Monday, April 03, 2006


A Kadir Jasin

AN Osama bin Laden VCD urging the use of force, according to today’s The Star, is being openly sold in the country. So what’s new and what’s the news?

All kinds of printed and recorded materials are being sold in our country. All it takes is a bit of looking around. Legal or otherwise, original or pirated, they can be obtained for a price.

But Osama is more than a commodity-in-trade. He is the hero to a lot of Muslims here in Malaysia and around the world. Some are devotees others are simple admirers. They admire him because he dares to stand up to the US.

The US, under ultra-nationalist George W Bush, isn’t very popular with a lot of Muslims. Even his Western allies, except for the outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair, barely tolerate him.

To today’s young Muslims, Osama is their vision of a hero (or villain to the detractors). His methods may be wrong, but that does not make him less of a hero. Legendary Robin Hood robbed from the rich. But he was a hero because he gave to the poor.

When I was growing up, my hero was the South American revolutionary leader, Ernesto Rafael de la Serna a.k.a Che Guevara. Then it was an offence to have in your possession anything that had to do with communism or socialism.

But being young, foolish and idealistic, we did whatever we could to read about our heroes and sing praises to them. Che was my numero uno. I also admired Lenin, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Soekarno, Ho Chi Minh, Jawaharlal Nehru and Jomo Kenyatta. I read about them in a Malay magazine called “Mastika”. Today “Mastika” is doing well purveying ghost stories.

Some years ago, on a trip to Cuba, I bought some t-shirts bearing Alberto Korda’s famous portrait of Che and visited places associated with the Argentinean-born medical doctor in Havana (Habana).

When I wore them and asked a number of young people in and around Bangsar who they thought the man was, they unanimously said “Bob Marley” of the “No Woman No Cry” fame.

Don’t Make Fun of Politicians

THAT’S the plea of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Shien Loong. The Star newspaper reported him as saying that while Singaporeans are free to express their views about politicians, they should not make light of it or poke fun at them.

In a dispatch from the island republic, the German Press Agency (DPA) said Lee is seeking a massive endorsement of his leadership in the upcoming general election, including the defeat of the only two opposition MPs in the 84-strong Parliament.

How free can the people of any country be when the government does everything it can to discourage opposition and to disqualify the few who were democratically elected?

Alas we do not have such problem. We do not have to make light of our politicians or poke fun at them. They do that very well in Parliament and elsewhere without our help.

The PAP leaders are shrewd. They know how unforgiving politics can be. So they stay on and on. Its good for them and, since they are good leaders, their collective leadership strengthens the republic.

Today, Singapore, in effect, has three “Prime Ministers” –Lee Junior, Goh Chok Tong (Senior Minister) and Lee Kuan Yew (Minister Mentor).

Here Past Leaders Are Loathed

IN our beloved Malaysia, the political-types make it their business to gag retired politicians, failing which they will do all that they can to discredit such persons.

Across the Causeway, Lee Junior runs the country and Lee Senior presides over the nation’s investment holding company, the GIC. In Malaysia, the government appointed former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, to advise Proton and the government-friendly media poured scorn on him.

Here, I don’t envy Datuk Azlan Hashim. It cannot be a pleasant task for the Proton chairman to face-off Dr Mahathir. No matter how well (or sincerely) he argued his case, he can count on Dr Mahathir having something to say in return.

Although he got more column centimetres and a better display in some pro-government newspapers, a lot of people still prefer to read the shorter and less well-displayed rebuttals by Dr Mahathir.

Azlan’s predicament is understandable. Like his current political masters, he was the creation of Mahathir’s era. As the case is with his fellow GLC hotshots, Azlan was discovered and nurtured during Mahathir’s long rule. He benefited from the NEP’s high growth rate and from the promotion of Bumiputera agenda.
Azlan argued more recently that Proton’s past and present boards were not given the full story about the company’s purchase and running of MV Agusta. Not given or did not bother to ask? I thought Proton board is a huge one. Surely one or two directors are concerned and intelligent enough to ask some probing questions.

Alas, most Malaysians are bent on blaming the past than taking responsibility for their action. Were Proton directors not “constructive trustees”?

Alas There’s the Ultimate Solution

TO stop all this nonsense about taking advantage of the hefty increase in petrol, diesel and LPG prices to raise prices --- arrest a nasi dagang seller from Terengganu and issue her with a RM1,000-compound.

So the officialdom successfully made a lesson of an old Malay woman. Sapiah Mohamad, 70 years old, was fined for not displaying price tag when she sold her now famous gulai kepala ikan tongkol for RM45.

But what about Mamak Maidin’s the tarik, Mudiandy’s puri and Ah Kau’s tau foo fah? Or what about TNB seeking rate hikes, the local councils merrily raising assessment rates and the big time traders using legal loopholes to raise prices?

See, who says that the government is not paying attention to Bumiputera traders?

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, Datuk Mohd Shafie Apdal must be feeling good about himself for teaching the rogue nasi dagang seller a lesson.



bergen said...

The law is for the powerful and the rich.

Anonymous said...

thanks for blogging in english. i really enjoy it. my only complaint is that you are not as prolific as jeff ooi and other blogs. in the meantime, keep it up. man

Anonymous said...

enjoyed reading your blog than jeff ooi's. really..

another anonymous reader :-)

BawangMerah said...

Ikan kecik ditangkap, ikan besar dibiar begitu sahaja.

Kit said...


I find it highly amusing that on one hand you champion the neccessity of democractic opposition in our government and with another you hail the heroes of Socialism.

It is perhaps due to my lack of reading (and intelligence) that i fail to connect the dots between democracy and socialism outside the context of Sweden's model of welfare state which i suspect can only work if you are rich, freezing and ambivalent.

For history has told me that Socialism didn't really work in economically less affluent states, and even if it did- the democractic vox populi opposition that you champion was never really heard, but rather crushed with an iron fist:

With Castro, Che led the Cuban revolution towards Socialism and after the fall of the Soviet Union, the state of Cuba has been pretty much in the doldrums- unless you consider Castro's nation of cigar rollers as a model of high quality of life. The Cuban Revolution succeeded in toppling a dictator by installing another dictator at its helm.

Stalin went along the line of Leninism of warding off 'imperialist' forces that can only exploit the Bolsheviks' dreams of a classless society. The thing was- he took Leninism a tad too literal and killed more 'imperialists' than Hitler could ever dream of.

Soekarno dabbled with communism, proclaimed himself to be President for Life and brought upon himself truckloads of unaccountable shady dealings that curtail human rights in the name of his version of 'Guided Democracy' for a greater Indonesia.

Osama b. Laden. Urm, Enough said.

I do not deny that people need heroes and role models. But when the masses make heroes out of crazy blood thirsty maniacs who wouldn't think twice about killing their dissidents (read:Che Guevara), bombing a school filled with kids (read: Chechnya 'freedom' fighters), using aeroplanes as projectiles to champion their religion of peace (read:Idiot), this is where I draw the line between blind adulration and Critical Thinking.

I am suprised that those cool Bangsar hipster kids didn't know who Che Guevara is. The last time I walked around town- I saw at least a dozen pimpled-face teens who prolly couldn't differentiate between the late Tunku Abdul Rahman from Tunku Abdul Razak, strutting around in their cool Che Guevara gears. I bet my life the only thing they know of Che is "Oh, he started a REVOLUTION. It's Cool you know- them REVOLUTIONISTS. VIVA LE REVOLUCION!"

These people know Nothing of the Cuban Revolution. They are the same people who adore bin Laden just because he is Anti-Establishment and Anti Whatever-thats-Western-therefore-Bad. They empathize with their struggle without knowing what they fight for, what sort of vested interest they have, how many people they killed along the way, and how similar they are to the very people whom they claim are clamping down on the rights of the people they are fighting for.

Political dissidents are Awesome. I am all for the right of the people to Democracy. But I cannot tolerate when these so-called supporters of political dissidents are merely bandwagoners who naively bought their cleverly-marketed struggle for the people.

Anonymous said...

Dear Datuk,

Here, not only past leaders are loathed. Even parents are despised, sued and sometimes, slaughtered by their very own children. Blaming the parents, past managements or leaders is part and parcel of the society, especially the new Malays!

In the Proton’s case, “Clearly” Azlan is only looking at short term profit, a KPI that he set which would mean fat bonuses and other perks if achieved. Of course he has to ensure that is achieved during his tenure, hence the 1 EURO, for 2 EURO will take longer time! He could not be bothered by the greater, more difficult and not necessarily in monetary terms KPIs set by Dr. Mahathir. Fortunately for him, his political masters are also not that far-sighted! The same goes to the other GLCs. Nothing much has been said about the greater social and economic responsibilities in their so-called KPIs. Now we also hear about a GLC which is in the process of dumping the MMU, another asking for higher tariffs and very soon thousands of Malaysians will be laid off, all for the sake of their short term profits.

I also wish to congratulate the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister for his speedy action in teaching the 70 years old makcik a lesson in “political mileage”. As a support to his action, I’m going to list down all the stalls in the country that do not display price list and I will submit to his ministry. I expect the same speedy action, no less. I’m going to start the list with a stall selling “bah kut teh” in Jalan Pudu.

BTW, my hero is always Clint Eastwood.

drmuzi said...

azlan is in dilemma, to response after few months..after TUN question of Agusta sell off, and then chicken out when Tun response to his answer only after few days.

pity him, for having to task as Proton Chairman.

I expect him to have not so rosy futures in the months ahead.


shahrul azwad said...

kesian makcik tu.

Anonymous said...


here's just a short one,
it should be Tun Abdul Razak. Not Tunku Abdul Razak. :)

Enjoyed reading your comments though.

Anonymous said...


Someone mentioned, “You’re either with us or against us”. What is your position?

Hamdi Hanapi said...

Kisah Che tidak pun ada dalam buku teks Sejarah Tingkatan 5. Nampaknya taukeh buku teks masih boleh kaya.

OOD said...

i am always impressed by your writing but hang on hang on, your readers leave impressive comments too!

dignity2u said...

I have not heard of the name Che Guevara for a long time so I did some “research”. Many years ago, there was a group of people in KL who met secretly and Che Guevara was their hero. They called for revolution and believed that “Victory comes from the barrel of a gun.” The police cast suspicion on a few cell members, the other members had cold feet, and the group evaporated.

At the same time, there was another group that also met secretly, but their hero was Chin Peng. When the police began to swoop down on this group, the cell members went into hiding in the jungles, and then disappeared from the face of the earth. As the years wore on, the parents of these missing people grew old, became sick and died. But the sons and daughters who abandoned their parents for Chin Peng never returned. They were not there to look after their parents, not there to comfort them, and not there to bury them.

Why did a group of people regard Che Guevara’s revolution as relevant to this country? What made people believe that the communist revolution was relevant to this country?

The fact of the matter was that the majority of the people of this country at that time including the workers were quite contented keeping their jobs, raising families, and looking forward to retirement. The majority was not looking for revolution.

In recent years, we have people like Dr Azahari Husin who abandoned their families and illustrious careers in order to serve their hero. They believe that victory comes from a bomb.

The terror revolution has started. Whether it is relevant or not depends on the numbers – the disciples, recruits and sympathisers. The US and UK are doing everything they can to help recruit more terror revolutionaries for Osama bin Laden. With the help of its 51st state called Israel, the US is making Osama bin Laden a global icon. Through its power partnership with the US, the UK has brought terror to its doorstep.

Is the terror revolution relevant to Malaysia? Let me chew it over.

faizzi said...

pasal kes makcik safiah,

even more heart-rending
for me to know these facts;
especially on
sapa yang kena denda..
sapa yang bayarkan..
sapa yang buat aduan..

Aktivis sedia bayar denda Sapiah

KUALA LUMPUR 1 April - Seorang aktivis masyarakat bersedia membayar kompaun RM1,000 yang dikenakan ke atas seorang peniaga yang menjual kuah nasi dagang dengan seketul kepala ikan tongkol pada harga RM45, Isnin lalu.

Menurut Dr. Ibrahim Ghaffar, hatinya amat tersentuh apabila membaca melalui akhbar mengatakan Sapiah Mohamad, 70, atau `Mak Ngah' mengalami tekanan perasaan sejak isu itu hangat diperkatakan.

``Niat saya untuk membayar denda tersebut adalah sebagai sokongan peribadi terhadap perniagaan Mak Ngah Sapiah.

``Saya juga berharap dia tidak merajuk dan berhenti dari berniaga sebaliknya menganggap berniaga itu satu ibadah,'' katanya yang juga Exco Majlis Kebudayaan Negeri Selangor ketika menghubungi Mingguan Malaysia di sini hari ini.

Pada 27 Mac lalu, seorang pelanggan yang berasal dari Kampung Panji, Wakaf Mempelam, Terengganu dan kini menetap di Putrajaya, mendakwa tertipu setelah dikenakan harga RM45 untuk kuah nasi dagang kepala ikan tongkol di kedai Sapiah di Chendering, Terengganu.

Ekoran aduan yang dibuatnya, kelmarin, Sapiah dikenakan denda RM1,000 oleh Bahagian Penguat Kuasa Kementerian Perdagangan Dalam Negeri dan Hal Ehwal Pengguna (KPDNHEP).

Dalam pada itu, Dr. Ibrahim juga menganggap bahawa Sapiah merupakan seorang peniaga yang jujur berdasarkan umur, pengalamannya berniaga dan juga sifat keibuan yang dimilikinya.

``Saya tidak rasa Mak Ngah Sapiah tergamak menipu pelanggannya dengan sifat peribadi yang dimilikinya.

``Oleh itu, saya berharap beliau menerima niat baik saya bagi membayar denda tersebut dan segera memberi nombor akaunnya kepada pejabat Utusan sebelum tarikh tamat tempoh pembayaran,'' jelasnya.

Anonymous said...

what kind of activist this dr. ibrahim fella?

makcik nasi dagang ni tak paparkan tanda harga barang jualannya. ini adalah salah dan harus dikompaunkan. kenapa aktivis masyarakat ini "condoning" penjual yg tidak mematuhi peraturan? saya tak faham. aktivis masyarakt ini tak melihat isu ini dari sudut yg sepatutnya.

motherly or not when someone break the law he/she should be punished accordingly.

- another anonymous reader.

Billy said...

I do really emphatise with Puan Sapiah Mohamad. If the customer felt that the food was expensive, boycott the stall and have his meal elsewhere. Why bring unnecessary trouble to a hardworking macik like Pn Sapiah. In my housing estate all the mee stalls, nasi lemak and what have you, have increased their prices. For us we will continue to buy from the stall if the quality of the food correlate with the price. If not, we look out for some other stalls and because of this, believe it or not, many stalls have winded up their businesses. The government should actually be supporting a bumiputra like Pn Sapiah not penalising her. Since when is a plate of nasi dagang under price controlled items? Yes, she may have broken the law but if you decide to catch one, you must catch all and not in isolation. The party that should be fined many times over is the government for increasing the price of petrol and knowing very well it is a monopolistic item, and without prior warning too.

abu abi said...

kesian makcik tuh,kedai mamak tak letak harga kepala ikan takde apa tindakan pon.. caj harga pon bagai nak gila gak dlm RM30 - RM60.. inilah nasib bangsaku..

warrior2 said...

The point being in the case of the makcik is that she didnt have a price list as required by law. Thats an offence. An offence is an offence.

Of course KPDN officials go around from time to summon those who didnt put tanda harga. Apart from that, all that is needed is for someone to make a report and in the makcik`s case, someone did.

If anyone of you have any problem with any singam or ahchong who does not display the price list, go and make a report against them.

There is no victim here.

I am actually surprised at the level of sympathy level upon the makcik. If I am to associate that makcik with osama,osama is looked upon as a hero by some, that makcik is also looked upon as a victim (or hero), when in fact both committed thier own offence.

Mr. Smith said...

It's unfortunate that Mak Cik's problem customer was a Malay from Putrajaya. Had been a fisherman,nothing would have happened to her.
In any case just drop by at any Chinese restaurant. You will NOT find any price list. You just order your food and be prepared for an "unreasonable" bill. If you are a first timer to the restaurant the bill would be even more "unreasonable".
But then nothing happens to Chinese restaurants because Malay never patronize them.
Chinese customers just pay and they don't bother to complain.

Syedz said...

Hi, about the Nasi Dagang story - actually im feel sorry with that aunty - the rules are clear if you dont have money then go buy 'ikan tongkol' from the market and cook it for yourself.

teliung said...


I totally agree with you on your writing on "Here Past Leaders Are Loathed". It is amazing with all the so-called Budi Bahasa campaign by the current leader et al, it clearly shows they do not "walk their talk".

It is clearly repugnant the way the present leader and cabinet ministers treated Tun Dr. Mahathir who has single-handedly progressed Malaysia to its highest achievement. They show their true colors. The rakyat however will always be grateful to Tun.


Landon said...

good one!!! keep it up!!

About Me

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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).