Monday, March 30, 2009

Even Contest for A River and Two Hills

A Kadir Jasin

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A TAMIL-TYPE movie is being staged in the Bukit Selambau State Assembly by-election.

Bukit Selambau is a Malay-majority seat but has become an Indian “stronghold” since it was taken away from Umno and handed over to the MIC in 1988.

But it promises to be better than an average Chennai-made Tamil movie because the cast are truly Malaysian – eight Indians, five Malays and a Chinese – making a total of 15.

They are Barisan Nasional’s S Ganesan and Parti Keadilan Rakyat's S Manikumar, who are the real contenders.

But don’t count out the independents -- Anuar Abdul Rahim, Radzi Md Lazim, Khamis Awang, A Jayagopal, Tan Hock Huat, T Chandrarajan, S Moganakumar, Husaini Yaacob, Abdul Rahim Abu, L Sarala, M Venason, R Loganathan and Mohd Fazil Abdul Wahab.

In the 2008 general election, V Arumugam stood as independent and won. He later joined the PKR and was made an Exco in the Pas-led state government

That explains why the by-election attracts so many independents. But there’s a more fundamental reason to that. Not all BN component parties are happy with the selection of an MIC candidate.

Out of 35,140 registered voters, 50.2 per cent are Malays, 29.5 Indians, 19.3 per cent Chinese and one per cent other ethnic groups, mainly the Thais.

The seat fell vacant when, on 9 Feb Arumugam, resigned following controversies surrounding his marriage to a woman who was allegedly still married to another man.

Reflecting the rejection of the BN, in particular the MIC, and the protest by the unhappy voters, Arumugam easily defeated MIC’s S Krishnan with a majority of 2,362 on a lower than average voters’ turnout of 74 per cent and spoilt votes totaling 1,694.

The Merbok division Umno had demanded that the seat be returned it.
Bukit Selambau was given to the MIC in an effort to increase the Indian representation in the otherwise Malay dominated state assembly. A Chinese seat was also created called Gurun.

With the Malay seat of Tanjung Dawai, they then made up Merbok Parliamentary constituency, whose MP was Tun Daim Zainuddin.

A Chinese and an Indian seat in a Malay majority parliamentary seat was considered viable because Daim, being a powerful minister, could theoretically make it work. He did with some difficulty.

In the Bukit Gantang Parliamentary seat a three-way contest pitches the BN’s Ismail Safian from Umno against Pas’ former Perak Menteri Besar, Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin, and independent Kamarul Ramizu Idris.

Like Bukit Selambau, Bukit Gantang is a Malay-majority seat that had on occasions been handed over to non-Malay BN parties. In the 2004 general election it was given to the Gerakan.

Out of 55,562 voters, 63.5 per cent are Malay, 27.1 per cent Chinese and 9.1 per cent Indian.

In the 2008 general election, Umno put an outsider -- Azim Zabidi, who is Umno Treasurer and a close ally of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi – and lost.

He obtained 18, 449 votes against Roslan Shahrum of Pas who received 20, 015 votes, giving the latter a majority of 1, 566.

This time around, Umno is putting a local boy -- Ismail Safian. He is facing a formidable challenge from the controversial Nizar, who may benefit from sympathy votes.

The Batang Ai, which in the Iban language means big or main river, state seat will see a straight fight between Sarawak BN’s Malcolm Mussen Lamoh from Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Jawah Gerang of PKR.

In the May 2006 state polls, the late Dublin Unting Ingkot led the BN to victory, beating Nicholas Bawin Anggat of Sarawak National Party (SNAP) by 806 votes in the 8,000-strong rural constituency.

These by-elections are an important barometer of the national and local politics.

They are held in the wake of the recently concluded Umno leadership election and at the time when cracks are showing within and among the Pakatan Rakyat’s component parties.

Umno and the BN are counting on the voters giving their approval to the changes that have taken place since the 2008 general election.

With the exception of the MIC, all major BN parties have installed new leadership and in less than a week Abdullah will hand over the Prime Minister’s job to Mohd Najib Abdul Razak.

The PKR and Pas are directly involved in the by-elections. The latter is in a dire situation with a series of scandalous news affecting its elected representatives.

Its own chief, Anwar Ibrahim, is facing sodomy charge in the High Court.

Also a year has passed since the 2008 general election and the three parties -- PKR, Pas and the DAP -- are yet to formally form Pakatan Rakyat. This gives the impression that they are either not keen or are not confident to have a formal coalition as an alternative to the BN.

Pas, on the other hand, may have to answer charges that it allowed itself to be manipulated by the DAP in the state to the extent that its members were willing to show disrespect to the Sultan via their street protests.

For Umno, the election of a money politics offender, Khairy Jamaluddin, as Umno Youth Chief, could prove to be its Achilles heel, opening party to ridicule by the oppositions.

Even Umno and BN supporters are not likely to be too happy to see him spoiling the broth for them.

The PKR’s chances of retaining Bukit Selambau are good given the dissatisfaction of Umno with losing the seat to the MIC and the lack of changes in the MIC leadership with S Samy Vellu still holding sway.

The BN stands a good chance of retaining Batang Ai and may even recapture Bukit Gantang. Or, at the very least, it should seek to reduce the oppositions’ victory margin.

The task of leading the BN in these and future by-elections is now in the hands of Muhyiddin Yassin, the Umno Deputy President and Deputy Prime Minister designate.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Tidak Semua Dalam Saf Orang Yang Insaf

A Kadir Jasin

[Komen menggunakan pengenalan anonymous TIDAK AKAN DILAYAN. Sila gunakan nama sebenar atau nama samaran. Jikalau menggunakan anonymous, sila nyatakan nama di penghujung komen. Ulasan yang mengandungi unsur fitnah, hasutan, perkauman dan bahasa kesat tidak akan disiarkan. Ulasan yang terkeluar daripada tajuk tidak akan diberi keutamaan.]

[MUTAKHIR – 28 Mac] 1. PERDANA Menteri akan mengadap Yang Di-Pertuan Agong 2 April ini untuk memaklumkan peletakan jawatannya dan menyerahkan kuasa kepada Mohd Njib Abdul Razak. Demikian beliau memberitahu Perhimpunan Agung Umno hari ini.

2. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad mengumumkan akan menyertai semula Umno pada satu tarikh yang akan dimaklumkan kelak. Beliau menghadiri sesi penggulungan Perhimpunan Agung Umno petang tadi.

3. Mohd Najib memberitahu sidang, Perlembagaan Umno akan dipinda untuk menjadikan pemilihan lebih demokratik dan bersih dengan menghapuskan sistem kuota dan mengadakan persidangan bahagian serentak di seluruh negara.

[Posting Asal]

ADAKAH Presiden baru Umno, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, memperoleh saf (barisan) kepemimpinan yang ampuh dan padu, setia, berintegriti, berkebolehan lagi dedikasi seperti yang dirayukannya?

Pada mulanya, harapan beliau mendapat saf sedemikian nampak begitu pudar. Ramai bimbang dan tidak kurang pula yang begitu hampa.

Dalam masa lebih sedikit 24 jam mereka dikejutkan oleh berita kemenangan besar pesalah politik wang Khairy Jamaluddin sebagai Ketua Pemuda Umno.

Seperti mencurah air ke atas daun keladi, 304 perwakilan Pemuda memekakkan telinga dan menolak suara hati akar umbi dengan mengundi menantu Abdullah Ahmad Badawi itu.

Ramai masih tidak boleh menerima hakikat bahawa seorang yang didapati bersalah dan diberi amaran oleh Lembaga Disiplin Umno kerana menggunakan wang sebagai sogokan telah dipilih dengan undi yang begitu besar.

Akibat daripada itu, wujud kebimbangan bahawa aliran yang sama akan berlaku dalam pemilihan Majlis Tertinggi. Kebimbangan utama adalah Muhyiddin Yassin mungkin tewas di tangan Muhammad Muhammad Taib.

Alhamdulillah, ini tidak terjadi. Muhyiddin mengalahkan Muhd Taib dengan majoriti besar.

Keputusan pertandingan Naib Presiden adalah seperti dijangkakan – Ahmad Zahid Hamidi yang setia kepada siapa saja yang berkuasa, Hishammuddin Hussein, sepupu Mohd Najib, dan Shafie Apdal, wakil terkanan Sabah, menang.

Ahli biasa Majlis Tertinggi menampilkan kepelbagaian watak -- daripada yang kental integriti dan pemikiran seperti Mustapha Mohamed, Puad Zarkashi dan Saifuddin Abdullah kepada “street fighters” seperti Noh Omar, Tajuddin Abdul Rahman dan Bung Mokhtar.

Pada saat-saat Umno diasak daripada pelbagai hala dan kedudukan orang Melayu dipertikai dan dipersendakan, para “street fighters” ini mempunyai peranan besar.

Kemenangan mereka mencerminkan kemunculan sentimen yang lebih radikal di kalangan perwakilan akibat cabaran terhadap hak dan keistimewaan orang Melayu sejak beberapa tahun kebelakangan ini.

Manakala kegagalan Menteri Besar, kecuali Ketua Menteri Sabah, Musa Aman, memenangi kerusi MT menandakan berakhirnya era gemilang “Kelab Menteri Besar.”

Yang memeranjatkan ialah bekas Menteri Besar Kedah, Mahadzir Khalid, yang negerinya jatuh kepada Pas masih dipilih. Dia dilihat sebagai antara pengikut setia Abdullah dan rakan akrab Khairy.

Kegagalan calon-calon wanita, kecuali Dr Norraesah Mohamad, memenangi kerusi MT mencetuskan kebimbangan mengenai cauvinisme kaum lelaki di dalam Umno.

Ini sangat berbahaya kerana Wanita dan Puteri memainkan peranan penting sebagai merayu sokongan.

Mohd Najib perlu memikirkan hal ini apabila melantik lima ahli tambahan dan mengisi jawatan-jawatan penting parti, termasuk di Ibu Pejabat Umno yang kini dilihat sebagai amat lemah.

Ibu Pejabat Umno perlu “dioverhaul” dan pelantikan lebih ramai penjawat utama Wanita dan Puteri dapat membantu proses pemulihan dan pemantapannya.

Kemenangan beberapa watak tertentu memberi gambaran wujudnya unsur kem yang mengaitkan mereka dengan Abdullah dan Khairy.

Ini sekali gus memberi kredibiliti kepada laporan media massa bahawa Abdullah memberi jaminan kepada Anwar Ibrahim dalam “pertemuan” mereka di Hulu Langat 10 Mac lalu yang dia (Abdullah) mempunyai pengikut setia yang akan mengawal Mohd Najib.

Pemenang seperti Mohd Zain Mohamed, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Shaziman Mansor, Mahadzir Khalid, Awang Adik Husin, Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, Idris Jusoh dan Hamzah Zaunuddin dilihat sebagai cukup akrab dengan Abdullah, tetapi tidak semestinya dengan Khairy.

Saya sengaja menyebut peranan Khairy kerana dia sendiri pernah berkata dia mahu menjadi Perdana Menteri menjelang usia 40 tahun.

Namun ini tidak bermakna mereka akan meletakkan agenda peribadi Khairy atau mana-mana kelompok dalam Umno di atas agenda parti. Mereka pun tahu siapa bos sekarang.

Seperkara lagi yang sangat mendesak untuk pertimbangan Mohd Najib adalah mewujudkan dikotomi (pemisahan) antara Umno sebagai parti induk pemerintahan dengan Umno sebagai parti orang Melayu.

Dalam konteks ini, peranan “street fighters” dan pemikir Umno perlu dipisah dan dibezakan daripada peranan mereka dalam kerajaan. Wajib ada kumpulan pendesak yang efektif dalam Umno.

Dan adalah kesilapan besar jika Mohd Najib tunduk kepada tekanan dan memberikan jawatan kepada pesalah-pesalah rasuah/politik wang kerana ini akan mencemarkan imej Umno di mata ahli, penyokong dan rakyat jelata keseluruhannya.

Dan mereka mungkin mendera Umno dengan lebih teruk pada pilihan raya umum ke-13 nanti.

Secara kebetulan, khutbah Jumaat Masjid Negara hari ini menyeru kepemimpinan negara menolok pengamal rasuah dan pengamal politik Wang dalam pemerintahan.

Ramai pembesar Umno yang menghadiri perhimpunan agung bersolat Jumaat di situ. Kalau mereka tidak tertidur atau mengelamun, mereka pasti mendapat mesej itu!

Nota kaki: Shahrir Abdul Samad menyerahkan surat peletakan jawatan sebagai Menteri Perdagangan Dalam Negeri dan Hal Ehwal Pengguna setelah gagal dipilih semula sebagai ahli MT.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Antara Saf Berintegriti Dengan Yang Membawa Mati

A Kadir Jasin

[Komen menggunakan pengenalan anonymous TIDAK AKAN DILAYAN. Sila gunakan nama sebenar atau nama samaran. Jikalau menggunakan anonymous, sila nyatakan nama di penghujung komen. Ulasan yang mengandungi unsur fitnah, hasutan, perkauman dan bahasa kesat tidak akan disiarkan. Ulasan yang terkeluar daripada tajuk tidak akan diberi keutamaan.]

[MUTAKHIR, 26 Mac] -- MUHYIDDIN Yassin menang jawatan Timbalan Presiden Umno dengan 1,575 undi mengalahkan Mohammad Muhamad Taib yang memperoleh 916 undi.

Tiga Naib Presiden adalah Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (1,592 undi), Hishammuddin Hussein (1,515) dan Shafie Apdal (1,445).

[MUTAKHIR, 25 Mac] -- Shahrizat Abdul Jalil memenangi jawatan Ketua Wanita dengan mendapat 507 undi berbanding penyandang, Rafidah Aziz yang memperoleh 280 undi.

Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin menang jawatan Ketua Puteri dengan 245 undi mengalahkan lima calon lain. Naib Ketua dimenangi oleh Shahanim Yusoff yang memperoleh 353 undi.

Khairy Jamaluddin memenangi jawatan Ketua Pemuda dengan 304 undi walaupun dia didapati bersalah mengamalkan politik wang oleh Lembaga Disiplin Umno.

Dia mengalahkan Dr Khir Toyo (254) dan Mukhriz Mahathir (232). Razali Ibrahim menang Naib Ketua dengan 417 undi.

[Posting Asal]

SAFKANLAH kepada saya sekumpulan pemimpin yang ampuh dan padu. Bariskanlah kepada saya satu pasukan yang setia, berintegriti, berkebolehan lagi dedikasi,” – Mohd Najib Abdul Razak ketika merasmikan serentak persidangan Wanita, Pemuda dan Puteri semalam.

“SALAM Datuk, malam tadi saya masuk Dewan Tun Hussein Onn. Jelas Datuk Seri Najib mahu ubah Umno secara total dan benar-benar tahu apa yang majoriti orang Melayu mahu. Kebimbangan saya adalah kepada perwakilan, bermula hari ini, dan kepimpinan di peringkat bahagian yang bermasalah sebenarnya,” – seorang muda Melayu profesional lulusan Jepun yang juga pemerhati persidangan.

“FIKIR. Negara kita sedang menghadapi saat-saat yang sukar. Krisis yang dihadapi adalah di peringkat global dan setiap negara mengharungi pahit getir dengan cara tersendiri. Namun negara yang akan bangun dengan pantas adalah negara-negara yang dapat menggemblengkan pemikiran-pemikiran terbaik mereka dalam menangani kemelesetan yang dialami dan mencari jalan penyelesaian,” – iklan Universiti Limkokwing di muka 18 Utusan Malaysia hari ini.

Adakah Mohd Najib akan mendapat saf kepemimpinan yang setia, berintegriti, berkebolehan lagi dedikasi seperti yang dirayukannya itu?

Apakah kebimbangan pemuda Batang Kali hasil Dasar Pandang Ke Timur Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad itu akan menjadi kenyataan?

Apakah Mohd Najib akan memperoleh barisan kepemimpinan yang mampu menggembleng pemikiran-pemikiran terbaik bagi menangani kemelesetan ekonomi dan mencari jalan penyelesaian seperti yang diharapkan oleh Universiti Limkokwing itu?

Atau kerana politik wang, kedangkalan minda dan kerendahan akhlak saf kepemimpinan Umno selepas esok akan dibarisi oleh bekas pelibat salah laku seks, tertuduh penyeludup wang, pelari anak dara orang, pesalah disiplin parti, pengampu dan segala macam lagi musang berbulu ayam?

Calon Timbalan Presiden, Muhammad Muhd Taib, dilaporkan oleh Utusan Malaysia hari ini sebagai berkata apa juga peristiwa yang berkaitan skandalnya di Australia di masa lalu tidak perlu diungkit lagi. Katanya Umno sudah terima dia.

Manakala Azalina Othman Said yang sedang disiasat oleh Suruhanjaya Pencegah Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) merayu perwakilan “menganggapnya tidak bersalah sehingga sabit kesalahan.” Dia bertanding ahli biasa Majlis Tertinggi.

Mohd Najib, pemuda Look East Policy dan Universiti Limkokwing tidak perlu tunggu lama. Gambaran awal akan diperoleh malam ini apabila keputusan pemilihan Wanita, Pemuda dan Puteri diumumkan.

Kalau perwakilan Umno dan sayap-sayapnya terus memilih oleh bekas pelibat salah laku seks, tertuduh penyeludup wang, pelari anak dara orang, pesalah disiplin parti, pengampu dan segala macam lagi musang berbulu ayam maka takdir akan secara sahih dan mutakhir menentukan kemelaratan Umno.

Atau Mohd Najib menggunakan hak dan budi bicaranya sebagai Presiden Umno dan Perdana Menteri, insya-Allah, untuk membina saf yang menolak penjawat parti yang tidak berintegriti dan tidak berkebolehan.

Dia wajib mengekalkan pemuka yang tidak terpilih tetapi berintegriti dan berkebolehan. Dia juga perlu memikirkan untuk membawa masuk pakar-pakar dari luar lingkaran parti.

Tetapi kalau Mohd Najib mahu menjadi Presiden Umno dan Perdana Menteri yang popular – ibarat peserta Akademi Fantasia – atau mahu dilabelkan “Mr Nice”, dia mungkin menjadi Perdana Menteri Umno yang terakhir seperti yang dimanterakan oleh musuh-musuh Umno.

Umno akan menuruni cerun yang sama seperti yang dialami oleh Parti Kongres di India, Kuomintang di Taiwan dan Liberal Democratic Party di Jepun.

Umno bukan mengenai 2,000 lebih perwakilan atau tiga juta lebih ahli. Umno adalah satu-satunya parti yang berteraskan kebangsaan Melayu. Di Malaysia, Melayu adalah Islam.

Umno tidak akan menang pilihan raya hanya dengan 2,000 perwakilan atau tiga juta ahli. Apatah lagi pada pilihan raya umum tahun lalu, orang Umno sendiri memboikot malah ramai mengundi pembangkang kerana marah kepada kepemimpinannya.

Tetapi sekiranya keputusan pemilihan hari ini dan esok menepati aspirasi ahli dan penyokong Umno dan diikuti pula oleh ketegasan Mohd Najib memimpin, ramai daripada mereka akan kembali semula ke pangkuan Umno.

Atau setidak-tidaknya mereka akan memberi peluang kepada beliau sehingga pilihan raya umum akan datang untuk membuktikan cakap-cakapnya.

Orang Melayu masih memerlukan sebuah parti seperti Umno. Hanya segelintir liberal dan elit Melayu yang percaya bahawa orang Melayu tidak lagi memerlukan bantuan dan bimbingan.

Walaupun orang Melayu tidak semiskin dan sedaif sebelum merdeka, namun secara perbandingan mereka masih jauh ketinggalan berbanding kaum-kaum lain.

Tidak banyak berbeza dengan huraian Allahyarham Datuk Onn Jaafar dalam ucapan perasmian Mesyuarat Agung Umno di Sekolah Francis Light, Pulau Pinang, 27-28 Julai, 1946, berbunyi:

“Kita orang Melayu masih ada juga menaruh sakit hati dan ada juga menaruh fikiran apakah sebabnya kita orang Melayu keciciran daripada bangsa asing. Jika kita perhalusi sedikit (dan) siasat, kita nescaya akan dapat jawapan dengan nyatanya. Lihatlah bangsa asing walau sedikit jumlahnya sekalipun pada satu-satu tempat tetapi mereka itu semua sentiasa bersatu dan berbantu-bantuan dalam segala hal.”

Monday, March 23, 2009

Musang Berbulu Ayam dan Pemilihan Umno

A Kadir Jasin

[Komen menggunakan pengenalan anonymous TIDAK AKAN DILAYAN. Sila gunakan nama sebenar atau nama samaran. Jikalau menggunakan anonymous, sila nyatakan nama di penghujung komen. Ulasan yang mengandungi unsur fitnah, hasutan, perkauman dan bahasa kesat tidak akan disiarkan. Ulasan yang terkeluar daripada tajuk tidak akan diberi keutamaan.]

[MUTAKHIR]AHLI Majlis Tertinggi (AMT) Umno merangkap Ketua Pemuda Umno Wilayah Persekutuan, Norza Zakaria, telah diharamkan bertanding jawatan AMT oleh Jawatankuasa Pengurusan.

[Posting Asal]


YANG korek itu kendi
Yang merah itu saga
Yang cantik itu budi
Yang indah itu bahasa

Jadi tidaklah indah bahasa seandainya musang berbulu ayam dibaratkan kambing korban.

Yang menuturkan itu mungkin hendak menampilkan budinya. Tetapi ibarat kendi yang rosak kerana kotor air di dalamnya, maka rosak jugalah budi kerana bahasa.

Dalam pengertian Islam, kambing korban amat suci. Nabi Allah Ibrahim sudah bersedia mengorbankan anaknya Nabi Ismail apabila Allah Taala menggantikannya dengan seekor kambing.

Maka dalam pengertian Islam, kambing korban adalah haiwan yang sangat suci. Orang yang rasuah atau mengamalkan politik wang pastinyalah bukan kambing suci.

Dalam peribahasa Inggeris pun “sacrificial lamb” (anak kambing biri-biri korban) adalah mulia. Dia seorang yang tidak bersalah tetapi dikorbankan untuk menyelamatkan orang lain yang bersalah atau untuk menutup sesuatu keaiban.

Jadi, dalam konteks tindakan Lembaga Disiplin Umno pada 17 Mac lalu, isu kambing korban tidak berbangkit langsung.

Mereka yang dapati bersalah kerana rasuah politik wang dan dihukum itu bukan sekali-kali kambing korban atau “sacrificial lamb”.

Musang Dalam Reban Umno

Kalau kita hendak berterus terang, mereka adalah musang berbulu ayam atau mengikut ungkapan Inggeris “wolves in sheep skin” iaitu serigala yang berbulu kambing.

Tidak perlulah sesiapapun membuat alasan atau cakap berlapik kalau mereka mahu menjadikan pemilihan Umno 26 Mac ini sebagai titik permulaan pemulihan parti itu.

Kalau ada di kalangan calon Majlis Tertinggi Umno musang berbulu ayam, kita kata sajalah mereka musang berbulu ayam.

Bagi yang tidak faham bahasa Melayu atau lebih selesa dengan bahasa Inggeris, kita kata sajalah mereka itu “the wolves in sheep skin.”

Kalau di kampung saya pada waktu desa masih desa di mana petani memelihara ayam dan itik, musang yang masuk ke reban ayam akan ditembak dengan senapang patah.

Kita jangan keliru, musang bukan “fox” (rubah) yang didapati di kawasan iklim sederhana dan sejuk. Haiwan jenis itu tidak ada di negara kita. Musang yang kita maksudkan ini dipanggil “civet cat” dalam bahasa Inggeris.

Jadi amat kenalah Lembaga Disiplin bertindak keras terhadap musang-musang berbulu ayam.

Tapi biarlah adil. Jangan ada musang yang dibedil dan ada musang yang dijentik telinga sahaja – tidak kiralah musang itu musang tenggalung (Malayan civet cat) atau musang pulut (palm civet cat).

Awas Calon Rasuah

Atau adakah dua orang calon itu sahaja yang terbabit dengan rasuah politik wang? Yang bukan calon atau yang jadi wakil dan tukang tabur duit lainlah. Yang kita maksudkan ini calon.

Apa hal pula dengan calon yang didakwa di mahkamah oleh Suruhanjaya Pencegah Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) kerana politik wang macam Norza Zakaria? Bolehkah dia bertanding?

Atau perwakilan yang terima rasuah? Terima duit kocek dan penginapan tu perkara biasa. Ini yang terima duit sehingga boleh beli kereta baru atau bercuti ke luar negara.

Memanglah susah hendak mencari pemimpin politik yang sempurna dan unggul, tidak kira dalam kem kerajaan atau pembangkang, di Malaysia atau di negera-negara lain.

Hanya di negara yang mengamalkan sistem satu parti macam China atau yang tidak ada pembangkang macam Singapura yang boleh memilih-milih pemimpin.

Mula-mula sekali tidak ada calon atau pemimpin yang sempurna dan unggul kerana mereka pun manusia juga.

Kita lihat sajalah apa yang telah dan sedang berlaku dalam barisan kepemimpinan Pakatan Rakyat. Walaupun PR diuar-uarkan oleh penyokongnya sebagi lebih bagus daripada kepemimpinan Barisan Nasional, namun kita lihat ia juga sedang mengalami pelbagai masalah.

Huru-hara di Perak sekarang bermula apabila tiga Adun PR – dua dari Parti Keadilan Rakyat dan seorang dari DAP –keluar parti dan “menyokong” BN. Dua bekas Adun PKR itu pula sedang menghadapi tuduhan rasuah di mahkamah.

Di Bukit Selambau, Kedah, pilihan raya kecil terpaksa diadakan kerana Adun PKR, V Arumugam, meletakkan jawatan pada 9 Feb. lalu atas sebab masalah peribadi.

Dalam Pilihan Raya Umum 8 Mac, 2008 dia bertanding bebas dan kemudian menyertai PKR.

Kemudian pada 17 Feb. Adun PKR Bukit Lanjan, Selangor, Elizabeth Wong, pula mengumumkan peletakan jawatan Adun dan Exco setelah gambar bogelnya tersebar di khalayak.

Gambar itu didakwa diambil dan disebarkan oleh bekas kekasihnya, Hilmi Malek, 32, yang juga seorang petugas penting PKR. Hilmi menghilangkan diri dan dipercayai lari ke Indonesia.

Adalah menjadi pengetahuan umum yang ramai pembesar PKR, khasnya yang berasal dari Umno, kerap menggunakan Jakarta sebagai tempat “rendezvous” (ron-day-vu -- bertemu) untuk membuat perancangan atau menyembunyikan diri.

Kemudian pada 21 Mac, Timbalan Ketua Menteri 1 Pulau Pinang, Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin, juga dari PKR, diumumkan akan meletakkan jawatan berkuat kuasa 8 April ini.

Ketua Menteri, Lim Guan Eng (DAP) berkata Mohammad Fairus juga akan mengosongkan jawatan Exco tetapi enggan memberi sebab dia meletakkan jawatan walaupun wujud dakwaan oleh orang PKR sendiri yang dia terbabit dengan kes kuari di negeri itu.

PR Kuat Atau BN Lemah?

Ini membawa kita balik kepada persoalan adakah BN lemah kerana PR kuat atau PR nampak kuat sebab BN sangat lemah?

Kalau PR benar-benar kuat tidak apalah. Sekurang-kurangnya pengundi mempunyai pilihan. Maksudnya PR boleh menjamin kepemimpinan yang lebih baik daripada BN dan Umno.

Tetapi apa halnya jika PR sebenarnya tidak kuat, tetapi nampak kuat kerana BN dan Umno sangat lemah?

PR masih boleh menjadi alternatif kepada Umno dan BN yang lemah. Tetapi apakah ini alternatif yang unggul bagi pengundi dan rakyat jelata Malaysia?

Kalau inilah keadaannya, kita sebenarnya sedang mengalami masalah kepemimpinan politik nasional yang sangat mencemaskan. Apatah lagi kita sekarang sedang mengalami masalah ekonomi yang runcing.

Justeru itu, keputusan pemilihan Majlis Tertinggi Umno Khamis ini bukan sahaja relevan kepada Umno malah akan memberi kesan kepada politik nasional keseluruhannya.

Sekiranya perwakilan membuat pilihan yang tetap dengan memilih calon yang terbaik dari segi kebolehan dan moral, maka harapan Umno pulih daripada kecelakaan PRU ke-12 adalah lebih cerah.

Sebenarnya, dengan penolakan pengundi Cina dan India terhadap BN pada pilihan raya umum lalu, khasnya calon-calon MIC, Gerakan dan MCA, Umno perlu lebih kuat mempertahankan hak orang Melayu di samping cuba memulihkan BN.

Pertimbangan Memilih Pemimpin

Mungkin syarat-syarat berikut boleh dijadikan panduan kasar oleh perwakilan dalam membuat pengundian Khamis ini:-

1. Tolak calon yang pernah didapati bersalah melalukan rasuah oleh Lembaga Disiplin;

2. Tolak calon yang didakwa di mahkamah oleh Suruhanjaya Pencegah Rasuah Malaysia;

3. Tolak calon-calon yang pernah terbabit dengan kes-kes jenayah dan salah laku seks, sama disabitkan kesalahan atau tidak atas prinsip pemimpin bukan sahaja wajib bersih tetapi wajib nampak bersih;

4. Berhati-hati terhadap calon-calon yang disyaki mengamalkan rasuah dan sedang disiasat;

5. Pilih calon-calon yang terbaik;

6. Pilih yang agak baik daripada kalangan yang tidak baik;

7. Pilih calon-calon yang kurang bercakap tetapi banyak bekerja; dan

8. Pilih calon-calon yang boleh mewakili parti dan negara di majlis kecil di kampung terpencil dan sidang kemuncak antarabangsa di merata dunia.

Kalau perwakilan buat juga kerja-kerja yang buruk kerana disogokkan wang atau dijanjikan peluang, selain peluang untuk membuat kebaikan, janganlah hairan jika talkin yang dibacakan untuk Umno oleh musuh-musuhnya menjadi kenyataan.

Banyak parti politik dunia yang sezaman dengan Umno telah lenyap atau hidup segan mati tak mahu.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mini Budget: Stimulating the Rakyat

A Kadir Jasin

[ANONYMOUS comments with not be entertained. When commenting, your real identity is preferred. But a suitable pseudonym is accepted. If you have to use anonymous, please print your name or pen name at the bottom of your message. Please avoid seditious, defamatory and libelous statements. Unrelated comments will not be given priority.]

IN the continuing series of kopitiam discussion with several veteran politicians, lawyers and economists, I would like to talk about the mini budget presented on March 10 by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak.

My apologies to the readers for taking a long time to comment on this very important issue, in particular to debater Sawit Futures Trader, who had insisted that I gave my two-sen worth of views.

I had taken a long time because being out of the information loop, I have no firsthand information about the budget until it was presented. Furthermore, on this particular issue and instance, I thought I better sought the wise words of the “oracle”.

In gist, this is what the kopitiam veterans, the economists and the “oracle” have to say about the mini budget.

It did not matter much what the analysts and bloggers said. Nor the fact that the Oppositions were not stimulated by it.

What is most important is for rakyat to be stimulated. The stimulus package is for them. If the benefits go to them, they will be happy. The government has taken care of their needs. So let us wait a while and see.

The amount in the two packages is RM67 billion. This is bigger than Singapore’s S$20 billion. So it should be as we are a bigger nation. In the per capita term, however, it’s still smaller that Singapore’s package.

The comments by those who showed interest seem to suggest that in preparing the mini budget, the players were not consulted.

If this is true, getting the stimulus packages running would be harder. If the government wants private sector to create 100,000 jobs, as was stated, which companies is it targeting?

The “oracle” said, in the case of the last two crises – mid-1980’s and the 1997/98 – the government was very clear about who should get the money and who should create jobs.

In the crisis of the mid-1980’s the government gave money and directed government departments to employ the unemployed directly to do such jobs as cleaning drains, irrigation canals and rivers.

The “oracle” said RM10-15 a day to unemployed urban workers and rural farmers was a lot of money at the time when they were in financial hardship.

He noted that during the late Tun Abdul Razak’s time, a “green book” was issued to encourage farmers to produce more food and for the households to plant vegetables around the house.

So, the “oracle” asked, were the large companies and employers called in and told to create the jobs? Were they taken into confidence and if so, did they agree? Otherwise how do you arrive at this projection?

The “oracle” also recalled how during the crisis of the mid-1980's, when the economic and finance matters were transferred from Tengku Razaliegh Hamzah to Tun Daim Zainuddin, the government successfully encouraged the private sector to supplement the government’s Unemployed Graduate Scheme with their own programmes.

(I was then in the New Straits Times and we launched a scheme that we called the Pre-Entry Training Scheme (PETS). In continued until a few years ago. Hundred of fresh graduates and school-leavers were trained and many of them today hold important posts in the mass media.)

Some commentators said the government finally acknowledged the severity of the crisis while a handful of official annoyingly continues to make excuses.
As recently as Jan. 14, two months after the 1st stimulus package was launched, the 2nd Minister of Finance, Nor Mohamed Yackop, continued to insist that “3.5% growth for 2008 achievable.”

He was in a state of denial, and worse, Mohd Najib repeated this optimism believing in what the MOF2 had been telling the Press. It must have come as a shock to DPM to realise that he had been misinformed of the situation.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had earlier written in his blog that he could not believe the crisis was not affecting the country, as we are a trading nation.

How then could MOF2 told us to believe that Malaysia is immune?

Under the stimulus packages, the government will directly allocate RM15 billion over two years -- RM10 billion this year and RM5 billion next year. Anything above this will increase the deficit to an unacceptable level.

The budget deficit this year is expected to rise to RM7.6 billion from last year’s RM4.8 billion.

To get round this, government decided to give guarantee to create an additional amount of RM25 billion. Another RM10 billion will be equity investment, RM7 billion private investment initiative and RM3 billion in tax incentives.

Would it not be better for the government to encourage the banks to lend more? They are supposed to be hoarding over RM200 billion.

Why are they keeping the cash when the country is facing the most serious crisis in history and is in need of capital?

Or is it because our banks have been investing overseas? Only Bank Negara knows. Investors want access to funs and not so much cheap funds. Of course cheap funds help to attract more investors.

Bank Negara must ensure not only accessibility to funds but attend to complaints from borrowers that banks are “corrupt” and are putting bureaucratic barriers.

Normally, operational expenditure is around 30 per cent. But this time it is 50 per cent. The government must explain this large increase.

The Government says it wants the Oppositions to work with it to overcome this crisis, forget politics and but put country first. The response from Opposition “Yes we will work with you but let’s have election in Perak.”

So much for working together. So much for country first. What has the election in Perak got to do with the global economy?

Clearly the Oppositions too are making excuses because they too don’t know much about the economy. Their de facto chief, Anwar Ibrahim, could no longer call on the IMF for help because the IMF has failed and the global financial system has melted.

What is most important in the implementation of the Mini Budget is for government to deliver the promises it made to the people quickly and without wastage, irrespective who they are affected by this crisis. No politics here.

Mohd Najib has to learn a lesson from this crisis. He has to have good advisors and implementers. There should not be a repeat of the MOF2 who was famously quoted by the Press saying: “Tidak sangka keadaan ekonomi menjadi buruk.” (Had not thought that the economy would become this bad.)

Others had warned the government but were ignored. Because of his “tidak sangka” stance, all Malaysians suffer.

Reports say Khazanah lost billions too. And government “was happy” that the losses were not as bad in Bursa Malaysia (KLSE) in comparison to China, India and other emerging markets.

What a consolation! Have we not been told that Khazanah is being run by so called brilliant “Oxbridge” boys hand-picked by the Prime Minister himself?

Are they continuing to pay themselves fat bonuses like the AIG executives in spite of the Khazanah and the GLC’s major losses?

The value of Khazanah’s investment declined to RM70.4billion on Dec. 31, 2008 against RM88.2 billion on May 31, 2008. The net worth (realizable asset value less total liabilities) fell from RM53.1 billion to RM33.7 billion.

And in both stimulus packages, money was given to invest in shares. Is this the time to buy shares? Like BN’s loss, these are paper loss too!

But when borrower pledge their shares to banks, prices drop and banks call for margins. Are these not paper loss too? We can’t have people with the “tidak sangka” mindset to be in charge of our economy.

And now talking to bankers after country is really down when should have done it earlier soon after the 1st stimulus.

We are always late.

Those who run our country must be alert. No sleeping on the job. No flip-flop. Most of all no “tak sangka”.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hasrat Mohd Ali Tersekat, Khairy Terselamat

A Kadir Jasin

[Komen menggunakan pengenalan anonymous TIDAK AKAN DILAYAN. Sila gunakan nama sebenar atau nama samaran. Jikalau menggunakan anonymous, sila nyatakan nama di penghujung komen. Ulasan yang mengandungi unsur fitnah, hasutan, perkauman dan bahasa kesat tidak akan disiarkan. Ulasan yang terkeluar daripada tajuk tidak akan diberi keutamaan.]

[Versi Yang Dirombak, 18 Mac] – RAMAI pembahas membangkitkan kedudukan Mohd Ali Rustam sebagai Ketua Menteri Melaka, Khairy Jamaluddin sebagai calon Ketua Pemuda dan peranan Suruhanjaya Pencegah Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM).

Saya telah mengulas sedikit dalam ruangan komen dan ingin memperluas dan menyiarkan dalam posting utama.

Pada pandangan peribadi saya, berikut adalah beberapa fakta sejarah dan perkembangan semasa yang mungkin boleh memberi panduan kepada kita semua.

1. Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik meletakkan jawatan KM Melaka apabila terbabit dengan "tuduhan" salah laku seks walaupun Peguam Negara pada waktu itu, Mohtar Abdullah, dalam pendedahan awamnya pada Oktober 1994 mengatakan, pendakwaan ke atas Rahim Tamby Chik tidak boleh dibuat kerana 'insufficient evidence' (kekurangan bukti);

2. Muhammad Muhd Taib meletakkan jawatan sebagai Menteri Besar Selangor dan semua jawatan dalam politik setelah terbabit dengan kes "penyeludupan" wang di Australia. Dia dibebaskan setelah berjaya meyakinkan Mahkamah Australia yang dia tidak faham bahasa Inggeris;

3. Isa Abdul Samad meletakkan jawatan sebagai Menteri Wilayah Persekutuan apabila didapati bersalah oleh Lembaga Disiplin Umno atas tuduhan politik wang pada pemilihan Umno lalu dan digantung keahlian;

4. Banyak lagi contoh dan kes MB, KM, Menteri dan Timbalan Menteri yang meletakkan jawatan setelah disabitkan kesalahan jenayah, melanggar disiplin parti atau isu peribadi yang memalukan;

5. Suruhanjaya Pencegah Rasuah Malaysia boleh (dan perlu) menjalankan penyiasatan dan pendakwaan serentak ke atas calon dan wakil calon yang didapati bersalah oleh Lembaga Disiplin;

6. Tindakan serentak penting kerana rasuah adalah kesalahan negara bukan kesalahan Umno sahaja. Justeru itu, parti-parti politik lain juga perlu diawasi oleh SPRM;

7. Lembaga Disiplin Umno juga wajib membuat pendirian mengenai mana-mana calon MT yang didakwa terlibat dengan rasuah politik wang oleh SPRM. Adakah tertuduh SPRM seperti Norza Zakaria masih layak bertanding?;

8. Ali Rustam mungkin kekal KM Melaka sekarang. Tetapi apakah Umno akan membelakangkan sentimen akar umbi yang mahu parti dibersihkan daripada gejala rasuah?

[Posting Asal]

SEPANDAI-PANDAI tupai melompat, akhirnya jatuh ke tanah juga.

Itulah yang terjadi kepada dua calon utama pertandingan Majlis Tertinggi Umno hujung bulan ini.

Mereka didapati bersalah mengamalkan politik wang (rasuah) dan melanggar disiplin parti oleh Lembaga Disiplin Umno.

Mereka yang dibabitkan kesalahan adalah:

1. Ketua Menteri Melaka, Mohd Ali Rustam, yang dicalonkan untuk jawatan Timbalan Presiden. Kerana kesalahan itu dia diharamkan bertanding jawatan berkenaan.

2. Naib Ketua Pemuda, Khairy Jamaluddin, calon Ketua Pemuda. Dia diberikan amaran tetapi tidak diharamkan daripada bertanding.

Pengerusi lembaga, Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen Tengku Ismail, memberitahu sidang akhbar di Ibu Pejabat Umno di Kuala Lumpur yang bekas Menteri Besar Selangor, Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, bebas daripada segala tuduhan.

Dengan penyingkiran Mohd Ali, pertandingan jawatan Timbalan Presiden adalah antara Menteri Perdagangan Antarabangsa dan Industri, Muhyiddin Yassin dan Menteri Pembangunan Luar Bandar dan Wilayah, Muhammad Muhd Taib.

Dalam sidang akhbar itu, Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen mengumumkan hasil penyiasatan membabitkan 29 orang ahli parti.

Sepuluh digantung keahlian selama tiga tahun bermula 12 Mac dan diberikan surat amaran.

Keputusan penyiasatan terhadap Mohd Ali tidak memeranjatkan kerana buat sekian lama wujud pelbagai tuduhan dan spekulasi mengenai pembabitannya dalam kegiatan yang melanggar disiplin dan peraturan parti, termasuk mengamalkan politik wang.

Yang pasti memeranjatkan umum adalah perbezaan antara hukuman berat yang dijatuhkan ke atas Mohd Ali dengan hanya amaran yang dikenakan ke atas Khairy.

Khairy serta merta mengisytiharkan dirinya tidak bersalah tetapi senada dengan itu berkata dia menghormati keputusan lembaga itu.

Soalnya, bagaimanakah di suatu pihak dia berkata dia tidak bersalah sedangkan di pihak yang lain dia berkata dia menghormati keputusan Lembaga Disiplin yang mendapatinya bersalah?

Malaysiakini dalam laporannya memetik Khairy sebagai berkata:
"Yang penting adalah saya hanya diberi amaran dan dibenarkan bertanding. Saya masih akan bertanding.”

Menantu Perdana Menteri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi itu berkata ada percubaan (agenda) untuk menyekat beliau daripada bertanding.

Turut didapati bersalah mengamalkan rasuah politik wang adalah wakil Mohd Ali yang juga Setiausaha Politiknya, Saadun Basirun. Saadun digantung daripada parti selama tiga tahun.

Khairy juga didapati bertanggungjawab ke atas salah laku wakil. Tetapi kesalahan wakil Khairy, menurut Tengku Ahmad Raithauddeen, adalah lebih ringan daripada Saadun.

Maka ada tupai yang jatuh “gedebuk” ke tanah yang keras dan ada yang jatuh atas rumput yang lembut. Namun jatuh tetap jatuh dan terpalit lumpur tetap terpalit juga.

Soalnya apakah hanya dua ekor tupai yang terjatuh ke bumi? Apakah yang sudah atau sedang terjadi dengan ratusan aduan yang diterima oleh Lembaga Disiplin? Apakah politik wang yang diheboh-hebohkan itu melibatkan dua orang calon ini sahaja?

Kalau begitu eloklah. Kalau tidak, apa yang terjadi kepada ikan-ikan besar yang lain?

Monday, March 16, 2009

20 Bodyguards for Sivakumar

A Kadir Jasin

[ANONYMOUS comments with not be entertained. When commenting, your real identity is preferred. But a suitable pseudonym is accepted. If you have to use anonymous, please print your name or pen name at the bottom of your message. Please avoid seditious, defamatory and libelous statements. Unrelated comments will not be given priority.]

[Update, Mar 17] – The Bukit Gelugor member of parliament Karpal Singh was charged with sedition in Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court this morning in relation to his threat to sue the Perak ruler over the political crisis in the state, according to Malaysiakini.

The prosecution claimed that Karpal committed the offence on Feb 6, between 12 noon and 12.30pm at his law office in Jalan Pudu Ulu, Kuala Lumpur.

Karpal pleaded not guilty before judge Mohamad Sekeri Mamat and was released on a RM2,000-bail with one guarantor.

He was charged under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act and faces a maximum jail sentence of three years or a RM5,000 fine or both if found guilty.

[LATEST] -- The Puchong member of Parliament, Gobind Singh, was suspended from the Dewan Rakyat for 12 months from today. The motion was passed via a voice vote after a debate lasting about 40 minutes.

[Original Post]

THE PERAK’S
State Assembly Speaker, V Sivakumar, told the Sin Chew Daily that he’s being guarded by up to 20 bodyguards whenever he's in public. The minimum is four.

That’s a lot of bodyguards for the DAP politician who told the Chinese paper that “frankly speaking, until now I have not received any phone threat…….”

I wonder if the DAP chairman Karpal Singh, who received to live bullets recently, is guarded by that many bodyguards. Maybe he is not even guarded.

I had seen him at airports all by himself except for his wife and and/or an assistant who helped pushed his wheelchair.

The DAP supremo, Lim Kit Siang, was not guarded when he came to have teh tarik at Raju where I regularly hang out with fellow "axed" editors.

I am not sure if Sivakumar is under real danger or he feels good being surrounded by bodyguards. It makes you feel very important and look very Hollywood/Bollywood where Presidents, mafia dons and gang leaders are surrounded by bodyguards.

I also wonder who pays the bodyguards – Sivakumar himself, the state government, the DAP, the Pakatan Rakyat or are they vigilantes who work for free?

But what I know from reading The Sun (which quoted the Sin Chew) is that Sivakumar has not received any offer to jump ship.

He’s not sure whether that because “they know I am one who subscribes to the principles of democracy or that they cannot reach me due to the tight security.”

Well, he can always find that one out by not having so many bodyguards or by asking them not to guard him too closely.

Meanwhile the Ipoh City Council had demolished a black marble plaque erected by Pakatan Rakyat to mark the controversial state assembly emergency sitting under the now famous raintree.

Perak Local Government Committee chairman Dr Mah Hang Soon said the marble slab structure contravened the Road, Drainage and Building Act 1974 as it was deemed an obstruction in a public area.

Where I came from (Kedah), the raintree is known as pokok pukul lima because at around five in the evening it folds its leaves. I guess that’s the way it conserve energy and allow rain and dew drops to pass through and reach the ground.

Being a legume it produces nitrogen, which is essential for plant growth. Unless trampled upon, the base of a raintree is always grassy and green.

The tree is also known as monkeypod, albizia saman, raintree, monkeypod, saman, zaman, zamang. Although it’s called monkeypod, I don’t think monkeys like its beans very much. But goats and cows love them.

Incidentally, the best example of raintree cultivation is also to be found in Perak, at the famous Taiping Lake Garden.

If Sivakumar has 20 bodyguards, The Sun reports that the Selangor Mentri Besar, Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, earns an income of RM46,000 a month comprising RM11,715 salary and RM35,507 allowances.

The Mentri Besar and executive councilors (exco) have made their asset declarations public via the Selangor government website, a step that, as a Selangor resident and voter, I applaud.

The second-highest earner is the investment, industries and commerce executive councillor Teresa Kok who earns more than RM32,000 in salary and allowances as state exco, Kinrara state assemblywoman and Seputeh MP.

She is paid RM6,109 as state exco and receives RM13,612 in allowances from the state government while her salary as parliamentarian is RM6,508 with allowances of RM6,600.
Most of the remaining excos earn an average of RM17,000 each.

Last month Sivakumar suspended the Perak Menteri Besar, Zambry Abdul Kadir, for 18 months and his exco members for 12. It seemed okay to a lot of people.

But today Malaysiakini quoted Karpal Singh as saying that the proposed motion to suspend his son, the Puchong MP, Gobind Singh, for a year was as derogatory step and a serious infringement of freedom of speech.

It seemed okay for DAP’s Sivakumar to ban a BN representative for 18 months, but Karpal cried foul and said "the Barisan Nasional should not be trigger-happy in tabling the motion."

The motion is being debated.

Well, like a famous Astro advertisement says, “macam-macam ada.”

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Ramai Pembahas Blog Terlalu Emosional

A Kadir Jasin

[Komen menggunakan pengenalan anonymous TIDAK AKAN DILAYAN. Sila gunakan nama sebenar atau nama samaran. Jikalau menggunakan anonymous, sila nyatakan nama di penghujung komen. Ulasan yang mengandungi unsur fitnah, hasutan, perkauman dan bahasa kesat tidak akan disiarkan. Ulasan yang terkeluar daripada tajuk tidak akan diberi keutamaan.]

[Update, 16 Mac] -- SEPASANG suami isteri lagi dihadapkan ke mahkamah, kali ini di Kuala Terengganu, atas dua tuduhan mencaci Sultan Perak dalam laman web pejabat Baginda.

Mereka adalah ahli perniagaan Fuad Ariff Abdul Rashid, 35, dan isterinya Fatimah Maisurah Abdullah, 34, seorang peguam.

Mereka didakwa membuat komen berkenaan dalam laman web http://books.dreambook.com.webper/dul1.html yang dipautkan kepada laman web Pejabat Sultan Perak, www.sultan.perak.gov.my.

Ini menjadikan bilangan yand didakwa lapam orang.

[Posting Asal]

PERTUDUHAN
terhadap enam orang pembahas blog semalam atas tuduhan menghina Sultan Perak menjadi satu lagi mercu tanda bagi dunia blog Malaysia.

Mereka dituduh di tempat berasingan di bawah Akta Multimedia dan Komunikasi 1998.

Peristiwa ini sekali gus menamatkan andaian bahawa blog, pemblog (blogger) dan pengomen adalah bebas dan di luar kawalan undang-undang.

Secara peribadi, saya telah sejak sekian lama berulang kali mengingatkan masyarakat blog, sama ada pemblog atau pembahas, agar berhati-hati dan sentiasa menghormati undang-undang.

Tetapi nasihat seperti ini bukanlah mudah diterima kerana ramai pemblog, pembahas dan pembaca percaya bahawa blog adalah bebas dan tidak ada siapa yang boleh bertindak ke atas mereka.

Apatah lagi majoriti pemblog dan pembahas adalah bukan wartawan dan tidak terlatih di bidang undang-undang.

Malah ada di kalangan pemblog wartawan dan mereka yang fasih mengenai undang-undang pun ramai berasa seolah-olah mereka di luar kuasa undang-undang.

Di kalangan pembahas pula, majoriti adalah orang muda dan anggota biasa masyarakat yang penuh emosi dan mengulas untuk melepaskan geram.

Dalam rancangan “Perspektif Kita” keluaran saluran satelit Astro Awani baru-baru ini, saya memberi kata dua bahawa tidak ada siapa pun di bumi Malaysia ini yang terlepas daripada kawalan undang-undang.

Saya mengingatkan pemblog bahawa mereka tertakluk kepada semua undang-undang negara, khasnya yang berkaitan penyebaran maklumat dan propaganda, seperti Akta Hasutan, Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri dan Akta Rahsia Rasmi.

Setidak-tidaknya pun mereka boleh dikenakan tindakan sivil seperti saman malu.

Malah saya mengatakan bahawa menulis di dinding bangunan atau tembok pun boleh diambil tindakan jika mengandungi unsur-unsur di atas dan penulisnya berjaya dikesan.

Atas alasan dan kesedaran itulah saya dari awal-awal lagi menyatakan dalam pengenalan blog ini bahawa “we wish to maintain a high level of integrity and responsibility among our participants”.

(Kita berhasrat mengekalkan tahap integriti dan tanggungjawab yang tinggi di kalangan peserta kita.)

Dan dalam setiap posting baru, saya mengulangi pesanan bahawa “ulasan yang mengandungi unsur fitnah, hasutan, perkauman dan bahasa kesat tidak akan disiarkan.”

Saya juga tidak melayan komen yang hanya menggunakan pengenalan “anonymous” tanpa nama sebenar atau samaran di bawahnya.

Adalah mustahil bagi saya, para pembahas dan pembaca membezakan antara seorang pengulas “anonymous” dengan pengulas “anonymous” yang lain.

Alhamdulillah, tidak terlalu banyak komen seperti di atas yang saya terima. Jadi tidaklah banyak komen yang terpaksa saya tolak.

Kesan tindakan mahkamah ini tidaklah semuanya negatif walaupun ia sedikit sebanyak akan menakutkan sesetengah pembahas daripada terus menghantar komen.

Namun dalam jangka masa panjang, saya berharap ia akan memberi kesan positif di mana para pembahas akan berhujah dengan tepat, pintar, waras, berhemah dan bertimbang rasa.

Saya sendiri kecewa dengan sikap fanatik segelintir pembahas yang langsung tidak boleh menerima perbezaan pendapat dan sangat emosional. Malah kita yang memberi ruang ini pun dimaki hamunnya.

Sikap mereka bercanggah langsung dengan dakwaan bahawa mereka matang dan demokratik. Elok jugalah pembahas seperti itu diadili oleh mahkamah atau tidak lagi mengambil bahagian di ruang demokratik ini.

Peristiwa ini juga membuktikan yang blog ini bukan lagi media pinggiran yang diberikan pelbagai label negatif. Blog sudah diakui penting dan mula diadili sama seperti media arus perdana.

Bagi saya, ini adalah perkembangan yang positif dan akan menjadikan komuniti pemblog lebih bertanggungjawab dan dihormati.

Seperkara lagi, lebih baik pemblog diawasi oleh masyarakat dan diadili oleh mahkamah daripada dikawal dan diadili oleh cawangan eksekutif dan perkhidmatan awam.

Ringkasan Kes Daripada Utusan Online

Chan Hon Keong 26, dituduh bersama isterinya, Khoo Hui Shuang, 27, menghina Sultan Perak melalui laman web http://books.dreambooks.com/duliduli.html yang mempunyai pautan kepada laman web Sultan Perak, www.sultanperak.gov.my. di Permatang Pauh, Butterworth, kira-kira pukul 12.05 pagi, 13 Februari lalu.

Rutinin Suhaimin, 35, dituduh melakukan kesalahan sama menggunakan perkhidmatan aplikasi Internet secara sedar dengan membuat dan memulakan penghantaran komen di alamat http://booksdreambook.com/duli/duli.html yang pada pukul 6.33 petang pada 13 Februari lalu di Kundasang, Sabah.

Nor Hisham Osman, 36, didakwa telah membuat dan memulakan penghantaran komen yang jelik sifatnya di http://books.dreambook.com.web per/dul1.html yang mempunyai pautan kepada laman web Sultan Perak iaitu www.sultan.perak.gov.my. Perbuatan itu didakwa dilakukannya pada pukul 12.34 tengah hari, 11 Februari lalu di Taman Lestari Perdana, Sri Kembangan, Selangor.

Muslim Ahmad, 54, didakwa atas tiga tuduhan menulis komen menghina Sultan Perak menggunakan perkhidmatan Internet menghina Sultan Perak di Setapak, Kuala Lumpur pukul 2.21 dan 2.27 petang, 7 Februari lalu.

Azrin Md. Zain, 33, didenda RM10,000 oleh Mahkamah Sesyen di Kuala Lumpur selepas mengaku bersalah menulis komen yang menghina Sultan Perak.

Friday, March 13, 2009

"Khinzirkan" Rasuah Untuk Perkuat Melayu

A Kadir Jasin

[Komen menggunakan pengenalan anonymous TIDAK AKAN DILAYAN. Sila gunakan nama sebenar atau nama samaran. Jikalau menggunakan anonymous, sila nyatakan nama di penghujung komen. Ulasan yang mengandungi unsur fitnah, hasutan, perkauman dan bahasa kesat tidak akan disiarkan. Ulasan yang terkeluar daripada tajuk tidak akan diberi keutamaan.]

[Update, 15 Mac] -- MENGAMBIL maklum reaksi majoriti pembahas, saya bersetuju kita "babikan" rasuah. Kata mereka, orang Melayu jijikan babi bukan khinzir. Khinzir berupa istilah baru daripada bahasa Arab. Terima kasih atas maklum balas saudara dan saudari.

[Posting Asal]

SEKUMPULAN pemikir, cendekiawan dan aktivis Melayu semalam menyarankan agar rasuah “dikhinzirkan” supaya orang Islam Malaysia menganggapnya jijik seperti haiwan itu.

Kata mereka, orang Melayu (semestinya Islam) sejak kecil lagi diajar menganggap babi jijik dan menolaknya dalam apa bentuk sekalipun.

Justeru itu mereka menyarankan agar proses pengkhinziran rasuah dimulakan di peringkat tadika dan berterusan sepanjang hayat.

Mereka membuat ketetapan itu dalam sidang sehari berjudul “Bengkel Resolusi Melayu dan Gejala Rasuah” bertempat di Yayasan Kepimpinan Perdana, Putrajaya.

Ia dianjurkan bersama oleh Kumpulan Melayu Serdang dan bekas Perdana Menteri, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Selain Dr Mahathir, antara pemikir lain yang hadir adalah Dr Mohd Nor Ismail, Dr Kamaruddin Kachar, Prof. Makhdzir Mardan, Prof. Dahlan Ismail, Dr Hashim Wahab, Aliasak Ambia, Dr Salleh Mohd Nor dan Syed Barkat Syed Ali. Seramai lebih kurang 70 peserta menandatangani dokumen itu.

Serentak itu mereka menggesa orang Melayu menolak parti-parti politik dan pemuka mereka yang terbabit dengan rasuah, penyalahgunaan kuasa dan salah laku moral, bermula dengan pemilihan Umno hujung bulan ini.

Dalam perbincangan di kalangan peserta dan dalam soal jawab dengan Dr Mahathir, beberapa calon Majlis Tertinggi Umno, bermula dengan calon jawatan Timbalan Presiden, dikenal pasti sebagai mengalami isu moral, termasuk rasuah.

Antara isu dan kesimpulan awal yang dikenal pasti adalah:

1. Perbuatan rasuah dilakukan oleh semua kaum di Malaysia;

2. Oleh kerana orang Melayu adalah kaum majoriti dan menerajui pemerintahan serta pentadbiran awam, mereka kerap dipersalahkan;

3. Orang bukan Melayu, khasnya para pedagang, lebih terdedah kepada amalan rasuah untuk mendapatkan kontrak atau mempercepatkan sesuatu urusan;

4. Peniaga Melayu kerap dianaktirikan kerana mereka enggan atau malu mengamalkan rasuah;

5. Pembanterasan rasuah di kalangan orang Islam wajib berteraskan akidah, syariah (undang-undang) dan akhlak;

6. Pembanterasan rasuah akan lebih mudah jika jurang kekayaan antara kaum dan intra-kaum dikurangkan;

7. Justeru itu, dasar membasmi kemiskinan dan mengagihkan kekayaan negara dengan lebih saksama wajib diteruskan;

8. Segala bentuk tindakan ke arah membasmi rasuah daripada aspek politik, ekonomi dan budaya wajib berpaksikan semangat Melayu kerana orang Melayu adalah kaum peribumi dan penduduk majoriti Malaysia;

9. Rasuah boleh disekat dengan mengurangkan perhubungan manusia (human contact) dalam urusan pentadbiran dengan memperluaskan urusan berkomputer (online);

10. Kepemimpinan Institusi Pengajian Tinggi Awam (IPTA) wajib menyemai dan memperkuat semangat Melayu yang positif dalam konteks masyarakat pelbagai kaum Malaysia agar pelajar Melayu mempunyai jati diri dan berani bersaing; dan

11. Dalam suasana di mana gerakan orang Cina dan India Malaysia menjadi semakin global, orang Melayu tidak perlu berasa malu atau bersalah (apologitic) untuk memperkasa jati diri dan memperluaskan persaudaraan mereka dengan orang Melayu di seluruh dunia.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Abdullah: No Agenda in the Meeting with Anwar

A Kadir Jasin

[ANONYMOUS comments with not be entertained. When commenting, your real identity is preferred. But a suitable pseudonym is accepted. If you have to use anonymous, please print your name or pen name at the bottom of your message. Please avoid seditious, defamatory and libelous statements. Unrelated comments will not be given priority.]

KEEPING his anointed successor in check appears to be Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s post retirement agenda.

And for that, he would keep the channel of communications with his nemesis, the Opposition Leader, Anwar Ibrahim, open.

That’s the best the outgoing Prime Minister could promise the Pakatan Rakyat’s de facto boss because “it was too late to do anything now” – like stopping Mohd Najib from becoming Umno President and Prime Minister.

This sensational development reportedly took place when the two “unexpectedly” bumped into each other at Madrasah in Hulu Langat, Selangor, yesterday.

According to Malaysiakini, the presence of the two leaders at the same table raised eyebrows as well as questions on whether the outgoing Prime Minister and the waiting-to-be premier (Anwar) are stitching a political pact.

"Anwar asked Abdullah how he could have entrusted the country to (Deputy Prime Minister) Najib (Razak), which the PM said it was too late to do anything now," Malaysiakini quoted a source.

According to the source, Abdullah hinted that he had a core of loyal supporters within the party who would keep Najib in check.

"The two leaders talked about the need to salvage the country and agreed to keep communication lines open between them," the Malaysiakini source said.

But The Star SMS services this evening quoted the Prime Minister as saying that there was no political agenda in his unexpected meeting with Anwar and dismissed speculations by several bloggers.

Political writer and blogger Mohd Sayuti Omar, who was at the function, said he was informed by the organiser that the duo had talks regarding the possibility of Abdullah remaining in power.

"What happened today was historical, we hope it works!" Mohd Sayuti quoted an organiser of the event as saying.

Whatever is the truth about the chance meeting, one thing is certain. The Pakatan Rakyat leaders are no fools. Sure they want Abdullah to stay on, if they can. They would not have been where they are today had Umno and the Barisan Nasional been led by a stronger leader.

No matter what he may say of Mohd Najib, Anwar knows that the Deputy Prime Minister is a threat to the Opposition. Mohd Najib has a better chance than Abdullah to win back the support of the Umno masses when he takes over, God willing, later this month.

After all, Anwar had once worked closely with Mohd Najib and was responsible for part of Mohd Najib’s career.

Knowing that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had a soft spot for Mohd Najib, Anwar was careful in his handling of the latter although he tried to use his vast influence on the mainstream media then to check Mohd Najib’s progress.

If indeed Abdullah told Anwar that his loyal supporters would keep Mohd Najib in check, the question is who are they?

Could Abdullah be referring to the likes of Mohd Ali Rastam, the Umno deputy president candidate in this month’s party election?

Abdullah could have a loyal ally if Mohd Ali triumphs over the front-runner, Muhyiddin Yassin, but his victory could cause more Malays will shun Umno, which is what Anwar and his PR cohorts want.

But Anwar isn’t a fool. He knows that trying to ride on Abdullah in his last days as the Prime Minister would be risky so he quickly played down the significance of meeting.

In his blog, Anwar said that people should not read too much into the meeting.

"There have been too many assumptions and interpretations regarding our presence at the event," he lamented.

In a separate development, Anwar suffered another setback when a panel of three retired judges cleared the Attorney-General, Abdul Gani Patail, and the Inspector-General of Police, Musa Hassan, of falsifying documents in connection with his beating a decade ago.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz told Parliament that the panel comprising Abdul Kadir Sulaiman, Wira Mohd Nor and Ahmad Nor Abdullah - all of whom are former judges of the Federal Court and Courts of Appeal -- found that the AG and the IGP did not commit any crime relating to the case as alleged by Anwar.

On March 5 the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that Anwar must face his sodomy trial in the High Court and not the Sessions Court.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Nasionalisme Pemangkin Baru Pakatan Rakyat?

A Kadir Jasin

[Komen menggunakan pengenalan anonymous TIDAK AKAN DILAYAN. Sila gunakan nama sebenar atau nama samaran. Jikalau menggunakan anonymous, sila nyatakan nama di penghujung komen. Ulasan yang mengandungi unsur fitnah, hasutan, perkauman dan bahasa kesat tidak akan disiarkan. Ulasan yang terkeluar daripada tajuk tidak akan diberi keutamaan.]

KETUA Parti Keadilan Rakyat merangkap ketua tidak rasmi Pakatan Rakyat Anwar Ibrahim menguarkan tsunami politik yang berlaku pada pilihan raya umum 8 Mac tahun lalu sebagai kelahiran semula (baru) nasionalisme.

Portal berita bebas Malaysiakini memetik beliau sebagai berkata demikian dalam ucapan menandakan ulang tahun pertama PRU ke-12 di hadapan kira-kira 1,000 orang di Dewan Majlis Bandaraya Shah Alam malam tadi.

Serentak itu, Anwar menggesa Pakatan Rakyat mengajak rakyat jelata untuk menjadi sebahagian daripada gerakan itu.

“Ajak rakyat jelata menjadi sebahagian daripada kelahiran baru nasionalisme ini bagi membina negara ini atas prinsip keadilan, kesamarataan dan peluang untuk semua,” katanya.

Malaysiakini melaporkan Anwar, yang gagal menunaikan janjinya untuk menumbangkan kerajaan Barisan Nasional September lalu melalui lompat parti, menggesa pengundi agar tidak melepaskan peluang mencipta sejarah pada pilihan raya umum akan datang.

Meminjam pakai istilah yang dipopularkan di Malaysia oleh akhbar New Straits Times di bawah kepemimpinan bekas ketua pengarang kumpulannya, Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan, Anwar berkata (izinkan saya menggunakan petikan asal dari Malaysiakini):

“The Umno-dominated BN is caught in a warp of its own making. They talk of reform but cannot walk the talk. This is what a half century in power does to you.”

Kalau kita masih ingat, ungkapan “walk the talk” (buat apa yang dicakapkan) kerap diguna oleh Kalimullah dan konco-konconya bagi memperjelaskan pegangan Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yang mengotakan apa yang dicakapkannya.

Sementara itu, penganalisis politik, Ong Kian Ming, dalam tulisan yang disiarkan oleh Malaysiakini berpendapat BN tidak mampu mereformasi diri atau memperkenalkan perubahan bagi mengembalikan sokongan pengundi kepadanya.

Namun beliau turut berasa bahawa pembangkang juga perlu mereformasi dirinya jika tidak mahu terperangkap dalam situasi serupa yang menyebabkan kelemahan BN.

Beliau, antara lain berkata, walaupun dua parti tertua PR –DAP dan Pas – tidak terkecuali daripada masalah dalaman, namun dua faktor menyelamatkan mereka.

Pertama, kurangnya peluang untuk mengamalkan dasar naungan politik (politics of patronage) dan kedua, kehadiran pemimpin atasan yang tidak mementingkan diri sendiri seperti Nik Abdul Aziz dalam Pas dan Lim Kit Siang dalam DAP.

Amaran Ong Kian Ming itu ada asasnya. Pemimpin seperti Nik Abdul Aziz dan Kit Siang tidak akan menongkat langit dan dengan kuasa, muncullah peluang untuk mengamalkan sistem naungan politik.

Pengaruh kuasa ini sudah pun mula berlaku di negeri-negeri yang diperintah oleh PR. Misalnya, sudah ada wakil rakyat yang dipilih atas tiket PR dan operatornya dihadapkan ke mahkamah atas tuduhan rasuah atau dilucutkan jawatan.

Anwar sendiri sedang menghadapi perbicaraan kes liwat yang baru sahaja dipindahkan ke Mahkamah Tinggi manakala Menteri Besar Selangor dari PKR, Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, disiasat kerana disyaki menyalahgunakan kuasa.

Soalnya apakah Pas dan DAP yang lebih tua dan nampak bersih daripada skandal bersedia memperjudikan nama baik mereka dengan bersekongkol bersama PKR dalam jangka masa panjang?

Ong Kian Ming berpendapat, jika ada parti dalam PR yang terdedah kepada “reform fatigue” maka ia adalah PKR.

Katanya: “And if there is any party that would be most susceptible to reform fatigue if Pakatan takes over power at the national level, it would be PKR, partly because of the baggage which Anwar carries with him and partly because of the short history of the party.”

(“Dan jika ada parti yang paling terdedah kepada reform fatigue sekiranya Pakatan Rakyat mengambil alih di peringkat nasional, ia adalah PKR, antaranya kerana beban yang dipikul oleh Anwar sendiri dan kedua, disebabkan sejarah parti itu yang singkat.”)

Tidak seperti DAP dan Pas yang jelas dasar dan ideologinya, PKR agak bercelaru kerana ia lahir daripada gerakan reformasi yang menggabungkan pelbagai organisasi dan individu yang berlainan ideologi, perjuangan dan matlamat.

Ong Kian Meng mengulas: “PKR’s membership and leadership is made up NGO activists, former Umno leaders who left together with Anwar Ibrahim, socialists from the PRM wing of the party, former disgruntled leaders from MCA and Gerakan, and so on and so forth.

“Without a coherent identity of its own and a longer history of candidate selection, it is by not a coincidence that the BN is targeting PKR state assemblymen and MPs to defect from Pakatan, with some success, most notably in Perak.”

Justeru itu, beberapa persoalan perlu difahami dan dipertimbangkan bagi mengukur kekuatan dalaman Pakatan Rakyat lawan Barisan Nasional:

1. Bolehkah Pas dan DAP menerima kelahiran baru nasionalisme seperti yang dicanangkan oleh Anwar itu?

2. Pas sejak sekian lama menggunakan isu nasionalisme (kebangsaan) sebagai senjata untuk menikam Umno yang didakwanya assabiyah;

3. Bolehkah DAP yang sejak penubuhannya pada tahun 1967 menolak nasionalisme sebagai landasan perjuangan dan memilih konsep “Malaysian Malaysia” sebagai manifestonya menerima nasionalisme baru Anwar?;

4. Adakah PR benar-benar kuat dan diterima umum atau ia nampak kuat kerana BN lemah?;

5. Adalah diakui umum bahawa PR mendapat sokongan besar pengundi tahun lalu kerana ramai penyokong BN marah terhadap parti mereka sendiri dan mengundi pembangkang sebagai protes.;

6. Adakah ini akan berulang tiga atau empat tahun akan datang apabila pilihan raya umum diadakan?

7. Bolehkah Pas, Dap dan PKR merasmikan PR sebagai pakatan yang berdaftar atau ia akan kekal sebagai gabungan tidak rasmi?; dan

8. Adakah Umno dan BN akan pulih selepas era Abdullah untuk menyekat kemaraan PR dan menggagalkan cita-cita Anwar menjadi Perdana Menteri?

Kita mungkin tidak perlu menunggu lama untuk mendapat jawapan kepada sesetengah daripada soalan ini. Hasil pemilihan Umno bulan ini dan pilihan raya kecil Bukit Gantang, Bukit Selambau dan Batang Ai bulan depan adalah antara petunjuknya.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Balancing Testosterone and Grey Matter

A Kadir Jasin

[ANONYMOUS comments with not be entertained. When commenting, your real identity is preferred. But a suitable pseudonym is accepted. If you have to use anonymous, please print your name or pen name at the bottom of your message. Please avoid seditious, defamatory and libelous statements. Unrelated comments will not be given priority.]

AFTER my “Not A Very Clever Gurindam” and the lengthy Mini Budget postings, I think you and I are entitled to a respite.

So while waiting to the Deputy Prime Minister cum Minister of Finance, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, to spell out his RM10-billion Mini Budget this Tuesday, we shall not talk about our deep emotional traumas and even deeper holes in out pockets.

Political and economic turmoil is taking tolls on all of us. Hopefully, an efficient and cost effective implementation of the package will avert the recession and make our lives less miserable.

So for this posting we shall talk about testosterone, yes, tes-tos-terone.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not getting all charged up and ready to roll. At my age, any rolling that I do is, inevitably, downhill.

The testosterone I am talking about, however, has something to do with the “koro” syndrome we talked about in the June 17, 2008 posting.

Yes, most of us tend to relate this noble, versatile hormone to sexuality, manliness and manhood. In short it’s about libido or “mojo” according to fictional British secret agent Austin Powers.

That’s not incorrect. Testosterone is a male sex hormone.

My doctor agrees fully with the literary description that testosterone is “the most important male sex hormone.”

One such literature I read says testosterone is responsible for a boy’s development into a man during puberty and is necessary throughout his life for maintaining health and quality of life.

As the name suggests, testosterone is produced in the testes (or by the testes). From there it gets into the blood system and reaches its target organs – yes, organs.

Testosterone not only stimulates men’s sexual desire. It also acts and affects a whole spectrum of organs and activities.

In fact, for an Afghan man to be a true Taliban, he has to have the correct amount of testosterone otherwise his facial hair will not grow normally. What is a Taliban without facial hair?

And to win a war, he has to be positive. Again he need testosterone as the hormone is important for mental balance and for prevention of negative moods.

And what good is Arnold Schwarzenegger without those gigantic muscles and growling voice? Without testosterone he won’t have those muscles and threatening voice.

According to pamphlet from Bayer, the giant German pharmaceutical company, the following are examples of testosterone’s functions:-

1. Voice – responsible for the voice breaking and for the man’s voice to be deep;

2. Skin and hair – responsible for the formation of the typical male hair over the whole body, and for maintaining it, and especially for the growth of the beard. (It’s here the Taliban comes in);

3. Bones – building and maintaining healthy bone structure;

4. Blood – assists the formation of the red blood cells and consequently for the transportation of oxygen in the blood;

5. Muscle – forming and maintaining strong muscles (Arnold Schwarzenegger comes in);

6. Mind – important for mental balance and for preventing negative moods. It is also responsible for memory, orientation, coordination and concentration;

7. Sexuality – regulates the desire for sex and for a large number of sexual functions; and

8. Physics – responsible for male physique.

But whether one is Taliban or Arnold Schwarzenegger, old age and illnesses reduce the production of testosterone resulting in diminished libido and, in the case of Austin Powers, “mojo”.

It also causes erectile dysfunction, muscle atrophy, increase in body fat, feelings of depression and ill temper, anemia and osteoporosis.

That explains why some older people are ill tempered and grumpy.

Don’t despair. Modern medicine and health care have the answers. It costs money of course. Personally, I believe that healthy lifestyle and a lot of ulam-ulam kampung are as good as pills and hormone injections.

What does all this teach us then? For me it is yet another example of the miracle of creation --- that two small inconspicuous organs the size of a large marble produce such an important hormone.

Yes, no hidden meaning and no hidden agenda here. There’s no need to read in between the line.

I am not alluding or accusing anybody of lacking testicular gumption or fortitude due to testosterone deficiency.

With our politicians challenging and taking each other to courts almost on the daily basis, I am sure none suffers from the infliction.

On the contrary, I think they are well on the top of things in as far as testosterone is concerned. All that they need is to balance it with the production of the grey matter.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Not A Very Clever Gurindam

A Kadir Jasin

[ANONYMOUS comments with not be entertained. When commenting, your real identity is preferred. But a suitable pseudonym is accepted. If you have to use anonymous, please print your name or pen name at the bottom of your message. Please avoid seditious, defamatory and libelous statements. Unrelated comments will not be given priority.]

MY plea to all and sundry
Please continue to debate
On the economy
Spare not our anger and agony
Tell our Menteris and YBs
That we’re fed up with their antics
And their infantile politics.

That applies to YB Karpal Singh
The lion and the king
Who says Khairy’s juvenile
That’s like being a child
Though he’s a grown man
So very sure of himself
And wants to be Perdana Menteri
When he’s forty
So goes the story.

So Khairy the MP says
Karpal the lion is senile
That’s like saying
He’s doddering
Suffering from dementia
Sudah nyanyuk mudah lupa
Not knowing what’s a smile
And what’s a holler.

So Karpal the Lion King
The lawyer of standing
Allegedly called Khairy’s
Youth Wing, celaka
That cuts deeply
For celaka is,
To say the least,
Is most uncomplimentary.

But the Lion has been
Acting strangely
Brooding and angry
With all and sundry
Once he sounded bit
Like a summon from the pulpit
When he told his brother Anwar
To repent and taubat
For encouraging the BN MPs
To lompat lompat.

So someone very nasty
Sent him some bullets
That made the Lion
Pissed and angry.

I would rather
They sent him chocolates
Not threats and bullets
Better boxes of sweet tasty chocolates
What good are the bullets
When there’s no gun to fire?
Boxes of chocolates are much better
Eat too much and you’re sure to expire
From diabetes and high blood pressure
No need bullets and guns for hire.

Khairy does no such thing
Not to his nemesis Mr Karpal Singh
Instead he sent his lethal weapon
Of all the places to the Parliament
To rough up the wheel chair-bound
Veteran lawyer
For calling Umno Youth celaka.

Alas the antics of politics
Does not end there
The road show
Has to continue somewhere
So why not in Ipoh,
Under a shady raintree?

The lesson here
My beloved and my dear,
If any,
Don’t you go cutting those trees
For one day
They may come handy
To convene the sitting of
The State Assembly
When you are in emergency
Because the State Secretariat
Is under lock and key.

So I wonder
Who’ll prevail on the river
And who’ll be kings of the two hills
Between the batang and the bukit
The Pakatan and the Barisan
Have them made.

But mistaken not about the batang
Nothing sinister, nothing vulgar
For batang in Iban language means river
And ai has nothing to do,
If you must know,
With the PKR supremo
To the Ibans
Batang Ai means the big river
Nothing vulgar, nothing sinister.

So much for my not so clever puisi
To be read but not taken seriously
Because I too
Suffer from temporary senility
And, occasionally, insanity
Thanks to the antics of our YBs.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Economy: Tell People the Truth

Minibudgetakj

(FINAL)

A Kadir Jasin

[ANONYMOUS comments with not be entertained. When commenting, your real identity is preferred. But a suitable pseudonym is accepted. If you have to use anonymous, please print your name or pen name at the bottom of your message. Please avoid seditious, defamatory and libelous statements. Unrelated comments will not be given priority.]

IN this third installment of the of kopitiam discussion series with several veteran politicians, lawyers and, in this particular instance, a veteran economist, I would like to talk about the economy with particular reference to the upcoming mini budget.

I have been regularly asked to discuss economic issues by those who said they were fed-up with politics and politicians.

But we cannot run away from politics neither can we banish politicians to the mythological Laut Khalzum where the garuda and the jentayu reside. That’s why political stability so important in this time of crisis. We need a capable government and a responsible opposition.

As has been widely reported, the Ministry of Finance (MoF), who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, is going to present a Mini Budget early next month – I believe on March 10.

Mohd Najib told this blogger and bloggers Pahit Manis (Ahmad A Talib) and Rocky’s Bru (Ahiruddin Atan) in a meeting in Putrajaya on Feb. 27 that he would tell the people the truth about the difficult economic situation and seek their understanding and cooperation.

The proposed Mini Budget has come as a surprise to some because a stimulus package was announced only in November during the winding-up of the 2009 Budget debate.

Before this, Minister of Finance 2 (MoF2), Nor Mohamed Yackop had been saying the country was not going to sink into recession. We all know that under Prime Minister and Finance Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Noor Mohamed was effectively the de facto Finance Minister.

We were told through the Press that there was going to be a 3.5-per cent growth last year and there should also be growth this year. So why the sudden change in budgetary strategy and requirements?

We dare not imagine that the MoF2, until Mohd Najib became the Finance Minister last September, had no clue about what was happening to the economy and made those media statements not based on the correct facts.

Growth Forecast Not Attainable

OUR fear was proven correct when, on Feb. 27, Mohd Najib announced that the government would revise downward the 3.5-per cent forecast, saying that the earlier growth projection was no longer attainable in view of the worsening external environment.

Mohd Najib said the new estimate would be announced together with the Mini Budget, adding the recession that hit the global economy was expected to be more severe.

He said that Malaysia’s actual GDP for the fourth quarter of last year grew by a meager 0.1 per cent, the lowest since the third quarter of 2001 when the growth was negative 0.4 per cent.

“I do not think that we can anticipate an improvement in the GDP figures for the next quarter (first quarter of 2009), but of course, it all depends on the situation in the United States and Europe,” Mohd Najib said.

It’s commendable for the Deputy Prime Minister to acknowledge the very difficult problem the country and the people are facing. The people had for a long time wanted the truth from the government.

They know better than the MoF2 and the media spinners that Malaysia is not on a different planet. We are on Planet Earth and like everybody else we are not immune to the worsening global recession. It had happened in 1997/98 and it’s happening again.

If he didn’t know, the best thing to do was not to mislead others. Or somebody should have told him not to make those misleading statements to the Press. Erroneous information had brought discredit and disrepute to the government and problems to the investors and consumers.

The question is have they spent everything in the 2009 Budget and the stimulus package? If they have, what are the projects? Similarly, what has happened to the projects and allocation under the 9th Malaysian Plan?

According to official sources, the money is being spent, citing the case of 14,000 over contracts worth RM500 million awarded to Class F contractors.

Some say it makes more sense for the government to wait until the first quarter to be over and the results are known before rushing to present a mini budget unless the government has run out of money.

The expectation is for more bad news around April. So it is wise for the government to be patient and wait for clearer indicators before acting.

The MoF2

BEFORE we proceed further, we have better give a bit of background of MoF2. He is mostly remembered for two things namely the Bank Negara’s loss of RM30 billion in foreign exchange trading in the early 1990s and for “advising” Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on the imposition of the limited exchange and capital control in 1998.

At RM2.50 to a USD then, the amount came to US$12 billion. Imagine what Malaysia could do with that amount of money.

The Governor then, late Tan Sri Jaffar Hussein, had to take responsibility for the fiasco and resigned. He was a decent man but died in disgrace and, literally, took the shame to the grave.

The MoF2 too resigned but got a job in Mun Loong Berhad with the help of then Finance Minister, Anwar Ibrahim. It’s a common knowledge that there’s a 600-page complaint against him by Gerakan Rakyat Anti Korupsi (Gerak).

When Dr Mahathir decided to impose capital control, it took the National Economic Action Council (NEAC) six months to agree because it wanted to be absolutely sure that the plan worked. It did.

MoF2 then was recalled to join the Bank Negara as advisor because the newly appointed Governor, Ali Abul Hassan, who came from EPU, had no banking experience. Later he was made advisor to Dr Mahathir.

Abdullah appeared not to have made a distinction between an advisor and someone who runs and manages an organisation. So he made Noor Mohammad MoF2. Since then we all know how the economy has performed.

Reading is a must at the MoF. There are plenty of files that must be read and understood. It’s a huge Ministry, which includes Bank Negara.

Abdullah’s interest in and understanding of complex fiscal and monetary matter is always suspected. So the day-to-day running of the ministry is left with MoF2. It’s also a common knowledge that the MoF2 and the Bank Negara Governor, Zeti Akhtar Aziz, do not see eye-to-eye.

This kind of situation can only lead to mess and we have every reason to worry about the incoherent policies and confusion as to who really runs the economy.

Conflicting Views

TAKE the example of the MoF recently saying that he was not ready with details of the Mini Budget but EPU chief, Dr Sulaiman Mahbob, was reported as saying that it was ready and programmes would be skewed in favour of the private sector.

A few days earlier, the MoF2 said there were a lot of surprises and goodies in the Mini Budget. So who is telling the truth?

This kind of media information shows not only a lack of coordination, but also a lack of secrecy. In the past, budgets were kept secret and closely guarded until they were presented to the Parliament.

Abdullah was advised by his advisers and consultants to revise and revoke policies of the Mahathir era. They created the impression that a lot of money was wasted under Dr Mahathir.

They talked about reducing the deficit and many educated people were taken by their public relations exercise and cheered the reversal of Dr Mahathir’s policies.

Dr Mahathir’s policies were tried and tested. We have one million registered foreign workers and another one million illegal to support the success his policies. There was growth, political stability and people have jobs and were generally happy.

No intelligent government would want to change or abandon these successful policies. But Abdullah listened to the MoF2 and 4th Floor boys and changed them.

The MoF2 was advisor to Dr Mahathir. He supported Dr Mahathir’s successful policies. But once Dr Mahathir left he agreed and followed those who wanted his policies discarded.

Strange enough, not long after that, the projects were re-started at double the price and to make matters worse, retail fuel prices were increased by 40%.

Thus a lot of knowledgeable observers wondered if the MoF2 and the smart boys on the 4th floor had the knowledge and foresight to detect the onslaught of troubles and problems the country is now facing.

Warnings Unheeded

THERE were no shortages of warnings and cautionary notes from the experts. The former MoF, Tun Daim Zainuddin, had warned as early as 2007 of the looming sub-prime crisis.

But fearing that such warnings might affect the Stock Market, the local press refused to publish them.

In a July 2008 article in the Malaysian Business Daim advised the Government to tell people the truth and prepare them for the worse and yet Budget was still bullish on economy and suddenly while winding up the Budget, the MoF tabled a stimulus package.

Overnight things have gone wrong and now in March there are signs of panic and another stimulus package is being proposed.

Please let the rakyat know what has happened to the 9th Malaysian Plan allocations, the Budget 2009 and the RM7-billion stimulus package before this new mini budget is presented.

Where has the money gone? The people are shocked and suspicious. Rumours abound that all contracts are given to friendly parties.

Even Ministers are unhappy as their recommendations were ignored. Ordinary people don’t see the multiplier effects and are angry with the government over their daily problems like rising prices, unemployment and crimes.

Only the MoF2 is still giving press statements telling people not to worry, more goodies are coming and everything is ok.

Abdullah has acknowledged his shortcoming and has done the honourable thing by stepping down early. He reiterated that he would go by the end of the month. The King had already thanked him and wanted a smooth transition.

It’s only logical that the people, whom he trusted but failed to do their job well and, as a result, brought hardship and misery to the people, should also step down or be removed.

Speed Is The Essence

IF we do not work fast to halt and then reverse our faltering economy, there is nothing to stop our country becoming a basket case by which time it’s too late and we really will have to beg from the likes of the IMF.

If the Federal Government seems at a loss as to how to handle the crisis, the Oppositions are not doing any better. They too have no clue. We deserve the government we elect and we also deserve the Oppositions we put in place.

For the Government to enjoy the confidence and support of the people, it must tell the truth and stop flip-flopping like it did in the cases of the highway toll increase, the KLIA LCCT and the proposed part-privatization of the National Heart Institute.

The people have felt the effects of the crisis a long time ago. They are angry at not being told the truth. The government has to acknowledge this if it hopes to get the cooperation and support of the people in riding out this economic tsunami.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Khalid Ibrahim: Saya Lebih Bagus

A Kadir Jasin

[Komen menggunakan pengenalan anonymous TIDAK AKAN DILAYAN. Sila gunakan nama sebenar atau nama samaran. Jikalau menggunakan anonymous, sila nyatakan nama di penghujung komen. Ulasan yang mengandungi unsur fitnah, hasutan, perkauman dan bahasa kesat tidak akan disiarkan. Ulasan yang terkeluar daripada tajuk tidak akan diberi keutamaan.]

“.....looking back, I can say I’m better than the previous MB.” (Menoleh ke belakang, saya boleh mengatakan saya lebih bagus daripada Menteri Besar yang lalu).

Demikian kata Abdul Khalid Ibrahim ketika diminta menyimpulkan setahun sebagai Menteri Besar Pakatan Rakyat Selangor.

Soalan itu dikemukakan oleh blogger Rocky’s Bru (Ahirudin Atan). Apabila saya berkata saya akan memetik jawapannya, Abdul Khalid berkata, teruskan.

Dalam pertemuan sulung dengan kira-kira 20 orang blogger dan pengendali media baru di kediaman rasminya di Shah Alam petang tadi, beliau menerangkan pelbagai aspek pentadbiran Kerajaan PR Selangor.

Mengenai perkembangan terakhir penyiasatan rasuah/pecah amanah terhadapnya, Abdul Khalid mendakwa dia tidak pernah mengarahkan Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri (PKNS) atau mana-mana anak syarikatnya menghantar lembu korban ke kawasan Parlimennya, Bandar Tun Razak.

Dia juga mendakwa mendapat persetujuan Pegawai Kewangan Negeri bagi menggunakan kereta Lexus Rx milik peribadinya sebagai “kereta rasmi” dengan kerajaan membayar kos minyak dan penjagaan.

Tanpa provokasi daripada sesiapa, Abdul Khalid berkata kereta Proton (Perdana) “is not comfortable” (tidak selesa).

Ditanya jika bersedia beliau serius membuat kenyataan itu, Abdul Khalid berkata, ya dan menambah yang dia ada kereta Proton.

Lagipun, katanya semua tuntutan berkaitan kereta itu perlu mendapat kelulusan Pegawai Kewangan Negeri.

Antara perkara/isu lain yang disentuh oleh Abdul Khalid termasuk:

1. Blog dan media baru yang lain memainkan peranan penting memberi maklum balas yang tidak ada dalam media massa arus perdana;

2. Pakatan Rakyat tidak mendapat pendedahan adil dari media massa arus perdana;

3. Pengurusan imej dan persepsi Kerajaan PR terpaksa berdepan dengan kempen media arus perdana;

4. Kerja pentadbiran mudah dilaksanakan tetapi hal ehwal politik lebih sukar ditangani;

5. Rangka kerja yang berpaksikan konsep merakyatkan ekonomi telah diwujudkan dan sedang dilaksanakan;

6. Yakin pentadbiran negeri akan menjadi lebih baik dalam masa tiga tahun akan datang ini (sebelum Pilihan Raya Umum diadakan);

7. Bertanding dalam pilihan raya kecil membebankan PKR dan PR (ketawa). Kebetulan dia baru pulang dari menemui Orang Asli di Bukit Lanjan di mana dia berjanji mempercepatkan pengeluaran hak milik tanah kepada mereka;

8. Mempertahankan kedudukan Selangor sebagai destinasi utama Pelaburan Terus Asing (FDI) yang bernilai RM11 bilion tahun lalu;

9. Mewujudkan sistem pemantauan pemberhentian pekerja dan pencarian kerja online; dan

10. Cadangan mengambil alih operasi penapisan dan penyaluran air Negeri Selangor daripada operator swasta.

Selain Ahirudin, blogger lain yang hadir termasuk Harris Ibrahim (People’s Parliament), Patrick Teoh (Niamah), Noraina Samad (3540 Jalan Sudin), Yunus Said (Antaratv), Khoo Kay Peng (Straight Talk), Arewethereyet and Loyar Buruk.

Mengiringi Abdul Khalid adalah, Charles Santiago, Ahli Parlimen Klang, Tricia Yeoh, Pegawai Penyelidik dan Arfa Aziz, Setiausaha Akhbar.

Dialog itu berlangsung selama lebih dua jam.

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).