Friday, September 26, 2014

Umno President is "Strong", Umno is Weak

A Kadir Jasin

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

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

Among issues, facts and recommendations discussed were:-

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 When (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad wrote in his blog on Sept 10 (here) to announce that he had withdrawn support for the Prime Minister, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, he wasn’t being rude or rash.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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Muhyiddin Should Up His Ante for Sake of Umno

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

MB Baru Selangor Uji Kelangsungan Pakatan Rakyat

A Kadir Jasin

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SAMA ada Pakatan Rakyat berada di ambang kemusnahan atau sedang memasuki zaman baru, bergantung kepada reaksinya terhadap pelantikan Mohd Azmin Ali sebagai Menteri Besar Selangor hari ini.

Mohd Azmin angkat sumpah jawatan MB Selangor - TV1/Malaysiakini
Yang pasti beliau bukanlah pilihan sukarela Parti Keadilan Rakyat. Beliau lebih berupa kehendak Istana.

PKR terpaksa merestui pencalonan beliau di saat-saat akhir setelah segala usaha “memaksa” Istana menerima Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail sebagai calon tunggal tidak berhasil.

Kalau PKR boleh bertolak-ansur dan menerima ketentuan ini dengan kewarasan (wisdom), Mohd Azmin boleh menjadi MB tanpa gangguan dan boleh membuktikan sama ada beliau mampu atau tidak mentadbir Selangor yang telah mengorbankan banyak MB.

Tetapi kalau PKR masih berkeras dan berdendam, besar kemungkinan Mohd Azmin akan menjadi seorang lagi MB Selangor yang dilanda sial dan Pakatan Rakyat menjadi semakin tidak relevan kepada rakyat Selangor.

PKR dan penyokong fanatik Ketua Umumnya, Anwar Ibrahim boleh menggunakan pelbagai cara untuk mengganggu gugat kedudukan Mohd Azmin seperti yang mereka lakukan terhadap Abdul Khalid Ibrahim dalam masa beberapa bulan terakhir ini.

Harapan Mohd Azmin satu saja – keakraban dan taat setia beliau yang begitu lama dan tidak berbelah bahagi terhadap Anwar. Beliau begitu sabar dan pasrah dikutuk, dicaci dan dimaki hamun semata-mata kerana taat dan setia kepada Anwar.

Selama 16 tahun Anwar di dalam Umno dan sepanjang Mohd Azmin menjadi pegawai peribadinya, saya telah melihat dan mendengar sendiri bagaimana Mohd Azmin difitnah, dicaci dan dimaki kerana kesetiaannya. Namun beliau tetap setia.

Azmin, 50 tahun dan isterinya Shamsidar Taharin
Kalau PKR masih berkeras mahu memaksakan kehendaknya ke atas semua pihak, khususnya pengundi Selangor, semata-mata kerana mahukan dinasti Anwar, saya rasa pengundi dan rakyat jelata Selangor perlu menimbang semula sokongan kepada PKR dan Pakatan Rakyat.

Drama dan lawak politik Selangor di bawah PR tidak lagi lucu. Sejak tercetusnya krisis MB Selangor, parti-parti PR nampak seakan-akan orang mabuk todi dan gian ganja.

Ia juga menguji kebijaksanaan dan keberkesanan Anwar sebagai ketua atas nama (de facto) PR. Kalau PKR, PAS dan DAP masih berasa bertanggungjawab terhadap pengundi yang memilih mereka dan pembayar cukai yang memberi upah kepada mereka maka mereka perlulah berhenti membuat lawak. Jenaka mereka tidak lucu lagi.

Dan PAS yang calar-balar terkena ledakan dalaman PKR dan dicaci cerca oleh DAP perlulah memikirkan semula bentuk perkongsiannya dengan dua parti liberal itu.

Sangat hodoh dan memalukan apabila PAS bercakaran sesama sendiri umpama ayam jantan dalam serkap semata-mata kerana acahan PKR dan DAP.

Sebagai parti berideologikan Islam dan tertua di kalangan parti-parti PR, PAS tidak sepatutnya membiarkan dirinya diperalatkan.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

VIPs Booted Out of Aeroplane

A Kadir Jasin

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DOES this not sound familiar – VIPs arriving late to board a plane causing anger among the passengers?

I had experienced that many times during the days of flying with MAS domestically. In some instances, the planes were parked away from the terminal so that they would be closer to the VIP lounge.

But Malaysians seem to be a patience lot. They make noise and that’s all.

It seems that such a practice happened in Pakistan too but the passengers there have had enough of the VIPs antics that they confronted and chased two of them off the plane at Karachi Airport. (Read here).

I pray to Allah the All Mighty that all the stories of our VIPs arriving late for functions - including those hosted by the King, and on trips abroad, forcing leaders of host nations wait for them because their spouses and errant members of their delegation took longer than usual to get dressed - are not true.

I was told of such a story by a businessman who was a member of delegation accompanying one of our VIPs to a very friendly country in Central Asia.

The story has it that their protocol officers assigned to our official delegation were severely reprimanded by their President because our VIPs arrived late for an official function.

This particular President, it seems, is a stickler for time – like our former PM, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

It wasn’t the officers’ fault. It was just that the spouse of one of our VIPs is a stickler for sartorial and cosmetic perfection.

I think we have to make it clear to our VIPs of our displeasure if they arrive late for a function. With some VIPs it has become a habit. A bad one as it wastes other people’s time, energy and efforts.

Perhaps we too should shoo them away like the Pakistanis did with their thoughtless VIPs. Wallahuaklam.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Maladi Melayu Bawa Malu

A Kadir Jasin

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PANTUN lama kegemaran saya:

Pergi memburu di padang datar
Dapat rusa belang kaki
Kalau berguru kepalang ajar
Ibarat bunga kembang tak jadi.

Versi moden yang mampu saya ilhamkan.

Pergi memburu di padang datar
Dapat rusa belang kaki
Kalau guru kurang ajar
Tentulah murid lebih lagi.

Apabila guru sanggup bocorkan kertas peperiksaan dan buat bermacam-macam dosa dan angkara, bagaimanakah kita hendak mengajar anak-anak kita agar tekun dan berwibawa?

Guru kencing berdiri
Murid kencing berlari.

Dan mengapakah kita harus marah dan kecil hati apabila (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad berkata, “the Malays are lazy”?

Tidak semua Melayu malas. Itu pasti.

Ramai Melayu yang rajin, tekun dan cemerlang. Diberi tongkat mereka ubah jadi dayung dan tiang.

Ramai Melayu, umpama kata Hang Tuah, tidak hilang di dunia. Mereka mencipta nama dan hidup senang di merata dunia.

Tetapi ada juga Melayu yang merempat di negara sendiri. Diberi benih, benih mereka makan. Diberi baja subsidi, baja mereka jual untuk berjudi dan berjoli.

Hutang keliling pinggang beli Honda, Yamaha dan Suzuki kemudian jadi Mat Rempit berlumba haram sampai mati.

Jadi saya sekali lagi bertanya, Melayu yang macam mana hendak kita perkasa ekonominya?

Yang memerintah Melayu. Yang berdakwah, berceramah dan bermuhasabah Melayu. Yang ramai jadi polis, kastam, guru dan imigresen pun macam Melayu.

Yang ramai kena tangkap rasuah dan menipu pun Melayu. Melayu terima rasuah masuk penjara. Cina dan India yang bagi rasuah tidak jadi apa-apa. Kalau adapun sekerat dua.

Serangkap daripada sajak “Melayu” oleh Allahyarham Sasterawan Negara Usman Awang:

Melayu itu pengembara lautan
Melorongkan jalur sejarah zaman
Begitu luas daerah sempadan
Sayangnya kini segala kehilangan.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Getting at Mohd Najib Through 1MDB

A Kadir Jasin

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HAVING withdrawn his support for the Prime Minister, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, the former Prime Minister, (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad, on Sept 10 added insult to injury.

He questioned the integrity of the Prime Minister’s pet corporation – 1Malaysia Development Berhad. It is like what the Malay proverb says “pukul anak sindir menantu.” You can’t beat Mohd Najib you beat his favourite undertaking.

Expressing his concern over the debt being amassed by the sovereign wealth fund, Dr Mahathir said it could overwhelm the government’s already strained finances.

He asked why Malaysia needs a state investment fund like 1MDB, when it is heavily in debt, pointing out that such a company is usually formed by countries with large government surpluses.

“The money for 1MDB is not from the country’s surpluses. It is borrowed. The billions of ringgit borrowed add massively to the nation’s debts. Debts taken by the country must be repaid. If not we will become insolvent like Argentina. A country that suffers deficits annually will not be able to repay debts of this size,” he wrote in his blog on Sept 10. (Read more here).

Very few people outside the PM’s inner circle know for sure how much debts 1MDB has accumulated and its true financial standing. The public is generally suspicious of the stories the company tells.

In June, it issued a statement assuring the public that its debt “does not pose any significant risk to the sovereign rating and stability of Malaysia.”

It said that its debt totalled RM37 billion for the financial year ended March 31, 2013.

In a textbook response to public concern it said: “As a limited liability company, 1MDB poses limited liability risks to the government as its shareholder.

“The government guarantees RM5.8 billion of the group’s total loan on which 1MDB has significant interest cover. 1MDB has never missed any payment schedule.”

It has repeatedly delayed the launch of its electricity IPO. Media reports suggest that it is now delayed to 2017.

The public in general may not be aware that 1MDB has been borrowing from them. If they know, they would understand Dr Mahathir’s worry.

For instance, in March this year, 1MDB issued RM1.5-billion worth of Sukuk (Syariah compliant bonds) and the buyers were the Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) and Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB). Ironically the LTH GMD/CEO, Ismee Ismail, is on the board of 1MDB. (Full board here).

What Now Dr M?

TO someone who loves to banter, Dr M must have found Mohd Najib’s not-so-elegant silence frustrating. Silence of that nature can be deafening.

In short it says, Mohd Najib is saying, Dr Mahathir can say whatever he likes, but I am the PM and I do whatever I like.

Dr Mahathir’s latest jab came at the wrong time for Mohd Najib. After five years of positioning himself as the great transformer, who gets the recognition? His high-profile Pemandu CEO, Idris Jala.

The Sarawakian was named one the 50 most influential policymakers in the world by Bloomberg Markets. The US-based magazine credited the 56-year-old Sarawak senator with “making it easier to invest and do business in Malaysia as he shapes economic policy meant to help the country catch up to its more-developed neighbours.”

Still Dr Mahathir stops short of doing the ultimate – calling for Mohd Najib’s resignation. That was what he did with (Tun) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in the aftermath of the 2008 General Elections.

Within months Abdullah was put out to the pasture and in came Dr Mahathir's ultimate choice – Mohd Najib Abdul Razak. Ahhhh… the wheel of time keeps on turning.


Monday, September 08, 2014

Sudah 185 Hari MH370 Hilang Tanpa Kesan

A Kadir Jasin

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BACAAN Tambahan di sini:

MENGIKUT kiraan bulan, hari ini, 8 September 2014, genaplah enam bulan kehilangan tanpa kesan penerbangan MH370 yang membawa 239 penumpang dan anak kapal. Dalam kiraan hari, sudah 185 hari.

Pesawat itu sepatutnya terbang dari KLIA ke Beijing tetapi berpatah balik dan teori umum mengatakan ia “hilang” di kawasan selatan Lautan Hindi. Namun sampai hari ini tidak ada siapa tahu di mana sebenarnya ia “menghilang” walaupun kelengkapan mencari paling canggih di dunia telah digunakan bagi mengesannya.

Kapal Belanda, Fugro Survey diupah mencari bangkai MH370
Seratus lima belas hari selepas tragedi MH370, penerbangan MH17 pula ditembak jatuh di timur Ukraine ketika dalam perjalanan dari Amsterdam, Belanda ke Kuala Lumpur dengan mengorbankan kesemua 283 penumpang dan anak kapal.

Dalam masa tidak sampai empat bulan, MAS dilanda dua tragedi luar biasa yang meragut 522 nyawa.

Nasib malang MAS tidak berakhir di situ sahaja. Secara teorinya ia sudah muflis (bankrupt). Ia terus beroperasi hanyalah kerana diselamatkan oleh kerajaan melalui Khazanah Nasional Berhad.

Dengan itu jadilah tragedi MAS tragedi kita semua. Kita bukan sahaja menanggung beban emosi dan beban malu, kita juga menanggung beban kewangan mega.

Untuk menyelamatkan MAS, Khazanah terpaksa membelanjakan RM6 bilion. Sebelum ini ia sudah pun menenggelamkan RM7 bilion dalam pelbagai operasi penyusunan semula yang tidak berhasil. Kemampuan Khazanah mengurus perniagaan kini menjadi tanda tanya.

Sejak mengambil balik 100% saham MAS sebulan lalu dan mengumumkan operasi penyelamatan, Khazanah telah masuk ke pasaran hutang untuk meminjam RM3.1 bilion. Tidak menghairankan kalau banyak lagi perlu dipinjam atau aset dijual.

Mohon maaf, bagi saya MAS sudah menjadi perigi buta tanpa dasar yang elok ditimbus sahaja dan Khazanah perlu disusun semula..

Al Fatihah dan takziah.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Manifestation Of Our Collective Desperation

A Kadir Jasin

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

FIFTY seven years after independence, we are in a state of collective desperation although many may not realise or feel it.

Those in power are desperate to portray that everything is fine. Those who are powerless are desperate because things are not like what they are being told.

They are desperate that despite repeated promises and better-than-expected key performance index (KPI), crime rates are still high and other aspects of daily existence seem to be getting harder.

So they do what they can. The rich barricaded themselves behind high walls, wired their palatial homes with motion censor alarm systems and CCTV cameras. They hire Nepalese guards and guard dogs.

Nepalese guards are our new protectors
The not-so-rich dig into their pockets to erect barred wire fences and check points and hire guards to protect their un-gated properties.

If we are not residents, we are viewed with suspicion when we enter these makeshift gated areas. We are issued with passes, our identity cards or driving licenses are inspected and our cars are videotaped.

Of course you will not experience such indignities if you are the Prime Minister, the DPM and other privileged VIPs with outriders and fierce-looking bodyguards.

Those who can’t afford guards, barricade their houses with metal grills and reinforced doors and windows. Even my mother’s kampung house feels like fortress. Metal grills all around, locked doors and windows. Gone were the days when doors were hardly ever locked and windows were always open to let in the air.

Can’t blame them when common items like fertilisers, padi seeds and old bicycles are regularly stolen. Drug addicts, small time village hoods and besi buruk traders are the new scourge.

It’s ironic. Mosques and suraus are filled to the brim for Friday prayers. Literally everybody wears the lebai skullcap. Adherents of every religion and faith appear to display a greater degree of piety than ever before.

So it does not come as a great surprise to me when the Penang state government set up the Penang Voluntary Patrol Unit and, understandably too, it incurred the wrath of the federal instruments, including the police.

There is no need for me to discuss the pros and cons of the voluntary unit or the war of attrition that is being played out now. Suffice to say that it is yet another manifestation of our collective desperation and the failure of the establishment to live up to its promises.

What I like to say is the Penang’s voluntary patrol unit is neither new nor unique. It had been preceded by a similar vigilante force, albeit more restricted in nature, established by the Selangor government under Muhammad Muhammad Taib.

Much to the chagrin of the federal government and the police he set up something akin to an Islamic moral police force called Badar, purportedly to combat “maksiat” (sins).

Its disbanding soon after was made easy when several of its members were caught red-handed extorting money from foreign workers.

The vigilantes, the barricades, the Nepalese guards, the brisk sales of security equipments are the manifestation of the rakyat’s despondence with the existing law and order mechanism and the ineffectiveness of such community based initiatives as the Rukun Tetangga and friends of the police aka Rakan Cop.

Nepalese Gurkhas during Malayan Emergency
The situation today reminds me of the Emergency days (1948-60) when villages were barricaded and the Nepalese Gurkhas (soldiers) were a common sight.

Alas, because we never learn, history repeats itself. Today we have to employ children and grandchildren of the Gurkhas to protect us once again. 


About Me

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