Monday, March 25, 2013

Daim Zainuddin NST Interview - Part Two

Here's the second and final part of the NST interview with former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin headlined "We Should Not Waste Time With Anwar, His Time Had Come and Gone".

Back then in the 80s, Daim and Anwar were the king's men, the Team A (versus Musa Hitam's Team B). Here's a quote by Daim in NST's Up Close and Personal segment :
"Really, we should not waste time with Anwar. He is past his use-by date. His time had come and gone.
I also think that you should not give so much news space to him. That's what he likes. He does not like to be ignored, so ignore him I say. He should be left to be the entertainer that he is, dancing and singing at ceramahs. As I said his time is gone, like a burung punggok merindukan bulan, (a dog barking at the caravans, and the caravans have moved on)."

The interview that was published today:

THIS is the final part of the interview with former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, who helped the Malaysian economy survive the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

Without mincing words, Daim discussed with New Straits Times journalists A. JALIL HAMID, RASHID YUSOF and HARIZ MOHD and photographer ZAHARI ZAKARIA the key events during the "Mahathir Years", including the events which led to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's downfall.
Question: Media reports suggested at the time of your departure from the cabinet in 1991 that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had three names in mind as the new finance minister -- Tan Sri Sanusi Junid, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Was this indeed the case?
Answer: Rafidah was then the minister for trade, having been appointed to the post after the Team A versus Team B split in 1987. Sanusi was minister for agriculture.
Dr Mahathir wasn't too sure about Anwar. He said, "I don't think Anwar can handle the ministry of finance" given his academic background. He was a graduate in Malay studies.
My counter argument went along this line -- "I think if you want him to be your successor you have to groom him.
"I can help him and guide him, give advice."
In the end, I managed to convince Dr Mahathir.
Anwar used to come to my house very often to seek my advice on matters related to the ministry of finance.
He would also bring me to to his house for lunch very often. His aunt cooked my favourite dishes.
Read the rest of the Q&A HERE.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Daim Zainuddin NST Interview - Part One

Say what you like about Malaysia's former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin, he sure makes good copy. And especially now..everybody wants a piece of him -- wants to know what he thinks. he says it as it is.
You can choose to ignore him, to not believe a word he says.. it's a free country.
But here's the first part of the NST interview with Daim, headlined "I Want Najib To Win, Anwar Not Fit To Be PM".

WHENEVER Tun Daim Zainuddin is not orbiting the globe, he will be holed up in his workstation at Wisma YPR (Yayasan Pok Rafeah, named after his late mother).

His desk is one sprawling clutter of printouts and financial analyses helpfully sent daily by an organisation headed by a friend -- a former prime minister of a neighbouring Asian country.

The hallway is in a different galaxy. It is virtually an art gallery. He owns more than 2,000 paintings. Some paintings are now worth 10 times what he paid for. He was chairman of the National Art Gallery before he joined the cabinet. The lawyer-turned-housing developer who later became finance minister (twice) is not selling.

The range of passions is bewildering. He is a fan of Datuk Shah Rukh Khan. Daim is a significant shareholder of a bank with many branches in Africa. He is chairman of the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) audit committee.

At 74, he plays badminton with increasingly younger mates. And, he displays a Manchester United replica jersey autographed by Sir Bobby Charlton.

"I am a busybody," he explained as he greeted New Straits Times journalists -- A. JALIL HAMID, RASHID YUSOF and HARIZ MOHD -- and photographer, ZAHARI ZAKARIA, to kickstart a series of exhaustive interviews.

Daim, who had precipitated a near-crash of the stock market in 1994 with his "sell" advice and later named "chief conspirator" by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, has since sparked a media frenzy for a new reason.

It is political punditry, having correctly predicted the outcome of the March 2008 general election; so the NST prodded him for new predictions. We probed his political allegiance and provoked him even as the sessions shifted focus from one hot topic to another.

By the time we were done, newer perspectives and insights had been gleaned from the political events of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, the future of Umno, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Anwar, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Lee Kuan Yew, to the rise of China and the Arab Spring (which he jokingly referred to as "the Arab Fall").

Daim: "If you ask me, between the two, Najib or Anwar, I would choose Najib."

Question: Tun, since your retirement, you have given a number of interviews to the Chinese dailies, but hardly any to the mainstream media. Any particular reason for this?

Answer: I have been asked to give so many interviews, but all they wanted to know is when will the elections be held and what is my prediction of the outcome. So, before the election, which I predict will be by next month (he laughs), this will be my last interview.
I don't want to give any more interviews because all of you only ask about the elections and it's quite tiresome.
Also, I don't want people to misquote me. I heard people say that I had said BN would win only three states. That is not true. You must read my answers in full. I said BN, in particular Umno, must work hard, stay united and put up the best candidates to win.
Yes, I have given interviews to Chinese press mostly. The Chinese wanted to understand the thinking of the Malays. To address their concerns, I must know what is in their minds, their fears and their aspirations and they wanted to know if our economic policies are right. They want peace in the country and they know to have peace, you need political stability.
Have you read their articles on government policies? Someone will whisper to the government about this or that paper, or that this writer is being anti-establishment.
I say, "Stop!" I have read their articles. While they do criticise, they are not being anti-establishment. You argue with facts and statistics. The process will produce a healthy debate.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Sting On Sarawak's Taib...

Early last week, a video "Inside Malaysia's Shadow State" went viral.
It is supposedly an expose of corruption and shady dealings involving Sarawak chief minister Taib Mahmud and his family.

It's a short clip of interviews by a Mat salleh "investigator" with a lawyer, a businessmen and two sisters Norlia and Fatimah (daughters of former Sarawak chief chief minister and governor Rahman Yaakub).

The four were talking to this Mat Salleh who was posing as a potential investor.
Well, you can call it a sting operation.

I'm not sure if a sting is like that. Never seen a real one, Only those on TV shows.

Alvin, the lawyer, made references to Singapore as a place where you can dump your money and no questions asked.

The sisters -- Taib's cousins -- spoke of how they can get away with a shady land deal.

Hmm.. I remember years ago Taib and their father (who is Taib's uncle) were embroiled in a bitter power struggle in Sarawak. That episode is known as The 1987 Ming Court Affair. There was a lot of bad blood. In 2008, on Rahman's 80th birthday, the two reportedly patched things up, mended the fence, let bygones be bygones.

Perhaps both of them did...but Rahman's daughters may still find it hard to forgive and forget.

Anyway, the video was uploaded in so many sites, and happily circulated by the opposition party supporters.

The Mole has the story.
The Malay Mail carried it on page one and included Taib's response -- he said that he was being framed.

And Singapore responded as well, denying the allegations made in the video.

Taib also issued a reminder to people, to not easily trust anyone claiming to act as agents for purchasing Sarawak land.
Anybody can say or claim they are agents, but people should know that it is not necessarily true, he said.
"People should be careful not to be drowned into this kind of lies, and believing it that they are my agents...some people can say that they are my agents, they can act as my agent but it doesn't mean it is true.

And a police report has been lodged.

For me, it's so easy not to believe everything I see or hear, including this video clip. I mean, where is the proof? It's just of people making allegations, two of whom are Taib's cousins and whose wounds, I suspect, have probably not healed.
And coming at a time when we are going to have a general election. Reminds of of those "damning' reports of the excesses of Taib and his family circulated online before the Sarawak state elections.

It turned out that the video is the work of Global Witness - an organisation posing as one that's doing good things for democracy... Bullshit.

And, yeah, was it really a sting operation or just a hatchet job..we all know that they all want to get Taib and bring him down.

You can choose to believe everything that people, like those Global Witness operatives, are shoving  down your throat. People don'st stop to think or ask questions.
They lap it all up...

One thing you can get angry is the remark by one of the sisters that the Dayak are squatters on government land. Even then, that could be in the script.

Here's The Benchmark.

Monday, March 18, 2013


...just another article on the mysterious case of Sultan Sulu.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Malaysia has been in the midst of an ongoing security crisis since early February, when a group of 235 rag-tag militiamen from the neighboring southern Philippines slipped into the eastern state of Sabah and began occupying several villages.
While engaging police in several firefights, the insurgents beheaded and mutilated several captured Malaysian security personnel, prompting Malaysian forces to deploy fighter jets in an unprecedented air assault over the area in an operation to flush out the intruders.
The gunmen call themselves the “Royal Army of the Sulu Sultanate”, representing the heirs of a long-defunct kingdom which once controlled the territory up until the late nineteenth century.
The so-called Sultan of Sulu, Jamalul Kiram III, who is believed to be directing the militant incursion from Manila, insists that Sabah is rightfully part of his kingdom and has vowed not budge on his claims even if his personnel are killed in the standoff.

You can read the rest of article by Counterpunch HERE

And don't you get really p**sed reading all those horrid untrue stuff about Malaysia -- that the Filipinos in Sabah are treated like animals by the Malaysian security forces, that the thousands of Filipino workers in Malaysia are being abused.

Disregarding the vicious cyberwar between Malaysians and Filipinos about the Sulu claim on Sabah, just think how these lies have been reported in the media in the Philippines.

Suddenly, the people of the Philippines republic have forgotten their history. Now they are so supportive of "Princess" Jacel, daughter of the pretender to the Sulu sultanate Jamalul Kiram III.

She, of the people being oppressed by the Philippines government, she , of the people whose claim for autonomy has been rejected by the Philippines government.

It's confounding how some (maybe more) of the people of the Philippines have no understanding of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Anyway, here's my two cents worth in my Saturday column in the NST:

SINCE the Lahad Datu incursion by a group of Sulu gunmen last month, Malaysians have been voraciously searching for information to learn more about the Sulu sultan's claim on Sabah.

By now, most of us are familiar with the subject given the wealth of literature and views articulated by academics and experts in the print and broadcast media on the subject.
As Ops Daulat continues in Lahad Datu, Malaysians wait anxiously for the latest news. Has the situation in Lahad Datu improved? Are there any more casualties? Have the terrorists left or given up?
Without a doubt, the media coverage on print and television has been extensive. And as far as news in the Malaysian media is concerned, for the most part, it has been from official sources.
A lot of us detach ourselves from the emotional debate in cyberspace and concern ourselves only with the facts from newspapers and television reports.
We set aside our political bias. All we want to know are developing stories, including the human interest side and the drama. We depend on our Malaysian journalists there.
But if we turn to news emanating from the Philippine media, you'd get an entirely different picture, not just a lot of drama. But a lot of lies. The Malaysian media is careful not to publish unsubstantiated information on Ops Daulat because of security concerns. So, yes, peace-loving Malaysians, including journalists, get it.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Friday, March 08, 2013

Today, Five years Ago....

I made my vote count.

On the morning of March 8, 2008, I  went early to Sekolah Menengah Sultan Abdul Samad in Petaling Jaya to cast my vote.

I did not want to stand in a long line so I made sure I was there nice and early.

I voted in a Selangor constituency: Petaling Jaya Selatan (parliament) and Bukit Gasing (state). The BN incumbents in both seats lost to the opposition.

In the battle for the parliamentary seat, PKR's Hee Loy Sian who obtained 28,598, defeated Donald Lim Siang Chai who obtained 22,892. (5,706 vote majority)

For the state seat,  Gerakan's Lim Thuang Seng obtained 6,923 votes, losing to DAP's Edward Lee who obtained 15,735 votes (8,812 majority).

In the previous general election in 2004,  Donald Lim defeated R Sivarasa of PKR by a bigger majortity (21,416) actually. Lim obtained 35,054 votes against his opponent's 13,638.

For Bukit Gasing, Lim won the seat with a 4,081 vote majority. he obtained 13,057 against DAP's John Chung's 8,976.

"Every vote counts" had never rung true then.

And it still rings true today.

Celebrating Women..

Today is International Women's Day...

 The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights" Gloria Steinem

How did you celebrate today?

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Ops Sulu Launched


It has been renamed Ops Daulat.

Earlier posting:

Our army began attack and assault on the armed Sulu intruders at 7 this morning.

Below is the statement by PM Najib Razak (taken from blogger Apanama who is in Lahad Datu)
Kenyataan Akhbar

Sejak pencerobohan oleh kumpulan bersenjata di Lahad Datu pada Feb 12, kerajaan telah mengambil pendekatan untuk menyelesaikan konflik ini tanpa pertumpahan darah. Pihak polis telah mengadakan pertemuan dan rundingan dengan harapan penceroboh akan bersetuju keluar dengan aman tanpa dikenakan sebarang tindakan undang-undang yang serius.

Semakin lama pencerobohan ini berlanjutan, jelas kepada pihak berkuasa bahawa penceroboh tidak berniat untuk keluar dari tanah Sabah. Pada hari Jumaat lepas mereka telah melepaskan tembakan ke arah anggota polis yang bertugas di kawasan tersebut menyebabkan dua anggota kita terbunuh, sehari kemudian enam lagi anggota polis dibunuh oleh penceroboh di Semporna.

Setelah serangan yang pertama, saya telah menegaskan bahawa penceroboh mesti menyerah diri dan jika mereka enggan pihak berkuasa negara ini akan bertindak.

Sebagai negara Islam yang cintakan keamanan dan mengangkatkan perjuangan penyelesaian konflik scara perundingan, usaha kita menggelakkan pertumpahan darah di Lahad Datu tidak berjaya. Sebaliknya, anggota pasukan keselamatan kita diserang dan dibunuh, rakyat Malaysia khususnya di Sabah bimbangkan keselamatan mereka.

Kerajaan mesti mengambil tindakan yang sewajarnya bagi menjaga marurah dan kedaultan negara sebagaimana yang dituntut oleh rakyat. Pada jam 7pagi ini pasukan keselamatan telah melancarkan serangan di Kampung Tanduo.

Dato Sri Mohd Najib Tun Razak


God speed, soldiers and may the Almighty protect us all...


Monday, March 04, 2013

Our Fallen Heroes

They were killed in Semporna protecting our sovereign land. Our prayers for them..May Allah Almighty protect our soldiers and security forces.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Our Men Killed in Lahad Datu ...

...with more casualties among the Sulu gunmen.

PM Najib has confirmed that  two Malaysian commandoes were killed and another three injured in an exchange of gunfire which Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein had earlier affirmed that our forces DID not start.

Also, it is confirmed that 12 Sulu gunmen who claimed to be of the Royal Sulu Army were killed.

The NST reports that as at 4.30pm, several Malaysian security forces have been taken to the Lahad Datu Hospital.

Curfew has been declared in Lahad Datu after gunfire broke out between our security forces and the gunmen who claim to be kin/kith/supporters/army of a man from Sulu who wants to be known as Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III.

Prayers for our fallen  forces and for those injured.

May peace be quickly restored.

The latest HERE

A little background HERE.

It Is Malaysia's First "Social Media" Election..

The last general election saw a burst of super mega huge activity in cyberspace that somewhat shaped the outcome. Like an insanely manic take-off from where online intrusion in the 1999 general election left Malaysians.

(I was down and out for three days early this week. A terrible bout of flu. Rare that I succumbed to it. Must be a nasty bug.)

Let me quote PM Najib when he was at the Malaysia Social Media Week 2013 organised by the Malaysia SocialMedia Chambers (SMC) in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

The PM said social media had the ability to include more voices into one issue, including political debates.

He predicted that this would be practised in the coming months as people went to social media to discuss issues related to teh general election.

"I can confidently predict that this will be Malaysia's first social media election".

Najib said he had imposed upon his ministers and potential election candidates to be social media savvy as it helped them to get engeaged with the people who are internet users.

Now..that's a long way from where everyone came from in 2008 when blogs and bloggers were despised, feared, whatever by the then leadership. Paranoid even.

I became a blogger then.

The administration was hostile towards bloggers.

But, someone (who himself got drawn into blogging and became an uber blogger) thanked bloggers .

Every opposition candidate had a blog, compared to only a handful of BN candidates.

Of course, post-election -- a wake-up call..yadayada..

Well, let's hope they have all woken up, I know some have.
 Najib was possibly the first Cabinet minister to give regard, acknowledgment and recognition to  bloggers..

I wrote something about this in the NST. Here's my column (March 2)

Yuliana Should Have Been Given Legal Counsel

So all right. Most everyone saw on Youtube what the 24 year-old Indonesian maid did to her employer's  baby. Horrific. Tossing and flipping him on the mat like he was a doll.

Only a mad person would do that. Or a person with no love or care or a heart.

She was captured on the CCTV at the couple's Kuantan home on Friday (Feb 15).

Mohamed Zamri and Nina Suraya Sulaiman - the young  Kuantan couple -were having breakfast when they caught the visual on Zamri's cellphone.

It was Yuliana's first day at work.

By the following Tuesday, she was arrested, detained,charged in court and convicted of attempted murder and abuse of  four-month-old Mohamed Hareez Mohamed Zamri -- 20 years jail (15 for the first charge and 5 for the second.)

Yuliana, a mother of two from Aceh - had pleaded guilty to the charges and had no legal counsel.

I remember the swift comments on facebook when the footage was uploaded and went viral. People were horrified. Some went ballistic. Others were baying for blood.

I was among those who were so so upset. The poor little helpless baby.Like everyone else, I thought she was mentally "tak betul" because if you had seen the video, you would see her carrying the baby after presumably bathing him, like normal, towel-drying him, feeding him with a bottle, and only a few minutes after, that she seemed to have lost it.

But "attempted murder"? and 20 years? No legal representation?

I wanted to know whether she was mad, or simply bad and evil? And why had the baby's parents left him with the maid who had just started employment?

We all want justice to be served  swiftly. And I could hear the cheers when she was convicted so swiftly -- "padan muka", "she deserves a life sentence", "et her rot in jail".

Those were emotions I heard. Those showed a sense of vicarious satisfaction because -- hah -- this time it is a bad Indon maid. Not a bad Malaysian employer.

But this woman had no legal counsel to advise her on such a seriosu charge dof attempted murder.

I don't believe for one minute that Yuliana should go free. She has to be punished. But I think the judge erred in trying hard to make an example of her.

Do read my Saturday NST column here:

THE anger was palpable. The reaction to the conviction was jubilant. It was emotional. The maid did it and she must be punished.
Everyone agrees that 24-year-old Indonesian Yuliana, whose first day at work for a young Kuantan couple last Friday was to be her last, did a horrific thing to four-month-old Mohamed Hareez Mohamed Zamri at their Lorong Bukit Setongkol home.
Our hearts went out to his parents -- Mohamed Zamri and Nina Suraya Sulaiman.
So, when the mother of two from Aceh was quickly arrrested, detained, charged in a Sessions Court and sentenced to 20 years jail -- all within three days -- everyone was vicariously satisfied.
Everyone applauded.

The rest of the article HERE.