Saturday, 29 March 2008

"Patrick Lim: jetsetter with a bulls-eye on his back"

The Monsoon Cup

An interesting article in The Malaysian Insider suggests that Patrick Lim's days as the 'blue-eyed boy' of the Prime Minister are numbered. Read here for more.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Dr Mahathir On Terengganu's Oil Wealth

Excerpt on Dr. Mahathir's view on why the Sultan acted against the Prime Minister's choice of the Chief Minister as reported in The Sun, 27 March 2008:

There are lots of talks in the town. Terengganu is blessed with petroleum deposits. It should get 5% of the total earning from oil production. The Federal Government; fearing the previous PAS government might use this money wrongly had withheld payment.

But when the Barisan Nasional (BN) regained Terengganu the money, now called "Wang Ehsan", was lavishly spent by the Federal Government on Terengganu. It is not a small sum. Over these years "Wang Ehsan" totalled several billion.

We know that since the BN regained Terengganu in 2004, all kinds of projects have been developed in Terengganu. This includes The Monsoon Cup, luxury housing for sale to foreigners, Crystal Mosque and theme park, university, etc. Some of these projects are very good but many are totally unnecessary and wasteful.

But what the Terengganu people are saying is that all these mega projects costing billions of Ringgit have been contracted out to people outside Terengganu. Terengganu contractors got practically nothing.

But additionally, they say the contracts all went to one person and they are suspicious that behind this person are members of the first family.The rumours also say that the previous Mentri Besar was responsible for these things happening and of course, they think that he might have benefited financially.

The rumours went on to say that the Prime Minister might have influenced the Mentri Besar into doing wrong things. These are all rumours. It will be quite impossible to prove anything as the perpetrators are skilled in hiding themselves.

This is not good for a Government keen to abolish corruption and be transparent. To clear its name, an investigation should be made.

Thursday, 27 March 2008


Having a laugh at MCA's expense. From

Some pointers on the song:

  • MCA: the Malaysian Chinese Association, a Chinese component party in the government (the Barisan Nasional)
  • Soh chai: a stupid fellow
  • Ali Baba: a system of having a Malay partner in a business for the purpose of procuring contracts, particularly government contract
  • UMNO man: a member of the United Malay National Organization, the most powerful political party in the country
  • Sub: to sub-contract to another party
  • Open tender: Procuring projects through open tender. It has been the government's policy of affirmative action to have close tenders to help Malay businessmen
  • Kau Tim: Cantonese dialect. "How to kau tim" - how to solve or bypass the open tender system
  • Keris: the Malay wavy bladed dagger; the symbol of Malay supremacy

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Terengganu's Crystal Mosque And Stadium Project Scandal

A report from SinarHarapan

Source:of newspaper cutting:

Let me summarize the contents of the news article as competently as I can.

Confidential information on Dato Idris Jusoh’s mismanagement of state funds has reached the ears of the Terengganu Sultan. According to the report,

  • Some individuals have accused the Chief Minister of misusing state funds for his own pecuniary benefit. A report has also been lodged with the Anti Corruption Agency over the allegation.
  • The Sultan had known of his transgressions, and would reject Dato Idris as the Chief Minister if the Barisan Nasional wins in the coming election.
  • The latest incident reported includes the building of the Crystal Mosque which has jumped from RM 80 million to more than RM 200 million.
  • Another alleged deviation concerns the construction of a stadium, the cost of which escalated from the original RM 180 million to almost RM 300 million.

It is believed that variation orders for the two projects have been approved and released to the contractors involved. The balance of the payments is said to have been credited to the accounts of individuals said to be close to the Chief Minister.

Sources close to the Anti-Corruption Agency revealed that investigation on both the allegations would begin after the general election.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Conspiracy Theories

Raja Petra Raja Kamaruddin of "Malaysia Today" has often been accused of having a fondness for conspiracy theories, for clutching at straws in thin air; for spinning webs of intrigues at the corridors of power. His "Khairy Chronicles", perhaps the longest expose on power struggle, consolidation and corruption at the corridors of power, has transfixed many a reader. Replete with details of how the powerful Khairy, the son-in-law of the prime minister and a 'Oxfart' graduate, manipulates and takes control of the centre of power and national wealth, it is an incredulous story, yet inexplicably credible. His latest post, "Monsoon (Cup) winds of change" is yet another fascinating 'story' of the how Trengganu's oil and gas wealth has been siphoned off. How much of it is fiction and how much of it is fact? It may throw some light on the present politcal crisis in Terengganu and answer the question as to why the Sultan or 'Tuanku' as his Royal Highness is often reverentially referred to, prefers Mat Said to Idris Jusoh, as the Chief Minister. Anyway, I leave it to the readers to make their own judgment.

The setting: the state of Terengganu, rich in gas and oil that will be depleted after 2012. Who is in control of the 5% royalty or 'Wang Ehsan' which amounts to RM 800 million and increasing as a result of the increase in oil price?

The characters in this 'story':
  • The former Chief Minister, Idris Jusoh, whose appointment as the present Chief Minister is in jeopardy after the recent general election because the Terengganu Sultan prefers Mat Said.
  • Mat Said: the Chief Minister designate. The Sultan has appointed him in spite of the Prime Minister's choice, Idris Jusoh.
  • Khairy Jamaluddin: the son-in-law of the honourable Prime Minister.
  • Patrick Lim or Patrick Badawi as he is commonly known in blogosphere. A business tycoon and close business partner of Khairy Jamaluddin.
  • Eric Chia: the former CEO of Perwaja Steel Plant in Terengganu, who was brought to court for mismanagement and misappropriation of Perwaja funds.

It is a fascinating 'story'.


The Monsoon(Cup) Winds OF Change

Mat Said is a fighter. And even as a 'nobody' he stood his ground against an

outraged Eric Chia who was foaming at the mouth while screaming the Prime
Minister's name. No Chinese gangster or Menteri Besar or even the most powerful
Prime Minister could shake him. And that is the kind of Menteri Besar His Majesty
the Agong would like as head of his state government.

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Guano pulok puak-puak Amno ni bekeng sangat? Dah Tuanku amboh, amboh lah! Mende nak main paksa-paksa pulok? Bila menatang Cheena buat kacau kat Perak, bising. Ni, menatang Amno pulok nak tunjuk bekeng. Beso kemaluang Ganu kite.
That is probably what the Kuala Terengganu folks at the Pasar Payang wet market
are lamenting. When the Rulers keep quiet, the rakyat complain and question the
purpose of retaining the Monarchy if the Rulers do not earn their salary. However,
when they do act, the raykat complain and accuse the Rulers of getting involved in
politics. The Rulers must work for the people, argue the rakyat. The bottom line
is, the rakyat don't really know what they want.

In the 1990s, a well-known Malaysian business magazine reported that Terengganu is the second richest state after Selangor but its rakyat are the second poorest
after Perlis. The Kelantan Menteri Besar, Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat, retorted that
Kelantan may be poor compared to Terengganu, but its people are rich. “Kekayaan
Kelantan di tangan rakyat,” said Nik Aziz. Kelantenese, Nik Aziz stressed, do not
need to depend on the government. They will travel far and wide, even to Singapore, to earn their living. And they will send money back to the state to help prop up its economy. This is true. You can find a Kampong Kelantan in Singapore but not a Kampong Terengganu or Kampong Kedah or whatever. And Kelantanese will go back to Kelantan to pay their zakat (tithe) so that the money can go to the state and not to the federal government. And that is why the federal government attempted to nationalise the zakat collection -- they wanted to deny the state the money. But Kelantanese are stubborn and they are in fact proud that they can survive without federal funding and in spite of being squeezed of federal funding. Take their water supply as one example. Kelantanese are being denied clean water because the federal government will not give the state the money it needs to improve its water supply. Because of this many have died of cholera over the last two decades but the Kelantanese refuse to hand the state back to Barisan Nasional although by doing so they could then get clean water and would no longer suffer so many deaths. Kelantanese treat the high number of deaths and the loss of their loved ones as 'collateral damage' which one has to endure when opposing the federal government. Yes, they are sad that many have to die, but in any struggle people die and the struggle against the tyranny of the federal government overrides all other considerations.

Terengganu, however, is not like Kelantan. The people of Terengganu are not so
stubborn or resilient. 'Ganu' means rainbow and 'terang' means bright. Kelantanese
used to refer to the land south of their state as 'bright rainbow' and that is how
the state eventually became known as Terengganu. Terengganu, of course, has gold
and the English say that at the end of the rainbow you will find gold. But there is not that much gold really. Sure you can find some, although it may not be that economically viable to mine it on a large-scale or commercial basis. But what it
lacks in yellow gold it more than makes up for in 'black gold'. And that is why Terengganu is the second richest state, because of its black gold. But in spite of its black gold and in spite of it being the second richest state, its citizens are the second poorest and even Sabah, Sarawak and Kelantan are far ahead. That is what the popular Malaysian business magazine reported in the 1990s.

In 1999, the Terengganu voters decided to give the state to the opposition for a
change. A few months later, the federal government punished Terengganu by
withdrawing its 5% oil royalty that it was entitled to under the Petroleum
Development Act 1974. The money, which at that time came to RM800 million a year,
was handed over to Idris Jusoh, the head of Umno Terengganu, to manage; and from
2000 to 2004 he managed the money as his personal petty cash.

The Terengganu voters realised that they could get their hands on what had now
grown to RM1 billion a year only if they gave the state back to Umno. And they did just that in March 2004 and Idris Jusoh was installed as the new Menteri Besar. But while the state went back to Umno, the RM1 billion a year did not go back to the state. The money remained in the hands of the Prime Minister's Department and control of the money shifted from Idris Jusoh to Wan Farid Wan Salleh, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's Political Secretary, and Patrick Lim, whom Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad calls Patrick Badawi.

So it was no different then. Whether Umno or the opposition rules the state, the
RM1 billion a year will still not go to the state but would instead be in the hands of two or three individuals, to be used and abused as they see fit.

On 8
March 2008, the Terengganu people wanted to hand the state back to the opposition. Umno knew this and what was at stake was not just control of the state but control of the RM1 billion a year that came with it. So thousands of Bangladeshi voters were 'imported' into Terengganu to ensure that Umno would be able to make a clean sweep of the state. And the hundreds of bus-loads of voters were escorted into
Terengganu by police and army trucks to ensure that the opposition supporters
would not be able to make any 'citizens' arrest' of phantom voters. And so Umno,
yet again, swept the state like it did four years before that in March 2004.

But one thing that Umno could not control is His Majesty the Agong who is also the

Sultan of Terengganu. Tuanku knows what is going on and Tuanku also knows how the cheating is being done to perpetuate Umno's rule in the state just so that the RM1
billion a year can continue to be manipulated, exploited, and abused. And Tuanku
sought legal advice on what the Federal Constitution of Malaysia and the
Terengganu State Constitution have to say about the appointment of the political
head of the state government. And so Tuanku rejected Abdullah's choice of Menteri
Besar, Idris Jusoh, and instead made his own choice, Ahmad Said. And a few well known lawyers are ready to spring into action to defend Tuanku if the federal
government decides to challenge Mat Said's appointment in court.

Mat Said is no pushover. When Eric Chia was heading Perwaja, he embarked on a
housing project and started building the houses even before the Kemaman local
council could approve the project. Mat Said stepped in and issued a stop-work order. Eric Chia was outraged. He complained to Menteri Besar Wan Mokhtar Wan Ahmad and said that he reported direct to the Prime Minister and has carte blanche to do what he likes. But Mat Said would not back down, Prime Minister or no Prime Minister. He even went against his own direct boss, Wan Mokhtar. The law is the law and even the CEO of Perwaja, the Menteri Besar of Terengganu, and the Prime Minister of Malaysia are not exempted from obeying the law. This was just a YDP of the Kemaman local council but he took on the giants and refused to back down and finally won when the all-powerful Eric Chia was forced to halt construction until all his papers are in order.

Mat Said is a fighter. And even as a 'nobody' he stood his ground against an
outraged Eric Chia who was foaming at the mouth while screaming the Prime
Minister's name. No Chinese gangster or Menteri Besar or even the most powerful
Prime Minister could shake him. And that is the kind of Menteri Besar His Majesty
the Agong would like as head of his state government.

Terengganu has only about four years left. According to Petronas, after 2012 there
will be no more oil in Terengganu. Four years at RM1 billion a year is merely RM4
billion. This RM4 billion will disappear in four years if Idris Jusoh is installed as Menteri Besar. And, in 2013, Terengganu will revert to being just a fishing village like what it was in 1973 before they discovered oil.

Yes, it was a great 40 years. But the 40 years which started in 1973 will end before 2013 is out. Terengganu can choose to allow Idris Jusoh to run the state and therefore allow the RM4 billion to finish by 2012 or they can instead ask Mat Said to run the state and ensure that the RM4 billion will last till 2020. His Majesty would rather choose the latter.

Seven of the eight Umno divisions in Terengganu support Mat Said. Thus far, 20 of
the 32 State Assemblymen have confessed that they also support His Majesty's
choice of Menteri Besar. Why then did 23 of them declare that they support Idris
Jusoh? They allege that they were 'locked up' and forced to sign the letter of
support so they had no choice but to do so. Since seven of the eight Umno
divisions want Mat Said and since more than half the State Assemblymen also
support His Majesty's choice, then it is in compliance with the State Constitution
that Idris Jusoh be rejected in favour of Mat Said.

The same thing happened in the State of Perlis. When two of the three Umno
divisions and ten of the fifteen State Assemblymen rejected Shahidan Kassim,
Abdullah's choice of Menteri Besar, the Raja of Perlis acted within his Constitutional right by rejecting Shahidan. Anyway, this so-called 'Constitutional Crisis' was expected and had been looming over the horizon for quite some time now. Malaysia Today had in fact addressed this awhile back but, as Tun Dr Mahathir is fond of saying, Melayu mudah lupa. To those who have already lupa, allow us to refresh your memory. We re-publish below an article which was published before this and which addresses what the real issue is really about, the 'crisis' which the mainstream newspapers are trying to pass off as, kononnya, a 'Constitutional Crisis'.


One thing that Malaysia Today would like to raise is the matter of Terengganu's
oil royalty which we hope Mahathir will address on 28 July. Since the mid-1970s,
Terengganu had been enjoying a 5% royalty on all the oil and gas extracted in the
state. That is what is provided for under the Petroleum Development Act. In fact,
not only Terengganu, but any state in Malaysia where oil and gas is extracted they
would enjoy the same. However, in 2000, this royalty was withdrawn and converted
to Wang Ehsan (goodwill money). Suddenly, the RM800 million or so a year that
Terengganu was supposed to get as its 5% share of the oil and gas revenue was
transferred out of the state and into the hands of one man, Idris Jusoh.

Malaysia was then already suffering from an outbreak of JE. But in Terengganu it
was JE of another kind, Jusoh Enterprise, Idris Jusoh's family business. Jusoh
Enterprise or JE was suddenly flush with funds, RM800 million a year to be exact.
Then, in 2004, Umno, under the stewardship of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, won back the state from the opposition. But the state did not win back its 5% oil royalty. The
Wang Ehsan continued and Idris Jusoh, who now became the Chief Minister, continued to single-handedly manage the fund. Even the State Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) and the Terengganu State Economic Planning Unit (UPENT) were left totally in the dark. One man, Idris Jusoh, decided how the money was spent, and it is a lot of money.

But the new Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, would not tolerate one man

managing the state's coffers. He wanted Idris Jusoh's hands out of the RM800
million a year cash box. However, to revert to the 5% royalty only meant that the
money would come directly under state control. That would not serve their purpose.
They wanted direct control of the RM800 million. Now it is under the control of the Prime Minister's Department but passed down to Idris Jusoh's hands. What they
needed to do was to get Idris Jusoh's hands out of the equation.

Then Khairy Jamaluddin, Abdullah's son-in-law cum adviser, came out with a
fantastic new 'umbrella concept', better than even Mahathir's. They wanted control
of the RM800 million a year. But they did not want to get it out of Idris Jusoh's
hands by putting it into the hands of the state. That would merely be a case of out of the frying pan, into the fire. They wanted direct control of the money without Idris Jusoh deciding on how the money is spent. And this is how they did it. First they appointed Wan Farid, Khairy's 'running dog', as Abdullah's Political Secretary. Then they appointed Wan Hisham, Wan Farid's brother, as the State Exco Member in-charge of tourism. Then they gave Patrick Lim, Khairy's business partner, the sole monopoly of all state tourism projects. Now the network is intact and Idris Jusoh has been cut off.

Patrick Lim's job is to create all sorts of state tourism projects at hugely inflated prices. He would then propose these projects to Wan Hisham, the man incharge of tourism. Wan Hisham would then pass them on to his brother, Wan Farid. Wan Farid would then pass them on to Khairy. Idris Jusoh would of course be left out of the loop and he would only know about them when it was a fait accompli -- as the Malays would say, "Nasi sudah jadi bubur."

They built 30 houses at RM1 million each on an island in the Trengganu River . They launched a RM300 million a year yacht race called the Monsoon Cup. Hundreds of millions a year is being spent to 'attract tourists to Terengganu'. It seems this year the amount of Wang Ehsan has shot up from RM800 million to RM1 billion -- so there is even more money to play around with. To ensure that Idris Jusoh keeps his hands out of the cash box, Abdullah himself chairs the state meetings though he is the Prime Minister and not the Terengganu Chief Minister. Of course, Idris Jusoh, being the Chief Minister, is allowed to sit in on these meetings though he has no say on what they propose. Patrick Lim, though he is not in the government, is also allowed to attend these meetings. Abdullah would then propose all sorts of tourism projects conjured by Wan Hisham, Wan Farid and Khairy. Details are of course not discussed; only the gist of things and the amounts involved. Whenever Idris Jusoh raises any questions, he would be told to 'leave it all to Patrick Lim who knows what to do'. Idris Jusoh is not to involve himself in the details.

After a while Idris Jusoh got quite pissed and tried to resist. One project that he
knew nothing about was placed before him and he was told by Patrick Lim to sign
the papers. But how could he sign the papers when he knew nothing about it and
would eventually have to bear responsibility for it? Patrick Lim walked out of Idris Jusoh's office and phoned Wan Farid who complained to Khairy. Within an hour Idris Jusoh received a phone call from Abdullah who ordered him to sign the papers, which he of course did straight away.

Patrick Lim's hold on Abdullah was apparent to all but somehow not to Idris Jusoh.
One day Abdullah visited Terengganu to chair the regular meetings on how to spend
Terengganu's RM800 million (which is now RM1 billion because of the increase in
oil prices). Idris Jusoh fetched Abdullah from the airport but before his car could move Patrick Lim's car cut in front of Idris Jusoh's car and Abdullah got out of Idris Jusoh's car and got into Patrick Lim's car. Idris Jusoh should have realised then who really runs Terengganu.

Yes, RM1 billion a year is a lot of money. This money, which should belong to
Terengganu, is not going to the state. It is going to Wan Hisham, Wan Farid,
Patrick Lim and Khairy. And Abdullah chairs the state meetings to decide how the
money is spent. And Wan Hisham, Wan Farid, Patrick Lim and Khairy help spend the
money. And they spend it all. And Idris Jusoh has no say in how it is spent. And
if he refuses to sign the papers he will get a phone call from Abdullah.

Now do you know who runs this country? Abdullah says he and not his son-in-law
runs this country. Idris Jusoh however will tell you that Khairy runs this country. And Khairy also runs Terengganu and manages its RM1 billion a year through Wan Hisham, Wan Farid and Patrick Lim. And Abdullah chairs the Terengganu State meetings on behalf of Khairy and according to the plan on how Patrick Lim wishes to spend the RM1 billion a year.

And now do you know why Mahathir is so pissed? And he has every reason to be
pissed. In fact, I too am pissed. And that is why I agree that Mahathir stays pissed with Abdullah and his son-in-law. The Terengganu issue alone is enough for me to get pissed. And rest assured that Terengganu is but the tip of the iceberg. Yes, it is nice being able to walk in the corridors of power. And much can you do when you walk in the corridors of power. And RM1 billion a year is nice to manage if you have that power to do so. And when you walk in the corridors of power you would of course have that power.

Monday, 24 March 2008

There Are No Words To Describe This

I received an email containing pictures of the purportedly inhuman punishment of a child for stealing bread in Iran. Email that contain half-truths and lies have reached such epidemic proportion that it has become difficult to separate the true from the untrue.

This email ended with this: No religion can ever justify such a hideous crime. Pass it on...Let the world know what is happening in the name of religion. Pass this to all for public awareness.

According to a reliable source, the pictures are authentic. But the eight-year old Iranian boy whose arm was run over by the lorry was not punished for a crime. He was merely performing "Maareke giry", or a street magic act for money. Note the gentleman (picture 1) speaking into the microphone, apparently advertising the performance. Pictures 6 and 7 which showed the boy shaken but unharmed were omitted from the series. The email first surfaced in November 2005.

Picture 7

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Former Chief Minister In The Spotlight

To former Chief Minister Dr Khir, allegations of abuse of power and corruption is not new. The latest involved a land deal that had some of his associates laughing all the way to the bank. To be fair to him, the state government should clear the air over the allegation quickly and leave him in peace.

PETALING JAYA (22 Mar 2008):
Former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo says his conscience is clear and he has nothing to fear about SMSes and allegations of corruption.

The decisions made during my tenure as the Mentri Besar were made at the state executive councillors’ meetings.

These meetings are minuted. Everything is in black and white,” said Dr Khir when contacted yesterday.

He was commenting on an SMS going round alleging that Dr Khir, during his time as the Mentri Besar, had bought a temporary occupancy licence (TOL) piece of land in Kajang for RM2 per sq feet and made the state dvelopment corporation buy it back at RM22 per sq feet, hence pocketing RM59mil.

The SMS further alleged that he had given RM1mil each to all Kajang exco members. The SMS claimed this was discovered by the new Selangor government team as they were looking through the files.

Dr Khir said he also received the same SMS on his handphone.

The allegation has no basis at all. Such a land purchase never happened.

I have directed my lawyer to lodge a police report and take the necessary legal action. I am also trying to trace the person who sent me the SMS,” he said.

He added he had discharged his duties as the Mentri Besar without conducting any dubious dealings that disadvantaged the state.

Source: the Star

Friday, 21 March 2008

Formal Coalition For The Opposition?

Latest news: a formal coalition for the opposition parties? Read The Straits Times for more.

Plastics In Pisang Goreng

Although this particular piece of 'news' appeared in December last year, it has been making its rounds these last two weeks judging from the large number of blogs in Malaysia and Singapore that commented on the issue. Some even claimed that there were eye-witnesses to the dangerous, unethical practice. Exposing plastics to boiling water is dangerous; what more to boiling oil.

Study found exposure to boiling water released environmental estrogen 55 times faster

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Exposing plastic bottles to boiling water can release a potentially harmful chemical 55 times faster than normal, new research suggests.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is found in the plastics that make up water bottles, baby bottles, and other food and drink packaging. It acts as an environmental estrogen and can disrupt the function of the endocrine system (a system of ductless glands that regulates bodily functions via hormones secreted into the bloodstream).

Sunday, 16 March 2008

A Road Not Taken

The general election reminds me of Robert Frost's "A Road Not Taken". It was precisely how I felt that morning at the polling station: should I take the road that is well-trodden, or should I take the one that has been less travelled and therefore less certain? Many Malaysians that morning were thrown into the predicament of whether to take the familiar road or to choose one that is fraught with uncertainty? I guess a substantial number of Malaysians have decided to move on and choose a different path. And it is the hope of many that the path will lead to brighter things to come.

The aftermath of the election has been one of jubilation, yet anxiety. The squabbles among the opposition parties over the allocation of seats in the states under their control after the initial euphoria of success have been a precursor to what is to come if they cannot get their act together.

The Barisan Nasional, of course is gloating over the spectacle which seems to confirm their assertion that the opposition parties' cooperation is merely a marriage of convenience.

One of the key points in the opposition parties' campaign is the dismantling of the NEP, which has enriched only the UMNOputras and the toothless, conniving component parties. The benefits of the policy have not filtered down to the really deserving poor. While it is understandable that the Malays are fearful of the removal of the NEP, and this has been quickly exploited by UMNO in the recent demonstrations demanding that the policy be continued, the fact remains that it has been abused for so long that it is time for it to be scrutinised. Since the Malays form about 60 percent of the population, the opposition's policy of helping the needy would therefore be helping more Malays than the other races. Our Malay brothers should therefore rest assured that the needy, of whom they form the bigger majority, would be taken care of. What is more important is to rid the NEP of the elements of patronage and collusion between the Barisan Nasional and corporate vultures.

It is laughable that the Penang UMNO held a demonstration (and they were handled with kid gloves by the police and the FRU)demanding the new Penang government for its blueprint to help the Penang Malays . What is Penang UMNO afraid of? Doesn't it want a government that is clean and accountable? That cronies should not enrich themselves at the expense of the rakyat? That is the promise of the new state government. The fact is that the Barisan Rakyat have never dreamt that they would be able to take Penang. Now that they have, they should be given the time to come up with a blueprint to meet the high expectations of the Penangnites.

What the Barisan Rakyat have is not time but the will and the sincerity to show Malaysians that they can provide a workable alternative to race-based politics that has further divided Malaysians. It is time for them to build bridges of trust, specifically the DAP and PAS, to show Malaysians that they are not chauvinistic, that they believe in a Malaysian Malaysia.

"Government of the people, by the people for the people". That should be their guiding principle.

They will not have a second chance.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

PGCC's Fate In The Balance?

Patrick Lim on the right

Remember Patrick Lim whom the previous Prime Minister sarcastically referred to as "Patrick Badawi"? Who is a close buddy of Khairy Jamaludin? The Patrick Lim of the Trengganu Monsoon Cup fame? The Equine Capital director with a controlling interest? The developer of Pulau Duyong? The owner (actually the wife's is the owner) of a house in Perth where the Prime Minister once spent his holidays? The developer of the controversial Penang Global City Centre that would destroy a precious green lung in land-scarce Penang? The project was announced with considerable fanfare by the Prime Minister last year. When news broke out that Penang had fallen to the opposition, the developer and his partner went a-courting the new Chief Minister:

Flowers from the developer

"The developer had sent Guan Eng a bouquet yesterday, perked up with small DAP flags. It was the first to arrive at the CM’s office to congratulate Guan Eng on his “historic win” in the elections, according to the card attached.

Guan Eng expressed surprise over the gesture: “We can’t stop people from sending us bouquets.
'Before the elections, when our representatives want to meet them for dialogues, it was very hard. This is definitely a departure from their previous attitude'.” (From Malaysiakini)

Well, it looks like the project has not even been given approval by the relevant authorities in Penang. Malaysiakini has more.

The Power Of The Net

Malaysian newspapers (source: The straits times. com)

I posted the question on how influential was the net in shaping public opinion in one of my earlier posts. It seems that the previous government had grossly miscalculated its reach and its impact on influencing voters to vote for the opposition. Readers had rejected the government-controlled media and instead relied on the net for alternative sources of news. Read more here.

"Ghost of May 13th Laid To Rest"

An account by human rights lawyer, Malik Imtiaz provides fascinating insights into why the Barisan Nasional was given its most humiliating beating in Malaysia's political history. He wrote on how civil society groups, non-government organizations, independent journalists and concerned individuals including bloggers have ceaselessly worked to "give shape to the hopes of Malaysians and forging a voice for the disenfranchised". Non-Malay disaffection with the Barisan Coalition was evident, but why did the Malays, traditionally the back-bone of the Barisan coalition government's power, decide to throw in their lot with the opposition to deny the Barisan its two-third majority? He suggested that Malaysians have finally made a clean break from the shackles of race politics and patronage and laid the ghost of May 13th to rest.

Poster of the Barisan Rakyat (the People's Front) from Malaysia Today

Monday, 10 March 2008

A Victim Of Their Own Delusions

What went wrong for the Barisan Nasional? Political analysts and academics of political science are dissecting the 12th general elections results to look for answers. Read below for a perspective on Barisan's rout in the election.

Battered by Malays and minorities, BN pays heavy price for its ignorance

The perfect storm he did not see coming

Goodbye to Samy

The recently concluded general election has seen some bigwigs fall, one of whom was the Works Minister, Samy Vellu together with most of his MIC leaders, among them, Sothinathan and Komala Devi. Samy lost his Sungai Siput seat which he had held since 1974, to Dr. Michael Jeyakumar. Kayveas, President of the People's Progressive Party (PPP), a component party of the Barisan Nasional too was knocked out in the election which some had equated to a tsunami. has come out with a video clip on Samy: Goodbye Sam.

By the way, "shiock" is the Hokkien dialect word for "ecstatic". "ISA" refers to the Internal Security Act under which a person can be detained up to two years without trial. One of the HINDRAF leaders won a seat while in detention. And "4D" refers to lottery tickets.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

The Morning After

This morning, I woke up feeling strange; it was a mixture of trepidation and exhilaration; but I am sure many Malaysians share the same sentiment; it was like a morning different from any other. It was as described by a political party, a new dawn. It is like looking to an uncertain future, stripped completely naked, without that sense of familiarity and security that we have so long been accustomed to. Will the winds of change herald in a new, promising beginning? Or will it lead us along a garden path paved with disillusionment and broken promises and dreams? After the initial euphoria of success, this new breed of contenders to the political power game will have to soberly review what they have promised the voters and the ruling coalition party will have to do some soul-searching to reinvent themselves.

What will the Barisan Nasional do in the aftermath of the thrashing that it has received? On this matter a respected commentator has suggested that in order to rejuvenate a party, the head has first to be removed.

The 12th General Election Results

First thing I did when I woke up was to try and grab a newspaper (I have already stopped reading the papers a long time ago) and pore slowly over the results of the election. But all papers were sold out. I tried accessing Malaysiakini, but the traffic was so heavy that it was impossible to get in. The Star online did provide some up-to-date information on the election results.

Who could have predicted the depth of anger and frustration of Malaysian voters? No one, not even the the Barisan Nasional could have foretold such a wave of anti-government sentiment, that the PAS leader likened it to a 'tsunami'. Malaysians have sent a signal, loud and clear to the Barisan Nasional that they have had enough of their brand of politics and government. This is only the beginning; it remains to be seen how the three major opposition parties can sit down and work together to forge a strong opposition to check the excesses of the Barisan Nasional. They should henceforth ensure that the Barisan Nasional is transparent and accountable to the rakyat. Likewise there should be thorough house-cleaning and house-keeping in the states that they control.

It is equally important for the Islamic party, PAS, to tone down its Islamic rhetoric and work towards a society where freedom of the non-Muslims' way of life and of worship are not merely lip service. For the non-Malays, the spectre of an Islamic state constantly conjured up by MCA and other coalition parties, is real, but they have taken a leap into the unknown to trust PAS. It is fervently hoped that Malaysians of all races will keep a cool head and work towards a nation where justice, fairness and the rule of law remain the guiding principles. The constitution of the country should be strictly adhered to by all parties.

It may be the dawn of a new era in Malaysian politics, but the people are watching closely and if they fall prey to internal bickerings, the new found voice of the Malaysian public will not hesitate to boot them out in the next election.

An intriguing question is whether online alternative news and bloggers have helped in this swing of mood among voters and to what extent they have been able to persuade them to opt for change.

Source: the Star online

The Star online even provided a map with brief comments on the characteristics of each state, and its previous voting pattern and the election results.

More news from around the globe:

Malaysian PM fails to gauge public anger as electoral hammering puts job at risk

Malaysian media urge reforms after poll setbacks

Malaysia's governing coalition takes heavy in elections

Malaysia's ruling coalition suffers stunning blow

Malaysia wakes to new political landscape

Malaysia's coalition in stunning loss

Abdullah at risk after losing Malaysian supermajority

Friday, 7 March 2008

Exco Village

I must admit that those who live away from the corridors of power and are pumped a constant 'opiate' of good news from main stream media have missed out many bits of juicy news. This particular piece of news was reported in the Star two years ago, and I must have missed it. But I do remember an incident that became the butt of many jokes: that of Kuala Lumpur City Hall spending RM 93,000, inclusive of tuxedos for its officers, to educate them and their spouses on the etiquette of fine dining in a luxury hotel in 2006. But an exco village? I didn't know what it was until I read it in 'Neglected' natives might snub BN. Trying to find out more, I went to the link given and to my surprise the news item was removed from the Star online. Anyway, there was one that I managed to trace. The exco village was built also in 2006, at a cost of more than RM20 million, purportedly to build up team spirit and to enable the exco-members of the Selangor state to meet regularly and conveniently. It may be old news to many, but it's new to me.

'Where Angels Fear To Tread"

Will Malaysians vote for change? Will they choose the carrot or the stick? Perhaps, the best advice is to vote with our conscience, not out of fear or favour; to vote with the question: what would Malaysia be like in the next 50 years, given the present political scenario?. While the main stream media have been hooting for the Barisan Nasional, the alternative media seem to be on the side of change. Below are views expressed by some Malaysians. Read more from Malaysiakini.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Look Beyond The Carrot

A 70 plus year old man who felt that this might be
his last election thought it fit to come out with his
gun blazing by lambasting the 'dacing' or the Barisan Nasional.
What goads a man who has lived through the 2nd World War
and fifty years of independence to vent his bitterness on
the Barisan Nasional?

Read his letter to Malaysiakini.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

The Ant and the Grasshopper

Thanks to K K Bu for the story. It is an adaptation from

Aesop's ants. Picture by Milo Winter, 1888-1956.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Will Malaysians vote for change?


What has the fifty year rule by the coalition government done to the people? It has robbed them of their will to change. It has enslaved them to such extent that they have been cowed into silent acceptance of the Barisan Nasional as the most viable option. If you vote against us, no development for you. The carrot and stick strategy has been so effective that people fear to vote against the Barisan Nasional. The media have been put to such effective use that people have become completely anaesthesized. The ashes of the May 13 incident have not been allowed to settle; they have been raked up time and again to remind the Chinese and Indians of the consequences of voting 'irresponsibly'. The Malays are not spared either: vote for the opposition and you will sign away your privileges and the special position accorded to Islam.

Many have become irresolute, anxious, and even afraid to vote for change. While there have been claims that the wind of change is here, many are still unconvinced that the opposition parties can provide a viable alternative. Some argued that it does not matter as long as the Barisan Nasional is denied its majority. What is crucial is that it is time for a change.

Reality check #1: the Barisan Nasional will form the next government.

Reality check #2: the non-Malays have yet to trust PAS despite its efforts to present a more moderate front.

Reality check #3: the PKR is such a disparate party it is doubtful that it could grab more seats than it already has.

Reality check #4: the DAP has always believed that there should be an effective opposition and it is going to be just that.

Reality check # 5: Young voters disillusioned with politics and politicians have become politically apathetic or indecisive.

One could feel a palpable sense of anxiety, even fear for this coming general election. I would not be surprised if a sizable number decided to abstain from voting.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Samy and 'Her Husband'

It is strange that the MIC (the Malaysian Indian Congress) President, Samy Vellu should use the analogy of the husband and wife to describe the relationship between the Indian community and the MIC . The husband (the Indian community) should not ask the the wife (the MIC) what she has been doing since she has done all she is supposed to do. The Minister should listen to his wife more and he would have realized that she talks more than he does. Research has shown that women talk three times as much as men.

It is precisely that the wife (Samy) has communicated little to the husband (the Indian community) that the husband in one spontaneous outburst (the Hindraf rally) announced to the world that the hitherto 'dutiful' wife has been neglecting her 'marital' duties.

Now the wife has put on her best sari to court, to persuade, to cajole and even to threaten if she doesn't get her way.

Sounds confusing isn't it?

Sunday, 2 March 2008

The Grand Sea View Restaurant

For a town of 200,000 inhabitants, Batu Pahat can boast of a restaurant that can seat 2000 guests: the Grand Sea View Restaurant. Its closest rival, the Batu Pahat Ocean Restaurant could not match its size and grandeur. Last Friday I attended the Tong Fang's 28th Annual General Meeting cum Chinese New Year dinner there.

The Tong Fang, literally meaning 'the East room', comprising 600 members, is actually a sub-clan of the Nam Wah people, a clan from the Hokkien province in China. My host even told me that the clan is in the process of tracing the genealogical tree of each member. Such is their emotional attachment that many members have made it a point to visit their ancestors' homes once a year.

The dinner was 'unexpectedly' graced by two candidates for the coming general election, Koh Chee Chai, the state assembly candidate for Penggaram and Dato Ariss Bin Samsudin, the state assembly candidate for Semerah and their entourage. Koh Chee Chai spoke, but I think the guests were more interested in their food and drink.

The restaurant

Side view

One of the entrances

The lobby. The partitions are electrically operated to slide back to extend the banquet hall end to end.

The banquet hall

'Dishes' made from plaster of paris

A close-up-shot

The first dish

Chicken herbal soup

Braised pork leg and steamed buns

Fried buttered prawns

Steamed red snapper in tomyam sauce

Barisan Nasional campaign workers

More campaign workers

The state assembly candidate, Koh Chee Chai giving a speech

Michael with the God of Prosperity

He insisted on taking a picture with the waitress

John gave specific instructions to have his photo taken

Friends receiving an 'ang pow' of a lottery ticket each