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.
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.