- REVIEW - An Analysis of Malaysia’s 12th General Election
- Racial poisoning hits BN, leaving Chinese parties drained and Umno vulnerable
- @ khao San area...
- Yoyo kings
- NINA in UMNO...........No Income, No Assets.... BUT RICH
- Sumpah Baiah: UMNO Tunjuk Kepada Dunia Ia Sedang Diambang Kehancuran
- Semua isu Umno boleh settle. Shahrizat boleh rilek
- The Reason for My Silence
- George Town Festival 2012 Teaser Website
- Malaysian-Made PSA On Autism
- Driving Through Jalan Pasar, Pulau Tikus
- Friday Afternoon On Penang Bridge
- Drainage Upgrading And Widening In George Town, Penang
- Desserts At Snowman Tang Bo Fu (Tong Pak Fu), Pulau Tikus
- Christmas Decoration At Pavilion Shopping Mall, Bukit Bintang
- KLCC And KL City Walk
- Sunday At Taylor’s University In Super Wide Angle
- Hello Malaysia’s Starbucks Coffee Card
- WHO IS MORE A PONDAN?
- Malaysia's UMNO Scandals - A new set threatens
Posted: 03 Dec 2011 10:53 AM PST
In our pre-election analysis, we estimated that the Opposition parties will win about 50 parliamentary seats and face a very strong challenge from DAP-Keadilan in Penang. We also warned of the strong wind blowing in the Indian and Chinese communities towards the Opposition. We did not and could not then anticipate the equally strong wave of Malay support for the Opposition which resulted in the Opposition gaining 82 seats in Parliament, denying the Barisan Nasional of its two-thirds majority, the first time since the May 1969 General Election. We had in our pre-election analysis noted the possibility of a divided outcome with a strong Malay government against a strong non-Malay Opposition. However, this did not materialize as Malay support for the Opposition was also strong resulting in multi racial Keadilan winning 31 seats and PAS 23 seat in Parliament. In fact, the popular votes obtained by UMNO (35.5%) and combined PAS/Keadilan (34.8%) was almost equal. Whilst the loss of Penang state to the Opposition did not come as a surprise after the first week of campaign with massive turnout at DAP ceramahs and large donations collected on the spot for the DAP candidates, the fall of Perak and Selangor was totally unexpected. What happened? What caused the massive swing?
Some facts on the 12th General Election should be noted and analysed. The Barisan Nasional within Peninsular Malaysia failed to obtain a majority of popular votes cast. It only obtained 49% of the popular votes in Peninsular Malaysia whereas the Opposition had the majority of popular votes – 51%. UMNO won 35% of popular votes against 34.8% won by PAS and Keadilan. Although the Barisan Nasional won 140 seats in Parliament, 54 seats came from Sabah and Sarawak. So, without Sabah and Sarawak, Barisan Nasional will not have even obtained a simple majority in Parliament. If the Federal Territory was to be considered as a state, the Barisan Nasional actually lost 6 states. In Negeri Sembilan, it survives with only a 4-seat majority. In Pahang, Barisan Nasional even lost the state capital, Kuantan. Even the Barisan Nasional fortress of Johor was successfully penetrated by the Opposition this time with both DAP and PAS winning seats. There are no safe bastions for Barisan Nasional anymore.
Although, the Chinese and Indian votes have decisively swung to the DAP and Keadilan, causing MCA, MIC and Gerakan to lose massive support, it was totally unexpected for UMNO to lose in urban and semi-urban Malay seats like Titiwangsa and Lembah Pantai (in Kuala Lumpur city), Shah Alam, Hulu Langat, Kuala Langat, Kuala Selangor, Gombak, Ampang, Sungei Petani, Merbok, Kulim, Nibong Tebal, Balik Pulau (in Penang), Parit Buntar and Bagan Serai in Perak. Barisan Nasional even loss Kuantan – the capital of Pahang and Indera Mahkota. With increasing urbanization with the urban population projected to increase to 73% in 2020, up from 62% in 2000, can UMNO prevent a slide in urban Malay votes? What made the urban Malays desert UMNO? This question needs to be addressed. For the MCA and MIC, it was clearly their worst ever electoral performance ever. In 1969, MCA won 13 out of 24 seats contested (54%), whereas this year MCA only won 37.5% of parliament seats contested. Gerakan was totally wiped out in Penang – its stronghold. The DAP campaigned that a vote for MCA or Gerakan is a vote for UMNO to capitalize on the anger of the Chinese community over UMNO. Hence, the track record of MCA and Gerakan was ignored with an emotional swing against UMNO.
2. What the Election Results Mean
Several broad conclusions can be drawn from the 12th General Election:-(i) It is a seismic shift in Malaysian politics. A political tsunami as the Star headlines said. The old ways of campaigning may no longer work. Putting fear into voters minds did not work. The use of mainstream media to create spin or to demonise the opposition was detested by urban voters and had a counter-effect instead. From feedback, many urban voters were turned off by the spin especially in NST and Star.
(ii) The victory of DAP, Keadilan and PAS in many areas showed that voters do not buy the argument that the Chinese won't support PAS and DAP won't get Malay votes. As Dr. Farish Noor reported from the PAS Headquarters in Kota Baru on Saturday night (polling night), Kelantan PAS supporters cheered when the DAP gained control of Penang. So the notion Malays won't support DAP was debunked that night in Kota Baru.
(iii) Makkal Sakhti (People Power), the cry of HINDRAF, caused a tidal wave of support from the Indian community towards the opposition. This seismic shift of Indian voters contributed to the defeat of many Barisan Nasional candidates, not only MIC candidates.
(iv) The Barisan Nasional's brand of race-based politics is no longer an attractive proposition to voters. Chinese voters deserted MCA and Gerakan. Indian voters swung away from MIC. Many Malay voters switched to Keadilan, making Keadilan the biggest opposition party with 31 parliament seats. The Opposition parties won, not on race-based issues but across a range of issues that cuts across ethnic lines. The MCA and MIC lost whilst trying to portray themselves as defenders of their race. UMNO lost ground to Keadilan even with Anwar calling for an end to NEP. Is this then, a new paradigm for Malaysian politics that Malaysian voters are more taken in by wider national issues such as corruption, crime, cost of living, social justice and human rights which cuts across all ethnic groups rather than narrow ethnic issues that favour any particular race? Even MCA championing the cause of Chinese schools didn't get much support from the Chinese community. But, PAS delivered votes to DAP and Chinese voters supported both PAS and Keadilan. Should MCA remain purely a Chinese party when it lost more Chinese votes to the DAP or should it become a multi-racial party and widen its appeal to non-Chinese? This has set the stage for a new era of multi-racial politics in Malaysia, perhaps the beginning of a two-party system which is healthy in any democracy.
(v) The loss of Penang, Kedah, Selangor and Perak can perhaps be partially attributed to complacency in the Barisan Nasional camp. Over-confidence in a proven track record may be another factor. In Penang, the non-Malay voters were unhappy with Gerakan for being unable or unwilling to stand up to UMNO. However, the Opposition's ability to capture, in particular, Penang and Selangor, the jewels in the crown so to speak, and even Perak to a lesser extent, will enable DAP and Keadilan to attempt to provide a new model of governance, which if they succeed, could further strengthen their grips on these states in the next General Elections and extend their support in other states like Negeri Sembilan (remember earlier point: Barisan Nasional only have 4 seat majority in Negeri Sembilan). However, if the DAP and Keadilan mess up, they will lose their opportunity and the voters in the 3 states Penang, Perak and Selangor may revert to the Barisan Nasional. It is however, unlikely DAP and Keadilan will squander their chance. It is left to be seen if the new State Governments in Penang, Perak and Selangor can deliver. If so, expect them to control these states for at least two terms if the state governments are administered well with good governance, accountability and transparency.
(vi) The point has also to be made that never in the history of Malaysia has the Prime Minister ever lost his own home state. In Penang, UMNO/Barisan Nasional only retained 2 parliamentary seats, that of the Prime Minister and Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop. The 12th General Election by any reckoning is UMNO's worst-ever performance, worse than in 1969 and 1999.
3. What Caused the Swing to the Opposition
The political tsunami was brought about by various factors, foremost of which is the perceived arrogance of power. All racial groups – Malays, Chinese and Indians have the perception that the Barisan Nasional did not hear or listen to the voice of the people. The Barisan Nasional mishandled the Bersih and HINDRAF protests. This show no tolerance for public assemblies and no outlet for grievances which resulted in the aggrieved parties voting against the Barisan Nasional in the ballot boxes. The Barisan Nasional's over-confidence and poor intelligence failed to identify growing anger and frustration of the people. The Prime Minister's challenge to Opposition supporters not to demonstrate but to take it to the ballot box also made many fence sitters and opposition sympathizers to vote for the opposition. The Barisan Nasional failed to effectively read the mood on the ground. Many urban voters in particular the fence sitters were put off by the propaganda, spin and one-sided coverage on TV and in NST and Star.
A contributory factor could be internal bickering over the choice of candidates within the Barisan Nasional component parties not only in UMNO but also in MCA and Gerakan. Apart from the above, other factors also contributed to the unprecedented swing in support to the Opposition. These can be attributed as the 9C's:-
(i) Change : A massive mood swing brought about by the opposition's promise of change and reform.
(ii) Crime : Growing anger at the seeming inability of the Federal Government to tackle crime effectively.
(iii) Cost of Living : Rising frustration over increases in the cost of living.
(iv) Corruption : Growing perception that corruption has worsened over the past four years. (v) Courts : Disgust over the Lingham enquiry and concern about judicial independence.
(vi) Convergence of Issues : All these issues coming to a head at the same time and perception that government is not listening or effectively addressing them. There is really no one single big issue but a convergence of issues that caused people to be dissatisfied and angry with the Barisan Nasional.
(vii) Communications Technology : The power of the internet and blogs to provide alternative information, that is downloaded, printed and distributed even to kampungs and new villages. With the spin in NST, more people trust the blogs more than the mainstream media.
(viii) Credible Leadership : For the first time, the Opposition was able to present credible leadership and credible alternatives. The Anwar factor is pivotal. More than the 1998 reformasi campaign this year is much more an Anwar-coordinated campaign. DAP, Keadilan and PAS put up young, credible candidates. Lim Guan Eng, a Monash economics and accounting graduate, taking charge of Penang instead of his father Lim Kit Siang provided a younger and less belligerent face to the electorate backed by credible candidates like Prof. Ramasamy, Lim Chin Tiong and Jeff Ooi.
(ix) Campaign Strategy : The Barisan Nasional's campaign strategy was much of the same. The old school approach – some carrots and sticks. It offered development on the one hand, it threatens on the other, warning the Chinese and Indian communities that they will have no representation in government. The Chinese and Indian voters didn't buy this argument this time. At one point in Penang, feedback from many Chinese voters is they don't mind not even having a Chinese Chief Minister to teach the Barisan Nasional a lesson. Promises and fear didn't work this time. UMNO also took Malay voters for granted. On the other hand, the Opposition's strategy was low-key, humble and non-threatening. PAS didn't speak of an Islamic State. DAP didn't campaign to capture Penang as was the case during Tanjung I, II and III. All DAP asked for was to deny Barisan Nasional two-thirds majority both in Penang and in Parliament. This softer approach compared to Kit Siang's aggressive style in 1990, 1995, 1999 won DAP many sympathetic votes. The use of blogs as alternative media was also highly successful.
For the Chinese voters, memories don't fade easily. Often politicians tend to think people have short memories. But the Chinese voters are still upset and aggrieved over the waving of the keris incident at UMNO Youth Assemblies and the racial rhetoric in the 2006 UMNO General Assembly. Chinese voters also perceived MCA and Gerakan to be too subservient to UMNO. For the Indian voters, HINDRAF was a key factor. The power of Makkal Sakhti (People's Power) is real and translated into votes for the Opposition throughout the country where there are sizeable number of Indian voters. For Malay voters, Anwar provided an alternative leadership. He read the Malay mood well. To the Malay voters in Anwar's campaign speeches, the NEP because of its over-obsession with Bumiputra equity, benefitted only UMNO Puteras and didn't benefit the ordinary people in the rural heartland. UMNO Youth was also perceived to be brash and arrogant.
4. Looking Ahead
What the 12th General Election provided is a timely wake-up call to all political parties. They need to change, reform and deliver. For the Barisan Nasional, it means reinvention to stay relevant. For the Opposition in control of the 5 State Governments, it means the need to deliver what they promised. Can they work together? The question, looking ahead, is how UMNO will react. Will it be magnanimous and learn the right lessons? Will it change and reform from within and lower racial rhetoric to win back non-Malay support or will it up the ante to become even more ultra-Malay to retain whatever Malay support it still has? Will UMNO remain united and cohesive or will there be a scramble for positions in its coming General Assembly and party elections? The internal dynamics in UMNO in the lead up to party elections need to be watched.
For the Opposition, the key question is whether the new State Governments in Penang, Perak and Selangor can perform and deliver and meet the expectations of the people? Will there be a witch-hunt against Barisan Nasional supporters? Will they be able to cooperate and work closely together? Will they gain the support of civil servants? Will they be able to cooperate and work with the Federal Government? What will be the impact on Government-Linked Companies controlled by or connected to these state governments? For the MCA and MIC, the question is whether they should continue to narrowly fight for Chinese and Indian interests or should they reinvent themselves to become multi-racial parties like DAP and Keadilan and champion wider national issues such as corruption, human rights, judicial independence and economic opportunities.
For the Gerakan and PPP, the key question is whether they should continue to exist and if so, what is their niche in Malaysian politics? Should they bring about the merger of smaller parties in the Barisan Nasional including those in Sabah and Sarawak? Will the 2008 Election lead to the emergence of a two-party system in Malaysia? For the Prime Minister, this is an opportunity to clean house. To listen more to the voice of the people and not to be disconnected to the feelings on the ground. We have in Pak Lah a decent man, a dedicated and pious Muslim. He should use his strength to reinvent himself and renew UMNO and Barisan Nasional. Credit ought to be also given to the Prime Minister for providing more democratic space and a fairer, freer election as well as for his stoic acceptance of the democratic voice of the people, and for not reacting ala the midnite snatch in Sabah in the mid-1980's or having an Operasi Lallang or May 13/NOC type reaction. There is clearly a need to review certain National Policies that causes unhappiness and decisiveness. Will the Barisan Nasional leadership, be able, perhaps more willing to rise to the occasion to bite the bullet?
In the final analysis, despite the massive swing to the opposition, the Barisan Nasional still remained in office at Federal level and has a comfortable majority to provide continuity and political stability. This analysis provides some key facts and pose some key questions that need to be pondered over in the days and months ahead. Whatever it is, Malaysian politics post March 8, 2008 will not be the same again. It is time for a new beginning. A new era has begun. More importantly, to note that the morning after, most surveys showed that many Malaysians from all races and different walks of life felt good over the election outcome. Dated: 13th March 2008
Posted: 03 Dec 2011 09:52 AM PST
1957 saw the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) and Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) work together to achieve the country's independence. Together, the three parties formed a coalition that collectively represented the welfare of all three of the majority races. It was our first act of unity, and it gave us our independence.
Fast-forward 54 years to present day, and we see the now larger coalition unravelling at the seams, with Chinese-based components MCA, SUPP and Gerakan at the zones of greatest pressure, and many say past the point of return.
It takes both hands to clap, and in any polygamous relationship all parties have to bear the blame whenever there is divorce albeit in differing degrees. In the case of the BN coalition, the party most faulted is UMNO. Although, it always held the leadeship position due to the Malay electorate being the largest at some 60 per cent, UMNO became overly greedy through the years. Not that its partners were blameless, but UMNO was the aggressor, willing even to cannibalise the BN to feed its own ambitions and goals.
A telltale sign of distress within the coalition came in the form of a rare outburst from SUPP president George Chan. Shedding a harsh light on the state of equality across the parties within BN, he recently advised the opposition's Democratic Action Party (DAP) not to join the coalition and openly admitted that it gives no priority to its Chinese-majority members.
There have been speculations, and even calls for SUPP, MCA and Gerakan to team up and leave the coalition. The three parties have performed poorly in recent elections, with SUPP losing most of its contested seats in April's Sarawak state elections, Gerakan losing control of Penang for the first time since 1969 and MCA retaining only 15 parliamentary seats, less than half of what they had before.
With the opposition coalition gaining popularity, the three BN Chinese-majority parties are increasingly being accused of not serving and representing the welfare of the Chinese community within the government. The recent years have seen the media, bloggers and even Facebook groups call for the parties to leave BN, if only to reinstate their credibility as the Chinese representatives. They came close, but not quite close enough.
A SUPP leader told Malaysia Chronicle earlier this month that the three parties had late last year discussed plans to leave BN but had not the will to carry through.
This has left many disgruntled and disappointed in their representatives. Now, with the people's spirits still high from the adrenaline rush that was Bersih 2.0, Chan's public outburst of discontent at BN and the General Elections coming up, change seems to be the mantra for all and the views are growing by the day that the only way the three parties can stave off extinction was to turn independent.
Whether BN or more to the point, UMNO, admits it or not, ties between the race-based parties are now under such strain that the very coalition that gave us our independence is struggling to hold onto power.
However, whether or not the Chinese majority parties leave the BN, join the opposition, or form their own group, it would do little or nothing to appease the undercurrent of racial discord in the country. Racial politics may have had its place half a century ago, but times now have changed.
As has been said time and time again, Malaysia needs to steer herself towards a political system that is colour-blind and policy-centered. Leaving coalitions and forming parties while only looking out for those whose skin colour resembles ours will only deepen the cracks between races and incite more fear and resentment based on the brownness or yellowness of our skin.
If SUPP, MCA and Gerakan walk out today, sure, most of the Chinese will cheer, and the rest of UMNO will be left reeling and scrambling to pick up the pieces.
However, it would be naïve to not expect some serious backlash and repercussions as consequences. Not only will UMNO clamp down on this "walk-out" with lightning speed; it will perhaps go so far as to suspend or seize MCA-owned national newspapers The Star, Sin Chew Jit Poh and Nanyang Siang Pau or even to unleash its proverbial tyrannical power that is the ISA unto the party leaders for alleged anarchy of some sort, but the parties' action may also create even larger rifts between the people.
From the bottom-up, it is highly unlikely that many non-Chinese would be supportive of a Chinese-stronghold political group. But it won't really matter for the SUPP, MCA and Gerakan because if they remained in the BN, they would lose even more. There is also the option of working with the Malay parties in the Pakatan Rakyat. As for UMNO, with 23.7% of the population being Chinese, it will be almost impossible to assume power when only looking after the welfare of its own ethnicity.
As such, what we need today is a party or a coalition that first and foremost represents not the race of its members but our ideals as Malaysian citizens. With that right step in mind, we can then work on the not any less important factor of transparency within the administration.
Many of us are now second and third generation Malaysians since our independence and have lived on Malaysia's soil our whole lives. It is time now that we define ourselves, our party ideals and who owns the land not by how long our ancestors have been here, because, really if we did, it would be the aboriginals and indigenous people who should be in power, but by how we as today's generation of Malaysians want to shape our country and future.
We are a young country, and we are a young people; only 5% of the population is over 65 years old. So, some may say we aren't ready for secular politics; some may caution that as a people we are unprepared; we are too young. But what relevance does youth have? If anything, as children we pay little attention to skin colour on the playground. Most only grow more racially aware as we get older. It is the old; the archaic policies championed by previous generations that are crippling this young country. We are young, and therefore we are open to the new. Why do we allow ourselves to be governed by the fear of leaving behind the old? There can be no denying that the step towards secular politics needs to be taken.
No one should have more right over a piece of land just because their grandfather set foot on it first; this game of "finders' keepers" needs to end, or has it not dragged on for too long now?
Posted: 03 Dec 2011 08:08 AM PST
Posted: 03 Dec 2011 06:11 AM PST
I was having dinner this evening with my chess friends - I tell you, I've known some of these guys from way back in the 1970s - and inexplicably, our conversation suddenly turned to the yoyo. Don't ask me how but it just did. Now, I'm no yoyo expert. Nay, I'm not even a yoyo beginner. All that I know about playing with a yoyo is to throw it and hope that it is able to go up and down the string.
However, I do know a thing or two about people whose passion is playing with the yoyo. To them, the yoyo is more than a hobby. So, I regaled my friends with a few tales about this fascinating toy, except that the exponents of the yoyo will hardly call it a toy. It's a precision piece of equipment. Some can be worth a few hundreds of ringgit.
Anyway, I promised to show them a few choice videos of the yoyo champions in the various divisions. Somehow, as can be seen below, the Japanese are very good at it. Don't ask me why, I don't know
First, this video features Shinji Saito who was the winner of the 2A category at the 2006 world yoyo contest. A brilliant display of showmanship with the two yoyos. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
Then, here is Tsubasa Onishi who won the 4A category at the 2010 world yoyo championship. Fascinating, isn't it, the way that he controlled an off-string yoyo, especially when he pulled it back onto the string?
And finally, here is Hiroyuki Suzuki who was champion of the 1A category seven times in the past. That's more than any other yoyo player. Nuts, he even lent his name to endorse yoyos! That's how good he is.
Posted: 03 Dec 2011 07:59 AM PST
In UMNO there are many Malays who have become rich without working for it, without any business acumen and without any brains!
In UMNO there are many Malays who have been given lucrative business opportunities without any financial risks for them. These are fail-safe cash cows with an iron clad money back guarantee - the government buys it back from you at a premium – not IF you fail but WHEN you fail! But here is where UMNO has failed these Malays.
Tajuddin Ramli, Amin Shah, Halim Saad…
These are the top of the heap of failed Malay 'businessmen' who epitomize those who benefited from selective government patronage and became part of the culture of greed now infused into many Malay consciousness. These individuals have been given every assistance, every fail- safe option to succeed. And yet they fail.
And then there are those like Mahathir's son, Mirzan: whose 'businesses' have been kept afloat by billions of ringgits belonging to the people and this son of Mahathir considers himself a businessman of considerable abilities - the new rich Malays. Malays who are multi millionaires riding on the back of UMNO and the people's money. But at least this son makes a show of running a business empire- a diverse conglomerate that covers a range of activities – mostly legal! But come on lah….what business empire?
Given the breaks he has had, even a monkey can live in clover without ever running out of bananas for the rest of his life!
Then we have Malays like the late Zakaria Deros, Muhammad Taib, Isa Samad, Shahidan Kassim and of course the infamous Khir Toyo.
These are the scums of the earth. They do not even have the intelligence or decency to hide the wealth that they have stolen from the very people who have voted to put them in power. The hastiness in which Khir Toyo had proceeded to display his stolen wealth after losing office fills most of us with stomach wrenching disgust. But these are the people that UMNO has chosen to be leaders within UMNO.
A Ketua Cawangan gets a contract to build a primary school in his "kawasan". Without any knowledge of business he is given a business opportunity way beyond his capacity to manage. All he knows is that he has to get someone… just about anyone…. who will take the contract off his hands and give him a handsome commission. He makes the 20% to 50% commission off the contract price. It does not concern him if the contract is successfully completed or not – what matters is how much he will make as commission from that contract – after all he has already spent the advance given to him by JKR to start the contract. To him this is a good way of doing business.
And so UMNO teaches a Malay to do business without having any knowledge of the business that he does, without any working capital, without risks and certainly without any brains to be able to better himself by this business opportunity given to him by UMNO. While all this is going on the wheeling and dealing is most intense in the corridors of power.
In Putrajaya and in the Government Ministries. Not only by the Minister himself but also by all his staff – anybody and everybody with access to the Minister will make their money. In Agriculture, Defense, Education, Trade, Energy, Water and Communication and the mother of all Ministries, The Ministry of Finance. And do not forget the Government Agencies and anywhere else a ringgit can be made. Hell there are money to be made even in Rela and the Anti-drugs Agency!
All this orgy of making money makes these Malays cash rich. Wine, women and song…big cars, nice clothes are easy enough habits to acquire but it does not teach them how to keep the money or how to use the money to make more money. And their ability to make money remains as long as their Minister stays a Minister – so make hay while the sun shines!
And so what does it do to these Malays? They become parasites. Parasite: "Somebody who lives off the generosity of others and does nothing in return" What they earn is not enough to keep them in the lifestyle that they want to live up to and so they take from us. While we have to live on the wages we earn UMNO eagerly opens up many sources of illegal income for those that pledge allegiance to the party.
These Malays are regarded by most Malays as the worst of the blight that UMNO has caused to the Malay race. The presence of these Malays makes real all that UMNO leaders have been saying about the Malays. That the Malays need to be spoon fed, that the Malays are unable to compete on a level playing field with the other races, that the Malays will always need Ketuanan Melayu or they will be no more Malays left in their own country! This is certainly true of the Malays in UMNO but not of the Malays outside UMNO!
I shudder to think of what the future will hold for these people. Where will they go and how will they survive when UMNO is out of government?
We see a bit of the future for these people in the likes of Ibrahim and Mahathir
They know nothing but politics. Without politics they do not have a life…….even when they are past 80. But there are no more places for them within UMNO. And so we see them do what they do now and they become a pain to us in a place where the sun does not shine! Just think of the negative impact it will have on the country when this scenario is repeated thousand of times at various levels after the next general elections when UMNO is ousted!
The way things are for UMNO they know it would be a mistake to send a message to the other races that UMNO only looks after their own – but what choice do they have?
What we need to understand is that UMNO has a fragmented political reality with real power residing outside cabinet. The extent to which this power is exercised will depend on the Prime Minister of the day.
Our history will show us that Tunku, Hussein Onn and Abdullah Badawi left office because of circumstances beyond their control. Circumstance created by those outside government but within UMNO. A weak PM like Najib will surrender power to this faction, or for the lack of a better word, to these warlords as and when dictated to do so.
Because UMNO has been identified with the Malays, UMNO's problem is the Malay problem. UMNO's crisis is a Malay crisis. And UMNO's solution to their problem will also be a Malay solution. UMNO wants to lead but its ability to lead will depend on whether their intention to change is sincere. Whether it can be backed by positive change in the face of opposition from the powerful forces within UMNO that wants to maintain its present status quo. I think not. UMNO is deceit. UMNO is greed. UMNO is not our future!
As the Chinese says :
"The harsh winter is gone and spring is around the corner"
….I think that spring is indeed around the corner for all of us. We await the 13th general Election with much impatience!!
Posted: 03 Dec 2011 08:44 AM PST
PRU13: Muhyiddin ketuai perwakilan ikrar taat setia
Timbalan Presiden Umno Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin hari ini mengetuai ikrar taat setia kepada parti, antaranya menolak hasad dengki sesama anggota, bagi menghadapi pilihan raya umum akan datang.
"Kami orang Umno, berikrar untuk merapatkan saf perjuangan, mengeratkan ukhuwwah, menghapuskan sengketa, menghindari hasad dengki dan iri hati dan meletakkan kepentingan parti mengatasi kepentingan peribadi," lafaz Muhyiddin sambil diikuti perwakilan yang menggemakan dewan besar di Pusat Dagangan Dunia Putera (PWTC).
Usaha itu dilihat bagi memastikan budaya cantas mencatas yang cuba dibendung habis-habisan dalam perhimpunan 'terakhir' sebelum pilihan raya umum yang dijangka tidak lama lagi.
Pendekatan itu juga dilihat hampir sama dengan bai'ah yang diamalkan dalam parti lawan PAS apabila setiap calon bertanding bersumpah dengan nama Allah untuk taat setia.
Ikrar taat setia itu berbunyi:
"Kami orang UMNO, berikrar untuk merapatkan saf perjuangan, mengeratkan ukhuwwah, menghapuskan sengketa, menghindari hasad dengki dan irihati dan meletakkan kepentingan parti mengatasi kepentingan peribadi.
Kami orang UMNO berjanji taat setia kepada parti dengan memberikan sepenuh kepercayaan dan sokongan padu kepada YAB Presiden untuk memimpin kita mencapai kemenangan besar dalam pilihanraya nanti.
Kami orang UMNO bersumpah untuk bekerja dengan gigih, tersusun dan teratur, berjihad dan berinfaq di jalan Allah s.w.t, bagi memastikan kemenangan UMNO dan Barisan Nasional dalam Pilihanraya Umum ke-13.
Kami orang UMNO berikrar untuk memberikan sokongan padu dan tidak berbelah bahagi kepada calon-calon yang bakal dipilih oleh pucuk pimpinan parti untuk bertanding dalam pilihanraya nanti."
Sumpah itu juga menyebut mereka "orang Umno" memberikan sokongan padu dan tidak berbelah bahagi kepada calon-calon yang bakal dipilih oleh pucuk pimpinan parti untuk bertanding dalam pilihan raya nanti.
Antara lain dalam sumpah itu, mereka berikrar memberikan sepenuh kepercayaan dan sokongan padu kepada presiden untuk memimpin mencapai kemenangan besar.
Sejurus selepas itu, beliau juga membaca doa "rabitah" atau memohon kekuatan daripada Allah.
Sementara itu, Muhyiddin dalam ucapannya juga yakin parti itu akan menang besar dan mendapat kembali penguasaan dua pertiga di parlimen dalam pilihan raya umum akan datang.
Bagaimanapun, tambahnya, terdapat tujuh syarat yang perlu dipatuhi terlebih dahulu.
Ia antaranya, bersatu, bersetia pada parti, berkidmat untuk parti dengan sepenuh hati, berkorban apa saja, berusaha gigih, reda jika tidak terpilih menjadi calon dan sentiasa bertawal.
"Jika kita bersungguh-sungguh mengamalkan ramuan-ramuan ini, insya-Allah parti kita Umno akan menang besar, sekurang-kurangnya dengan majoriti dua pertiga.
"Target kita mesti tidak kurang majoriti dua pertiga," katanya lagi.-mk
Najib: Umno cipta sejarah buat bai'ah, dakwa tragis jika Pakatan ganti BN
Tiada ulasan lain yang dapat diberikan apabila pertama kali di dalam sejarah, UMNO terpaksa melakukan ikrar taat setia disamping menyelitkan sumpah baiah - memberikan satu petanda dan petunjuk bahawa: sungguh benar UMNO kini berada di ambang kehancuran.
Setelah satu demi satu pekung terdedah, UMNO masih dengan sindrom penafiannya disamping cuba menyalahkan pihak lain khusus Pakatan Rakyat tetapi tidak dan enggan memperbaiki kelemahan mereka. Justeru ikrar taat setia dan sumpah baiah itu dengan sendirinya senjata yang bakal memakan tuan.
Posted: 03 Dec 2011 07:23 AM PST
By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
December 03, 2011
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 — The government knows how to handle leaders involved in "controversies", Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.
In what was probably his first indirect response to the debacle surrounding the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) scandal and Cabinet minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil, the prime minister said his administration knows how to deal with the matter.
"We know, we know how to handle issues," said Najib (picture) at a news conference at the end of the Umno general assembly here.
A reporter had asked him to comment on Umno supreme council member Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin's insistence that "the leader involved in a controversy... step down and take responsibility."
Posted: 03 Dec 2011 07:18 AM PST
I know I have not been blogging as much. Apart from fulfilling my chauffeuring duties for my son (which has ceased after the concert), the real reason is because 28 days ago, I started this "I must get my figure back" project.
I started my first blog Masterwordsmith@Writers.Inc in May 2008 and this blog in August 2008. I got into blogging mania from May 2009 and since then, I gained 30 pounds.
Yes, I am serious. THIRTY POUNDS.
I never quite took the weight gain seriously although I did attempt to lose weight now and then but it was an uphill task. I would lose up to six pounds and then regain it and on some occasions, put back more than what I lost. And that is how I grew bigger and bigger.
With blogging, came a sedentary lifestyle where I would sit for hours in front of the computer and then read and read and do tons of research before I wrote a socio-political post. It is a serious "occupational hazard" of bloggers or writers!
Things came to a head when many of my friends or relatives either died from some incurable disease or unexpectedly or from a heart attack of from terminal diseases, are in some stage of cancer, or had been diagnosed with hypertension or high cholesterol levels or diabetes. Quite a number have uric acid problems, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.
I go for an annual medical checkup and the results have been very good despite being overweight. Even my doctor is puzzled as to why I have no cholesterol or hypertension issues. It is basically because I am a pescatarian and survive on vegetables and tofu although chocolates and desserts are my weak points! Despite being a small eater, my weight gain is primarily from my blogging sedentary lifestyle and sweet drinks such as boxed juices and soya bean milk! I told myself that I cannot take my life or my health for granted.
I decided to change my lifestyle, eating habits, lose weight and to keep healthy and fit so that I can live a healthy life, live to a ripe old age, see and play with my grandchildren and not be a burden to my family!
It was not easy though. After I lost 10 pounds, my cousin from Hong Kong who is a fitness enthusiast with a six-pack body, brought with him this contraption that can measure body fat, body mass index (BMI), visceral fat, body type and many other variables such as body age (which is different from our chronological age). You can CLICK THIS LINK for more information.
To give you an idea of how I felt, my cousin who is 45 has Type 9 body (fittest), body age of 20, visceral fat of 6, BMI of 13 and 9% body fat.
My husband is 54 and his body age is 36.
My aunt is 76 and her body age is 51.
Well, I am the second youngest of the four mentioned and have the OLDEST BODY AGE!!!
Oh my GAWD!!!!!
I nearly fainted when I got the results. My body fat level was ARRRRRRGGGGHHHHH and BMI level was OHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOO!!!
The only redeeming point was my visceral fat is 8 - which is pretty good considering my size, thanks to my pescatarian diet. Nonetheless, that painful confrontation with truth gave me the added impetus to lose weight.
From thence, I willed myself to persevere and to reach my target before Chinese New Year of 2012. And if I do, I will slowly shed another 10 pounds and maintain that as my set weight.
My good friend Dr Michael Chick photo shopped a pic of me looking very slim sometime last year - I asked him to do it as a motivating factor. So I look at it and then I look at all the OLD photos of me when I was in my 30's and then all my pics taken from January to October this year.
AND FAINTED when I first did that.
To face reality more painfully, I went through my wardrobe and tried the dresses that I USED to wear. To be honest, I HATE to wear dresses and only wore dresses when I was in Uplands and to some functions. Even as a little girl, I was punished, threatened by mom etc before I wore a dress. :-( I hated those FRILLY, LACY yukky dresses. No way. Anyway, I could only wear the newer ones. Those looser ones I wore in the 1990's had become so tight on me.
And I gave away 60% of my clothes.
And decided to lose weight.
So I exercised, mopped the floor a lot, ran up and down the stairs, did things at a faster pace, and looked for more things to do, voluntary projects etc etc. I also go walking, do light jogging and cycling (although very slowly).
Well, today is the 28th day of that project and I am really relieved to say that I have lost fourteen pounds.
The pair of jeans that was bursting at the zip and the seams is now lose and I can finally breath again and recognize some semblance of a figure :-).
Day 28 today. I really feel fitter, happier and better after losing 14 pounds off my hips and body.
My target is a loss of thirty pounds and to have a BMI of 23. That means I have another 16 pounds to shed. By the time I hit my target, I will be back in the gym again for body toning.
Before I started blogging, I was a gym addict and used to hit the gym once a day for 5 days a week and for twice for Mondays and Thursdays to swim after my workout. And with blogging, all that keep fit activities came to a standstill and then the rest is history.
Just today, my friend from New Zealand told us how his younger business partner had a stroke when driving. He complained of headaches when driving to the airport. Fortunately, his friend was with him and had the good sense to ask him to stop driving and then flagged down a police car. The policemen then called for an ambulance and upon arrival at the hospital, was rushed for brain surgery. Today, he is almost a vegetable and needs special care in a private hospital. His young wife is very devoted to him and has been at his bedside giving him the care, love and prayers that he needs. The scary part is that he is slim and athletic.
Now, I stay away from people who keep talking about food cos I have really switched off eating unhealthily. It is easy to get into a 'greedy' mood and have cravings. It may look good, taste good or whatever but for now, I think three times about the consequences of consuming unhealthy food. In fact, I think very carefully before I put anything in my mouth. And I will not forget how difficult it has been to lose 14 pounds. :-(
At the same time, I stay away from stressful situations now cos that is also not good for my health. In the past, reading the ridiculous news about our political landscape would affect me deeply. Now, I have learnt to keep calm and to think pro-actively of what I can do in terms of raising awareness via writing and not to sweat over what is beyond my control.
We only have one life. And my choice is to eat to live, not live to eat. Most of all, to live healthily and happily!
I just hope this post has encouraged some of you to stay fit and healthy. Of course I will still continue to blog :-). Take care and God bless you!
Posted: 02 Dec 2011 11:55 PM PST
George Town Festival 2012 Teaser Website – George Town Festival is an annual event that happens in Penang to celebrate George Town as a UNESCO World Heritage city ever since the year 2010. The 2011 George Town Festival was a heat in Penang and many came to Penang to enjoy the month long celebration.
The George Town Festival 2012 website is up as a teaser website and the planning for the 2012 festival has already started. You can fill in your name as volunteer, as well as sponsor for the festival. If you have tip and idea to make the festival even greater, you can contribute too!
Check out the teaser website here.
Posted: 02 Dec 2011 08:36 PM PST
Malaysian-Made PSA On Autism – This video is a Malaysian-made Public Service Announcement on the awareness of Autism. The video is in Chinese language and has English subtitle. It's really professionally made with all the editing, BGM, photography and filmography so well in placed. Good job to the director Quek Shio Chuan.
Posted: 02 Dec 2011 08:10 PM PST
Driving Through Jalan Pasar, Pulau Tikus – Jalan Pasar is where the Pulau Tikus Wet Market is and it's get crowded and happenings in the morning. This post showcase a few photos taken a few days back when driving pass this road.
Posted: 02 Dec 2011 07:25 PM PST
Friday Afternoon On Penang Bridge – I am not a frequent user of the Penang Bridge which connects the Penang Island and the mainland – Seberang Perai (or less known as Province Wellesley). Have been away to study in Klang Valley, only now I realised that the traffic congestion in Penang is getting as worst as like in Kuala Lumpur, Klang Valley.
Penang Bridge get congested everyday in the morning and during 5pm-7pm where workers are going back home to the mainland, it gets even more congested on Friday with the additional of students and people who are from the mainland.
Yesterday was just a typical Friday to me, but the traffic get slowed, not congested yet at about 5pm. Travel time extend 9 minutes to 20 minutes from the normal 11 minutes on the bridge and the traffic started to build up by then.
I've heard that it takes an hour to pass through the bridge during the peak hour. Hopefully the new Penang Bridge link 2 opening next year will solve part of the congestion and I truly support the build of the 3rd link which is a sea tunnel conecting Gurney Drive and Butterworth. Nevertheless, the state government must look into public transportation system too to reduce the vehicles on the road.
Posted: 02 Dec 2011 06:42 PM PST
Drainage Upgrading And Widening In George Town, Penang – If you are driving or walking around town, you will see many of this digging and constructing work going around by the roadside. It's the upgrading work of the drainage by widening it for a better flood control in the city.
I don't know why some of the NGOs (Non-governmental organisations) are so stubborn and troublesome. They complain that the this upgrading work by the Penang state government should not be done as the drains were part of Penang's heritage.
Funny right? It's very ridiculous and since when the UNESCO classifies the drain as part of the heritage element list? Come on, it's just a drain. If there's flood, who's gonna blame? Some, I mean some, NGOs is some times No Brain Organizations, their jobs is just to complain, without looking into the matter seriously.
Posted: 01 Dec 2011 09:47 PM PST
Desserts At Snowman Tang Bo Fu, Pulau Tikus – When you think of stressed, try reverse the alphabet and you will get D-E-S-S-E-R-T-S, yes, it's desserts! Everyone does has a sweet tooth which has a strong interest towards desserts and sweet thing. It basically just put a smile on someone's face.
Snowman Tang Bo Fu is a desserts house that serve Hong Kong desserts and was originally from Raja Uda, Butterworth. Now, they have expanded their outlet to Penang Island, located on the busy neighbourhood of Rat Island – Pulau Tikus.
I went there on a fine afternoon with my brother and his friend to enjoy some icy cold desserts as a getaway from the hot and humid weather of Penang. The interior of the place is quite similar with the on in Raja Uda, it's smaller, yet still able to house a mini band stage and also a sofa for better chill out experience.
Tang Bo Fu (mandarin) or Tong Pak Fu (cantonese) was a Chinese scholar, painter, calligrapher and poet of the Ming Dynasty, who basically is a famous Chinese from the ancient time. Now the name is used as the restaurant name which the word Tang, is changed into another Chinese word which means sweet.
I ordered myself one of the top 10, icy Honeydew Sago (RM5.80). The blended ice does really contain the taste of the honeydew and it's accompany by healthy and cold honeydew fruit cutlet as well as the sago filling. It's a simple desserts, yet, it's sweetened the mouth and mind.
Next up is a Soya Milk With Sesame Paste Sea Coconut (RM7.80). A mixture of the sesame paste into the blended ice and soya milk turns a special combination into something delightful. The presence of sea coconut keeps the mouth busy with crunching the healthy fruit.
This is Mango Toufa with New Zealand Natural Ice Cream plus Mango cutlet (RM12.80). The toufa is very smooth and it taste like pudding but it's more fragile then pudding. It break and explode once you place in the mouth. Somehow, the greentea ice cream felt weird in the desserts bowl.
We also ordered a finger food to accompany our desserts afternoon. The fried wantan was mouth watering and the skin was also very crunchy. The meat filling tasted a bit salty though.
Overall, the pricing at Tang Bo Fu is rather above average Penang's desserts price. The desserts are nice, just doesn't really satisfied with the pricing. Kuala Lumpur's KTZ has a better pricing food and more choices.
Posted: 01 Dec 2011 08:40 PM PST
Christmas Decoration At Pavilion Shopping Mall, Bukit Bintang – Christmas is around the corner right now and it's happening in less than a month time. This goes to Chinese New Year as well because the coming Chinese New Year is coming very early in January (normally February). I am so excited for both of the festival as they make me feel very relax and happy.
I went to KL downtown few weeks back and went to walkaround the famous Pavilion shopping mall. Surprisingly the put up the Christmas decoration early in early November, The decoration is very beautiful with lots of Christmas trees placed around the main atrium.
Big sweet cake and giant decorative bells and balls are among the decoration too.
Now I am back to Penang, and I'm gonna go check out how's the malls here are doing with the coming Christmas festival. Woohoo. Happy last month of 2011. If you still have leave, it's time to clear it up and spend some time with you family and your loved one. Have a nice day!
Posted: 01 Dec 2011 08:24 PM PST
KLCC And KL City Walk – Few weeks back, I went to Kuala Lumpur downtown alone and armed with a camera. I drove to the LRT station, parked my car there and took the public transport to town. I didn't want to drive to downtown because I am very sick with the traffic congestion and also don't want to pay for the expensive parking fee, so I went for public transport.
You know, the week before I went to KL, I drove there, it took me 1 hour plus to reach the Chinese VISA Centre at OSK Tower a.k.a. Bank Of China at Jalan Ampang from Bandar Sunway, from there, it took me another hour to reach Bukit Bintang. It's really sickening. Only then I know there's a LRT station right below the place to do the Chinese VISA, so it's pretty convenient for me to take the LRT.
Woohoo, I am going to China for travel soon, so I need to do VISA. Because I was in KL at that time, so I went directly to the Chinese VISA Centre to do the VISA. Normally if I am in Penang, I would just drop my passport at the travel agent, of course extra charges will be applied, and take a longer time too. One thing, please don't go to the Chinese Embassy on Jalan Ampang, they don't do VISA there, you have to go to 2nd level of the OSK building.
After I've done with the VISA thingy, I went to Bukit Bintang area for a little walk and look for lunch.
Although Ampang Park Station (Chinese VISA place) and KLCC Station is just one stop away, but I was so lazy to walk so I take the LRT back to KLCC, alight and start touring around the place.
From KLCC, I started my journey walking from the shopping mall to the convention center, where there will connect me to Jalan Kia Peng to Pavilion shopping mall and then to Bukit Bintang area.
You know there's actually an underpass from Suria KLCC to the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. The funny thing is the underpass is located in the car park where air-conditioning is not available. And now, they have started to construct a air-conditioned walkway for the underpass. They should have work it out earlier!
Normally, going to Pavilion need to pass through Jalan Kia Peng and you have to walk under the sun and rain. Now they are building a air-conditioned bridge which connects KLCC to Pavilion shopping mall which is very good! They only opened part of it so it's not fully connected to Pavilion. I was curious, I went on the bridge and see where it's connected to at the moment.
It brought me to Corus Hotel, I went down the bridge and found a new hotspot in town – the KL City Walk.
KL City Walk has a many restaurant located in a alley in between office blocks. Originally, the KL City Walk is just a lorong or lane behind office blocks. It's then converted into a walking street featuring many restaurants for dining pleasure. It's a very good idea of converting ugly back lanes into place like this.
The KL City Walk is well decorated with fans as well as some green plants and trees.
You can find many office worker dining here during lunch hour and tea time. It's a hidden spot in town. I wouldn't have know this place if the connecting bridge from KLCC to Pavilion doesn't exist. Haha.
I reached Pavilion and saw construction was going on down there. Seems like there's many construction are going on in the city. Woo.
Posted: 01 Dec 2011 09:10 AM PST
Sunday At Taylor's University In Super Wide Angle – On a fine lovely Sunday, I mounted my super wide angle and headed to school to meet up with Wesley and Steve to discuss about some group project. Then I snap along with my almighty Sigma 8-16mm for Canon.
Haha, very random right? I wasn't into serious shooting, so it was just simply shoot around the campus and to show you how Taylor's University actually looks like in case you never see it before.
Shooting with wide-angle is indeed fun but sometimes at the widest open, it makes picture look weird and long and, distorted, perhaps is because of the 8mm focal super duper wide.
This super duper wide angle lens, I mainly use it for shooting interior shots. Do you like super wide angle?
Posted: 01 Dec 2011 09:02 AM PST
Hello Malaysia's Starbucks Coffee Card – I know it's kinda late to share this up but then I still believe many people out there do not aware of the existence of Starbucks Coffee card in Malaysia. Haha. I have the similar card a few years back but that was the USA version and it could not be used here.
After a long wait, the Starbucks Coffee card is finally here in Malaysia. It's actually just collectible prepaid card which you can store money in it and then use it to buy your beverage and cakes. The good part of it is that it has a nice design on the card which can turn collecting the card as a hobby.
Another thing is, you get a free welcoming drinks upon signing up for a card. You just need to pay RM20, as a minimum reload and you can get the card itself, as well as a welcoming drinks. Awesome! And best part of all, the welcoming drink can be collected in 90 days time so you can take your long and nice time.
Currently, there's only 3 design, the original green color, and two Christmas special editions card. I have got the light blue, how about yours? =) By the way, remember to register your card on Starbucks website so it can be use.
Posted: 03 Dec 2011 06:11 AM PST
Home Minister and UMNO Vice President Hishamuddin Hussein in response to Shahrizat's alleged involvement in the NFC affair and the demand by some UMNO quarters that she ought to resign, said that it is the rakyat that will decide whether Shahrizat is a liability to UMNO or otherwise. Now, what sort of a statement is this? Please Hishamuddin, this issue is a creation by an UMNO senior minister, and isn't it logical that it should be resolved by UMNO?
Surely, it has to be UMNO that has to decide whether Shahrizat is a liablilty or not? Don't Hishamuddin already know that the rakyat has made a stand i.e. that Shahrizat ought to resign regardless of whether she is involved or not? I think Hishamuddin is trying to deflect responsibility and is in constant fear of being unpopular if he says that it is UMNO that has to decide whether Shahrizat is a liability to the party. Do you see any wisdom in the statement or has Hishamuddin simply lost confidence in his own party to make a right decision that he now requires the rakyat to make the decision for the party? I sense Hishamuddin is already in a confused state of mind for not being able to distinguish party responsibility with that of the rakyat's responsibility. Surely, the term rakyat is not synonymous with UMNO.
Now, UMNO has accused the opposition as PONDAN, and I think Hishamuddin has himself proven to be a PONDAN by playing to the gallery and not wanting to confront head on, the NFC mess and Shahrizat by saying that this issue has dragged the party to disrepute. As I have said in my earlier writings that the cheering and clapping of Wanita UMNO during the speech by Shahrizat do not represent an approval by the entire women population of Malaysia. To prove my point, I challenge Hishamuddin to nominate Shahrizat to stand as a candidate in the Lembah Pantai constituency once again against PKR Nurul Izzah. If Shahrizat isn't confident, send her back to contest in any constituency in her own native state of Pulau Pinang. Still, if she isn't comfortable in her native state, than just place her anywhere; preferably Putrajaya.
Now, let me offer UMNO a solution as to how I would have handled the NFC issue if I were Hishamuddin or PM Najib.
First, assuming that I were Hishamuddin, I would have told Shahrizat that the NFC fiasco is a private matter involving her (although she insist that she has nothing to do with NFC) and her family members. This being so, Shahrizat shouldn't drag the issue along with UMNO, although she is an UMNO minister. Hence, she should have been barred from raising the issue during her speech to Wanita UMNO. By dragging UMNO into the melee, Shahrizat has placed the burden upon the party. In other words, the burden now lies upon the shoulders of the party leadership, particularly PM Najib to respond to the wrong doing of his minister's family members, while Shahrizat awaits the outcome.
Second, if I were the PM, I would just ask Shahrizat to take leave from the General Assembly to solve her private problem with her family. I would have told her not to involve UMNO, although it was the UMNO government that had approved the soft loan. The burden lies solely upon Shahrizat and her family. I would then call Shahrizat to the office and quietly tell her to resign, giving the excuse that her period of Senatorship has run out of date. By doing this, I would have save UMNO from the embarrassment of having to deal with a problematic matter involving an UMNO minister, and to allow time and space for Shahrizat to solve the problem. This being a public funded project, I would instruct the MACC and the police to act speedily, and to refrain anyone from making any statement until the entire investigation process is over. At the end of the investigation, I will explain to the rakyat (not to UMNO) the position of the government with regards to the findings and the courses of action to take.
I am quite sure that the UMNO leadership has been jolted by the NFC fiasco, and worse still appearing at a time when the election is near. I think it is now too late for UMNO to retract its support for Shahrizat and to deny any claim that UMNO is involved because this issue has sunk deep into the heart of the party. I blame it on the entire UMNO leadership for the lack of due thought and their refusal to acknowledge that the NFC was indeed a mess.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION
Posted: 03 Dec 2011 06:09 AM PST
For weeks, just in time for Malaysia's United Malays National Organization's annual general assembly which opened this week, the party has been embroiled in an embarrassing scandal involving a 2007 government decision to spend RM300 million (US$94.3 million)to establish a national feedlot corporation to slaughter as many as 60,000 cattle annually under Islamic halal dietary requirements.
The scandal seems emblematic of a long series of such situations that imperil Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's vow in April 2010 that the government "can no longer tolerate practices that support the behavior of rent-seeking and patronage, which have long tarnished the altruistic aims of the New Economic Policy."
The National Feedlot Corporation, as it is known, has never slaughtered 10 percent of the projected total and has since scaled back its target to 8,000 head but hasn't been able to meet that target either. Worse, the company has been losing millions of dollars every year – while pouring funds into an RM10 million condominium in Kuala Lumpur, among other things, and spending RM800,000 for overseas travel and entertainment.
The scandal is doubly embarrassing because the agreement to establish the National Feedlot Corporation, made when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was prime minister, went to the family of Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, the Minister of Women, Welfare and Community Development and head of the women's wing of Umno. Her husband, Mohamad Salleh Ismail, is the chairman. Her three children are respectively the chief executive officer and executive directors of the company. None had any experience in cattle production or beef supply prior to the establishment of the company.
The report of the NFC's operations was contained in the 2010 report of Malaysia's Auditor General, which was delayed for weeks before it was finally released. The scandal has generated tensions inside UMNO, with some reformers demanding that Shahrizat be forced out of her job as minister. However, the leadership has circled the wagons to protect her. In particular, Muhyiddin Yassin, the deputy prime minister, has said there was no case to be brought against her. Muhyiddin was the agriculture minister in 2006 when the project was approved. Others who have come to her defense are Abdullah Badawi and his son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin, the head of the UMNO Youth Wing.
The National Feedlot scandal is said to have the potential reformers worried because party operatives thought they had the Selangor electorate turned around and that they could take the state back from the opposition Pakatan Rakyat in national elections expected to be called early next year. However, Asia Sentinel has been told, the refusal to hold anybody to account in the feedlot scandal could well turn the tide back against them, especially as other patronage scandals continue to bubble up.
The depth and breadth of the scandals also calls into question moves earlier this year with Najib launching a series of programs to develop bumiputera, or ethnic Malay companies, including allocating an RM2 billion fund for development. In the 2012 budget, Najib also announced the government would allocate RM200 million to guide 1,100 high-performing bumi companies with the potential for listing on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange. Critics are concerned that the patronage system will continue unabated. The current UMNO general assembly was hoped to provide a dramatic backdrop for Najib to win back disaffected Malay voters.
For decades, this patronage has involved highway construction and defense contracts and a variety of other government arrangements with UMNO cronies in a plan formulated by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. His ambition was to create a cadre of 100 super-rich bumis who in turn would help rural Malays into prosperity under a konsep payung, or umbrella concept routed through UMNO, much the way he envisioned driving the country into industrialization through massive projects. However, many of the companies eventually collapsed and are being supported by government institutions such as Kazanah Nasional, the country's sovereign investment fund, or the Employee Provident Fund.
Contained in the same 2010 auditor general's report, for instance, is a passage on the decision to privatize a 77-km stretch of highway from Senai to Desaru on Peninsular Malaysia's southeastern coast. The land acquisition turned out to have doubled, from RM385 million to RM740.6 million, with the road surface described as "undulating." The project completion "was not in accordance with specifications, causing damage to the road surface and endangering road users." The company failed to complete construction within the stipulated period of the contract. However, the construction agreement didn't specify damages in the event it wasn't completed. Required maintenance is described as "unsatisfactory."
The company that won the RM1.7 billion contract is Ranhill Corp. Sdn Bhd., which has long been described as UMNO-linked. It is partly owned by Lambang Optimia Sdn. Bhd. Both are headed by Hamdan Mohamad, described as Malaysia's "water baron," who operates several utilities and power companies. He was one of several ethnic Malay businessmen who followed former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's vow to take Malaysian companies overseas. Another shareholder is YPJ Corp. Sdn Bhd., an arm of the Johor State Government, and yet another appears to be UMNO itself, which owns a minority share through an account at Public Bank Bhd., according to records. Ranhill has had a lackluster two to three years, capped by disaster earlier in 2011 when its Libyan operations were caught between the Muammar Qaddafi forces and those of the Libyan rebels aided by NATO air strikes.
Also, earlier this year, Deftech, a wholly-owned subsidiary of DRB-Hicom, won a contract without an open tender to produce and deliver 237 eight-wheeled armored personnel carriers to the Ministry of Defense. DRB-Hicom is 55 percent owned by Etika Strategi Sdn. Bd., which is wholly owned by billionaire Syed Mokhtar Al Bukairy, one of Mahathir's targeted bumiputras and a man who is extremely tight with UMNO. Opposition member Tony Pua complained on the floor of Parliament that the average price of RM29.4 million for each unit compared unfavorably with a Portuguese Army purchase of 363 similar vehicles for the equivalent of RM4.4 million each from the Swiss MOWAG CmBH Corp, Malaysia is paying a 6.6-fold increase over the Portguese purchase. Saudi Arabia, he said, bought 724 such vehicles for the equivalent of RM9.9 million from General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, with Malaysia paying almost three times as much Government officials said the contracts don't compare with each other and that the government is getting more equipment, maintenance, etc. for its money.
"Further research has revealed that DRB-Hicom will be acquiring the AWC technology from a Turkish company – FNSS Defence Systems Inc which manufactures the Pars 8x8 AWV models," Pua said. "With this deal, Malaysia will be its first foreign customer for this vehicle. What is perhaps of greater alarm is the fact that FNSS has announced that they have sold 257 units of Pars 8x8 AWVs to Malaysia for approximately US$600 million or RM1.83 billion or only RM7.1 million per unit," Pua said in a prepared statement -- considerably different from what the Malaysians said they bought the vehicles for.
Pua also complained about the cost of six offshore patrol vessels from Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd at RM1 billion each in the aftermath of another total fiasco. The Auditor General, in a 2007 report tabled in Parliament, alleged that a contract to build naval vessels given to PSC-Naval Dockyard, a subsidiary of Penang Shipbuilding & Construction Sdn Bhd, which was owned by another UMNO crony, Amin Shah Omar Shah.
PSC-Naval Dockyard, which was taken over by Boustead, contracted to deliver six patrol boats for the Malaysian Navy in 2004 and complete the delivery in 2007. Those were supposed to be the first of 27 offshore vessels ultimately to cost RM24 billion plus the right to maintain and repair all of the country's naval craft. But only two of the barely operational patrol boats had been delivered by mid 2006. There were 298 recorded complaints about the two boats, which were also found to have 100 and 383 uncompleted items aboard them respectively.
The original RM5.35 billion contract ballooned to RM6.75 billion by January 2007. The auditor also reported that the ministry had paid out RM4.26 billion to PSC up to December 2006 although only Rm2.87 billion of work had been done, an overpayment of Rm1.39 billion, or 48 percent. In addition, Malaysia's cabinet waived late penalties of Rm214 million. Between December 1999, according to the Auditor General, 14 "progress payments" amounting to Rm943 million despite the fact that the auditor general could find no payment vouchers or relevant documents dealing with the payments.
The auditor general attributed the failure to serious financial mismanagement and technical incompetence stemming from the fact that PSC had never built anything but trawlers or police boats before being given the contract. Once called "Malaysia's Onassis" by Daim Zainuddin, Amin Shah was in trouble almost from the start, according to a report in Singapore's Business Times in 2005.
Eventually Boustead PSC was born out of the Royal Malaysian Navy's dockyard facilities which were to provide ship repairs and maintenance services. Under the corporatization program advocated by the Malaysian Government, the dockyard was set up as Limbungan TLDM, a wholly owned government company. It has modern facilities to meet the maintenance requirements of the Royal Malaysian Navy fleet, from hull repairs to major overhauls and from radar refitting to weapon systems refurbishment.
The six patrol boats have now cost five times what the Royal New Zealand Navy paid for its patrol vessels, bought at only RM210 millon each (NZ$90 million) from BAE Systems, the second largest global defense company.
The irrepressible Raja Petra Kamarudin in early November found that the Philippines was buying Hamilton-class patrol ships from the US that would be deployed to the West Philippine Sea area to secure the country's natural resources. The latest one is to be transferred by the first or second quarter of next year, to guard energy projects in Malampaya off Palawan.
"Malaysia is going to buy six patrol boats at a total cost of RM6 billion or RM1 billion per patrol boat. Of course, Malaysia's patrol boats are going to be far advanced and more sophisticated than those of the Philippines who paid only RM31.5 million for theirs," he wrote. "The Philippines's patrol boats can only patrol the waters. Malaysia's patrol boats can…well…patrol the waters."
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