Barisan Nasional (BN) Social Political Buzz & Bulls

Breaking up Sime Darby

A Question of Business
By P. GUNASEGARAM

IT was due to the advantages of size and economies of scale that Sime Darby and other companies in the Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) stable notably Guthrie and Golden Hope decided to merge some three years ago to form what would be for some time the largest company by value on the local bourse.

It was knocked off that top perch as the market downgraded the share following massive losses at its energy and utility division which gobbled up all the great profits made at its other five divisions – plantations, property, motor, industrial and healthcare.

Yesterday, there seemed to be some support for the share price when its new CEO Datuk Mohd Bakke Salleh announced that the six divisions would soon be put under six different companies with their own boards and corporate structure.

The billion-ringgit question is whether this is a prelude to the effective de-merger of the entity barely three years after they came together and whether Sime Darby should undertake it.

It is clear that the benefits of merger have so far not outweighed the disadvantages. But that is due to a problem of the management, not necessarily the structure.

But if Malaysian companies continue to be devoid of adequate management depth and expertise, it might be better to break the company up rather than risk the whole because of some of the parts.

Sometimes, like now, the sum of the parts is greater than the whole because the whole is being dragged down too much by the losses at one. But at other times, when synergy really works, the whole can become more valuable than the some of the parts.

In Sime Darby’s case it is very clear what happened. The merger brought about a huge conglomerate with great financial prowess – one which could and did take a RM2bil hit and still standing on its feet.

Ideally, that kind of prowess should have been used to get itself good contracts with decent margins. But instead, the strength of Sime Darby was used to get into projects in which it had limited or no expertise – big mistake.

Instead of synergy creating value, we had massive destruction.

Paradoxically, the very size, which was the intention of the merger, got Sime Darby into problems because a relatively much smaller division took risks out of all proportion to its minnow size.

If energy and utilities had been a company listed on its own, would this have happened? Probably not, because no one would have given it a job that big based on its value. And if it had goofed, it would have been only that single company which would have been affected.

Perhaps, seven tenths of Sime Darby’s earnings in a good year come from plantations – that’s where its strength is. The plantations company will still be the largest such company in the world even if it is carved out of Sime Darby and there can still be all the economies of scale to be achieved.

There is a case for keeping plantations and property together because of the obvious synergies that they have – valuable plantation land can become even more valuable when they are used for property development using in-house expertise.

The details of de-merger can be worked out.

It will not necessarily be detrimental to Sime Darby – it could even be good for it, especially in the absence of a strong central core of management at HQ who can value-add the way a conglomerate like General Electric can. But in the absence of that strong central core, there is little reason for keeping Sime Darby a conglomerate.

Certainly, breaking up Sime Darby would cost considerable pain initially but the gain would be a reduction of risk for the better performing units which will get an enhanced value if spun out of the group while the poorer ones will have to stand on their own two feet to get by instead of depending on the mother ship.

But it would take a brave CEO to do that because basically, he will be working himself out of a job. Over to you, Datuk Bakke.

● Managing editor P Gunasegaram constantly reminds himself that up to three quarters of mergers destroy value.

Top Models del mundo, las mejores fotos

Top Models del mundo, las mejores fotos

Top Models del mundo, las mejores fotos

Top Models del mundo, las mejores fotos



Woes that cannot be abandoned

AT YOUR SERVICE
By DATUK AHMAD KABIT

ahmadkabit@kpkt.gov.my

Moves to reduce the number of abandoned housing projects have been established by the Housing and Local Government Ministry through the National Housing Department.

PRIVATE abandoned housing projects have brought substantial adverse and profound implications to house buyers and the Government.

The Housing and Local Government Ministry (MHLG) through the National Housing Department (NHD) have instituted several initiatives to reduce the number of private abandoned housing projects.

Most of the abandoned housing projects are a result of mismanagement, mismatched development components, wrong creation and fraud by the housing developers.

As of June 30, 2010, there are 423 problematic private housing projects that are being monitored by MHLG in peninsular Malaysia compared to the 2,175 projects, which are progressing well.

From the said 423 projects, 41 (9.7%) have been declared delayed, 231 (54.6%) ailing and 151 (35.7%) abandoned. We have formed labs to work on a new mechanism to minimise failures of housing projects.

Further, from proposals that emanated from the Special Task Force to Facilitate Business (Pemudah), we formed a Special Task Force to Revive Abandoned Housing Projects.

This task force is headed by the Chief Secretary to the Government with committee members comprising senior government officials from the relevant government agencies as well as key private sector personnel, who are stakeholders in the local housing industry.

The task force has been instrumental in reducing the number of abandoned projects as well as reviewing policies, laws and regulation in relation to housing projects.

This year alone, we reduced the number of abandoned projects by 30, meeting our set target. This, however, does not entirely resolve the problem of careless developers.

In taking those responsible to task, MHLG has implemented stiffer action by compounding and prosecuting errant developers.

In 2009, a total of 586 notices of compound were issued to 545 developers for various offences ranging from failure to submit progress reports under section 7(f) of the Housing Development (Control & Licensing) Act 1966 [Act 118], failure to submit audited financial reports under section 7(e) of Act 118 and other related offences.

Between 2005 and 15 May 2010, the amount of compounds collected by the MHLG amounted to RM6,665,800.

Besides this, a total of 1,185 cases were registered in court for prosecution of offences under Act 118 such as undertaking housing projects without a license, failure to comply with the award from the Tribunal For Homebuyers Claim, failure to pay the compound and other offences committed under Act 118.

In addition to the compounding and prosecution, MHLG has blacklisted errant developers. As of May 30, 2010, 983 companies and 3,676 members of the Board of Directors were blacklisted.

The blacklisting was carried out due to reasons such as housing developers who are involved with abandoned housing projects, those who failed to comply with the award from the Tribunal For Homebuyers Claim and those who failed to pay the compound for the offence committed.

It was also done for developers involved with the ailing projects and those who had been convicted of an offence under Act 118 with a fine of more than RM10,000.

The MHLG has also established mechanisms for the monitoring and enforcement of housing projects delayed, ailing and abandoned.

Among the monitoring mechanisms that have been implemented included the developer must submit a progress report two times per year or at a frequency to be determined by the Controller of Housing in accordance with section 7(f) of Act 118, increased visits to the project sites and premises for projects that have been identified as problematic projects.

Developers must also submit audited annual financial report to ensure that accounts of the developer and the Housing Development Account (HDA) are correctly and properly maintained besides meeting with default developers to identify problems and solutions.

We are taking action to strengthen the effectiveness of existing enforcement and monitoring mechanisms such as improving the reporting of 7(f) under Act 118 with additional information by providing financial details of the HDA transactions.

In addition, the frequency of reporting the progress of the projects would be increased from two times to four times a year.

The developer is also required to provide an additional report, which is related to the work schedule of the project and the projected cash flow.

Some initiatives undertaken include visiting project sites within two months after the license is issued to housing developers for early monitoring, taking action against professionals such as lawyers, auditors, architects, engineers and others who have committed offences under Act 118 and displaying statistics and the status of abandoned housing project on MHLG’s website periodically for the buyer’s information and awareness.



Zero Tolerance Against Racist Remarks: PM

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The Government has zero tolerance against racist remarks by anyone and will take action against such culprits, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

"Our stand is not to tolerate racist remarks by anyone. Action will be taken against them.

"Unity is very important as part of our nation building," Najib said Friday during a dialogue session with the youths at the Barisan Nasional Youth Lab programme here.

Najib, however, added that alleged racist remarks must first be investigated before action was taken.

"We must adopt zero tolerance for those who play up such issues but we must check the facts first," he said.

Najib was responding to concerns from the floor of recent racially-based remarks made by two school principals against the Chinese and Indian communities.

To a question, Najib said education was a key factor in ensuring that civil servants did not make racist or insensitive remarks.

"We must educate civil servants to understand and appreciate the 1Malaysia concept. Given time, the majority of them will be on board (with the 1Malaysia concept). But action will be taken against those who make racist remarks," he added.

Barisan Youth chairman Khairy Jamaluddin presented the Youth Lab report. More than 7,500 youths had been engaged in formulating the ideas since March.

On the lab's suggestion to amend the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 to allow students to be involved in politics, Najib said he was still open to the idea as long as it brought more good than harm.

"I am still thinking about it. I am still open but we have to debate on the pros and cons so that we can make the right decision.

"My desire is to see university students focus on academic excellence and not be engrossed with the politicking process. I am in favour of healthy politics but not if the process is abused," he added.

On the Lab's call to amend the Internal Security Act (ISA) to ensure it was not abused, Najib said the dyas of "scare politics" or using the ISA to wield power and show that one was in full control were gone.

"Misusing the ISA is counter-productive and will only cause people to be more angry and have more hatred towards the ISA," he added.

He said the era of "Government knows best" was over, adding that the 21st century called for the contestation of ideas from the people.

"It is about using your intellect and communicating and influencing people with ideas and not by using power in an arbitrary manner. It is harder work as this means we must use our brains," he said in his speech.

He also agreed to the Lab's suggestion for a special 1Malaysia Fund to support youth programmes that encouraged inter-racial relationships.

"It can be done in the short term. I will find the mechanism to do so," he said.

Najib also supported the idea by the lab to have a minimum wage for certain sectors, adding that they were currently formulating a mechanism between employers, workers and the Government.

To a question on press freedom, Najib said the media had more latitude today and were given more space. But he said they must be very careful in reporting, to ensure the truth was not twisted and racial flames were not ignited.

Last Updated (Saturday, 28 August 2010 08:12)

Kudus Suit Againts MPAJ Rejected, Dismissal Valid, Court Rules

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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27 (Bernama) — The High Court here today ruled that the dismissal of enforcement director Capt (Rtd) Abdul Kudus Ahmad by the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) seven years ago is valid.

Justice Noor Azian Shaari dismissed with costs Abdul Kudus”s suit against the MPAJ over his dismissal by the council”s disciplinary board on June 11, 2003.

She said the dismissal letter was valid and that the MPAJ had the right to terminate his service.

Justice Noor Azian said that in coming to the ruling, she was bound by two Federal Court cases on the termination clause of the employment agreement, which stated that an employer had the right to terminate the service of an employee with reasonable notice.

"The plaintiff (Abdul Kudus) is not entitled to question the motive of the defendant (MPAJ) because he entered into the agreement voluntarily,” said Justice Noor Azian.

Three witnesses testified at the hearing namely Abdul Kudus, who was the sole witness from the plaintiff”s side, and MPAJ human resources officer Norlela Kamsi and secretary Abdul Hamid Hussin.

On June 7, 2006, Abdul Kudus filed a suit over his dismissal saying it was invalid and unlawful.

He claimed that he had entered into an agreement with MPAJ to be employed as an enforcement officer for three years from Jan 15, 2001 but that the disciplinary board had terminated his service “after considering hearsay evidence”, claiming that a minister had slandered him in the local dailies.

Abdul Kudus, who claimed that he was not given a chance to mitigate, wanted the court to declare that he was an enforcement officer and was entitled to all backdated wages and benefits as well as general damages.

MPAJ defended that the dismissal was done according to the law.

On June 30 last year, the Ampang Sessions Court sentenced Abdul Kudus, 47, to a total of 11 years and 10 months” jail and imposed a RM370,000 fine on 24 counts of receiving bribes totalling RM59,000.

The Shah Alam High Court is set to decide on his appeal on Sept 2.

Classic Court Proceedings Showcasing Malaysian Best ...

MACC Lawyer Datuk Abdul Razak Musa cross examining renowned Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand.


Part 1


Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8


Olga Lydia, Sexy Bikini Olga Lydia, Sexy Bikini
Olga Lydia, Sexy Bikini Olga Lydia, Sexy Bikini

Foto Sexy Olga Lydia with Bikini

Diva: Dinda Kirana



Name : Dinda Kirana Sukmawati
or more knows as Dinda Kirana
Born : Tasikmalaya, West Java, April 30, 1995

Dinda Kirana is an actress of Indonesia. She is widely known through the soap opera Pupa.

Dinda career in the entertainment world when she was getting the overall champion race Notices Star Television.

In Jakarta, Dinda had played in many soap operas and FTV title, at the age of 9 years Dinda has successfully played a more or less in 36 titles Soap operas and FTV.


Foto Dinda Kirana


Poto Dinda Kirana


Photo Dinda Kirana

Dinda Kirana

The main role was obtained through the soap opera One Uncle Three Nephew, and FTV Girl Chat.

Dinda's name began to fame in the entertainment world with his role as Bebi, beautiful children, coquettish, quiet, and spoiled .. through his acting in the latest soap opera that is "cocooning" is, Dinda had won fame in the entertainment world.

Year 2004 overall champion Dinda get Star Television Contest Reserved. After that Dinda from Tasikmalaya, moved to Jakarta and stayed at the Capital.


MAIS To Send Warning To Serdang MP


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The Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) will send a warning notice to Serdang Member of Parliament Teo Nie Ching, who was reported to have delivered a 'ceramah' or talk in the praying area of Surau Al-Huda in Kajang Sentral, last Sunday.

Mais chairman Datuk Mohamad Adzib Mohd Isa in a statement Friday that Teo's action had caused the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah to get upset and angry to the extent of ordering Mais to take immediate and stern action against the management of the surau.

Hence, Mohamd Adzib said Mais had decided to take over the management of the surau with immediate effect.

"Mais also wants to remind all non-Muslim politicians not to repeat a similar offence, to be sensitive to the feelings of Muslims, and show respect to the Sultan's decree to uphold the sanctity of mosques and surau in Selangor," he said.

Local newspapers on Friday quoted a blog, http://anginperubahan.blogspot.com, that Teo had entered the praying area of the surau during the ceremony to present aid to Pas members last Sunday.

The blog also had Teo's picture standing in front of the praying room wearing a 'kebaya' without a headscarf.

Last Updated (Saturday, 28 August 2010 08:09)

Defending NEP, Questioning Meritocracy

A definitive piece. This blogger irregularly because he believes in a very, very well-researched posting that makes each one worth the wait. Questioning the NEP? not only re-educates the like P. Gunasegaran and Nazir Razak on how this country owes much of its successes to the NEP but at the same time points out the not-so-obvious flaws in the pro-meritocracy arguments of the Art Haruns (re Eh, Tun Dah Lupa?) among us.

Jebat Must Die does not ridicule them or insult any of them or us, he's just reminding us that the NEP was put there to create a level-playing field for a lop-sided multiracial country that was at the edge of chaos and racial strife. And that it hasn't exhausted its usefulness.
Letter & Opinion From Joe Public

Kampung Baru Alaf Baru

Kampung Baru has always interested me. For the unacquainted, it’s a Malay village situated in the heart of the city of Kuala Lumpur.

So there are traditional wooden Malay houses with chickens running around, and in the background are concrete and steel skyscrapers.

I like the juxtaposition of urban modern and rural traditional that Kampung Baru has. And so what do I decide to do?

Yes, folks, I decide to grab my video camera, drive down to Kampung Baru and shoot myself a documentary film solo-journalism style!

I wanted to find a couple of ordinary folks who live in Kampung Baru and just chat with them and observe their lives.

Kampung Baru is a traditional kampung surrounded by concrete buildings and skyscrapers.
The locals were very friendly and accommodating. Especially when they knew I was shooting a film.

Everyone seemed to have a story to tell and I finally settled on a retiree by the name of Norisah Abu Bakar. Norisah has lived her whole life in Kampung Baru.

Her mother was from Kampung Baru and so was her grandmother. The house she is living in has been around for generations.

The second person I decided to include in my documentary was Abdul Halim Jamaludin. Halim is a local but now lives somewhere else.

However, he still has ties with Kampung Baru since he now runs the family business, which most people know as Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa.

The last character was filmmaker Liew Seng Tat. Although he is not a local, he is from Jinjang which used to be a new village... a kampung baru of sorts. So I thought this was apt.

He was also behind the Projek Angkat Rumah, where he built a traditional Malay house and organised a gotong royong to move it as an art project.

Today, Kampung Baru locals are fiercely proud of their tradition and culture and are worried about its preservation as a traditional kampung.

Everyone I spoke to was very encouraging towards the documentary and the most common response I got was, “Rakam! Jangan tak rakam! Tak lama lagi tak ada apa nak rakam!”

Most of the youth who grow up in Kampung Baru today feel that they are city kids and not budak kampung. And this represents the future I think.

They want to progress and they want to be living modern lives in a modern city. But this also represents a conflict.

Fast modernisation has resulted in unemployment and low wages. Social problems plague the area, as is the case with many urban residential areas.

But then again, many successful individuals, such as entrepreneurs, intellectuals and politicians, have come out of Kampung Baru.

When I set out to make the documentary, I wanted to learn and try to understand Kampung Baru a bit more.

Now that the documentary is complete, I know I’ve learnt more, but to understand it fully is a bit daunting. So I just watched, listened and observed.

* To watch, listen and observe the 73-minute documentary “Kampung Baru Alaf Baru”, tune in to ntv7 this National Day at 10:30am. Log on to www.fatbidin.com for more information.

Zan Azlee is a documentary filmmaker, journalist, writer, New Media practitioner and lecturer. He runs Fat Bidin Media www.fatbidin.com

Youths give Najib their views on various govt policies


United youth: Some of the participants of the Barisan Nasional Youth Lab Report presenting Najib with a Hari Raya greeting card in Kuala Lumpur Friday. Looking on is Khairy Jamaluddin (fourth from right).

KUALA LUMPUR: Youths have spoken, and they are not mincing their words.

From amending the Internal Security Act (ISA) to the rights of university students, they want action to be taken without delay.

A host of suggestions were presented to the Prime Minister during a townhall meeting yesterday via the Barisan Nasional Youth Lab Report, which was presented by Barisan Youth chairman Khairy Jamaluddin.

More than 7,500 youths from various backgrounds had been engaged in formulating the ideas since March.

The idea was first mooted by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in February this year.

Suggestions were also obtained via focus groups and social media networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, Khairy said.

The lab focused on the economy, quality of life, education, national unity and democracy.

In presenting the report, Khairy said there was a need for more freedom of choice of study subjects and a change in the way students were streamlined for their studies to add value to job requirements.

An independent commission should be set up to look into sectoral minimum wages and for job advertisements to state salary scales to enable better choices, Khairy said.

Reproductive education, he said, should also be enhanced in schools.

On the ISA, Khairy said lab results showed that youths wanted it amended with more power being given to the Detention Advisory Board instead of the Home Minister.

The Board, he said, should also have the power to take cases to court if they disagreed with the Minister.

In rejecting two-year renewals of detention, he said: “Set a maximum detention period and once reached, the detainees should be tried or released.”

On the Universities & University Colleges Act 1971, Khairy said it must be amended to allow university students to be active in politics as they must be “free to choose”.

Speaking to reporters later, Khairy said a website would be set up to monitor how many suggestions were implemented by the Government and its rate of response. - The Star

The parallels of Wildlife and DAP


The Star Probe team had interviewed Anson Wong sometime back, and in that open interview Anson Wong ( who was handed a 71 Month Jail term and USD60,000 fine) had admitted that although he was involved in the smuggling of wildlife previously, he has turned the corner and now operates a legitimate business 'above board'.

Clearly, his reference of above board is different from those who used the term to signify their coming clean.

Anson Wong was arrested yesterday in Sepang International Airport for attempting to smuggle 90 snakes of various species.

What is the significance in Malaysia?

Tourism Minister Ng Yen Yen had openly said that Malaysia was in need of stronger and clearer legislation to prevent the smuggling of wildlife.

In Malaysia, the chinese are fondly said to be connoisseurs of exotic meats, with a saying that 'The Chinese will eat anything with its back facing the sun'. There are several hotspots in Kuala Lumpur that serves up exotic dishes, and do the customers question the source of meat?

It is thanks to these demands that enable people like Anson Wong to thrive in the trafficking of illegal wildlife. The poaching of endagered wildlife in Malaysia must stop, and if there is a political will, there must be a way.

Anson Wong typically represents chinese businessmen in many aspects. They seem to be oblivious to the surroundings and have no qualms in making money out of anything. Where is their conscience?

Where is the conscience of doing things out of convenience and making profit from it?

DAP seems to know that already. They are after all in a partnership with PAS that shares only the will to stay in power, for their ideologies defer drastically, one for a secular nation and the other an ultra Islamic nation that even UMNO do not subscribe to.

One wonders, for how long will the chinese community bend over to see DAP go the distance. Are they all above board like Anson Wong?

‘Fall guy’ Tee out to clear name

KLANG: Former DAP stalwart Tee Boon Hock has vowed to go all out to prove his innocence and fight for his political survival even though his sacking has been upheld by the party leadership.

The former Klang municipal councillor said he had been victimised and betrayed in the support letter controversy.

“I have been treated unfairly and made to take all the blame. I still maintain that I am innocent of all allegations,” said Tee, claiming that he had been “politically destroyed” by some party leaders.

Tee was sacked by the DAP discplinary committee on Aug 1 for allegedly abusing his power and issuing support letters to obtain contracts for family and friends from the Klang Municipal Council (MPK). His sacking was upheld by the party’s central executive committee in a meeting on Thursday night.

Pandamaran assemblyman and Selangor exco member Ronnie Liu, who was also implicated in the issuance of these letters, was let off with a severe reprimand.

Asked on his next course of action, Tee said he was still loyal to DAP as it was a good party.

A top DAP leader, who declined to be named, said the CEC had rejected Tee’s appeal because he had lied that no support letters had been issued to his son’s company.

He added that party leaders did not buy Tee’s story that he was in the dark about his son’s involvement in the company.

He said Tee could have been suspended for about a year instead of being expelled if he had admitted to the wrongdoing and apologised.

Time on Malaysias New Journey

I am posting a Time magazine post on Malaysia, to be out in the next issue on 6th September 2010.

Malaysias New Journey

By Michael Schuman / Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia is that rare country with an unequivocal national narrative.
It goes something like this: Malaysias 28 million people, comprising
mainly Malays, Chinese and Indians, make up a moderate and modern
emerging democracy. Unlike members of other multiethnic countries,
they respect one anothers beliefs and values and share a commitment
to achieving prosperity. The official religion is Islam, but other
faiths are freely allowed and celebrated. This is one harmonious
place.

Much of that narrative is true but not all of it. Malaysias
economic miracle has stalled, and while the nation is, indeed,
somewhat pluralistic, it is no melting pot. Indeed, it is a society
where people define themselves first and foremost by race. (See
pictures of Islam in Asia.)

The countrys political leadership has in some respects reinforced
those ethnic identities. For the past 40 years, policymakers have
doled out special privileges in education and business to one
community: the majority Malays. The program is one of modern historys
greatest experiments in social engineering and possibly the worlds
most extensive attempt at affirmative action. But the policies have
also bred resentment among minorities, distorted the economy and
undermined the concept of a single Malaysian identity.

Now a movement is gaining strength to finally change the system and
its coming from the very top. Prime Minister Najib Razak, 57, has
surprised the country by advocating a fundamental reform of the
pro-Malay program first introduced, ironically, by his father, who was
Malaysias Prime Minister in the 1970s. Though the specifics of the
new policies remain hazy, Najibs intent is not. I want Malaysia to
be globally comp! etitive, he told TIME in an exclusive interview. For
that, we need to get every single Malaysian to be together.

Najibs proposals have simultaneously raised hopes, ire and fear. The
mere idea of changing the affirmative-action system has reopened old
wounds in Malaysian society and reactivated the long-running debate on
how best to fuse Malays, Chinese and Indians into one nation. The
direction Malaysia takes, moreover, has repercussions beyond its
shores. The issues raised by Najibs proposals are relevant to any
upwardly mobile developing economy, especially a multicultural one:
how to increase wealth and do so equitably. (Read Why the Honeymoon
is Over for Malaysias New PM.)

In confronting these sensitive challenges, Najib is taking enormous
political risks. The primary base of electoral support for Najibs
political party, the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), is
the Malay community, and altering decades-old perquisites could cause
voters to defect to the opposition. But Najib believes he has little
choice. If Malaysias economy is to compete with China, India and
other rapidly emerging neighbors, Najib sees no other route but
reform. The competition is much greater and some would describe it
even as cutthroat, Najib says. There is a realization that what has
worked in the past may not necessarily work in the future.

The Malay Card
Najib is facing the same dilemma his predecessors have since the
earliest days of Malaysian independence: balancing the perceived needs
of the Malays, both political and economic, with those of the country
as a whole. At the heart of the problem is the reverse-pyramid shape
of the Malaysian economy. Though the Malays and other indigenous
peoples, together known as bumiputra in Malay, make up about 60% of
the population, they have traditionally been poorer than the Chinese
and Indian immigrants, who have long dominated the nations business
and trade. After Kuala Lumpur was stru! ck by ra ce riots in 1969, a
shaken leadership determined that communal peace was impossible
without economic balance. The result was the New Economic Policy
(NEP), introduced in 1971, which aimed to raise the Malays share of
the economic pie. Malays were given preferential access to public
contracts and university scholarships. Any company listing on the
stock market had to sell 30% of its shares to bumiputra investors.
Though some measures have been softened or eliminated over the past
two decades, many pro-Malay privileges remain. Certain government
contracts are available only to bumiputra-controlled firms, for
example. Malays even receive special discounts on home purchases. The
affirmative-action program has become so ingrained in the Malaysian
psyche that it is akin to a national ideology.

It is also controversial. Critics contend that the pro-Malay program
too often benefits the connected few over its intended targets: the
poor and struggling. All car-import permits, for example, are awarded
to bumiputra-controlled firms, a policy intended to foster
entrepreneurs in the community. But government audits have revealed
that Malay businessmen with access to the permits sometimes sell them
to minority traders who dont at an instant profit. (The Ministry of
Trade and Industry, recognizing the problem, says it will phase out
the permit system by 2020.) Unfortunately, as [the NEP] was
implemented over time, some of the zealots, politicians and
bureaucrats included, tended to become more racial and emphasized more
on the people who have relationships with them, says Razaleigh
Hamzah, an UMNO dignitary and former Finance Minister. Thats where
it went wrong.

Despite four decades of special aid, 3 in 4 of the poorest people in
Malaysia are still bumiputra. Adli Ahmad Ghazi, the Malay co-owner of
Malaysian Defensive Driving & Riding, a 70-employee driving school in
Kuala Lumpur, complains that the pro-Malay policies do! little to help
a small businessman like himself. In 2008, Adli tried to get financing
from three agencies tasked with supporting Malay businessmen or small
enterprises, but got rejected. When he has to deal with the
bureaucracy, Adli says, he faces the same red tape as any other
businessman. It took him two years to buy a parcel of land for his
company from the local government. The [NEP] rules dont really apply
to people on the ground, Adli says. They say the NEP would help the
Malays, but it only helps a small percentage of the Malays.

Comfort Zone
Affirmative action may not be helping the overall Malaysian economy
either. Though Malaysia has been among the best-performing economies
in the world since World War II and boasts a spectacular record of
improving human welfare the percentage of the population living in
absolute poverty has plummeted from 50% in 1970 to less than 4% today
the story is now stuck on the same chapter. Malaysia has fallen into
what is called the middle-income trap. Having elevated itself to a
comfortable level of income, Malaysia has been unable to take that
next leap into the realm of advanced economies. While growth has
slowed, Malaysians have watched other fast-paced Asian rivals zip by.
In 1970, the gross national income per capita of South Korea, at $260,
was below Malaysias $380, but by 2009, South Koreas was almost three
times larger, at $19,830 vs. $7,230, according to the World Bank. (See
pictures of Malaysia.)

Malaysias struggles reflect those facing Southeast Asia as a whole.
The regions economies once seemed among the worlds most promising
emerging markets, but in recent years, progress in almost all of them
has been stymied by upheaval and poor governance. Thailand remains
rudderless as its fragile democracy has degenerated into perpetual
factional strife. The promise of the Philippines remains unrealized as
its feeble government has continually failed to enact the tough
re! forms ne eded to turn around the underperforming economy. Indonesia
is only now returning to its place as one of the worlds premier
emerging economies after a decade of political uncertainty scared off
foreign investors.

If it is able to change its economic system, Malaysia could show its
neighbors the way forward. Malaysias essential problem is that its
growth model export-oriented manufacturing, often by
foreign-invested factories has become mismatched with its needs.
Malaysia must become more innovative if its rapid development is to
continue. But thats not happening. Private investment has fallen from
a third of GDP in the mid-1990s to only about 10% today,
labor-productivity growth has slowed, and R&D spending remains anemic.
Instead of developing new products with highly skilled technicians,
Malaysias manufacturing sector still too often assembles goods
designed by others, using imported technology and low-skilled foreign
workers. There is a growing realization that Malaysias relative
position compared to other countries that are catching up very quickly
is not improving, says Philip Schellekens, a senior economist at the
World Bank. Relative to where they want to be, there is still a long
road. (Read Fortress Asia: Is a Powerful New Trade Bloc Forming?)

Though it would be incorrect to blame the pro-Malay policies for the
economys woes Malaysia did, once, achieve remarkable rates of
growth with the perquisites in place they are nevertheless dampening
business sentiment, scaring off talent, curtailing investment and
stifling domestic competition. Chua Tiam Wee, president of the SMI
Association of Malaysia, a small-enterprise organization, believes
relaxing the NEP preferences would create a more level playing field
on which the most capable firms could advance, making the economy more
merit-based and upgrading Malaysian industry. The affirmative-action
policy is a source of a lot of distortions to the economi! c system ,
Chua says. By limiting the opportunities available to minorities, the
NEP is likely contributing to a brain drain, in which some of the
countrys most talented people choose to work elsewhere. The
government estimates that more than half of the 350,000 Malaysians
working abroad have a college education. Stphane Garelli, director of
the World Competitiveness Center at IMD, a business school in
Switzerland, believes that the affirmative-action regulations have
made Malaysia less attractive to foreign investors. Malaysias
bargaining power to put such restrictions on foreign investors is not
as big as other nations, he says.

Chinese and Indian entrepreneurs in Malaysia certainly believe the
pro-Malay policies cap their business opportunities. Pardip Kumar
Kukreja, the Malaysian-Indian chairman of Grand Paradise Holdings, a
Kuala Lumpur based firm that manages and owns hotels and operates
travel agencies, laments that he cant get access to lucrative
contracts providing travel services to the government due to
regulations that favor Malay-owned enterprises. Removing such
restrictions, he says, can act as an incentive to invest. Kukreja
recently decided to launch an Internet-based business to sell travel
services worldwide because Najibs administration liberalized
affirmative-action rules for the tourism sector last year. There are
many things wed like to do, which we hope well be able to do in the
near future, he says. To a small and medium entrepreneur, he wants
to make his own decisions.

New and Untested
Najib is convinced the old ways must go. The centerpiece of his
economic reform program, introduced in March, is called the New
Economic Model (NEM). The plan envisions reducing red tape to
encourage more private investment and internal competition, decreasing
the state role in the economy and improving the education system to
produce more skilled workers. For us to move up a few notches, we
have to addres! s the st ructural problems, Najib says. We cannot be in
denial. Most of all, the NEM also proposes a major reform of
affirmative-action policies to phase out remaining racial quotas and
focus efforts on uplifting the poorest 40% of the population
irrespective of race. Says Najib: I dont want anyone to feel that
theyve been left out or marginalized.

There are urgent political reasons he feels that way. UMNO, which has
ruled Malaysia in coalition since its independence from Britain in
1957, lost ground to opposition parties in a hotly contested 2008
general election, and Najib is faced with the daunting prospect of
expanding UMNOs political base outside its core Malay constituency.
The NEM is an effort by Najib to turn stodgy UMNO into the party of
change and outmaneuver its rivals. Some powerful voices within UMNO
are egging on Najib to push his reforms. We have to be bold and brave
to ensure [our] long-term competitiveness, says Khairy Jamaluddin, an
UMNO member of Parliament. (Read Will Sodomy Charges End Malaysias
Opposition?)

Yet Najib has also come under pressure from conservative elements in
the Malay community to hold back. The bumiputra are still lagging
behind, complains Ibrahim Ali, president of Malay nationalist
organization Perkasa. If the economy is not balanced, then everything
will lead to trouble. As a result, Najib doesnt have full support
from an UMNO worried about scaring off Malay voters. Najibs reform
program is a tough sell within the party, admits Khairy. There will
be people who resist the changes.

The split in UMNO reflects the greater divide within the Malay
community over the future of affirmative action. Some Malays believe
that they still dont possess the skills and resources to contend
against Chinese businessmen, making continued affirmative-action
policies indispensable. The program should stay in place and
improve, says Rizal Faris, president of the Penang Malay Chamber of
Commerc! e. What [officials] want to achieve is a level playing field
where all parties are able to compete on their merits, but we need to
ensure that the Malay community has been sufficiently skilled and
pulled up. But others believe the time has come for Malays to step up
and compete on their own, without special government aid. Akmal
Syahirah, a 21-year-old law student at the University of Malaya, says
that affirmative action should be eliminated, even though her family
has greatly benefited from it in the past. Her father acquired land to
produce palm oil through a pro-Malay development scheme, and her three
younger sisters received tuition for extra after-school studies. But
now, I think we need to change, she says. We cant just let Malays
stay in their comfort zone.

Balancing Act
Faced with such contending forces, Najib is trying to please
everybody. Affirmative action wont be eliminated entirely under the
NEM, but altered to weed out abusive practices, target money where it
is most needed and support the most worthy Malay businessmen, all the
while trying to open up opportunities for minorities. Najib sees no
contradiction in such a strategy. Affirmative action remains in
place, but the way it is carried out would be different, he says.
When it comes to helping the poor and the vulnerable groups, it
should be irrespective of race. But there are certain affirmative
actions which are still necessary, because the bumiputra are still
very much behind and they must be helped. We want to help those
bumiputra who are potential winners.

Even as he faces the daunting task of reforming Malaysia, Najib must
deal with the domestic and international fallout from the divisive
trial of Anwar Ibrahim, the oppositions most prominent leader. In
2008, only months after the oppositions electoral success, Anwar was
charged with sodomy, a serious crime in Malaysia. The trial has a dj
vu flavor. Anwar was convicted of sodomy in 2000 (and abu! se of po wer a
year earlier), but the ruling was overturned in 2004 and he was freed
after six years in prison. Anwar has pleaded not guilty to the latest
charge and attacked his trial as a politically motivated attempt to
discredit the opposition. The government denies that, saying the
courts have a duty to conduct a fair trial. Yet the case has tainted
Najibs administration. In a joint essay in the Wall Street Journal,
former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and former Deputy Secretary of
Defense Paul Wolfowitz wrote that Anwars trial threatens all those
in Malaysia who have struggled for a freer and more democratic
nation.

The biggest test for Najib still awaits. All eyes are watching for the
detailed policy prescriptions of Najibs NEM, which could be released
in October. Some Malaysia experts expect the final package to be
underwhelming. Najib doesnt have the strength to follow through,
whether politically or personally, says John Malott, a former U.S.
ambassador to Malaysia. Hes not a transformational figure. Najib
insists his critics underestimate him. I want to transform Malaysia,
Najib says. I want Malaysia to be a 21st century nation and I am
determined to do that. Malaysias future and new narrative
depends on it.

Monday, Sep. 06, 201


See What Pakatan Rakyat Gotta Say?

Discuss, debate… not threaten

Opinions abound and they are bound to hit some sensitive nerve. When it hits, there goes another police report. There goes another demand for an ISA arrest.

The right-wing group Perkasa has been at it for some time now, calling for various individuals to be arrested for challenging what the group considers as Malay rights. Leaders of MCA and MIC meanwhile have lodged police reports against Perkasa for calling for the abolition of vernacular schools. An Umno politician recently said that nobody should question the existence of these schools because the founding fathers had agreed to it — nobody should question it; neither such an ultimatum nor threat has any place in a democratic system that cherishes freedom.

Some debates are engaging in that there are outstanding ripostes to brilliant arguments as opposing sides try to outwit each other. An exploration of ideas happens along the way to awe both participants and spectators. They are well-researched and well-argued. Malaysia requires this kind of debate to take us the next step into the future confidently. We have the infrastructure and the institutions to take that step. What we lack is the culture. The exchange of threats reflects that.

The ones taking place in Malaysia are unimpressive by any measure. There is no witty riposte. There is no brilliant argument. There are just people who disagree with each other so badly that they want to silence the other. They are unable to conjure attractive thoughts to undermine the others’ arguments. They are not creative enough to convince the others and the spectators why they are right and the others are wrong. All they can muster is “shut up or else.”

Worse, some of these arguments are made by members of the ruling coalition. One would expect more from them, given that they are driving the car.

When an argument is really a thinly-veiled threat, it betrays something about it, or those who make it. It is a weakness of intellect or laziness in thoughts. It is so because the gears in their heads stop running and their muscles begin to flex. This is not the characteristic that we want in our leaders.

If this was the dominating atmosphere on the fringe, it could all be ignored safely. They can flex their muscle all they want in dark corners populated by cuckoos. But all this is happening in the centre of the public arena.

It is because it is taking place in the centre that this lamented trend cannot be tolerated. It creates a climate of fear which crowds freedom out from the centre.

No one in Malaysia needs any reminders that multiple issues need resolutions. These are old legacy issues and problems we inherited from our founding fathers.

None can claim to know what the eventual sustainable solutions are. What is true is that the way to us to begin to imagine those solutions is by being free to debate all issues with reason, not by resorting to threats.

Hafiz Noor Shams sometimes swears a little at maddruid.com

Jimena Navarrete , Miss Universe 2010

Jimena Navarrete , Miss Universe 2010

Miss Mexico Jimena Navarrete finally been crowned as Miss Universe 2010 , beating other finalists from Jamaica , the Philippines , Australia and Ukraine.Jimena Navarrete , Miss Universe 2010.

International wildlife smuggler held at KLIA

SEPANG: A man, believed to be international wildlife trader Anson Wong, has been detained at the KL International Airport following the seizure of more than 90 snakes from various species.

It is learnt that the man was in transit from Penang to Jakarta on Thursday when he was detained by Malaysia Airlines staff, who had been alerted after a piece of luggage was reported broken. The snakes were found inside the bag.


Letter & Opinion From Joe Public

Most globalised cities

More than half of the worlds population now lives in the cities . More people will live in them in future.

Foreign Policy publishes a list of the most global cities. For the 2010 ranking, Kuala Lumpur is on the list, ranked No. 48. It confirms that we are indeed in the middle income trap. Not a bad ranking, but not in the top either. A position sports people will term it as also-run.

The criteria used is not size alone. The publisher suys this regading the criteria used:

.

So what makes a Global City? Not size alone, thats for sure; many of the worlds largest megalopolises, such as Karachi (60), Lagos (59), and Kolkata (63), barely make the list. Instead, the index aims to measure how much sway a city has over what happens beyond its own borders its influence on and integration with global markets, culture, and innovation. To create this years rankings, we analyzed 65 cities with more than 1 million people across every region of the globe, using definitive sources to tally everything from a citys business activity, human capital, and information exchange to its cultural experience and political engagement. Data ranged from how many Fortune Global 500 company headquarters were in a city to the size of its capital markets and the flow of goods through its airports and ports, as well as factors such as the number of embassies, think tanks, political organizations, and museums. Taken together, a citys performance on this slate of indicators tells us how worldly or provincial it really is.

The seats of traditional political power arent necessarily the most global. Only four of the top 10 cities are national capitals. Washington comes in at No. 13. Beijing (15) edges out Berlin (16), which trounces Moscow (25). Two of the top 10 global cities are laws unto themselves, operating outside the jurisdiction of a separate national government (Hong Kong and Singapore). The sun set a half-century ago on the British Empire, and yet London continues to shine at No. 2. For now.

! Just a s ideline. I am fortunate that even though I am not rich, I have been to the top five cities listed, and 13 out of the top 15 ( I have not been to Chicago and Sidney). Not through any sponsored trips, all from my own travels Mind you.. No one would sponsor a free trip for someone who is attacking the policies of the government to be audited twice ( my clinic) in 2 months is considered good treatment already; they could have given me worse troubles. To think of it, I think I have lived a fairly good life, as a small man in the street who earns a decent living through my skill. But I do not gamble, do not smoke, drink occasionally on social functions, and every penny is saved and used for the family. Much more fortunate than a lot of people, and I do donate to charity. So I need to pay back to society to at least speak out for the small people; that is the answer i give to my wife when she sometimes asks me not to risk myself in speaking out.

RankCityRank by PopulationRank by GDP1New York622London2853Tokyo114Paris2065Hong Kong31146Chicago2547Los Angeles1238Singapore38239Sydney432410Seoul221911Brussels544812San Francisco461613Washington421014Toronto362015Beijing133316Berlin484617Madrid342218Vienna554019Boston411120Frankfurt642020Shanghai72122Buenos Aires111223Stockholm595224Zurich615825Moscow191326Barcleona373127Dubai564928Rome493729Amsterdam636030Mexico City5831Montreal443532Geneva656133Miami585433Munich351835Sao Paulo3936Bangkok324237Copenhagen605938Houston401739Taipei532640Atlanta391541Istanbul213042Milan523943Cairo173644Dublin625545New Delhi23246Mumbai42547Osaka16748Kuala Lumpur576549Rio de Janeiro142750Tel Aviv504051Manila153452Johannesburg454353Jakarta244754Bogota294555Caracas516256Nairobi476457Guangzhou273858Bangalore305359Lagos186360Karachi105061Ho Chi Minh City335662Shenzhen262863Kolkata84464Dhaka95065Chongqing2357
See What Pakatan Rakyat Gotta Say?

UMNO abusing raja, agama dan bangsa

A couple of days ago I posted UMNO made Chinese vernacular education popular. To continue my series of disproving popular socio-political myths, my new post talks about UMNO, yes, UMNO (and not others) abusing raja, agama dan bangsa.

It has also been published as a letter to Malaysiakini titled less pointedly as 'Agama, bangsa dan negara' - Umno-style.

********


A clarion call or a cry to rally the faithful to battle is made particularly so when a group is under siege. For years, UMNO used agama, bangsa dan negara (religion, race and nation) as the battle cry to marshal the Malays to its banner. It was UMNOs polemical postulating that no other factor could be more important than the protection of the Malays religion, race and nation, which of course could only be assured by UMNO.

But in reality the rousing ethno-religious alarm was exploited more to hide, gloss over or excuse away the UMNO-led governments lack of accountability, poor governance, indiscretion and plain corruption, proving Samuel Johnsons warning in 1774 that false use of the term patriotism would be the last refuge of the scoundrel.

Another word used in recent times by the same people with similar base intention has been Malay institute. The current Facebook support of school principal Siti Inshah Mansor, despite her outrageously vocal bigotry against her pupils, is a prime example of blind defence of a Malay institute.

In this notorious incident, we witness Muhyiddin Yassins absurd call for a committee to investigate a simple case of clear cut bigotry, so obvious its best left to the police to resolved (as was the issue of Penang mosque sermons). Additionally, the integrity of the committee has started off tainted when it included the Education Director who had already cleared Siti Inshah of any racist polemics. So dont blame cynical us if we see it as a heel dragg! ing tact ic to avoid arriving at the truth that a seditious crime had been committed.

And its precisely this refusal to act promptly and decisively, or to allow the police to act on it without political interference, that has given rise to the partisan speculations now raging on Facebook, only further inflaming the racist speculations. Even UMNO Youth Chief, Khairy Jamaluddin has mentioned the lack of prompt resolution as the cause of the Facebook war.

Other examples of rallying blindly to the defence of Malay institutions have been the automatic support given by some quarters to the questionable, worrying and indefensible conduct of the police force, MACC and some senior civil servants. The Chief Secretary to the cabinet was instrumental in defending the indefensible in a shameful case involving the last.

Then one day Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin made a stunning statement that required an immediate amendment to UMNOs battle cry. He declared himself a Malay first and a Malaysian only second, which effectively put paid to the relevance of the last component.

Perhaps to retain the nice ring of the tripodal mantra, the silent consent must have been to replace negara with raja. So we have seen lately, perhaps coincidentally perhaps not, a spate of UMNO accusations of lse majest against Pakatan-led state governments of Penang, Selangor, and once the Pakatan-ruled Perak. Even Pakatan in Johor was not even spared as the Barisan Nasional must be fearing Chua Jui Meng influencing the Chinese voters in the next election.

Raja, agama dan bangsa!

But if we carefully examine events and facts, the revelation would be that UMNO leaders, past and present, have collectively been the exclusive abuser of royalty, religion and race.

Lets examine the first, raja. One may accuse Karpal Singh of committing lse majest against the Perak Sultan but the DAP chairperson did not show any disrespect to the royal person. All he did was to lodge a legal suit based on a constitutional di! sagreeme nt with the Sultan's action, a legitimate pursuit ironically made possible by Dr Mahathir Mohamed when he was PM.

But what about this one - on 10 December 1992, Dr Affifuddin Omar, an UMNO man from Padang Terap, no doubt given the imprimatur by his party leaders, asked in Parliament:

"How can we continue to uphold rulers who are known to be robbers, adulterers, drunkards and kaki pukul (thugs)?" [...]

"They (the rulers) must be made to realize that they do not own this country. They are not Superman but placed on their thrones by the people. "The real power did not lie with them, but with us - the representatives of the people."

Which non could have said that and got away? None! Only UMNO and UMNO alone could have gotten away with its abuse of the raja whom they claim to defend today. Francis Bacon once said:
The zeal which begins with hypocrisy must conclude in treachery; at first it deceives, at last it betrays, but obviously UMNO has done it the other way around.

Then we come to agama. Lets not worry too much about corruption and un-Islamic practices over the last three decades. During the current and most holy month of Ramadan, we have already witnessed an astonishing series of lies emanating from some UMNO-linked Malay institutes. There was also a sinister attempt by a Muslim leader allied to UMNO to sell us the lie about a so-called new constitution that will disadvantage the Malay community, a man already notorious for his lying ways. And not too long ago we read of wild boar heads being cast into a mosque to ferment religious conflict. They had to be wild boars because only non-Muslims could openly purchase a pigs head.

And finally on bangsa we have Dr Mahathir, a man who served as PM for more than two decades with one singular aim, to build self esteem and confidence in the Malays to be competent and competitive. His noble obsession has been like the burden of Sinbad when he had the Old Man! of the Sea sitting on his shoulders.

Yet in one fell swoop he inexplicably destroyed his lifes efforts, when he declared that the merito-crats, the nons, are racists. Did he realize that his in-your-face message to the nons carried along with it another far more painful and devastating message?

He was essentially saying to the Malays that they werent up to meritocracy. Was he suggesting they are inferior and cannot compete against non-Malays on a level playing field? Perhaps he has implicitly suggested they ignore the examples of Malays like Razak, Dr Ismail, Hussein Onn, Ghazali Shafie and a host of other Malay giants. I wonder whether he excluded himself.

Yes, the man who would be the Moses of the Malays, leading them from the wilderness into a new Promised Land, he who wanted to remove the psychological crutches from them has changed his mind, no doubt implying to them to hang on to those props.

I am reminded of Marcus Antonius words about Brutus:

For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar's angel.
Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar lov'd him!
This was the most unkindest cut of all;
For when the noble Caesar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms,
Quite vanquish'd him: then burst his mighty heart.

Raja, agama dan bangsa? Yes, the raja had been resoundingly vilified, the tenets of agama totally and disrespectfully ignored, and the hearts of bangsa torn apart with the most unkindest cut of all - all by UMNO!

See What Pakatan Rakyat Gotta Say?

Do not PAS go, do not collect hudud

Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) Common Policy Framework (CPF) provides a reference for voters who want to find out what the informal coalition’s larger plan might be in its quest for Putrajaya. Considering the mismatched internal ideologies among the component parties — especially PAS in contrast to PKR and DAP — makes the CPF rather important.

With motivational underpinnings far from clear cut, the alliance remains primarily one of convenience predicated on the ousting of BN. If, or once, that happens, who knows what next?

That is why it is continually surprising — and I bet especially so for PR supporters themselves — that one of the three coalition component parties habitually rocks the boat using its own internal ideologies and idiosyncrasies.

With friends like these who needs enemies?

PAS’s on/off Malay unity courtship with Umno is a good example of its endemic selfishness and obliviousness to its sympathisers. It demonstrates that PAS has no qualms picking on some major checkpoints on the list of any issues-oriented, well-informed would-be voter and potential PAS sympathiser — the very things that erode confidence in an infant coalition that still has plenty to prove.

Last year we heard of PAS’s non-support for local elections — which no PAS spokesperson has explained why yet. More recently was PAS’s continued insistence on its Darul Islam agenda, which aims to set up an Islamic state in Malaysia — including its firm stand on the implementation of hudud.

Newsflash to PAS: you may have your supporters, but don’t confuse them with your more numerical sympathisers. They hardly share your ideology.

So what gives here? In the CPF; PKR, DAP and PAS profess democracy, but it would appear PAS, given half a chance, wants to smack down its brand of theocracy on Malaysia.

This is not the first time, of course. PAS attempted to do just that in its fortified state of Kelantan in the early 1990s as well as a decade later in Terengganu, but incompatibility with federal law put paid to that ambition.

As observers, we’re allowed to speculate whether PAS’s acceptance, or rather lack of passionate pursuit to keep pushing, for hudud despite the initial federal hurdle meant it was just posturing. If that is indeed the case, doesn’t PAS think a heads-up would be appreciated by PKR and DAP?

Otherwise, we have to conclude that if PAS says it wants to court the votes of non-Muslims, it sure has a funny way of doing it.

Reading the news reports it’s obvious that the PAS ulama camp is the instigator whenever any alliance boat rocking is on the agenda, and the PAS technocrat camp, the suppressor. This can’t keep happening; if that were a family, calling them dysfunctional would be kind.

PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hasan Tantawi takes the cake: “Existing man-made laws have failed. It is high time the DAP leaders opened their eyes to the hudud, qisas and ta’zir enactments that could help overcome social woes.” That, and his sermonising tweets on hudud, betrays a worldview that is immediately at odds with the CPF.

May I suggest that in the future, before PAS again raises its two favourite spanners and shoves it into the works, that it:

1. Explain clearly to its own coalition first and get their buy in with regards to its Islamic state plans (including and especially how non-Muslims or “dhimmis” fare) and hudud law — before repeating it to the larger public. We would all be interested to know what PAS would do if it gets to practise hudud. Judging from past action, some are betting that its first priority is policing women’s attire as opposed to something more substantial. It behooves PAS to clarify.

2. Be realistic about its Islamic state ambitions. Instead of the whole country — which would require two-thirds majority and the consent of the King to amend the constitution — perhaps just being selective in favour of its strong states as “syariah experiment zones”, leaving the rest of the country secular. Well, if BN can divide and rule along racial lines, perhaps PR along ideological lines. At least people can see how commercially (e.g. tourism), scientifically (e.g. innovation) and socially (e.g. integration) the hudud states would fare.

3. Resist from falling back on the “if only the critics would understand the principles of hudud” line; or that criticising hudud is somehow “sensitive”. Here’s the thing: the fact that people are questioning hudud should tell its advocates that people care enough to want to understand. PAS’s job is not merely to defend its position, but win people over. It is the duty of hudud proponents to explain and enlighten through persuasive argument. In fact, they should do what other disciplines do when they need to communicate a position — publish a position paper, debate in an open forum, etc.

4. When going public with hudud, refrain from using “argument from authority” or “appeal to authority” when claiming why hudud is “just and fair” because not only is that approach dogmatic, it does not wash with non-Muslims and non-believers. A rational, empirical approach would be appreciated — for example, a comparison between how secular and syariah law might address the same issues differently, or citing historical and current examples of successfully implemented hudud (hopefully not Saudi Arabia or Iran).

5. And last but not least, that PAS does not assume that all Malaysian Muslims are for PAS’s brand of hudud. I say PAS’s hudud because taking all of Islam’s schisms and fiqh schools and mazhabs into consideration, no way can PAS claim it holds the one and only legitimate view.

That is all.

Zeffri Yusof is an ex-journo and all-round informavore. Zeffri believes in the force of Reason, human goodness and dignity, and the "machahood" of man. He's on and off on twitter.com/zeffri

Larissa Riquelme

Larissa Riquelme Create deg - degan

I want a banana that has been peeled?





Larissa while entertaining the fans in Mexico City. Larissa Riquelme is the origin of Paraguay's top model. He is famous for daring to pose sexy and challenging.


Larissa while entertaining the fans in Mexico City. Larissa Riquelme is the origin of Paraguay's top model. He is famous for daring to pose sexy and challenging.


Larissa Riquelme signed magazine cover 'H The Hombres' in Mexico City, August 24, 2010 last. In the latest edition of the magazine, Larissa became the cover model.
Still remember Larissa Riquelme ? It's beautiful and sexy model lho origin of Paraguay , as well as the fans ' biggest ' Paraguay national football team . Well , Larissa was not only famous in their home countries , but also in Mexico. He became the model on the cover of magazine 'H The Hombres ' latest edition .

Not Proper To Leave Out 'Doa' For Agong In Friday Sermons, Says Jakim

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The Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim) opines that leaving out the "doa" (prayer) for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as head of state as well as for the states' rulers is not proper as praying for their well-being is a noble practice.

Its director-general Datuk Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz said the khatib (sermon reader) on duty should read the texts of the Friday sermons prepared by the panel and approved by the state religious authorities.

"The contents of the sermons should not be changed to avoid any adverse implications for the Muslim community.

"Jakim also calls on all quarters not to politicise religious institutions, especially mosques. Such actions will have negative effects like causing disunity and uneasiness among Muslims," he said in a statement issued here Monday.


Letter & Opinion From Joe Public

Nazir Razak Goes To Oxford University

That gonna make Mahathir looks real bad ... His botak son only been to Chicken College.

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Nazir Razak Goes to Oxford as a Chevening Fellow
www.themalaysianinsider.com

Malaysia’s top banker Datuk Seri Nazir Razak will head to the prestigious Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies next month as a Chevening Fellow for 2010/2011 but declared he will continue to head the CIMB banking group.

The CIMB chief executive said the studies will allow him to further his knowledge in Islamic finance and network with prominent Muslims visiting the Oxford centre.

“These studies will allow me to network with Muslims personalities, learn more about Islamic finance and modernisation in Islamic societies,” said Nazir, who led the CIMB group to post a record RM1.7 billion in net profit for the first half of the current financial year.

Nazir, who is Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s younger brother, has been calling for the dismantling of affirmative action policies under the New Economic Policy (NEP), much to the dismay of Malay rights groups who want those policies kept.

His comments drew the ire of PERKASA and former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who argue that policies under the NEP are rights and still relevant for the Malays.

Nazir’s fellowship at Oxford will be welcomed by right wingers in UMNO and the Malay community as a retreat by someone with influence and eloquence to push the meritocracy agenda. But The Malaysian Insider understands that Nazir remains committed to this issue and will likely continue to speak out on the need for the Malaysian economy to be restructured.

He also stressed that he will remain in control of the Malaysia’s top dealmaker and second largest banking group by assets.

“The longest period I will be away is between two and three weeks but I shall continue to work and chair meetings in the CIMB London office,” Nazir said, stressing the studies were important for his development as a banker.

The Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies was established in 1985 under the patronage of The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, for the scholarly studies of Islam and the Islamic world. It runs advanced research, the three biggest ones being The Atlas Project, Muslims in Britain and Islamic Finance.

The Atlas Project aims to publish the historical atlas of the Islamic world, concerned with the roots of the Islamic world and its social progression. The Muslims in Britain research is concerned with the history, needs and challenges of British Muslims. The third research focuses on the theory and practical application of Islamic finance all over the world.

The centre also hosts lectures by distinguished visiting lecturers, among whom were Prince Charles, Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan and former Malaysian prime ministers Dr Mahathir and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The centre is headed by Dr Farhan Ahmad Nizami, who is a Prince of Wales Fellow, Magdalen College, Oxford and Emeritus Fellow, St Cross College, while Dr Adeel Malik is a Globe Fellow in the Economies of Muslim Societies and Research Fellow, St Peter’s College, apart from being an Islamic Centre lecturer, International Development Centre in the University of Oxford.

Sketsa Di Sebuah Rumah Melayu


Sketsa di suatu pagi, di sebuah rumah besar di perkampungan Melayu...Suami : UMNOr !!! Kenapa kau ni sekarang ni nampaknya terlebih menggatal? Isteri : Kenapa abang cakap begitu ? Suami : Eleh ! Sudah gaharu cendana pula! Kau ingat aku tak nampak fe'el kau dengan si Lim tu? Kau ni sudah melampaui batas. Sudahlah terhegeh-hegeh, habis semua barang rumah ni kau gadai satu persatu kat Lim tu. Lepas ni tinggal body kau pula yang akan tergadai! Suami : Hey! Dengar sini UMNOr! Aku masih lagi punya rasa sayang kat engkau. Bertaubatlah! Suami : Aku dah sampai ke tahap mengintai perempuan lain untuk menggantikan kau, sekiranya kau berterusan begini! Suami : Cuma kau yang masih bernasib baik kerana buat masa ni aku tak punya calon lagi. Si DAPsiah tu perangai serupa babi. Si PASiah tu entah apa anutan agamanya, Islam tunggang langgang. Si PaKiRah pula bukannya minat pada orang lelaki, nampak gaya macam sejenis kot? Budak Perkasayang memang comel, tapi sayang kerana masih begitu muda sangat lagi. Suami : Ini amaran terakhir ! Kau menggatal lagi dengan Lim tu, aku akan CERAIkan kau dengan talak 3 !! Faham!!?? Lebih baik aku tak berbini daripada berbini orang semacam kau ni!!!Seperti biasa... UMNOr terus bersikap "elegant silent" dan "inaction"nya.....
Letter & Opinion From Joe Public
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