Friday, February 29, 2008

Four Generous Malaysians

The Star Story:


PETALING JAYA: Four Malaysians made it to the Forbes Asia list of the region’s most generous and interesting philanthropists.

Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary, Hishamudin Ubaidulla, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim and Datuk Amar Leonard Linggi Tun Jugah were featured in the inaugural Forbes Asia Heroes of Philanthropy list in its March 10 issue.

Syed Mokhtar, 56, is founder and sole donor of a Muslim charity, Albukhary Foundation that assists the needy.

Established in 1996, the foundation funds remedial classes in English, science and math for 20,000 underachieving students each year and runs a college scholarship programme for 300 students from more than 40 countries.

Syed Mokhtar controls Malaysia Mining Corp and holds big stakes in Johor Port and other businesses.

Hishamudin, 52, oversees Yayasan Ubaidi, a foundation funded entirely with profits from commercial buildings and the sale of land bought by his father years ago.

The foundation helps families who cannot make ends meet, pays medical expenses, helps single mothers pay for tertiary education, assists hospitals that cannot afford equipment.

Hishamudin, who helps run the family travel agency, is also chairman of Deir Yassin Remembered Malaysia, a movement committed to ending the war between Israel and Palestine.

Former MP for Kota Baru, Zaid, 57, who owns the country’s largest law firm, Zaid Ibrahim & Co, set up the Kelantan Foundation for the Disabled in 1998.

The foundation serves 2,400 people suffering from Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy and other disabilities.

Linggi, 67, a prominent Iban businessman has varied dealings, including real estate, plantation, shipping, hotel and other companies.

Tun Jugah Foundation gets virtually all of its contributions from him. It focuses on preserving the culture of the Ibans in Sarawak. In 2003, it began compiling the first Iban dictionary.

This year Forbes put together a list of 48 philanthropists.

Others featured on the list included Chinese billionaire Shi Zhengrong; China’s richest woman Yang Huiyan; film star Jet Li; Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing; Azim Premji from India; Taiwan’s richest man Terry Gou; Kyocera founder Kazuo Inamori from Japan; Jaime Augusto Zobel De Ayala II from the Philippine; Singaporean Mavis Khoo; Thailand’s Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi and Indonesia’s Putera Sampoerna.

Also read Rocky's Bru here.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Nurul Izzah Anwar

Reuters has an article "Anwar's daughter steps into political wilderness", on Nurul Izzah, the 27 year-old daughter of our former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

I don't think it is political wilderness for her. Neither do I think that her electoral debut will break her family's political future. Make it, yes!
Nothing can stop her now.
I haven't got to interview her but when I do, I'll give my own assessment.

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - The eldest daughter of Malaysia's opposition leader is making her electoral debut in next month's election that could make or break her family's political future.

Nurul Izzah Anwar, a 27-year-old who has just given birth, has joined her mother to fight the government in the March 8 poll many say could be Anwar Ibrahim's last hurrah if his party loses badly.

Anwar, once regarded as a future prime minister, is now hemmed in by his opponents and is battling to stay relevant to voters. His Keadilan political party is officially headed by his wife, who is its only member of parliament.

U.S.-educated Nurul, trying to make her own mark in politics, was quick to deny suggestions that she was contesting as a hedge for her 60-year-old father.

"I'm offering myself for the people of Lembah Pantai," she said, referring to the economically mixed urban constituency in the heart of Kuala Lumpur where she is contesting.

"If they are voting, they are voting for me. I want to win this election for myself and for my party," she told Reuters.

Anwar is barred from standing as a candidate until this April because of the conviction for corruption, a charge he said had been contrived to wrongly imprison him for six years until his release in 2004.

He hopes to eventually return to parliament via a by-election. One way is to take over Nurul's seat, if she wins.

Her opponent in the race is Women's Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, a favourite to win the seat.


Some ordinary voters think Nurul, still breast-feeding her baby, could make it in politics.

"She is promising. She is well-educated and religious. She can win if the election is held fairly," said Faridah Mat Jais, a 44-year-old woman selling snacks under a highway bridge.

Others have some reservations. "I think the prospect is not too bright because she is contesting against a formidable woman figure," said political analyst Shamsul Amri Baharuddin.

In the interview, Nurul said the multiracial Keadilan would fight to end Malaysia's deep-rooted racial politics.

"If we are going toward this (racial) road, we are doomed," she said. "We need a future devoid of racial politics, that's why it's very important for young Malaysians -- Indians, Chinese, Malays -- to stand up and work together."

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's multiracial coalition is widely tipped to retain power but with a reduced majority.

The coalition comprises 14 parties, each representing an ethnic group. Malays account for just over half of the population, with Chinese and Indians forming sizeable minorities.

Hadhari Vs Hadi

Oooh, Sir. Don't do what you tell others not to do!

KEPALA BATAS, 28 Feb 28 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today criticised PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang for issuing various fatwa which are contradictory to the teachings of Islam and called on Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders not to sing to the tune of the opposition.

The Prime Minister said that Abdul Hadi, as the leader of an Islamic party, should not tell his followers to do things which were improper.

"I'm puzzled that the president of an Islamic party could come up with such a fatwa. This is prohibited by our religion, I'm sure he understands this. Why must he do it (issue the fatwa).

"He's the leader of an Islamic party, but he leads and teaches people to do things which are improper. In the past, he had also issued all kinds of fatwa. He actually likes to issue fatwa," he told reporters after attending a gathering with educators in the Kepala Batas constituency, here.

He said this when asked to comment on the latest `fatwa' issued by Abdul Hadi in the run up to the polls, allowing all PAS candidates to indulge in character assassination and to expose all the weaknesses of their opponents.

MIC and MCA Fight Back

According to Bernama today, the MCA and MIC, the two largest Barisan Naional (BN) component parties representing the Chinese and Indians, have stepped up their defence as well as attacks on claims that they have let down their communities.
"While the opposition put on a show, MCA worked," said an MCA advertisement in an Englih daily today while MIC's stressed that voting for the opposition is equivalent to a "vote for sweet talk".
Transparency International (Malaysia) (TI-Malaysia) said the media ads to woo voters had increase in the past few days, and the Barisan Nasional (BN) was estimated to have spent over RM1.049 million.
MCA has taken out ads in newspapers and televisions in the run-up to the March 8 general election, emphasising its "behind-the-scene" efforts to help the Chinese community.
The party said 2,300 non-Bumiputera students obtained full Public Service Department (JPA) scholarships to study overseas between 2000 and 2007, a marked increase compared with only 100 students before 2000.
"An increase of 2,200 percent in JPA scholarship funds amounting to more than RM1 billion," the party said, stressing its motto of "Working quietly, effectively for results".
In the ad, MCA said it was just one of the many areas the party has been working hard and would continue to do so for the future of all Malaysians in business, education, socio-cultural areas and women's welfare.
The opposition, in the election campaigning, accused both MCA and MIC of not fighting for the rights of the non-bumiputeras.
MCA's move was emulated by the MIC which has been besieged lately by supporters of the unregistered Hindraf who claimed that the party has not done much to help the Indian community.
"Every Indian who has benefited directly or indirectly from MIC is a silent majority and a silent supporter who has assisted MIC to rise and evolve to where it is today. Can anyone come up and say that MIC is irrelevant or redundant," said the ad.
The ad said if the Indian community did not vote for MIC, they would deprive their children the right to preserve and uphold Tamil, Hinduism and the right to seek education.

"Vote for PAS and see where Kelantan is today. That's how your constituency will be for the next five years, If you think that you are not progressing under MIC, then you can now imagine getting disintegrated under PAS," the ad said.
Besides monitoring political parties' print media ad expenditures in 18 newspapers daily, TI-Malaysia said in a statement today that it has started to monitor the television ads today.
It said under the Election Offences Act 1954 parliamentary candidates were allowed to spend up to RM200,000 and state seat contenders RM100,000. BN candidates can collectively spend up to only RM94.8 million, it said.
Of this, 1.11 percent had been spent on print media ads thus far, TI-Malaysia said, adding that candidates from Parti Keadilan Rakyat, DAP and PAS had not taken up any ads so far. "This is the first time that campaign expenses are being monitored. This is a new addition to election process and media monitoring that was started from previous elections and is being performed now," it said.

I'll tell you one thing -- RTM channels are effective platforms and vehicles in the BN's election campaign.
All you liberals and hip Malaysians out there who have been laughing and mocking at RTM for being so fuddy-duddy and old-fashioned and archaic etc etc...well, eat your heart out now.
RTM is the BN's most powerful weapon in where it matters -- the rural heartland.

By the way, the BN's tagline in its ubiquitous media ad is " Vote for Malaysia. Vote for Barisan Nasional".

I hear it all the time in the radio while I'm driving my car. It's also on TV.

However....these MIC and MCA ads...a bit over the top, maybe?

Power To the People!

You better believe it!

On March 8, when you are in that cubicle at the polling station, you are in a very powerful position.
Because the fate of the election candidates is in your hands.

You decide to whom the ballot should go. You decide the fate of the country.

You can choose to give your vote to the Barisan Nasional for all that it has promised to do in its manifesto or you can choose to vote the DAP, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) or PAS for CHANGE.

Some people don't look at political parties but at the individual candidates.

So, in the Lembah Pantai parliamentary constituency, it's interesting to see how many votes will go to Nurul Izzah who is challenging Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.
I know Shahrizat - a two-term MP - is a popular figure in the constituency.
Nurul Izzah, 27 is the eldest child of former Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. She is PKR's candidate.

Shahrizat is confident of winning the Malay-majority constituency but I know that she is not taking her challenger lightly.

Nobody ever does. And nobody should.

So, will it be a vote for party or candidate?

Come March 8, the choice is yours. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. And the candidate you choose is beholden to you for giving him/her YOUR vote.

Read the manifesto of each political party -- BN, DAP, PKR or PAS.

If you want change, then you know which party is advocating change.

For instance, DAP is going on the "Just Change It" or "Jom Ubah" slogan in its eight-point "Malaysian First" manifesto.

The PKR is promising "a new dawn for Malaysia" while PAS ...well, it is not propogating an Islamic State but one that is trustworthy, clean, just and "berkebajikan".

So, take your pick.

For me, I will look at how the country has been in the last five years after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took over.
I know how the country has been before his tenure and I can pretty much size up how the country will be in th next five years.

And, I have my own report card, thank you very much.

Of course, you and I know that you cannot vote the Barisan Nasional out of power.
(To you die-hard can still try.)

But I have always believed that a good democracy (because democracy can be bad?) is when there is a strong check-and-balance ...simply to prevent abuse of power on the part of the government in power.
And in order for that check-and-balance to be in place, the ruling party cannot be made to be all-powerful.
A strong opposition is needed.

So many people tell me that "we don't have a strong or credible" opposition so how to vote for the opposition?
I can understand why they think so, although I think that more often than not, the opposition has been made to look weak, messed-up and untrustworthy.

Some people also say that voting for the BN is voting for political stability and therefore, economic stability.

I'm neither a supporter of the BN nor of the opposition.
That's not to say that I don't have a stand. I do because I see some good things in both. And bad. The right things each stand for. And the wrong.

Essentially, I do believe that the opposition should get their act together. This does not mean that I think they're a bunch of clowns and should be dismissed. Far from that.
I think there are leaders in the opposition far far smarter and cleverer than some idiots in the BN.

I also do not subscribe to the belief that voting for the opposition means you're voting for political instability.
I know this propaganda works among rural folk.
It doesn't work for me.

I do not believe that any of our opposition leaders wants to send the country to turmoil and chaos.

(By the way, peaceful protests do not equal chaos and peaceful protests turn ugly only when protesters get that bad deal from the police or FRU....oh you know what I mean)

That said, there are still a few good men and women in the BN.

So....happy voting, folks!

A PC called Mak-Cik

I'm not sure what the PC is like.
But it's called Mak-Cik PC. As the name suggests, even your Mak Cik can use it. And accessing the internet using this PC will be a picnic for her, and possibly your Pak Cik too.
According to Bernama, Mimos Bhd is designing this low-cost tablet personal computer which is possibly the thinnest in the world, weighing just 800 grammes and priced around RM500.

It is not available yet.
It will be marketed sometime this year. After the elections, of course.

Wouldn't it be great if it is available NOW?

I'm not too sure about the specs.
Will it block the blogs?

Click here for the Bernama story.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tuesdays With Bapak

Oh, For A Bicycle - Tuesday, February 26 2008

When I was a little girl, I knew that Bapak worked in a newspaper, wrote books and had many friends over for "makan" where they'd talk till late into the night.

These friends of his we knew as (Pak Cik) Tongkat, Melan, Kamal, Samad, Asraf, Syed, Alias and (Uncle) Leslie, Swee, Samani and Firdaus. There were others, of course.

Some of them, I later realised, were very much younger than Bapak.

They were very familiar figures over the years. Most of them were friends from Bapak's Singapore days.
Just like Bapak, they moved to Malaya around the same time we did.

And over the years the older ones among them -- Bapak's contemporaries - passed away.

In fact, the only one among Bapak's closest friends who is still around is Pak Cik Mazlan (Mazlan Nordin).
When I was older, I realised that these friends of Bapak were literary figures, journalists and academics. Some later became politicians.

When I was little, I didn't know that. I also never knew of Bapak's political past in Singapore.

Had I known I would've wondered why such a man who'd been through so much and more would not allow any of his kids to have a bicycle.
But, oh, I was just a kid.

I know this sounds so irrelevant to the points I have raised but surely someone like Bapak would have no reservations about getting us a bicycle. Just one bicycle for all his kids would've been so okay. We'd all have been so thrilled.

But he was firm in never entertaining any requests from us for a bicycle.
We never understood why then.

I mean, everyone else had bicycles. Isn't it something most kids would like to have.
That was a real deprivation for us -- well, at least for me.

The "best" thing we ever got was a big tricycle. But, after you're about 12 years old, cycling one is so, infantile.

At that time, I never stopped dreaming about having a bicycle. I used to just "drool" over pictures of minibikes and choppers.
I tell you, I'd be transported into another world.
I'm not so sure if my other siblings had similar fantasies.

My (maternal) grandfather whom I called Ompong was privy to this fantasy of mine.

Ompong who lived in Singapore enjoyed entering little itsy bitsy contests run by newspapers. At that time, Berita Harian, for the longest time, ran "Teka Bola" in its sports pages.
In those days, there was only a single issue of Berita Harian/Berita Minggu for Singapore and Malaysia.

I can't remember now whether the prizes offered for winners of "Teka Bola" were cash or minibikes/choppers.
But I do remember entering the contest so that I could get a minibike/chopper.

In "Teka Bola", there'd be a picture of a goalkeeper in action near the goal post. You had to mark an "X" at a spot (in the photo) where the ball was supposed to be.
Then, you had to cut out the picture with your "X" on it, plus the section with your name and other details, put it in an envelope and mail it to the address given.

It was Ompong who asked me to take part in the contest. In fact, he sent in multiple entries, thinking that, surely one entry would strike it big.
I would send in as many as I could in the hope that one would be a winner.

I never did win, Neither did Ompong.
In time, and as my near obsession for minibikes and choppers waned to be suitably replaced by other interests, I stopped sending in entries. Ompong continued until, I think, Berita Harian ceased running the contest.

I also found out why Bapak never allowed us to have a bicycle.
It was simple -- he feared that we would be tempted to go cycling around the neighbourhood and would be knocked down by a car.
He was not around to keep an eye on us so the simplest thing was not to let us have a bicycle.

It was the same as far as motorcycles were concerned.
He forbade us to ride one or ride pillion on one. He made that very clear.

I remember he told me that there was no telling the kind of injuries a motorcyclist would suffer even in the most minor accident.
He said he knew of motorcyclists and pillion-riders who were severely injured - even killed - in what were very minor accidents.
"You are unprotected when you ride a motorcycle," he said.
Those days, it was not compulsory for motorcyclists to wear crash helmets.

I think we understood Bapak's fear.

When Kamal, my youngest brother was about nine or 10, Kak Ton got him a minibike. But it was kept at her house (then in Section 14, Petaling Jaya).
Yes, it was definitely "breaching" Bapak's rule but Kak Ton must have felt that there was really nothing so wrong in getting a little boy a bicycle.
After all, as long as she made sure to keep an eye on Kamal, it'd be ok.
So, Mak (who was an accessory to all this) would send Kamal to Kak Ton's everytime he wanted to go cycling around the neighbourhood.

One day, Bapak was driving to Jaya Supermarket and spotted "budak, betul macam Kamal, naik basikal".
I think all of us, feeling so conspiratorial and guilty, said nothing for fear that we would say the wrong thing and get caught.
I'm not sure if Bapak ever knew of Kamal's tryst with his bicycle. Kak Ton thinks he did.

When Adel was about 4, I got him a bicycle -- the type with two extra (small) rear wheels to keep it balanced.
We got him used to it and took off the extra wheels when he was ready to cycle without them.
We'd take him to the playground regularly.
(My sisters and I never got to learn to cycle at playgrounds or any public place. Our cycling lessons were at the compound of our cousin's place in Kampung Melayu, Singapore -- every holiday.)

When, he was 12, we got him a real bicycle.
I allowed him to cycle to his friend's house nearby. Not that I was so okay with that but I felt that he needed to do that, to be exposed to that part of growing up.
Besides, most of his friends were cycling around the neighbourhood.
He only needed to be careful. So before I allowed him, I taught him about road safety and how to "cycle safe".
I had never cycled on public roads before but I was his mother and was supposed to know these things.
The first time he went on open road, I followed him in a car, just to observe.
I confess, I had the jitters. Probably more nervous than he was.

Even then, I'd only allow him to go cycling no further than around the neighbourhood.

But, motorcycles are something else.

Adel asked me whether he could ever own a motorbike.

I gave him a simple reply : "No."
I told him why.

I think Adel understands.
Because he does not allow me to ride a bicycle on the road.

I was taken by surprise one day when his face turned white.
I had told him that I'd like to ride a bicycle "just to exercise".

"No, mummy. It's dangerous."

Yeah... the very same "fear".

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Battle Begins... the 215 (of 222) parliamentary and 503 (of 505) state constituencies.

Yesterday, after nomination closed, Barisan Nasional won 7 parliamentary and 2 state seats unopposed.

Among them was the Pengerang parliamentary seat in Johor which is in the hand of Youth and Sports Minister Azalina Othman Said.
Signed, sealed and delivered.
It was second-time lucky for her. In 2004, she also won uncontested.

Elsewhere, bloggers are contesting in this general election.

They are Badrul Hisham Shaharin (P131 Rembau), Jeff Ooi (P50 Jelutong), Tony Pua (P106 Petaling Jaya Utara), Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (N32 Seri Setia) and Elizabeth Wong (N37 Bukit Lanjan).

And I wish you all the best!
Also read Rocky's Bru on helping Badrul Hisham in his campaign. He faces Khairy Jamaluddin.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Today is Nomination Day..

A busy Sunday for election candidates as they submit their nomination papers in 222 centres across the country.
They will be vying for 222 parliamentary seats and 505 state seats in the March 8 general election.
They will be accompanied by their supporters.

So, don't screw up, you hear!

Make sure you spell your N A M E and write your date of birth correctly.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Opposition Promises "One-To-One" Contests

Opposition parties have agreed on only straight fights in all seats to be contested across the country.

The assurance was given by DAP's Ronnie Liu.
He said this was consistent with the "hasrat rakyat".
Candidates engaged in three or four-cornered fights will be doing so without the support or endorsment of their party leaders.

Liu said this at the launching of the PEOPLE'S DECLARATION or DEKLARASI RAKYAT at Blog House in Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur.

Present were representatives of six political parties who have endorsed the declaration .

Besides Liu, present were Dr Siti Mariah (Pas), lawyer Wee Chee Keong (Malaysian Democratic Party) and Badrul Hisham Shaharin or better known as Cikgubard (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) .

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and Sabah-based Pasok were not able to send representatives but expressed full support of thePeople's Declaration.

Liu will be contesting in Pandamaran, Wee in Wangsa Maju, Dr Siti in Kota Raja and Cikgubard in Rembau (against the KHAIRY).

The People's Declaration is the initiative of Barisan Rakyat which is a civil society initiative.

Lawyer activist Haris Ibrahim who is the Barisan Rakyat man, told the gathering that "things must change" and "it is in our hands" to effect changes.
He said that civil society will no longer be a passive component in the political electoral process.

Haris asserted that the Barisan Rakyat is not founded on any assumption of race but on justice and equality for all.

He described the parties that civil society hadembraced as Barisan Harapan Rakyat.

We want quality candidates to take their place in the electoral process.

"We are worthy of our choice, we ask that you no longer take our votes for granted, we will work with parties that accept and appreciate that under the Constitution the rakyat is the Boss. and when you come out for the vote, you offer to serve us in Parliament, you have to move from yang berhormat to yang berkhidmat."

Read Haris' Hidup Barisan Rakyat in his blog The People's Parliament.

And what the People's Declaration is.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Azalina Slams Bloggers

Youth and Sports Minister and Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said said that rumour-mongering bloggers are cowards and a nuisance to Umno.
She said the opposition parties were using the blogs because they know that the Home Affairs Ministry was busy monitoring reports in the mainstream media.
“They think they can get away with it but it is not the case as they too are being monitored,” she said after launching the National Sports Institute satellite centre in Kota Tinggi.
Asked on the personal attacks against her, Azalina said it was part and parcel of politics.
“The most important thing is that the leadership knows your capability and wants to retain you.
“I get more pahala (blessings) everyday with all the lies spread about me, especially by bloggers,” she said.
On talk of infighting in Pengerang Umno especially between her and division chief Datuk Harun Abdullah, Azalina said people could say a lot of things but there was no problem.
“I still see him and I still shake his hand,” she said.
Azalina said she would contest in a seat to be decided by the Barisan Nasional leadership.
“I am a soldier and if the boss asks me to go to war, then I will,” she said.

Well, I agree with her. Especially ANONYMOUS bloggers who spread lies in the internet.
They are cowards.

But, Azalina, why, why tar us all with the same brush?
Don't-lah start demonising B L O G G E R S.

Besides, you
must know that those attacking you may not be from the Opposition.

Why....they could be your very own "musuh dalam selimut".
I'm sure some of them are Umno members or supporters of some Umno leaders.

Pas' First Non-Muslim Candidate..

Her name is Kumutha Raman, a 29 year-old law graduate.
(She is seen with Johor Pas commissioner Mahfodz Mohamed.)

This is an unprecedented move in the history of Pas (Parti Islam Se-Malaysia) to field a non-Muslim candidate.

Kumutha will be contesting the Tiram state seat under the Parti Keadilan Rakyat symbol. This is made possible under an electoral pact between the two parties.
She is a member of the one-month old Unity Bureau under the Johor non-Muslim Pas Supporters Club.

Pas is contesting 34 state seats and nine parliamentary seats in Johor.

No second-guessing her chances in this Umno stronghold. In the 2004 general election, Umno's Maulizan Bujang defeated Pas' Roslani Sharif in a straight fight, by a margin of 15,595 votes.

No prizes for the right guess -- but the BN will win again.

In fielding Kumutha, Pas has nothing to lose. It will not win, that's for sure, but it hopes to win the Indian votes, which make up 14.39 per cent in the constituency.
But will the Indians trust an Indian who represents an Islamic party?

Tebrau MIC thinks it is political suicide for her.
Division chief
M. Soorianarayanan warned that the Indian community is going to hate her for aligning with the opposition.

The People's Declaration

Tomorrow, Saturday Feb 23 at 11am, the launching of the PEOPLE'S DECLARATION or DEKLARASI RAKYAT will be held at Blog House in Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur.

The six political parties that have endorsed the declaration have been invited to attend together with civil society movements, NGOs, and members of the blogging community.

If you're interested in witnessing this event, be at Blog House at 66, Lorong Setiabistari 2.

For more details, click here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"Hindraf Is Because of Me..." -- Samy Vellu

That's what the MIC president, responding to questions from the media after announcing the list of party election candidates, said.

I have taken out Samy's remarks on Hindraf from the report by The Sun's:

On the effects of the recent Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) rallies, the veteran politician said:

“Hindraf is because of me, everything they do is because of me. Only because of me everything has happened in this country. You can write it in your paper ... you write it, people will laugh at you lah. Those fellows are just madly going doing things. We are fighting. They are members of the Opposition. There will be a ‘pooja’ every evening somewhere, DAP will be doing a pooja under the guise ...”

He said they knew how to talk to Indian voters who now realised they had been misled with promises like getting RM1 million.

“Many people thought if they keep supporting them (Hindraf) they might get RM1 million. The RM1 million made a big swing. I also can say if you support me I can give you RM2 million, but that’s not what we want to do. In any case, the BN government has promised many things, it will be done, it is being done.”

Asked how sure he was that the MIC could get Indian votes, he said: “Maybe the Indian voters feel, ‘this fellow is getting lost’, so we must ... I think the Indians may not like me now. That is why I thought if I go maybe they give better support to BN, I take it that way. I know the Indians don’t like me now ... so let us see.”

MIC Goes For New Blood

That's The Sun's headline today.

Well, Uncle Samy, I hope Malaysian Indians are receptive, and convinced by your move to infuse new blood in the party.

Here's The Sun's page 1 report (the web version):

The MIC today made sweeping changes to its list of candidates for state assembly seats, replacing 13 of the 19 incumbents.
It also changed two of its incumbent MPs, dropping vice-president and Tan Sri Dr K.S. Nijhar (Subang) and switching another vice-president Datuk S. Veerasingam (Tapah) to the Sungkai state seat in Perak which he previously held.
MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu will spearhead the party into the country’s 12th General Election at a most challenging time, aiming to secure a ninth term in Sungai Siput. He said he was not afraid as he had seen tougher fights in his long political career.
He told a press conference the party was switching its Ijok state seat in Selangor, retained in a by-election last year, with the Bukit Melawati seat held by Umno.
Samy Vellu announced the names of the candidates after holding a one-hour closed door meeting with his party central working committee and the new candidates in the Works Ministry,
Majority of the new faces are lawyers while the others were a doctor, civil servants and businessmen.
Asked why Veerasingam was moved to a state seat, Samy Vellu said it was done so that the party vice-president can take care of Perak, following the departure of its long-serving state chief Datuk G. Rajoo.
On Nijhar being dropped and his reaction, Samy Vellu replied: "I don’t know, I haven’t seen him."
He said Nijhar had served a two-term senatorship before he was brought into the party to serve the people.
Asked if the Indian community would continue to support MIC, he said he was confident they would because they realised that they needed a representation in the government.
“All those who instigated them to ask all sorts of questions are those who cannot represent them in the government. If they feel they don’t want a representation, God also cannot help.”

Thank God For Little Mercies....

I told my blog sister Galadriel "one down, two to go!" when she posted about close one eye Jasin MP Md Said Yusop having been dropped from the list of Malacca election candidates.


We'll see if his partners-in-crime - Bung Mukhtar Radin (Kinabatangan) and Badrudin Amiruldin (Jerai) will also be dropped by their state party leaders.

MPs like these are a liability to their party, and of course, a disgrace to the august Dewan Rakyat.

We know what a good debate in Parliament is.
I don't think MPs like these three do.

Read the Star story here.

Bloggers And Government Bashing...

Umno veteran Rais Yatim has a bit of advice for bloggers -- to look into their heart to see if it is clean.

"If it is not, then don't bash others in your blogs," he said in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

What an advice!

Now, I don't know how this issue came about. Perhaps a reporter had asked him with leading questions, and he responded that way.
Then again, Rais could have just, at the spur of the moment, felt the need to speak up against those evil Malaysians AKA bloggers.

His remarks were made on the premise that bloggers in general "indulge in an unhealthy culture of bashing others, including government leaders, through their blogsites."
This is, of course, in itself, misleading, unfair and very sweeping.

Bash, criticise, attack, blast. Some gentler than others, some harsher than others. Some, of course, baseless, some with documented evidence.

The truth is that there are bloggers who criticise government leaders who deserved to be criticised.

But, really, is it wrong to criticise government leaders whose job it is to serve the rakyat, especially tax-paying rakyat, if we feel that they have not performed?
Are government leaders beyond reproach?
Are they so arrogant that we cannot point out where they have gone wrong?

We praise them if they have done well, don't we?

I am not disappointed with Rais because I think he speaks his mind and I believe his remarks were made from the heart.
A hint of ignorance and naivete there (on the subject of bloggers), I suspect.
I also believe that he has not read enough blogs to know that there are bloggers who have the interest of the country at heart.

Here's the Bernama story.

UALA LUMPUR Feb 19 (Bernama) -- Bloggers should evaluate themselves before indulging in an unhealthy culture of bashing others, including government leaders, through their blogsites, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said.
He said although government bashing in then again,he blogsites was among the challenges faced by the Barisan Nasional (BN) in facing the general election, it was not the nature of BN leaders to resort to using blogsites to attack others in their campaigns to win the elections.
"They (bloggers) condemn the prime minister, ministers and other members of the administration but not themselves. As the Malay adage goes, it's pointing the forefinger to the front and thumb to your chest.
"I am saying that you should look at your own heart to see if it is clean. If it is not, then don't bash others in your blogs," he said after launching a book and compact disc, "Aku Dia dan Lagu-Lagu Nostalgia", by Yusnor Ef at Aswara (National Arts, Culture and Heritage Academy) here today.
"Nowadays, not only the bloggers are having a mental block (disturbed) but the PAS' spiritual leader's mind too is blocked (unstable) when he equated Umno members to orang utan.
"The bloggers are getting bolder, but I see it this way -- the general election is the season for condemning or "killing" others with words but this is not BN culture. I suggest that they attend courses on good manners as good manners is Malaysian culture."
On another matter, Rais said a RM1.5 million scholarship fund would be established soon to assist those interested to seriously pursue music studies. He said the country needed more people to be highly qualified in the field, hence the introduction of the scholarship scheme.
Aswara, Istana Budaya and the Culture, Arts and Heritage Department would draw up the scholarship programme for the public to apply, he said.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tuesdays With Bapak

Little White Lies -- Tuesday February 19 2008

We've been lying to Bapak about stuff.
We feel really bad for having to do that.
But we reckon that's in his best interest.

Like last Wednesday when we had to rush to Singapore after we were informed that our cousin, Juriah, passed away.
We decided to leave for Singapore in the afternoon. We couldn't leave any earlier. Besides, it would not have made any difference because the funeral and burial would have been over by afternoon anyway. That's Singapore regulations.

Juriah who was my age, died of a heart attack. She had been hospitalised for a bypass, and suffered a stroke after the operation. She was also diabetic.
Juriah was the youngest of Wak Lah's 4 children.
Wak Lah (Kamlah) was Bapak's second eldest sister/sibling.
Wak lah died about 30 years ago. Her husband, Ismail had passed away much earlier.
Juriah's other siblings are Zubaidah (Kak Bedah) , Fatimah (Kak Mama) and Abdul Rahman (Aman).
Kak Bedah was only in her 30s when she died of a heart attack (resulting from a stroke) about 20 years ago.

Aman stayed with us in Petaling Jaya from 1970 to 1973.
Bapak had always been concerned about the academic achievement of his nephews and nieces.
Whenever it was necessary, he would get them to continue their studies in Malaysia.
We have had several cousins staying with us in the 60s and 70s.

Juriah was with us in 1973 when she got a place at ITM (now UiTM) to study Business Studies.
Halfway through, she decided the course was not her cup of tea and returned to Singapore to do something else.

That day when she died. my step-mum, Kak Ton, Nina and I left KL (by car) just after 1.30pm.
We stopped at the Machap rest area (along the highway) for something to eat.
We arrived in Bedok Reservoir (Singapore) via the second link in the evening.
I was driving throughout.
It was either Nina or me. My step-mum and Kak Ton disqualified themselves from being driver for obvious reasons.

I am an okay driver but I am so known for getting sleepy at the wheel when the driving gets too boring or when it is during the afternoon or late at night.

"I'm okay...but I think I'll get sleepy around 3pm and at night, So Nina, you will have to take over," I warned them.

Needless to say, they survived my driving. I never got sleepy and drove all the way to Bedok Reservoir.

We stopped at Cik Ah's house for a little rest. Cik Ah had prepared tea and "makan". After freshening up and Maghrib prayers, we left for Juriah's house in Al-Junid.

After an hour or so meeting Juriah's husband and children, Kak Mama, Aman and our relatives, we left for home.
Nina took over the wheel when we were somewhere near Malacca because I was getting really sleepy.

Earlier, before we left for Singapore, I asked Nina whether Bapak knew about Juriah's passing and that we were going to Singapore.
She said they did not tell Bapak anything, worried that he'd be shocked.

When Kak Eda had a relapse in late 2006 and was hospitalised, she had not been able to visit Bapak. He had asked about her.
We could not tell him that she was terminally ill with cancer. We told him that that she was busy with her kids.
When he wanted to visit her, we told him that she was in Johor visiting Aziz's (her husband) father.
We told Kak Eda that Bapak had been asking about her. So when she was discharged from hospital, she immediately went to see Bapak, before going home.
Later, when she succumbed to cancer and died in March last year, we did not tell Bapak immediately but the day after her death.
We had to find the right time to break the sad news to him and when we did, we had to do so, very very carefully.

When Mak Cik and Nina were ready to leave the house the day Juriah died, they told Bapak that they were "going out".
They had to tell him something.

As far as Bapak was concerned, that day Mak Cik was going to her flower shop and Nina "to the kedai".

Oh, these little white lies.
Won't you forgive us, Bapak....

Monday, February 18, 2008

Ask Yourself...

...what you want from this 12th general election.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

PM Still Mum About Khairy's Nomination..

I'm not a gambler. But I have made "playful" bets with my buddies on very harmless things.
We used to take bets on how long someone will last as -- oh you know, such and such, this and that.
Very harmless. Didn't hurt anyone.

Now, this one is a no-brainer. Because if a bet were to be made, everyone wins.

The Prime Minister, according to Bernama is still silent on the proposal by Negeri Sembilan Umno to nominate his son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin as a BN candidate.
Khairy is Umno Youth deputy head.

Abdullah, who is also the BN chairman, said the position of all BN candidates would only be decided after a meeting with all the state BN chairmen.
"I have yet to sit down with the state BN chairmen to discuss the list of candidates for the general election," he told reporters after launching the project to upgrade roads under the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER), here Saturday.
Abdullah said the list of BN candidates would be announced at the appropriate time.
Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan recently said that Khairy was one of the five candidates agreed upon at the recent meeting of the Rembau Umno division to contest in the parliamentary constituency.
Mohamad said the selection of Khairy, who is also the Rembau Umno Youth head and the Prime Minister's son-in-law, was in recognition of his role as the Umno Youth deputy head.-- BERNAMA

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Party Or Personality?

A long long time ago, when Malaysia was hunky-dory, it was not too difficult to predict election results.
It was really quite simple to do that although sometimes there were near-misses, full-blown misses, dark horses, and surprises.
Nonetheless, predictable.

For instance, you'd be right to predict that a city constituency with a Chinese majority would go to the opposition, usually the DAP. Or the rural Malays in Umno stronghold areas would vote for BN no matter who the candidate was (Indian or Chinese). And that was the same in an Indian-majority constituency where the BN would win.
Over time, however, it was no longer so simple although voters seemed to still be holding on to the principle of "vote for the party, not the candidate".
In 1999, that seemed to be the case where the opposition, riding on the anti-establishment wave and the Anwar Ibrahim factor, did very well.
Angered by the turn of events resulting from Anwar's sacking, many turned their backs on the BN and voted for the opposition, no matter who the candidates were.
Although the BN maintained its majority in Parliament, it did very badly.
Terengganu was lost to Pas.
In the last general election in 2004, I believe the "vote for party" mentality still figured strong. Buoyed by a renewed sense of hope, people gave their support to the BN which was returned with a thumping victory. And recaptured Terengganu, to boot!

The situation this time maybe different.
This March 8 general election, the country's 12th -- I reckon most people will be making serious consideration about and assessment of the candidates standing in their constituencies.

The "dacing" may no longer be that appealing for the BN diehard. Nor the "rocket' for the DAP faithful.

This time -- voters will not only be looking at the party.
This time, it's the candidate they'll be scrutinising.

Barisan's 13-point Manifesto

BAGAN DATOH, Feb 15 Bernama) -- The Barisan Nasional's (BN) general election manifesto which will be announced soon by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, promises continued prosperity for the people.
Deputy Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said this was based on the recent launching of the multi-billion ringgit regional development corridor projects which would be implemented following BN's victory in the general election this coming March 8.
"It is unlikely if another government comes into power, it will continue with the development projects. So, the people need to translate the government's commitment to continue the projects into votes for BN candidates in the coming elections.
"If the opposition is chosen to lead the nation, it will not support the economic development corridor plans," he said after opening the annual general meeting of the Sekolah Kebangsaan Sungai Nipah Baruh Parent-Teacher Association here Friday.
He said the 13-point manifesto was not mere promises of the BN but a sign of early preparations of what the BN government would undertake in the interest of the people and nation.
Zahid said the coming general election attracted much attention from foreign investors judging from the sharp rise in Bursa Malaysia's index to 21 points following the dissolution of Parliament on Wednesday.
"The foreign investors are aware of Malaysia's transparent election process, with the Election Commission as well as an independent body monitoring the polls in 222 parliamentary seats throughout the country," he added.

Al-Fatah Television

That's the name of the first Islamic television in the world. And it is Malaysia's.

According to Bernama, the TV station will enhance people's understanding of Islam, especially the Hadhari approach.

The executive chairman of World Islamic Network Television Sdn Bhd (WINTV) Datuk Paduka Khairuddin Abu Hassan said the time had come for Malaysia as a model Islamic country to have an Islamic-based television station.
"This station will broadcast Islamic programmes in a moderate way which can be understood by and impress all the races in the country," he said in a statement issued here Friday.
Earlier, Khairuddin had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Islamic Missionary Foundation Malaysia (Yadim) at the World Al-Azhar University Alumni Conference 2008 which was opened by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
The MoU is for developing a television station between WINTV and Yadim and it would be known as Al-Falah Television.
Khairuddin said Malaysia would be cooperating with the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) countries for the exchange of programmes so as to introduce each other's culture, traditions, way of life, political system and religious practices.
"This will eventually turn Malaysia into a hub for the collection of television programmes from Islamic nations and export centre for quality programmes to Europe, the United States and East Asia."
He said Al-Falah Television would attract viewers from Southeast Asia including Indonesia, Mindanao in the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei and southern Thailand.
"As a start, the progammes will be broadcast via Astro's Oasis channel," he added.-BERNAMA

Friday, February 15, 2008

13 year-old Girl Rescued From Vice Ring

Although the Harian Metro story (yesterday) did not specifically say that but I believe (if the story is true) that THAT is what it was.
According to the Malay tabloid, 13 year-old Nurul Syaza Fadzil was nearly sold off (presumably to a vice ring) to be a bar/night club waitress. Or, a bar maid, if you like.

And if the story is true, then we all should expect some solid outcome from police investigation.

Nurul's story is like a movie. One you won't enjoy, though.
She, lives in Kampung Nakhoda, Batu Caves, Gombak, with her family.
She was lured, or rather, threatened by another 13 year-old by the name of Ola to follow her to an apartment unit at the Kenanga Apartments near Pudu Jail. Accompanying them were two older girls.
At the apartment were 10 teenaged boys who forced her to sniff glue and drink alcohol. But whether or not she actually did has not been confirmed.
There she was told that she would be sold off to a nightclub very soon.

To cut the story short, her father, Fadzil Bakar, 53. was tipped-off by a friend of her whereabout.,
He soon launched a rescue --in the nick of tme as she was about to be sold off.

Read the HM story here.
I'll update on the follow-up.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

D-DAY! On March 8!

UPDATE : Polling Day is March 8!

Here's the Bernama story.

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 14 (Bernama) -- Polling for the general election will be held on March 8 and nominations on Feb 24, the Election Commission (EC) announced today.
EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said the election would involve 222 parliamentary and 505 state seats in 12 states except for Sarawak which held its state election in 2006.
He said 10,922,139 were eligible to cast their votes based on the electoral roll gazetted on Feb 5.
Abdul Rashid made the announcement at the EC headquarters here at 11.40am. The announcement was carried live by RTM dan TV3. BERNAMA

My earlier posting:

Yesterday Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced the dissolution of Parliament, confirming (and ending) widespread speculations that Parliament would be dissolved YESterday.

Today, he'll be announcing polling day.

Anyway, candidates have been warned not to get down and dirty.
Keep it clean.

Can they?

Another Pervert of a Pilot..

and this time he is with Singapore Airlines.
Convicted by a court -- also in Adelaide as our (now suspended) Malaysia Airlines' pilot last week.
Someone alerted me in on this.

Here's the Reuters story:

SINGAPORE, Feb 13 (Reuters) - A Singapore Airlines pilot was fined A$12,000 ($10,860) for trying to bring child pornography into Australia, court documents showed on Wednesday.
Ng Kok Yauw, 40, captained a Singapore Airlines flight last Saturday from the city-state to Adelaide, Australia, when customs officials searched his laptop and found video clips of child pornography, Adelaide court documents seen by Reuters said.
Ng, who appeared in court on Monday, pleaded guilty to charges of importing banned material and making a false statement to a customs officer.
He could not be reached for comment but Singapore Airlines, the world's second-largest airline by market value, said the airline was conducting its own investigation.
Seven video files were found on Ng's computer, some of which contained footage of rape, sexual violence and children engaged in sexual activity, the documents said.

The maximum sentence in Australia for offences involving child pornography is a fine of A$275,000 and 10 years imprisonment.
While it is not an offence to bring pornographic material into Australia, an Australian customs spokeswoman said it was an crime to bring in "objectionable" or "abhorrent" pornography into the country.
This would include materials that "offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults", the spokeswoman said.
The pilot was one of three men caught last week by Australian custom officials for importing "offensive" pornography.
Local media in Singapore said one of these was a Malaysian Airline pilot.

I am just so appalled! I think the pilots' associations should be very very concerned. Because I know I am (to put it mildly). And I know many of you are as well.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tuesdays With Bapak

The Hills Are Alive.. -- February 12 2008

Everytime I get exasperated with my two teenaged kids - in particular with my 15 year-old daughter, I am reminded that, Gosh, I have only two children.
How difficult can that get?
My parents had 10 kids. Of course, there are only 8 of us left now. Our eldest, Kak Piah and our fifth sibling, Kak Eda are no longer with us. (Al Fatihah)
Back then we were growing up, we were very active and, er, er....naughty, as kids are wont to be.

I never gave that a thought until I had my own children.

Remembering our childhood, I have absolutely the highest respect for my parents -- for all their patience.
Goodness! We were a real handful. And that's putting it so mildly.

I try not to be too hard on my daughter, Shaira, whenever she's out of line, or displays streaks of stubbornness.
I've been on that teen road so I understand, although sometimes my patience does fail the test.
But, well a mom has to do what she has to do in her child's interest.

When Shaira gets upset, she goes into her room, and sulks. Well, so far so good.

Based on my own childhood experience and my understanding of parenting, I am always reminded not to go overboard in disciplining children.
That's a fair reminder, I think.
I know that the teen years can be the most trying and difficult for some parents and their children.
Some teens have been known to run away from home because of clashes with their parents..

I fear that sometimes.

When I was 15, I probably did more or less the same as Shaira does. But I'd drown myself in (story) books.
So there was more daydreaming than sulking.

When I was younger about 9 or 10 , while we were living in Section 5, I had a place to which I'd retreat after getting a good scolding from Mak.

It wasn't just me. Kak Olin and Kak Eda found much "solace" there too.

Did I say we were a handful?
Oh, can you just imagine. We must have driven Mak up the wall, sometimes.

We lived across Gasing Hill which was, well, a hill. No houses atop.
It was nothing like what it is today.

That was the 60s. Just thinking about those wonderful years sends a shiver down my spine -- a nice shiver.

Until today, Gasing Hill or Bukit Gasing is the major landmark in Section 5. It has the only remaining secondary forest in PJ.
How much longer remaining, remains to be seen.

When you were atop the hill, you'd get a panoramic view of PJ and KL.

We used to check out the little "caves" that dotted the hill. We'd trek into the forest and meet monkeys. I don't think they were the common macaque though I am not quite sure what they were. They were lighter-haired and had longer limbs.

There was a big pond and further up, we chanced upon old gravestones.

Even in those days, the hill was a favourite lovers' haunt.

Kak Olin, Kak Eda and I would usually get a scolding together. So, we were "one for all and all for one".
Can't quite remember why we'd get scolded, really. Messing up the living room, perhaps.

We'd all "merajuk" and head straight for the hill.
Sometimes, we'd go up the hill on our own, alone.
Somehow there was no fear. I suppose kids have very little fear, for anyone (except for their parents, policemen and teachers) or anything (except some hantu2 and only at night).

The hill was like a salve for the soul.
No, our soul was not punished.
Sometimes, we'd go up the hill for no reason at all. Just for fun, perhaps.

When our Singapore cousins visited, we'd take them up for a "tour".

We'd climb the hill from the foot at Jalan Lembah, maybe about 100 metres from our house. We'd pick "buah letup-letup" along the way up.
An we'd always remember to quietly utter "datuk, nenek, cucu tumpang lalu" as we made our way up, or past along a new or unknown spot or route.
If we didn't, we could fall ill, we were told.
Oh...don't ask me who told us to say all this. A well-meaning cousin, I think.

When we had completed our ascent (ahem...dreaming of Gunung Kinabalu), we'd just sit or stand on top and let the wind softly blow -- our body and soul.

Dreamy. Glorious.

We were kids.

Today, I'd not let any of my kids go up no hill. No matter how tempting the experience is.

Indeed, the hills around us are just as alive as Gasing Hill was back then.

Well, Shaira sulks in her room.. But she seems to get good therapy by going into her Facebook.

"Shaira is feeling crappy today. Mommy marah....." she writes.

I'm so fine with that.
Better that than any hill....

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Is Malaysia a Hub for Child Pornography?

I pray this is not so.
Am I being too presumptuous? Too paranoid?
Ok.. so I am jumping to conclusion after reading Rocky's latest posting on a Malaysian who was arrested at the Adelaide Airport in Australia after he was found to have 3 video files of child pornography in his laptop. He was (ONLY) fined by (AUS)$5,000 by an Australian court and his laptop was confiscated.

His name is Ahmad Said, 25 and a Malaysia Airlines co-pilot.

The pornographic files that he had were titled "Reped (sic) Victim", "10 year-old" and "High School Students".

His lawyer, in defence, said that Ahmad "was simply reckless", mitigating that those files were emailed to him and that he had not shown the files to anyone, nor was he going to disseminate them.

His conviction will ruin his career, his lawyer said.

The judge said a rape scene showed an underaged girl crying as she was forced to have sex with an older man.

The judge said :These are not victimless crimes. For every video that depicts such a scene, there is a victim."
He said there would be no market for child pornography without people like Ahmad.

That is why IT IS VERY VERY WRONG for anyone to be in possession of such videos/discs.

I really don't care for Ahmad's career. This guy is married and a father of 2. Can you believe that?

He should have not even accepted the e-mail and should have blasted the sender of the e-mail.

I'm bloody (to borrow our PM's expression) curious to know if the videos were Malaysian-made?
In any case, I think Ahmad may be able to help in investigations to child abductions in the country.
Little Sharlinie is still missing. Nurin is dead.

If I were the police, I'd want to talk to him when he returns home. I'd want to know who sent him those files.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

No Politics of Revenge if BN wins Kelantan.

Winning Kelantan is high on Umno's agenda.
Party deputy president Najib Abdul Razak has been very upbeat and positive of Umno's chances in Kelantan.
I'd say at this point it is a dream Umno wishes will come true.

Well, I say good luck and all the best!

And should Umno win, Najib wants the state civil servants to know that they will not be punished.

He has reassured them that the BN will not launch "politics of revenge" on civil servants.

Bernama quoted him as saying in Jeli today that it was the Barisan's stand to respect opposition parties and their supporters.

He said they would be accorded the same treatment if the Barisan helmed the east coast state.

Here's the rest of the Bernama report.

Najib said the Barisan was not like PAS which went on a "witch hunt" after capturing Terengganu in the 1999 general election by sacking imams, locking up and cordoning off buildings housing state government offices and stopping vehicles travelled by Barisan government state executive councillors.
"The Barisan will not resort to cruel and inhumane actions like PAS. I assure you such things will not happen if the Barisan rules Kelantan.
"We'll respect them (state civil servants). They can go about working as usual," he told a press conference after launching the Border Regiment in Jeli.

Well, if Umno does win...we'll just have to wait and see if the "balas dendam" doesn't happen, won't we?

Hardworking Prime Minister...

I know. I know what you're thinking.
But I am not saying it.
He said it himself in Penang yesterday.

Here's the Star story:

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he works very hard to carry out his responsibility to all Malaysians.
“Some of you can say that I’m not good, you can say whatever. But don’t say that I don’t work.
“I work very hard. I really mean it and you know it,” he said to applause from those who attended the Chinese Assembly Hall’s Chinese New Year open house yesterday (Friday).
Abdullah said that as a Muslim, he had an obligation to fulfil his responsibility.
“I have a very heavy responsibility and I have to carry it out,” he said.
He also urged Malaysians to make full use of the opportunities available to do well in life and to serve the people.
“It is God’s will that I become the Prime Minister of Malaysia and I am very conscious that I have to serve the people although I personally do not benefit even one bit because of this,” he said.
He said in fulfilling his responsibility, he has to be fair to all Malaysians, irrespective of their ethnic background.
“However, each of us has to strive towards the creation of a Malaysian community that is happy, prosperous, united, harmonious and respected.
“As Malaysians, no matter where we are and even though we are just a minority group, we should feel comfortable and happy when attending a function.
“We should feel at home and that we are in the company of friends and fellow Malaysians,” he said.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Aah....Traffic-free Roads..

Don't you just love major festivities?
You certainly do if you live anywhere in the Klang Valley.
And I know I love it.

It's then that you realise that a large majority of Klang Valley's denizens are from out-of-town.
They all have "balik kampung".
And what do we have when "everyone" balik kampung or go away for the hols?

Clear and traffic-free roads?

But only until tomorrow, I reckon.
Meanwhile..... enjoy it while it lasts.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Or as we used to say it -- Kong Hee Fatt Choy!

May the Year of the Rat bring all that's good and great....


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Tuesdays With Bapak

Love And Death -- February 5 2008

I was never close to my paternal grandmother. But I loved her just the same. As she did all her grandchildren.

She died when I was about eight or nine.

Her name was Aida Majid and she was a daughter of a Javanese merchant in Singapore.
Don't ask me if she was beautiful because all I remember was that she was very very old.

She was "Jawa tulen" or pure Javanese and was proud of it, we were told.
Purer than Datuk' s lineage. Datuk had Persian blood "tainting" his Javanese ancestry.

In his old age, Bapak now looks very much like Nenek, though I don't remember that he ever did. Perhaps I wasn't that observant or never noticed details such as how his eyes, mouth and shape of face are so similar to his mother's.

Nenek was a matriarch. She was revered by her children and kin as well as the kampung folk.

I was told that when I was born, I looked like her mother. I had "her chin", they told me. My great grandmother's name was Aina. So that's how I was named Nuraina.
Kak Eda - Noraida - was named after Nenek.

Nenek was so protective of Bapak who was her first surviving son.
Bapak's family called him "Chomel" because when he was born, he was so tiny, so "chomel".
But, basically, they wanted him to live and survive any illnesses, so they called him by another name as was the practice of the Malays in those days.
This practice of calling children by names other than those they were born with for survivability, may even still exist today.

Bapak is "Chomel" to this day.

Nenek doted on him, in the way people of olden days did.
It was not the way today's parents "manjakan" their kids. I don't think it was a physical kind of doting.
I don't think her love for her son was displayed so openly or in the physical sense.

I think it was making sure her first surviving son did not hurt himself while playing -- which is pretty impossible. Which means either he was not allowed to play with the village kids or that he was always chaperoned by an adult.

He was overly-protected. He was not allowed to cycle, swim or play the usual rough-and-tumble games.

Nenek was afraid that he'd injure himself or fall ill....and well, die. As his elder brothers did.

I remember her to be gentle but someone whom we would not want to cross. She was petite and soft-spoken. But, she seemed to me -- in all her delicateness and fragility - a firm figure of authority.

Whenever, we went back to Singapore during the school holidays, we were instructed to stop over first at Nenek's house at Jalan Yahya in our Kampung Melayu.
We were not to venture out elsewhere without meeting her first and having a meal or two there.

Although Nenek's house is long gone - demolished in 1981 along with some 1,300 houses to make way for re-development -- I remember it to be big and grand with lots of candies in bottles in the kitchen.

There were "khat" paintings adorning the walls throughout the house. They were, I later found out, my grandfather's art works.

I also remember that it was no fun being at Nenek's. But, I don't remember why.
Perhaps because I was closer -- far far closer -- to my maternal grandfather who lived at Jalan Sudin just a few kilometres away.

Kak Eda and I had more friends at Jalan Sudin. The cousins who were around our age and with whom we were close were on my mother's side. They were all at Ompong's (grandfather in Mendaling).
And that would be where we were throughout our holiday.
Much to Nenek's displeasure.

Kak Olin was close to Kak Ana who is my youngest aunt's (Bapak's sister) daughter.
She'd be at Nenek's. Besides she was Wak Aichon's "daughter".
"Anak Wak Aichon", they called her.
Wak Aichon was Bapak's older sister who took care of Kak Olin while Mak was at work those days when we were growing up in Singapore.

Kak Olin and Kak Ana would always spoil our fun.
They'd often make an appearance in the evening - always at the wrong time when we would be hard at play.
They'd bring with them a message from Nenek.

"Nenek panggil suruh tidur rumah Nenek malam ini", Kak Olin would tell us.

Oh, killjoy!
We would protest. Very meekly, of course.
But, aah.. we knew better than to hurt Nenek's feelings.

Nenek enjoyed having all her grandchildren around her.
She'd be seated on her huge bed in the family room. A television set was in front of the bed.There was also a radio.
And all the grandchildren would be seated on the floor either watching TV with her, or listening to the radio, usually a "cerita seram".
Oh those "cerita seram".
We would all be in suspense listening to every move, every sound. And would all be screaming in unison when the haunting music peaked to a crescendo.
The had that amazing power to make you imagine things with the sounds emanating from it.

Nenek would smile, and quietly laughed at our antics.
She would be seated on her bed, always in her trademark white or pastel-colored baju kurung top and batik sarong.
I think, despite her authoritative image, she loved the squeals and laughter of her grandchildren.

We might have been told many a time not to tear across the room, causing the wooden floor to shake because it was something girls did not do.
But, we were never told to "hush" or "diam-diam".

The day Nenek died, we rushed to Singapore.

I remember feeling very scared to have been told that Nenek had died. I'm not sure if I was ever sad.

When we arrived at Nenek's house, Bapak was already there. Nenek's body was already prepared and was laid in the living room.

Bapak was seated on the floor, by the side of his mother's body.

I had never seen Bapak so sad.
I had never seen Bapak weep.

"My mother's gone," I heard him say. His head bowing. Helpless. A stifled cry.

I was with Mak, Kak Olin, Kak Eda and Azah.
I was staring at Nenek's wrapped frail body. Her eyes closed. She was very very old.
But, I remember she looked peaceful and serene.
I was no longer scared. Fear had escaped me.
Perhaps a little confused.
I was trying to absorb everything around me. But everything was moving about so fast.

I watched Bapak. My hand gripping Mak's arm.

That was the very first funeral I had ever attended. And one, after all these years, I can never forget.

Hope And Prayers....

Twenty-eight days. That's how long Sharlinie Mohd Nashar has been missing.

I hope and I pray that the five year-old will be found. Alive.

Please. Let's not stop looking.

Just don't pull pranks. Don't fool around with her case.

But, if you really thought you saw her somewhere, call the police. Even if you're mistaken, it's ok.
PJ OCPD ACP Arjunaidi Mohamed said the police would act and send their men to any location given by members of the public.

Yesterday, police rushed to the SMART tunnel at Jalan Tun Abdul Razak after receiving a tip-off.

It turned out negative.

The call was not a hoax nor was it by a prankster. The caller was just mistaken.

That's ok. The next call could prove a lifeline for Sharlinie.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Helping the Indian Community

Not true. Not true.
The government has never NOT listen to suggestions by the MIC on improving the lot of the Indians in the country.
Deputy PM Najib Andul Razak said in KL yesterday:

"It is not true. I am refuting the claims that the government pays scant attention to whatever suggestions or views put forward by the MIC," the Deputy Prime Minister told reporters after opening the MIC's special assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre.
In fact, he said, the living standard of the Indians had improved due to the MIC's efforts.
"The government always pays attention and strives to solve the socio- economic problems of the Indians in the country.
"We should not allow ourselves to be tricked by the opposition who can say anything. But all this (development programme) is a commitment which the government is able to fulfil," he said.- BERNAMA

HAH! I know what you guys are thinking. And are going to say...

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Bersih Is So Rude and Overboard, Says PM

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has described as "direspectful" and "overboard" the action by members of the Coalition of Free and Fair Elections (Bersih) in tearing the picture of Election Commision chairman Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman.

Here's the rest of the Bernama story:

Bersih members tore up Rashid's picture to vent their protest on the country's election system.
Saying that they had gone overboard in their action, Abdullah said such things never happened before.
"They're rude and disrespectful. There are other ways to air their protest," he told reporters after attending the Universiti Malaya Alumni Day.
The Prime Minister was asked to comment on the action by Bersih members to tear Rashid's picture as published in the New Straits Times today in protest against the election system in the country.
They claimed the EC's move to introduce the indelible ink in this election was merely a cosmetic change.
The Prime Minister said Rashid had discharged his duties well by conducting elections in a fair, clean, transparent and democratic manner.
He said Bersih members should not have resorted to such action as the EC had met the Opposition's demand to introduce the indelible ink and transparent ballot boxes to ensure this election was more open and transparent.
"If all these while, what it has been done is not good and the changes being made now (in this election) are also not good, bring the matter to court," said Abdullah in a stern voice.
The Prime Minister said the EC had constantly taken appropriate action to ensure the electoral roll was verified and updated and given prompt attention to complaints such as mistakes in voter registration.
Asked whether the government would take action against Bersih members for tearing Rashid's picture, Abdullah said: "We should take action if there are laws that provide for punishment for such actions."

Alaah, Pak Lah. Tear picture only.
Ahem. I know others who were really really "disrespectful" and "overboard" in their speech and action.

Dr M Will Not Support the Opposition, Says Mukhriz

Here's the Bernama story yesterday:

Umno Youth executive council member Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said his father, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad would neither oppose the government nor support the opposition.
"My father will not in any way support the opposition. He has fought the opposition all his life," he said.
Mukhriz, who is also the movement's International Relations and Non-Governmental Organisations Bureau chairman, said this in commenting on newspaper reports today which quoted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as saying that there had been no "gentlemen's agreement" between him and Dr Mahathir that he would only serve as prime minister for one term.
Yesterday, the newspapers had reported Dr Mahathir saying as such.
He was approached by reporters for his comments on the issue after receiving a RM100,000 donation for Aman Malaysia's Gaza Humanitarian Fund from Cheras Umno and the Cheras Education Foundation, which were represented by Senator Datuk Wira Syed Ali Al-Habshee, here today.
Instead, Mukhriz, who is also Aman Malaysia's coordinator, said the opposition would try to manipulate the issue to its own advantage and attempt to cause confusion among the people so that they would be disunited.
"I think what is said by both of them strengthens Umno," he said.
He also said that remarks by Dr Mahathir that he would only support BN candidates (in the upcoming election) who were capable and deemed clean was in line with the Prime Minister wanting candidates with similar attributes.
"It is the same as what Pak Lah (Abdullah) mentioned (at an Umno briefing), that the factor of the candidate himself was 60 per cent while the party was only 40 per cent (for victory in the polls)," he said.
Mukhriz said what was meant by his father was that the BN would still be the preferred choice of the people if the candidates were able to serve them and their party sincerely and the coalition winning two-thirds majority, as before, would not be much of a problem.
"This is not the time to change direction, what is important is to continue with the leadership," he said.
Mukhriz added that Umno members must strengthen solidarity and not allow any party, especially the opposition, to split them.
Asked if he would be contesting in the election, Muhkriz, who is the Jitra Umno deputy head, said he left it to his division and the party leadership.
"It is not I who decide, but the Prime Minister. We can only voice our intentions. If not chosen, we will continue working for the party," he said.

On Dr Mahathir's remarks about the "gentlemen's agreement". Here's the thing -- I think they were taken out of context. Deliberate or otherwise.
I was at Dr Mahathir's Press conference. He was asked by someone to comment about claims of such an agreement purportedly made five years ago.
Dr Mahathir replied that if there was one, he would not be able to prove it.
He said when he made the decision to hand over power to Pak Lah, it was because he felt that Pak Lah was older than Najib and that after one term as PM, he'd let Najib take over.

It was wrong to report that "Dr Mahathir claimed the agreement was made in 2003 when he handed over the leadership to Abdullah but admitted that he had no way of proving it."

Dr Mahathir was asked to comment about claims that there was such an agreement in which Pak Lah was to hold office for a term before handing the leadership to Najib.

I thought there was a difference between him being asked to comment about such an agreement and him saying that YES, there is such an agreement in which blahblahblah...

Friday, February 01, 2008

Pssst, Did You Know.....

that Tiara Jacquelina is a blogger?

I didn't. I found it quite by accident when I clicked on a visitor Ms Hart of Hart-To-Heart blog, and found TJ's A Day in The Life of Tiara on her blogroll.

She's Tiara of the Puteri Gunung Ledang fame. Naturally. Just in case you don't have an inkling, this is Tiara.

At least I think that it is her blog and she is the one operating it, and not an assistant or some avid or rabid fan masquerading as her and using photographs of her....
It does seem to be operated by a very busy person because it is not updated regularly. So, knowing that Tiara does run a very busy schedule, I can (safely) assume that it is her own blog.

Anyway, if it is really Tiara J, some people would know her as the wife of Senator Effendi Norwawi who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Department.
She started blogging on Sept 29 last year and even ran a poll "what makes you want to go to the theatre".

Let's hope she'll continue to blog actively like film-maker Yasmin Ahmad and actor Afdlin Shauki.