Saturday, March 28, 2009
Umno: The Future Is Now
In his winding-up speech and in response to outgoing president Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, he outlined what needs to be done by Umno to survive, be strong and return to glory in order to serve the people. To be the people's choice once again.
One of the most drastic changes, he forwarded, was to effect an amendment to the party's constitution to make the election of top posts more open , thus more democratic. And to review the quota system for nominations of top party posts.
The time has come for this, Najib said and a special conference will be held to deliberate on this.
At the moment, Najib said the top Umno leadership is determined by 2,600 umno members.
He acknowledged the widespread view that their choice cannot possibly mirror the aspirations and wishes of Umno's morethan 3 million members.
"They feel that this number (of delegates/members) is too small....we know their names by heart, we remember their faces, we remember even their phone numbers.. In our salam, we have salam SK or salam SI..."
Najib said that members must realise that only with a clean image, and through a more open election process can Umno win the confidence of the people.
For as long as the process is smeared, Umno cannot hope to regain that confidence.
He said members MUST WANT TO CHANGE, They must want to have a clean election process.
So, he declared, let the leaders be chosen in the name of the rakyat.
Najib reminded delegates about the BN's defeat in 5 states in the last general election.
"We have regained one of them but that is being disputed", he said in reference to Perak,
Najib said surely Umno members must realise that Umno must be reformed.
He forwarded the need to include the people in the business of government under the long-practiced "party dominating government" concept.
"The party must know the aspiration and feel the pulse of the rakyat in order to translate all that into government policies and action. When a government that is dominated by the party realises the aspirations of the people, then it will be a party that is supremely strong and powerful."
Indeed, it will not be an easy ride for Najib. He has these few years before the next general election to clean up and overhaul the party.
He did say that it is not that the Malays have rejected Umno but that they want Umno to change.
I believe that generally many Malays have rejected Umno and yes, they want Umno to change.
If we were to make an assessment based on the new line-up, then we can conclude that, no...Umno is not quite ready to take that bold step.
(Umno delegates voted some people whose reputation or contribution is rather, er.. questionable.) Read HERE.
Nevertheless, the whole nation is waiting for Umno to surprise us all.
It really depends on how Umno will turn out to be.
Will it be a party that can feel the pulse of the rakyat? Will its leaders be who the rakyat want?
It remains to be seen whether a new, reformed (and dare I say) clean Umno can regain the confidence of the Malays -- young and old. Whether it can appeal to Malaysians, at large.
Can it be a party that is no longer held in contempt and ridicule?
As I have said, Najib and Muhyiddin have a herculean task ahead of reforming and transforming the party.
Hoping For Dr M and Pak Lah To Come Together...
Umno dputy and incoming president Najib Abdul Razak referred to (former party president) Dr Mahathir Mohamad and president (outgoing) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as "negarawan".
He wants them to come together to discuss the problems and the future of the party.
While I reckon Najib is probably one person who can bring these two together, I think it will not be easy. Man, it's going to be a tough call.
But....I suppose, for the sake of the party....
Dr Mahathir's appearance (and presence) at the (final day) of the Umno general assembly received thunderous applause and a standing ovation.
He and his wife, Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali were getting to their seats while newly-elected deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin was at the rostrum, addressing the delegates.
Muhyiddin stopped to acknowledge the couple's presence and hoped that this meant that the former president was considering rejoining the party.
He also said that Dr Mahathir's presence showed that perhaps, he approved of the new party line-up.
Later, Najib and Abdullah (in their speeches) welcomed Dr Mahathir and Dr Siti Hasmah.
Najib believed that Dr Mahathir's presence showed that Umno remained in his heart and flowed in his blood.
"My hope is that these two negarawan, can together discuss the problems and the future of the party".
He got everyone warmed up, and laughing when he said that he imagined their first meeting would be awkward but with time he was confident that there would be that warmth and affinity between them.
"What is important is not one's personal feelings but the future of Umno and the nation," he said.
"Godwilling, if these two statesmen can come together, everyone else will close ranks."
*It is no secret that the relations between Dr Mahathir and Pak Lah have not been warm in the last few years after the latter aassumed the country's premiership.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Earth Hour Tomorrow Night
Don't forget Earth Hour tomorrow -- 8.30pm to 9.30pm.
TURN OFF YOUR LIGHTS FOR AN HOUR......
will the lights be out at PWTC if proceedings have not ended?
It's Deputy President Muhyiddin Yassin...
The three vice-presidents are Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Hishammuddin Hussein andi Mohd Shafie Apdal.
(Shafie is the first VP from Sabah.)
Zahid polled 1,592 votes, Hishammuddin (1,515) and Mohd Shafie (1,445).
Supreme Council Members:
MUSTAPA MOHAMED .............................. (2259 votes)
NOH OMAR .................................................. (2084 votes)
MUSA AMAN ............................................... (2084 votes)
AZIAN OSMAN ............................................ (2060 votes)
ZAINAL ABIDIN OSMAN .......................... (2054 votes)
MOHD ZIN MOHAMED ............................. (1854 votes)
ISMAIL SABRI YAAKOB ........................... (1838 votes)
LAJIM UKIN ................................................ (1804 votes)
SHAZIMAN ABU MANSOR ...................... (1705 votes)
MOHD PUAD ZARKASHI .......................... (1700 votes)
TAJUDDIN ABDUL RAHMAN .................. (1685 votes)
IDRIS HJ HARON ....................................... (1658 votes)
DR HAJI ABD LATIFF AHMAD ............... (1624 votes)
JAMALUDIN JARJIS ..................................(1622 votes)
SAIFUDDIN ABDULLAH ........................... (1619 votes)
DR NORRAESAH MOHAMAD ................... (1611 votes)
MAHDZIR KHALID..................................... (1584 votes)
AHMAD HUSNI MOHD HANADZLAH . .. (1529 votes)
HAMZAH ZAINUDIN ..................................(1518 votes)
BUNG MOKTAR RADIN ............................ (1517 votes)
DR AWANG ADEK HUSSIN ....................... (1481 votes)
ZULHASNAN RAFIQUE ............................. (1431 votes)
AHMAD SHABERY CHEEK ........................ (1377 votes)
IDRIS JUSOH ............................................... (1275 votes)
ABDUL AZEEZ ABDUL RAHIM ................ (1265 votes)
(Tahniah to the sole woman who made it -- Dr Norraesah!)
Some expected winners, some unexpected casualties.
But I know one person who should not have won a seat! And at the expense of some good candidates too!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Victory For Shahrizat And Khairy...
In her victory and adjournment speech , she thanked her supporters and promised to bring Wanita forward.
Her deputy is Kamilia Ibrahim who won the post uncontested.
Khairy Jamaluddin won the Pemuda chief post in a three-cornered fight. He obtained 304 votes out of the 793 possible votes, defeating Dr Mohd Khir Toyo and Mukhriz Mahathir.
As late as 11pm, votes were still being recounted until the final results were out at soon after.
Khairy, in his adjournment speech, said the winner does not take all and the loser does not lose all given this narrow victory which he said was not a majority.
He called on Umno Youth to close ranks and help him to reform the wing and take on the Opposition wherever it maybe..
Razali Ibrahim won the vice chief post.
Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin was elected Puteri Umno chief. The vice-head is Shahanim Mohamad Yusoff.
Najib: Reinforcing Reform And Change
But never is this message so significant and crucial for Umno now, given such a terrible outcome in the general election last March (2008).
Umno deputy president Najib Abdul Razak last night made clear what needed to be done (and not done) by the party, by its leaders and members in order to be strong, popular and to overcome the challenges, and to survive as a political party.
He said this in his address at the joint opening of the Wanita, Pemuda and Puteri assemblies at the PWTC in Kuala Lumpur.
Najib called for Umno to reform in order to remain relevant in a country whose political landscape has changed.
Its leaders must be credible and clean.
"I implore you to give me a line of leaders who are strong and able. Present to me a team that has the traits of loyalty, integrity, ability and dedication to duty. "
Najib said Umno must no longer be seen to be elitist and corrupt. It must be in touch with the people and their aspirations.
Indeed, a reverberating message that if Umno does not change, does not reform, it's popularity will continue to wane and it will no longer be in power.
Change or perish!
So....the question is -- Is Umno prepared to make that change?
The writing on the wall was for everyone to see. Umno saw it but refused to acknowledge. Umno was and has been in denial.
So....is it brave enough now?
Click HERE for the full text of Najib's speech.
Hey, Let's Make A Malaysian "Slumdog"..
We even have the actors/actresses in mind.
Maybe we'll even have cameo roles.
But I am such a perfectionist that I can't seem to stop myself from making changes to the script, here, there and everywhere....
Now my point here is that all you prospective film makers (with production companies) should start forcing that creative adrenalin flow and make a movie.
I mean...get a load of "Slumdog Millionaire"! Not that you should be making a movie of our slums and slumdogs....(though that's an idea but that won't be original) but imagine the possibilities.
Why am I suddenly so interested in getting you interested?
Check out what our SME Bank can do to make it happen:
BANK Perusahaan Kecil & Sederhana Malaysia Bhd (SME Bank), which manages the RM50 million government fund for filmmakers, has disbursed RM35 million to 36 production companies since the fund was launched in 2007.
However, only three companies have successfully had their movies released and begun making repayments to SME Bank, said the bank operations head Abdul Jalal Atan.
The other borrowers of the motion picture financing scheme (SFPC) are facing various problems such as unfinished productions or very low ticket collections, he said.
In a meeting with film producers in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, Abdul Jalal said the fund's balance of close to RM15 million is still available and SME Bank acknowledged that many are still not aware of this facility.
People do not know that the bank does not require any collateral for producers to tap into this fund, unlike direct financing through other commercial banks," he said.
Abdul Jalal added that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak recently hinted that to further develop the local movie industry, there is a possibility that the fund size will be increased.
Earlier, the meeting with SME Bank was organised by the Film Directors Association of Malaysia (FDAM) and sponsored by the Malaysian National Film Development Corporation (Finas) to explain to FDAM members of the requirements to apply for the financing.
It was also a forum for producers to express their grouses and hardship in getting financing.
Present at the meeting were FDAM president Ahmad Ibrahim who complaint that Finas has somewhat failed to efficiently inform those in the industry of the criteria required by SME Bank to be eligible for the financing.
To apply for financing under the SPFC fund, an approval from Finas has to be obtained first and Ahmad said a lot of people do not know how the "pitching" of Finas' approval works.
Another drawback, he added, was that Finas did not scrutinise the background of the producers carefully as he claimed the committee formed for this purpose lacked of experience in the nitty gritty of the movie-making industry. - NST
So, what are you waiting for..get off your butt and make a movie!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Umno's Burden Of Change And To Change
When leaders and delegates of Umno wings -- Wanita, Pemuda and Puteri -- gather for their joint opening ceremony at the PWTC this evening, they will listen to what Umno deputy president and the country's Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has to say in his opening address, because as is customary, his speech will set the tone for their election and (respective) assembly.
They will go home tonight and mull over the future of not just their wings, but the party, and yes...the country.
This year's assembly during which the party's election of all top posts is being held is most defining because it is a test for the party, after the Barisan Nasional's devastating/dismal performance in the March 8 general election last year.
It is a test - for the rest of the country to witness - whether Umno is prepared to change or to make that change. To transform, from whatever "diseased" and rotten state it had shamelessly been in.
(We all know that Umno, being the backbone of the BN government has to take the blame for the poor performance, although overall in the general election, Umno won more seats than its coalition partners.)
We all know why Umno must change -- or be changed as Najib had warned.
There is no luxury or privilege of option here. It's now or never. Do or die.
Umno has been too complacent, in denial and resistant to the urgent need to transform and reform, to be relevant -- for far too long. Umno is what its members want it to be. It's a two-way process. You want a clean party, you elect clean leaders, or those seen to be clean.
Umno must also remember that its leaders are also leaders of the country. You elect corrupt leaders, the country gets corrupt ministers.
I have no say in the choice of Umno leaders. If and when Umno decides that Umno members can (directly) elect the party's top leaders, I'd be the first to sign up as a party member.
(By virtue of the existing practice in the country in which the Umno president is, by convention the Prime Minister and the deputy president is Deputy Prime Minister. Also, Umno vice-presidents and some of its supreme council members are appointed ministers and/or deputy ministers.)
Tomorrow, Wanita, Pemuda and Puteri Umno delegates go to the ballot box to choose their top leaders -- chief, deputy chief and exco members.
For the Wanita top post, the bitter and intense fight is between incumbent Rafidah Aziz and her deputy, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil. (There is no contest for the deputy chief post as exco member Kamilia Ibrahim won the post uncontested.)
Both are going for broke.
The contest is three-cornered for the Pemuda chief's post -- exco member Mukhriz Mahathir, Khir Toyo and deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin.
There are six aspirants for the Puteri Umno chief post. They are deputy chief Rosnah Abdul Rashid, Shahaniza Shamsuddin, Ismalina Ismail, Bibi Sharliza Mohd Khalid, Saarah Ali Basha and Ida Rahayu Mohd Noor.
Azalina Othman Said, Puteri Umno's pioneer/founder member and erstwhile chief, has been a hard act to follow. Her successor Noraini Ahmad is a disappointment, so pale in comparison. She failed to pick up where Azalina left. Azalina is contesting for one of the 25 elected supreme council seats.
Undoubtedly, this is one of the party's most crucial elections, emerging so badly bruised after the general election.
When delegates choose their *deputy president, **three vice-presidents and 25 supreme council members, they have not only Umno's future in their hands but the nation's.
I fear. I quiver just thinking about this.
Will they break the cycle (of all that's bad in Umno)? Are they capable of doing that? Will they have the nation's interest at heart when they cross the ballot papers because we, the people will have to live with their bad and wrong choices.
Will they do the right thing?
Ultimately, Umno delegates deserve the leaders they choose.
But do we?
*Two contenders for the deputy presidency -- Muhyiddin Yassin and Muhamad Muhd Taib.
** Eight contenders for the 3 VP posts -- Zahid Hamidi, Hishammuddin Hussein, Rais Yatim, Khaled Nordin, Syed Hamid Albar, Shafie Afdal, former Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Isa Samad and former Malacca Chief Minister Rahim Thamby Chik.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Tomorrow, Karpal Will Be Charged For Sedition
MP for Bukit Gelugor Karpal Singh is to be charged for sedition at the Jalan Duta sessions court tomorrow morning at 9am.
"The investigating officer for the case, ASP Suhaimi Mohamad, came to my office at about 5pm with the notification. It is not a warrant of arrest," he said.
Karpal said he was to be charged under Section 4 (1) (b) of the Sedition Act 1948.
Karpal had threatened to take legal action to challenge Sultan Azlan Shah's appointment of Datuk Dr Zambry Kadir as the new Perak meneri besar after deposing Datuk Nizar Jamaluddin.
Karpal's intent drew flak from many groups who claimed that it tantamount to treason and in the process, attracted about 100 police reports.
One Year Suspension For Gobind
The Dewan Rakyat today passed a motion to suspend Puchong Member of Parliament Gobind Singh Deo for a year effective immediately.
The motion was tabled by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz following Gobind's remarks accusing Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak of being involved in a murder case and in contempt of a deputy speaker during the committee stage debate on the Supplementary Supply Bill 2009 on Thursday.
Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia announced the passing of the motion at 1pm after all government backbenchers voted for it.
The opposition representatives had walked out of the Nazri was winding up the debate on the motion.
According to the motion, Gobind will not get all the allowances and benefits as a member of Parliament during the suspension period.
Nazri, when tabling the motion under Standing Order 27(3), said Gobind's accusation was serious and in breach of the rights and privileges of a member of Parliament as well as in contempt of the Dewan Rakyat.
In his winding-up speech, he said what Gobind did was not a crime and therefore there was no need to furnish proof for consideration before he was to be convicted of the offence.
"Therefore, if an action has been committed and clearly the action shows lack of manners against the deputy prime minister, it is sufficient for us to take action against him.
"But if the Puchong member of Parliament admits he is crazy, it would be different. But I believe when he made the remarks, he was not crazy and he knew what he did was wrong," he said.
He also explained that Najib was not in the House today because he did not want to be seen as though influencing the lawmakers regarding the motion.
Earlier, several opposition members raised various provisions of the Standing Orders to object to the speaker's decision in allowing the motion to be tabled.
Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) sought explanations from Pandikar Amin on the public interest which allowed the motion to be tabled without the seven-day notice.
Datuk Kamaruddin Jaafar (PAS-Tumpat) meanwhile wanted the matter to be referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee and Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) questioned why Gobind was not given time to defend himself.
Others who also stood up were M. Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat), Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham (DAP-Beruas), Nga Kor Ming (DAP-Taiping) and R. Sivarasa (PKR-Subang).
Pandikar Amin said: "I have read Standing Orders 27(3), 80(1), and 44(8) which allow this motion to be debated in the House.
"It is my interpretation and I would like to remind all that the speaker's decision under Order 43 should be accepted. It has something to do with the behaviour and ramblings by members of the House under the protection of the House and it did not happen outside. Everyone knows these things happen," he said.
He also said that he had read the hansard account of what happened that day and found that Gobind had committed offences under Standing Order 36(6) for imputing improper motives to another member, Order 36(4) for using offensive language, Order 36(9) for mentioning the conduct and character of a member in another capacity, Order 36(2) for mentioning a matter which is sub judice, Order 36(10)(b) and (c) for using seditious words and words likely to promote feelings of ill-will against the government and between different communities.
Earth Hour On March 28
Wherever you are, switch off your lights for an hour from 8.30pm next Saturday. Join millions across the globe to vote for EARTH.
It will be dark, I know. But you are not alone.
Love our Earth.
Guan Eng May Bar NST From His Functions
He said he was willing to accept criticisms but not statements with elements of slander and certain agenda intended to disparage him and the state government.
"In the last election, they also wrote nasty things about us but we took it. With or without NST, we have survived all this time.
"We urge the people of Penang, if they want to read the truth about Penang to boycott the NST," he said after visiting the Relau Community Park here yesterday.
Lim made the remarks when asked to comment on an article in the NST on Saturday entitled "What's your beef, Guan Eng?" which criticised him over his preferential treatment of the media.
Rafidah Vs Shahrizat On Women's Rights...
We'd invoke all that we know about the issue. We'd discuss. Just discuss. Because, we're women. We're women who have no interest in winning a political post, no ambition. We're women.
Now when two contenders (for the Wanita Umno chief post) touch on the subject, it's about who has not been doing more than the other. Who has not been doing anything.
Incumbent Wanita Umno chief Rafidah Aziz and her challenger, (Wanita Umno deputy chief) Shahrizat Abdul Jalil were crossing swords on this issue at a meet-the-delegates gathering in Johor Baru.
I was not there so I'm depending on newspaper reports. Their exchanges could well have been very gracious, civil and polite.
According to the NST, Rafidah asked critics not to accuse the wing of not fighting for women's rights hard enough.
"We (Wanita Umno) are a political party, don't forget that. Our job is to help Umno continue to lead the country in general elections."
"Maybe one of the reasons why we lost our two-thirds majority in Parliament and five states was because some of our women (in Wanita Umno) had lost focus of our political goals.
"Maybe they were concentrating too much on women's rights, whereas it is the ministry which should be doing that."
Wow....we know where that's going to.
(She was dropped from the Cabinet after the elections but was immediately made advisor to the ministry).
Shahrizat, who was present at the function responded by saying that the ministry had always strived to further women's issues.
"We have done a lot in respect of laws, policies and rules concerning women. We have been fulfilling our responsibilities."
But, she hastened to add, progress had to begin with Wanita Umno.
If Wanita Umno does not defend women's rights, the country will not move forward.
"Women will not be heard if Wanita Umno does not pick up the voices of our women," Shahrizat said.
So, we generally have an idea of what was going on there --both women trying to shape a perception (among the delegates) on who is more fitting to lead the wing. Who screwed up and who didn't.
The election is just around the corner and it is expected to be very stiff, very keen.
Since Shahrizat made known her intention last year to topple her one-time mentor, Rafidah made no secret of that sense of betrayal. The subterfuge, the duplicity.
But as they say, I suppose we ain't seen nothing yet.
For the NST report, click HERE.
Monday, March 09, 2009
My friends, have a blessed celebration! Maulidurrasul falls on the 12th day of Rabi'ul Awwal which marks the birth of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
My Muslim brothers and sisters -- let us join in reciting the selawat and salam for our Nabi!
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Friday, March 06, 2009
I Am All For The Use Of English For Maths And Science
It doesn't make sense (to oppose). English is the language most used in maths and science so we have to be practical.
It is for our children's future.
I don't think I am trivializing the importance of our national language by promoting the use of English in maths and science.
I cannot go the same road as our sastrawan and Malay literary figures on this. I do not agree with them.
I appeal to them to not be swayed by emotions.
We all benefited from learning English. So many rural Malays benefited from having a good command of English.
Surely, being proficient in English to master maths and science will not threaten the status of Bahasa Malaysia?
We will not lose our national language. I know we won't.
Just read THIS and THIS.
I was not there at the mosque to listen to what the Sultan of Selangor had to say.
But according to the NST, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah today "expressed disappointment over the action of a certain group of Malays who continued to question the positions of Malays and the Malay Rulers when these were enshrined in the constitution".
His highness made his remarks when opening the Masjid Jamek Sultan Abdul Aziz near Petaling Jaya.
Here's the rest of the NST story.
"It is on this premise that the Malays are held in high esteem and respected, (but) where are the Malays now?
"The nation has been a sovereign state for just half a century, and the Malays have begun to quarrel, lose their self-esteem and become discourteous due to being overly enthusiastic in grabbing power at the expense of the people and the state,"
Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim was also present at the ceremony.
Al Fatihah: Zubir Ali
I knew Zubir Ali when I was a student in ITM (now UiTM) in the mid-70s (from 1975 to 1978). He was in charge of our cultural society and I was an active member.
Then, he did not display his talent as a singer or songwriter, although I knew that he had deep interest in music as we had discussions about the arts (including on music).
Over the years, I bumped into him during Hari Raya open houses and arts/cultural performances. Once, at 1-Utama.
How sad to have received this tragic news of his death.
Saudara Zubir died of heart conditions at the Damansara Specialist Hospital today.
Zubir was a founding member of folk outfit, Harmoni that popularised the humanitarian tune, Balada Seorang Kecil penned in the 1990s. The members went separate ways in 1985.
Two years ago, Zubir established Trio Harmoni and continued his vision to preserve the popularity of Malay folk songs.
He was buried in Petaling Jaya, Selangor after Asar prayers.