My Anthem

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

UMNO rebels, and Desi will soon expel...


Growing rebellion among Umno warlords against Najib

Wednesday, 31 March 2010 admin-s
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By Wong Choon Mei, Harakahdaily

In signs of growing rebellion by Umno warlords against their party president Prime Minister Najib Razak, the entire executive committee of a Penang division has quit to pave the way for the return of former leader Ahmad Ismail, who stirred a storm of racial controversy in 2008.

“It is a contradictory move and what Ahmad stands for is inconsistent with Najib’s 1Malaysia. It will be hard for Najib to explain why he cannot control Bukit Bendera - not only to Malaysians but also to BN parties like Gerakan,” PAS vice president Salahuddin Ayub told Harakahdaily.

Indeed, since the loss of five key states to Pakatan Rakyat during the landmark 2008 general elections, displaced Umno warlords have been chafing at their reduced opportunities to make money and wield power.

Not only in Penang, but powerful division leaders are also unhappy in Terengganu, Perlis and Negeri Sembilan, where there is open factionalism and infighting is fast reaching boiling point. In Malacca and Selangor, dissatisfaction is building among the ranks despite efforts to paint a rosy picture and keep the disgruntlement out of the public eye.

Zahid and Muhyiddin also eyed

On Monday, all 36 executive committee members of the Bukit Bendera Umno division signed a joint resignation letter. They told the press the letter would be tendered to the Penang liaison committee, headed by Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, in the third week of April.

The move set off a blaze of speculation as Najib’s supporters have previously accused Zahid of attempting to embarrass and sabotage their boss by drawing unnecessarily high attention to two incidents.

One involved missing fighter jet engines stolen from a key military base during Najib’s tenure as defense chief and the other was to back a demand by Penang Umno to Gerakan to surrender the state BN chairmanship to Umno.

Ahmad Ismail himself has attracted great notoriety when, in a speech during the race for the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat, he had derided Malaysian Chinese as kaum pendatang or migrant community.

His remarks gravely offended the Chinese here as many of them have been settled in Malaysia for generations, contributing to its economy and well-being even before independence from British rule in 1957.

Umno intrigue and opportunism

But it also spurred the opportunists in Umno into action. Former Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar ordered the arrest of journalist Tan Hoon Cheng, who reported Ahmad’s remarks, under the oppressive Internal Security Act, which allows the government to remand her for indefinite periods of time without trial.

Syed Hamid’s irrational move sparked red-hot international condemnation for the country. It also effectively closed the door on any bid by an already weakened Abdullah Badawi, the prime minister then, to stay in power. At that time, there were rumors of collusion between Syed Hamid and Najib, who was due to inherit Abdullah’s job.

“To gain the political upper hand through unprincipled means and accepting people of low quality does not speak well of Umno and BN,” PAS vice president Mahfuz Omar told Harakahdaily.

“Why should Malaysians trust them any more when they so openly use racism and religion in their politics and the way they govern the country, even at the expense of the peace and security of the nation?

What goes around comes around

But in politics, as in love and war, apparently all is fair. But what goes around comes around and Najib may well find himself hoisted by his own petard and past shenanigans.

All eyes are now on his reaction and those of Ahmad Zahid and Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also known to be at odds with Najib.

To a lesser extent, because of their political weakness, there will also be attention on how Gerakan, MCA and MIC would react.

So far, Najib would only say he would ask the Umno Management Committee to study the Bukit Bendera development.

"Whatever it is, the party constitution must be complied with. I want the Umno Management Committee to study the latest developments," the PM was reported as saying by Bernama.

How once nemesi German enriches the British language! III

Mar 31, 2010
This week's theme
Words borrowed from German

This week's words

Google Zeitgeist
Reveals what's on people's mind by identifying search trends

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noun: The defining spirit of a particular period: the general cultural, political, intellectual, and moral climate of an era.

From German Zeitgeist (spirit of the time), from Zeit (time) + Geist (spirit).

"Once again Lionel Shriver has stomped into the middle of a pressing national debate with a great ordeal of a novel So Much For That that's impossible to ignore. ... If Jodi Picoult has her finger on the zeitgeist, Shriver has her hands around its throat."
Ron Charles; So Much For That; The Washington Post; Mar 17, 2010.

Explore "zeitgeist" in the Visual Thesaurus.


I react pragmatically. Where the market works, I'm for that. Where the government is necessary, I'm for that. I'm deeply suspicious of somebody who says, "I'm in favor of privatization," or, "I'm deeply in favor of public ownership." I'm in favor of whatever works in the particular case. -John Kenneth Galbraith, economist (1908-2006)

How once nemesi German enriches the British language! II

APpearing on your screen soon:) Free German and English less, continued from Yesterday's,
yeah, when awe your troubles seemd so far away:)
And awe of mind seemd hear to stay!:( -- Desiderata, doing more INTERnational service
wit' aMore SMSes, and making an aSspirant German of myself:)

with Anu Garg


(ray-AHL-paw-li-teek, ree-)


noun: Politics guided by practical considerations, instead of principles or ethics.

From German Realpolitik, from real (real, practical) + politik (politics).

"Also gone is Sarkozy's former mocking of realpolitik as a political cop-out of cynical diplomats without principles."
Bruce Crumley; Why France is Selling Warships to Russia; Time (New York); Mar 3, 2010.

"Under the strongman Soeharto and Cold War realpolitik pragmatism, Indonesia received large scale US military support that leapfrogged its defense capability among its Southeast Asian neighbors, despite widespread criticism from international civil rights groups."
Ristian Atriandi; Rethinking RI-US Military Ties; The Jakarta Post (Indonesia); Mar 17, 2010.

Explore "realpolitik" in the Visual Thesaurus.

Poisons and medicine are oftentimes the same substance given with different intents. -Peter Mere Latham, physician and educator (1789-1875)

Healthwise or HELLvice? YOU decside!

:( OR :)

Belated news received via my Email Inbox becomes a Community Service Message (CSM)to maketh Posting Hari Ini.

1M'sia clinics - a deathtrap like the 1M'sia camps? >:

This is truly shocking.
A medical practitioner has criticised newly formed 1Malaysia clinics set up by the Ministry of Health for providing poor quality of medical services to patients, which include wrong prescription of medicines and wrong diagnoses.
Dr T Jayabalan, who represents workers and the Malaysian Trade Union Council, claimed that a recent study he conducted in Kampar, Perak revealed that medical assistants in government clinics have been issuing wrong prescriptions to patients.
He cautioned that the clinics, brainchild of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak which aimed to provide access to healthcare for all Malaysians nationwide, may also be affected by these malpractices as all of them are manned by medical assistants and nurses.
“This seems to be common practice among medical assistants. They are giving out prescriptions for the wrong medicines, or prescribing medicines which they are not allowed to prescribe. They have also been found to have wrongfully diagnosed patients,” said Jayabalan, who is also health adviser to the Consumers Association of Penang.
Jayabalan also said he was appalled that the 44 clinics, launched in January, targeting the urban poor, and charging merely RM1 for its facilities, were not set up in a transparent manner as doctors were caught unawares by the project.
His statement is supported by Malaysian Medical Association president (2009-2011) Dr David KL Quek in January who said that “while the MMA supports better, affordable and more accessible healthcare facilities to the public, the manner in which this has been announced, where they are to be sited, as well as the fact that these clinics were to be manned by medical assistants and nurses, took many doctors by surprise”.
This is too much. Now Najib is gambling on his political future with our lives.
Could he be so incredibly desperate to hold on to his increasingly tenuous grasp on power, that he is willing to do a half past six rush job with fancily named medical facilities – facilities in whose hands people put their lives and well being – in some blind attempt to score political points?

Why aren’t there proper doctors at these clinics?

Aren’t there reasons why certain diagnoses and prescriptions can only be made by fully trained doctors, and not medical assistants?
We have already had children die at 1Malaysia camps. Will more Malaysians perish at 1Malaysia clinics?
PM Najib – if you want to do something, do it from your heart (jika ada, lah) and do it right.
If you’re trying to get stuff done cheap just so you can look sparkly – know who you answer to in the end.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How once nemesi German enriches the British language!

In enjoyed war movies like The Longest Day, Judgement at Nuremberg ("Write sperring?") the Allied forces comprising Americans and Brits always emerged Victorious. I still can hum a few stanzas of the Theme song that without fail goes with the Hollywood production, and a child never wonders WHY the Germans always won the battles but lost the war.

But along the way I picked up a few German words, like "Achtung!". Erthswhile Arch enemy England dit-to!:)

So German-ise thyself -- from

Mar 29, 2010
This week's theme
Words borrowed from German

This week's words

Discuss this week's words
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The German language's affinity for sesquipedalians once led Mark Twain to quip, "Some German words are so long that they have a perspective." Having polysyllabic words in a language is no sin as long as you get your words' worth. In that respect, those lengthy German words are worth every syllable. Where else can you find a single word, schadenfreude, for example, that conveys the whole concept of 'pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others'? The English language knows a good thing when it sees one, and has helped itself to many terms from German. This week we'll meet five of them, both with and without 'perspective'.

Note: German nouns are capitalized, so often you'll see these words written the same way in English.

(got-uhr-DAM-uh-roong, -rung)


noun: Complete destruction of an institution, regime, order, etc.


From German Götterdämmerung (twilight of the gods), from Götter, plural of Gott (god) + Dämmerung (twilight). Götterdämmerung was the name of the last of Richard Wagner's four operas titled Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung). The German word Götterdämmerung is a translation of the Old Norse Ragnarök which in Scandinavian mythology refers to the destruction of the gods in a battle with evil, resulting in the end of the world. The term Ragnarök is from regin (gods) + rok (fate, course) confused by some with Ragnarökkr (literally, twilight of the gods).

"What began as the exuberant union of two college-age strivers is coming to a devastating end after 18 years, and the Gotterdammerung is being fought out not in court but inside the couple's perfect house."
Michelle Green; Dirty Divorcing; People (New York); Feb 19, 1990.

Explore "gotterdammerung" in the Visual Thesaurus.

I'd rather be a climbing ape than a falling angel.
-Terry Pratchett, novelist (b. 1948)

Monday, March 29, 2010

As a concerned Malaysian, responding via a CSM:)

to a LETTER published in



Monday, 29 March 2010
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TIME : 12.00 PM, DATE : 31.3.10 (Wednesday)

Lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad manhandled and briefly arrested by police outside court

1. On 25th March 2010 Amer Hamzah had obtained his client Khaeryll Benjamin Ibrahim@ Benjy’s release on bail on a charge of drug possesssion at the Jln Duta courts.

2. Near the bail processing counter, about 10 policemen suddenly converged on Amer and his client and ordered the client to go with them. Present were the client’s mother Azean Irdawaty, pupil Sharon Khoo and some family members.

3. The policemen were in plainclothes, and Amer demanded their identity and police card. A police inspector claimed that it was an arrest under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act i.e: detention without trial.

4. At this point, Amer was assaulted and briefly arrested. Two policemen grabbed Amer and held him back with force. Amer protested his treatment, and repeatedly asked the police not to touch him. Eventually Amer was released as his client was bundled away.

Our Protest

The unlawful, oppressive and arbitrary actions of the police on 25th March are a gross interference with a lawyer carrying out his duty to his client. Amer was discharging his duties in the best traditions of the Malaysian Bar, when he sought explanation from the police as to why his client was being arrested. Despite being surrounded by police, he continued to speak out for his client,as he was bound to do.The aggressive and unlawful response of the police is a reflection of the general arrogance and lack of respect for the rule of law widely displayed by the police force. The matter is aggravated by the fact that Amer’s client was being arrested under an oppressive and unconstitutional preventive detention law. The Malaysian Bar has forcefully and repeatedly called for the repeal of all preventive detention laws. The re-arrest of Benjy immediately after his release by the court is also a flagrant contempt of judicial authority. The Inspector General of Police must:

a) take stern action against the policemen who assaulted Amer Hamzah Arshad and the officer who was in charge of the operation;

b) undertake not to further interfere with lawyers carrying out their duties;

c) immediately stop the unjust practice of re-arresting under preventive detention laws persons released by court;

d) issue a public apology to all concerned;

e) undertake to respect the right of the Malaysian public for unimpeded and free access to lawyers at all times.



TIME : 12.00 PM

DATE : 31.3.10 (Wednesday)


Issued by,

N.SURENDRAN (012-3207066)
LATHEEFA KOYA (012-3842972)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I want this ARTiculate one -- not wan! -- for BUM2010!

Friday, March 26, 2010
In answer to lack of candle-light vigils for Mat Selamat

The ISA has just got to go. Lock, stock and barrel.

The ISA transgresses the very basic right of any human being in a modern society, i.e. the right to be heard. The untold power that is held by the executive to detain a person without trial INDEFINITELY even on the grounds of national security is frightening. And soon that will be abused. And, my God, hasn’t it been abused in Malaysia?

And there is another far more insidious aspect of the ISA — torture. As a legal practitioner, I have come across many allegations of torture. And there is a trend. They get beaten up. Stand naked in front of the air-conditioner while being doused with water for hours on end. Made to drink their own urine. These are consistent allegations. And now these allegations are no more allegations per se.

It has been proven in our High Court. Please refer to Abdul Malek Hussin v Borhan Hj Daud & Others [2008]1 CLJ 264.

The Mat Selamat case and the 10 foreigners recently are just examples of further abuse. Mat Selamat was detained in Singapore for being a threat to Singapore’s security. He was alleged to have planned a bombing of Changi airport. Is he a threat to Malaysia’s security? On what basis did we arrive to the conclusion that he is a threat to our security?

Meanwhile, the 10 foreigners are said to be linked to international terrorism cells. Are these cells planning to do something to our country? Are they threat to our security? They might be a threat to somebody’s security, but whose?

The ISA can only be used, as it is, to prevent threat to OUR security. Why is it being used on these 10 people? If we form the conclusion that they are a threat to us, on what basis did we do so?

You will note that, now, even document forgers, SMS senders and a Melayu who apparently converted to Christianity were detained under the ISA!!! Are they threats to our security? Why can’t we charge them and give them the right to be heard before condemning them to imprisonment?

These are the things which make the ISA draconian.

As to why there are no candle light vigils for them, I do not profess to have an answer. People are motivated in their own individualistic way. But that does not mean that the people want the ISA.

If we want to combat terrorism, why don’t we have an Anti-Terrorism Act, like the British do? I can give you a copy. And you will see how they treat their accused persons. They have surely graduated from the old, dark dungeon days.

We, on the other hand, are not only practising it but trying to perfect the art of dungeon trial and torture.
Posted by art harun at 10:48


To be balanced, I reproduce also that counterpoint of view and let my ER judge for themselves. I know where I stand -- I have ring-led some VIGILS in Seremban:). On On wan occasion, I even approached two mata-mata in non-uniform -- I thought they were from PAS!:( -- to speak in the rain!:)

FROM Sinatra Z:

An article in the Malaysian Insider that probably even bro Rocky won't agree too, hahaha. Oh well do read on.

MARCH 24 — Many people were unhappy about the time when a few years back Teresa Kok, Raja Petra Kamaruddin and that female reporter (I fail to remember her name!) were detained under the Internal Security Act.

Rallies were organized, and people congregated in front of police stations demanding their release.

Even though the reporter was released 24 hours after being detained (which baffled even me) and the sassy MP was released a few days later, people nonetheless weren’t happy about it.
Perception was that the government was using this law to enforce their will upon people and for this the Internal Security Act must be abolished.

Politicians and activists argued that no human being should be held in jail in absence of a trial.

How can there be a law in which the government can simply put people in jail without a valid reason? Candlelight vigils were held in the streets and parks, while some shouted slogans.

Others read poetry; a few sang songs about justice, equality and human rights. For a moment people felt like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and perhaps Bob Dylan. They were there for a good cause, a noble cause which was to abolish the law that is so unjust, inhumane and wrong. So the whole campaign went on full force, with politicians donning the “Mansuhkan ISA” badge on their shirts, party vests and caps.

However long after the release of the people mentioned above, another soul was detained under the ISA and his name was Mat Selamat.

Unlike the last time around there were no candlelight vigils for him, no rallies nor was there any poetry or songs serenaded in the name of injustice that had fallen upon this man.

So what if he was not a politician or an activist, so what if he was a suspected terrorist, note the word “suspected” meaning he should be given a right to defend himself just like any other human being. But what was most peculiar, this time around the vehement call to abolish the ISA was suddenly silent.

Gone were the activists, the poets, singers and politicians. I don’t see vigils for Mat Selamat.

A general feeling

I think generally, Malaysians, the silent majority at least agrees with the ISA when used in a certain aspect. Take the example of Mat Selamat, apart from pointing out the hypocrisy in certain politicians and groups; the reason that question was raised (in regards to the absence of vigils) is to point out the lack of public anger or outcry.

The thing is not many would want to light candles for him because the public feels that indeed he should be in there, for the sake of security.

I think that Malaysians generally do understand that security is an issue and there is a need for pre-emptive measures. Nonetheless if it is misused or perceived to have an ulterior motive, only then the public disagrees.

I think the majority of Malaysians don’t really want to abolish the ISA. I think they prefer a change in the act.

Anti-terrorism law versus ISA

Some quarters are calling for an anti-terrorism law to replace the ISA. Before we go on further perhaps it is wise to first understand the definition of terrorism.

Terrorism is a form of tactic; it is to describe the use of fear and intimidation onto civilians as a way to send a certain message; blackmailing or pressuring a government into conceding.

People argue that since there is a need for pre-emptive action the ISA should be replaced with an anti-terrorism act, instead of detaining anyone who the police feel is a threat; this new law would only detain terrorists.

Suicide bombings or ramming an airplane into a building, though an act of terrorism, is not the definitive definition of terrorism. Rather, as mentioned before, it is actually one of the tactics used to instill fear and those who commit it is a terrorist.

However do consider this: say a politician or a religious figure who preaches to his followers hateful and insidious things that in turn inspire them to commit acts of terror, isn’t he too is a security threat, is he too not a terrorist?

Which is why Abu Bakar Bashir, the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyyah, though not convicted of any crime or act of terrorism, was detained. This is because to the Indonesian government, Abu Bakar Bashir though old and does not hold the knowledge of bomb making, is even more dangerous than Dulmatin or our very own Dr Azhari.

Dr Azhari may have been a bomber, but he was a lone warrior, while on the other hand this cleric has the ability to inspire ten other young men to follow the footsteps of Dr Azhari.

So to simply narrow down the definition of terrorist as the people who bomb or commit acts of terror is not sufficient.

By this definition the logic is that anyone who is perceived to be a threat or perceived to be able to commit, inspire, sponsor or support in any activity that may lead an act of terrorism can still be held under custody.

In which, it is the exact same thing as ISA but under a different name, so to me it doesn’t really make sense.

Amendment not abolishment

It is interesting to note that Raja Petra Kamaruddin was released from the ISA after a court order was obtained, Habeas Corpus. Now for the argument that the ISA is an archaic law that detains people without trial, or a law in which the enforcement can use at their own whim, is not entirely true.

There is a legal route in which a detainee can be released from ISA. Whether it goes far enough that is to be debated.

The thing is, though I support the Internal Security Act, even I agree that the detention of those mentioned earlier on don’t make much sense.

Indeed it is a law that has its purposes and had served us in terms of ensuring security in this nation; alas it is not a perfect one.

It was after all designed to combat communism, times have changed and though we still do face the threat of terrorism, this nation is no longer in an emergency.

Thus instead of taking a drastic and unwise move of abolishing it (or replacing it with another name) it would be much wiser for us to re-examine some of the angles in the ISA.

Perhaps there should be a cap or a maximum amount of years in which a person can be detained. If the government can’t seem to build a case to persecute the person after so many years, he/she should be released.

Or perhaps rather than a two year review of detention it should be done annually so that more chances are given for the detainee to fight for his/her case. Maybe we should re-examine the process of habeas corpus, that one can take the fight to the courts of appeal, to me it is these sorts of things that needs to be amended or reviewed, I am for the amendment to be tabled in parliament and debated.


The fact is that the security and stability that we have today was not achieved by burning candles by the street or renditions of poetry highlighting universal love. It took dedication, vigilance and hard work in preventive measures and enforcements to achieve it.

The same vigilance we had in which forced Dr Azhari and Noordin Mat Top to flee as their network and support group were dismantled before they could commit their terror acts in this nation.

Sure some may point out that it is easy for me to say so when it is not my family who is being detained under the ISA. Indeed the emotional grief and challenges a family face when a loved one is detained is daunting.

However, judgement must not be made based on emotions, but rather based on what

is best for the nation. Indeed it may sound cold and heartless but the fact is reality is harsh and like it or not we have to take actions and measures.

I am not for the abolishment of ISA; I think there are valid reasons for it to be there and a purpose for it to serve. I however am supportive of amendments to the act to ensure it is not to be misused, for it to be fairer and more effective.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

a GOoD read from the Nut Graph...

Shape of a Pocket
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Who is Najib Razak?

25 Mar 10 : 8.00AM

By Jacqueline Ann Surin

najib saying trust me
(pic courtesy of theSun)

IN just a week, Datuk Seri Najib Razak would have been prime minister of Malaysia for exactly a year. Twelve months down the line and all I really want to ask him is, "Will the real Najib please stand up?"

After all, we know that the sixth premier of Malaysia is intelligent and competent. Definitely not clueless. And so, when Najib-speak doesn't quite match up to what's really happening on the ground, one really has to wonder. Is Najib-speak for real? Is Najib for real? And if there are discernible discrepancies between the projected Najib and the real Najib, what exactly is Najib all about?

Shocking untruth

As a journalist of more than 15 years, the straw that broke the camel's back for me came last week. At a press award ceremony on 19 March 2010, Najib took the opportunity to declare that it was grossly unfair to state that Malaysia lacked press freedom.

Those working in the Malaysian media should know better...

Now, those of us who work in the media, even in the government-owned or Barisan Nasional-linked media, know that if Najib were Pinocchio, he would have needed corrective plastic surgery the minute he said that.

The fact is, there have been ample instances where it was clear that the government, under the previous and the current administration, curbs press freedom. One just needs to read The Nut Graph's compilation of these instances to know that Najib's nose would have grown long indeed at that award ceremony.

But more startling than the disconnect between what's been happening and Najib's declaration is this: It's been barely a month since both The Star and China Press were both issued show-cause letters under the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA). Now, surely, Najib, who has been in government for half his life, is aware of the PPPA. And surely, he knows that under the PPPA, the home minister can suspend or shut down a newspaper's operations with no legal recourse. And that was why those show-cause letters to The Star and China Press were so troubling.

Marina Mahathir
(pic by Tara Sosrowardoyo)

Indeed, it isn't surprising that columnist Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir was spiked by The Star, and one hears even columnist Zainah Anwar's column has been held back pending word about the paper's publishing permit.

For certain, self-censorship is one strategy that the media the world over uses in order to survive governments that would restrict an independent and free press. And so the fact that the No.1 English daily in the country has to resort to self-censorship in order to ensure its survivability just reeks of media control by the government.

And so I wonder, did Najib not know about these recent incidents? Was he badly advised by his aides? Did he forget? What can we surmise from his bold declaration that Malaysia enjoys press freedom and responsibility that the world's media can learn from?

Here is what I think: Either our prime minister was clueless or he wasn't. And if he wasn't, and I'm wont to think that this prime minister is sharper than some others we've had, then Najib was being disingenuous. Or he was lying. Either way, it would be hard to trust a person who was being either.

Keeping company

Hishammuddin Hussein (pic courtesy of theSun)But apart from Najib's big, bold statement about the state of Malaysia's media, how else do we measure what this prime minister is all about a year into his administration?They say that we can tell a person's character from the company she or he keeps. By the same token, we can tell what a prime minister is all about by who she or he appoints and keeps in the cabinet.

And unfortunately for Najib, the company he keeps in cabinet is less than inspiring.

Najib's home minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, is not only incompetent but also sanctions violence through his actions and inactions. Indeed, Hishammuddin also defended the caning of three Muslim women under syariah law for "illicit sex" just six months after Najib decried the use of syariah caning in the case of Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno.

"#yorais" is still being used on Twitter to make fun of
the information ministerThe prime minister also has an information minister who is so out of sync with the times that he is the butt of merciless jokes on the net.

And then there's the minister in charge of religion whose idea of dialogue over the "Allah" issue is that non-Muslim groups must back down even as Najib goes on his merry way to promote 1Malaysia. Not only that, minister Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom is actually an advisor to the Malaysian Assembly of Mosque Youth (Mamy). Mamy is the group which is seeking a court order to prevent Sisters in Islam (SIS) from using "Islam" in its name and identity, as if the word was copyrighted and belonged to only a select group of Muslims. As one Twitterer remarked, why not just ban SIS from using the word "sisters" since none of its members are actually sisters.

And then of course, there is Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who reportedly ordered for school elections to be banned.

My question is, what is Najib doing with these ministers? For all intents and purposes, they seem to be undermining his leadership and his stated vision for the nation. And if that were the case, which CEO would stand by and let his or her lieutenants undermine his or her leadership?

Unless, of course, the plan is for Najib to come out smelling like roses while his ministers continue to do the divisive and oppressive work that Malaysians have been subjected to under Umno's dominant rule. Perhaps a game of good cop vs bad cop?

ministers saying trust us
(pic of Hishammudin Hussein and Najib Razak courtesy of theSun)

Except that with the contradictions becoming more and more evident in Najib's administration, I wonder just how our prime minister is going to continue managing the illusion that he really is the good cop.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

CSM: for bumMY socialist Pak Chong's bookworm s(H)ake:)

Dear friends and colleagues,

Strategic Information and Research Development Centre
(SIRD) cordially invites you to the launch of the book No Cowardly Past in Petaling Jaya. On our distinguished panel of speakers are well-known personalities, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Jomo K.S. and Dominic Puthucheary.

No Cowardly Past: James Puthucheary - Writings, Poems, Commentaries (Second Edition). Edited by Jomo K.S. and Dominic Puthucheary

Informed by a profound understanding of history and convinced by the need to construct a sustainable future for his country, Puthucheary spent a lifetime engaged with the most pressing problems of the day. The new edition of No Cowardly Past brings together some of his most important essays on political economy, the struggle for a progressive politics and the character of university education, as well as his lyrical and pungent poetry.

Date: Monday, 22 March 2010

Time: 8.00pm – 10.00pm

Venue: Auditorium, MBPJ Civic Centre, Jalan Yong Shook Lin, Petaling Jaya


Welcome by Ismail Gareth Richards


Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah - The Malaysia We Want

Jomo K.S. - Half a century later: The relevance of the Merdeka generation for us today

Dominic Puthucheary


Official Book Launch and Presentation

Light refreshments will be served

Book sale and signing

Please see the attached flyer for more information.

For queries please contact Chong Ton Sin 016 379 7231 or Clare 019 227 4473.

Feel free to circulate this invitation to your friends and colleagues.

GB Gerakbudaya/SIRD
11 Lorong 11/4E
46200 Petaling Jaya
Selangor, Malaysia
T: +60 (0)3 7957 8343
F: +60 (0)3 7954 9202

Monday, March 15, 2010

Media Monitor: News online popular, but...

Report: News sites popular but few will pay Share

AFP reports via Malaysian Mirror:)

WASHINGTON : Monday, 15 March 2010 11:46

WASHINGTON – The good news for traditional US news organizations? Their websites are popular. The bad news? Few news consumers click on ads and hardly any are prepared to pay for news online.

These and other findings are contained in a "State of the Media" report released on Monday by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The report examines the potential of online revenue models for traditional news outlets and also the constrasting news agendas of the mainstream press and bloggers and social media.

According to the report, newspaper ad revenue fell 26 percent last year US newspapers are spending 1.6 billion dollars less annually on reporting and editing than they did a decade ago.

Network television news division resources have been cut by more than half since the late 1980s and ad revenue was down eight percent last year.

Local television newsrooms have shed some six percent of their workforce in the past two years, the report said, and ad revenue was 22 percent lower last year.

Radio ad revenue fell 22 percent in 2009 compared with the previous year and magazine ad revenue was down 17 percent.

Overall online ad revenue also dropped in 2009 -- by five percent -- and only cable television news channels did not suffer declining revenue and layoffs last year.

"Last year was significantly harder on the news industry even than 2008, and the report predicts still more cutbacks in 2010, even with an improving economy," PEJ director Tom Rosenstiel said.

"And while there is more discussion of alternative ways of financing the news, there is not yet much concrete progress," Rosenstiel said.

The websites of traditional news organizations continue to garner the most traffic -- at least for now, the report found.

Using data from Nielsen NetRatings, it said that of the 4,600 news sites Nielsen tracks, the top seven percent get 80 percent of the traffic and their collected number of unique visitors grow 9.25 percent last year.

Of the top 200 news sites, "legacy media" account for 67 percent.

Thirteen percent are aggregators such as Google News while 14 percent are online-only sites that produce original content.

"Legacy media still make up the majority of the most popular destinations, although each year newly created websites are joining the list," the report said.

It noted that online ad revenue at US newspapers has failed to keep pace with the steady erosion of print ad revenue.

Seventy-nine percent of the online news consumers surveyed said they never or only rarely clicked on an online ad. "They don't mind them. They simply ignore them," the report said.

Seventy-one percent of Internet users, or 53 percent of all American adults, get news online, according to the report.

Only 35 percent of online news consumers said they have a "favorite" news website, and of this group, considered the most likely to pay for content, only 19 percent said they would pay to visit their favorite site.

"Because so few online news consumers even have a favorite site this translates to only seven percent of all people who get news online having a favorite online news source that they say they would pay for," the report said.

Currently, the only major US newspaper successfully charging readers for full access online is The Wall Street Journal although Journal owner Rupert Murdoch has announced plans to erect pay walls around all of his newspapers.

The New York Times has also said it will begin charging on the Web in 2011.

On the news agendas of the mainstream press and bloggers, the report found that the top linked-to news story among bloggers matched the top story in the mainstream press just 13 out of 47 weeks studied.

On Twitter, the top story was the same just four of the 27 weeks studied.

Traditional media continues, however, continues to play a large role in the blogosphere and legacy outlets like newspapers and broadcast networks accounted for 80 percent of all linked-to stories on blogs, the report found.

"While new media -- particularly bloggers -- congregated around different story lines than the national press, it was still traditional outlets that provided most of the original reporting, it said.

Three outlets provided 65 percent of bloggers' linked-to news articles -- The New York Times with 28.7 percent of the links followed by CNN with 18.9 percent and the BBC with 17.6 percent.

The report was compiled from Nielsen data and a December 28-January 19 survey of 2,259 American adults with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.


Malaysia goes for early polls? Nah, Najib has not the...

b....; Ooops, I believe some of my ER are aged 16-years-old and below, so I shall rephrase. Najib does not have the gumption nor decency of a gentleman!

TWO REASONS I challenge the Reuters report that follows:

1. If he has courage, he would not have hesitated in agreewitn eith Pakatan Rakyat's proposal to the Perak Sultan to dissolve the State Aseembly after it reached a "hung" assemby status.

2. Rosmah enjoys the "FIRST LADY" role too much --ensuring daily press coverage eh! -- to wanna give it up without a fight. And if it needs to, she will fight her better/worse half from head to toe and nails. And who do you think will win? Rosmah has aMore charm than any politician!

Is Malaysia heading to an early election?
Mon, 15 Mar 2010 17:08
E-mail Print

By Razak Ahmad

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's recent pullback on fiscal reforms has fuelled talk that the government of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is gearing up for snap polls even though the next general elections are not due until 2013.

Following are questions and answers on the possible timing and the political and economic implications of an early general election in this southeast Asian country.


The end of fuel subsidy reforms as well as a delay in tabling a Goods and Services Tax Bill in Parliament indicate a reluctance by the government to impose measures that would have an impact on poorer Malay voters, a critical vote bank for Umno, backbone of the ruling coalition. This in turn signals a government that may be making preparations for early polls.


To some extent. Elections in Malaysia turned unpredictable in 2008, when a three-party opposition alliance, now led by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, scored the country's biggest-ever election upset. It ended the government's two-thirds parliamentary majority, and the opposition wound up controlling five of 13 states. That election result triggered a stock market sell-off.

Recent moves to halt fiscal consolidation imply Malaysia thinks it can narrow its budget gap, which stood at a 20-year high of 7.4 percent of GDP in 2009, purely on the back of increased economic activity and higher oil prices.

Longer term, failure to implement fiscal reform leaves Malaysia, Asia's third-most trade dependent economy, vulnerable to external economic and commodity price shocks. State oil company Petronas provides almost half of all government revenues.


The most probable timing now seems to be during 2011, for several reasons:

* The government normally calls for polls only when economic growth is in positive territory. Najib is aiming for GDP growth of at least five percent this year after the economy contracted 1.7 percent in 2009. The government would need at least until the first quarter of next year for the recovery to reach ordinary voters.

* Many of the reform pledges that Najib has made, covering six core areas from fighting graft to improving urban transportation, have deadlines at the end of this year.

* Elections in Sarawak. The state is a BN stronghold that provides the government with 30 of its 137 parliament seats. Sarawak is the sole state in the country that holds state elections separately from national polls. It must hold polls by June 2011.

* If the government held the next Sarawak state election concurrently with federal polls it would stretch the opposition's meagre campaign resources even more thinly.

* Alternatively, the government could call for state elections in Sarawak either late this year or early next year, in the hope that a strong showing would bolster confidence ahead of national polls that would follow soon after.

But even if the government scores a landslide win in Sarawak, it may not be willing to take a risk in far more politicised mainland Malaysia where Islamic party PAS is making inroads into its Malay voter base.

Petrol price hikes in 2006 helped the opposition DAP to an unprecedented six state seats in Sarawak polls that year.

"I believe the Sarawak polls will be held separately before the next general election because Sarawak is usually taken as a rough barometer before the national polls are held," said Shaharuddin Badaruddin, associate professor at Universiti Teknologi Mara in Kuala Lumpur.

Calling for an election later than next year also poses a risk for the government due to the possibility of a rise in religious and racial tensions. Ethnic Chinese and Indian voters have shown no sign of returning to the National Front since 2008.


The following indicators will provide a rough early warning that polls are coming in the next three to six months. None have taken place so far:

* BN component party leaders and state leaders from Umno, the lynchpin of the 12-party ruling coalition, will be summoned by Najib to finalise their proposed list of election candidates.

* The country's Election Commission will also indicate looming polls with a step up in its own logistical preparations and a finalising of the electoral rolls.

* A run-up in the stock market. In the past, government linked funds were asked to prop up the stock market several months ahead of elections to create a feel-good factor for the economy, though the extent of such rallies varies.


While Malaysia's opposition has never been stronger in the wake of what locals dubbed the 2008 "political tsunami", the odds are still loaded in favour of the BN.

The Anwar-led opposition has won seven out of nine by-elections held since the 2008 elections and most of Umno's partners in the BN are either paralysed following the drubbing they received in 2008 or plagued by infighting.

Anwar is battling charges of sodomy in court, in what he says is a repeat of a political conspiracy that saw him jailed for six years after his sacking as deputy prime minister in 1998.

The government insists he will get a fair trial. One risk is that a guilty verdict could energise and embolden the opposition. Alternatively it could drive a wedge between the reformers, ethnic Chinese and Islamists that comprise his alliance.

Umno has 78 parliamentary seats. Adding in allied MPs from its stronghold states of Sabah and Sarawak, its total rises to 117 seats, enough for a simple majority in the 222-seat parliament even if all the coalition's ethnic Chinese and Indian parties fail to win anything.

Najib however needs a two-thirds majority if he is to legitimise his rule and avoid a leadership challenge, a fate that befell his predecessor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who presided over the 2008 election losses.

- Reuters

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Supreme Sunday: Desi becomes a pastry-man!

Yes, I have mastered the fine(D?) art of C&Pastrying on Supreme Sunday. No, I'm no reprising the CSI series hear!

I've earlier gifted you an AFP report about a paradise called GOA: Go there; help the Goans go-go-go, bring your fiflthy rich USD dollars and clean RussiAn roubles, and your almigfhty Malaysian Ringgit. Yes, Vincent Tan has just joined Forbes' billionaires' club, I hurt.:(

I got to know a newshound named Wong Choon Mei for less than half-a-year, and she's going great guns at PAS-owned Harakah, so I hope she don't mind my tasting her menu:)

Ibrahim Ali, did you work for Vincent Tan?

Saturday, 13 March 2010 Super Admin
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Wong Choon Mei, Harakah Daily

PAS leaders have called on Perkasa chairman Ibrahim Ali to clarify a news report that he had worked for Chinese gambling king Vincent Tan, who has become the latest Malaysian to join the Forbes’ list of billionaires.

“If this report is true, then Ibrahim Ali must explain to Perkasa members, in fact to all Malays, why he keeps harping on the Chinese overtaking the country and yet quietly, he works for them,” PAS central committee member Dr Syed Azman told Harakahdaily.

“What is this if it is not double standards and hypocrisy? He is going to give Malays a bad name if he continues to play his racist card and Umno continues to sanction him.”

On Friday, news portal Malaysia Today splashed out a 2003 annual report of manufacturing firm Dunham-Bush Malaysia, which was then controlled by Vincent and his brother Danny.

In the annual report, Ibrahim is listed as an independent non-executive director and also a member of the firm’s audit committee.

Slamming tycoons like Vincent

Of late, Ibrahim has ruffled racial feathers more than any other political personality. He has denied being a racist, yet in the next breath, he has slammed the non-Malays for demanding equal rights.

He has also warned his community that Malaysia was in danger of being controlled by the other ethnic groups in particular the Malaysian Chinese.

“Look at how Vincent Tan became successful - he took over the privatisation of Berjaya-Toto," Ibrahim said in a recent press interview.

"The Genting group succeeded because of its monopoly on gambling. Ananda Krishnan rose to the fore because of his monopoly over Astro and the Maxis 012 license

“Looking at what they got, is it not a form of assistance, 'affirmative action' for the Chinese taukes? How can we compare what they got with the two sen small contracts given to the Malays?”

Praising the NEP

However, what Ibrahim did not say about the affirmative action plans in the New Economic Policy is that they have actually done very little to spread wealth amongst the Malays, particularly those in the rural areas.

Instead, the NEP, which originally aimed to eradicate poverty and help backward groups get a toehold in the economy, has been severely abused through the decades by Umno leaders.

In the name of protecting the Malays, Umno’s elite leadership granted huge economic largess and government contracts to unscrupulous cronies, resulting in widespread and endemic corruption.

“The NEP benefits only the Umnoputras and not the ordinary folk. This is something the Malays themselves are very well aware of,” PAS vice president Mahfuz Omar said.
“So Ibrahim should stop playing the race card as if no one can see through his tactics. In fact, everyone knows of his connection to Umno stalwarts like Mahathir Mohamad and Prime Minister Najib Razak. He should stop taking Malaysians, especially the Malays, for fools.

Goa here I my original sinful state!:)

Topless Goa tourists told to cover up Share

Saturday, 13 March 2010 19:09
nude_touristsPANAJI, India – Tourism officials in the Indian resort state of Goa have begun distributing booklets to overseas visitors, asking them to refrain from nude sunbathing and wearing skimpy clothing in the streets.

It comes after one Goa lawmaker accused Russian tourists of "corrupting the minds of locals" and leaving a "horrifying impression on schoolchildren" by wandering the streets and beaches in a state of undress.

The former Portuguese colony is a magnet for overseas visitors, attracted by its long, sandy beaches, dusk-till-dawn parties and laid-back lifestyle.

But the state tourism department said that while Goans were generally tolerant to more informal European styles of dress, visitors should still bear in mind local religious and cultural sensitivities.

Nudity on the beaches

"If in doubt take local advice especially with regard to topless bathing," the guidelines read. "Nudity on the beaches and public places is strictly forbidden."

It advises: "Never ride a two-wheeler without clothes on the upper part of the body."

The guide also warns against offers of land sales and modelling contracts, and details strict punishments for drug possession or dealing.

The pocket guide is currently available in English and Russian, as Britons and Russians make up the majority of Goa's 400,000 annual overseas visitors. A German version is planned.

In January, officials mooted a ban on using bikini-clad women for state-funded advertising promoting Goa as a tourist destination after a string of crimes against women.— AFP

Monday, March 08, 2010

BUM2010 is kambing, BIGger or smallER depends on YOU!

Desi as past Organising Committee Chairman of BUM2007, BUM2008 and BUM2009 because no other BUMmer volunteeered, has reluctantly acceptd to re-prise this role. I teased last year that I don't look forward to being chair for the 4th time, 'Cos 4 rimes wit' SEI in Chinese/Kantonis, and it means DEATH.

But at heart Desi's no believer in superstition; in fcat I know little beyond the realm of reality and cyberspace, hence my rare writings on Religion and Salvation, Allah and InsyaAllah notwithstanding in my satiric vocabulary.

Back to BUM2010, for Ignoramuses, BUM stands for BLOGGERS UNIVERSE MALAYSIA, and for THREE proud consecutive years an modest gathering of 150-200 Bloggers or B2B (Bloggers-to-be lah!:) had gatherd for a day's fun-D of dining and ranting after hearing our some civil socirety and political leaders deliver their me(wo)nus. BUM vents are always timed for May to mark World Press Freedom Day which falls on May 3.

Desi now officially calls on Bloggers who are keen to have a new experience for the next three months to be co-opted into BUM2010 OC. (OC stands for organising committee-lah, why you have to ask wan?:) Please write to

Sevral of BUM2009 OC members will definitely serve again to ensure continuity; but we welcome new blood, on a first come first copted basis.

For last year's event coverage/recall, visit


Which means "See you again later"


"Let's go for a bite/byte"
at the Central Market come Fridae!

I hear the fishhead curry at Yousellf Restron is xxXXquisite and sinfooOOl!:)
-- YL, Desi

Sunday, March 07, 2010

I feel I wanna be a rock...

Like Simon and Garfunkel, so I shall borrow mGf's thoughts on this ruminative Sundae.

I just came back from a 3D/2N holidae. Where? You don't need to know; two goOd buddies came along as chaperons, to make sure Desi continues to breathe, not totally transform into a rock.

It's GOoD to break free for a 1k holidae if you have some savings. If you have no savings, then look for a sponsor. If if you're aged past half-a-century, and you are in a position with NO POTENTIAL SPONSORS, I pity you. You have lived your life in vain thus far. So join me, BECOME A ROCK! If not, a fan will do!:(

Simon And Garfunkel
I Am A Rock Lyrics

A winter's day
In a deep and dark December;

I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I've built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

Don't talk of love,
But I've heard the words before;
It's sleeping in my memory.
I won't disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Of old forgeys and froggies...

We grow olde, everyone of us, older by one year with every passing 365 days

And when past 50years, sometimes people call ye old forgey

That's alright, half a century means the next finishing line is 50years away

Desi's an optimist

But if thou a politician be

Grow older and ***wiser

But not an Ibrahim Ali

A froggie

Or Zahrain (oops, I can't even remember his fool name!:(

Another froggie

Or Tan Tee Beng

Is he a doctor or a quek/quack?

(I know his P was ex-Gerakan chif Penang, so what do you
xxpect of sonny turning reformist?)

I know for sure he's de latest froggie

But he won't be the last

Lustily Zul No Din aims to be the BIgest of damn Awe

An empty vessel makes the most noise, some wiseman did say

But in Desi's experience

Half empty vessels make the most dangerous noise

They wanna jump and try to rachet up their market value

Malaysians will always remember such froggies, "Bapak malu, Emak pun malu!"

DESIDERATA: On being older and wiser, let's hear it from the second richest man in the world -- I don't mind being an olde forgey like Warren, then I can have daily buffet at Nikko Hotel Jalan Ampang 24/7!:)

Buffett goofed on Geico credit card!

From Reuters:), via Economic Times:):), via Google:):):)


* Credit card
* Warren Buffett
* Geico Corp

NEW YORK: Warren Buffett is considered expert in many things in the financial
Warren Buffett

Top secrets of Buffett's success
Buffett’s good & bad bets
Buffett on succession, acquisitions
Berkshire Hathaway at a glance
Buffett at a glance

Credit cards apparently are not among them. The world's second-richest person often admits when he gets things wrong. He did so on Saturday in his annual letter to shareholders of his Omaha, Nebraska-based insurance and investment company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Buffett had a brainstorm: create a credit card for customers of Geico Corp, the third-largest US car insurer, which Berkshire has owned since 1996.

Though Geico underwriting profit fell 29 per cent last year as loss claims increased, premiums earned grew 9 per cent as it won new business in part through $800 million of advertising, many featuring a talking gecko.

Thanks to Geico chief Tony Nicely's leadership, Buffett said he is "more excited" about Geico now than he was when he first visited the company in 1951, as a 20-year-old student.

He's probably referring to the car insurance. "For many years," Buffett wrote, "I had struggled to think of side products that we could offer our millions of loyal Geico customers. Unfortunately, I finally succeeded, coming up with a brilliant insight that we should market our own credit card. I reasoned that Geico policyholders were likely to be good credit risks and, assuming we offered an attractive card, would likely favor us with their business."

And they did – but as at many traditional credit card lenders, it was the wrong type of business.

Buffett said Geico lost $6.3 million pretax on cards before he "finally woke up." It lost $44 million more when it sold a $98 million portfolio of card receivables, at 55 cents on the dollar.

"Your chairman closed the book on a very expensive business fiasco entirely of his own making," Buffett wrote.

"Geico's managers, it should be emphasized, were never enthusiastic about my idea," he went on. "They warned me that instead of getting the cream of Geico's customers we would get the – well, let's call it the non-cream. I subtly indicated that I was older and wiser."

Buffett said he was half-right. "I was just older." Buffett is 79.