Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pakatan pledges sweeping reforms- Malaysiakini

The battle for Putrajaya has been raised a notched with the Pakatan Rakyat coalition today unveiling its common policy platform, containing promises of sweeping reforms and equality. In a direct response to its race-based rival Barisan Nasional, Pakatan's common policy promises to reduce race-based policies and enacting a Race Relations Act.
It further pledges to practice needs-based affirmative action, enact a Equal Opportunity Act and other merit-based policies, such as in the case of government scholarships. Special reference to the state of Sabah and Sarawak - where Pakatan has little influence - promises greater access to oil royalties and resolving long-standing problems faced by natives. Further promises include a royal commission to resolve the outstanding issue of illegal immigrants, which have been largely ignored by the federal government.
Reaching out to the two East Malaysian states is crucial to Pakatan's bid to wrest federal power from the BN as two states command about a quarter of the total number of parliamentary seats. Also addressed is the thorny issue of religion which had in the past caused schisms between the Islamic-conservative PAS and the secular DAP. Most prominently, the coalition pledges to establish a “comprehensive mechanism” to resolve cases where there is an overlap of civil and syariah law. A royal commission has also been pledged to “deeply study” issues related to this.
Decentralising state economy At the institutional level, Pakatan pledged to ensure full independence and transparency of the Judicial Appointment Commission to restore public confidence in the judicial system. Other reforms proposed include making the Election Commission, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), Petronas and other major government institutions directly accountable to Parliament. This would include having Parliament as the approval body for the appointment of important government posts such as the inspector general of police, attorney-general, MACC commissioner and auditor-general.
On the economy, Pakatan aims to decentralise state economic management which the policy document said will boost efficiency, productivity and balanced geographical development. This proposal involves distributing economic and administrative power and the implementation of infrastructure work to the state government. The one-day maiden Pakatan convention, held at the Shah Alam City Council auditorium, was attended top opposition leaders.
They are joined by 1,500 delegates - 500 from each component party - of whom 15 are to debate the common policy paper today.
The crowd, which comprised all races, turned the auditorium into a riot of colours with their green, red and blue party uniforms.
Salient points in common platform
Below are excerpts of other key areas of the policy statement:

Healthcare - Establishing a National Heath Commission to improve public healthcare.
Women - Ensuring 30 percent representation at the government's decision-making level.
Police - Establishing the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission.
Culture - Liberalising restriction on performances by artistes.Language - Promoting Bahasa Malaysia as the regional lingua franca but protecting mother tongue languages.
Labour - Minimum wage policy. Social security - Establishing a National Retrenchment Fund.
Elections - Redelineation of electoral boundaries to fulfil concept of 'one person, one vote'.
Public transport - Study the possibility of buying back North-South Highway and renegotiating highway concessions to reduce toll prices.
Media - Amending the Printing Presses and Publishing Act and enact a Freedom of Inforamtion Act to ensure media freedom

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Eid Mubarak in Dubai

During the recent Aid Holidays, went over to Dubai for vacation with my wife. During the 2 days stay,visited some interesting places like the Dhow Cruise, Deira City centre, Mall of the Emirates and Atlantis . Took the luxury bus service from Abu Dhabi to Dubai which cost only AED15.Upon reaching Dubai bus station, took the boat ride across the river to old Dubai. There we walk to the Dubai Chinatown where we had our lunch at one of the Chinese shop situated in Dubai Chinese Association building popularly known as Shoe City.

Joined the Dhow Cruise Dinner in the floating restaurant where Continental and Arabic buffet were served with some light music and entertainment. It was a memorable evening as the boat cruise along Dubai Creek by moonlight.

The next day took the Dubai Metro train to The Mall of the Emirates for breakfast before boarding a cab to Atlantis at Palm Jumeirah. Paid AED100 for entry to the Lost Chambers of Atlantis. It was an unforgettable themed marine experience in Ambassador Lagoon at the heart of Atlantis, 11.5 million litres of water and home to 65,000 marine animals in 22 different displays and habitats. It was really an awe-inspiring showcases of underwater world. During the construction of the resort, a complex series of passages was discovered, thought to have been buried thousands of years ago by the waters of the Arabian Gulf.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Malaysian Aide's July Death 'Probably Homicide'- Asia Sentinel

Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand

A Thai pathologist testifies that opposition aide Teoh Beng Hock was probably thrown to his death Appearing before a coroner's court in Kuala Lumpur Wednesday, a respected Thai pathologist testified that an aide to an opposition leader whose body was found on July 16 under mysterious circumstances atop a building next to the headquarters of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission probably was murdered.

Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand said the odds were about 80 per cent that the death of Teoh Beng Hock was not a suicide although two government pathologists testified earlier that Teoh apparently had killed himself. Marks on Teoh's body, she testified, indicated he was probably beaten and sodomized with an unknown instrument before his death. Nobody has figured out why the 29-year-old aide, a former journalist, would have killed himself, since he was expected to marry his fiancé, who was two months pregnant, on the following Saturday.

Teoh's death is not the only one that Malaysian authorities have been studiously ignoring or put on the back burner. Earlier this year, the Indian community was inflamed by the case of a 20-year-old male named Kugan Ananthan who died in police custody five days after he was picked up for questioning in connection with a car theft case. A post-mortem indicated he had endured several severe beatings prior to his death. Other cases of extreme police brutality, visited upon Malays, Chinese and Indians alike, have been brought to public notice by families, only to have them ignored by authorities.

Dr Pornthip, 54, acknowledged that she had not examined either the site where Teoh's body was found or the body herself, but rather depended on auopsy pictures taken by Malaysian officials. She was hired by the Selangor state government, which is held by the Pakatan Rakyat opposition. That had some critics in Kuala Lumpur charging that she could be biased as a witness.Nonetheless Pornthip, the director-general of Thailand's Central Institute of Forensic Science, is the highly respected author of textbooks on autopsies.

She has carried out more than 10,000 autopsies including one on the actor David Carradine, who was found dead in a Bangkok hotel room closet earlier this year after apparently strangling himself in an act of autoeroticism. She was also involved in identifying victims of the disastrous Boxing Day tsunami in 2004. She said she has conducted more than 100 autopsies on individuals who had fallen from high places. Although she has been called a publicity seeker by Thai police, who have clashed with her on many occasions, her work has been praised by outsiders. She was the first to go public with accusations that 80 men had died of suffocation in the southern Thai city of Thakbai five years ago after they had been trussed up and piled on top of each other in army trucks.

Teoh, she testified, was apparently alive but unconscious when he hit the roof, judging from the lack of reaction wounds on his arms and legs that would have shown he instinctively tried to soften his fall at the last second, as victims are likely to do. According to local media, she said the aide's injuries indicated he could have been strangled.Teoh was being questioned over the use of RM2,400 (US$710) in public funds by his boss, Selangor State Executive Council Member Ean Yong Hian Wah, to buy flags for a Merdeka (freedom) Day celebration. Teoh drove himself to the inquiry, police said, adding that he had volunteered to appear for questioning. He had been questioned continually for several hours over the night and, investigators said, had asked for time to rest before driving himself home. No one apparently saw him after that.

The death has caused outrage across Malaysia, particularly in the Chinese community, which largely believes Teoh died in an interrogation gone wrong. According media reports, Pornthip testified that the tear in Teoh's anus, which measured 6 cm wide and 2cm long, appeared to have been caused by an object inserted forcefully into him. She noted that pathologists Khairul Aznam Ibrahim from the Hospital Tengku Rahimah Ampuan in Klang and Prashant Naresh Samberkar from the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre in Kuala Lumpur had previously called attention to the laceration, although they testified Teoh had probably committed suicide.Pornthip also testified that several stripes on Teoh's upper thighs just below the buttocks were inconsistent with injuries caused by a fall. The lines, she suggested, could have been the result of a beating with a stick. She also pointed out several bruises on Teoh's neck, which could have meant he had been strangled.

Teoh's skull fracture, she was quoted as saying, was not typical of an injury from a fall, but more compatible with the result of blunt force applied directly to the skull."I found contusions on a fracture line, so the fracture could be caused by blunt force injury directly on the skull," she was quoted as saying. Khairul and Prashant previously testified that Teoh might have sustained the head injuries in the fall from the 12th floor of the MACC Selangor headquarters. But, she said, acccording to local media, "For transfer of force, (you) only find ring fractures at the base of the skull along (the) spinal column, not a linear fracture and not a cervical spine fracture." She also contradicted the idea that one of Teoh's shoes might have come off from the impact, Instead, she said after inspecting the shoes, he might have been dragged to the window where he was thrown over.

Pornthip's testimony dovetails with accusations made in an anonymous letter written in Malay language on MACC stationery sent to the Teoh family's lawyer in August, charging that Hishamuddin Hashim, a top commission official, had conspired with Mohammad Khir Toyo, a leading united Malays National Organisation politician, to conduct corruption probes into opposition politicians, and that Teoh had been brought in for questioning as a part of that effort. The letter stopped short of accusing either Hishamuddin or other offices of being involved in the death. Since that time, opposition politicians have complained that the files of seven Chinese lawmakers were confiscated by MACC investigators on allegations of misuse of their annual office allocations and so far while the MACC have left Barisan Nasional lawmakers alone.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Kit Siang calls MACC 'Gestapo',asks for controls- Malaysian Insider

By Neville Spykerman

PETALING JAYA, Aug 15 — DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang today slammed the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) as the Gestapo for its high-handed manner in arresting political aide Wong Chuan How.The special assistant to Selangor executive councillor Ronnie Liu for the Barisan Nasional-held Sungai Pelek constituency was injured during a scuffle with MACC officers outside his office yesterday.

Lim said the MACC officers who when to meet Wong at his service centre in Sungai Pelek had gone back on their word by trying to arrest him. An appointment had been made earlier for Wong to meet the MACC as a witness in ongoing investigations into alleged impropriety in state allocations. But five officers turned up at the service centre said he was a suspect and wanted him to follow them to their office in Putrajaya.“How did he become a suspect when he was previously just a witness and this shows they are not sincere in their investigations,” the Ipoh Timur MP told reporters.

In light of what happened to Teoh Beng Hock who was found dead last month at the MACC office, two lawyers with Wong insisted he lodge a police report at the Sungai Pelek police station before he followed them to Putrajaya and the MACC officers agreed.However, three unidentified men tried to handcuff and drag Wong to their car as he walked out of his service centre.

There is no question about Wong resisting arrest because the men did not identify themselves, Lim said.In the struggle, Wong fell to the ground and injured his right leg while struggling with the men.Lim noted that MACC had broken their promise again and called on MACC advisory panels to rein in the MACC which seem to have even greater powers than the police.

He also pointed out that the MACC seems to be overly focus on Pakatan Rakyat while ignoring the ongoing RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal, Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo’s alleged RM24 million mansion and the RM10 million donation received by MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Kiat.

Wong, whose right leg was bandaged and was seen moving with the support of a walker, confirmed he did not know who the three men were and said he has no confidence in the MACC.
“The MACC is not independent and a tool which is being used by the Barisan Nasional to topple the Selangor government.” said Wong, adding he was not even found guilty yet but was treated like a criminal.

Wong's boss Liu took the MACC officers to task for refusing to identify the three men involved in grabbing his assistant.“I asked several officers to provide us their names but they themselves claim they did not know who they were,” Liu said, adding he did meet the men at the police station later. Liu added there is no doubt the MACC was being selective in their prosecution.
He claimed no investigations has been done on the previous Barisan lawmakers who had spent RM500,000 in annual allocations, in just two months, prior to the March 8 general elections last year.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Shaolin Show in Abu Dhabi

I have the rare opportunity to witness the legendary Chinese Shaolin martial arts kungfu show in Abu Dhabi. The free performance was held from 5th till 11th August 2009 at the Abu Dhabi Mall. This unique show, highly physical yet rooted in spirituality.While many martial arts focus solely on performance, the Shaolin warrior monks start with the traditional roots of self-defence and authentic technique- a 1,500 year martial arts discipline based on the principle only self defence, no self offence.

Went for the second show last Thursday night with my colleague, which started at 9pm and ended at 9.40pm.There were 2 shows nightly, the first show started at 6.10pm. Managed to get a good view of the show at the first floor level of the Mall facing the center stage.The show was spectacular with many remarkable feats performed by the Shaolin monks.

The show was also accompanied by an exhibition of weapon sets, traditional Kung fu wear and a glimpse into the history of the Shaolin Buddhist sect.Managed to have photograph taken with the Shaolin monks before the show starts.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

One Year in Abu Dhabi

With Yap amd Yong at Dubai's Gold Souk early this month

Drinking with friends in one of the pub in a popular hotel in Abu Dhabi

Playing badminton in an international in school hall in Abu Dhabi

Posed in front of Burj Al Arab last August, the most expensive hotel in the world

Time passed really fast and I have spent a year in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Started to get used to the country,the people,the food and the weather here. Have learned the tough way of life away from the family and the comfort of home and nice home-cooked meal.This is the short term sacrifice we need to make for the long term financial need which we can hardly survive in Malaysia.

Just remembered vividly when I touched down in Abu Dhabi on the night of 15th July last year. It was a hot and humid summer and started work immediately the next day.It was tough. On the second day I was already faced with the accomodation problem but with the support of my colleague who managed to pool enough money to settle for the upfront of AED60,000 payment needed. In UAE you need to pay for the whole 12 months rental before you can move in.And rental of room here is extremely high. Here I pay for a little studio of 200 square feet for AED5,000 per month and in Malaysia you can get a nice luxury bungalow for that price.

Gradually I learned to be independent.I learned cooking and ironing in Abu Dhabi.Now I can prepare simple dish mostly steamed stuff whenever I cooked my rice. Transport is another problem in Abu Dhabi. Parking space is hard to find. To resolve my transport here, I invested in a bicycle for my short distant journey to the mall to do my shopping. Taxis here is hard to get during peak hour.Sometimes I take the bus service which is quite reliable and economical for my long distant journey.

I look forward after work to chat with my wife via Windows Live Messenger everyday.I try not to miss a single day communicating with her. Technology really bring me closer to my family. Just imagine we are away 7 hours by flight but we can see and hear each other so clearly. That's the beauty of technology. To pass my time after work, I subscribed to the local E-Vision channel to get the latest news and movies.

Weekend here is Friday and most Thursday night I will be drinking with my friends in one of the popular pubs in town.Most of my shopping are done on Friday, my off day. Sometimes we will travelled to Dubai for shopping and try some of the Chinese food over there for a change.

Managed to join a group of Malaysian playing badminton in one of the international school hall in Abu Dhabi. There are 4 courts in the hall and we played on Wednesday and Sunday night. Most of the Malaysian are in the construction industry but some are working as pilots in the local airline company. There is even a Malaysian embassy staff playing with us.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson : 1958-2009

LOS ANGELES, June 26 – Pop giant Michael Jackson, who took to the stage as a child star and set the world dancing to exuberant rhythms for decades, died on Thursday after being taken ill at his home. He was 50.Jackson was pronounced dead at about 2.26pm PDT (5.26am Malaysian time) after arriving at a Los Angeles hospital in full cardiac arrest, said Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office.

The cause of death was not known and an autopsy would likely take place on Friday, he said.Jackson’s sudden death had been reported earlier by US media, which said he was taken ill at his Holmby Hills home and rushed to the hospital by paramedics who found him not breathing when they arrived.There was no immediate comment from spokespersons for Jackson, who was known as the “King of Pop,” for hit albums that included “Thriller” and “Billie Jean.”

Outside the hospital in Los Angeles about 200 fans and reporters gathered on Thursday, waiting for confirmation of Jackson’s death or condition.Some fans were crying and hugging each other, and others were climbing atop fences to get a better look at a microphone stand where a news conference was supposed to take place.He had been scheduled to launch a comeback tour from London next month.The entertainment website TMZ said that “We’re told when paramedics arrived, Jackson had no pulse and they never got a pulse back.”

Earlier, the Los Angeles Times said the singer had been rushed to a Los Angeles-area hospital by fire department paramedics.The newspaper said paramedics performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the scene before taking him to the UCLA Medical Center hospital.
Known as the “King of Pop,” for hits that included “Thriller” and “Billie Jean,” Jackson’s dramatic, one-gloved stage presence and innovative dance moves were imitated by legions of fans around the world.He transformed music videos and his lifetime record sales tally is believed to be around 750 million, which, added to the 13 Grammy Awards he received, made him one of the most successful entertainers of all time.But Jackson’s belief that “I am Peter Pan in my heart”, his preference for the company of children, his friendship with a chimp, his high-pitched voice and numerous plastic surgeries also earned him critics and the nickname “Wacko Jacko.”
Jackson, who had lived as a virtual recluse since his acquittal in 2005 on charges of child molestation, had been scheduled to launch a comeback tour from London, starting July 13 and running until March 2010. The singer had been rehearsing in the Los Angeles area for the past two months.The shows for the 50 London concerts sold out within minutes of going on sale in March.His lifetime record sales tally is believed to be around 750 million, which, added to the 13 Grammy Awards he received, makes him one of the most successful entertainers of all time.
He lived as a virtual recluse since his acquittal in 2005 on charges of child molestation.
There were concerns about Jackson’s health in recent years but the promoters of the London shows, AEG Live, said in March that Jackson had passed a 4-1/2 hour physical examination with independent doctors.

Child star to megastar

Jackson was born on Aug. 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana, the seventh of nine children. Five Jackson boys – Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael – first performed together at a talent show when Michael was 6. They walked off with first prize and went on to become a best-selling band, The Jackson Five, and then The Jackson 5.Jackson made his first solo album in 1972, and released “Thriller” in 1982, which became a smash hit that yielded seven top-10 singles. The album sold 21 million copies in the United States and at least 27 million worldwide.
The next year, he unveiled his signature “moonwalk” dance move while performing “Billie Jean” during an NBC special.In 1994, Jackson married Elvis Presley’s only child, Lisa Marie, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1996. Jackson married Debbie Rowe the same year and had two children, before splitting in 1999. The couple never lived together.Jackson has three children named Prince Michael I, Paris Michael and Prince Michael II, known for his brief public appearance when his father held him over the railing of a hotel balcony, causing widespread criticism.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Media abuzz over Kuan Yew's multi-state visit- The Straits Times

Two veteran politicians, Menteri Besar Kelantan Dato Nik Aziz gave thumbs up on his meeting with Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew in Kota Bharu, Kelantan

Chief Minister of Penang Lim Guan Eng who is also DAP secretary general welcomed Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew who is also PAP founder to his office in Komtar building in Penang.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has set the Malaysian media abuzz, especially in the Chinese press and blogosphere, since his arrival for his first visit to the country in four years. Chinese papers such as the mass-selling Sin Chew Daily have given him substantial coverage daily, since he arrived on Monday to attend a dialogue and receive an award at the International Air Transport Association's annual general meeting here.
The next day, Sin Chew placed a picture of him meeting MCA leaders prominently on its front page.

The Chinese media has been tracking the calls he has made to different national leaders, and devoted significant column space to his visit. The Malay and English media, however, have been more muted. There was no coverage in the English daily New Straits Times, or in Malay papers Berita Harian and Utusan on Lee's first day in Malaysia. Subsequent coverage was also less extensive than that in the Chinese papers.

Lee has not made a multi-state Malaysian visit in years, and part of the Chinese media's enthusiasm stems from this fact. They pointed out that the last time he visited states outside of Kuala Lumpur was in 1989, when he was still Singapore's prime minister. That time, he went to Penang and Kedah. One Sin Chew Daily commentator felt that Lee had chosen this time to visit Malaysia because the country was going through drastic political change. Praising Lee's intelligence and experience in leading Singapore, he wrote: “Malaysia's leaders should learn from him how to manoeuvre out of the current political crisis.”

But another commentary in the Oriental Daily noted that Lee's visit also evoked unhappy memories of the spats between Malaysia and Singapore when he and former Prime MinisterTun Dr Mahathir Mohamad were leading their respective countries. Such historical baggage did not escape the attention of Malaysia's influential blogosphere too, which viewed Lee's visit with less fervour. While some netizens praised Lee's leadership of Singapore, others viewed his arrival with suspicion.

Former New Straits Times editor Datuk Kadir Jasin questioned the special treatment that Lee has been getting, likening it to that of a “Chinese emperor”. Kadir and other bloggers were clearly unhappy with the fact that Lee was meeting many Malaysian leaders.
“Why should Lee Kuan Yew visit Malaysia? And why is he allowed to meet so many leaders? Will a senior politician from Malaysia be allowed to meet Malay leaders, opposition and so on when he visits Singapore?” wrote one blogger. — The Straits Times

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rule of law in jeopardy- Malaysiakini

Perak Speaker Sivakumar being dragged,abused and manhandled by security unknown individual out of Perak State Assembly .

Param Cumaraswamy May 8, 09 1:33pm

On March 4, I appealed to the Sultan of Perak to dissolve the state legislative assembly to avoid the crisis there leading to anarchy.Indeed what happened in the state legislative assembly yesterday was anarchy.

I have never seen or heard of such chaos in any legislature in the world. That such commotion could occur in a state where the ruler was once the Lord President of the Supreme Court is beyond belief.As I said previously he could have averted all these if he had dissolved the legislative assembly on Feb 5, and left it to the rakyat to elect a new government in accordance with the fundamentals of democracy.Rulers must not only be above politics but must be seen to be so.Lawyers will continue debating the validity of appointments and removals of the Menteri Besar and the speaker and the crude manner in which V Sivakumar was removed.They will continue to debate on the validity of motions adopted yesterday and at the previous meeting under the tree.Each will have an interpretation of the applicable provisions of the constitution and bye laws.As I said on March 4, this is not the time to look into the technicalities and strict interpretation of the law, constitution and bye laws.

That one disputed speaker could call in the police to assist the sergeant-at-arms to remove the other speaker who was indeed removed forcibly did not speak well of the calibre of these state representatives.Procedural fairness was thrown overboard in the assembly yesterday. The Perak Regent Raja Nazrin Shah's presence there and his delivery of the royal address may not be seen as the ruler not being above politics.What about the court ruling?What is most disconcerting is all these happened when there was pending before the High Court an application to determine who is the rightful Menteri Besar!Why the unholy haste to summon the legislative assembly? The state constitution does not expressly provide that if the assembly is not convened within six months since the last session the assembly is automatically dissolved.What happens if on Monday the High Court declares that the rightful Menteri Besar is Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin?

On the other hand if the court finds that Zambry Abd Kadir's appointment was valid, the public perception would be that the events of yesterday pre-empted the decision of the court.The independence and impartiality of the court would be called into question. .The ugly events of yesterday clearly showed that there can never be an orderly and stable government in Perak unless the legislative assembly is dissolved and fresh elections held.I therefore urge Sultan Azlan Shah to exercise his discretionary power under Article 36(2) of the state constitution and dissolve the legislative assembly.More than anybody else he should know better the finer principles of democracy and its values for a state under a just rule of law.

PARAM CUMARASWAMY is a former Malaysian Bar president (1986 - 1988). He also served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers by the UN Commission on Human Rights from 1994 to 2003.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mahathir's Return - Asia Sentinel

The former prime minister is expected to complicate life for newly minted Premier Najib

With Malaysia expected to shed as much as 2.5 percent off its gross domestic product in 2009 and the country's politics riven with factionalism, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak looks unlikely to get a 100-day honeymoon, or even less of one. For one thing, he has former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad looking over his shoulder at every move.
The late-March conclave of the United Malays National Organisation that ratified Najib in power in particular demonstrates Mahathir's resurgence, and with him probably UMNO's old guard. With a US$16.26 billion stimulus package announced in March to increase employment, improve infrastructure and help the private sector, the test of whether there is a new UMNO or an old UMNO will be where the stimulus will be directed. Watch for the firms most closely connected to party stalwarts.

The problem is that while Najib may placate the Mahathir faction inside UMNO, the greater public at large continues to be disenchanted with the party's leadership of the country. After the March 2008 election which cost the ruling national coalition its two-thirds lock on parliament, Najib has lost four of five other by-elections to the opposition Pakatan Rakyat, winning only one in an isolated village in Sarawak in East Malaysia. He faces a revolt in the northeastern, conservative state of Terengganu, where 10 local assembly members refused to be seated last week in objection to the chief minister appointed to head the party there. In two by-elections on April 8, one in Perak and the other in Mahathir's own home state of Kedah, his personal return to the campaign trail appeared to have done little good, with both elections going to the opposition in greater numbers than in the 2008 general election.

Although Mahathir's hegemony over his old party is not 100 percent, and he says he is retired and intends to remain only an adviser, his return to UMNO leaves little doubt about his sway. After he left the party in a huff a year ago when it was announced that he faced a probe over judicial corruption, he devoted considerable space on his blog, Chedet, to blasting Najib when he wasn't ripping into Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, whom he anointed as his successor only to turn on him with a vengeance. Party insiders say Najib, having got Mahathir back on his side, lives in fear that the former prime minister will go after him again if he doesn't get what he wants. Mahathir, party insiders say, regards Najib as weak and won't hesitate to blast the prime minister if he doesn't get his way.

In particular, party insiders say, one condition for getting Mahathir back into the party was the isolation of Khairy Jamalludin, former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's son-in-law, even though Khairy was elected head of the important Youth wing of the party. Despite the position's importance, Khairy was denied a cabinet seat and his close associates within his faction of the party are being investigated for vote-buying although vote-buying was widespread on all sides during the UMNO conclave.
Mahathir's son Mukhriz, who lost out to Khairy in the contest for the youth wing job, was named minister of international trade and industry. That ministry in particular is the senior Mahathir's brainchild, the agency from which many of the grandiose projects of Mahathir's 22-year reign as prime minister sprang.

Daim Zainuddin, who was appointed finance minister by Mahathir in 1984, holds no official position. Daim became enormously rich -- and controversial -- under Mahathir. Although he apparently will have no official position, he is expected to play a major role in advising the government on Malaysia's economic outlook, perhaps joining the new council of economic advisers that Najib is establishing. It was Daim as much as Mahathir who advocated the creation of a class of Malay entrepreneurs through the award of vast contracts for government-linked projects to counterbalance the Chinese. That policy as much as anything is responsible for the quandary Malaysia finds itself in today, with a class of rent-seeking cronies who have become enormously rich while draining government coffers, particularly in the construction industry.
Although it is by no means certain, it also appears that some of Mahathir's cherished grandiose projects, which were cancelled by Badawi to Mahathir's eternal enmity, may be back. In particular, the so-called “crooked bridge” across the causeway whether Singapore wanted it or not, has made a reappearance, with a trial balloon floated last week in The Star, one of Malaysia's two English-language newspapers, which is owned by the Malaysian Chinese Association, the second-biggest component party in the Barisan Nasional, or ruling national coalition which is led by UMNO.

If the bridge does make an appearance, one UMNO stalwart told Asia Sentinel, it will demonstrate beyond doubt the sway Mahathir holds over Najib. It is certain to cause serious complications in Malaysia's relations with Singapore, which buys water from Malaysia, and sand, which Singapore needs in ever-increasing amounts in its bid to fill the Strait of Sumatra to make itself a bigger country. Singapore also wants airspace – liebensraum for its air force, which is bigger than Malaysia's and Indonesia's combined, and which can't get its wheels up before it leaves Singapore's borders.

Another project which will probably reappear soon, according to party insiders, is the dual-track railway that will run 329 km up Malaysia's spine from Ipoh to the Thai border. In 2007, the government approved a no-bid contract with Gamuda-MMC for RM12.5 billion (US$3.73 billion) but then shelved it again. The MMC part of the consortium is a construction company backed by Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, a longtime backer and fundraiser for UMNO. The contract, critics say, was far in excess of the amount necessary to actually build the project. It remains to be seen what company will get the contract this time.
On the other hand, time may be running out for the troubled Iskandar Malaysia project, a massive 2,200 square kilometer development in Johor, across from Singapore, which Badawi commissioned in 2006 and which has been flagging, particularly as the global economy has turned down. The development is to include port facilities and a huge panoply of petrochemicals projects and orther projects as well as condominiums. Besides being commissioned by Badawi, Mahathir has called it an extension of Singapore itself.

Local media quoted Mahatir as saying “after the land is sold, the Malays will be driven to live at the edge of the forest and even in the forest itself. In the end, the area in Iskandar Malaysia will be filled with Singaporeans and populated with only 15 per cent Malays.”
Whether the opposition can capitalize on the disarray within the coalition is another matter. The Penang deputy chief has quit the Parti Keadilan Rakyat opposition party amid corruption allegations over illegal quarrying activities, is threatening to expose further scandals in the Penang government. The opposition coalition has been under pressure across the country from Najib's attempts to pry away party members , with critics charging he had been offering large sums of money to get them to jump ship.

The stimulus package, the largest in Malaysia's history, represents 9 percent of GDP, but still is expected only to bring the export-oriented economy back to about neutral. With malaise growing, and critics at his back, Najib faces an unappetizing future.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The best is yet to come- Hannah Yeoh

Hannah Yeoh- State Assemblyman N.31 Subang Jaya, Selangor and State Treasurer for DAP Selangor

So many people have been telling me just how frustrated they are with the current political situation in our country. Some have told me that they regretted voting for change because of the political instability now and would prefer returning to their old style of voting - vote for stability and forget about having a stronger opposition and greater check and balance.

I shudder at the thought of this! One needs to remember the reason why we are seeing such great resistance for change is simply because there is much to lose for those who have been in power for so long. For decades there have been so much abuses of power, unchecked misuse of public funds and plain dirty corruption. With a stronger opposition now, they stand to lose their illegal sources of income and some may even be charged and sent to prison if they are found guilty. With this in mind, they will fight at all costs to reclaim back power and to ensure they can continue to steal public funds from the people for their own enrichment.

We are not just dealing with differences in politics; we are combating evil forces who will not rest till they secure back their powers and illegal sources of income.Sometimes I feel equally frustrated and disillusioned about the political situation too. Sometimes I lay awake thinking of how to effect change in this land. Some days I cry while driving in between meetings thinking of what's left for the future generation in this land if we give up now. I have endured much verbal attack from political enemies, accusation after accusation of me not doing anything for my constituents and etc. No one truly understands the resistance we face daily in discharging our duties except for my fellow PR assemblymen.

Robert Kennedy once said ‘Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator and change has its enemies.’ Our enemies are resisting change but we must stand firm and continue to push for a competent, accountable and transparent government. At the end of each day, as I lay myself to sleep, I ask God for strength, wisdom and protection to face the next. I look forward to the end of the term when I can tell the people of Subang Jaya that I have remained clean and have not stolen any of the taxpayers' funds.

As reminded by Raja Petra in his blog "Please continue your struggle to make Malaysia a better place for our future generation. This country belongs to them and it is for them that we struggle." All hope is not lost. Come the next election, vote out the corrupt once and for all. Hang in there supporters and friends, the best is yet to come!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Nizar elected, BN rejected; Perak elections needed- Malaysiakini

By: P Ramakrishnan Apr 9, 09 4:51pm

The Barisan Nasional has suffered four deadly blows in a row. Umno has been soundly defeated on three occasions since March 8, 2009. The outcome of these by-elections have confirmed that there is no stopping Pakatan Rakyat no matter what crafty means the BN adopts.

For Umno, the results have been devastating. It has not recovered lost ground neither has it revived its fortunes. It has been downhill all the way in spite of changing its president and acclaiming him as the sixth prime minister of Malaysia.
Najib Abdul Razak is going down to the ground without any fanfare dressed in ordinary clothes; meeting ordinary people and eating vadai in crowded Brickfields; addressing the nation propounding the concept of one Malaysia; bringing in Dr Mahathir Mohamad to turn the tide on the last day of campaigning – all this did not make any difference.

Fixing a weekday for polling, imposing so many restrictions to handicap the opposition also did not provide any advantage to the BN. If anything, it only made the people angry and motivated the electorate to punish BN.
The peninsula victories of Pakatan over the BN has driven home the fact rather convincingly that the March 8 election was no fluke. They reaffirmed that the ground has indeed shifted in favour of the opposition.

The results must be viewed as a damning referendum on Najib, Umno, BN and the government. The electorate has rejected the BN overwhelmingly and have sent a clear signal that they are not going to tolerate any more nonsense from Umno and the BN.
When they elected a political novice and rejected a seasoned politician in Bukit Selambau, it was meant to spite the BN and MIC.

When they elected Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin in Bukit Gantang with a majority almost twice that of the previous one exactly a year later, it was meant to punish the BN and send a strong signal to Najib that they were thoroughly disgusted with him for engineering the fall of their duly-elected Perak state government.

The significance of Bukit Gantang must be seriously taken into account. It is abundantly clear that Perakians want Nizar’s government to continue to serve them. It is their preferred. chosen government and they have given the thumbs down to Zambry Abdul Kadir.
Aliran hopes that this message will not go unnoticed. This is why Aliran would like to appeal - yet again to His Royal Highness, the Sultan of Perak, to reconsider his decision.

The Perak government cannot be in a limbo, especially in these difficult times of economic uncertainties. We earnestly appeal to His Royal Highness to allow his subjects to decide on the government of their choice in a fresh election.
Aliran would also like to appeal to Zambry to do the only honourable thing for which he will be remembered. Please resign and pave the way for fresh elections.

The writer is President, Aliran.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Najib It Is - Asia Sentinel

Malaysia's leading ethnic party names a scandal-ridden party hack as its head and the country's leader

On Friday, Malaysia is scheduled to end months of waiting to announce its new prime minister, Najib Tun Razak, after the United Malays National Organisation, the country's biggest ethnic party named him their leader during their annual convention.

Najib told the UMNO parley, held in Kuala Lumpur last week, that it is crucial that his party reform itself or it will lose its hold on the electorate. But Najib's history, and that of the party itself, portends instead a return to the politics and practices that got the national ruling coalition into trouble in the first place, losing its historic two-thirds majority in the national parliament in national elections last year. Najib's ascent to power more likely represents a clear preference by UMNO stalwarts to return to cronyism, money politics and corruption after an eight-year interregnum from the authoritarian reign of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

The new prime minister's history may make it problematical whether the leaders of major countries are going to want to be seen with him. Concerns include hundreds of millions of dollars in questionable contracts steered to UMNO cronies and friends, not to mention continuing allegations of his involvement in the murder of the Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu following the controversial purchase of French submarines and, more recently, his role in sabotaging the opposition in the state of Perak and his shuttering newspapers and thwarting opposition candidates during his own party's elections last week.

The convention itself was a good example. Opponents of the Najib team were denied places on the ballot by a panel supposedly charged with cleaning up money politics, although they let Najib's allies slide by after having committed the same offenses. The result was that the deputy president, Muhyiddin Yassin, and all three vice presidents are from the Najib faction although the Najib forces were unable to prevent Khairy Jamaluddin, the son-in-law of ousted Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmand Badawi, from becoming head of the important UMNO Youth wing. They also were unable to stop Shahrizat Abdul Jalil from defeating longtime party hack Rafidah Aziz to take over the Wanita, the women's wing of the party, also a Badawi ally.

The final election night erupted into name-calling, with allies of Mukhriz Mahathir, the son of the former prime minister, charging that Khairy had bought the votes to make him head of UMNO Youth. Mahathir Mohamad himself railed against the two candidates against his son, calling them corrupt. Rais Yatim, the foreign minister, who lost out in one of the vice president races, demanded that UMNO's disciplinary board investigate the entire new supreme council over allegations that they had delivered gifts and money to delegates in the effort to win their seats. Mahathir Mohamad has repeatedly launched furious attacks on UMNO leaders, calling them corrupt although he showed up at the last night of the convention to be seen with Najib and others.

The UMNO-owned New Straits Times described the top party positions as having "given much-needed breathing space to Najib as he sets out to unite UMNO and push the party to undertake the reforms he has promised. He will have less of a task to deal with the factionalism that so often arises after a bitterly fought contest in the party." But in fact, UMNO appears to be as much riven by factional politics as it was going into the convention.

As early as April 8, the party faces the first of three important by-elections – one for a seat in the Dewan Rakyat, or national assembly, and two more for state legislative seats. The first test is for a Perak seat in which support for the Barisan appears to be waning.
"The problem is not the opposition, but within our own ranks," a local leader told the Kuala Lumpur-based website Malaysia Insider, referring to the perennial problem of factionalism within Umno.

Najib has sought to nullify the opposition with force. Last Monday, a rally led by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim was broken up by police who fired tear gas at the audience. Other rallies have been cancelled as well. Two opposition newspapers were cancelled until after April 8, the date of the Perak national by-election, presumably because the two papers have hammered away at allegations of Najib's connections with the two men on trial for killing Altantuya in October of 2006 and her role in the €1 billion purchase of French submarines that netted one of his closest friends €114 million in "commissions."

To say Najib brings considerable baggage with him is an understatement. While attention has focused on allegations of corruption in the submarine purchases, the fact is that as defense minister from 1999 to 2008, Najib presided over a cornucopia of defense deals that poured a river of money into the coffers of his close friends and UMNO cronies. A September 24, 2007 story in Asia Sentinel quoted Foreign Policy in Focus, a think tank supported by the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, as saying that "many foreign arms manufacturers generally used well-connected Malaysians as their lobbyists for contracts."

Three contracts approved under Najib have been widely cited by the opposition and fit well into Foreign in Policy in Focus's patronage scale. They have been forced back into public attention by his ascension to the premiership and by the exoneration under questionable circumstances of Abdul Razak Baginda, one of his closest friends, for Altantuya's murder.

Spending for defense accelerated across the board after Najib, called "the driving force" behind Malaysia's military modernization program by Foreign Policy in Focus. The shopping list, the think tank reported, "includes battle tanks from Poland, Russian and British surface-to-air missiles and mobile military bridges, Austrian Steyr assault rifles and Pakistani anti-tank missiles. Kuala Lumpur was also negotiating to buy several F/A 18s, the three French submarines and Russian Suhkoi Su-30 fighter aircraft.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Global Recession Could Last Till End-2010 Or Longer- AFP

NEW DELHI: The US professor nicknamed "Dr. Doom" for forecasting the financial crisis has said the global recession will last all of this year and probably next, India's Mail Today reported Saturday.New York University professor Nouriel Roubini said that in the best-case scenario, the recession will continue through 2010 in advanced economies while job losses will persist for an additional year, the paper reported.

He said world governments are falling behind the curve in tackling the crisis with "policymakers moving in the right direction--but (doing) too little too late."Speaking at a New Delhi conference, Roubini warned that the United States, Europe and Japan must "get their act together" to avoid the global economy sinking further.

"People were hoping it would be a V-shaped recession--a sharp fall, followed by an equally quick recovery," he said."But we are in the middle of an ugly U-shaped recession," he said Friday.
Roubini said the bottom of the "U"--the length of time the world economy will continue to contract--would last a minimum of three years starting from December 2007.But he said there was a "one-in-three chance" that recession would turn into an "L"--a prolonged period of stagnation or shrinking output, coupled with falling prices as demand dries up.

As early as 2005, Roubini said US home prices were riding a speculative wave that would soon sink the economy, but was dismissed as a doomsayer.In Delhi, he said the problems of the financial system and financial institutions were getting worse, but that the outlook could be improved by governments taking charge of insolvent banks, cleaning them up and then selling them to private investors.

"People say when the US sneezes, the rest of the world catches cold. In this case, the US is just not sneezing, it has a severe case of chronic pneumonia.""We all sink or swim together," he said, adding there is no way policy action in emerging economic giants India and China can pull the global economy out of the slump. (AFP)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Under a tree, assembly votes for fresh polls- Malaysian Insider

Above photos courtesy from Nizar's facebook

Photo courtesy from Malaysiakini
Speaker Sivakumar in ceremonial attire addressing the assembly members.

IPOH, March 3 — In the shade of a rain tree with the State Secretariat just 200 metres away, Perak Speaker V Sivakumar convened an emergency sitting of the state assembly today which effectively voted to end the de facto Barisan Nasional (BN) government of Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.

Across town at the same time in the Ipoh High Court, BN lawyers were arguing to stay the proceedings of the state assembly, pending a law suit against Sivakumar for suspending from the assembly Zambry and his six executive council members.

On an eventful day, Perak’s administration has been thrown into chaos with both BN and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) questioning the legitimacy of each other’s actions.

The State Secretary’s directive to close off the building which houses the state assembly had added to the confusion over the administration of the state.

The directive resulted in riot police barring state assemblymen from entering the building.

All the lawmakers that had turned up this morning were from PR parties. BN legislators, not surprisingly, did not show up as they contend the assembly was invalid.

Sivakumar was the only person given permission to access the building, but he chose instead to walk nearby to convene the assembly with the presence of the PR assemblymen.

Dressed in his ceremonial black robes and songkok, the Speaker presided over a sitting, which on the face of it appeared legal as long as he was present.

The sitting proceeded to pass three votes – expressing their confidence in Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin as mentri besar; calling on Nizar to seek a dissolution of the state assembly; and endorsing Sivakumar’s suspension of Zambry and the de facto BN executive council.

Nizar told reporters later that he would seek an audience with the Sultan to ask for consent to dissolve the assembly.

At the Ipoh High Court, Judicial Commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim ruled that five lawyers, including constitutional expert Tommy Thomas, had no locus standi to represent the Perak Speaker in court.

He said the Speaker must be represented by the state legal advisor because he is part of the state government.

Thomas told reporters the team had no choice but to withdraw from the case.

Earlier this morning, a minor scuffle broke out when a group of unidentified men tried to stop Nizar and other PR assemblymen from entering the state assembly compound.

Subsequently, Nizar and the assemblymen were prevented from entering the state assembly by riot police, backed by two trucks with water cannons.

Yesterday, Zambry declared any attempt to hold an emergency sitting of the state assembly a “threat to national security.”

Nizar told reporters later that he would seek an audience with the Sultan to ask for consent to dissolve the assembly.

At the Ipoh High Court, Judicial Commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim ruled that five lawyers, including constitutional expert Tommy Thomas, had no locus standi to represent the Perak Speaker in court.

He said the Speaker must be represented by the state legal advisor because he is part of the state government.

Thomas told reporters the team had no choice but to withdraw from the case.

Earlier this morning, a minor scuffle broke out when a group of unidentified men tried to stop Nizar and other PR assemblymen from entering the state assembly compound.

Subsequently, Nizar and the assemblymen were prevented from entering the state assembly by riot police, backed by two trucks with water cannons.

Yesterday, Zambry declared any attempt to hold an emergency sitting of the state assembly a “threat to national seNizar told reporters later that he would seek an audience with the Sultan to ask for consent to dissolve the assembly.

At the Ipoh High Court, Judicial Commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim ruled that five lawyers, including constitutional expert Tommy Thomas, had no locus standi to represent the Perak Speaker in court.

He said the Speaker must be represented by the state legal advisor because he is part of the state government.

Thomas told reporters the team had no choice but to withdraw from the case.

Earlier this morning, a minor scuffle broke out when a group of unidentified men tried to stop Nizar and other PR assemblymen from entering the state assembly compound.

Subsequently, Nizar and the assemblymen were prevented from entering the state assembly by riot police, backed by two trucks with water cannons.

Yesterday, Zambry declared any attempt to hold an emergency sitting of the state assembly a “threat to national security.”

Friday, February 27, 2009

Dear Malaysian Politicians...

A Malaysian businessman named Anas Zubedy bought a full-page advertisement in The Star on 26-2-2009 to deliver a message to our politicians.

Please stop the power chase, call for a truce and focus on the economy.I do not claim to speak on behalf of all Malaysians, but I have strong convictions that many share my sentiments. Our concern today is not who rules the country or heads the state governments but the looming bad economy.Whether Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat leads, it is meaningless if Malaysians have no job to go to, no money to pay rent and no means to put food on the table.

I am a business owner, like other business owners and managers of corporations I have a responsibility to ensure people under my care and payroll continue to have jobs and a decent income to take home. We work hard and willing to go the extra mile to make sure our nation not only survive this crisis but come out stronger and wiser. We need your help.Let me explain. I am in the business of Training, Development and Consultancy and have 20 people in my team.

Saedah is 42. She keeps the office clean and helps organise the training rooms. She has four children and her husband is unemployed. She was first hired on a part time basis, because she is very hard working and has a great attitude, we offered her a full time job to help provide a stable income for her family. Even then, when her third child started school this year, it was a struggle for her to buy new school uniforms and other necessities. Saedah lives on a ‘kais bulan, makan bulan’ basis, so, if she is jobless, her tap runs dry.

Samsuri is 27 years old. He lives with his sister and her family in a low cost government flat in Sunway. He does our despatch, helps with various clerical works and occasionally acts as a driver. During the first week at zubedy, we learned that he not only did not have money to buy new clothes and shoes for work, he had no money for lunch. Like Saedah, if he has no job, his tap runs dry too.

Alicia in Client Servicing turns 26 this year. She lives with her dad who is 71 years old and retired. Her mom passed away when she was little. Alicia is a hard-working team member, has a gentle caring outlook and fun to be with. (We like to poke fun at her as she blushes easily). Last May her dad went through a major operation, thank God he has recovered well. Alicia needs a job, both for herself and her dad.

Sudesh, 38, is one of our facilitators. When his father passed away last year, he moved back and lives with his mother in Seremban. He shuttles between Kuala Lumpur and Seremban daily, leaving home sometimes as early as 4 in the morning and returning late at night. He is no stranger to hard work and sacrifice, he knows what he needs to do to survive and to care for his mother, but he too needs a job.

Like fellow Malaysians, every one of us in zubedy needs employment, those that live from hand to mouth like Saedah and Samsuri and others like Alicia and Sudesh with family to care for. We Malaysians need the Malaysian economy to be strong. We need you, our leaders, to work hard and to work together to make our economy viable.

So this is my plea.Pakatan Rakyat, please stop your attempts to take over the federal government and persuade BN’s lawmakers to join you. Stop all legal proceedings, no more 916 and let go, just let go. The nation can wait till the next general elections if they want change. By doing so, Malaysians will see your party as caring, unselfish and gracious and give you their support in the next elections.

Barisan Nasional, please stop any attempts to take over PR states and win over PR’s lawmakers. You have proven your point with Perak. The nation can wait for the next general elections if they want your party. Focus all your talent, energy and hard work in steering the country out of an economic downturn. By doing so, Malaysians will see your party as caring, unselfish and smart and give you their support in the next elections.

BN and PR! Call for a truce. Get together and compromise. Someone has to give in. Or has hate consumed your heart till it blinds you? You can do it. You have enough intelligent people between you. I am sure you can find solutions. Take the nation to heart. That is why you are in politics in the first place.Focus on the people.Focus on the economy.

Anas ZubedyManaging DirectorZubedy (M) Sdn Bhd

Friday, February 20, 2009

Chinese New Year Celebration in Abu Dhabi

Hundred of Malaysian queuing up for the food at the Embassy compound

Part of the Malaysian working in Abu Dhabi

Embassy staff welcoming the guests at the stage in front of the entrance

Malaysian Embassy in UAE organised a Chinese New Year lunch gathering at the Embassy compound in Abu Dhabi on 20-2-2009. Hundreds of Malaysian of different races, some working as far as Dubai came over to celebrate the event. The event which include a lucky draw was jointly sponsored by a leading Malaysian consortium ISZL working in Reem Island and a leading UAE developer Tamouh Investment.Malaysian food like teh tarik and mee goreng were served much to the delight of the many Malaysian who must have dearly missed the local Malaysian favourite.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How low can 'they' go?- The Malaysian Insider

Elizabeth Wong- Photo courtesy of Malaysiakini

FEB 16 – It is nothing but despicable and gutter politics to use photographs of a woman, taken when she is at her most vulnerable, to tarnish her and attack the party she represents.
Selangor exco member Elizabeth Wong, single, has the misfortune of associating with a former boyfriend who probably took the photographs that are now being used by her political enemies to bring her down and consequently tar the Pakatan Rakyat as immoral.

How and when the photographs were taken by a person she had trusted and how the images were passed on, more likely sold, to her political enemies remains unknown.
Wong, who had a long-term relationship with a man that had ended recently, has lodged a police report at the Damansara police station after agonising over the matter with friends, consulting party colleagues and sympathetic lawyers who were all aghast at the ugly turn of events.
“This is dirty blackmail,” Wong told her colleagues who argued with newspapers editors over the weekend on the “immorality” of publishing the photographs.

Wong put up a brave face but said she was willing to take “any action necessary” to protect the PKR and the Pakatan Rakyat.
It is believed that the photographs were taken without her consent, most likely by a former boyfriend, while she was sleeping.

“It is blackmail, a gross invasion of my privacy and despicable to say the least,” Wong told The Malaysian Insider on Saturday. “I hope the police get the culprit who did this to me.”
Unidentified people have been sending the photographs to a number of newspapers, which carried the news but did not publish the photographs.

It is hoped that political blogs and news websites also desist from publishing the photographs simply because doing so is a despicable act, a serious violation of a person and an unwarranted assault on Wong.
But in a politically divided nation like ours where the demand for blood is overpowering, it might be too much to ask anyone to desist.

Already Selangor Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Mohd Khir Toyo is demanding the resignation of Wong, fondly called Eli by her friends.
“She is no longer fit to be a member of the government,” he said citing the case of former Health Minister Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek who quit all posts last year after admitting to infidelity that was secretly caught by a hidden camera set up by his political enemies in the MCA.
“This is about morality, whether the pictures were taken with or without consent is another matter, I cannot accept a lawmaker whose morality is questionable,” Khir told the Malaysian Insider today.

The pressure for her to quit would likely increase in the weeks ahead especially after PKR’s Kedah exco-member V. Arumugam resigned last week after being dogged by alleged bigamy.
But Arumugam and Wong are worlds apart not just in their intellectual makeup but also in the alleged “crimes” they have committed.
Wong is clearly a victim of unscrupulous individuals while whatever problems Arumugan had faced were of his own making.

Wong is also something of a radical activist learned in the lores of left wing activism who studied in Sydney University. She jumped into political activism like a duck takes to water and played prominent roles in the reformasi movement, human rights groups and in defending minorities.
She worked with Suaram, Hakam and other rights organisation before winning the Bukit Lanjan state seat on March 8, 2008 with a huge 5,000 vote majority and was promptly made an exco-member in charge of tourism and environment.

Intellectually Wong is probably a Marxist but one who also believes in the Hegelian concept that individuals, by their action, can also change history.
She is one of those unique Jane Fonda-type political activists fighting on many fronts at the same time. She was catapulted from the streets to the highest reaches of the Selangor state government where she had hoped to put her activism to good use by changing the way the government is managed.

While publicly she remains a loyal member of the PR coalition government in Selangor, privately she grumbled that many of the election promises i.e declaring assets, minimum wages and egalitarian principles of governance, were being compromised by political horse-trading.
As an activist, she was given to the “hard living, hard working” lifestyle ,spending most of her time huddled in heated discussions in the warongs like others in the Reformasi movement.
All that changed after Pakatan won big on March 8 and she became part of a ruling government.
“She took to the new job admirably ... she was committed and passionate but her past has caught up with her,” said a colleague.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Lion Dance in Abu Dhabi

The Chinese legendary lion dance have landed in Abu Dhabi,UAE. Thanks to the initiative taken by a leading developer in UAE, the world renowned Lion dance troupe from Malaysia who is the current world champion fly over to give a great world class performance at Abu Dhabi.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Chinese New Year Celebration in Malaysia

With my 3 angels at the St Paul Hill, Malacca

In front of the historical A Famosa in Malacca

2nd day at one of the leading hotel in Malacca with my angels

Dinner gathering with my Condominium residents association members in KL

After a long 6 months stay in Abu Dhabi, fly back Malaysia to celebrate Chinese New Year with family members. Reached KL on the 16th January 2009 and on the next day went back Malacca to visit parents.The next day have a dinner gathering with my Condominium Resident association members.On the eve of CNY went back Malacca again to have the traditional reunion dinner with the parents and relatives.Visited the historical A Famosa and the St Paul Hill in Malacca on the 2nd day of CNY.Managed to catch up with most friends and relatives during the 2 weeks vacation in Malaysia.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Perak Crisis: A Mockery of our Democratic system- Hannah Yeoh

Nizar 'booted out' of MB's office- Malaysiakini photo

To those who argue that the political crisis in Perak now is a taste of Pakatan's own medicine (referring to the Sept 16 takeover plan), they have failed to see the key differences between the two.

If you remember what happened when Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim claimed to have the numbers to form the new federal government, he wrote to PM Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi requesting him to convene an emergency sitting of Parliament. This was rejected by the PM. The next constitutional option is to press for the dissolution of Parliament to make way for fresh new elections. That was also not entertained. Anwar Ibrahim exhausted the constitutional means that were available to him. If Pakatan were to act unconstitutionally and lure defections, then we will be having a new government today. But we didn't and we will not act unconstitutionally.

So you can't say that Najib's coup and Pakatan's plan were one and the same.Some may also say, well what about the earlier defection of Bota assemblyman, Datuk Nasarudin Hashim? Why did Pakatan Rakyat accept him? Why not force his seat to be vacated for a by-election? Let's keep things in perspective here. His defection was that of an opposition lawmaker to a governing lawmaker. His defection did not alter the balance of power in the State Assembly. Pakatan Rakyat remained as government, and BN as opposition. Status quo.

Logically and intelligently, anyone can safely assume that Pakatan Rakyat didn't need a defection from BN. Thus, he defected on his own accord and on his own will. There was no need for Pakatan Rakyat to force him to vacate his seat as he did not win the seat on a Pakatan ticket. The Pakatan government really has no standing in forcing him to vacate a seat which wasn't earned by Pakatan in the first place!

I must say that I had great respect for Sultan Azlan Shah. Until yesterday. I wonder how he could possibly consent to the formation of a new BN state government when constitutionally, a government is still in place. And to even approve to a new Menteri Besar when the existing one is still in office? How can any state have 2 heads of government at any one time? There can only be one Menteri Besar of Perak. This is a mockery. The Menteri Besar can only be removed by the State Assembly via a vote of no-confidence or via the dissolution of the assembly. And none of these two constitutional means has been requested by BN. How can anyone claim that Najib and Anwar are one and the same?

Next, the Sultan called for a "unity" government to be formed by BN and the Independents. Let's be clear about this. The Independents are in no way legally bound to represent BN. Well, at least not yet, not till they officially become members of a BN component party. All that the Sultan and Najib has from them is a verbal assurance that "we will be friendly to BN". And just by appearing in a press conference with Najib, it justifies the change of government?

What if next week these Independents were to be seen in a press conference with Pakatan? A real "unity" government envisioned by the Sultan should have been an all-inclusive government of Pakatan, BN, and the Independents. Pakatan and BN each have 28 seats, and the Independents 3. Thus, no single party or coalition has a commanding majority. If there is to be a "unity" government, it calls for a new coalition of PR-BN-Ind which is impossible.

Thus, what the Sultan has called for is simply a name without substance. What "unity" if it's going to consist of only single-minded representatives - all "friendly to BN"? That's not a "unity" government, it's a BN government. This is a mockery of the intelligence of Malaysians. A beginning of what is to come with this PM-to-be.