Friday, October 17, 2014

Muhyiddin Is Not Tired Anymore

A Kadir Jasin 

[NO anonymous comments will be published.  Please use Google Account, OpenID or Name/URL. Pseudonym is accepted. Thank you]

ANECDOTE One: An old school university lecturer-turned-Wakil Rakyat and now retired had started reading newspapers again after several years of self-imposed restraint. But he has difficulty understanding their reports.

ANECDOTE Two: A senior media operator of a very important national leader has been advised by her doctor to stay off the newspapers as part of prescription for her hypertension.

ANECDOTE Three: I was reliably told that Umno President and Deputy Prime Minister, (Tan Sri) Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin is no longer tired after performing another Hajj recently. Praise be to Allah. This has to be the miracle of Haji Mabroor.

ANECDOTE Four: We won (unopposed) a position as non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Turkey lost to New Zealand in a voting. Like Malaysia, Angola and Venezuela also won unopposed in their regional voting blocs.

1. The ex-YB is not alone. Many newspaper readers of his generation have given up reading daily sheets, and those still reading them are facing difficulty understanding the language used and the arguments put forth.

The Bursa Discounts the Budget

2. I have the same problem. Take for example the simple, straightforward case of Bursa Malaysia’s reaction to the 2015 Budget or the lack it.

Little cheer at Bursa Malaysia
3. In the nutshell, our stock market fell before the Budget and did not recover after it was presented on Oct 10. A chart in the New Straits Times newspaper shows that prices declined steadily from Sept 26 to Oct. 15. It fell some more on Oct. 16.

4. In layman’s term, we can say that investors are indifferent to the Budget. In the market parlance, they have discounted the Budget.

5. My nostalgia reminds me about the time past when prices and the volume of shares traded rose in the run-up to the Budget because investors were confident that it would bring good to the economy.

6. When the Budget was presented and it became clear that it would indeed be good for the economy, prices and volume of shares transacted increased further.

7. In late Sept and early Oct, the media was hyping about an impending market rally. On Oct 1 Bernama reported that the equity market was likely to stage a rally in the run-up to the Budget 2015. Analysts it contacted said the market would be positive with bargain-hunting interests in the power, healthcare, construction, oil and gas sectors prior to the announcement. But it did not happen. Instead the market took a dive.

8. In their attempt to portray normalcy of the stock market after the Budget was presented, the mainstream media only succeeded in confusing themselves and their readers.

9. On Oct 16, when reporting the progress of market the day before, a Malay language newspaper headlined: “FBM KLCI ditutup 1,786.84 mata – permintaan lemah ekoran kurang penangkin”. In English, FBM KLCI closed at 1,786.84 points – weak demand due to lack of catalyst. But reporting on the same event, an English language newspaper said, “KLCI falls as other regional indexes go up.” So actually there was a catalyst – the rising regional markets. But Bursa traders were unconvinced. Now for spelling, which is correct or preferable, indexes or indices?

10. In reality Bursa Malaysia has not been performing for a long time. According to The Economist magazine, Bursa Malaysia declined 2.2% in dollar term between Dec 31 last year and Oct 8 this year when other developing markets recorded hefty increases. Thailand, despite its political woes, rose 19.8%, Indonesia 15.4%, Pakistan 22.3%, Egypt 37.4%, Saudi Arabia 27% and India 24.9%.

11. As for my very dear media operator, I told her to take it easy. It’s not worth busting veins in her brain for politics and power. We engage in politics to improve lives and not to hasten death. The latter is already being effective done by poor diets and even poorer lifestyles. And don’t forget all those killer diseases that we have not heard affecting our people before!

Hajj Trip Invigorates Muhyiddin

12. About the shaven Hajj returnee Muhyiddin, I am delighted to hear that he is invigorated after performing the necessary solat and doa in front of the Ka’abah to seek Allah’s guidance. It seems that even in front of the Ka’abah Malaysians still whine and complain to him about the situation back home.

13. So I will henceforth stop describing him as being tired and suffering from the DPM syndrome. Being the son of a respected religious teacher and a pious person, I am sure Muhyiddin has gained strength from his prayers at the Ka'abah. Now he should set his sight on doing more for the welfare of flock back here in Malaysia.

14. I am sorry if I have misrepresented Prime Minister’s Italian trip. Indeed it was a trip at the service of the nation and Asean. He is in Milan for the Asia-Europe Summit (Asem). Since Malaysia is the Asean Coordinator at the summit, I pray that Mohd Najib proves his mantle as a leader of international stature. I have never been to Milano, but I know it is a very important fashion centre. Maybe we can learn from it and turn our country into a global fashion centre so that the less blessed Malaysians can also enjoy high fashion.

Mond Najib and Wife arriving in Milano - Bernama Pic
15. I am sure the PM’s brother keepers – the likes of Shahidan Kassim and Ahmad Maslan – are monitoring the cost of the trip because I am sure the Pakatan Rakyat chaps are waiting to pound on them despite partaking in the higher Wakil Rakyat’s allowance dished out by Finance Minister in the recent Budget.

16. Finally, I am concerned about Senator Abdul Wahid Omar since he became Minister. He is sounding every bit a politician, which I believe should not be the case. He should remain a technocrat and accept the truth about the economy. Today he was quoted by The Star as saying that “Malaysia’s debt at comfortable level.” But I was told that he is beginning to appear uncomfortable, irritated and defensive when informed of the negative economic statistics. At least Idris Jala is always supremely confident about his ETP come rain or shine.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Isu Kepemimpinan: Memperkatakan Khairy Jamaluddin

[KOMEN anonymous dan kesat tidak akan disiarkan. Sila guna Google Account, OpenID atau Name/URL untuk mengulas. Nama samaran dibenarkan.]

TAJUK berita akhbar The Star pada 11 Oktober berbunyi "Budget boost for Khairy". Dalam bahasa Melayu bolehlah disebut "Anjakan belanjawan untuk Khairy".

The Star memberikan tajuk itu kerana peruntukan Kementerian Belia dan Sukan dinaikkan daripada RM700 juta tahun ini kepada RM1 bilion tahun hadapan.
Pada hari Ahad 12 Oktober pula, akhbar yang sama menyiarkan tajuk berita "Walk the middle path, urges Khairy" (Khairy gesa ikut jalan tengah). Daripada dua tajuk berita ini, nyata The Star mengakui kedudukan Khairy sebagai Ketua Pemuda Umno dan Menteri Belia.
Ada pembahas blog ini dan peserta Persidangan Kedai Kopi (KKA) yang berpendapat saya penyokong kuat Khairy Jamaluddin.

Gabungan hebat Ketua Pemuda-Menteri Belia
Saya mengakui yang saya ada membuat beberapa ulasan positif mengenai beliau. Itu adalah berasaskan penelitian dan pengamatan saya terhadap gerakan beliau dalam politik Umno dan Kerajaan sejak lebih 10 tahun lalu.

Tetapi saya tidaklah mengenali beliau secara peribadi kecuali beberapa pertemuan dan perbualan kasual. Sepanjang ingatan saya, kali terakhir saya bercakap dengan beliau adalah pada tahun 2000 di Rumah Terbuka Aidilfitri Timbalan Perdana Menteri pada waktu itu, (Tun) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Saya ingat peristiwa itu kerana di majlis itulah saya mendengar "khabar angin" mengatakan hari-hari saya sebagai Ketua Pengarang Kumpulan NST mungkin sedang dihitung. Kebetulan pada hari itu, Sabtu 8 Januari, akhbar New Straits Times menyiarkan rencana Askiah Adam yang menggunakan istilah "dereliction of duty" (kecuaian tanggungjawab) bagi mengulas satu tindakan kerajaan.

Pemuda Umno Sepanjang Zaman

Sebagai wartawan tua, saya membuat penilaian positif terhadap Khairy berdasarkan pengalaman saya dengan jatuh bangun Ketua-ketua Pemuda Umno sejak zaman Datuk Harun Idris pada akhir 1969.

Mungkin ramai tidak sedar bahawa dalam politik Umno, pergerakan Pemuda mempunyai kedudukan yang istimewa dan unik. Buat permulaan, ia adalah cabang Umno yang ditanam dengan doktrin dan ideologi melalui pelbagai slogan dan pendekatan - ada yang kental dan banyak juga dangkal.

Boleh dikatakan semua Ketua Pemuda mempunyai slogan masing-masing. Misalnya, Hidup Melayu (ketika Tun Hussein Onn menjadi ketua 1949-50), Merdeka! (Tun Abdul Razak Hussein 1950-51), Pemuda di Barisan Hadapan (Tun Sardon Jubir 1951-64), Pemuda Harapan Bangsa (Senu Abdul Rahman 1964-71), Pemuda Pelopor Pembangunan (Harun Idris 1971-76), Pemuda Kumpulan Halia (Syed Jaafar Albar 1976-77), Pemuda Era Bertindak (Suhaimi Kamarudin 1977-82), Pemuda Penggerak Zaman (Anwar Ibrahim 1982-87), Pemuda Berakar Teguh Berakal Canggih (Mohd Najib Abdul Razak 1987-93), Pemuda Era Motivator dan Penggerak Wawasan (Abdul Rahim Thamby Chik 1993-96) dan Pemuda Pemangkin Gerakan Reformasi (Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (1996-98).

Sejak awal penubuhan Umno lagi, pergerakan Pemuda diberikan tugas menanam semangat kebangsaan yang berteraskan Melayu serta melatih dan menentukan hala tuju kepemimpinan negara.

Kecuali Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra dan Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, kesemua Perdana Menteri Malaysia adalah bekas Ketua Pemuda atau giat dalam pergerakan belia seperti Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Khairy Bercita-cita Tinggi

Bagi Khairy, beliau bukan sahaja mempunyai latar belakang keluarga dan pendidikan elit malah beliau juga mempunyai cita-cita tinggi.

Beliau tidak malu-malu kucing untuk menyatakan cita-citanya. Beliau telah dipetik secara meluas sebagai berkata, beliau mahu menjadi Perdana Menteri menjelang usia 40 tahun. Kini beliau berusia 38 tahun.

Kalau diikutkan latar belakang, Khairy bukanlah bahan dunia politik. Beliau bukan daripada latar belakang siasah. Anak tunggal diplomat Melayu dari Negeri Sembilan ini dilahirkan di Kuwait. Ibunya dari Kedah. Beliau bersekolah di Singapura dan masuk universiti di England.

Beliau mempunyai ijazah dari Oxford dalam bidang falsafah, politik dan ekonomi dan sarjana muda teori undang-undang dan politik dari University of London. Pada mulanya beliau berjinak-jinak dengan dunia kewartawanan sebagai penulis di majalah The Economist dan pengacara TV.

Kalau saya tidak silap, kali pertama saya terserempak dengan Khairy dan kelompok Oxford-Cambridge (Oxbridge) adalah pada awal 1990-an dalam satu bengkel di Putrajaya bagi satu kumpulan penuntut cemerlang universiti tempatan dan luar negara yang digelar Students for Vision 2020.

Penganjur bengkel itu ialah Allahyarham Tan Sri Dr. Mohammad Noordin Sopiee (26 Disember 1944 - 29 Disember 2005) yang berupa Pengerusi dan Pegawai Ketua Eksekutif Institut Kajian Strategik dan Antarabangsa (ISIS).

Ada pemerhati melabel Khairy sebagai Anwar 2.0. Saya tidak pasti sedalam dan seakrab mana perhubungan Anwar-Khairy, sekiranya ada. Yang saya tahu, mentor bengkel Students for Vision 2020 adalah Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Anwar dan Tun Daim Zainuddin menjadi mentor bersekutu. Saya turut mengambil bahagian dalam salah satu sesi bengkel itu.

Berdasarkan latar belakang keluarga, pembesaran dan pendidikan , Khairy bukanlah calon semula keahlian Umno. Tetapi itu jugalah ciri yang membuatkan beliau menonjol dalam Umno.

Pada ketika Khairy mengambil keputusan bergerak cergas dalam Umno, memasuki politik apatah lagi politik Umno bukanlah sesuatu yang "fashionable".

Pada waktu itu, ramai anggota generasi muda Melayu lebih taasub mencari kejayaan material dan di kalangan yang berjiwa politik pula, mereka lebih terpengaruh dengan idea-idea kontemporari seperti reformasi.

Sama ada secara kebetulan atau dirancang, Khairy berjaya mendekati Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, menjadi menentu, pembantu khas dan penolong ketua setiausaha sulit beliau. Krisis Anwar pada 1998 membawa tuah kepada Abdullah, dan turut memanfaatkan Khairy dalam jangka masa panjang.

Bagaimanapun, kerana monopoli Khairy dan kelompok Oxbridge serta beberapa kerat usahawan ke atas pentadbiran Abdullah maka beliau turut merasai tempias gerakan menjatuhkan Abdullah pada 2008/2009.

Tindak-tanduk beliau serta “budak-budak tingkat empat” lain dalam politik, pentadbiran, perniagaan dan media massa dikritik keras.

Abdullah jatuh dan digantikan oleh Mohd Najib. Logiknya Khairy tentulah terpelanting sama. Beliau adalah antara anggota kabinet dapur Abdullah yang paling dibenci. Tetapi beliau sekadar menderita tempias sementara.

Mohd Najib Penyelamat Khairy

Kejayaan beliau membebaskan diri daripada Abdullah dan merapati Mohd Najib sehingga diterima sebagai orang kepercayaan membuktikan keupayaan beliau sebagai political survivalist muda.

Mohd Najib perkukuh kedudukan Khairy
Kejatuhan Abdullah tidak membantutkan kerjaya politik Khairy. Pada tahun Abdullah dipaksa meletakkan jawatan Perdana Menteri dan Presiden Umno, Khairy menang pertandingan Ketua Pemuda dengan mengalahkan Mohd Khir Toyo dan Mukhriz Mahathir.

Hari ini, kedudukan beliau dalam politik Umno boleh disifatkan sebagai unshakable - sukar digoyang. Sebagai Ketua Pemuda serta Menteri Belia dan Sukan, beliau mempunyai kedudukan yang cukup kuat dalam hierarki Umno.

Untuk itu, beliau wajar berterima kasih kepada Mohd Najib kerana melantik beliau menyandang jawatan Menteri Belia dan Sukan. Saya adalah antara orang yang mahu Khairy diberikan jawatan menteri apabila beliau menang Ketua Pemuda. Tetapi bukan Menteri Belia. Saya mencadangkan Kementerian Luar.

Saya melihat gabungan jawatan Ketua Pemuda dengan Kementerian Belia sebagai memberikan terlalu banyak kuasa dan kelebihan kepada Khairy berbanding barisan kepemimpinan Umno dan kerajaan yang seangkatan dengan beliau.

Sama ada Mohd Najib menyedarinya atau tidak, Khairy kini muncul sebagai orang paling hadapan dalam pewarisan Umno. Selepas Presiden, Timbalan Presiden dan tiga Naib Presiden adalah Khairy.

Sebab itu pada masa lampau, Presiden Umno dan Perdana Menteri amat berhati-hati memberi jawatan dan peranan kepada Ketua Pemuda. Tidak semua Ketua Pemuda diberikan jawatan, apatah lagi jawatan Menteri Belia. Malah Pergerakan Pemuda dianggap begitu berpengaruh sehingga jawatan Menteri Belia sengaja tidak diberikan kepada Ketua Pemuda kecuali orang itu diyakini kesetiaannya atau sedang dilatih untuk kedudukan yang lebih tinggi.

Namun ada juga Ketua Pemuda yang tidak mahu jawatan kerajaan. Mereka mahu menjadi Ketua Pemuda yang bebas dan boleh mengkritik kerajaan sekiranya perlu. Antara mereka ialah Allahyarham Jaafar Albar dan Suhaimi Kamaruddin.

Ada pemerhati mengatakan bahawa Tun Abdul Razak tidak membawa Ketua Pemuda waktu itu, Datuk Harun Idris, ke Pusat sebaliknya mengekalkan beliau sebagai Menteri Besar Selangor kerana beliau tahu pengaruh Harun di kalangan belia, khususnya dan orang Melayu, amnya. Sebaliknya Abdul Razak melantik biras beliau, Allahyarham Tan Sri Hamzah Abu Samah menjadi Menteri Belia.

Sama ada Mohd Najib sedar hal ini atau tidak, tindakan melantik Khairy sebagai Menteri Belia telah menggandakan kuasa dan pengaruh beliau sebagai pemimpin pelapis Umno dan kerajaan.

Saya rasa Mohd Najib sedar kerana beliau sendiri membina landasan kuasa dan mengumpul barisan penyokong tegar ketika menjadi Ketua Pemuda dan Menteri Belia.

Jadi kita tidak perlu hairan atau marah kepada Khairy kalau beliau nampak begitu yakin dan berani. Pertamanya, perwakilan Pemuda telah memberi undi mutlak kepada beliau dua kali berturut-turut. Keduanya, Presiden Umno merangkap Perdana Menteri telah melantik beliau menjadi Menteri Belia.

Ke Mana Khairy Selepas Ini

Pertama, kalau beliau pandai dan semakin matang, beliau akan lakukan seperti kata ungkapan Inggeris, "keep your nose clean". Jangan cari pasal dan jangan buat hal sehingga boleh diperas ugut satu hari nanti!

Masuk Tentera dan hantar anak ke sekolah biasa
Dalam dunia yang dipacu oleh media sosial, ramai orang tahu bahawa Khairy menghantar anaknya ke sekolah kebangsaan pada saat ramai pembesar Umno, termasuk menteri sendiri curi-curi hantar anak-anak mereka ke sekolah elit swasta. Beliau sendiri masuk menjadi anggota Tentera Wataniah.

Kedua, bila dan bagaimana perubahan kepemimpinan Umno dan kerajaan akan berlaku. Kalau dengan takdir Mohd Najib terpaksa berundur sebelum pilihan raya umum (PRU) akan datang, pasangan Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin dan Ahmad Zahid Hamidi adalah alternatif yang logik.

Tetapi kalau Muhyiddin terus penat dan menderita sindrom Timbalan Perdana Menteri maka jawatan PM mungkin jatuh ke tangan Hishammudin Hussein dan dalam situasi itu, Khairy berpotensi naik menjadi TPM.

Dalam politik tidak ada yang mustahil. Yang tidak masuk akal pun boleh berlaku. Jadi, suka atau tidak kita terpaksa meletakkan Khairy di tempat yang penting dalam senario politik dan kepemimpinan negara untuk dekad ini.

Suka atau tidak, buat waktu ini yang nampak menonjol di kalangan barisan pelapis Umno ialah Khairy, kecuali kalau dalam masa terdekat ini muncul watak-watak lain yang lebih karismatik, petah dan pintar.


Friday, October 10, 2014

The Fancy Flights of Our VIPs

A Kadir Jasin

[NO anonymous comments will be published.  Please use Google Account, OpenID or Name/URL. Pseudonym is accepted. Thank you]

THE Malaysia Airlines System’s flight MH370 with 239 souls on board has been missing for seven months. The search for it has resumed in the Southern India Ocean.

For a plane that size – 73.9 metres (242 feet 4 inches) in length and 64.8 metres (212 feet 7 inches) wingspan – to go missing is mind-boggling.

And yet we have the technology to track down the private jet ferrying the Prime Minister, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, to Indonesia and Singapore.

The DAP MP for Seremban, Loke Siew Fook, recently asked a question the Parliament based on this air tracking technology.

Loke cited not only the flight number (NR 1) but also the registration number of the aeroplane (9M-NAA) and the radar that tracked it (Flight Radar24).

9M-NAA, Airbus A319
Like a stalker of Hollywood celebs, Loke followed the progress of the fancy flight from KLIA to Padang and Singapore before returning to KLIA on Aug 27.

I am giving Loke the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think he was stalking the PM or his wife. Instead he was stalking for information so that he could ask an accurate question in the Parliament.

He asked the government to disclose the purpose of the flight, the cost involved and passengers on the airplane. My Internet search indicates that aircraft 9M-NAA is the RMAF Airbus A319.

Despite his thorough homework, Loke and the House received only a written reply from Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Shahidan Kassim, saying that the jetliner was on an official flight Singapore and was carrying Prime Minister, his wife and a government delegation.

"The flight is an official government flight which is used for the prime minister's affairs. All cost involving the flight is within a suitable estimation for the service," the defender said.

The flight, according to online media reports, was detected by flight trackers on the very same day that the PM’s wife received the highest Minangkabau official award in Padang, Indonesia.

Highest Minangkabau Award for Rosmah - Astro Awani
 I would like to thank Loke and aviation enthusiasts for their interest in tracking the movements of our VIP aircraft because, for a small nation, we have many expensive VIP aircraft.

One such enthusiast told me that our government (via TUDM) owns and operates nine VIP aircraft – fixed wing and rotor.

My Internet search of the RMAF confirmed that fact. The RMAF has in its inventory nine VIP transport aircraft – a Boeing Business Jet, a Bombardier Global Express, a Dassault Falcon 900, an Airbus A319, an ageing Fokker F28 Fellowship and two each of Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King and Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk.

The Queen's official ride
The Queen of the UK and its realm has a much smaller fleet of VIP transport and they are older than our state-of-the-art fleet. More often than not she uses commercial flights, normally flying with British Airways.

Our VIPs know how to travel in great style and comfort.


Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Tikar Terbang P Ramlee Lwn Permaidani Ajaib

A Kadir Jasin

[KOMEN anonymous dan kesat tidak akan disiarkan. Sila guna Google Account, OpenID atau Name/URL untuk mengulas. Nama samaran dibenarkan.]

DALAM beberapa posting terbaru, kita berbincang dan berbahas isu-isu serius. Kali ini marilah kita bercerita mengenai sesuatu yang lebih ringan dan mungkin menghiburkan. Orang putih kata, comic relief.

Tapi sebelum itu, tolonglah ambil perhatian yang komen “Anonymous” tidak akan disiarkan. Dalam blog kita ini, pembahas WAJIB ada nama. Nama samaran dan nama pena pun tak apa. Angka pun boleh. Guna nama sendiri macam saya lagilah bagus.

Kita mulakan dengan menonton klip filem berikut oleh Allahyarham Seniman Negara, (Tan Sri) P Ramlee dari Youtube.

Daripada klip di atas, kita memperoleh ilmu dan panduan untuk mencari persamaan, teladan dan kesimpulan. Antaranya:-

1. Betapa asli (original) dan dalamnya pemikiran P Ramlee. Filem beliau dapat dengan kiasan dan sindiran membina. Dalam adegan di atas beliau menggantikan permaidani terbang dengan tikar mengkuang terbang.

2. Naik tikar dan permaidani ajaib lebih pantas daripada menunggang unta. Tetapi tikar dan permaidani ajaib hanya ada dan relevan dalam cerita P Ramlee dan hikayat Seribu Satu Malam saja. Dalam realiti, kita kena naik kapal terbang untuk perjalanan jauh dan pantas.

3. Arab berkhayal dan bersengketa. Barat mencipta dan membolot kuasa. Dunia Arab porak-peranda. Malang seribu kali malang, banyak orang kita sangat taasub kepada Arab sampai sanggup jadi pengebom bunuh diri dan berbunuh-bunuhan sesama Muslim.

4. Ada seorang bekas profesor memberitahu saya, dalam sebuah kitab agama lama Johor disebutkan, iaitu kalau masih dalam keraguan setelah membaca kitab itu, pergilah bertanya kepada Arab yang terdekat.

5. Selain untuk tujuan menghias, permaidani ada banyak kegunaan luar jangkaan. Dalam hikayat Seribu Satu Malam (The Arabian Nights), permaidani ajaib boleh terbang.

6. Bila ada permaidani, ada pulalah pengguna, pengeluar, pengedar dan peniaga permaidani (carpet traders). Carpet traders pula ada pelbagai jenis. Ada yang membekalkan permaidani kepada masjid dan surau. Cukup makan, jarang kaya dan sana sini buat pahala. Lazimnya Melayulah. Ada carpet traders kelas eksklusif. Mereka bekalkan permaidani kepada istana dan rumah orang ternama. Mereka berjaya dan kaya. Bank bagi pinjaman mudah puluhan juta. Kalau pintar atau putar-belit mereka turut mendapat pengaruh dan kuasa. Jadilah mereka carpet traders with power.

7. Selain menjadi hiasan dan simbol status kepada pemiliknya, permaidani juga boleh dijadikan tempat menyembunyikan sampah dan debu seperti dalam pepatah Inggeris “sweeping under the carpet”.

8. Menggulung manusia dalam permaidani pun boleh seperti dalam legenda Cleopatra. Dia telah disembunyikan dalam gulungan permaidani untuk dibawa bertemu kekasihnya, Julius Caesar. Cleopatra berbuat begitu demi mengelak daripada dikesan dan dibunuh oleh musuh ketatnya, iaitu abangnya Ptolemy.

9. Apabila Caesar pulang ke Rom dan dinobatkan sebagai maharaja (emperor), Cleopatra mengikutinya. Tetapi apabila Caeser dibunuh oleh Brutus and Cassius, Cleopatra cepat-cepat lari dari Rom dan kembali ke Mesir. Natijahnya, dalam politik dua beradik pun boleh jadi musuh ketat dan dalam cinta berahi, macam-macam tipu helah digunakan. Pastinya orang yang menolong menyeludup Cleopatra dalam gulungan permaidani dianugerahkan duit dan pangkat.

Elizabeth Taylor Sebagai Cleopatra
 10. Kemudian cerita mengenai kematian Khalifah Baghdad, al-Musta’sim pada tahun 1258. Apabila panglima tentera Mongol, Hulagu Khan menawan Baghdad, dia dikisahkan telah membalut al-Musta’sim dalam permaidani dan mengarahkan kuda memijaknya sampai mati. Diriwayatkan yang Hulagu percaya kepada nujum. Nujum memberitahu beliau memancung al-Musta’sim boleh mencetuskan malapetaka seperti gempa bumi.

Lukisan Mongol Mengepung Baghdad 1258M
11. Al-Musta’sim pula digambarkan sebagai seorang pemerintah yang lemah, berbolak-balik (vicillating), malas, suka minum serbat dan dikelilingi pemuzik serta badut.

12. Akhir kalam, panduan berbomoh daripada seorang bekas setiausaha bahagian Umno dari Pantai Timur. Katanya, banyak orang politik suka berbomoh. Ingat lagi cerita Mona Fandey-Mazlan Idris? Mazlan adalah ADUN BN Pahang.

13. Pesan beliau, sebelum meminta bomoh “mengunci” seseorang, pastikan bomoh itu tahu membukanya. Katanya, pernah berlaku si mangsa terkunci mati kerana si bomoh hanya belajar mengunci tetapi terlupa belajar membuka kunci.

Nota kaki: Blog ini tidak menggalakkan perbomohan dan sebarang kerja yang menyekutukan Allah.


Sunday, October 05, 2014

Our Sports: Failure not Luck

A Kadir Jasin

NO anonymous comments. Please use Google Account, OpenID or Name/URL. Pseudonym accepted. Thank you]

OUR sports officials set for themselves a modest target of eight gold at the just concluded Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.

I say modest because there were 439 events at the games and we were a mid-level participants.

For that purpose of that very modest campaign, the country sent a 276-strong contingent headed by (Datuk) Danyal Balagopal Abdullah.

"It is just that in some events we were rather unlucky," Balagopal
Alas, like the August Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the national contingent failed to achieve even this modest target.

They came home with only five gold medals and collected 14 silver and 14 bronze. In Commonwealth Games, the target was seven gold but they managed six.

That, according to a Sunday Star report, did not stop Balagopal from being satisfied. (Read more here).

I suppose when you aim low, you will naturally be satisfied when your achievement is not far off that low target. So five out of eight may not sound terribly bad.

To justify further the contingent’s lacklustre performance, Balagopal threw in what Malaysians are good at – blaming it on luck.

“It is just that in some events we were rather unlucky. Otherwise, it (eight-gold target) could have been achieved. I do not think that we made a mistake in setting eight as our target,” he told a press conference.

I guess, if our country’s sports officials, starting with Sports Minister, and their charges think that luck is important they should give up competitive sports and concentrate on gambling.

Then again, even in judi, I believe, knowledge and expertise are important.

Granted that we are not in the league of giants like China, the host South Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan and Iran, but to be beaten by smaller participants like Qatar, Bahrain and Hong Kong is an insult. MALU.

In terms of gold, Malaysia is on par with Singapore and Mongolia. Malaysians are very familiar with these two nations. Singapore has 5.6 million people and Mongolia three million.

Of course we are not bad at all if we compare ourselves to other low achievers and non-performers.

In fact, we can beat our chests until they are blue and black because we did better than the more populous Indonesia, Philippines, Pakistan and Bangladesh. On per capita, we are better than India.

And thank you to BH Ahad for asking “Gagal atau Nasib?” (Failed or Luck?).

My verdict is we FAILED and our stance on losing the wushu gold due to doping is shameful and lacking sportsmanship.


Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Inequality: Taking the Bull by the Horn

A Kadir Jasin

[NO anonymous comments. Please use Google Account, OpenID or Name/URL. Pseudonym accepted. Thank you]

AS I stated in my Other Thots column in the Sept 16 issue of the Malaysian Business magazine, I am lucky to be in the company of many illustrious economic gurus and commentators.

Among them Ungku Abdul Aziz Ungku Abdul Hamid, the iconoclastic former Vice Chancellor of University of Malaya, Kamal Salleh, the late Dr. Mokhzani Abdul Rahim, the late Dr Ismail Md Salleh, Rama Iyer, Thong Yaw Hong, Dr Rais Saniman, the late Dr Mahani Zainal Abidib, Dr Jomo Kwame Sundaram and the Datuk Dr Zainal Aznam Yusof.

They were committed to their craft and were willing to be unpopular with the establishment by telling the truth. Despite that, many were co-opted into government committees and commissions, especially during the periods of the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and Dr Mahathir.

But these days I hear that economists and private sector managers who are engaged by the government are behaving as badly as their political masters. They are more concerned with protecting the government’s image than telling the truth about the state of the economy.

From my reading of the local press, it appears that most of today’s young economists are quoted largely for their analyses of the corporate world and the stock market.

Either the media is no longer interested in socio-economic issues affecting the masses or our young economists are only interested in high-paying jobs in the banks, stock broking companies and consultancy firms.

So it is heartening for me to have made the acquaintance of economist-researcher Muhammed Abdul Khalid, when he was studying for his doctoral degree at the Institut d'├ętudes politiques de Paris or in short Sciences Po back in 2008.

The Spectre of Inequality

Muhammed had just published a book entitled The Colour of Inequality – Ethnicity, Income and Wealth in Malaysia”.

He, among other things, noted that, although Malaysia has made great strides in reducing poverty and inequality (especially among ethnic groups) from 1970 to 1990, the income gap remains high post-1990.

In fact, he wrote, the relative income gap between urban and rural in 2012 is the same as the year Malaysia obtained its independence from the British in 1957.

In terms of ethnic income gaps, the disparity has started to widen again. Since 2009, the relative income gap between the Chinese and the Bumiputeras increased by 10 per cent – unprecedented since 1970, and wiping out the gain made in the past one decade.

If Malaysians still care about justice and equality as we celebrated the 51st anniversary of the formation of Malaysia, this book should encourage us to debate more openly and to find solutions to this difficult problem.

Muhammed examines the unequal distribution of assets among Malaysians, with special focus on the gap between the Bumiputera majority and the non-Bumiputera minorities.

His main aim is to analyze the level and distribution of household wealth by understanding its origin and evolution within three time frames – the colonial era, post-independence and post-New Economic Policy. It identifies factors, processes, and structures behind the wealth gap, especially between the Bumiputeras and the Chinese.

Muhammed also examines the role of government and Bumiputera politicians in enforcing and monitoring the implementation of policies that are aimed at narrowing the wealth gap.

The outcome of his research and analyses of official data points to a grim future and he made several preliminary proposals to reduce the gap before it become unbridgeable.

Some key findings

Pre-Merdeka: Poverty in 1957 - Malays 65%, Chinese 26% and Indians 39%. Income Gap - for every RM1 the Malays had, Chinese had RM1.80 and Indians RM1.48 more. Only 9% of registered companies were Malay-owned. They owned only 1% of rubber and none in tin.

Occupation - 70% of the Malays were in subsistence agriculture, less than 3% in administrative or managerial jobs. Then 95% of professionals and managers were Europeans

Education - in 1901, only 5% of English school students in the Straits Settlements were Malays although there were 55% Malays in the school-going age. Access to school was limited. In 1938, there were 800 Malay primary schools against 1,500 non-Malay schools. In 1957, only 7% of the population had secondary education. On average, the Malayans then attended school for about 2.3 years and the Malays had the shortest.

Post-Merdeka (1957-1970): Education - Malays were still lagging behind. From 1959 to 1970, for every Malay engineering graduate coming out of the University of Malaya there were 100 Chinese. In the field of engineering only four Malays received bachelors’ degree versus 408 Chinese. In 1970, there was only one Malay graduate in MBBS and engineering respectively. In 1962, Malay enrolment in faculty of engineering totaled five and the faculty of science 16. Income gap between the Malays and Chinese widened from 1.8 in 1957 to 2.3 in 1970.

NEP Period: Increase in standard of living and socio-economic status for everyone, especially the Malays.

Poverty was reduced significantly from 65% in 1970  to 2.2% in 2012. Ownership of equity by Bumiputeras  rose from 2.4% (1970) to 23% (2012). Huge improvements in the participation of Bumiputeras in the professional field due to better educational. Income gap is reduced to 1.36 between Bumiputeras and Chinese, but widen again since 2009.

New Challenges Emerging

Although income has increased, the majority of Malaysian has no assets and the wealth gap is gaping. More than half (53%) of Malaysians have no financial asset. The median financial asset is RM 311. The top 10% have nearly 15,000 more than the median and controls 77% of entire financial asset. Bottom 50 has only 0.01%, and bottom 80% has 5.5%. More than 70% of those without financial asset are Bumiputeras.

Median financial asset for Bumi is RM1. More than 55% of Bumiputeras do not have ASB account. Average ASB investment in 2013 was RM15,402. But 72% have an average of RM554 or equivalent to 2.6% of entire fund size. The top 0.2% has 1.5 times more than the entire bottom 80% combined. The fear is this gap will continue to widen. The same happens with Amanah Saham Didik, which is open to Bumiputeras only. Based on its 2014 annual report 2014, the average investment is about RM14,500, but the bottom 86% has an average investment of RM980, while the top 0.5%, or about 1,700 kids, have an average RM 1.5 million.

One in every four Malaysia has no property asset and 74% of them are Bumiputeras. Within racial groups, about 30% of Indians and 17% of Chinese have no property asset. One in every four Bumiputeras have no property asset.

Current policies on taxation and education combined with the imperfections in the labor market, i.e. hiring preferences, threaten to widen the inequality further. The poor of all groups will have less upward mobility.

Muhammed’s findings and conclusions require closer examination by politicians on both sides of the political chasm and by economists, socio-economic planners and administrators.

We cannot dream of forging a united, progressive and inclusive nation if the wealth gaps among and with the races keep growing. Neither can we take pride in our improving GDP growth.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Umno President is "Strong", Umno is Weak

A Kadir Jasin

[NO anonymous comments. Please use Google Account, OpenID or Name/URL. Pseudonym accepted. Thank you]

THE Kedai Kopi Assembly (KKA) continues to sit. Unlike the Parliament and the State Legislative Assemblies, the KKA has no recess and its members receive no salary and allowances.

Among members involved in the last several sessions were (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad, two other former Umno ministers, several bloggers, journalists, corporate sector executives, retired policemen, padi farmers, Bumiputera car salesmen, young leaders of Umno branches, a Chinese doctor at a private hospital and an ex-stockbroker.

Among issues, facts and recommendations discussed were:-

1. When (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad wrote in his blog on Sept 10 (here) to announce that he had withdrawn support for the Prime Minister, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, he wasn’t being rude or rash. He had informed the PM of that before hand.

2. Weeks before the blog posting, he wrote a letter to the PM outlining what he saw as the latter’s failure and stating that he could no longer support him.

3. In a KKA session with Dr Mahathir on Sept 19, attended also by two other bloggers - one of them is a former minister – the ex-PM said the points he raised in the letter were the issues the people brought to his attention.

4. He said not all young Malays are against Umno and not all non-Malays are against the BN. They are against the top leadership of Umno, the BN and the government. They even raised the issue of wives and spouses of these top leaders.

5. Only after he received no response from the PM that he made his stand known via his blog because he felt responsible to those who came to see him and asked him to bring their concerns to the attention of the PM.

6. Dr Mahathir told us that instead of responding to his letter, the PM sent an intermediary to ask him to withdraw it.

7. Dr Mahathir said he has done his part and it’s up to Umno and the people to decide the future of the PM but he did not believe Umno would act on its President. Umno President may be strong but the party is weak.

8. The talks that Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin is tired and uninterested to be PM are unproductive. The DPM and Umno Deputy President should stop talking about being tired and wanting to retire. Instead he should up his ante as the voice of the ordinary Umno members in particular and the Malays in general.

Muhyiddin Should Up His Ante for Sake of Umno

9. A young executive and a former committee member of overseas Umno Club said younger leaders like Khairy Jamaluddin and Muhkriz Mahathir should be brave and open in defending the future of the bangsa and the country and fulfil the aspiration of young Malays and Malaysians. They should stop playing safe and becoming apple polishers. They should emulate young Umno leaders of the past like Dr Mahathir and late Harun Idris who took risk for the sake of the party and the country.

10. The hypocrites and the apple polishers should stop treating the rakyat like fools by saying that they respect Dr Mahathir and support the PM. They should be replying to Dr Mahathir’s teguran. To say they respect Dr Mahathir and support the PM is not the answer. To say time has changed is also not the answer. Dr Mahathir’s teguran are about policies and they need serious replies.

11. Dr Mahathir is not demanding respect. He is asking them to listen to the rintihan of the rakyat, mend their ways, be less corrupt, work harder and make Umno strong and respectable again. They should be with members instead of tugging ministers’ coattail.

12. Some elements of the mainstream media appears to have gone back to the Abdullah era by denying Dr Mahathir the right of reply. An Umno-owned Malay newspaper had commented on Dr Mahathir’s criticisms of Mohd Najib. But when Dr Mahathir sent a reply, the paper “refused” to publish his letter. The NST did the same during Abdullah’s era.

13. The KKA laughed off Musa Hitam’s defence of the PM. Musa was being very personal. Dr Mahathir was talking about policies and programmes like the debt-laden 1MDB. Musa talked about personalities. Was he serious about defending the PM or just carrying on his grudge against Dr Mahathir?

14. Dr Mahathir was curious why 1MDB bought the ageing Independent Power Producers (IPPs) when the government could wait a few more years and get them “free”. Something is amiss!

15. A power executive who pioneered one of the IPPs not bought by 1MDB said, our IPPs are of the build, own, operate and transfer type. Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) are for 21 years in the case of gas-fired plants and 25 years for coal-fired with option for an extension of five years. If at the end of the PPA period, the IPPs fail to secure an extension, the plants are transferred to the TNB for a token sum, something like RM100. Some of the IPPs bought by 1MDB have less than seven years of concession period left. The IPPs already recovered their costs and made substantial profits. One source said within seven or eight year they recovered their investment. So selling their plants to 1MDB earned them huge bonuses or extraordinary gains. 

16. Why do we need 1MDB as a sovereign fund when we already have Khazanah? For whom is 1MDB? Why should 1MDB’s fund be kept abroad when MIDA is working very hard to attract FDI? Why was it so hard for the auditors to approve 1MDB’s accounts if everything is above board?

Why 1MDB when we have Khazanah?
17. Important Malaysians like Musa should stop taking the people for fools. For record, Musa could not work with Dr Mahathir and he resigned on his own accord, believing that Umno would beg him to comeback and forced Dr Mahathir to reject his resignation.

18. (Tun) Abdul Ghafar Baba was a loyal deputy but Anwar toppled him. Anwar really “sacked” himself with his behaviour and actions.

19. Dr Mahathir never really trusted (Tun) Abdullah Ahmad Bagawi but was forced to accept him because he (Abdullah) was popular with Umno and Dr Mahathir needed someone to stand up to PAS.

20. Abdullah was not sacked by Dr Mahathir. Dr Mahathir was not even an Umno member then. Abdullah was forced to resign by Umno. But Umno would not pressure Mohd Najib to resign.

21. Had Musa been a bit more patience and did not resign, he would have been the PM and Anwar would not have created the present mess had he waited for his turn.

22. Dr Mahathir had tried to advise Mohd Najib behind the scene in one-to-one meetings. Six months after the May 2013 general elections Dr Mahathir met him. Dr Mahathir said he told the PM that his election strategy was wrong. The PM was banking on his personal popularity and cash handouts. Dr Mahathir said cash did not buy votes but PM seems to believe that cash is king.

PM believes in his personal popularity
 23. Dr Mahathir said Mohd Najib did badly in 2013 – worse than Abdullah did in 2008. Umno got rid of Abdullah but not Mohd Najib. What lessons have Umno learnt? What has happened to the post-mortem? Has Umno make changes? These are the posers that “sincere” Umno leaders should answer instead of saying they respect Dr Mahathir and support the PM.

24. The government claims that our economic growth is among the best in the world. If so why is the national debt and personal debt so high? Government lives on borrowed money so too are the people. This is not a quality growth.

25. If the economy is doing well, why don’t the government reduce national debt? If inflation is low and household income is rising, how come less and less people can afford to buy houses? Even banks are refusing to approve loans for medium-priced houses.

26. The admission of this precarious housing situation is when the government is forced to go into housing but so far none of its projects have been completed. Both the chairman and CEO of Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia (PR1MA) have zero experience in housing.

27. The repeal of ISA was a colossal mistake. Now Mohd Najib wants to do away with Sedition Act. Grass root Umno members don’t agree. Will the PM make another mistake by abolishing the Sedition Act?

28. A group of influential Malays had petitioned the Rulers’ Council not to agree to the repeal of the Sedition Act. The PM was at that meeting. Has he done anything? All that we hear is the mainstream media issuing daily propaganda on the proposed Harmony Act to replace the Sedition Act.

29. If we are doing well, why is the government so desperate about wanting to join the TPPA? Can our companies go to US to compete? Can the Bumiputera companies compete at home with American companies? The KKA appeals to Mustapa Muhamed to tell the truth about TPPA and the economy.

30. The KKA continues to worry about the future and quality of national education and the growing elitism of private education when Ministers, senior politicians and businessmen are clamouring to sent their children to private schools while telling the rakyat of the virtues of sekolah kebangsaan. Even a high achieving school like Abdul Hamid College in Alor Star has fallen off the ladder due to “political interference” at the expense of excellence.


About Me

My Photo
I was born in 1947 in Kedah. I came from a rice farming family. I have been a journalist since 1969. I am the Editor-in-Chief of magazine publishing company, Berita Publishing Sdn Bhd. I was Group Editor NST Sdn Bhd and Group Editor-in-Chief of NSTP Bhd between 1988 and 2000. I write fortnightly column “Other Thots” in the Malaysian Business magazine, Kunta Kinte Original in Berita Harian and A Kadir Jasin Bercerita in Dewan Masyarakat. Books: Biar Putih Tulang (1998), Other Thots – Opinions & Observations 1992-2001 (2001), The Wings of an Eagle (2003), Mencari Dugalia Huso (2006), Damned That Thots (2006), Blogger (2006), PRU 2008-Rakyat Sahut Cabaran (2008), Komedi & Tragedi-Latest in Contemporary Malaysian Politics (2009) and Membangun Bangsa dengan Pena (2009).