Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sekadar Makluman, Calon BN Adalah Isa

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.]

PERTUBUHAN Berita Nasional Malaysia (Bernama) melaporkan bahawa bekas Menteri Besar Negeri Sembilan Mohd Isa Abdul Samad dinamakan calon Barisan Nasional (BN) bagi pilihanraya kecil Dewan Undangan Negeri kawasan Bagan Pinang.

Pencalonan Isa, 59 tahun, diumumkan oleh Timbalan Perdana Menteri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin di bilik operasi BN di Port Dickson hari ini.

Penamaan calon akan berlangsung Sabtu ini manakala pengundian berlangsung pada 1 Oktober.

Kerusi berkenaan dimenangi BN dengan majoriti 2,333 undi pada pilihan raya umum 2008. Ia kosong ekoran kematian penyandangnya Azman Mohammad Noor pada 4 Sept. lepas.

Itulah sahaja yang hendak saya maklumkan kepada pengunjung dan pembahas yang dihormati sekalian.

Kata Orang Putih, it’s sometimes better to keep your mouth shut.

Nota Kaki: Harap maaf jika komen tidak dapat di’moderate’kan antara tengah malam ini hingga petang esok. Namun kalau boleh, saya akan cuba. Terima kasih.

PS: I am keeping my mouth shut because, to my not so sophisticated mind, some political developments in our country today defy logic.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Some Thoughts To Fill Idle Moments

A Kadir Jasin

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1. ACCORDING to media reports quoting Health Director-General Dr Mohd Ismail Merican there has been no swine flu death since Sept 19. The death toll stands 77.

But for the two weeks of Hari Raya Ops Sikap, which ended yesterday, the police reported 222 died in road accidents throughout the country.

So Hari Raya travel and bad sikap (attitude) on the roads caused more death in a much shorter period that the dreaded swine flu.

The moral of the story is human beings are as capable of causing death and suffering as the H1N1 and other deadly viruses.

2. Tourism Ministry has a new logo reflecting the 1Malaysia spirit. The logo, according to reports, features pictures of the Petronas Twin Towers, a group of Malaysians from different ethnic backgrounds and beaches.

A new slogan means new logos. Different organisations would interpret the slogan differently to suit their purposes while at the same time pleasing the power that be.

So, there’ll be many new billboards and advertisements. More money will be spent, hopefully not taxpayers’ money making these changes.

More logos and billboards mean more business for the logo makers and the owners of billboards, the advertising agencies, radio and television stations and the newspapers.

But for most of those who are changing the logos and putting up new billboards and signboards money is not the concern because it’s not theirs anyway.

I was at KLIA two nights ago. The Malaysian Airlines’ new marketing logo has now been changed to “1MH” to coincide with 1Malaysia slogan.

In economics, they say that one person’s expenditure is another person’s income. So the changing of the logos and signboards to comply with the new slogan is good for the economy. When there’s expenditure, there’s income and this leads, in theory, to economic growth.

3. Another entertainment celebrity nearly caused a whole bunch of Datuks, whose name start with the letter “k”, a major headache with their little ladies at home.

The local entertainment media has this habit of using one’s initials when linking him to an actress or a starlet.

The Sunday Star newspaper reported that the talented actress, Umie Aida, would be getting engaged to a Datuk she called “Abang K”.

Umie Aida declined to elaborate on her man, but paper identified him as one “Datuk Khairuddin”, who is in his mid-40s, with “fair skin and Chinese features.”

Phew, I am 62 and don’t think I look like a Chinese!

4. And, according to Mingguan Malaysia, former Prime Dr Mahathir Mohamad said his former cabinet colleague, S Samy Vellu should go on a 20-year leave from the MIC.

When asked by the press, he said the two-month leave that Samy Vellu was planning was not long enough, adding that the latter should no longer be leading the MIC.

5. The Mingguan also reported that 5,000 people visited Dr Mahathir and 3,000 called on Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at their open houses yesterday.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Protecting NSTP'S Brand Name and Goodwill

A Kadir Jasin

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ANOTHER attempt is believed being plotted to flog the New Straits Times Press Malaysia Berhad’s brand name, which may see the venerable company being taken private.

I hope this not true!

But if it is, the premise is clear -- to use the goodwill and the stronger financial position of the NSTP to shore up the private terrestrial broadcaster, Media Prima Berhad.

This is reminiscent of failed attempt a few years back to merge Media Prima Berhad and Utusan Melayu Berhad. It’s not clear if the Utusan is in this corporate play. The chances are it is not.

The current plot, which may be on the agenda of tomorrow’s sitting of Umno’s Political Bureau, is bound to raise another hackle, especially among the minority shareholders of the NSTP.

They do not cherish seeing their company being taken over by the weaker Media Prime and eventually be de-listed from Bursa Malaysia.

Since Media Prime and the NSTP have a common controlling shareholder, only the minority shareholders and the well-wishers can save the NSTP brand name from being shuttle to the backwater in the name of corporate restructuring.

The Media Prima corporate dealmakers and their independent advisers will almost certainly offer sweeteners to buy the support of the minority shareholders.

Money aside, it’s an insult all the same. Those who are familiar with the history of the two companies know that it was the NSTP that “funded” the establishment of Sistem Televisyen Malaysia Berhad – better known as TV3. STMB was later renamed Media Prima when it acquired its competitors, namely TV7, TV8 and TV9.

Since then, despite the economic crises and changes in ownership and managements, the NSTP remains a strong brand with improving financials.

Today it’s nearly debt-free with gearing ratio of less than 0.04 against Media Prima’s 0.7. Its net tangible assets per share stands at RM4.53 against Media Prima’s RM0.42. Earning wise, NSTP recorded EPS of 22 sen against 10 sen by Media Prima.

It’s clear that Media Prima, in attempting to swallow its larger and stronger sibling, is setting its sight on the latter’s superior financials. Even if Media Prima may attempt to sell the idea of creating a mega media company via the takeover and merger, its financials is too inferior to justify a takeover of the NSTP.

Logically, the opposite should be the case. The NSTP should make a reversed takeover of Media Prima not only because it is stronger financially, but also because it has stronger branding and enjoys a higher level of goodwill.

Having been in the media for 40 years and being associated with the NSPT and, by extension TV3, since 1976 and having battled Halim Saad and his raiders in the later part of 1980s, I think I know enough about how the minds of corporate boys work.

(Halim briefly controlled the NSTP and TV3 in late 1980s and early 1990s via his then corporate vehicle, Renong Berhad. Outside the corporate world, however, we remain friends. I am happy that he’s doing well abroad.)

The corporate dealmakers will tell you that they respect history. They will tell you that treasure good brand names and value shareholders’ goodwill. But these are means to achieving the end, which is bottom line and their key performance indicators (KPI).

Whatever is their objective, the NSPT brand name – created by the visionary move of the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and executed by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah – must never be allowed to be destroyed or undermined.

If the NSTP was used to create STMB/TV3, it should not now be used to prop up the entertainment company. If there is a necessity, the NSTP should be the one taking over Media Prima.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hari Raya Sekarang dan Dalam Kenangan

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.]

SALAM EID MUBARAK kepada Muslimin dan Muslimat. Selamat bercuti kepada yang bukan Muslim.

Bermaaf-maafanlah kita. Selamat menjamu selera. Tetapi jangan berlebihan. Selamat memandu. Kelajuan berbahaya. Tetapi ketidaksopananlah yang sering meragut nyawa.

Khabarnya Seri Perdana akan dibuka semula kepada pengunjung pada Hari Raya tahun ini. Ia ditutup selepas Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad meninggalkannya.

Eloklah begitu. Setidak-tidaknya bolehlah rakyat jelata merasa, walaupun buat seketika, berada di rumah paling berkuasa di bumi Malaysia.

Bila kita sudah dewasa, apatah lagi sudah tua, raya tidak lagi sama. Tidak semeriah seperti ketika kanak-kanak dan remaja.

Yang tinggal hanya kenangan mengenai kegembiraan mendapat sepasang kasut kulit pertama menggantikan kasut Foong Kiong dan Bata. Melecur tumit dimakannya.

Menjelang tengah hari, kasut tidak lagi di kaki. Terpaksa dijinjing atau disangkut atas bahu. Habis kotor seluar dan baju.

Di kampung-kampung di Kedah pada tahun 1950an dan 1960an, jarang sangat orang berbaju Melayu. Orang dewasa lelaki berkain pelekat dan baju teluk belanga manakala wanita berbaju kurung, kebaya atau baju Kedah.

Kanak-kanak berseluar dan baju biasa. Itu pun bagi yang mampu. Kalau tidak, pakaian sekolahlah. Bezanya pakaian seragam itu akan dikanji keras dan diseterika dengan “side” yang tajam.

Duit raya kalau 10 sen sudah cukup hormat. Dua puluh atau 30 sen sudah macan kena loteri. Maklumlah penanam padi dan penoreh getah manalah ada duit.

Kalau boleh kumpul dua atau tiga ringgit dalam masa dua atau tiga hari sudah cukup hebat. Boleh joli.

(Joli ni kalau tak silap saya daripada perkataan Inggeris “jolly” yang bermaksud bergembira, tapi kita tukar jadi berbelanja besar atau boros. Memang kita pandai pinjam bahasa asing kemudian bagi maksud sendiri!)

Kita pun pergi pekan. Makan mi rebus di kedai Mamak 30 sen. Tambah sotong jadi 35 sen. Air sirap 10 sen, ais kacang 15 sen. Ais kepai 10 sen meleleh hingga ke siku.

Nak tengok wayang kena ke Pendang. Naik basikal lima kilometer atas batas ban. Panggung lama jenis terbuka jadi boleh tayang waktu malam saja. Hanya bilik tayangan (projection room) dan layar ada bumbung.

Dinding diperbuat daripada zing. Di keliling panggung banyak pokok. Ramai tengok percuma dengan panjat pokok.

Bila dibina panggung baru di dalam kebun getah, baru ada tayangan siang hari. Bila tayangan hendak dimulakan, lagu tema filem The Bridge Over River Kwai oleh David Lean dimainkan.

Dulu, hari-hari akhir Ramadanlah yang paling mencabar. Alang-alang iman pecah puasa sebab emak buat kuih buah hulu dan ketupat. Ayah bakar lemang.

Budak-budak sekarang dah jinak. Ramai yang dari kindergarten lagi sudah belajar berpuasa. Kita dulu kuat curi tulang dan puasa yang yuk, pagi-pagi buka periuk.

Balasannya budak-budak sekarang mewah, duit raya sampai berpuluh ringgit dan pakaian dua tiga pasang. Tetapi kita kena ingat masih ramai lagi orang kita yang miskin, melarat dan menderita.

Beberapa malam lalu saya pergi minum teh di Bangsar. Malu jadi orang Melayu dan Islam. Ramainya orang Melayu/Islam mengemis, meminta sedekah daripada orang Islam dan bukan Islam.

Apa dah jadi dengan Kementerian Kebajikan. Adakah lagi kementerian macam itu? Apa dah jadi dengan duit zakat dan Baitulmal?

Di Damansara pula, tak senang duduk diganggu pengemis dari Negeri Cina. Apa dah jadi dengan kita?

Menteri sibuk cakap fasal KPI. Tapi nampak sangat negara kita dah balik jadi negara Dunia Ketiga. Malu.

Akhir kalam, saya ucapkan salam Aid ul-fitr khas kepada pembahas, “followers” dan pembaca blog ini. Maaf zahir batin.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Malaysian Flag On F1 Circuit

A Kadir Jasin

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IT’S noteworthy that Lotus – an arm of Proton Berhad –had beaten off competition from the Swiss-based BMW Sauber to be named as the 13th team to compete in next year's Formula One World Championship.

The motor sport's governing body, Federation Internationale de I’Automobile (FIA) gave a thumb’s up to the Malaysian bid.

An FIA press statement issued on Sept. 15 in Paris said: “Following an intensive selection and due diligence process, the FIA has awarded the 13th entry in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship to the Lotus F1 Team”

The statement named 1Malaysia F1 Team Sdn Bhd as the owner of the team. The team name is Lotus F1 Team, the country of origin is Malaysia and Team Principal is Tony Fernandes.

The FIA said the team is a partnership between the Malaysian Government and a consortium of Malaysian entrepreneurs, 1Malaysia F1 Team returns the Lotus name as a constructor to Formula One for the first time since 1994.

The team will initially be based at the RTN facility in Norfolk, UK, some 10 miles from the Lotus Cars factory. A 50,000-sq ft fully equipped facility, RTN was built by Toyota for its initial Formula One programme and then used by Bentley for its successful Le Mans programme.

The team’s future design, R&D, manufacturing and technical centre will be purpose built at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit.

I’ve always maintained that participating in international sporting events as team owners and sponsors are good for the country’s image.

But in the case of the Lotus F1 Team, its relevance goes beyond that. It’s the continuation of our capacity building efforts in the automotive industry.

It’s going to be a costly and challenging undertaking, but it’s a worthwhile one given the fact that Lotus used to be one of the most successful racing team in history and has been a Proton’s subsidiary since 1994

The FIA statement said the Lotus team, which competed in F1 from 1958 through to 1994, would be backed by 1Malaysia F1 Team Sdn Bhd, a partnership between the Malaysian government and a consortium of Malaysian entrepreneurs.

"This is not only a dream, it is a reality. Malaysia is part of Formula One and we are determined to do our best to make our mark in this arena," Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said from Kuala Lumpur.

"I believe this is a meaningful development that will boost Malaysia's image," he said.

The FIA statement added that Tony Fernandes, the founder and CEO of the Malaysian-based Tune Group, owner of the Air Asia airline, would be team principal.

The role of technical director falls to Mike Gascoyne, who has more than 20 years of experience in Formula One having previously performed the same role for the Force India, Toyota, Renault and Jordan Formula One teams.

The F1 official website meanwhile quoted Gascoyne as saying that Lotus aim to be the best of the four new teams entering Formula One racing next season.

It’s heart warming to know that the Malaysian brands will remain in F1. Petronas is a partner in the BMW Sauber team, which had announced withdrawal from the event from next year. AirAsia is a sponsor of the William’s F1 Team.

The FIA, however, awarded BMW Sauber the '14th place' in the Championship meaning that it will be entitled to fill any vacancy that arises on the 2010 grid.

For their brave move, I congratulate the companies and individuals involved in this grand scheme. It’s a visionary move. More so when some small-minded people in the previous administration had suggested that Lotus be sold like they did with M V Agusta.

I am sure we can all benefit from this bold move, as F1 is one of the most prestigious and widely televised sporting events in the world and the technologies that go into it are among the world’s most sophisticated.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Please, Samy Vellu Needs TLC

A Kadir Jasin

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SINCE the time the MIC President, S Samy Vellu, made the allegation that the people were fed-up with BN and not with him, a number of developments had taken place.

His team won the MIC party election and one delegates had apparently proposed that the former Prime Minster, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, be garlanded with slippers for his unfavourable comments on Samy Vellu.

After receiving condemnation for the insult on Dr Mahathir, Samy Vellu announced immediate suspension of the delegate who made the proposal. Phew, what a cuci tangan!

Just before the news of the suspension was relayed by The Star SMS service, several bloggers had apparently taken a stand to demand that the MIC be “kicked out of BN.”

I would like to differ from them. Kicking the MIC out of BN is not one of the uses I have in mind for my foot. That would probably be an insult to my foot. I would spare my foot for more useful and beneficial purposes.

Instead I would prefer to humour Samy Vellu and his disciples. If they think they are popular with the people and BN is but a liability, they should do the honourable thing – leave BN.

There is not even the point and the necessity for Samy Vellu to suspend the slipper provocateur. After all he could have come up with the idea after himself being provoked by Samy Vellu’s strident response to Dr Mahathir.

The delegate could have made the proposal thinking that it would please Samy Vellu very much.
You know how party delagates are -- shine the apple.

As for the former Prime Minister, I don't think he wants MIC to be kicked out of BN. Dr Mahathir knows Samy Vellu better than any of us, having been his keeper for 22 years. When he was the boss, Samy Vellu sang praises. Biasalah!

Samy Vellu is such a crybaby, that on the slightest provocation, he would run to Dr Mahathir to complain.

But you can’t also blame Samy Vellu. Being up there as MIC prez for 30 years – beating the records of all presidents of BN political parties – can be lonely and scary. People are bound to tell you that you’ve been up there too long.

So let us not be too harsh on him. He needs TLC.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Samy Vellu, Benci dan Rindu Politik Malaysia

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.]

MENURUT The Star Online, presiden MIC S. Samy Vellu mengherdik para pengkritiknya. Kata presiden MIC itu, orang India tidak mengundi Barisan Nasional bukan kerana meluat (fed-up) dengan beliau, tetapi meluat dengan BN.

Baguslah kalau Samy Vellu mengaku secara terbuka bahawa orang India menyampah dengan BN. Itu permulaan yang positif jika BN berhasrat kembali menawan hati pengundi.

Tetapi untuk mengatakan orang India tidak meluat dengan Samy Vellu pun tidak betul juga.

Saya rasa ramai wartawan cukup kenal dengan Samy Vellu. Maklumlah dia sudah menjadi ketua MIC selama 30 tahun. Dialah antara pembesar BN yang “terpaksa” ditatang ibarat minyak panas yang penuh. Kalau tidak dia mesti melenting. Tapi hendak ambil hati dia pun mudah. Puji.

Banyak orang India yang meluat dengan Samy Vellu, macam orang Cina meluat dengan pembesar MCA dan Gerakan, dan orang Melayu dengan pembesar Umno.

PKR, DAP dan Pas mencatat prestasi baik dalam pilihan raya umum 2008 kerana ramai penyokong BN berpaling tadah akibat benci dengan tingkah-laku dan tindak-tanduk pembesar parti-parti BN.

Saya yakin pembesar PKR, DAP dan Pas mengakui hakikat ini. Sebab itulah sampai hari ini pun mereka masih belum berani untuk menubuhkan Pakatan Rakyat secara rasmi dan bertanding dengan satu simbol.

Mereka takut penyakit BN menjangkiti mereka. Jadi mereka lebih suka bersekedudukan daripada duduk di bawah satu bumbung secara rasmi.

Sebenarnya faktor benci, menyampah dan fed-up inilah yang menjadi punca orang Melayu tidak keluar mengundi, orang Melayu rosakkan undi dan orang Melayu pangkah calon Pas, PKR dan DAP.

Apatah lagilah orang bukan Melayu. Kalau orang Melayu benci Umno, orang bukan Melayu tentulah lebih kebenci kepada BN. Adalah hakikat bahawa pengundi bukan Melayu mirip memihak kepada yang kuat. Ini cara mereka menjaga hak dan kepentingan mereka sebagai kaum-kaum kecil.

Setelah menang besar pada tahun 2004, Umno menjadi bongkak. Pemimpin Umno lupa diri. Umno, pentadbiran kerajaan dan media massa dilihat sebagai telah dilarikan (hijacked) oleh beberapa kerat saudara mara dan kawan taulan pembesar teratas parti.

Orang India dan Cina turut meluat dengan kepemimpinan parti mereka kerana dilihat bersekongkol dengan pentadbiran yang hanya manis di mulut, pandai membuat slogan dan hebat memutar-belitkan kandungan media massa yang mereka kuasai.

Akibatnya, BN hilang majoriti dua pertiga di Dewan Rakyat dan kalah di enam buah negeri dan Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur. Samy Vellu dan Koh Tsu Koon tewas dan perwakilan bukan Melayu dalam BN merosot dengan teruk.

Kalau para pembesar BN masih tidak mahu melihat ke dalam diri, masih berasa diri mereka tidak bersalah dan terus mengamalkan perangai bodoh sombong jangan salahkan ahli dan penyokong parti jika mereka terus ditolak.

Kekuatan PKR, DAP dan Pas hanyalah cerminan (reflection) kelemahan BN dan parti-parti gabungannya!

PKR, DAP dan Pas juga mempunyai masalah seperti kemelut dalaman parti, perbalahan dalam perkongsian kuasa, pembelotan oleh wakil rakyat dan berbagai bentuk skandal -- daripada tuduhan salah laku seks kepada gambar bogel, penyalahgunaan kuasa, rasuah dan pembabitan dalam kegiatan kongsi gelap.

Tidak salah kalau ahli MIC mahu Samy Vellu jadi presiden seumur hidup atau Samy Vellu mahu mati dalam jawatan. Tetapi menyalahkan orang lain bagi menutup kelemahan sendiri tidak akan membawa parti orang Tamil itu ke mana-mana.

Begitu juga dengan MCA yang semakin hangat krisis dalamannya. Perwakilan parti mungkin boleh menerima ketua yang terbabit dengan skandal seks. Tetapi untuk kembali cergas semula dalam politik pilihan raya adalah perkara lain.

Mungkin dalam hal ini, BN lebih baik daripada lawannya. Sekurang-kurangnya dalam BN, pembesar yang terbabit atau disyaki terbabit dengan skandal seks tidak diterima kembali untuk memimpin. Seks dan rasuah adalah racun dalam politik.

Kesimpulannya mudah saja. Pembesar BN boleh saling tuduh menuduh. Boleh cuci tangan. Boleh berpura-pura seolah-olah tidak ada apa-apa yang berlaku.

Malah mereka boleh berasa mereka kuat kerana banyak pegawai kerajaan, penggiat parti dan orang ramai menyambut mereka dengan meriah di majlis-majlis keramaian.

Mereka boleh berasa seronok dengan puji-pujian, sanjungan, anugerah, gelaran dan laporan media massa yang berjela-jela.

Tetapi kalau prestasi mereka tidak memberi kesan positif kepada kehidupan rakyat jelata atau mereka masih dianggap sombong, bongkak, rasuah dan tidak mendengar nasihat, maka tunggulah pilihan raya akan datang. Tiga puluh enam bulan tidak lama.

Rahsianya bukan susah sangat. Tahun lalu, pengundi --termasuk ahli dan penyokong Umno – menolak BN kerana “benci” dengan tingkah laku segelintir pembesar Umno dan BN.

Kurangkan atau hapuskan faktor benci ini, harapan BN kembali disokong adalah cerah. Lebih baik kalau mereka boleh kembalikan rasa rindu.

PKR, DAP dan Pas sedar hal ini. Oleh sebab itulah mereka menjadikan kebencian terhadap kepemimpinan BN sebagai asas utama kempen mereka.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Muslims With Cow's Head and Atom Bombs

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 berbuka puasa was spoilt by a Reuters’ SMS new service message that I received on my cellular phone.

It reads: “6 Malaysian Muslims charged with sedition for marching with cow head to protest Hindu temple construction.”

But that was not the news that riled me up. It was the next item, which reads: “Iran nearing ability to make atom bombs.”

The two news items put together make the Malaysian Muslims sound like a pathetic bunch.

The reverse should probably make me happier although I am not a warmonger and I am against nuclear armament. And it does not mean that I like to see my Iranian brothers being lampooned, like we are now, for carrying cow’s head in their protest and being charged for sedition.

We may not have to go all the way so as to build a nuclear bomb. We may not even want to build an A bomb at all. But learning the technology is handy.

If the Malaysian Muslims are as advanced as the Iranians or the Pakistanis in the weapon technology, maybe not too many people dare to mess around with them.

So our angry Muslim brothers (and sisters) do not have to resort to parading cow’s head as their weapon of mass agitation and finding themselves at odd with the law.

And we can partake in the cow’s brain, which if correctly prepared, as my beloved mother did, tastes great. But those were the days when my late father was the village butcher and cows were all sane.

Since the discovery of the mad cow disease, which affected the brain, I have set aside my craze for that particular part of the animal’s organ. But I still love the tongue though.

You have to excuse me. Being a county yokel once, I developed a somewhat outrageous palate.

Have you ever tried siput gondang – those juicy swamp snails? No, they are not of the variety that is now ravaging the rice fields around the country. These were the large, round type similar to the ones the French used for their escargot dishes.

See, not only the French ate snails. We the Kedah country bumpkins loved our various escargot (es-ka-go) dishes too.

Even if the Malaysian Muslims to not see the virtues in building up nuclear capacity, I still think that there’s a limit to using a dead cow or resorting to noisy protest to solve any temple issue.

A more lasting legal, legislative and administrative solution must be found bearing in mind that the Hindus have up to 330 million Gods and Devatas that they show their devotion to.

There will be one to many temples in any particular location if some form of regulations is not put in place. That that can put the lives of a lot of cows at risk and many more Muslims will face sedition charge.

Now I am off for a good glass of teh tarik or massala tea with susu lembu to drown my sorrow.

Monday, September 07, 2009

The Killers in US Uniform

A Kadir Jasin

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IN THE Post-Cold War era, the US is the sole surviving superpower. In the absence of an opponent, America is today the world’s “megapower”.

Sadly, its warmongering has created a very unstable and unsafe world for everybody and despite having a friendlier face in the White House, the US still cannot shed its big bully image.

With every bomb that goes off in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Israel, the American’s hands get bloodier.

And it’s not proving to be easy for President Barack Obama to wind down the many wars that the evil Bush-Cheney Empire started around the world on the pretext of war on terror and ridding the world of Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapon of mass destruction.

Lately, even the new Obama Administration is catching the bad habit of the Bush-Cheney Empire of perverting the truth and hiding facts from the generally ignorant American public. This time it’s on the pretext of “bad taste”.

It concerns attempts by the US Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, to halt the publication of a picture showing a US Marine soldier lying dead in Afghanistan last month.

The picture was taken by Associated Press (AP) photographer Julie Jacobson showing Lance Cpl. Joshua "Bernie" Bernard, 21, lying on the ground with severe leg injuries after being struck by a grenade in an ambush on Aug. 14 and fellow Marines tending to him. Bernard later died of his wounds.

Gates, an Obama appointee, had not only accused the news outlets of bad taste for using the AP supplied picture, but had also written a strongly worded letter to the AP President and CEO, Tom Curley, saying it was a matter of "judgment and common decency" not to use the photo.

A Pentagon spokesman said Gates followed up with a phone call "begging" Curley not to use it. But the AP did not succumb to Gates’ censorship attempt.

What bad taste was Gates talking about when hundreds of Iraqi and Afghan civilians are killed everyday by US fire, drones and bombs in pursuant of wars started by the Bush-Cheney Evil Empire?

What bad taste is he talking about when the US court had just found a US Marine soldier, Steven Dale Green, 24, guilty of raping and killing a 14-year old Iraqi girl and murdering her family?

Alas Green and his fellow scum of the earth (borrowing a term from an old movie/comic book about the French Foreign Legion) were spared the death penalty because the good men and women of the jury couldn’t agree on a punishment for their brutal crime.

Why? Because Green and his fellow rapists, murderers and tortures are Americans and are institutional killers – trained, paid and authorised by the Commander-in-Chief to use extreme measures, which in the heat of battle and to the likes of Green and Lynndie England (the infamous Abu Ghraib torturer), include torture, rape and murder.

Murderer Green went on to desecrate the bodied of his Muslim victims by setting them on fire.

These are not the only institutional torturers, rapists and murderers wearing the US badge.
Many more US “mercenary” soldiers were involved in rape, murder and torture of the very people they were send to protect.

Joshua "Bernie" Bernard whatever his name was, was not a helpless Iraqi girl. He was a combatant. Alas, the American war killed more Iraqis than Saddam was accused of and the same gospel is now being spread in Afghanistan.

Obama is destined to fail to bring peace and security to the world like all his predecessors if he denies that the Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis and Iranians have as much right as the Americans to determine their own future – Taliban no Taliban, Mullah no Mullah.

America had failed in all the wars it started or participated in since the end of the Second World War with the exception of probably the Korean War. Even so Korea is today divided and dangerously unstable.

On the rare occasions that America showed leadership and morality was when the generals were replaced by statesmen and diplomacy replaced the brute military force.

Will Obama have the courage to say no to the warmongering generals and the military industrial complex, and take that path of peace? I doubt.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Piagam Ekuinas Jamin Penyertaan Bumiputera

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.]

EKUITI Nasional Berhad (Ekuinas) yang diperbadankan tiga hari lalu berharap dapat memulakan kegiatan membiayai penyertaan Bumiputera dalam kegiatan ekonomi korporat dalam masa enam bulan dari sekarang.

Ekuinas yang berupa antara inisiatif ekonomi terpenting Perdana Menteri Mohd Najib Abdul Razak adalah tabung ekuiti persendirian (private equity fund) yang bertujuan menjamin penyertaan Bumiputera secara sama rata, berterusan dan berkesan melalui operasi perniagaan yang telus dan mesra.

Secara tidak langsung tabung ini juga bertujuan mengimbangi pelonggaran garis panduan Jawatankuasa Pelaburan Asing (FIC) yang menggugurkan syarat pemilikan Bumiputera dalam beberapa sektor ekonomi seperti diumumkan oleh Perdana Menteri baru-baru ini.

Antara lain, kerajaan berharap dapat mewujudkan generasi baru usahawan Bumiputera yang memiliki dan mengurus syarikat mereka sendiri, sama ada syarikat persendirian atau pun syarikat yang disenaraikan di Bursa Malaysia.

Tabung ekuiti persendirian ini adalah antara jawapan kepada ketirisan pemilikan Bumiputera di dalam sektor korporat dan untuk mewujudkan kapasiti modal serta pengurusan Bumiputera yang berdaya maju.

Hari ini, Ekuinas memperkenalkan dirinya kepada media massa melalui sebuah taklimat di Ibu Negara yang diketuai oleh Pengerusinya, Raja Arshad Raja Tun Uda. Turut hadir adalah Ketua Pegawai Eksekutifnya, Abdul Rahman Ahmad dan dua ahli lembaga pengarah iaitu Azman Yahya dan Mohamad Jawhar Hassan. Seorang lagi pengarah, adalah Noriyah Ahmad (Ketua Pengarah Unit Perancang Ekonomi JPM).

Pada 1 Julai lalu, Mohd Najib mengumumkan cadangan penubuhan Ekuinas dengan modal permulaan RM500 juta daripada kerajaan. Matlamatnya adalah menaikkan jumlah itu kepada RM10 bilion, termasuk modal persendirian. Ekuinas berharap 20 peratus daripada modalnya akan datang daripada pelabur persendirian.

Tidak seperti Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) yang bermatlamatkan pengagihan kekayaan korporat (melalui skim amanah saham), Ekuinas tidak mengagihkan kekayaan korporat.

Sebaliknya ia akan mewujudkan masyarakat korporat Bumiputera yang berdaya maju dan boleh bersaing dengan usahawan dan pemodal bukan Bumiputera dan pelabur asing. Dalam erti kata lain, matlamatnya adalah pembinaan kapasiti modal dan pengurusan Bumiputera dalam sektor korporat.

Sebarang unsur pengagihan kekayaan adalah dalam bentuk penyertaan terus Bumiputera dalam sektor itu. Selain membantu mereka melalui caruman modal, Ekuinas akan menjadi rakan kongsi cergas kepada usahawan Bumiputera yang terbabit.

Justeru itu, kejayaan Ekuinas bergantung kepada dua ciri utama. Pertama kemampuan mengenal pasti usahawan dan eksekutif Bumiputera yang berpotensi menjadi rakan kongsi yang berdaya maju. Kedua mengenal pasti projek dan kegiatan ekonomi yang boleh mereka sertai dengan pembiayaan dan bimbingan Ekuinas.

Tugas ini pastinya mencabar kerana modal yang dicadangkan bagi setiap satu projek atau kegiatan adalah besar – dalam lingkungan RM50 juta dengan prospek pulangan melebihi 10 peratus setahun dalam jangka masa tiga hingga tujuh tahun.

Bagi saya, frasa keramat dalam piagam Ekuinas ialah “menjamin penyertaan Bumiputera secara sama rata, berterusan dan berkesan melalui operasi perniagaan yang telus dan mesra.” Inilah ikrarnya kepada masyarakat usahawan Bumiputera khasnya dan Bumiputera amnya.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Felicitations Monsieur Philippe

A Kadir Jasin

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I WOULD like to say felicitations and bravo to French “Spiderman” Robert Alain Philippe for at last succeeded in scaling the Petronas Twin Towers on Tuesday thought he was fined RM2,000 for criminal trespassing.

I also thank him for putting Twin Towers once again on the world’s tourist map. If you’re a regular visitor to the Twin Tower, you’ll realise that it’s a hit with foreign tourists. They strain their necks to photograph the skyscraper.

With the Twin Towers being successively overtaken by other taller structures, the stunt by Robert Alain Philippe helps to refocus attention to our pencakar langit.

Merci beaucoup Monsieur Philippe!

Whereas the law must take its course and Monsieur Philippe must face the consequences of his action, I would like to ask Petronas what happened to its security guards, its CCTV and other security and safety tools?

On the flip side, Monsieur Philippe’s stunt shows that once we conquer fear and learn to manage danger, we can, to an extent, defy the law of gravity. There’s a lot to be gained if we learn from extraordinary people like Monsieur Philippe.

If we know the science of doing thinks, a dangerous undertaking can become pretty safe. But if we are ignorant about the law of science, we can die falling off a bicycle.

Valentino Rossi – The Doctor – repeatedly took a tumble at 200km per hour or more from his motorcycle and survived. A Mat Rempit did a wheelie, crashed into a dustbin and died.

By the way, bravo to Petronas for part-sponsoring The Doctor’s Yamaha MotoGP Team in the ongoing World Championships. The Petronas name is very visible. Rossi is leading this year’s championships.

I hope Petronas will also continue to sponsor an F1 motor racing team although the BMW-Sauber team that it is now supporting is withdrawing from next year’s championships.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Kelakuan Buruk Di Jalan Raya Bermula Di Sekolah

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.]

NEGERI China. Sun Weiming, seorang eksekutif, dijatuhkan hukuman mati. Di Negeri itu, hukuman mati dijalankan dengan tembakan di kepala dari jarak dekat. Baru-baru ini kaedah suntikan racun diperkenalkan.

Kesalahan Sun Weiming adalah menyebabkan kematian empat orang ketika memandu dalam keadaan mabuk. Hanya ganti rugi dan pengampunan daripada keluarga mangsa boleh menyelamatkan nyawa beliau. Se perempat daripada 265,000 kemalangan jalan raya di Negeri China sepanjang tahun ini disebabkan oleh pemandu mabuk.




Menjalankan hukuman mati di Negeri China

Malaysia lebih kecil daripada negeri China dan sama ada mabuk atau tidak, purata seramai 18 pengguna jalan raya maut setiap hari. Pada tahun 2007 sebanyak 393,319 kemalangan jalan raya dilaporkan, meningkat 72.2 peratus daripada tahun sebelumnya.

Pelbagai kempen dan operasi diadakan, tetapi nampaknya tahap kecekapan memandu dan tatatertib di jalan raya tidak bertambah baik.

Yang terakhir cuba membantu menjadikan jalan raya lebih selamat adalah syarikat Plus Expressway Berhad (PLUS). Ia telah melancarkan inisiatif yang diberi nama Malaysians United for Road Safety atau Mufors.

Mufors mempelawa dan menggalakkan orang ramai dan pertubuhan menjadi rakan dalam usaha ini. Untuk tujuan itu, Plus telah membuka laman web http://www.090909.org.my/ bagi membolehkan orang ramai mengambil bahagian.

Salah satu program kempen ini adalah mendapatkan seramai mungkin membuat ikrar menyokong dan menghormati Hari Keselamatan Jalan Raya pada 9 September ini.

Saya kata baguslah. Sebagai orang lama yang mula memandu sejak tahun 1969 dan pernah memandu di beberapa negara maju, saya terpaksa terus terang mengatakan kemahiran memandu, pengetahuan mengenai kenderaan dan akhlak di jalan raya telah merosot dengan begitu teruk.

Ini bukan kerana bilangan kenderaan yang semakin banyak, tetapi kerana orang yang memandu dan menaiki kenderaan semakin jahil justeru itu tidak peduli mengenai aspek-aspek keselamatan, undang-undang dan akhlak di jalan raya. Macam beri parang atau senapang kepada orang yang tidak tahu menggunakannya.

Kelajuan tidak membunuh (speed does not kill). Yang membunuh adalah kejahilan mengenai kenderaan dan pemanduan.

Tengok saja bagaimana kereta bernombor plat Pulau Pinang sentiasa berada di lorong kanan (lorong laju) walaupun dipandu dengan perlahan. Bila kita beri lampu isyarat hendak memotong, dia buat bodoh saja. Kalau kita beri lampu, lagilah dia memperlahankan keretanya.

Dan tuan-tuan Polis dan JPJ, mana ada bas dan lori yang dipandu 90km sejam di lebuh raya seperti diwajibkan? Ada bas yang dipacu sehingga 150 atau 160km sejam tuan!

Sifat buruk dan tumpah darah di jalan raya ini bermula di rumah dan dimantapkan oleh sistem pendidikan. Mana ada ibu bapa, pegawai pendidikan, guru besar, guru disiplin dan anggota polis yang peduli murid sekolah rendah menunggang motosikal ke sekolah?

Sudahlah kempen keselamatan jalan raya diambil sambil lewa. Zaman saya dulu latihan keselamatan jalan raya dan Shell Traffic Game wajib. Kita diajar stop, look, go. Kita diajar pandang kanan, pandang kiri dan pandang kanan lagi barulah melintas jalan raya. Sekarang pejam mata dan lintas.

Pergi sajalah ke sekolah luar bandar dan pinggir bandar, ratusan murid yang belum sampai umur memandu sudah menunggang motosikal ke sekolah tanpa lesen dan dengan tidak memakai topi keledar. Tidak hairan kalau antaranya anak polis, anak pegawai JPJ dan anak cikgu.

Daripada menunggang secara haram inilah merebaknya “budaya” Mat Rempit yang terbawa-bawa apabila mereka memandu kereta, bas dan lori. Jadi apalah yang kita nak hairankan sangat kalau 18 orang mati setiap hari di jalan raya.

Malangnya pemandu dan penunggang durjana ini turut membunuh orang yang tertib di jalan raya dan pihak penguatkuasaan serta kehakiman masih tidak menampakkan kesungguhan untuk menghukum berat pembunuh jalan raya ini.

Kelajuan tidak membunuh. Kelalaian membunuh (speed does not kill. carelessness does).

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).