on 1st August 1963. 

Although, it has an outstanding claim over Sabah the Philippines being militarily weak could only cut off diplomatic relations with Malaysia, without any threat of military action.

There were many military incursions by Indonesia along the Borneon borders between Sabah/Sarawak and Indonesian Kalimantan.There were also military and guerrillas landings on the shores of Peninsula Malaysia.The one that almost saw the light at the end of the tunnel was the Indonesian backed rebellion by the North Kalimantan National Army (TNKU) against the Sultan of Brunei led by leaders of Parti Rakyat Brunei Dr.Azhari and Ahmad Zaidi.The British army was able to suppress the rebellion and Azhari and Ahmad Zaidi fled to Indonesia.

Kota Kinabalu was not spared from Sukarno's psychological war. As a young boy then, I still remember the drone of an approaching aircraft that flew very low over our house in the early hours of the morning just before dawn few months before the formation of Malaysia.That instantly reminded me of Sukarno's promise of "Sebelum ayam bercokok" (before the cock crows) and think quietly to myself, is that it, they are here to take us?

By 1965, the height of the confrontation there were 14,000 British and Commonwealth forces in Borneo.There were also British, Australian and New Zealand SAS Regiments that pursued the attackers over the border into Kalimantan in secrets.This was only revealed many years after the incidents.

Before the formation of Malaysia the British government set up a fact-finding  mission to find out the views of the people of Sabah and Sarawak.The Cobbald Commision was set up to collect information regarding the concept of Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Singapore joining the Federation of Malaya to form a new nation to be named Malaysia. Brunei eventually decided not to join union with Malaysia, which mean the Sultan would lose his status as absolute monarch and his position reduced to ceremonial status like other sultans in the Federation of Malaya.The Sultan of Brunei was very rich even then, the only oil producing country in Borneo.

I take the findings of the Cobbold Commission with great amazement and trepidation. It was unforgivable sham. There was no referendum held in Sabah and Sarawak on the wishes of the people to join Malaysia. What the commission did was to gather a few tribal leaders of the indigenous people and selected few from other minority communities, who were beholden and sycophantic to the British and sought their views, which the British already knew would be in the affirmative.

Some of these leaders have little credit to be regarded as representative leaders.There were objections from the natives of Sabah and Sarawak, but these objections were drown out by the Commission putting forth those selected leaders as mouthpieces of the people of the two states.

Priorities had already been established in London and Kuala Lumpur, irrespective of the outcome of the findings of the Commission the formation of Malaysia was imminent.

The findings of the Cobbold Commission was a sham.

Members of the Cobbold Commission were:

Lord Cobbold, former Governor of Bank of England, the Chairman.

Dato Wong Pow Nee, Chief Minister of Penang.

Mohammad Ghazali Shafie,Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Sir Anthony Abell, former Governor of Sarawak.

Sir David Watherson, former Chief Secretary of Malaya.

As can be seen not even one representative each from Sabah and Sarawak sat as member of the Commission.The British already had the answer even before they deployed the Commission on a fact finding mission. Yet they had the cheek to claim they had impeccable records of a strong democratic system and freedom of human rights. Sabahan and Sarawakian were never given the choice, the freedom between choosing their own independence and joining a new nation.

Although, I have no evidence to back it, I believe the idea of the formation of Malaysia was not Tungku Abdul Rahman's idea, it was fed to him by the British. The Tungku was not an ambitious man, even the independence of Malaya was served on the platter to him.

Due to the confrontation by Indonesia the formation of Malaysia, which was supposed to be on 31st August was delayed to 16th Sept 1963.

A new nation was born on 16 Sept 1963, but East Malaysian were cowed to celebrate National Day (Merdeka or Independence Day) on 31Aug.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Is UMNO in A Fix ?

Hantu Laut

UMNO's Perak Assemblyman for Bota Nasarudin Hashim has crossed over to PKR, even before he tendered his resignation with UMNO. He must be too much in a hurry to catch a train that may not be taking him anywhere.

Nasarudin may have created history as the first Malay frog in many decades that deserted his party. There is no law against changing political affiliation in this country. UMNO has all along been against passing a law to forbid elected representatives from defecting to another political party. How they wish they hadn't done what they did in Sabah in 1994 when PBS was the government and in the opposition. Using the court they repelled the anti-hop law passed by PBS to stop assemblyman from defecting. They plotted and successfully demolished the PBS government by enticing PBS's assemlymen with offer of money and positions to crossover to the BN.

As they say "God's mill grinds slow but sure" and now UMNO is in a fix.

Looking at the history of politics in Malaysia I think the present bunch of politicians running UMNO and the country are pretty much living in the past and still riding the high horses.They still believe arm-twisting, threat and intimidation will keep people subservient and in line.Those days have passed and gone.The political landscape have changed, the people's aspiration have changed, they have new ideals.Demand for openness and accountability not seen before could not be more over-emphasized now.The people want an open book, they want to know exactly how the country is being run and how the people's money are being spent. These are fundamentals of a democratic system.Unfortunately, UMNO leaders can't or refused to see the reality of their surroundings.

The death of an Indian boy at the hand of the police, although not politically motivated, was another wedge between the Indian community and the government.The police force undoubtedly was one of the major contributors to the people's widespread discontent with the government.The government has lost the absolute support of the Indian community and it would be a long time before they can regain the trust, respect and support of this community.

Most of the problems were self-inflicted. Adding to its list of woes is the conflict with the Catholic church's publication the Herald. Another unnecessary disorder.A conflict most unnecessary and one that can be avoided if there were religious tolerance and the government ignoring the ignoramus' ignorance of the whole issue.

The Home Ministry had issued instruction not to use the word 'Allah' in their in-house magazine, The Herald.The case has gone to court and is still awaiting trail.In the meantime, the Minister of Home Affairs Syed Hamid Albar said it was not a ministry decision but a cabinet decision in demanding the prohibition of the use of the word 'Allah' in the publication. Since when and under which provision of the Malaysian Constitution that explicitly says a cabinet decision is the law? Can executive decision becomes law and can it be issued to a non-governmental organisation if it was deemed against the constitution? On that ground the Catholic church has taken the case to court. Syed Hamid should wait and not impose his or the government will on the Herald until the court decides on the case. People take this as another bullying style of the BN government. Least, Syed Hamid forgets, a cabinet decision is not the law, it is an executive decision.

Those are just layman's interpretation of what I think I know.Maybe, some legal eagles can enlighten on the matter.

To the UMNO boys these anomalies are considered small and unimportant and they think they have successfully cowed the people.The people's discontent was first expressed in the 8th March 2008 General Elections, later in the Permatang Pauh by-election and recently at the Kuala Terengganu
by-election. So far, nothing has changed in UMNO to show serious reforms and a desire to win back the heart of the people.

The BN is still the better formula of a coalition government if they can clean up their houses. The cleaning up must start in UMNO and time may not be on their sides.

Nasaraudin says he defected in the interest of his constituents. Those who believe him must be bloody fools.The BN government has more money to develop his constituency, if that was the reason he chose to leave UMNO to joint PKR or was it status and position that he seeks in PKR that he couldn't get in UMNO?

Anwar Ibrahim says there will be more defections, Najib says I don't think so.

Will there be a government for Najib to take over?

Look! Who is talking here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

First Class Infrastructure, Third World Mentality


Malaysian leaders are slowly waking up to the reality that the 'bed of roses' they expect of the economy had become a hot prickle of embarrassment for the government.

In my many past postings I have warned that the economic downturn would be worse than what the government had made it out to be and telling the people -- there would be no recession in Malaysia, an absurdity most compelling.

The blurring of the truth was to make the leaders look competent and capable when they were not.

If the situation is not serious why the need for a second stimulus package? Depending on the size of the package it could be another drop in the ocean.

Most developed countries have braced themselves for the sharp contraction in the economy and have warned their citizens to expect tough times ahead.Britain Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he did not foresee the coming of the recession which took his government by surprise.Britons have started tightening their belts.They have started cutting down on their energy consumption resulting in the decline in sales of power generation companies.

Only in the Third World countries where state control over daily life is pervasive and wide-ranging and where leaders are more concerned with shoring up their own finances and wealth, the economy of the country takes a back seat and economic recession is not in their dictionary, because there is no economy to talk about in the first place, most survived on foreign aids.

Malaysia is on the verge of becoming a developed nation and already had in existence the infrastructures of a developed nation, developed over the past few decades by the foresight of our past leaders.

Only continued effort and foresight can propel the nation to join the august club.Are the present crop of leaders cut from the same cloth as past leaders or mired in third world mentality?

Can the present administration preserve what we already have and continue to bring this nation to greater heights?

Gong Xi Fa Cai

The Year of the Ox
1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997

People born in the Year of the Ox are patient, speak little, and inspire confidence in others. They tend, however, to be eccentric, and bigoted, and they anger easily. They have fierce tempers and although they speak little, when they do they are quite eloquent. Ox people are mentally and physically alert. Generally easy-going, they can be remarkably stubborn, and they hate to fail or be opposed. They are most compatible with Snake, Rooster, and Rat people.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Exterminators

Hantu Laut

Police brutality existed everywhere.There is often a racial or ethnic component to police abuses.In the US many cases of police brutality were results of racial profiling.In New York 78% of complaints against the police came from African-Americans and Latinos.The police force is almost 70% white.

In Malaysia the Indians seem to carry the brunt of police brutality, even less than that of the illegal immigrants.

Whatever the ethnicity or back ground of the victim is immaterial, police brutality should not be tolerated and must be fully investigated to bring to book those involved.Besides the police own investigation, there should be a parallel independent investigation team to ensure that there wouldn't be any cover up.

It makes one wonder what kind of training our policemen get that had made so many of them to act more like thugs and goons rather than policemen.Haris Ibrahim's of the The People's Parliament has the story and photos here. Susan Loone has her story here.Malaysian Insider has the story here.It is not a pretty sight and can make one very sick in the stomach and angry that such violent physical abuse can be inflicted on a handcuffed person.They have become tormentors and exterminators.A disgrace to the nation.These 'no school' idiots might not know that a suspect is not guilty until he is charged and taken to court for the court to decide, guilty or not guilty.

As there have been many cases of detainees dying in police lock up, someone in the police force should take responsibility and resign from the force.If you can't control your men than there is no point to stay on and disgrace yourself as an incompetent.

More story here and here.

Friday, January 23, 2009

We Want The Real McCoy, Sir!

Hantu Laut

The engines of reform are going full speed ahead to show the nation that the main ruling party is dead serious about making change.Suddenly, there is an all out war against corruption. A senior supreme council member of UMNO is going to be charged for corruptions and money politics. They have not named him yet but was said to have come from Pahang. For those familiar with the internal politics of UMNO it would not be too difficult to narrow down the names to know who the person is.

Taking a no nonsense approach in tackling corruptions it must clean up its house first and bring to book those caught in the net. Seems like a lot of ikan bilis (anchovies) and maybe one or two sharks.Is there some kind of witch-hunt going on?

True to UMNO style, some complained of selective persecution and one official said "If they really want to clean up, they must be fair to every one and that would mean all of us would be going behind bars and the party left only with the rank and file".Also true to UMNO style, selective persecution has always been there to keep the overly ambitious ones in line.

It is a well known fact that almost every one at the top of the party hierarchy have got skeletons in the closet. Only the degree varied, some took more than others, some are smarter and wouldn't be caught so easily and some are arrogantly bodoh (stupid) and get caught.Corruption is corruption, big or small, those caught must face the music. Those living beyond their means must also be investigated.

From where should they start the cleaning process, top to bottom or bottom to top ? What they are doing now seems to be more bottom than top.

Can UMNO afford to carry on cleaning up the party when it is already in such a precarious situation? That answer is better left to PM-designate Najib Tun Razak.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said “The law of the country is the law of the country. No one can escape from it,”commenting on the arrests of 12 individuals in Pahang.Those arrested were reportedly to have received RM300 to RM500 to help a senior politician to secure a supreme council seat in the March 2009 party elections.

Is the general public interested or impressed with the catching of these ikan bilis. I think not, and it is not going to change the public perception. The Malaysian public wanted action against those that raped this country of hundreds of million in kickbacks, commissions and abandoned/sub-standard projects where millions of taxpayers money went to waste or went to the wrong pockets.They want the real McCoy, not those receiving paltry sums.Otherwise, the MACC would be made a mockery of and a lame duck.

UMNO can clean up its own house but must not forget that the MACC should be independent and should act accordingly if there were suspicions of corrupt practices, without waiting for someone to report it. It should , from time to time, look into the lifestyle of any leader, politician, civil servant and their families to determine whether they are living beyond their means.The MACC must have its own initiative to conduct investigations on their own even against the PM if there were report of wrongdoings and justification to initiate an investigation.

Give us the real McCoy.

The Saga Continues

Hantu Laut

The war of words between Joseph Kurup and Joseph Pairin continues with Kurup throwing a challange to Pairin to an open debate.

Being the first one to write about the possibility of BN losing the Pensiangan seat if Kurup is nominated to stand in that constituency, I hope I wasn't the one that trigger off this personal animosity between the two.


23rd January, 2009

KOTA KINABALU: PBRS president Tan Sri Joseph Kurup has challenged his Barisan Nasional (BN) colleague Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan to an open debate over the candidacy for the much-anticipated Pensiangan by-election.

Kurup who is the Deputy Minister of Rural Development urged Pairin who is the PBS president not to hide behind his secretary-general Datuk Radin Malleh and to face him as a gentleman.

“I would like to meet Datuk Pairin face to face to debate on his recent statement on the candidacy in Pensiangan and the implications of that statement as well as what I said about his performance as a two-term Pensiangan MP and his “colourful and well documented history with BN,” he said here yesterday.

He was responding to a statement issued by Radin on Wednesday questioning him (Kurup) on his chances of winning the Pensiangan seat, if and when a by-election was called.

Radin especially reminded Kurup that the Pensiangan seat was never won by PBRS in the real sense of the word but was given a ‘free ride’ in the spirit of the BN.

Radin was responding to Kurup’s attack on Pairin for ruling him out as the automatic choice of candidate for the by-election.

And he even quipped that Kurup himself was the one who did not know how to read the political situation and local sentiments in Pensiangan which indicated that the voters wanted a local Murut to be the candidate.

Kurup, according to Radin, should rule himself out of the running since he was neither a local of the area nor a Murut and he had lost before not only there but in other seats as well.

Taking Kurup to task for questioning Pairin over his record of public service and ridiculing him in the media, Radin pointed out that Kurup had failed the people wherever he represented them and that it was evident from the talk on the ground.

He cited for example when Kurup was the state assemblyman for Sook from 1985 to 1999 and again from 2004 to 2008 but failed to deliver his promises. In addition, he also held the post of state Finance Minister and Deputy Chief Minister during that period and now a federal Deputy Minister for Rural and Regional Development.

He thus advised Kurup to think of the people of Pensiangan and not just of himself.

“Kurup should do some soul-searching for the sake of the people in Pensiangan as well as the fate of the BN,” said Radin.

Kurup was offended by Pairin’s remarks and retaliated by hitting him with remarks which did not go down well with PBS and state BN leaders.

“As much as I would not like to say anything, I am compelled to do so in response to Pairin’s interference in this well-prepared machinery when he raised the question of the candidate for Pensiangan,” said Kurup. Read more.....

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Three Monkeys:Will BN Lose Again ?

Hantu Laut

In my previous two articles I mentioned that Joseph Kurup of PBRS/BN lost his uncontested MP seat of Pensiangan, nullified by the court in an election petition brought against him and that the BN would lose the seat if he is fielded again.

The election petition was brought against him by PKR's candidate Danny Anthony Andipai .It was found that the returning officer had acted unfairly towards Kurup's opponent by rejecting his papers when Kurup objected during objection time, quoting late submission of the papers as the reason for rejection.The judge ruled that the rejection was wrong and nullified the Pensiangan parliamentary seat.

Kurup was the Assemblyman for Sook from 1985 to 2008 except for the period 1999 to 2004 and had been Minister,Finance Minister and Deputy Chief Minister under both the PBS government and later under his own party PBRS/a component of the BN.

The Pensiangan parliamentary seat was previously held by Bernard Maraat also of PBRS who won the seat on a thin majority of 608 against Matin Tomy, an independent candidate.In the March 2008 General Elections, in fear of losing the seat and thinking it would be safer to move to other constituency Kurup abandoned his state seat of Sook and moved to Pensiangan.He booted out his colleague the incumbent Bernard Maraat and as President of the party refused to let him contest the seat.He took it for himself.

Kurup together with Bernard Dompok and Yong Teck Lee abandoned PBS soon after the 1994 state elections to form their own respective party and joined the BN to topple the PBS government.The plot was engineered by Anwar Ibrahim and assisted by the trio.

Yong had shown his true colour and had left the BN using the weak leadership of Badawi as the excuse and his love for Sabah as the reason.He misread the situation, thinking Anwar would be successful in taking over the government then.Dompok is rumbling all the times about how much he loves Sabah and wanted the best for Sabahans and objected to Petronas gas terminal and Pak Lah lack of concern for Sabah.He was given the reclamation work for the project.See, sometimes, threat does pay off. Kurup would surely abandon the BN if he is not chosen to stand in Pensiangan and good chance BN will succumb to his threat and let him contest Pensiangan.

One must admire this minute platform shoe-man, he has managed to stay in politics all this while.Pensiangan could be his death throes.

Following my comment of no place for Kurup in Pensiangan in the by-election, others have came out to express similar apprehension.Joseph Pairin has his doubt about Kurup here.Today, PBS Secretary-General Radin Malleh cautioned Kurup against his overconfidence of winning Pensiangan.He requests Kurup to do some soul searching here.

With Kurup the BN would surely lose.With a more acceptable candidate the BN would have a better chance of a close fight.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Najib's Version Of Failure.

Hantu Laut

PM- designate and Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has admitted that the loss of the Kuala Terengganu by-election was due to negative image of the party and perception that its leaders were unfriendly.

I believe that's not all the reasons. The people were unhappy and fed up with multitude of other sins.Being unfriendly was not the main reason, it might be one of them, but it was the years of corruptions, mismanagement of the nation's finances and abuses of power that had driven the people away from UMNO and the BN.

It is also hardly a secret that most UMNO leaders flaunt their wealth and allow their spouses and children to openly display their extravagantly opulent lifestyle to the dismay of the masses.The people perceived that corruptions, rent-seeking and abuses of power were the sources of these wealth and considered them as ill-gotten.No one, no matter how smart he is, can become rich effortlessly and in such a short period.

Wealth can only come two ways, stolen or earned, and the gathering of wealth is a laborious and lengthy process, which needs toil, determination and preservation.Those who become rich quickly without sweat and tears think they are smart, they are not, they are the human leeches of society.That's exactly what happening to UMNO and the BN, the people were so disillusioned with their lack of moral standing and failure to exercise their fiduciary responsibilities and accountability many consider them as parasites. True or not, these are the perceptions that people have.

In most instances only businessmen can become wealthy, how some politicians not doing any business can be wealthy is beyond my comprehension.Some have become instant millionaires living in huge mansions and own stable of posh cars.Even those in the middle and lower echelons of the party had become so rich they can afford to buy numerous properties not only in the country but overseas, mostly in Australia and the UK.Whether it was by device or divine intervention such luck are not for every mortal.Only those who joined the party and endearing to those in power can have this kind of bestowed windfall.

Being seen as unfriendly is just a minor setback , the bigger reason for the people's rejection of UMNO were corruptions and abuses of power.The sooner Najib realises this the better it would be for the party and it surprises me that he didn't bring this up as part of the reasons.

They may not like to hear this but if UMNO wanted to survive the next general elections, the stealing must stop.

It wouldn't hurt to show a little humility.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Kuala Terengganu:A Harbinger Of Doom ?

Hantu Laut

Was Kuala Terengganu the beginning of the end for UMNO? The merchants of doom think so.Unless UMNO can salvage its broken image within the next four years, biting the dust, might not be far-fetched.It is not the BN (Barisan National) that is the problem, it is UMNO.

The other components in the BN were accidental victims and paid for the sins of UMNO in the last elections.The Chinese and Indian components, MCA, MIC and Gerakan were the early casualties of the people's anger.Gerakan was decimated and lost the state of Penang to opposition DAP.All in all, the BN lost five states to the rickety oppositions coalition.UMNO would have lost the central government if not for Sabah and Sarawak, which were untouched by the people's fury.With such disastrous results one would have thought the party would have changed direction and take immediate action to repair its badly broken image.

After less than a year from its worst showing in an elections, UMNO lost two by-elections to the oppositions coalition.The results showed a marked increase in the popularity of the oppositions.Permatang Pauh was a foregone conclusion.It was an uphill battle for UMNO against the charismatic and popular Anwar Ibrahim in his home turf.The loss of Permatang Pauh was expected.

Kuala Terengganu was different, there were no giant contender to reckon with, UMNO has the edge to win this one but they screwed it up big time.Firstly, the choice of candidate was wrong. The PM chose someone who was 'his man' reputedly arrogant, aloof and disconnected with the ground. Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad and other bloggers who are familiar with UMNO politics had sent warning signals to PM Badawi that his choice of candidate may not be the best one around.Of course, as PM he has the prerogative to choose whoever he likes.

Sometimes, when your party popularity is at its lowest ebb fielding the right candidate can turn the table in your favour.He chose to ignore it.

UMNO have lost its lustre and ceased to capture the imagination of the masses.The leaders have ran out of ideas and unable to respond to the call for change.The have misconceived idea that the Malays owe them a living and must vote for them.

The Malays in the street know their lives will not make drastic change for the better if they continue to vote for UMNO.Keeping these leaders in office would mean continuation of a corrupt regime and a nation run by the oligarchy who treated the country as their own private fiefdom.They are so used to swimming in political patronage or pork-barrel politics that the only politics they knew is money, offering money, projects and other sweeteners to the people during elections time and would repeat the same things in every elections.In Sabah, where money politics first started, the offer could be anything from cash handouts to zinc roofing materials, water tanks and sealing of roads to the kampongs.

This is a government of political patronage and crony capitalism.Instead of success being determined by a free market and the rule of law, the success of a business is dependent on the favoritism that is shown to it by the ruling government.Almost all big government projects were given out on this basis and with ridiculously high inflated price to take care of the wang pelinciran (lubricating money).Those who court politicians are the most likely to get such projects even if there were no merits to award such huge project to them or their companies. These hangers-on are prepared to travel the length and breadth of the globe to be close to their favorite politicians.That's way we have abandoned projects,cracked and leaky buildings,cracked highways and other shames that should not have occurred if there were probity and accountability in the first place.

Kuala Terengganu should be the loudest wake-up call for UMNO.If it can lose so miserably in a predominantly Malay areas what chance has it and the BN got in those areas in Sabah and Sarawak in the next general elections.If the Malays in 'Tanah Melayu' have rejected them for PAS and Pakatan Rakyat, the road to recovery may be slow and painful, unless they can come up with a quick-fix formula to bring the Malays back to the fold or a formula to break up the Pakatan coalition before the next general elections.Still, some 30,000 voted for them which means all is not lost yet.

The next likely by-election would be Pensiangan in Sabah where BN/PBRS candidate Joseph Kurup was disqualified by the court for dubious means of depriving other candidates from contesting the elections.He was returned unopposed.The BN chance of winning the by-election would be dependent on the choice of candidate and Kurup should not be one of them.He has lost credibility with the people of Pensiangan hence the obviously dubious means used to stand unopposed.Putting Kurup would literally be bidding goodbye to the seat and give the opposition one more seat nearer to Putrajaya.There is 50/50 chance BN might lose the seat even with another candidate but at least it has a fighting chance. With Kurup the defeat would be sure.

The Chief Minister of Sarawak Taib Mahmud took exception to saying that Kuala Terengganu is a harbinger to the fall of his government in the state elections in Sarawak due in 2011.What happened in KT will certainly have a bearing in Sarawak, mainly in predominantly Dayak and Chinese areas. Whether Pakatan can take over the state government is too early to say, but they would certainly make some inroads into state politics if they can stay intact until then.

We have to wait until after March after Abdullah hands over the helm to Najib to see whether there would be change of direction and repentance by UMNO leaders to regain the trust and confidence of the masses.But if pigs might fly than the harbinger of doom may come to haunt them down the 'Road to Perdition'

I would say it is still the best form of coalition government if they can clean up the corruptions, the arrogance,self-seeking attitude and the abominable gravy train they called the NEP.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Harbinger Of Doom ?

Hantu Laut

In less than a year after the 2008 General Elections the BN have lost two by-elections, which have never happened for many decades before.

The result of the Kuala Terengganu by-election is a sad revelation of the moribund state that
UMNO is in now.It's the ugly truth of the growing contempt the people have for their arrogance, high-handedness, abuse of power and corruptions.Their leaders are still living in the past. Out of touch and disconnected.

This is the party that claimed to be the defender of the Malays, protecting their interests and preserves ketuanan Melayu.This is the party that tells the Malays 'Melayu dicabar' hoping to rile them up.This is the party that raised the keris to 'cabar' the other races supposedly for the Malays.This is the party that tells the Malay to be nationalistic.This is the party run by leaders that don't have an ounce of honest bone in them.

This is the party now rejected by the Malays, the very people they supposed to care and protect.

The Malays have stopped listening to their empty rhetoric and endless bullshits.

The people have given them three wake-up calls yet they are still fast asleep.The KualaTerengganu result tells a story.

Coming to this site:

"Kuala Terengganu:A Harbinger Of Doom"

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Coming Soon: Pensiangan, Who ?

Hatu Laut

Although, I have given UMNO/BN the edge due to the many offerings of sweeteners, the multitudes of Kuala Terengganu have rejected them.The people of Kuala Terengganu had spoken.It's a bad day for Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak as this is the second time he failed to get victory for the BN. The loss of Permatang Pauh was expected, this one had a good fighting chance, buggered by wrong candidature. 

Najib should not solely be blamed for the loss. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should shoulder greater part of the blame for not putting his ears to the ground and listen to the rumblings of disagreement on the choice of candidate.Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad should be having the last laugh when Abdullah called him irrelevant.UMNO could have pulled through if a more amiable candidate was chosen. I would put the loss more due to rejection of the candidate rather than total rejection of the BN.Although, the majority of votes has increased, it was not substantial enough to write off the BN as becoming irrelevent.

I have in the past wrote about the failure of UMNO to re-invent itself after the embarrassingly poor showing at the March 2008 General Elections.

What happened in the last general elections was not the failure of BN, it was the abomination of UMNO and Abdullah's leadership resulting in the entire fleet being punished, especially the Chinese and Indians component parties. Sabah and Sarawak were untouched by the fury and saved the day  for Abdullah, but astonishingly still remained unappreciated.The arrogance, self-denial and resistance to change in the top echelons of the party is self-perpetuating and becoming a death wish.

Najib has four years, if he doesn't lose the government by cross-over, to set things right in UMNO.When he becomes PM the first thing he should do is to sack half of the present cabinet ministers and replace with new and untainted faces.He must also be prepared to take unpopular actions and spare no effort to bring corruptions under control and distribute government projects not only to party members but equitable distribution to other deserving and capable contractors. 

What happened in KT will have a bearing on other future by-election.The next one expected is Pensiangan in Sabah. Joseph Kurup of PBRS/BN lost his seat in an election petition brought against him.He won the seat uncontested through dubious means.

It is common knowledge among Sabahans that Joseph Kurup is very unpopular in the constituency and is going to lose badly if he is nominated to stand again.Najib may have to take serious note of this and ensure that he chooses the right candidate this time or else another fatality

Friday, January 16, 2009

Kuala Terengganu:UMNO/BN Has The Edge ?

Hantu Laut

The large turnout of Chinese at PAS/Pakatan's ceramahs might have driven away substantial number of Malay voters to UMNO.

The Malay voters in KT (Kuala Terengganu) are worried that a win for PAS would strenghten the position of the Chinese and Indians in the Pakatan Rakyat coalition.If the Chinese give their votes to PAS, they are actually not voting PAS, they are voting to strengthen the DAP and PKR, where most of elected representatives are Chinese and Indians.There is also the issue of hudud law which PAS wanted to implement for the whole nation should Pakatan takes over the Federal government.Karpal Singh of DAP had sent a clear message to PAS that the DAP would leave the Pakatan coalition if PAS insisted on introducing hudud law.

Communal politics is still very much alive in the country.Anwar Ibrahim who accused the BN government of fanning racial sentiments have the same kind of coalition, based on racial grouping.Bridging the racial gap in Pakatan would be even harder than the BN, not only on ethnic ground but on the question of religion.

PAS, a political party based on Islamic values and principles have refused to discard the image just to fit into DAP's hard-nosed secularism.The Chinese-based DAP refused to accept Malaysia being called an Islamic nation saying it is against the Constitution and insisted it is a secular nation and has no place for hudud law.

This marriage of convenience is standing on very shaky ground and can fall apart any time.PAS and DAP certainly make strange bedfellows, DAP is only interested in political power while PAS wanted both, political power and the glory of Islam.

It would be a long and winding road for Pakatan Rakyat if it ever were to reach Putrajaya.

Below is an interesting conspiracy to cheat put forth by Raja Petra.

"First of all, Umno is paying up to RM1,000 per vote. And this is how the system works.

A voter goes into the polling station to collect his/her ballot paper. He/she then puts it in his/her pocket. He/she drops a dummy ballot paper into the ballot box. He/she comes out and ‘sells’ the ballot paper to an Umno goon waiting outside. He/she goes home RM1,000 the richer.

The blank ballot paper is marked Barisan Nasional. It is then given to the next voter. He/she collects his/her ballot paper and puts it in his/her pocket. He/she drops the already marked ballot paper into the ballot box. He/she comes out and hands over the blank ballot paper to the Umno goon waiting outside in exchange for RM1,000.

The process is repeated thousands of times all over Kuala Terengganu at the 38 polling stations.

Another method would be: the voter goes into the polling station with his/her hand phone. He/she marks the ballot paper in the Barisan Nasional box and photographs it with his/her hand phone. He/she then drops the ballot paper into the ballot box. He/she comes out and shows the photo in the hand phone to an Umno goon and receives RM1,000.

All this is of course further to the ‘phantom voters’ who will be voting tomorrow. One man closely related to the Agong showed me the electoral roll where four unknown Chinese voters were registered at his house address. He does not know who these four Chinese are and how they got registered at his house address. How many thousands more are ‘registered voters’ in this manner is yet to be known because not all house owners check the electoral role to look for strangers registered at their address. But expect the figure to run into the thousands. And also expect all these strangers to come out to vote tomorrow".

Read the full story here.

Like many conspiracy theories, some are just that, a theory or a figment of someone's imagination.

Political analyst Ong Kiam Ming wrote in Malaysiakini that the opposition PAS might win with a majority of 3,300 votes.This might be true two weeks ago.The situation has changed since then and the BN have managed to close the gap and is now running neck to neck with PAS.

If the Chinese throw their full weight behind PAS candidate than there is a likelihood that the Malay voters might switch over to voting the UMNO candidate.If they don't, it will still be a close fight.

Look likes UMNO/BN has the edge.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

No Recession !, No Recession !, No Recession !

Hantu Laut

No recession! No recession! No recession!.Is what we hear from our leaders every time and all the times.Our finances are good, our banking system is very liquid, our foreign exchange reserves are healthy, our currency is stable and our stock market is a 'OK'.We certainly have no problems.

Are those the correct barometers used to predict whether a storm is coming or not.Should we only look at the present positives and negate the present and future negatives and external forces.What about falling exports, falling commodity prices,rising unemployment and declining consumer's spending.Wouldn't a prolonged period of decline and lower economic outputs spelled "RECESSION".

What's the use of all those money in the banks if they can't regenerate? What's the use of a looking good stocks exchange index when the volume traded is miserably low? What's the use of a healthy foreign exchange reserve when it is eroding in value due to weakening of the currency? Are there still people out there in government that still have their heads screwed on to their bodies.

It is certainly good to show positive thinking but it can be dangerous if one is unable to separate the fact and the fiction.While other countries like Singapore, Hong Kong,Taiwan and South Korea have warned their citizens of hard times to come, our smart leaders keep telling us not to worry, we will never be in a recession, because they are so good in managing the economy.

Our politicians are out of touch with reality, incapable of telling the truth and are convinced by their own lies.Of course, if you keep giving yourself and your cronies big fat contracts surely there is no recession for you.It is the man in the street that will feel the pinch, the most.

The comments made by various ministers and those in government on the state of the economy are at odds with the increasingly gloomy picture.The falling export trades and decline in GDP in the fourth-quarter of 2008 was an indication that all is not well with the economy. Other than saying Malaysia will not be in a recession they have not provided concrete proof and detailed explanation why they have concluded so and how we are insulated and spared from the economic crisis.Is Malaysia really that insular?

This government gives the impression of being in office but not in control of the economy.It has probably fallen for the theory of some smart economists that the Asian economies have 'decoupled' from the United States and would not be affected by any downturn in the US.This kind of generalisation is not only untrue but can have dangerous consequence to those who believe in it.Our leaders appeared to be victims of this theory. 

Rating Agency Malaysia (RAM) Chief Economist Dr Yeah Kim Ling says that domestic demand could help offset the decrease in exports.This is the kind of economists that never do their home work and would certainly make the government very happy with their paintings of rosy picture.It also tells a lot about our very own credit rating agencies and so-called experts, can only open their mouth after other foreign credit rating agencies revised their figures.

What would Malaysian consumers do with billion dollars worth of electronics items like semi-conductors, computer chips and other high-technology products, they certainly can't eat them.

With recession in the US, the first industry to be hit would be the electronic industry which export substantially to the US markets. Most are owned by American-based companies that set up manufacturing facilities here.They would certainly cut down production and in some cases shut down completely if the economic crisis in the US is severe and dragged on longer than expected.

In 2006 Malaysia exported MR170.80 billion to the US out of a total export of RM589 billion.Majority were electronic items.In fact the export figure should be more if those going through Singapore for re-export to the US were taken into consideration.What domestic demand that Dr Yeah can think of that can fulfill the shortfalls in exports?

How could an economy like Malaysia with the US as its largest trading partner in export trades can be 'decoupled' from the effect of a recession in the US? With less economic activities in the US the demands for goods would decline resulting in drastic drop in our exports which would trigger a decline in GDP growth, higher unemployment and reduced consumer's spending. The prices of other commodities like palm oil,rubber and crude oil had spiralled downward with huge reduction in prices.The price of crude is currently around $36 per barrel and may even go below the next threshold level of $30 per barrel within the 1st and 2nd Qtr.Palm oil is currently selling around MR1500 per ton.

Just because we were not affected by the financial meltdown in the US doesn't mean we will be spared from the effect of the recession.These are separate issues altogether.

The financial meltdown in the US did not affect our banking system because there were very little transactions between Malaysian banks and  US banks/financial institutions. Malaysian banks did not buy substantial amount of financial papers from US banks and investment houses.

The economic recession is a different ball game.As long as we have substantial exports to the US, if they sneezed, we sure to catch the flu.

I have in my article 'Recession Scenarios For Malaysia' predicted real GDP growth rate ranging from 2% down to negative territory, while the government gave an over-ambitious rate of 3.5% and the EIU (Economist Intelligence Unit) gave 3.1%, the same as Citigroup Global Market.

Of late EIU has revised its figure down to 1.5% and Citigroup down to 0.5%.

The Malaysian government haven't come up with any revision yet and probably wouldn't because they have drowned in their own intelligence.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Judging Najib

Hantu Laut

Kuala Terengganu (KT), the last time I was there must be over twenty years ago when it was still a sleepy little town and the Primula Hotel just open its doors for the first time.

Terengganu and Kelantan share some similarity with Sabah. Facing the South China Sea, somehow,blessed these three states with some of the nicest beaches and coral reefs in the country.Similarly, they have also been thorns in the BN's flesh before, for being the only states that ever fell to the oppositions, long before the March 8 General Elections.

Kelantan has always been a PAS stronghold and the people have no love lost with UMNO.Kelantanese are rare breed among all Malays and are the most parochial and conservative.It is also the only state where the Chinese are very assimilated with local Malays, speaking the lingua franca, which is the Kelantanese Malay and conspicuously adopting some Malay culture and only practice the Chinese culture with less conspicuousness.Not unlike Indonesia, but very unlike the rest of Malaysia, sometimes, it is difficult to tell a Malay from a Chinese just by listening to his speech in Kelantanese Malay.Most Indonesian Chinese speak Bahasa Indonesia  among themselves and even when they are overseas.Kelantan almost fell to the BN in the 2004 Elections.

Sabah became an opposition state in 1985 when personal clash between Harris Salleh, the then Chief Minister of Sabah resulted in him sacking Joseph Pairin Kitingan, a minister in his cabinet, who later formed a new party PBS (Parti Bersatu Sabah), contested and won the state elections.Pairin became chief minister and ruled Sabah as opposition under PBS for almost two terms.

Terengganu fell to PAS in 1999.Mahathir quickly abrogate the oil royalty payment to the state and stated that the Federal government was under no obligation to give the money to the state government.It was a kind of sanction against Terengganu for voting PAS.The state reverted to BN in 2004 when Malaysians were euphoric about Badawai's clean image and gave him a thumping victory at the polls. The people had high expectations that 'Mr Clean' as he used to be popularly known would bring, as promised, reforms and clean up the administration of corruptions and abuse of power.That failed promise would cost him dearly.The euphoria turned to disgust. The thumping victory he got in 2004 turned out to be the biggest embarrassment for the BN in the 2008 General Elections.It lost its two-thirds majority, lost 5 states to the oppositions and revived the political career of Anwar Ibrahim.

Abdullah is not by any definition cut from the same cloth as former strongman and former Prime Minister Mahatir Mohammad.After 22 years of Mahathir's autocratic ways Malaysians are not used to his meekly style.His weak leadership, inconsistencies and wanting to please everybody took a heavy toll on his leadership and personality.He was eventually pressured to step down by his own party and hand over the reins to his deputy in a transition deal that will see his exit as PM and President of the party in March 2009.

Can Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak restore BN's former glory ?

The testing ground for Najib's future as Prime Minister and the future of UMNO would be Kuala Terengganu.If UMNO wins the by-election on the 17th of this month than we can safely agree with former PM Mahathir than it was Abdullah's leadership that was the cause of BN poor showing in the March 2008 Elections.If UMNO loses, than it, maybe, sayonara for the party in the next general elections, unless Najib can quickly initiates reforms expected by the people.

The loss of Permatang Pauh to Anwar Ibrahim should not be used as a barometer to gauge Najib's and UMNO's popularity.It has always been Anwar's stronghold and has not wavered since the day he was thrown in prison.The fact is, his popularity actually rose while he was in prison.No matter what muck you made out of him, Anwar Ibrahim is still very popular among the youths and this group now holds the majority in the electoral votes.

They see in Anwar the embodiment of a new Malaysia, one that is free of corruptions and abuse of power.A perception that may not necessary hold water.

Although, I wouldn't exactly equate it to be the same, the misreading of Pak Lah was probably one of the best examples of "Judging a book by its cover",  even the man nearest to him have admitted he made a mistake choosing him and had soured the relationship to become his biggest opponent.

In the March 2008 Elections, UMNO won the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat on a wafer-thin majority against PAS. The Chinese votes probably tipped the scale in UMNO's favour.There appears to be equal division of the Malay votes between UMNO and PAS and the minuscule Chinese votes had become crucial for both political parties.The Chinese in KT had become the balancing power and kingmaker.Can Najib entice the Chinese to vote for UMNO's candidate Wan Ahmad Farid Salleh, reputedly to be very arrogant and unpopular?

Najib himself carry the same baggage tag.Not only the 'sombong' tag but also excess baggage, which would not endear him to the Terengganu voters. Anwar's PKR is trying very hard to drag his name through the mire by reminding the voters of his association with the murdered Mongolian model Althantuya Sariibuu, an allegation that was never proven but stays on as ammunition in the opposition's camp.If that's not enough, his image took an even more vile impression by his wife's lack of social skills.Grace may not be in every woman's makeup, it's partly nature, partly nurture. Social graces and etiquette are certainly nurtured.

It appears that Najib is going all out to win this battle.It was reported  that he was dishing out humongous amount of contracts to small-time Malay contractors through a method he called 'lucky draw' which he claimed "a world first" He said"In this lucky draw, every one wins.Every one gets a contract".He further reiterates that there will be more projects if UMNO won the by-election.

The contracts valued between RM30,000 to RM200,000 were distributed at random to contractors by bringing them on stage to click on a computer.The computer randomly picked the contract.No vetting and no question asked.Not to worry, no need to check the background of those so-called contractors, most of the contracts would eventually land in the hands of the China men.With a huge war chest, it would be hard to break the BN's money bag.Asia Sentinel has the report here.

It would be a neck to neck race to the finishing line and PAS seems to be the favourite among Pakatan supporters, punters and the blogging fraternity, but Najib might just pull this one off.

Winning the KT by-election would be his saving grace.Do not rule out possibility of the Malays returning to the fold.