Thursday, April 26, 2007

The langkawi Book Village is dead!

The Malaysia Book Village (Kampung Buku Malaysia) project in beautiful Langkawi is now officially a flop, so says the Chairman of the Kedah State Executive Committee for Tourism, Youth and Sports, Datuk Othman Aziz.
And I am not the least surprised.

Around the time the project was launched in December 1997, I wrote in my then weekly op-ed column in Utusan Malaysia that the project is destined to fail – because it is ill-conceived, unnecessary and a gross waste of public funds.

I must have incurred the wrath of the organizers (i.e. the Kedah state government and the then Menteri Besar) and some Malay writers NGOs that supported the idea. Naturally they ignored the views of one columnist without political influence, and proceeded with the project with much fanfare.

Please don’t get me wrong – I am not against books or book villages. I love books, and one of the places on earth that I would rather be is the quaint village of Hay-on-Wye in South Wales, famous for its secondhand bookshops and barns, a place I would never miss whenever I get the chance to be in the area.

But this interesting “book village” developed naturally out of the people’s need for books, regarding them as essential and much appreciated cultural artifacts – not out of “unnatural” need to develop a tourist destination as a means of milking money out of the pockets of unsuspecting visitors.

And love of books, or even an appreciation of books as desired cultural artifacts, simply do not exist in our society. A series of “book reading surveys” sponsored and financed by a number of reputable local and international organizations have attested to this again ad again.

As always, however, most public policy thinking in our country is based on copycat thinking. If book villages in Holland, France, Wales and elsewhere could develop and prosper – in fact have become successful tourists destinations in themselves – why can’t we not develop the same idea here in Malaysia?

No further creative and critical thinking is considered necessary. Moreover, the then Menteri Besar of Kedah was an ulat buku himself (he has a house somewhere in Bangsar, it seems, just to house his enormous collection of books).

In our illiberal democracy scheme of things, who is to question a powerful person’s need to implement his private fanciful ideas using public funds? Even the writers’ NGOs – supposedly made up of thinking people – were quick to realize that they have everything to gain by just blindly supporting the ill-considered ideas of powerful public officials.

The village has within its compound six buildings (houses) to be used as exhibition halls and sales centres for books. But since the village was launched, it had hardly had visitors.

“The strategic position of the village at the foot of Gunung Raya, with its beautiful surroundings, would only go to waste if it is not visited,” says Datuk Othman Aziz. So he is sparing no effort to turn the village into a truly visited tourist destination which would also double up as a book centre.

For starters, he would enlist the “expert” advice of organizations such as the National Library, the State Library, the Education Ministry, and the local public universities. Not a very promising proposition, if you ask me, for the following reasons:

* The National and Public Libraries in this country are themselves hopelessly trying to promote public utilization of their own services – that the help “influential” entertainers such as Datuk Siti Norhaliza had to be sought;

* The Education Ministry is actually the culprit responsible for creating students who have no love for books and reading, whose only concern are to pass exams through using workbooks and attending tuition classes;

* The local public universities – well, one need only to have a quick peep at their high-budget libraries to find out if they are being utilized by students and lecturers alike in ways that they should.

Further, according to Datuk Othman, the Kedah state would be organizing a workshop for about 50 “thinkers” – representing organizations such as the Malaysian Book Development Council, Tourism Malaysia, and Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) – to propose ways to revive the village.

I do not know what thoughts these “thinkers” would be capable of, but the Malaysian public should be glad that there is no mention yet about these 50 thinkers going on a world trip – to Wales, Holland, France, Japan, and elsewhere – to study how book villages are being run in those places.

The simple truth is: books are not read in our society, nor reading is a way of life here. That has to be changed first, but that would take a lot of thinking and long-term efforts on the part of the Education Ministry. In the meantime, if Datuk Othman really wants the village to be visited, I have an idea to offer:

Turn the village into a pop concert ground for all sorts of musical genres such as the dangdut, nasyid, rock, rap, keroncong, asli, or whatever – a latter day Woodstock as it were. Have regular performances, with cheap backpack accommodation available, and people would come flocking from near and far – and hopefully have some time to appreciate the beauty of Gunung Raya as well.

Unlike the case with book promotion, such concerts would be very likely to get sponsorships from our "socially responsible" corporations as well. Let’s get real!

Extracted from Suara Rakyat Blog

Another attack on Khalid — physically!

Soon Li Tsin
Apr 25, 07 7:20pm[from]

Parti Keadilan Rakyat candidate for the Ijok by-election Khalid Ibrahim escaped unhurt after a group of unidentified men accosted his entourage during campaigning at the constituency today.

PKR Klang division chief P Krishnasamy, 46, was assaulted by the group in the incident.

According to Krishnasamy, Khalid (left) and a group of his supporters were on a campaign trail at Ladang Coalfield near Ijok, when suddenly a group of about 10 men told them to leave the estate’s housing area.

The men then allegedly started raining blows on Khalid’s group. Krishnasamy identified one of the assailants as a person known as Balakrishnan. He is believed to the the MIC Tuan Mee branch chairman.

“They punched me, tore my shirt and broke my spectacles,” he said.

“I quickly told our group to get Tan Sri (Khalid) out of here,” he added.

Krishnasamy, who heads the PKR operations centre at nearby Tuan Mee, and three others were still locked in by Balakrishnan at the estate’s gated area at press time.

“We’re still here and we are waiting for someone to get us out so we can lodge a police report,” he told malaysiakini by telephone.

However, an hour later it is learnt that the group was able to leave the area and Krishnasamy said that they were in Ijok police station to file a complaint.

Not the first time

Khalid when contacted for comment, said the harassment started after he visited 20 houses.

“These people got upset and said they were going to close the estate gates and told us to get out.

“From Krishnasamy’s point of view, he said we should finish visiting the houses first and then leave but then they started to push him around,” he said.

When it started to get violent, the PKR group quickly escorted Khalid to safety.

This is not the first time intimidation tactics have been used on Khalid during campaigning.

Last week about 20 people, including some in Pemuda BN uniform, allegedly tried to intimidate him and two freelance photographers, one of them being blogger Jeff Ooi.

Khalid will be contesting against Barisan Nasional’s K Parthiban for the Ijok state seat in this Saturday’s by-election.

Najib semakin desperado jadi ‘Raja Lawak’ lucah di Ijok

Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad

Malam kelmarin (Selasa 23 hb April) Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak, mempamerkan personaliti dan jati dirinya yang sebenar, yang sememang telah lama dikaitkan umum dengan skandal seks, yang sehingga kini masih menanti dibongkar dengan menggunakan bahasa lucah dalam ceramahnya.

Berikut dipaparkan inti ucapan kempen Timbalan Perdana Menteri Malaysia, itu kepada pengundi Dun Ijok, untuk anda nilaikannya.

Tanpa provokasi beliau telah memulakan ceramahnya dengan secara selesa berseloroh dengan sebutan lucah Batang Berjuntai, menekankan nama 'Batang' yang masih tak berubah.

Seolah-olah hanya bercakap kepada kelompok Umnonya sendiri dengan tidak menghiraukan masyarakat umum yang turut hadir untuk mendengar penerangan beliau, Najib lalu menyebutkan bahawa ‘pembangkang, depan cakap lain, belakang, cakap lain'.

Tanpa segan silu sekali lagi Najib mengingatkan hadirin bahawa ada orang sensitif tentang 'belakang'.

Beliau menyempurnakan kelucahan nya dengan memberi jaminan bahawa walaupun Parthiban tidak kawin sampai 39 tahun, tetapi beliau jamin Parthiban masih sempurna dari atas ke bawah, dan tempoh hari menegaskan bahawa Parthiban tidak berkahwin bukan kerana pekakasnya rosak!

Umum menjadi lebih termangu-mangu dengan lawak lucah dan dangkalnya seolah seperti salah seorang peserta amatur program realiti "Raja Lawak".

Apahal pula seorang TPM perlu menyebutkan perkara-perkara ini dan tidak langsung menunjukkan peribadi yang punya wibawa dan maruah sehingga sanggup memperkenalkan dan mengaibkan calonnya sendiri dengan secara sebutan lucah seperti ini.

Apakah ini yang didakwa umum cara budaya ahklak pemimpin tertinggi Umno yang mendukungi Islam Hadhari? Ramai yang bertanya!

Tentunya Parthiban, sebagai seorang manusia biasa akan terasa dihina dengan pengenalan sedemikian.

Parthiban diaibkan oleh Khir Toyo

Apatah lagi beliau baru diaibkan oleh Menteri Besar Selangor dan kini Najib sendiri yang menjamin pengundi Ijok bahawa beliau akan melantik wakil peribadinya, meskipun Parthiban menang dalam pilihnaraya kecil N11 Dun Ijok nanti.

Ternyata bahawa MB Selangor ini, secara terang-terangan membuat pernyataan bahawa beliau tidak yakin kepada calon mereka sendiri.

Kenyataan ini mengesahkan dakwaan bahwa wujudnya sentimen perkauman dalam kepimpinan BN.

Parthiban dan kaum India tentunya terasa diperkecilkan dan dirinya tak mampu mewakili kepentingan orang Melayu.

Najib memfitnah Khalid Ibrahim

Najib tampak semakin tertekan dengan serangan penerangan pembangkang dan terdesak untuk mendapat sokongan pengundi di Ijok lalu mengambil pendekatan ‘mengumpat dan menyerang peribadi’ calon (character assasination).

Dulunya dia dakwa dirinya difitnah, tetapi kini dia sudah pula yang hendak memfitnah. Persoalannya fitnah atau bukan fitnah tergantung kepada kebenaran sesuatu yang dikatakan! Umum sedia tahu.

Tuduhan bahawa Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim kedekut masa dalam Umno dulu dan kini akan menjadi lebih kedekut lagi di luar Umno adalah bertentangan dengan kesediaan Tan Sri untuk memberi khidmat kepada penduduk bukan sahaja di Ijok.

Bahkan di seluruh Kuala Selangor seperti yang beliau telah buktikan dalam usaha beliau terlibat dalam usaha Yayasan Pembasmian Kemiskinan Kuala Selangor sejak 10 tahun yang lalu.

Pertikaian Najib bahawa Tan Sri sudah tidak lagi menjadi ‘heavyweight’ kerana tidak lagi memegang jawatan “CEO” dalam Guthrie atau PNB mencerminkan sikap dan nilai kebendaan pimpinan tertinggi Umno/BN yang rakus kepada kuasa kerana menyangka hanya yang punya kuasa ‘mampu’ melakukan apa sahaja!

Mereka tidak tahu bahawa yang dinilai dan diktiraf oleh Allah SWT dan disanjung oleh manusia adalah peribadi pemimpin yang ikhlas berkorban, berjuang dan berani mengambil risiko demi kemaslahatan agama, rakyat dan negara.

Di segi itu rakyat umum tahu siapa sebenarnya heavyweight, lightweight atau 'No Weight'! Atas ukuran ini, Najib itu apa?

Ijok lebih maju jika Khalid dipilih

Andainya Tan Sri dipilih sebagai Wakil Rakyat ADun Ijok akan menjadi suara rakyat yang mewakili kepentingan rakyat di Dewan Undangan Negeri Selangor.

Tentunya penghujahan Tan Sri yang mantap, berilmu serta bermaklumat akan digeruni oleh pimpinan Umno/BN.

Dengan gandingan Ahli-ahli YB dari pembangkang yang lain, sesungguhnya Tan Sri akan menjadi 'heavyweight' yang Umno/BN takuti!

Inilah peluang terbaik untuk pengundi di Dun Ijok untuk menyatakan bahawa mereka berani mengundi pembangkang, kerana calon pembangkang ini bukan sahaja anak jati kawasan ini, tetapi antara anak jati yang bersedia untuk meneruskan mencurah khidmatnya.

Beliau tidak tampil untuk menjadikan politik kesempatan untuk mengkayakan dan membesarkan tembolok sendiri atau suku-sakatnya seperti pimpinan Umno yang diketahui umum kini.

Bahkan setelah mendapat gelaran Tan Sri dan juga telah berjaya dalam hidupnya di segi kekayaan dan pangkat, beliau dengan rendah hati menyatakan kesediaan untuk menjadi Yang Berkhidmat kepada rakyat dan negara.

Di segi ini pun sudah cukup jelas mengapa tuan-tuan perlu secara wajar dan bijak untuk memberi undi kepada beliau.

Saya tahu bagaimana beliau juga membangunkan kedudukan kewangan peladang-peladang di Indonesia bagi meraih keuntungan yang adil dalam perladangan kelapa sawit yang mereka usahakan dalam syarikat yang di pimpinnya.

Kini beliau mahu menora kejayaan yang sama di tanah tumpah darahnya.

Pengundi Ijok bijaksana menilai antara subsidi dengan maruah

Saya tidak perlu meyakinkan pengundi kerana saya percaya kebijaksanaan masyarakat Ijok ini, yang dapat dilihat sendiri oleh umum sebagai mampu hidup berdikari.

Masyarakat Ijok tidak perlu subsidi kerajaan untuk terus hidup bermaruah seperti juga anda tidak layak memberi subsidi undi kepada calon mereka.

Undi anda wajar digunakan untuk mempastikan suara rakyat akan diwakili di Dun Selangor oleh seorang Adun yang peka dan prihatin kepada kepentingan bahkan penderitaan rakyat di bawah sistem dan kerajaan yang mendera rakyat dengan berbagai kenaikan kos saraan kehidupan, samada tarik air, elektrik, tol, kesihatan dan kos pendidikan anak-anak dan termasuk pelbagai inflasi dalam kos kehidupan seharian.

Seorang lagi Adun BN, tambahan yang amatur, tidak akan menambah nilai kepada perdebatan di Dewan Undangan Negeri, kalau sekadar hadir angguk-angguk, geleng-geleng, tunjuk-tunjuk dan ikut tunjuk!

Sudah sampai masanya kita bertanya kepada pimpinan Umno/BN: Kenapa Baru Sekarang? Kenapa baru sekarang? Kenapa baru sekarang nak bagi?

Janji BN merasuah pengundi Ijok

Sejumlah RM 36 juta dijanjikan oleh MB Selangor kepada penduduk Ijok! Dalam 5lima hari berkempen, Najib dan menteri-menteri yang lain termasuk Khir Toyo, dengan penuh kemewahan menjanjikan ‘pemberian demi pemberian’ kepada pelbagai pihak dan projek.

Semalam sahaja sebanyak RM 3.6 juta termasuk masjid-surau, sekolah, balai Islam seolah-olah duit ini duit Umno. Semua ini wang rakyat!

Yang jelasnya kesemua pemberian adalah untuk menggula-gulakan dan memancing undi pada 28 hb April ini!

Saya ingin mengingatkan kesemua pihak yang dijanjikan pelbagai pemberian ini supaya mempastikan pimpinan Umno ini membayar kesemua janji ini dengan bayaran tunai segera kerana dengan izin Allah, calon PKR/BA, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim akan menang pada 28 hb April ini.

Banyak janji-janji mereka tidak mereka tunai, apatah lagi kalau yang baru mereka buat ini dan kalah pula.

Janji PM yang tidak tertunai khasnya untuk membenteras rasuah yang akhirnya mengakibatkan segala-gala krisis dan kemelut kepimpinan negara ini dalam 9 teras isu nasional (sila rujuk 9 isu-isu nasional).

Kalau anda memenangkan calon mereka, maka tambah-tambah lagi keangkuhan mereka untuk tidak meninjau dan mempeduli pengundi di Dun Ijok ini.

Saya ingin bertanya berapa kali MB Selangor telah datang ke Dun ini tuan-tuan sebelum pilihan raya kecil ini?

Sekian, mengundilah secara bijak dan wajar. Najib kata jangan mengundi kerana untuk menunjukkan protes.

Sesungguhnya, mengundilah dengan tujuan untuk memprotes bahawa rakyat tidak mahu terus-terusan didera di negara sendiri.

Buktikan bahawa warga pengundi Ijok tidak mudah digula-gula oleh sogokan-sogokan di saat saat akhir ketika waktu genting dan meruncing lalu meninggalkan rakyat setiap kali ketika mereka di beri kuasa oleh lanjutan subsidi rakyat!

Corruption causes poverty, says McKinnon

The Star

Get rid of corruption and bad leadership and poverty will become history, Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon said yesterday.

Noting the obvious link between poverty and corruption, he said:

“Corruption is public enemy No.1 to the two things we hold dearest in the Commonwealth – democracy and development.”

“It tends to be the poor who suffer most, it leads to children without adequate schooling, and to people of all ages without adequate healthcare.”

McKinnon was speaking at the third anniversary of the launch of the National Integrity Plan and the establishment of the Malaysian Institute of Integrity.

In his speech titled The Cancer of Corruption: The Ideal Integrity, he referred to the expressions duit kopi (coffee money) in Malaysia and du the (some tea) in Mauritius, saying they implied that corruption “doesn’t really matter, its only small change, no one gets hurt”.

“But corruption is much more. Amongst other things, it is bribery, nepotism, kickbacks, shady dealings, cartels and rigged elections,” he said.

During the question-and-answer session, fellow panellist Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said he would be looking at the Attorney-General’s Chamber’s study on having a Whistleblower’s Act soon.

Asked whether the Anti-Corruption Agency could be placed under a Parliamentary Select Committee, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said it would be not be fair.

“In an all-party parliamentary committee, the Barisan Nasional would get 13 seats, one for each of its coalition parties. Also, as we are strongly affiliated to our party and we tend to make decisions along party lines.

“I want to be frank, if a matter is raised in Parliament and the Opposition says they want a minister brought before a committee, I would say ‘yes’ because I know I would be acquitted because of the majority we have.”

Earlier, in his paper, Nazri said Malaysia aimed to improve on its score of 5.0 (in TI’s Corruption Perception Index) last year to 6.5 next year.

Pak Lah supposed to serve one term only: Mahathir

From: Agence France Presse (AFP)

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has attacked his successor and urged him to quit at the next election to make way for a man more than 10 years his junior.

Dr Mahathir told journalists that Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was only meant to serve one term, according to news website

He said he had expected Abdullah, 67, to hand over to the younger Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is 53 and currently Deputy PM, but the switch seemed to be in doubt.

"There was no agreement, but I expected him to serve one term. Now it seems he wants three terms," Mahathir was quoted as saying.

The former premier voluntarily stepped down in October 2003, handing the reins to Abdullah, who was elected in a landslide general election the following year.

Speaking at a lunch with reporters, Mahathir said he had chosen Abdullah to take over because of his "Mr Clean" anti-corruption image, the website said.

But the ex-Premier also said Najib, then a Vice President with the ruling United Malays National Organisation (Umno), is more popular with the party and should take over.

"Najib was more popular, he was Vice-President. It would be unfair for him," said Mahathir, who has attacked Abdullah's administration for months, levelling accusations of economic mismanagement, nepotism and corruption.

Abdullah has repeatedly denied the charges.

Malaysia's next general election is due in 2009 but there is widespread speculation that Abdullah will hold a poll before then.

The PM last week refuted reports that he would soon resign.

"All these rumours that I am going to resign in July, who is saying this?

Some have said I am a one-term Prime Minister. We will see about that," he told the New Straits Times on Thursday. - AFP

IJOK: FRU dan water cannon 'gempur' ceramah KeADILan

Azamin Amin dan Anis Nazri

Tidak cukup dengan pelbagai janji manis ditabur pemimpin Barisan Nasional, gumpalan jutaan wang rakyat bertaburan di merata-merata, projek menurap jalan dan parit panjang, keresahan BN semakin menyerlah apabila kempen pilihan raya yang dibenarkan selama sembilan hari juga akhirnya dicabuli untuk memastikan pembangkang khususnya KeADILan diasak hebat dan kecundang pada pusingan pertama.

Ini terbukti apabila dua insiden semalam diganggu polis di dua tempat ceramah yang berasingan.

Kejadian pertama berlaku di Restoran Hai Yee Tian, Simpang Tiga Ijok pada jam 8.30 malam, di mana pemimpin DAP, YB Tan Seng Giau (Ahli Parlimen Kepong) dan YB Chong Eng (Ahli Parlimen Bukit Mertajam) telah didatangi seorang pegawai polis yang dikenali sebagai ASP Ng meminta ceramah yang bakal diadakan di situ dibatalkan serta-merta.

"If you can show me the valid assembly permit, you can proceed, simple as that," kata ASP Ng kepada YB Tan, namun dibantah seorang peguam Latheefa Koya bahawa pihak penganjur sudah pun memohon untuk mengadakan permit pada malam itu, termasuk di enam kawasan yang berasingan.

Dalam keadaan kelam kabut, orang ramai yang hadir kira-kira 200 orang melaungkan rasa tidak puas hati atas tindakan pihak polis yang berat sebelah, sedangkan di seberang jalan, satu lagi ceramah BN yang diadakan di Restoran Cheng Sung tidak mendapat sebarang gangguan.

Ceramah yang diadakan oleh BN tersebut hanya dihadiri sekitar 50 orang walaupun jamuan makan malam tersebut telah ditaja secara percuma.

Sungguhpun begitu, YB Tan tetap meneruskan ceramahnya di hadapan orang ramai,sambil meminta pihak polis melayan semua pihak secara adil tidak kira sama ada pihak parti pemerintah mahupun parti pembangkang dan tetap berpegang kepada motto profesional polis iaitu cekap, mesra dan beramanah.

"Pisang sesikat susu sebelanga, tanda muafakat bersama-sama," dengan pepatah melayu YB Tan mencuit hati para hadirin yang majoritinya berbangsa Tiong Hua yang tekun dan bersemangat mendengar ucapan beliau.

Selang 15 minit, secara tiba-tiba pihak penganjur telah dimaklumkan bahawa permit kemudian diluluskan 'secara mudah' oleh pihak polis dan ramai yang menyifatkan usaha awal menghalang cermah tadi adalah sebagai tindakan provokasi polis serta cubaan psikologi untuk menakut-nakutkan pengundi yang hadir pada setiap ceramah pemimpin pembangkang.

More violence in Ijok, Keadilan candidate speaks

By: Susan Loone

Since several bloggers - some of who were part of All-blogs pro-tem committee - visited Ijok this morning and met up with 38 year old K. Parthiban, the Barisan Nasional candidate, I thought I visit Ijok virtually and have a chat with Keadilan candidate 61 year old Khalid Ibrahim.

When I called the Tan Sri about 5.45 pm Bangkok time, Khalid was at a police station, with his campaign entourage, lodging a report on another violent attack on him and his Tamil spokesperson P. Krishnasamy.

Khalid alleged that they were attacked at Ladang Coalfield at about 4.30 pm, during their campaign trail, which begun on 19 April. Earlier, Khalid and his team had visited about 15 houses in the vicinity and shook hands with villagers and estate workers without any interuption. However at Coalfield, about 10 men guarded the gates to the estate area, and refused to let Khalid in. Subsequently, Krishnasamy was punched, leaving his shirt torn and spectacles broken. The groups quickly led Khalid away from the scenario before further mishap happenned to him.

The estate is not the only area where Khalid is being prevented from meeting potential voters.

“I’ve also been threatened not to enter this area called Kampung Rantau Panjang, a Malay dominant area,” Khalid told me over the phone.

“Eventhough I called the village head to explain what we would be doing in the area, he simply refused to let us in,” he added.

I asked Khalid if he felt deterred by the violent acts (as on 21 April, Saturday, 20 people, several in BN Youth uniform, allegedly tried to intimidate him and two photographers-bloggers - Paul Choo and Jeff Ooi.

He said “No. I am not in the least afraid. This is a democracy”.

I querried if the estate workers had prevented him from entering the area because of his past as CEO of Guthrie, who is unpopular to the former due to poor wages and several eviction incidences. (Khalid had written a letter to Malaysiakini setting some record straight).

“I am prepared to explain to the estate people about myself, about what I did in Guthrie. They can question me on the matter. I will not stop them from asking me any question, and no one should stop me from speaking to them,” he said.

“I am also prepared to debate with the government on TV about the matter,” he added.

In analysing the violent attacks on his group, Khalid said Barisan Nasional was becoming increasingly desperate to ensure that Keadilan lost at all cost.

When asked about his personal background and if he thought that his opponent, BN-MIC’s K Parthiban, had a better chance of winning since he was a local boy from Ijok, Khalid said he was born (and studied in his early years) in Jeram, Kuala Selangor, which is near Ijok.

“I used to cycle all around this area. My parents, who are now deceased had also lived here. So, there’s no question about me being not a local boy,” he told me.

I asked Khalid what new developments or changes he would bring to Ijok if he were to win the elections, scheduled for this Saturday, 28 April, he said “The people here need a scheme to improve their incomes”.

“This should be a community programme, where people can participate in and decisions will be made from bottom to top, involving all segments, and not the other way around,” he said, adding he will draw from his experience as a coporate man to try to improve the financial situation of the Ijok folks.

“For years, we have been segmented. The position must change to include the totality, and not favour one sector alone”.

“However, their financial capacity must also match their mental capacity,” he offered.

“Or else, the young boys would just sit on the street and count how many beautiful cars are passing by, without knowing a thing about car, or how to drive them”.

When asked how he felt about his first campaign trail, he said there was “much excitement and opportunities, and felt motivated”.

“I used to think that there was only Barisan Nasional, now I can see that I, too, can make a difference”.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Faktor Najib, Anwar dan Khairy di Ijok

Seperti diramalkan, peristiwa yang berlaku pada hari penamaan calon semalam, 19 April, membuktikan bahawa BN akan melakukan apa sahaja untuk mengekalkan kerusi DUN ini.

Bagi BN, kekurangan hatta satu undi pun sudah cukup untuk menjejaskan imejnya kerana ia berdepan dengan musuh psikologinya yang utama iaitu PKR dan Anwar Ibrahim.

BN tidak boleh kelihatan lemah daripada PKR dalam apa aspek sekalipun. Justeru itu, janji pilihan raya yang besar akan dibuat –mungkin lebih besar daripada di Pengkalan Pasir, Batu Talam dan Machap.

Lebih banyak pembesar dan perayu undi BN akan dikerahkan ke Ijok. Makan dan minum halal dan tidak haram, lembut dan keras pasti disajikan dengan seluas-luasnya. Teringat saya kepada waktu membuat liputan pilihan raya Sabah dan Sarawak pada tahun 1970’an dan 1980an di mana minuman keras menjadi senjata utama memancing undi.

Tidak cukup dengan itu, kempen yang berkisar di sekitar perwatakan pasti berlaku dan menjurus kepada character assassination.

Malah ia sudah pun bermula pada waktu penamaan calon dengan penggunaan istilah-istilah dan slogan-slogan tertentu.

Tiada siapa akan selamat daripada kempen selak dan pamer, show and tell ini – tidak Najib, tidak Anwar, tidak Khairy dan tidak juga dua calon terbabit.

Menyedari hal inilah agaknya Timbalan Perdana Menteri, buat pertama kali, bercakap secara terbuka kepada akhbar mengenai percubaan mengaitkan kes bunuh Altantuya dengan diri, pejabat dan rumah tangga beliau.

Begitu juga Anwar. Sebagai bekas orang nombor dua Umno, BN dan negara, beliau lebih daripada arif mengenai apa yang BN akan dan tidak akan lakukan untuk memenangi pilihan raya.

Pembabitan cergas naib ketua pemuda Umno, Khairy Jamaluddin, pasti menarik perhatian umum kepada Perdana Menteri yang berupa bapa mentuanya.

Para pemerhati dan pengkaji politik mungkin berminat membuat perbandingan antara Anwar yang sudah matang dengan Khairy yang masih mentah.

Seorang bekas menteri yang pada suatu waktu dulu sangat akrab dengan Anwar membuat kesimpulan berikut selepas dikunjungi oleh Khairy:

“Dia pandai mengambil hati. Dia adalah salinan karbon (carbon copy) kepada Anwar.”

Jadi, kalau tiga watak utama ini --- Najib, Anwar dan Khairy – bertembung di Ijok maka tiada apa yang kekal suci (sacred) dan rahsia (secret). Segala-galanya akan diselak dan dipamerkan -- show and tell.

Dipetik dari

“I did not apologize to Dato’ (Seri) Abdullah!”

Extracted from
Courtesy of Biggum Dogmannsteinberg

That was what former Prime Minister YABhg Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad responded when asked to clarify about the Thurday’s (19 April 2007) Bernama and NST report on his apology for the ‘house in Perth’ issue, raised by Raja Petra Kamaruddin of Malaysia Today during the media conference after the keynote address at Perdana Discourse on “Media and National Development”, last Wednesday.

“I asked the apology from the public, for the error made”. He added after the loud laughter and hand clap simmered to the earlier response. This was during the question and answer time at the “Afternoon tea session with Tun Dr. Mahathir”, organized by Taman Chempaka UMNO branch, of the Pandan UMNO Division at the Kelab Darul Ehsan ballroom, this afternoon.

About 350 people turned up, mostly UMNO members around Ampang and Ulu Kelang area. Some as far away as Johor Bahru drove down for the event. Last 10 November 2006, the same branch organized a Hari Raya party for Tun Dr. Mahathir at their branch. However, he was hospitalized since two days earlier for a mild heart attack and his son, Dato’ Mukhriz Mahathir represented him.

When another man from the audience asked about Khairy Jamaluddin, Vice Head of UMNO Youth, Tun Dr. Mahathir coyly asked the audience back, “Khairy ni apa dia?” (What is this ‘Khairy’). Again, after the laughter simmered, he added “Ini ada satu orang brilliant”. However, Tun Dr. Mahathir questioned the leadership of Khairy as he is in his position today because no one contested him. Usually, people in UMNO who have the luxury or honour to be elected into position uncontested because he had served the party long and his service has immensely been acknowledged.

Most of what he said in this event, were the same issues that he raised previously in Johor Bahru on the 10 February and Kulai 29 March. He talked at length about how the nation evolved from autocracy into democracy. Before, the rakyat or common people could not even imagine able to be given the power to administer and manage the country as it was only the rulers’ privilege. Unity and the power of the people is another important issues brought up.

Tun Dr. Mahathir reminded the audience even when we gained our independence, they opted for the constitutional monarchy system, which is based on democracy. It means the people decide who should be in power to rule.

Democracy should be used with care. It could bring about positive results and it also would bring devastated outcomes. Tun Dr. Mahathir used Iraq as the example. During Saddam’s time, there was no democracy, but the people lived in much better condition than today. Even though there is a democratically elected government, Iraqis suffer worse than before, under Saddam’s iron fist dictatorial regime.

He reminded the UMNO members that UMNO had went through several pre matured leadership change. Even though the pre matured leadership changes were carried out against Presidents who have brought triumphant achievements and contributions to UMNO and the Malays, when they no longer suitable with aspirations of the majority, they were asked to leave. Each time this happened, Tun Dr. Mahathir added, UMNO became stronger and performed better.

This is a healthy democratic process, within UMNO.

Tun Dr. Mahathir also said there have been talks about him being expelled from the party. He asked the people who strongly felt that he should be sacked, study the reasons carefully. The democracy within UMNO today is about protecting self interests. He said, many people are ‘bought’ with so many ‘material’ tools like contracts and APs issued, concessions and appointed into influential positions.

Tun Dr. Mahathir also reiterated that now exist the culture to insulate the top decision makers from information and protect the interests of certain leaders, at all cost. So much so, the police have been calling up people to ensure certain events are not held and support not given to certain people. Tun Dr. Mahathir also experienced 14 of the invitations issued to him for speaking to various audiences were revoked as the organizers were ‘pressured’ to do so.

He told the UMNO audience that unity is very important if it brought strength and progress to the Malays. Unity should strengthen the Perjuangan and the Malays should continuously be looked after.

During the Q & A time, he was asked about his son Mirzan’s deal pertaining to the Konsortium Perkapalan and Tun Dr. Mahathir explained the story, in great detail. He said that Anwar Ibrahim would continuously say that Mirzan’s case was a bail out and it cost RM 2 billion where else Petronas profited (over USD 300 million) for the deal.

He also sarcastically talked about the culture of “Takut” (fear) lately. That was a response to a question whether exist a force that made situation like what is today be saying “Apa nak takut kepada kuasa besaq chet?” (What is there to be afraid from powers as tiny as fingernail?). Obviously, he was referring to the policy changes towards Singapore. “Memanglah dia tu tinggi sikit, tetapi apa nak takut dia?” . He was talking about Prime Minister Brig. Gen. (NS) Lee Hsien Loong. That drew hysterical laughter from the crowd.

Tun Dr. Mahathir was in the mood for sarcasm today. It brought a lot of cheer to the audience, which include his wife, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah, Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Arif, Dato’ Mohd Nor Rejab, Dato’ Idris Tulis and Dato’ Ibrahim Ali.

Penyokong MIC semasa penamaan calon di Ijok, Selangor

Hishamuddin, Menteri Pendidikan di Ijok pada hari penamaan calon

KJ di Ijok, Selangor semasa hari penamaan calon.
KJ at Ijok during nomination day

Dr M "apologises" to Pak Lah and Kali

Dr Mahathir "apologised" twice earlier today during the day-long discourse on "Media's Role in National Development" at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya.

His first "apology" came during the Q and A session after delivering his keynote address. He was asked about the famous incident when he referred to a top editor appointed by the Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, as "a hindu god and muslim priest".

"Oh, I must apologise. I heard his daughter in Australia cried [here]... when I called him a hindu god and muslim priest."

At a press conference later, the former PM was asked by a media blogger if he realised that he was wrong in saying, during a speech in Kulai recently, that Abdullah had a RM60 million mansion in Perth, Australia. Raja Petra Kamarudin, who runs the Malaysia Today, a major supporter of Dr M and a huge critic of the PM, told the press conference that Khairy Jamaluddin, Abdullah's son-in-law, said the mansion belonged to Kamaluddin, who is Abdullah's son. RPK added that Malaysia Today's "independent investigation" showed that both Dr M and Khairy were wrong as the house belonged to a lady partner of tycoon Patrick "Badawi" Lim, who is known to be very close to the PM's family and a beneficiary of some lucrative projects since Abdullah became PM.
Responding to RPK's "carrot", Dr M said:

"Oh, I am sorry I stated something wrong. I stood to be corrected. It is not the PM's house. It is not his son's. It is someone else's".

The apology earned Dr M and the Perdana discourse extended coverage during prime-time news on a government television channel. Just when we all thought that he has been blacked out and blackballed!


Experienced journalists will tell rookies that they will need to learn when not to take a response or a comment at face value. This is a classic case of a journalist not being able to tell when his ex-PM was being cynical.

Or was it the work of some Spin Doctors?

Perhaps the standard of editing (not journalism) in this country has really dropped so low since the "hindu god and muslim priest" taken over?

Extracted from Rocky's Bru


Riot police called in after clash between supporters of Barisan and opposition

By Reme Ahmad
The Straits Times

RIOT police were called in after a clash between supporters of rival parties as tensions rose in the by-election battle for Ijok in Selangor.

Leaders of Barisan Nasional (BN) and the opposition accused one another of provoking the violence after their supporters started throwing objects yesterday.

The by-election will be a straight contest between Barisan and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), after three independent candidates who were speculated to be taking part failed to submit their nomination papers.

The seat was left vacant following the death of a state assemblyman.

Riot police carrying batons moved in quickly to keep the two groups of supporters apart after dozens of plastic water bottles, flagpoles and stones were hurled.

Barisan had about 5,000 supporters while PKR and other opposition supporters numbered some 2,000.

Both sides claimed the other started the throwing incident after exchanging taunts.

'They like it if there is unrest. If there is unrest and there is action by the authorities, they can charge that the government used force and abused power,' Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak told reporters.

Selangor Menteri Besar Khir Toyo said he was at the front of the Barisan line and claimed he saw who started the bottle-throwing incident.

'The first bottle came from Keadilan. I am very sure,' he said.

PKR leaders denied this, saying that the first projectile came from the Barisan supporters.

'Umno Youth was the one who threw the first bottle. To say we started it is not true,' said PKR president Wan Azizah Ismail.

Both sides said several of their supporters were injured.

Selangor police chief Ismail Omar said no arrests were made and blamed the incident on 'boisterous supporters'.

The morning started with the two groups shouting taunts and waving flags as they gathered at the nomination centre.

PKR supporters shouted 'Barisan corrupt!' and paraded a big inflatable crocodile buoy with the sign 'Beware of the Barisan Crocodile'. Crocodiles are portrayed as sly creatures in Malay folklore.

They also shouted 'Altantuya! Altantuya!' and 'Submarine! Submarine!' They were referring to the case of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu's murder involving a prominent political analyst with close links to Datuk Seri Najib and to allegations that have been circulating over past defence deals.

Some Barisan supporters shouted back 'Sodomy! Sodomy!', which referred to a previous court case in which PKR adviser Anwar Ibrahim was accused of sodomy.

In the by-election, Barisan is putting up former education officer K.Parthiban, 38. He is from the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), one of the 14 component parties of the BN.

His opponent is 61-year-old Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, a former corporate chieftain.

Ijok is located about an hour's drive north-west of Kuala Lumpur.

The single-seat election for the Selangor state assembly is seen as crucial to both sides due to the Anwar factor.

Datuk Seri Anwar will campaign directly in his party's first electoral fight since the 2004 general election.

If PKR fails to win, or even loses by a small margin, observers say, it could dent Datuk Seri Anwar's political credibility and weaken the opposition.

In the 2004 Ijok by-election, Barisan's candidate won 57 per cent of votes cast, while PKR clinched 39 per cent.

Polling is on April 28 after a nine-day campaigning period. The bitter start to the by-election harks back to the last time an MIC candidate stood against the PKR. In that 2000 by-election in Lunas, Kedah, a fracas broke out between supporters of the opposing parties.

Selangor's police chief, Datuk Ismail, said he is confident that things will be under control as he has a 1,000-strong police force in the constituency.

He urged all supporters: 'Display your maturity as Malaysian citizens. The process of elections is for us to choose our candidates peacefully.'

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Langkawi is still Langkawi

It amuses me to hear that the GM of LADA is going all out at ALL costs to clinch the UNESCO geopark status for Langkawi.

My opinion: Langkawi shall always remain Langkawi. No need to rebrand it as the hills, rocks and mountains have been there for millions of years. Langkawi geopark should only be another identity to promote the island's so-called new products.

Please consult with the people of Langkawi if they really want the name changed. Am sure if they know the rationale they will not go for it!

Why not use Langkawi Islands - Malaysia's Geopark as tagline? Think about it, brother.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Suspicious & Fishy

Langkawi is a small place.You cough or sneeze we know. It is so glaring & obvious how the deserving ones are sidelined and how those that are closer to the powers that be in Majlis daerah or LADA or whatever agencies get the contracts.

If they can do the job it is a different matter, but in most cases we see that they cant carry and make good whatever they have been awarded. What a waste of public money!

My advise to the new LADA GM -- please look at the merits and abilities of the guys before you award anything!!

Tourism groups defend Lada


ALOR STAR The Star 14 April 2007: Langkawi Development Authority (Lada) should not be penalised for ‘rushing through’ certain projects to have the basic infrastructure ready before the arrival of Unesco team of Geopark assessors, according to players in the tourism industry.

Langkawi Tourist Guide Association chairman C. Vijayandran said Lada had to implement the basic infrastructure projects fast before the arrival of the Unesco team on March 30.

“I believe there was no hanky panky in-volved in awarding the projects because the projects were carried in consultation with the authorities and industry players,” he said. He said four sub-committees were formed to get feedback from all involved. Vijayandran said this in response to Anti Corruption Agency (ACA)’s probe on projects implemented by Lada.

ACA had initiated investigations on Monday. It is learnt that ACA had seized several documents for further scrutiny.

Langkawi is bidding to be included in the global network of Unesco National Geoparks. So far, 48 sites in 15 countries have been en-dorsed as Unesco National Geopark.

Langkawi Tourism Association deputy pre-sident Pishol Ishak said the people of Langkawi supported the geopark project because the rebranding of Langkawi as a Unesco National Geopark would benefit the locals as well as the tourism industry. “I believe certain quarters are out to sabotage Lada’s efforts,” he said.

Lada general manager Datuk Kamarulzaman Abd Ghani said the Finance Ministry had allocated a special fund for the geopark projects. “We have done everything according to procedure. We are pushing for this geopark in the best interest of Langkawi and Malaysia,” he said.

ACA investigation director Mohd Shukri Abdul said all funds from the Federal and state must be disbursed according to treasury orders. “We must follow regulations even for special funds,” he said.

Something ‘fishy’ in Majuikan’s loan

KUALA LUMPUR NST 12/04/2007: Majuikan Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority (LKIM), has been accused of acting improperly in a transaction involving an offshore loan last year.

The LKIM management had reported to the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) on Jan 29 on the alleged loan by Majuikan, whose chairman is Adam Abdul Hamid. Among others, the report questioned Majuikan’s decision to become a loan guarantor for a fisheries product company without the knowledge of the LKIM board of directors.

LKIM director-general Datuk Annas Khatib Jaafar, who confirmed the report, said LKIM only knew about the matter following an internal audit last September and after receiving a tip-of from the National Fishermen’s Association (Nekmat). "LKIM has no knowledge of the matter and never granted permission for Majuikan to be a guarantor."The board discussed the matter before lodging a report with ACA," he said here yesterday.

Annas, who would retire on April 23, refused further comment, while Adam could not be contacted for comments. On Tuesday, Adam was reported to have made a report to ACA last February concerning the awarding of a contract to build the RM55 million complex in Kuala Kedah. In the report, Adam claimed that the contract was awarded directly to a company even though the project did not require specialised expertise. Annas retorted that Adam’s accusation was baseless and malicious.

In Alor Star, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said he was leaving it to the ACA to investigate whether the Langkawi Development Authority (Lada) breached any regulations in the approval and implementation of projects on the island. "I am aware of the investigations.
"Let the ACA do its work."

He was asked to comment on yesterday’s New Straits Times report that the agency is investigating Lada over claims that certain projects were carried out without government approval.