Friday, June 30, 2006

Who is telling the truth or not about the Johor-Singapore bridge

Questions about the aborted bridge to replace the Causeway raised temperatures not only across the common Causeway but within Malaysians especially after former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad strongly criticised his appointed successor, Abdullah Badawi (Pak Lah) for scrapping the project.

To put the record straight, following are comments made by Malaysian politicians before the cancellation was announced. You be the judge.

" This is our right. Nobody can question or deny us this right as a sovereign nation. The Government is committed to building the bridge. "

This strong statement was made by none other than deputy prime minister Najib Tun Razak as reported by the New Straits Times (NST) on 18 March, 2006.

I would like to stress the following words uttered by Najib: "THE GOVERNMENT IS COMMITTED TO BUILDING THE BRIDGE."

Of course Singapore replied that it did not accept that Malaysia has a right to demolish its side of the Causeway uniterally and replace it with a half-bridge.

Bilateral negotiations on the bridge proposal (full straight bridge) were ongoing when the Malaysian government suddenly decided not to proceed. Singapore's position remained unchanged. The republic said there were huge financial costs and no significant benefits for Singapore to construct the full straight bridge. However, in the spirit of good neighbourliness, Singapore was prepared to consider Malaysia's proposal "if there is a balance of benefits for both sides." This statement was made by Singapore's Second Minister For Foreign Affairs Raymond Lim in the republic's Parliament on 3 April 2006.

Senior officials of both countries have met five times to discuss details of the balance of benefits such as the use of Malaysian air space by Singapore fighter jets and the sale of sand.

On 10 March 2006, deputy works minister Mohd Zin Mohamad said that Malaysia had "symbolically launched" construction works of the "scenic bridge" or half-bridge. On the following day, Najib was quoted as saying that Malaysia would proceed with the construction and on the same day, works minister Samy Vellu said that he had asked the contractor (Gerbang Selatan) to continue with the work without any disruption.

Will the real Najib Tun Razak please stand up.
What say you Samy Vellu? Mohd Zin?

I am ashamed to repeat what foreign minister Syed Hamid Albar said before and after the proposal was dropped. I am sorry to say that the son of the much respected "Lion of UMNO" is not even a lion cub but a kitten.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Do not get emotional over Mahathir's criticism

On Saturday, June 24 I attended former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's talk at a country club in Taman Melawati, Ulu Klang. The hall was packed with more than 500 people, who were interested to hear from the horses's mouth the issues raised by the Tun.

The function was organised by non-governmental organisations and the internet portal It was not, as reported by practically all the media, by the opposition parties or by former Umno activist Ibrahim Ali. The opposition leaders from the Islamic party PAS and KeAdilan as well as Ibrahim Ali attended the talk, open to the public free of charge.

Former cabinet minister and ex-Umno information chief Megat Junid Megat Ayob and former deputy minister Farid Ariffin and Umno ulama Othman El Muhammadi were also there apart from academicians from local institutions of higher learning, businessmen, students and journalists.

Being an Umno member for the last 35 years, I realised that about 70 per cent of the audience were Umno members. Thus it was wrong to say that it was an Opposition-led function as claimed by several Umno cabinet ministers such as Nazri Aziz, the self-appointed cabinet spokesman.

The Opposition were already there and Dr Mahathir was invited by the organisers and not by the Opposition. Must Dr Mahathir leave the function just because the Opposition were there?

After the slightly more than two-hour talk, Dr Mahathir was ushered to a holding room for refreshments. Opposition personalities from PAS sat around him and media photographers had a field day with their cameras.

The Umno leaders, for various reasons, did not sit around Dr Mahathir. Maybe, they do not want to be seen as closely associated with the former prime minister, who knows.

Nazri Aziz was quick to accuse Dr Mahathir of "sekongkoling" or collaborating with bad intention with the Opposition. He was followed with almost similar comments by Azalina Othman Said (the tomboy brought into the national political arena by Dr Mahathir), Muhyiddin Yassin, Ali Rustam, Khaled Nordin (right-hand man of Shahrir Samad), Syed Hamid Albar (opposed Mahathir during the Umno 'A' and 'B' Teams power struggle) and other low ranking Umno leaders. These are the same people that rushed to kiss Dr Mahathir's hand when he was the prime minister. What a shame!

It is sad to note that Umno leaders serving in the cabinet under Dr Mahathir and now under Abdullah Badawi, were not only ungrateful but for their own vested interests, criticised Dr Mahathir in such a rude manner which was unbecoming of a Malay and a Muslim.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Nazri Aziz is simply rude to Tun Mahathir

The government is now on the road throughout the country calling on the people to be courteous and respecful to one another. But, alas, a cabinet minister is doing the opposite by being rude to elder statesman and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Mohamad Nazri Aziz, the self-appointed spokesman for the government of prime minister Abdullah Badawi, had on Monday called on Tun Mahathir to be a "jantan" (real man), leave Umno, the political party in power.

Nazri told reporters at a press conference in Parliament lobby that he would like to see Mahathir leaving the party himself. Who is he to call on Mahathir to do so?

"Nazri is what they call a hatchet man. I don't care at all his opinion. The party doesn't belong to Nazri. It belongs to all Malays (Umno members). Nazri has no right to ask this or that person to leave. I was in Umno before he was born," Mahathir said on Tuesday.

The former prime minister said that he had no plans to leave Umno although he believed that there was a move to expel him from the party.

"I know there is this process of demonishing me, so that I will be hated by Umno. At that stage, I think they will take action to expel me. At the moment, they cannot," he said.

Nazri was quoted as saying that "if he (Mahathir) wants to leave the party, we won't stop him. If he remains in the party, he is acting like the opposition. It's better for him to be a "jantan" and leave the party, become the opposition. Then it's also easier for me to attack him. Now if I want to fight with him, I will hesitate because he is ex-PM."

Now isn't that rude and unbecoming of a cabinet minister who thinks he is more "jantan" than Mahathir. Look at Mahathir, the 81-year old man who looks 20 years younger than his age, that is a real "jantan" compared to Nazri, who is only 51.

I am wondering why Nazri was so eager to defend prime minister Abdullah's son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin. Any vested interests? Maybe the luxury penthouse at Gurney Drive, Penang, the bungalow at Langkawi, the bungalow at Shah Alam and other landed properties in Perak are not enough, or maybe greed overcomes courtesy and respect for the elders.

Nazri said he responded to Mahathir's comments at a talk-cum-dialogue on Saturday at Ulu Klang because he is worried "if the cabinet does not reply, people may perceive what he (Mahathir) said as the truth. So I think my responsibility is to reply to what he had said." Isn't this apple-polishing right down to the root of the tree?

When asked by the press whether his stand represent the cabinet's stand, Nazri replied: "It doesn't matter to me, I take this responsibility as minister in charge of Parliament and the PM's Department minister (to answer) because I don't want my PM and DPM to reply. So as a minister from Umno, I take it upon myself to respond to all these allegations.

Again, apple-polishing. And as to his statement that he is the minister in charge of Parliament, that reminded me of what former Chief Justice Eusoff Chin described the duties of the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (de-facto law minister) Rais Yatim as this:

"He's more responsible for logistic problems. If we lack court equipment or rooms, then we go to him." Eusoff said this on June 6, 2000 when he took Rais to task for commenting on the judicial system.

If we take the former chief justice's statement, we can conclude that among others, Nazri's duties as minister in charge of Parliament is to take care of the logistics, equipments and other facilities that are required by Parliament. So why is Nazri, of all the ministers, so eager to come forward and defended the prime minister and his son-in-law?

To me, what Nazri did was simply rude! I have lost count how many times Nazri kissed Mahathir's hand in the past when the latter was the prime minister. That is Nazri Aziz.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

MV Agusta's bike named best sportbike in the world

MV Agusta's latest superbike, the Tamburini 1000, was named by Cycle World magazine as the best sportbike in the world. The superbike was introduced in 2005 and named after its creator, Massimo Tamburini, who previously worked for Moto Guzzi, and most recently Ducati.

This is the same MV Agusta that was dumped in December 2005 by the current Proton management for a token euro (RM4). The previous Proton management paid 70 million euro (RM500m) in December 2004 for the 57 percent stake in the heavily indebted company.

Proton sold MV Agusta to Gevi SpA, a Genoa-based investment company, which according to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, was set up specifically to buy Agusta.

"Why was this company set up to buy up Agusta long before we know Agusta is up for sale?" Mahathir asked at a special talk-cum-dialogue session organised by 27 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the at the Melawati Country Club, Taman Melawati, Ulu Klang today.

The hall was packed with standing room only as early as 9am and the Tun did not disappoint his audience comprising a cross-section of society, particularly the Malay elite including former cabinet ministers, academicians, Islamic scholars, Umno veterans, and the so-called Young Turks from the opposition Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) led by deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa and parti KeAdilan representatives. More than 70 percent of the audience are Umno members.

Mahathir wondered how did they (present Proton management) identify these people who wanted to buy Agusta, who are their advisors and why it was sold for a normal sum of one euro?

For the record, MV Agusta began as an aircraft manufacturer. They produced their first prototype, ironically called "Vespa". in 1945. After learning of Piaggio's scooter of the same name, it was changed to MV98.

The company successfully manufactured small-displacement, quintessential cafe' racer style motorcycles (mostly 125-150cc) through the 1950s and 60s. Later, a 250cc followed by a smart 350cc twin were produced, and a 600cc four-cylinder evolved into a 750cc which is still extremely valuable today.

The company stopped producing motorcycles in 1980, but the Agusta company continued on with its successful helicopter business.

In 1997, MV Agusta was purchased by Cagiva, who manufactured the new MV motorcycles. The new range were four-cylinder 750cc sports machines (the F4 range), which include a series of limited production run models, such as the SPR (Special Production Racing) models which was featured in the movie "Robot".

In 2004, they introduced their first 1000cc bike, they also produce a range of 750 and 910 "naked" bikes called the Brutale. Production is somewhat limited, as it is the policy of the company to produce an elite machine similar to Ferrari in motor cars.

In recent publications, the MV has been highly praised as one of the best handling motorcycles ever created.

This is the company that Proton (current management) found it fit to sell for a token one euro to an investment company set up specifically to buy Agusta.

Tun Dr Mahathir is still awaiting proper and specific answers from Proton. The previous answers did not provide him with the right answers.

"I am still waiting for the answers," he said.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Conduct of judges - looking back to year 2000 episode

The recent controversy involving the conduct of judges reminded me of the high profile case way back in the year 2000. The person in question then was none other than the Chief Justice Eusoff Chin. He was also the subject of the so-called "poison pen letter" written by former high court judge Syed Ahmad Idid.

The episode came into light when photographs showing Eusoff, lawyer V.K. Lingam and their families holidaying together in New Zealand in December 1994 can be found on the Internet.

Lingam represents Berjaya Group's chief Vincent Tan in the M.G.G. Pillai vs Tan Sri Vincent Tan case. Both he (Lingam) and Vincent Tan were also photographed while on vacation with the then Attorney-General Mohtar Abdullah and their respective families in Italy in 1994.

The then minister in the prime minister's department (de facto law minister) Rais Yatim described it as "inappropriate" for the Chief Justice to holiday with the counsel of a prominent business tycoon. Rais said this in an interview with Australia's Radio National on 26 May 2000. He was in Canberra for the 2nd Australia-Malaysia Conference at the Australian National University.

In the interview, Rais also said that he was aware of the problems within the judiciary, but proper enquiries and political will were needed before changes could be made.

Rais said that the system placed on the judiciary of Malaysia needed certain reexamination, and for Malaysia perhaps to be inculcated with a new sense of value system. However, he added that change would have to come largely from the legal community. Rais said that his previous criticism of the judiciary still prevailed.

(Rais wrote a scathing book about the conflict between the rule of law and executive power in Malaysia in 1995, titled "Freedom under Executive Power in Malaysia - A Study of Executive Supremacy".)

About a month later (June 2000) Eusoff told the press that he had "bumped into Lingam" and their meeting was not planned but was a coincidence. He also said that the pictures posted on the Internet were "posed pictures" and that they were taken at Lingam's request and that there was nothing he could do except to have the pictures snapped.

A few days later, the Bar Council said it would convene an emergency general meeting to examine issues relating to the integrity of the judiciary following the controversy surrounding the Chief Justice.

Bar Council president Sulaiman Abdullah said that it was "imperative" that the Malaysian Bar deliberate on issues raised by the recent events as they had "given rise to serious public concern as to the administration of justice, the judiciary, the proper relationship between members of the judiciary and members of the Bar, and most importantly, the respective roles of the executive and the judiciary".

However, on June 23 high court judge Dr R.K. Nathan granted an injunction preventing the Bar from convening the emergency general meeting scheduled for June 23. Lawyer K. Raja Segaran had filed a suit against the Malaysian Bar and 11 Bar Council members seeking a declaration from the court that the meeting as well as a circular issued to council members and notice informing lawyers of the EGM is ultra-vires the Legal Profession Act, contemptuous and seditious.

The high court judgement had given the perception that the judicial process was being used to stifle freedom of expression, said the then United Nations special rapporteur Param Curamaswamy.

"If the legal profession is not able to have the freedom to assemble and discuss affairs in the judiciary, which is its legitimate right, who else can?" he was quoted as saying in an interview with malaysiakini, the internet news portal.

In the interview, Param also said that judges are not above the law although they have certain insulations to secure their independence.

"It will be an abuse of the judicial power to use these insulations to suppress or stifle exposure of any misconduct on their part. If they are seen misconducting, then the public must be free to express and complain. To hear such expression stifled particularly through the judicial process is beyond belief."

On June 14, prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was quoted as saying that the issue of Eusoff Chin's alleged misbehaviour is being politicised by the Bar Council.

"There is some political agenda (behind the Bar's proposal for a tribunal to investigate the case), and it may be connected with other things that are happening in the country."

(The Bar said it would propose, at a extraordinary general meeting on June 23, that a tribunal or royal commission of inquiry be set up to investigate Eusoff's alleged misbehaviour in relation to a holiday to New Zealand in 1994. A similar tribunal was appointed in 1988 to remove the then Lord President Salleh Abbass.)

Is Mahathir the man behind the "cannon" aimed at the neck of Mohtar Abdullah, the then attorney-general investigating the "poison-pen letter" episode?

Meanwhile, a United Kingdom-based private investigation agency has raised a number of fresh allegations regarding the New Zealand holiday of the Chief Justice and lawyer Lingam.

According to reports prepared by a private eye Bowman Investigations, Eusoff and Lingam flew together with their families for their Christmas holiday in New Zealand in 1994.

Copies of Eusoff's itinery and Lingam's counterfoil air tickets, which Bowman's team of investigators said they obtained, allegedly shyow that both took the same flight from Singapore to Auckland, and within New Zealand. (Eusoff told the press that he had "bumped into Lingam" and their meeting was not planned.)

The investigating agency said that Lingam's party flew to Singapore on Singapore Airlines on Dec 22, 1994 and took a connecting flight to Auckland. Also on the same day, Eusoff and his family took a Malaysian Airlines flight to Singapore and joined Lingam's flight in business class to Auckland.

During the eight-day tour, Eusoff was accompanied by his wife Rosaini Mustaffa, daughter Zubaidah and son Johan while Lingam was with his wife K.Gnanajothy, and daughters Sivashahki and Sivajothy.

The Eusoff Chin's holiday episode case was said to be closed. No action to be taken either by the executive by way of a tribunal appointed by the King or by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA). As far as I know, the ACA is free to investigate but not free to prosecute especially involving VVIPs such as ministers, royalties, judges and "certain politicians". Do not blame the ACA, being civil servants, their hands are tied.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

From RTS to TCS

This is the story of a radio-television station located in a fine city state somewhere in South-east Asia.

Once upon a time, the electronic media or broadcasting station of this particular city state was free to report just about anything. That is why they were called RTS, as the reporters were free to "Roam The Streets" and "Report The Stories".

However, under the leadership of the strict and firm Mr LEE (Loves Editing Everything), RTS became SBC (Script By Censorship). Soon, most of the reporters quit while those who stayed behind had to work under very difficult conditions.

Since these reporters or broadcast journalists could not "roam the streets" or "report the stories", they had to fabricate "Si Beh Choon" stories that nobody wants to know. ("choon" is Cantonese for stupid).

Then SBC started to employ NUS (Nothing Up Stairs) students, the only people who thought the reports were not stupid, as reporters.

As there was nothing that could be freely reported, SBC changed its name to TCS (Totally Censored Station) and become a "Talk Cock Station" only. Hopefully, TCS will not change its name again to NCS (No Choice Station).

PS: Please do not get serious. It is just a "choon" joke.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Mahathir remains as Umno member

The "powerful" Umno Supreme Council today voiced their strong support and pledged their undivided loyalty to party president Abdullah Badawi, who is facing harsh and serious criticisms from former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

As expected the meeting, held at the party's headquarters in Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur and chaired by Abdullah, did discussed Mahathir's criticisms on his chosen successor. However, no decision was made as to his party's membership and thus Mahathir remains an Umno member.

The support and loyalty pledge to Abdullah is expected. For the sake of their positions and standings either as cabinet ministers, chief ministers or elected representatives and corporate figures, they will support anyone who is the party leader, be it the devil himself.

Meanwhile, a respected religious scholar (ulama) from Hadralmaut, Yemen, Al-Habib Ali bin Abdul Kadir Alhabshee (pix) today called on Mahathir at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya. Mahathir is well respected in the Muslim world and visiting ulamas will not miss the opportunity to call on him.

The visit of Al-Habib Ali Alhabshee to Malaysia

Pix 1 & 2 Habib Ali at the residence of his Malaysian cousin Alwi Alhabshee while elder brother Abdillah Alhabshee (dark t-shirt)played hosts to his Yemeni cousin.

A member of the Ulama Council of Yemen (Hadralmaut), Al-Habib Ali bin Abdul Kadir bin Muhammad bin Ali Alhabshee (Sohibul Maulid)is currently on a private visit to Malaysia.
During his stay in Kuala Lumpur, Habib Ali gave a religious talk at the Baitul Aman Mosque, Jalan Damai off Jalan Ampang (June 13), visits the private educational institution of Adni Islamic School at Jalan Ulu Klang on the following day followed by a trip to the Islamic Educational Foundation at Jenderam, Selangor on Saturday, June 17.
On Monday (June 18) he calls on former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya before proceeding by road to Batu Pahat and Johor Baharu.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Asyraaf Malaysia get-together June 17, 2006

Pix 1. Guest of honour Datuk Syed Ali Alhabshee (in black shirt)

Pix 2. Hassan and Hazirah Alhabshee

Pix 3. Latifah Alhadad, Mariam (Hana) Alhabshee and her mum Fatimah BinSheikhAbubakar

Pix 4. Dancing the samrah

Pix 5. Asyraaf president Prof. Syed Omar Alsagoff dancing the zapin

The Asyraaf Malaysia organization held a get-together for its members and friends at the International Youth Centre, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur. The gathering, the first in such a way by Asyraaf, was attended by members, their families and friends from as far as Perlis in the north to Johor in the south. Musicians from Johor and Madura, Indonesia filled the Kampo Hall with traditional Yemeni melodies such as Zapin and Samrah.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Government to continue celebrating "kongsi raya"

The practice of holding "kongsi raya" and open houses in Malaysia will be continued so long they are not observed as religious gatherings, prime minister Abdullah Badawi was quoted by the national news agency, Bernama on Friday.

He said currently kongsi raya is being celebrated as more of a social gathering among Malaysia's multi-racial society.

"The celebrations have been going on very well and have not created any problems among the various races. They are not religious festivals but social gatherings without any religious rituals and customs to be witnessed by visitors and those attending the celebrations," Abdullah said.

On Wednesday, chairman of the Working Committee of the Ulama (Islamic scholars) Conference 2006, Harussani Zakaria was quoted as saying that the conference had called on the government to review practices such as the kongsi raya celebrations and open house to ensure that they do not contradict Islamic laws. He said the review was necessary because the National Fatwa Committee had decided that celebrating the festivals of the other religions would erode the Muslims' faith and could lead to blasphemy.

As and immediate reaction, I wrote a letter and was published by the New Straits Times (NST) today (Friday, June 16) pointing out that not all festivals are religious in nature. Most are cultural festivals celebrated by communities concerned, irrespective of their religious beliefs.

For example, Chinese New Year is not religious festival. It is celebrated by the Chinese, Muslims and non-Muslims.

The harvest festivals celebrated by the Kadazan/Dusuns of Sabah (Tadau Kaamatan) and Gawai Dayak by the Ibans/Dayaks of Sarawak are also cultural in nature and celebrated by the ethnic communities, both Muslims and non-Muslims. So is deepavali.

The only non-Muslim religious celebration in question is Christmas.

From my understanding, there are occasions when Muslims join in celebrating festivals of non-Muslims. Such practices glorify the peaceful co-existence which is recommended, particularly in a multi-racial country like Malaysia.

I strongly believed that Muslims should be allowed to attend such festivals so long as their attendance does not include participation in any haram (prohibited) action.

As Muslims, we are allowed to exchange gifts with non-Muslims, to congratulate them on happy occasions and to express sympathy if calamity strikes.

Serious implications if Umno sacks Mahathir

The rumour mills are circulating full speed in and around Kuala Lumpur that former prime minister and Umno veteran Dr Mahathir Mohamad will be sack from the party.

The "news" is so great that even leading Malay/Muslim opposition party, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party or PAS vice-president Husam Musa found it necessary to comment.

Husam was quoted by several media as saying that he has received information that prime minister and Umno president Abdullah Badawi is planning to sack Mahathir for his public criticisms against him.

Rumour mongers jumped into the bandwagon when Abdullah's deputy, Najib Tun Razak's statement (New Straits Times, June 14) indicated that there were indeed grave concerns about the negative impacts of Mahathir's criticisms on party discipline and coherence of the larger Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

Apart from Mahathir, it is understood that a witch-hunt is on the way. It is time for opposing Umno members to finish their rivals. Those in different camps are being identified for the kill.

It will be Umno and Abdullah's biggest mistake if Mahathir is kicked out of the party for a second time. In 1969, Mahathir was sacked for attacking the then prime minister and Umno president Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra. It did not diminished his political career.

Umno members will ask what about the assurance given by Abdullah that Mahathir enjoys the freedom of speech? Mahathir still enjoys strong support within Umno and the Malay community at large.

The support voiced by cabinet ministers and BN leaders are expected but could not be fully trusted. They will support whoever is in charge. Ministers do not want to lose their jobs.

So the statement by Najib that the vast majority of members (Umno and BN) were strongly behind Abdullah's leadership is simply political in nature and political statements are normally "half-truths".

If Abdullah and the Umno Supreme Council sacks Mahathir, it would be the most serious mistake by the party that would lead to the downfall of Umno and the BN government in the near future.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Economy is not doing well - prepare for the worst

The Malaysian economy is not doing well, at least from the perspective of a layman. He is being hit from all corners by inflation, higher fuel price, high interest rate and surging utilities.

Prices of essential goods are going up, daily. So what is going down? The answer is prime minister Abdullah Badawi's popularity. The high hopes placed on him for his transformational potentials is declining.

His neo-liberal economics is heading nowhere. A vicious circle of high inflation, a drop in consumption, reduced business confidence and untimately more people will lose their jobs. Like it or not, we must pray hard for the American economy because if it were to crash, Malaysia will be hard hit and we will suffer.

Abdullah is also no longer immune from accusations of cronyism as his son Kamaluddin and son-in-law Khairy expanded their influence in the business and political arenas.

It is time for Mr Nice Guy to be bold in fulfilling his reform agenda to rescue himself or else he will be booted out, with or without, the "superficial" support of his Cabinet ministers, Barisan Nasional elected representatives and Umno.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Is Khairy Jamaluddin responsible for the Mahathir-Abdullah tiff?

After reading my postings on the Mahathir-Abdullah tiff, reader "Tahirmas" suggested that there is a hidden agenda behind it. Being a staunch Umno supporter, Tahirmas is worried stiff that if unchecked, the tiff may lead to the split of the party worst than the power-struggle in mid-1980s. He also strongly believed that, somehow, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi's son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin had a role to play.

As an Umno member Tahirmas should know that each and every Umno leader, be it at branch, division or higher levels, would like to be seen publicly as "close" to Khairy, it is to their political advantage. They would be happy to invite Khairy to officiate functions hosted by them, be it political, social or otherwise. Behind Khairy, it is the opposite.

I am not supporting Khairy but to blame him, who is as old as my first-born son, is unfair. At Tahirmas' suggestion, I managed to pick up from malaysia-today's "The Khairy Chronicles" to give some insight about him.

Khairy lives life under a microscope and the fascination people had about him means he is unable to make the slightest move without somebody, somewhere, reading into it and making interpretations about it. Often these interpretations are helpful but sometimes they may be very detrimental and negative to his image. Even the most innate praise heaped upon him by his admirers could be seen to have ulterior motives, which in turn generate nausea among the general public.

Yes, he has been cushioned from major attacks by his father-in-law (Abdullah Badawi) and has so far had a smooth ride. So have his friends who have been given the fast track to the higher reaches of government, politics and corporate world. They are leaders of an opportunistic band.

Some of Khairy's friends have been useful in giving him advice on how to spin an image, yet they themselves have had little experience in addressing the problem of how to maintain their image. Take for example former journalist and group editor-in-chief of the New Straits Times, Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan, who many believed, was trained by Singapore's Special Branch, who fancies himself as Khairy's mentor. He often tried to "sell" Khairy even when it is not necessary to do so. Almost inevitably every meeting with foreign journalists and government leaders, he mentions Khairy before mentioning Abdullah. As a result, people believe, rightly or wrongly, that Khairy, and not Abdullah, runs the government. Kalimullah does not help by putting Singapore Special Branch-trained sycophants in charge of NST and Berita Harian.

(Kalimullah failed his Security Vetting by the Malaysian Special Branch and was deemed not fit to serve as the Press Secretary to the then Deputy Prime Minister Ghafar Baba. Somehow, the same authority "cleared" him when Abdullah takes over the leadership from Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He was first appointed Chairman of Bernama, the government news agency, and later as group editor-in-chief of NST.
Today, Kalimullah is a multi-millionaire.)

One of Khairy's traits is to favour foreign journalists against local ones. Khairy is more comfortable in addressing the Singaporean, American and Australian journalists who in the past have been full praise for him. To them, Khairy spills more beans.

To me, Khairy's days are numbered. Abdullah Badawi in on his way out and without Abdullah, Khairy will be back as a "nobody" politically, economically as well as socially. That is the circle of life.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Anwar Ibrahim wants Pak Lah to answer

Former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim said prime minister Abdullah Badawi must respond to Dr Mahathir Mohamad's criticism against national policies administered by the current government.

Anwar said while Abdullah may have the liberty to ignore Mahathir on personal issues but he cannot ignore allegations concerning the economy, corruption, the media and the judiciary.

"As a responsible leader, I urge him to respond. He must do it clearly because the people must know the truth. The people must be given the chance to evaluate the authenticity and the veracity of these assertions.

"He cannot ignore this. He must deal with it otherwise he cannot have the moral claim of confronting these issues head on as he had made before," Anwar added.

Among the allegations made by Mahathir are abuses of the Approved Permits (AP) (by Rafidah Aziz) and the selling of motorbike firm Agusta by Proton for RM4 to a 2-euro Italian company.

Anwar also said that little has improved since Mahathir stepped down.

"Unfortunately, under Abdullah nothing seems to change. There is no direction. Apart from the impressive rhetoric and pronouncement, I see no implementation. So certainly the present condition is certainly not satisfactory."

"For the people's benefit, Umno leaders must do the necessary to stop corruption, ensure a free media and continue the reform. If you have a problem with the agenda of the people, talk to them," Anwar said.


Meanwhile, Mahathir said that ministers who disagreed with him during his tenure should have voiced their opposition and resigned then.

"They are saying it's a collective responsibility. So it means the cabinet reversed the very decision they agreed to before.

"Now, they have a new leader, they disagree. If they did not agree before, tell me and resign but they did not," he added.

"Those who disagree with me (for speaking out) say "Dr Mahathir has no right to talk', and 'don't disturb others' - that's all they keep saying."

Mahathir said he would keep pushing for answers over the irregularities in APs, the management of Proton, the selling of Agusta and the scrapped bridge.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Prayers in memory of Imam Sheikh Ahmad Bajunid (1913-2006)

Special prayers (Tahlil) was held at the Almunauwir Mosque, Kelawai, Penang on Saturday May 27. It was led by Imam Sayed Othman bin Ali Aidid followed by a religious talk (Tazkirah) by Habib Ali Zainal Abidin Binhamid and the recitation of the Ratib Haddad.


Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has openly admitted that Abdullah Badawi was not his first choice to take over the leadership when he stepped down in 2003 after helming Malaysia for 22 years.

Mahathir conceded that he could have made the wrong decision and indirectly said that he regretted picking Abdullah (over Najib Tun Razak - S Imran).

"I have made many blunders in my career. I have helped many people up only for them to stab me in the back. I am in the habit of choosing the wrong people," Mahathir told a press conference at the Perdana Leadership Foundation office in Putrajaya today (Wed. June 7.

"I chose him and I expect a degree of gratefulness," he said.

When asked whether Abdullah had stabbed him in the back, Mahathir said: "Minor bruises" and added that one could not tell exactly what a person would do after he is out of your control.

"So I thought I made a good choice."

Mahathir's statement would most probably be missing from the pages of local newspapers and broadcasting stations. But, it is a clear signal that he is not happy with Abdullah's performances as prime minister.

Most political observers believed that Abdullah would be a one-term prime minister and the power struggle in Umno is clearly written on the wall with Najib Tun Razak preparing a strong team to take over the reins of the government and Umno.

I strongly believed that in the coming national elections four Peninsular Malaysia states would fall to a united opposition coalition headed by the Peoples' Action Party (PAP) namely Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Perak and Penang. The dissatisfied non-Malay voters (Chinese and Indians) previously loyal to the Barisan Nasional coalition would shift their support to the opposition.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


DRB HICOM, a government-linked company, paid more than RM300 million to two individuals (AP Kings) in order to get Approved Permits (APs) to import cars.

"That is wrong," says former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

He did not named the two individuals but it is understood that he was referring to the two AP Kings closely associated with Rafidah Aziz, Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI). The two are Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim, a former army major, and his business partner and former MITI officer, Haniff Abdul Aziz.

"I knew something was going wrong, and nobody was willing to say anything," Mahathir said at a talk with 100 Malay professionals, a recording of which was made available on DVD by the Institute of Economic and Political Studies (Ikape), the organiser of the talk held last December. Ikape is headed by former New Straits Times (NST) editor-in-chief Abdullah Ahmad or Dollah Kok Lanas (DKL).

Mahathir said everybody was silent and willing to allow something that was wrong to go on and on. So, he said, he had to come out with a public statement despite his resolution not to comment about the government.

"This is a kind of abuse of power and doing something that is against national interest. I cannot accept that a minister should give to somebody he or she knows so much wealth, and I'm learning a little bit more everyday, for example, I knew that DRB HICOM (in order) to get APs to import cars, they have to pay more than RM300 million to two people up front," Mahathir said.

He said if DRB HICOM is not a bumiputera company and therefore, is not entitled to APs then it should not get an AP at all.

"But to say that it it not a bumiputera but it is alright for DRB HICOM to get the AP if it goes through these very important people - they have to pay money up front. That, to me, is wrong. I wouldn't say it is corruption or whatever, because that is very difficult.

"What disappoints me is that in Umno itself, there is no willingness to criticise something that is obviously wrong. And if I may say so, because this is the leader of the Wanita (Rafidah Aziz), Wanita has got no opinion whatsoever, never said one word against the boss," he added.

Mahathir said during his time, people criticised him. Umno people criticised him and they even stood against him, to topple him, but nowdays, "when you see something obviously wrong, and you refuse to stick your neck out to be chopped, I think you have ceased to become a real political force. So you have to take risks."

Mahathir said he has taken risks before. He was referring to the time when everybody refused to say anything against the first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, Mahathir stuck his neck out and he was chopped. He was thrown out of Umno.

"So if you want things to be right, you have to take the risk. But what I see now is a desire to avoid risks at all cost even if the country goes to the dogs, that's alright as long as I'm safe. That's something that I regret. I thought that some people would support me when I talked about the AP issue."

Nice to be back

Imam Sayed Othman bin Ali Aidid leading tahlil prayers for Almarhum Imam Sheikh Ahmad Bajunid at the Almunauwarah Mosque, Kelawai, Penang followed by tazkirah by Habib Ali Zainal Abidin Binhamid.

Habib Ali Zainal Abidin Binhamid (right)

Imam Sayed Othman (left) and mosque chairman Sayed Muhammad Alhadad (right)

I was away for 10 days attending four wedding receptions and a "tahlil" prayers in the north. It is unfortunate that I left my laptop at home and thus unable to surf the net.

I was in Penang and attended the tahlil prayers for my religious teacher, Imam Sheikh Ahmad bin Othman Bajunid, who passed away at 93 years-old early last month. The special prayers was held on 27th May at the Almunauwarah Mosque, Kelawai Road where the Imam led prayers for some 63 years.

The following day, I joined the Aljunid family and friends for Mawlid and then the wedding reception of Sayed Khalid bin Sayed Alwi Aljunid at Kampung Sayed, Burma Road.

On June 1, it was all the way to Arau, Perlis for another wedding reception. In fact, it was a double-wedding hosted by Sayed Mohamad and Sharifah Maznah for daughter Sharifah Maisara and son Sayed Salahuddin.

On June 4, two wedding receptions in Kedah. The first was hosted by Syed Muhammad bin Hussein Alhabshee and wife Sharifah Halimah binti Sagoff Alsagoff at Kepala Bukit, Gurun and the second at Jalan Kuala Kedah hosted by Sayed Ibrahim Barakhbah and wife Sharifah Hasnah Alhabshee.