Ramai juga yang bertanya mengapa saya sudah lama tidak menulis dalam blog ini. Banyak sebabnya. Sebab utama ialah saya masih lagi mempelajari liku-liku bidang media elektronik, setelah 5 bulan bersama TV3.
Walaupun agak sibuk, saya ketepikan dulu hal-hal di pejabat untuk berbicara tentang perlawanan akhir Piala Malaysia baru-baru ini yang dimenangi Negeri Sembilan, negeri kelahiran dan tanah tumpah darah saya. Memang banyak pun keringat dan darah saya tumpah di sana semasa saya mewakili pasukan hoki Negeri Sembilan satu ketika dulu.
Saya mengucapkan setinggi-tinggi syabas dan tahniah kepada pasukan Negeri Sembilan kerana bermain dengan begitu cemerlang sekali dalam Piala Malaysia sehingga berjaya menjadi juara.
Yang mengecewakan ialah perangai peminat-peminat Kelantan yang tidak boleh menerima kekalahan. Mereka begitu fanatik dengan sifat kedaerahan. Kemudahan di Stadium Bukit Jalil dibakar dan dirosakkan, seolah-olah mereka ini imun daripada undang-undang negara. Kalau dibiarkan, mungkin seluruh stadium hangus dibakar. Saya sedih kerana merosakkan harta awam bukan budaya kita, bukan cara Islam.
Saya tidak suka mengaitkan sukan dengan politik kerana kedua-duanya seperti laut dan bumi, tetapi persoalan ini bermain di fikiran saya: Apakah generasi sebegini yang dihasilkan oleh kepimpinan PAS di Kelantan?
I normally get an average of 10 calls a day. But over the past 48 hours, my mobile phone did not ring at all. And that's because there was no power in my hands. The Celcom network just went bust.
Apparently, this is the first time in Malaysian history that a service provider went bust for more than a day.
According to Celcom, the high traffic volume which increased by five-fold during the festive period.
"As a result, some of our major network nodes experienced a sudden overloading, causing a loss of signal between the nodes. It is really unfortunate that these nodes, in Kepong, Selangor, and Perda in Seberang Prai, were both affected at the same time," said Celcom (Malaysia) Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Seri Shazalli Ramly.
But I have this question for Shazally: Did you not anticipate heavy call volumes during Hari Raya Aidil Fitri?
Perhaps it slipped Shazally's mind that more than half of the Malaysian population are Muslims and they celebrate Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. Normally, they call or sms their beloved ones to greet them.
Tidak begitu menceriakan! Itulah komen saya tentang duit RM50 kita yang dikeluarkan Bank Negara baru-baru ini.
Warnanya begitu pudar dan rekabentuknya tidak begitu menarik. Saya harap ia tidak mencerminkan ekonomi negara kita pada masa ini.
Ini cuma pendapat saya. Lain orang, lain pendapatnya. Mungkin ada yang tidak bersetuju dengan saya. Cuma saya berharap Bank Negara akan menggunakan warna yang lebih ceria dan meriah kalau ianya berhajat untuk menukar rekabentuk denominasi lain.
Mungkin juga Bank Negara boleh mendapatkan idea-idea dari pelajar-pelajar muda Art & Design yang begitu ramai sekali di institusi-institusi pengajian tinggi di negara ini. Kita perlukan idea-idea baru. Mungkin juga kita perlu rekabentuk yang lain daripada lain.
I have this message for the MIC: please name the delegate who called for the picture of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad be garlanded with slippers and expel him from the party. His action is far more serious than what Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek did to deserve a sacking from MCA.
I am surprised that until today, three days after the MIC's 63rd AGM where the delegate uttered those derogatory words, he has not been named. This gives the impression that the party is protecting the culprit.
As we know, slippers and brooms are not acceptable in any our cultures. By suggesting that a garland of slippers be placed on the portrait of Dr Mahathir, the delegate has inferred that the former Prime Minister is the lowliest of all Godly creations.
On the contrary, Dr Mahathir is a Statesman who turned Malaysia into a force to be reckoned with. His contributions to country and the developing world is enormous.
I urge MIC to act immediately to show its seriousness in resolving the issue and give the delegate the boot (or slippers).
I am not paying RM800 a month for an Indonesian maid. Period.
I have had far too many bad experiences with Indonesian maids and I am not about to waste RM800 a month, just to have them run away again. Worse, agents these days demand RM7,000 in fees for a maid.
Indonesia is dependent on Malaysia to feed 1.7 million of its workers here, both legal and illegal. It should stop making demands. My Malaysian friends who live in Jakarta and elsewhere in Indonesia pay their maids only between RM50-RM100 a month. Their Indonesian drivers are paid between RM70 and RM100 a month.
So why is the Indonesian government making such demands for their citizens employed as maids here? If they are university graduates, it is a different matter all together. Most of the Indonesians who come to Malaysia to work as maids are illiterate. They can take care of the children, but not "nanny" them. It is a different matter with the Filipinas.
An average Malaysian cannot afford RM800 a month. Imposing such a high minimum wage, will lead to other problems.
More and more people will begin to employ illegals as maids because they will not demand a minimum wage. Even if they do, it's not going to be as high as RM800.
There will be other problems as well. Tekongs will bend over backwards to bring in more illegals because with the new ruling, the demand for illegal maids will increase many folds. There will be an influx of illegal Indonesians entering Malaysia.
As illegals, they will have no where to turn to if they don't get paid, mistreated or even abused. They will not lodge reports for fear of getting arrested for entering the country illegally. Unscruplous employers will take advantage of them and treat them as slaves.
If we look at the bigger picture, imposing too high of a minimum wage will eventually lead to a diplomatic problem between Indonesia and Malaysia.
I think it is about time that we should seriously reconsider employing Indonesians in all sectors. We can always source workers from other countries which do not make ridiculous demands.
SIME Darby Bhd's pre-tax profit for the fourth quarter ended June 30, 2009 fell to RM1.108 billion from RM1.454 billion in the corresponding period of 2008.
According to bernama, Sime Darby's revenue decreased to RM7.535 billion from RM9.121 billion previously.
For the financial year ended June 30, 2009, Sime Darby said its pre-tax profit dropped 41 per cent to RM3.071 billion from RM5.206 billion as revenue fell nine percent to RM31.014 billion from RM34.045 billion.
Sime Darby said its net profit of RM2.3 billion after tax and minority interest, exceeded by 20 per cent the group's Key Performance Indicator (KPI) of RM1.9 billion.
The group recorded a Return on Average Shareholders' Funds of 10.6 per cent versus its KPI of 8.8 per cent.
As for the Plantation Division, it registered a 56 percent decline in operating profit to RM1.7 billion compared with the previous year.
This was principally driven by lower average CPO prices in the year as well as lower production as a result of biological tree stress and unfavourable weather conditions, it said.
A couple of hours ago, the MCA Presidential Council sacked party deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek from all party positions and as member of the party.
The Council which met for five hours on Wednesday night, accepted the recommendations of the party's disciplinary board. The board recommended that Dr Chua be expelled "for bringing disrepute to the party" as a result of a sex DVD involving him.
On Aug 4, the MCA discipinary board had met following a complaint by Simpang Renggam MCA division chairman Eng Cheng Guan over the sex DVD involving Dr Chua.
The board went on with the inquiry despite Eng withdrawing the complaint.
To me, it looks like a double jeopardy for Dr Chua.
On Jan 1, 2008, Dr Chua admitted that he was the man featured in the sex DVD and that the lady involved was a personal friend. He took pains to resign from all government and party posts.
MCA was then led by Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting. Under Ka Ting's leadership, MCA found Dr Chua's resignation as Health Minister and party vice-president as sufficient. No punishment was meted out.
However, the matter re-surfaced when Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat took over as party president in October last year. Despite the fact that Eng withdrew his complaint, the Presidential council adopted it.
It doesn't seem right to me. Granted that Dr Chua's tryst is unbecoming of a national leader, but he came out in the open and admitted his mistake. And he was gentleman enough to resign from the Cabinet and as vice-president of the party. This is not something many politicians in Malaysia will do even if they are caught with their pants down (no pun intended).
Dr Chua did not wait for others to punish him. He punished himself. After he had served his "sentence", the party finds it fit to punish him all over again. If this is not double jeopardy, I don't know what is.
The Presidential Council and the disciplinary board may comprise senior members of the party, but they do not represent the voice of the majority. A good number of MCA members do support Dr Chua and have forgiven him for his sins. It was this support that enabled Dr Chua to win the Deputy Presidency in the recent MCA elections. Dr Chua's supporters should never be taken for granted.
"Tarnishing the party's image is a very serious crime. I'm lucky they didn't sentence me to death. Gantung (sampai) mati," Dr Chua was heard telling reporters as he left the meeting of the presidential council, midway.
Projek Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan (PLUS) is embarking on a road safety campaign with a difference. It is called "Malaysians Unite for Road Safety 090909". I think this is a good step towards reducing the number of accidents in Malaysia which kill more people daily than any disease including h1n1.
The campaign involves engaging the people. Motorists can actually go to the website at www.090909.org.my and make a pledge to do away with a bad habit. I have pledged to stop SMSing while driving, a promise I plan to keep. The website has received 83 pledges so far.
The campaign will begin on 9/9/99. The date was chosen because 999 is the number to call during emergencies and also because 9 is an auspicious number to the Chinese.
I have been getting an earful from my sister Saro, a mother of two, every day over the past three days or so. So much so, I dread answering her phone calls. She is worried sick, bordering paranoia, over the infuenza h1n1 (I shall not glorify this disease by even putting its name in the upper case).
Her daughter, my niece, is in form 5 and goes to school in Bandar Sri Damansara. Apparently, the teachers in the school wear face masks but the pupils are not given any.
She refuses to allow my niece to go to school and makes her stay home. I am a parent myself, and I have been doing the same. I refuse to allow my eight-year-old daughter attend school. My son who completed his PMR trial exam yesterday is going to stay home too.
Like my sister, I am concerned about my kids. So I do take exception to the Minister of Health Datuk Liow Ting Lai's remarks that there is no point declaring a school holiday because school children will only go to places where they can catch the virus. I think his statement is an insult to every civic, right-thinking Malaysian.
As of today, Malaysia which only has a population of 27 million, recorded 56 h1n1-related deaths. Liow can say what he wants, but I think this is quite alarming. The population:h1n1-patient ratio in Malaysia is indeed high compared with other countries.
To date, India, which has a population of 1.14 billion only has 22 deaths. The authorities in Mumbai, where the highest number of cases were reported, have shutdown schools, colleges and cinemas. The did so at the risk of severely impacting the Bollywood movie industry. As we know, India churns out the most number of movies in the world and the movie industry is a major contributor to the country's GDP.
Mexico, where it all started, only recorded 163 deaths so far.
I think the Government of Malaysia must resort to drastic measures. The problem is compounded by the high number of dengue cases. Government hospitals are full to the corridors. We don't have enough doctors and nurses to handle the situation.
Worse, the Health Minister keeps saying that all those who died are within the "high-risk" group. Ironically, the number of diseases which fall under the high-risk category as given by the Health Ministry is growing by the day.
Obesity is the latest to join the list. Earlier, high-risk was just confined to diseases of the higher respiratory tract, including asthma, lung and perhaps heart diseases.
It seems to me that we are simply looking for excuses and now we are running out of them. Yesterday, a 19-year-old teenager died. I wonder what was his risk factor.
So Mr Minister, if I have piles (not that I do), will I be high-risk too?
Award-winning film director Yasmin Ahmad passed away at the Damansara Specialist Centre three hours ago. She was 51.
Yasmin collapsed after suffering a stroke while making a presentation at Sri Pentas. I happened to be in a meeting in the next room when the incident took place. When I rushed over, she had apparently stopped breathing. Media Prima staff and the resident doctor were frantically trying to revive her. She was then rushed to the DSH.
Yasmin was a legend in her own right. She lent her creative ideas in the production of many movies, TV and print advertisements. However, she will be best remembered for her contributions to race relations in this country. In almost all her artistic works, she injected elements of race relations.
She will always remain in our memories. Semoga Allah mencucuri rahmat keatas rohnya.
In 2001, when my daughter was just four months old and my son in standard one, my maid, an Indonesian from Medan decided to abandon them and run away with her new found boyfriend, her country man.
Fortunately for me and my wife, she decided to do so on a Sunday when both of us were at home. She was seen by a neighbour walking about in my porch restlessly about 5.30am. She was obviously waiting for someone to pick her up. My wife and I woke up to find her long gone.
When she came to work with us, we accepted her as a family and gave her a day off on Sundays. Sundays will be a day of outing for her and other Indonesian maids in my neighbourhood. So together, they would go out and return about 6pm.
It was during one of these outings that she met the Indonesian man who she eventually ran away with. A neighbour's maid later admitted to us that my maid would see the man every Sunday without fail. To this day, I don't know what happened to her. The man could have been a member of a syndicate supplying illegal maids, or worse, could be a pimp.
Having learnt a lesson from these ordeal, we decided not to give day offs to my second maid who joined us about three months after the first one ran away. Each Hari Raya Aidil Fitri and Hari Raya Aidil Adha, we gave her a small bonus. No complaints, and everything was fine.
She stayed with us for seven years and decided to return to Indonesia only when her daughter had a baby and needed her to babysit. We had no problems with her. There were no problems because we didn't give her the opportunity to mingle with the outside world.
My point is, I do not welcome the Government's idea of making it compulsory for employers to give a day off to maids.
It is going to cause serious social problems. Surely, the number of missing maids is going to increase. They are going to show up in whorehouses. Human trafficking will increase, and Malaysia may be accused of being the hub for the trafficking of Indonesian women.
The problem is, whenever there is a case of maid abuse, etc, although isolated, the Ministry of Human Resources stoops to the pressure of the Indonesian Government. Each time such a case is reported in the Press, the Minister responsible will propose new regulations. Some times they are implemented, some times they are not.
I don't intend to cause a diplomatic row between Malaysia and Indonesia, but why should the Malaysian Government bow to Indonesia. If the Indonesian Government wants to stop sending maids to Malaysia because of a few isolated cases of maid abuse, so be it. We can consider employing maids from elsewhere. At the same time, we can also consider stopping recruiting Indonesian workers in the other economic sectors.
And who cares what the United States says about us. Remember, American corporations are the biggest culprits when it comes to employing child labour at their overseas operations. So is the US really in a position to talk dictate Human Resource policies?
An isolated case of maid abuse in Malaysia is often blown out of proportion. But what about maids who abandon helpless young children under their care and run away, leaving families in a lurch? What about the cases of maids abusing children? What about cases where maids work in cahoots with thieves who break in and steal their employers' valuables? What about maids getting pregnant because they use their day offs spending time with their new found boyfriends?
I've finally signed on the dotted line. I am joining TV3 as Group Editor with effect from Thursday June 18, 2009.
Although I was a reporter and an editor with the New Straits Times for 16 years from 1988 to 2004, broadcast journalism is new to me, and thus my new job is going to be rather challenging.
I acknowledge the fact that this job comes with a huge responsibility. It will require hard work and dedication. Basically, my responsibility will be to make TV3 news programmes more interesting and viewer-friendly.
My performance will be based on whether the rating for news programmes goes up.
Is Husam Musa's defeat to Nasaruddin Mat Isa for the PAS deputy Presidency, a clear rejection of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim?
Although some people believe that Nasaruddin's thrashing of Husam, the protege of Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat shows that the party prefers to stick to the Ulamak faction to rule the party, many believe that the party delegates have sent a clear message that they do not favour Anwar.
If that is the case, surely Pakatan Rakyat, the adhoc coalition of Opposition parties are in for more trouble. This is so because Anwar has clearly proclaimed himself as the leader of the so-called coalition.
Malaysia went down to Pakistan 2-4 in the Asia Cup Hockey in Kuantan, Pahang yesterday, but not before putting up a good fight.
I congratulate Tengku Mahkota of Pahang Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, the MHF President as well as Tai Beng Hai and Nor Saiful Zaini, the Coach and Assistant Coach respectively. I also congratulate the players for their dedication and commitment.
This is a young team. It should be kept together. I hope to see them perform in next year's Word Cup in India and in the 2012 Olympics in England.
p.s. Someone pointed out to me that Malaysia does not qualify for next year's hockey World Cup in India despite making it to the semi-finals of the Asia Cup. I was in the impression that the top four teams in the Asia Cup will automatically qualify for the World Cup. My mistake, and I apologise for it.
Saya ingin mengucapkan setinggi-tinggi tahniah kepada rakan-rakan saya iaitu jurulatih skuad hoki Malaysia Tai Beng Hai dan penolongnya, Nor Saiful Zaini.
Saya gembira Malaysia telah melayakkan diri ke peringkat separuh akhir Pertandingan Hoki Asia yang berlangsung di Kuantan, Pahang ketika ini, dan sekali gus ke Piala Dunia di India pada tahun depan.
Saya sudah lama mengenali Beng Hai dan Saiful. Semasa saya bermain untuk pasukan Negeri Sembilan dari tahun 1983 hingga tahun 1990, mereka bermain untuk pasukan Perak. Walaupun di atas padang kami bermusuhan, di luar meraka adalah sahabat baik saya.
Beng Hai dan Saiful telah membuktikan kepada peminat-peminat hoki negara bahawa Malaysia tidak memerlukan jurulatih asing yang dibayar berpuluh ribu ringgit sebulan untuk melatih pasukan negara.
Sebagai bekas pemain kebangsaan, Beng Hai dan Saiful tentu faham keperluan pemain-pemain tempatan.
Saya tahu apabila sesi latihan, jurulatih asing hanya fokus kepada strategi permainan saja. Mereka jarang sekali mengambil kisah tentang fitness pemain-pemain. Selalunya pemain akan dibiarkan melakukan fitness training sendiri.
Bila pemain dibiarkan membuat fitness training sendiri, ramai yang mencuri tulang. Akibatnya, tahap kecerdasan mereka turun dan mereka tidak dapat beraksi dengan cemerlang semasa pertandingan.
Saya tahu Saiful ialah jurulatih yang amat berdisiplin. Semasa beliau menjadi ketua pasukan hoki negara beberapa tahun dahulu, beliau akan menentukan setiap pemain berada diatas katil pada jam 10 malam semasa training dan pertandingan. Beliau begitu serius sekali dengan peraturan "lights off at 10" yang dikenakan terhadap setiap pemain.
Pasukan hoki negara perlukan seorang jurulatih yang begitu berdisiplin.
I lost my journalism sifu and a good friend today.
M.A.Razman @ Rattan Singh, a long-serving journalist in the New Straits Times Press Group, did not wake up this morning. According to friends, he passed away in his sleep....peacefully.
I first came to know Razman when I joined the Pre-Entry Editorial Training Scheme (PETs) in 1988. He was the journalism facilitator for the NST group.
Razman was a no-nonsense teacher. It was easy for him to lose his temper, but he was equally quick to make up for it.
Razman was also a keen hockey player. He played hockey for the NST team until the day he retired. Upon his retirement, coached the Victoria Institution Under-18 hockey.
It was under Razman's tutelage that the NSTP managed to produce many renowned journalists. I can't name them here as the list will be too long.
Semoga rohnya dicucuri rahmat dan di tempatkan di syurga Firdausi seperti yang dijanjikan kepada hamba-hambNya yang soleh.
p.s. This picture was taken after the NST editorial team, of which Razman was captain, won the NSTP inter-department hockey tournament. I can't remember what year it was. Razman is standing second from left.
Saya mengucapkan tahniah kepada Saudara Rashid Yusof yang telah dilantik sebagai Setiausaha Akhabar kepada YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin berkuatkuasa hari ini.
Dengan kewibawaan, dedikasi dan pengalaman yang ada pada Saudara Rashid, bekas penulis khas The New Straits Times, saya percaya beliau akan memberi khidmat bakti yang terbaik sekali kepada Tan Sri Muhyiddin.
Saya kenal Saudara Rashid begitu lama sekali. Kami sama-sama di NST pada satu ketika dulu dan banyak juga mengharungi pengalaman pahit manis bersama.
It is morally wrong for Elizabeth Wong to resume duties as the State Assemblywoman for Bukit Lanjan and Selangor State Exco member. It is so because, by her own admission, she allowed her boyfriend, a Muslim, to be alone with her at her home, I presume on several occasions.
As a leader, Wong should have known that being alone with her Muslim boyfriend is an offence under the Syariah Law. He was committing khalwat each time and I am she knew it, but she let it happen.
Although, as a non-Muslim she cannot be charged under the Syariah Law, she should lead by example. But what she did points to only one thing - she has no respect for laws governing Muslims in this country.
Her Muslim voters have every right to protest.
And whether this is an invasion of privacy, is debatable. It would be clear cut invasion of policy if a stalker breaks into her house and takes her pictures. But in this case, the boyfriend was a guest, he was in the house with her permission.
Can we tell for sure that he took her pictures without her permission?
I welcome Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Razak as the nation's 6th Prime Minister. As I've said in my earlier posting, I have been looking forward to this for a long time.
If we go by his address to the nation tonight, Najib seems serious about getting closer to the rakyat.
I also welcome his decision to release 13 Internal Security Act detainees with immediate effect. Some of them have been rotting in prison. Some of them have been detained under the ISA for so long that they had completely missed their children's growing up years.
Najib also said the Government would review the ISA. While I think it is necessary for the Government to review the Act and expunge loose clauses which enables the Home Minister to make unjustified detentions for political reasons, the Government should not completely abolish it. The Act is still necessary as a preventive law to curb extremism, terrorism, etc. Advanced countries like the United States and Britain now have such preventive laws.
I also welcome Najib's decision to lift the suspension on Suara Keadilan and Harakah. I wonder why Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar suspended them in the first place.
If the two publications make allegations against the Government, it is the Government's duty to clarify them. The Government should not find the easy way out.
Najib has made a fantastic first impression as Prime Minister. I hope he will continue to reach out to the rakyat. If each of his Cabinet colleagues listen to the rakyat, the next general election will be a sure victory for the Barisan Nasional.
Speaking about Cabinet Ministers, I can't wait for Najib's announcement of the new Cabinet line-up. Yes, the appointment of Cabinet Ministers is the prerogative of the Prime Minister, but I do hope that he will not keep the corrupt and those who have run foul of the law. Najib's Cabinet should not only be clean, but seen to be clean.
I was told that at least 40% of Najib's Cabinet is going to be new blood. I welcome that.
I hope under Najib's able stewardship, Malaysia will continue to achieve success after success.
By this time (6pm) tomorrow, Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Razak will be the nation's sixth Prime Minister, something that I have been looking forward to for a long time.
Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim however dreads the idea of Najib becoming the Premier. The reason is simple. Anwar is afraid that 2004 will repeat itself.
In 2004, Barisan Nasional was given a landslide victory by the rakyat. Malaysians gave overwhelming support to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi because they were, to a certain extent, upset with former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad over the handling of Anwar's sodomy issue. Many people did not believe the allegation at that time. It was not Dr Mahathir's fault though. Anwar's case was then badly handled by the police and the prosecution.
So in the 1999 general election, a year after Anwar was sacked from all his Government and Umno posts, those who simply refused to believe that there was "another side" to Anwar voted for the Opposition. BN narrowly obtained two-thirds majority.
In 2004, soon after Dr Mahathir handed the baton to Abdullah, the voters who previously voted for the Opposition gave Abdullah and the BN the biggest ever win in the country's history. These voters were angry, for a short while, with BN.
But shortly after Abdullah took over, his policies or the lack of them, disappointed the people. Abdullah's administration practised cronyism and nepotism of the highest degree. Children and in-laws were favoured over others. Close associates like Kalimullah Maseerul Hassan, Patrick (Badawi) Lim got everything they wanted. Abdullah was like a ginny in an Aladdin lamp. Each time, they rubbed him a little, their wishes will come true. It was that easy!
Kalimullah was obssessed with Abdullah. He behaved like a teenager in love. When he took over as Group Editor-in-Chief of NSTP, he wanted everyone to love Abdullah like he did. He had no qualms of sacking those who didn't. Many left before they were axed. He brought in people whom he knew would never say "NO" to him. One of them was Brenden Pereira.
Kalimullah ran the paper with an iron fist. His hatchet man Pereira will even tell off reporters who spoke loudly on the phone. The atmosphere of a newsroom which is supposed to be lively, soon became like a Government Department in Singapore. People began to whisper to one another. He created zombies. I remember how, when I was still at the NST, we used to crack jokes across the floor. Everyone used to laugh at those jokes, Yani and Rokk being the loudest.
During Kalimullah's era, all political articles must give credit to Abdullah. No mention of Tun Mahathir, no mention of Anwar Ibrahim. They should not even be mentioned in passing. He re-wrote commentaries and columns to give credit to Abdullah, although it was other people's efforts. The reputation of some writers were badly affected because of Kalimullah's doings. When BN won by-elections which were normally spearheaded by Najib, Kalimullah would never acknowledge that it was Najib's efforts. It was always Abdullah. But when BN lost, it would be Najib's fault. Kalimullah steered the NST into ruins.
Soon after Abdullah took over most people became convinced that Dr Mahathir was right about Anwar. Needless to say, Dr Mahathir was once again vindicated.
Abdullah paid a heavy price for his cronyism and nepotism as well as the flip-flop policies. As a result Barisan Nasional lost its two-third majority in the 2008 general election, the worst ever in the history of the coalition. Political pressure soon mounted and Abdullah was forced to call it quits. When Abdullah retires tomorrow, he would become the shortest serving Prime Minister in Malaysia's history.
My point is this. Most Malaysians still want BN to rule. Whenever they vote for the Opposition, they do so only to vent their anger at BN. They don't stay angry for long. Now that Abdullah has decided to retire, these voters will soon return to BN.
I am sure the people will give Najib overwhelming support just like they gave Abdullah in 2004. This is what Anwar fears most.
Hence, Anwar's letter today to DYMM Yang di-Pertuan Agong urging him to postpone the appointment of Najib until an Independent Commission clears Najib of involvement in the Altantuya murder.
Why is there a need for an Independent Commission when the police have repeatedly said there was nothing to link Najib to the case?
In fact, Najib had even sworn by the Quran, that he had never met Altantuya. As a Muslim, Anwar knows that no Muslim would lie on the Quran. For the record, Anwar had never sworn by the Quran to deny all those things that he has been accused of doing.
P.s. If you receive an sms saying that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has refused to appoint Najib as the Prime Minister, don't believe it as it is a maliscious lie.
This is by far the best local picture I have seen in years.
I am glad former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has decided to put aside his differences with Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and promised to return to Umno.
I don't think any Malaysian, irrespective of his or her political affiliation, will deny that Dr Mahathir is a great Statesman. His wisdom and advice is sought after not only by leaders of the developed world but also those of the developed world like former Prime Minister of Britain Margaret Thatcher (now Baronness).
Umno needs the experience of Dr Mahathir and Abdullah. Both have seen Umno at its best and its worst.
Umno has no time to waste. Past and present Umno leaders must put their shoulders to the wheel and ensure that Barisan Nasional will be given overwhelming support by the rakyat in the 13th General Election which has to be held by 2013. Differences must be thrashed out within closed doors.
Past leaders must remain in the background. They must not be seen to be interfering with the functions of the Government. They must give in-coming Prime Minister Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Razak a free hand to run the Government.
Now that Dr Mahathir and Abdullah have agreed to help Umno to return to its past glory, I am confident that Barisan Nasional will once again become a force to be reckoned with.
I am confident that the Brisan Nasional led by Najib will be given a landslide victory in the next general election, similar to the one in 2004, hardly a year after Abdullah took office.
To begin with, I hope both Dr Mahathir and Abdullah will help BN campaign in the Batang Ai, Selambau and Bukit Gantang by-election on April 7.
A win in all the three elections will send a strong signal to Pakatan Rakyat that Umno has been reborn, and is now stronger than ever before.
Nampaknya Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim semakin terdesak menjelang peralihan kuasa dari Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi kepada Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Razak hujung bulan ini.
Semakin dekat Perhimpunan Agung Umno, semakin banyak kempen untuk menjatuhkan Najib, semuanya berbau politik mainan Anwar. Parti Keadilan Rakyat yang dipimpin oleh Anwar turut menggunakan media asing dan blog-blog yang dikendalikan oleh ahli-ahlinya untuk membuat tuduhan-tuduhan yang tidak berasas terhadap Najib. Tujuan mereka hanya satu - supaya Najib tidak menjadi Perdana Menteri.
Tuduhan yang sama dan yang semakin basi, bahawa Najib dan isterinya terlibat dalam pembunuhan Altantuya Sharibuu, seorang rakyat Mongolia dibuat sewenang-wenangnya dalam media asing dan blog-blog pro-pembangkang. Ini masih berlaku walaupun pihak polis sudah menjelaskan bahawa Najib dan Rosmah tidak ada kena-mengena langsung dalam kes tersebut.
Dengan membut tuduhan yang sama terhadap Najib walaupun setelah ianya diperjelaskan oleh pihak polis, Anwar dan kuncu-kuncunya mempersoalkan kewibawaan polis dan sistem keadilan di Malaysia. Mustahil semua pegawai dan anggota polis boleh bersekongkol dalam isu sebesar ini.
Dalam komennya tentang pakej rangsangan bernilai RM60 billion yang dibentangkan oleh Najib pada 10 Mac lepas, naib presiden PKR Tian Chua berkata: "I have to stay out of the parliament chamber. I have no appetite to stomach craps from a murderer."
Seperti yang kita tahu Tian Chua tiada kredibiliti untuk berhujah tentang isu ini kerana beliau pernah cuba membohong dengan mengatakan bahawa Najib pernah makan malam bersama Altantuya dan Abdul Razak Baginda di Paris. Bersama artikelnya bertajuk "French dinner for 3", Tian Chua juga telah menyiarkan gambar palsu untuk menipu rakyat.
Anwar pula cuba untuk memberi maklumat-maklumat palsu kepada rakan-rakan media asingnya untuk mencemarkan nama baik Najib. Wartawan The Far Eastern Economic Review, Barry Wain, dalam artikelnya membuat berbagai tuduhan terhadap Najib semasa beliau menjawat jawatan Menteri Pelajaran lagi.
Walaupun Wain menetap di Hong Kong, beliau menulis seperti sudah berada di Kuala Lumpur bertahun lamanya. Hakikatnya ialah beliau hanya mengulangi pembohongan pembangkang selama ini. Jelas "sumber" beliau adalah semuanya dari parti pembangkang.
Seorang penulis yang beretika selalunya akan mendapatkan penjelasan daripada pihak yang menuduh dan pihak yang tertuduh. Saya diberitahu Wain tidak pernah cuba untuk mendapatkan penjelasan dari Najib sebelum menulis artikelnya.
Begitu juga dengan penulis akhbar Liberation Arnaud Dubus, seperti yang saya komen di sini. Beliau juga membuat tuduhan-tuduhan yang sama. Artikelnya juga berat sebelah.
Tuduhan-tuduhan yang dibuat oleh pembangkang tidak berasas sama sekali. Semasa mengumumkan Kabinet barunya selepas Pilihanraya Umum yang ke 12 tahun lalu, Abdullah telah menegaskan bahawa semua ahli Jemaah Menteri telah diskrin dan diluluskan oleh Biro Pencegah Rasuah dan polis. Jelas isu pembabitan dalam rasuah atau kegiatan tidak bermoral sebelum tahun 2008 tidak berbangkit.
Apa yang jelas ialah Anwar dalam ketakutan. Anwar tahu Najib bukan sebarang pemimpin. Najib boleh mengembalikan Barisan Nasional ke era kegemilangannya. Bila ianya berlaku, PKR dan Pakatan Rakyat akan terkubur. Cita-cita Anwar untuk menjadi Perdana Menteri akan turut terkubur. September 16 akan tinggal impian.
p.s. Betul ke Saiful sempat merakamkan video menerusi telefon bimbitnya?
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim must have met with the Liberation writer Arnaud Dubus when the latter came to Kuala Lumpur. Anwar must have developed a certain kind of fondness for the writer. Coincidentally, his name is Dubus. But what is not a coincident is that there is a link between the Liberation newspaper and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
The the Paris-based French Liberation newspaper recently alleged that Deputy Prime Minister Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Razak and Datin' Seri Rosmah Mansor are involved in the murder of Mongolian Altantuyaa Sharibuu.
Utter rubbish! But Dubus' article was lifted by Malaysiakini.
Apparently, one of the owners of the newpaper Edouard Rothschild who owns a majority 37 per cent of the newspaper through his investment of 20 million Euros in 2005, is a close ally of Anwar. The left-wing daily was founded by philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and Maoist militant Serge July in 1973 but in recent years has sustained substantial losses and struggling to increase its circulation.
The French multi-millionaire is the head of Rothschild & CIE bank which he founded in 1987.
Rothschild worked closely with Anwar through the World Bank and International Monetary Fund as well as the State Department-funded Foundation for the Future, of which Anwar was once Chairman.
In his article which is highly defamatory to Najib and Rosmah, Dubus claimed that in the course of writing his article, he had travelled to Kuala Lumpur and Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia.
I have many questions for Dubus? Who did he meet in KL and Bangkok? Who fed him with all the lies so convincingly that he so naively took them for Gospel truth? Must be someone for whom he holds high regard. Who looked after Dubus when he was in KL? Who facilitated his investigative reporting?
Najib is not as naive as his predecessor Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Anwar is afraid that under Najib's stewardship, Barisan Nasional will regain its strength. Anwar, his Part Keadilan Rakyat and the adhoc Pakatan Rakyat alliance will then slip into oblivion.
It has become quite obvious that as the date for Dato' Sri Najib Tun Razak to take over the nation's premiership draws close, the number of campaigns to smear his good name is increasing.
The latest of one of these campaigns is a purported article which appeared in the left-wing Liberation newspaper, written by journalist Arnaud Dubus. The article, which was lifted by news portal Malaysiakini, makes various allegations against Dato' Sri Najib, his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and Abdul Razak Baginda.
Abdul Razak was initially charged with the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Sharibuu, but was later acquitted without his defence being called.
Apparently, Dubus' entire article is based on a single document which was never produced in court. The fact that the document was never admitted in court, can only point to one thing - it is not credible.
The article also purportedly links Altantuya's murder and her acquiantance with Abdul Razak Baginda to Dato' Sri Najib and Datin Seri Rosmah and the purchase of submarines from France.
There are several issues here which need emphasis. Firstly, the Government has cleared Dato' Sri Najib from any wrongdoings in the submarine deal. The payment of Euro 115 million was not as commission but for services rendered to the French party. This has been answered in Parliment. Again, no issue. To those who are not happy, check the Parliament Hansard.
Secondly, Dato' Sri Najib has denied knowing Altantuya. In fact, as a Muslim he did what most other Muslims would fear to do, swear upon the Al-Quran. No guilty Muslim would do so. One example is Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Thirdly, everyone know that the alleged picture of Dato' Sri Najib with Abdul Razak and Altantuya, does not exist. Perhaps the journalist got hold of the one doctored by Tian Chua (who admitted to doctoring the picture by inserting a photo of Dato' Sri Najib). This is the same Tian Chua who talks about ethics, human rights, equal rights, etc. The picture which he doctored is now all over the internet. If seen by the ignorant, they may assume that it's authentic. Dubus is one of the many ignorant ones. This is the extent of the damage created by Tian Chua.
I can't for the life of me understand why those who are against Dato' Sri Najib continue to harp on the Altantuya issue. The police have repeated said that he was not involved in the murder of Sharibuu.
Perhaps these people have run out of issues. And perhaps these people are worried that Barisan Nasional will regain the strength it lost under Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and would once again become a force to be reckoned with.
Accusations such as the one made by Dubus and given credence by Malaysiakini is an outright criminal defamation. I think it is time for the police to take action against those who hurl baseless accusations against the Deputy Prime Minister.
The police have a duty to protect the leaders in this country, especially the person who will become the Prime Minister of Malaysia in less than a month.
There's no two-way about it. Elizabeth Wong, the Parti KeADILAN Rakyat State Assemblywoman for Bukit Lanjan must resign. She is a public figure. It may be legally right for her to be naked around her house, but it is definitely morally wrong.
Her pictures are now available for public viewing. It can be viewed by Malaysians of all ages, people of different cultural and religious backgrounds. It may be acceptable to some, but to most it is not.
Her boyfriend, purportedly a Muslim, took the pictures. This only goes to show that she had consciously, or unconsciously allowed him access to take pictures of her in the nude.
The fact that her boyfriend has been spending time with her alone in her home is an offence under the Syariah Law. Although being a non-Muslim, Wong cannot be charged under Syariah, I am sure she knows that her boyfriend was committing close proximity, a serious offence. However, she allowed it to happen.
She is an elected representative of all races. She has to respect the laws which governs the Muslims. By committing close proximity with her Muslim boyfriend, she had blatantly shown disrespect for Muslims and the Syariah law which they uphold.
How can an elected representative behave in such a manner? Can she be a role model to our young?
Imagine if the situation was reversed. If pictures of a Barisan Nasional Assemblyman or Assemblywoman in a compromising situation were made available to the public, I am sure Wong will be quick to join the chorus of Opposition asking him or her to resign.
PKR should not try and skirt the issue by saying that the entire episode is politically motivated. Such an argument is unacceptable. This is an all-in-the-family affair, almost incestuos, as it involved a PKR party member and PKR Assemblywoman.
PKR should accept the blame.
I call upon Wong to resign as both Exco member and State Assemblywoman of Bukit Lanjan with immediate effect.
Pakatan Rakyat nampak begitu goyah sekali selepas Barisan Nasional merampas kembali pentadbiran negeri Perak baru-baru ini. Banyak masalah dalam parti-parti yang menganggotai PR iaitu Pas, KeADILan dan DAP kini timbul. Jelas PR ialah hasil dari "marriage of convenience". Dalam ertikata lain bukan cinta dan kata sepakat untuk hidup-semati yang melahirkan PR. PR terhasil kerana nafsu serakah pemimpin-pemimpinnya yang gila jawatan. Ianya cuma untuk mengaburi mata rakyat bahawa parti-parti pembangkang pun boleh bekerjasama seperti BN. Tetapi hakikatnya tidak.
Pemimpin-pemimpin DAP sebagai contoh, sudah tidak sehaluan. Pengerusinya Karpal Singh, seorang ahli politik dan peguam veteran, telah mengkritik Lim Kit Siang dan anaknya, Lim Guan Eng secara terbuka. Karpal berkata Kit Siang dan Guan Eng langsung tidak menyokongnya apabila beliau mendesak Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim meletakkan jawatan sebagai Ketua PR, setelah Perak jatuh ke tangan BN. Sebaliknya, Kit Siang dan Guan Eng telah menyatakan pendirian mereka untuk terus menyokong Anwar. Masalah dalaman DAP kini jelas.
Begitu juga dengan PKR. Wakil rakyatnya sudah mula meninggalkan parti untuk menyokong BN, seperti dua ADUNnya di Perak baru-baru ini. Kini mereka sedar, PKR adalah Anwar dan Anwar adalah PKR. PKR tidak ada halatuju. Ianya ditubuhkan untuk satu tujuan saja - supaya Anwar dapat melempiaskan nafsunya untuk menjadi Perdana Menteri.
Masalah dalam Pas juga kini jelas kelihatan. Walaupun Murshidul Am Pas, Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat telah menasihatkan bekas Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin supaya tidak mencabar keputusan Sultan Perak DYMM Sultan Azlan Shah yang telah melantik Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir sebagai Menteri Besar yang baru, Nizar masih enggan meletakkan jawatan. Ini menunjukkan bawah Nizar langsung tidak menghormati Nik Aziz, seorang tokoh yang amat disegani bukan saja dikalangan ahli-ahli Pas tetapi juga oleh penyokong-penyokong BN.
Sekarang ini Nizar dan "Exco"nya menjadi bahan ketawa. Seperti gila talak. Ini mengingatkan saya tentang kisah Maharaja India dulu. Apabila India menjadi sebuah republik, Maharaja-Maharaja dan ahli-ahli keluarga mereka enggan keluar dari istana mereka. Saya diberitahu sehingga ke hari ini ada dikalangan mereka yang masih duduk distesyen-stesyen keretapi dengan berpakaian diRaja serba lengkap dan berlagak seperti masih mempunyai pengaruh.
Mungkinkah Nizar dan "Exco"nya akan berpindah ke stesyen keretapi Ipoh?
Dalam isu yang berkaitan, Guan Eng berkata mantan Perdana Menteri Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad patut dipersalahkan diatas kes saman Karpal Singh terhadap DYMM Sultan Azlan Shah. Tuduhan ini langsung tidak masuk akal. Ia hanya menunjukkan bahawa Guan Eng cuba lari dari isu sebenarnya iaitu perpecahan dalam parti DAP.
Memang benar Parlimen dan Dewan-dewan Undangan Negeri, semasa zaman Dr Mahathir sebagai Perdana Menteri, telah mengurangkan hak raja-raja dari segi tingkahlaku mereka sebagai individu diluar tugas rasmi. Tetapi dalam menjalankan tugas rasmi, mereka masih mempunyai immuniti. Dalam membuat keputusan bahawa BN kini berkuasa kembali di Perak, DYMM Sultan Azlan Shah sekadar menjalankan tugas rasmi mengikut Undang-Undang Tubuh Negeri Perak. DYMM Sultan Azlan masih dilindungi undang-undang.
Saya tidak syak lagi bahawa keputusan DYMM Sultan Azlan Shah adalah keputusan yang tepat dibawah-bawah undang-undang yang sedia-ada.
DYMM Sultan Azlan Shah ialah bekas Ketua Hakim Negara yang amat disegani. Sehingga hari ini, keputusan-keputusan yang dibuatnya semasa menjadi hakim dahulu digunapakai sebagai "authority" bukan saja dimahkamah-mahkamah di Malaysia, tetapi juga di negara-negara Komanwel yang lain, terutamanya Britain.
The Barisan Nasional now has majority seats in the Perak State Assembly after two Parti keADILan Rakyat Assemblymen Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (PKR-Behrang), Osman Jailu (PKR-Changkat Jering) and a Deputy Speaker of the State Assembly Hee Yit Foong (DAP-Jelapang)decided to leave their parties and be BN-friendly. The State Assmblyman for Bota Datuk Nasarudin Hashim is returning to BN.
It is only a matter of time that the DYMM Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah will announce his decision on whether he should take the advice of the Menteri Besar and dissolve the State Assembly or give his consent to the Barisan Nasional to form the Government.
If the DYMM Sultan decides that the BN should form the Government, which is highly likely by virtue of BN being the majority, it will be a big embarassment for Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Anwar had been telling the world that Pakatan Rakyat would form the Government on September 16 last year because by then he would get many BN parliamentarians to cross over to PR. September 16 happened only in Anwar's dreams.
While he is going around telling the world that BN MPs are going to cross over to his party, the Opposite is happening right under his nose. Anwar is now in no position to say that party-hopping is unethical.
What's real is that BN is about to wrest Perak and the people in Perak especially and in Malaysia generally are losing faith in PR. That will be the biggest slap in the face for Anwar.
I am shocked! I heard over the radio a few minutes ago that the Government has not given the approval for Sime Darby and Air Asia to proceed with the proposed new Low Cost Carrier Terminal to be built in Labu, Negeri Sembilan.
The statement was made by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
But early this month, Sime Darby, in an announcement to Bursa Malaysia said the Government has given its approval for the construction of the new LCCT.
So which is which? I am confused!
I am sure our Deputy Prime Minister wouldn't have got it wrong because he sits on the Cabinet. Decisions such as this are normally made after a lengthy deliberation in the Cabinet. Furthermore, as Finance Minister, he would have first hand information about this project.
Blogger Sime Darby Watch is asking whether Sime Darby lied to Bursa Malaysia, its shareholders, and the people of Malaysia. Read here.
My dear friend Rockybru is also puzzled. Read this.
YB Wee Choo Keong, the MP for Wangsa Maju has also joined the chorus. Read here.
If indeed Sime Darby had lied, then I agree with Sime Darby Watch that the entire Board of Directors should be given the sack. Is Sime Darby trying to show that it is more powerful than the Government?
Bursa Malaysia is duty-bound to look into this matter immediately.
I reproduce here the full Sime Darby statement to Bursa Malaysia dated 5 January 2009: Type : Announcement Subject : Sime Darby Berhad Proposal to develop a private low cost carrier terminal ("Proposed LCCT Project")
Contents : We refer to Sime Darby Berhad's ("Company") announcement on 23 December 2008 on the above matter.
The Company wishes to announce that it had, today, obtained approval from the Government of Malaysia to proceed with the Proposed LCCT Project.
The Proposed LCCT Project is an integral part of the Company's development plan for its Negeri Sembilan Vision City ("NSVC"). NSVC is part of the Company's Central Vision Valley ("CVV") property development project spanning Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.
Berapakah harga nyawa seorang wakil rakyat Barisan Nasional? Inilah persoalannya setelah kerusi Parlimen Barisan Nasional di Kuala Terengganu dirampas oleh PAS minggu lepas.
Pilihan raya kecil Kuala Terengganu diadakan berikutan kematian Ahli Parlimennya Datuk Razali Ismail semasa bermain badminton di Institut Aminuddin Baki, Genting Highlands November lepas.
Nyawa seorang Ahli Parlimen Barisan Nasional di Perak, Kedah, Selangor, Wilayah Persekutuan, Pulau Pinang, Kelantan dan di negeri-negeri di mana pembangkang mempunyai pengaruh yang kuat seperti Terengganu dan Perlis secara tiba-tiba menjadi lebih berharga berbanding negeri-negeri lain di mana BN mempunyai kuasa penuh.
Hidup dan mati di tangan Allah SWT. Allah memberi, dan Allah mengambilnya semula. Inilah hakikatnya.
Walaupun kekalahan BN di Kuala Terengganu tidak boleh dijadikan ukuran samada populariti BN semakin menurun, tetapi nampaknya Umno dan Barisan Nasional menghadapi risiko yang amat besar kalau ada pilihanraya kecil yang lain. Dulu lain, sekarang lain.
Oleh itu, nasihat saya pada Ahli-ahli Parlimen BN ialah: Sayangilah nyawa. Jangan mengundang pilihanraya kecil di mana pun anda berada. Janganlah bermain badminton dan sebagainya kalau keadaan fizikal tidak mengizinkan. Pandulah kereta mengikut had laju, dan pakailah talipinggang keledar di depan dan di belakang (kalau kereta dipandu oleh drebar).
Kalau berpenyakit, ikutlah nasihat doktor. Nyawa anda begitu berharga.
Pada hujung minggu lepas saya telah mengikuti kempen Barisan Nasional di Kuala Terengganu. Kebetulan pula, apabila saya tiba di Kuala Terengganu pada pagi Sabtu, YB Dato' Shaziman Abu Mansor, Menteri Tenaga, Air dan Komunikasi sedang berkempen disana.
Saya telah berpeluang untuk mengikuti rombongan beliau dari rumah ke rumah untuk menemui para pengundi. Saya kagum dengan semangat Dato' Shaziman yang berkempen dari pagi sampai ke pagi tanpa henti selama beberapa hari berada di Kuala Terengganu.
Kalau semua pemimpin BN bersemangat seperti Dato' Shaziman, saya rasa Senator Datuk Wan Farid Wan Salleh akan memperolehi kemenangan mudah pada pilihanraya kecil Kuala Terengganu pada Januari 17 ini.
Tapi seadanya peluang BN untuk memenangi kerusi parlimen itu ialah 60-40. Saya rasa mesej yang dibawa pada hari-hari terakhir kempen akan menjadi penentu siapa akan menyandang kerusi Parlimen tersebut.
Nampaknya ramai pemimpin lama BN saja yang berada di sana. Anak-anak muda seperti tidak bersemangat. Di mana pemuda, di mana putera dan puteri?
Sime Darby has decided to drop its bid to purchase 51% of Institut Jantung Negara, a decision welcomed by every Malaysian I know.
It was a non-starter, a no-brainer. Like I said in my earlier posting, IJN is literally close to the hearts of every Malaysian who lived through the days of its inception in 1992. It saved the lives of millions of Malaysians including former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the Malay Rulers, community leaders, the civil servants and the poor.
The proposal to takeover IJN was a fatal miscalculation on the part of Sime Darby. Why IJN? It is doing well on its own. If Sime Darby's intention is noble and if it "can provide affordable healthcare to the poor", then it should take over every district hospital in the country.
Perhaps, given Sime Darby's sheer size, deep pocket and influence in the Government, it thought it could move mountains. But how wrong it was.
Now, Sime Darby is left with a deep visible scar, an irreversible damage to its reputation. It is now known all over the world as a parasite organisation the bloggers dislike. I know that some bloggers and writers wanted to go to the extent of calling for a boycott of Sime Darby products, a move I didn't agree with simply because Sime Darby is a Malaysian company, a GLC at that.
The damage control is going to be tough. It is going to take many years for Sime Darby and its leaders, especially Chairman Tun Musa Hitam and President Dato' Seri Ahmad Zubir Murshid to regain their reputation and the people's respect.
The people lost their respect for Sime Darby simply because it insulted their intelligence by saying that the privatised IJN will continue to provide affordable service for the poor. Service, perhaps, but affordable?
It simply doesn't make sense. A vast majority of IJN patients are poor, tens of thousands of them, and civil servants who are entitled for free treatment. It doesn't fit the equation.
If the 24-year-old Sime Darby-owned Subang Jaya Medical Centre had a good record for helping the poor, then Sime Darby would have had something to show. Unfortunately, it doesn't.
Ampun Tuanku, Sebagai anak watan Negeri Sembilan, patik menjunjung kasih dan mengucapkan setinggi-tinggi tahniah kepada KDYMM Tuanku Muhriz Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Munawir sempena pemasyuran Tuanku sebagai Yang di Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan ke 11 pada hari Isnin lepas.
Patik percaya dengan pemasyuran dan seterusnya pertabalan KDYMM Tuanku sebagai Yam Tuan Besar dan dengan pemerintahan Tuanku yang adil dan saksama, Negeri Sembilan akan mencapai kemajuan demi kemajuan.
Patik melajazkan ikrar taat setia kepada KDYMM Tuanku.
My name is Mohd Ashraf Abdullah. I was born and raised in Tampin, Negeri Sembilan. I am a journalist at heart. I served the New Straits Times as a journalist for 17 years, beginning as a cadet reporter in 1988. I was trained to be a political writer. I served the NST in various capacities including as Staff Correspondent of the Kuantan Bureau and London Correspondent. I resigned as News Editor in 2004 to join Golden Hope Plantations Berhad as Deputy General Manager, Group Corporate Affairs. Two years later I was made General Manager, Group Corporate Affairs. When Golden Hope and Kumpulan Guthrie Berhad were merged with Sime Darby Berhad in November 2007, I chose not to accept the offer of employment by the merged entity. I was a scholar of the British Government and possess a Masters Degree in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. I am also a Jefferson's Fellow of the East West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.