Reformasi Untuk Mahathir

Mahathir’s return to politics in 1973 was watched closely by other races, in particular the Chinese and Indians.  His meteoric rise to the Deputy Prime Minister’s post in 1976 was of grave concern by many.  His imminent Premiership caused a large number of migration by Malaysian Chinese.  Despite the economic growth in the late 1980s through 1997, some 42,000 Malaysian Chinese opted to work elsewhere.  This number includes some 14,000 Malaysian Chinese who were working illegally in Japan in 1993 (Shimada, 1994).

If citizenship is conferred on races other than the Malays, it is because the Malays consent to this,” wrote Mahathir in his book ‘The Malay Dilemma‘.

“The Chinese and Indians coming from countries with vast populations are less concerned about good behavior and manners. In their lives, nobility, which is always associated with breeding, was totally absent. Age and riches are the only things they defer to,” he added.

Calling for reforms such as the mandatory use of tamper-proof scales, Mahathir wrote of scales that can be used to shortchange customers and said, ”The small-time Chinese retailer is adept at this practice and unscrupulous enough to use it as a weapon in competition.”

Mahathir was the ultra-Malay to many including the Malays themselves.  Fears of race clashes haunted the voters during the run-up to the 1982 General Elections.  I remember being sent to Mimaland in Gombak with Datuk Latt Shariman (President, E-Sports Malaysia) on polling day in case something bad happens.  It was the first General Elections under Mahathir and it was called more than a year before the then-mandate ended.  Public rallies were banned citing ‘security’ reasons and only indoor gatherings and house-to-house canvassing were allowed (Lim Kit Siang, 22 March 1982).

Even though Malaysia’s economic growth peaked at 8 percent in the mid 1990s, it was mired in scandals involving the practice of cronyism and nepotism.  Lim Kit Siang wrote that Mirzan, Mokhzani and Mukhriz Mahathir – acted as companies’ directors, and that according to searches the DAP had made at the Registry of Companies at the end of 1994, Mirzan had interests in 98 companies, Mokhzani in 48 companies and Mukhriz in 67 companies (Lim Kit Siang, 16 June 1998).  Compared to the 213 companies his sons were directors in back in 1994, 488 is the number of companies Mahathir, daughter and sons are directors in as at end of 2016 (Wakeup Malaya, 6 January 2017).

The calls for Mahathir to resign in 1998 for practising nepotism and cronyism culminated in the sacking of Anwar Ibrahim as his deputy in September of the same year, accusing the latter not only of being a tool for George Soros’s attacks on the country’s financial system but also for leading a morally-corrupted life.  Lim Kit Siang and other Opposition leaders were quick to embrace Anwar, acccepting him into their fold when it was just a year earlier that the late Karpal Singh had made mention of allegations of sexual misconducts against Anwar in a Parliamentary sitting – a scene not much different to Lim Kit Siang’s immediate acceptance of Mahathir after decades of mudslinging the latter.

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Anti-Mahathir demonstrations were held almost daily and then held every Friday afternoon at the National Mosque.  These demonstrations were quelled using brute force.  The ‘Reformasi’ movement was born, and the likes of theatre-practitioners such as Jo Kukathas were seen on the streets and interviewed by Maria Ressa saying “Enough is Enough” to Mahathir.  Anwar and several other pro-Reformasi and UMNO leaders critical of Mahathir were arrested without trial under the ISA including current DPM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat, then known by its acronym ADIL, was born out of hatred towards Mahathir, with the aim of toppling him and installing Anwar Ibrahim.  The 1999 General Elections saw how Mahathir suffered a pyrrhic victory, losing grounds in Kelantan and his homestate of Kedah, while losing Terengganu to PAS.  Mahathir-loyalists such as Ramli Ngah Talib, Megat Junid Megat Ayub and Sanusi Junid lost their seats.  That was the beginning of the sounding of the death knell for Mahathir’s virtually unchallenged reign.  During the UMNO General Assembly of 2002, he announced his resignation from party posts as well as Malaysia’s Prime Minister.

Ever since then, with the more open administrations of Pak Lah and Najib Razak, Mahathir became one of the targets of the Opposition in their blog posts, press statements as well as ceramahs.

In June 2012, Mahathir’s newly-made best friend even suggested that Mahathir is tried for his part in the BNM Forex scandal, hinting Egyptian Hosni Mubarak’s imprisonment as a comparison (Lim Kit Siang, 3 June 2012).

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But all is forgotten and forgiven now, even when Mahathir admitted that his apology was only customary and not sincere.  Despite veiled objections from Anwar and Azmin Ali’s camp, Mahathir was named at a Pakatan convention as their Prime Minister of choice albeit interim.   This underscores the fact that the leadership of Pakatans parties do not trust the younger generation to lead the coalition as the position of the elders and powers that come with the position, may be undermined by the younger ones.

The signal of dissent is clear.  Azmin only attended the convention for a while, not waiting for the announcement to be made while Karpal Singh’s daughter, Sangeet Kaur Deo,  has hit out at Pakatan which probably is suffering from a dearth of capable young leaders.  Even Mahathir once quipped that Anwar, who is 22 years his junior, may be too old to become a Prime Minister.

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On Facebook, we are seeing people in their 40s and 50s voicing out their concern over Pakatan’s choice of Prime Minister, alarmed that the monster they have put behind them, could very well jump out from underneath the bed and into their lives again.

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But it does not stop Mahathir from wanting to become the Prime Minister.  He once hinted that he may have to consider becoming the PM again, underscoring the fact that he does not trust anyone else.

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“I may be 93 but at 71 Anwar is much older!”

Wan Azizah may be blind to the fact that Mahathir had once denied the Premiership to her husband and went as far as making sure Anwar went to jail to keep him out of the way, while Lim Kit Siang is only friends with Mahathir because he needs the Malay votes to ensure Pakatan’s seats are sustained after the departure of PAS from the now-defunct Pakatan Rakyat.

Will Mahathir be willing to step aside for Anwar Ibrahim or whoever else younger who would be more acceptable to the younger and middle-aged generation aware of his antics?  I doubt.  But as Sangeet mentioned above, it will be a return to Mahathirism, an era of abuse of power, cronyism and nepotism that the Reformasi movement was totally against.

Somehow, it seems that the Reformasi movement has become a tool for what it was totally against – ushering Mahathir into the premiership and welcoming again abuse of pwer, nepotism and cronyism.

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Anwar is NOT going to be MY PM

 

A Lesson On Fake News In Malaysia

STUDENT activism in Malaysia peaked in December 1974, having started in September of the same year in Tasek Utara, Johor Bahru, when some 5,000 students demonstrated at the Selangor Club Padang (now Dataran Merdeka) and as expected, clashed with the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU).

As a result, the students retreated to Masjid Negara with the FRU hot on their heels.  The demonstration was culled and 1,128 students arrested. The student leaders who were holed up on the University of Malaya campus were soon arrested and so were those who hid inside their rented rooms in nearby Kampung Kerinchi.

Three representatives of Kampung Kerinchi complained that the FRU had taken harsh measures to apprehend the students by firing tear gas and that had resulted in the death of a baby.

My father immediately summoned his then deputy, the late Tan Sri Mahmood Yunus, and then Director of Special Branch, the late (Tan Sri) Mohamed Amin Osman, and asked them if the FRU had indeed fired tear gas into Kampung Kerinchi. Amin was adamant the FRU did nothing as such.

When asked if he (Amin) had checked the allegations himself and also the report received from the FRU troop leader, Amin said no.  So my father instructed Amin to go to Kampung Kerinchi to check himself.

Celaka! Depa tipu saya!” (“Hell! They lied to me!”) exclaimed Amin when he saw the empty tear gas canisters that littered the lanes of Kampung Kerinchi, to which my father replied, “You fell for it because you did not check the information yourself!

Fake news is a neologism that has entered the lexicon, used to collectively describe rumours, hoaxes, misinformation, propaganda and recycling of old rumours that had been debunked, that mislead people into believing that they are current and true.

Fake news caused the Barisan Nasional to lose its long-held two-thirds majority in 2008 because it was complacent and not quick enough to react and dispel these rumours.  Back then, political discussions and dissemination of fake news or propaganda occurred in chat rooms, in SMS, and blogs which were only a handful then.  Now there is Facebook, Twitter, Line, Telegram, WhatsApp, YouTube over and above the media available almost ten years ago.

Claire Wardle, Executive Director of First Draft a non-profit organisation dedicated to finding solutions to the challenges associated with trust and truth in the digital age housed at the Shorenstein Centre on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, categorised mis and disinformation into seven types:

Satire or parody – this type of misinformation has no intention to cause harm but has potential to fool. A good example of this is of a message purportedly sent by a passenger of the MH370 who said he managed to hide his iPhone5 up his anus!  This had been debunked as a prank, but there are those who still believe that the person did manage to shove a five-inch by two-inch phone up his anus without any problem on the island of Diego Garcia.

Misleading content – most recent would be issues tweeted by two artistes that evolve around the rising cost of living, the weakening ringgit, a shambolic economy, designed to rile up anger in their followers. The tweets, not backed by published facts and figures, would do damage to those who have no inclination to check for the truth and to retweet or forward to others.

Imposter content – these are usually propaganda designed to use genuine sources but impersonated as theirs. A simple example would be of Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali’s recent event officiating the opening of the Rawang-Serendah Bypass, eight days after the bypass was opened by a minister.

Fabricated content – this type of content is 100 per cent false and is designed to deceive and cause harm. If you remember in July 2007, PKR’s Tian Chua admitted that he had fabricated a photo to show that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was together with Abdul Razak Baginda and now dead Mongolian-model Altantuya Shaaribu in Paris.

False connection – this is when headlines, visuals and captions do not support the content. The most famous example from recent times was of The Star’s headline that said “Malaysian Terrorist Leader” while having a huge photo of Muslims praying during the first night of Ramadan. Although The Star apologised for the error, it was not the first time it had made a similar mistake.

False context – this is when genuine content is shared with false contextual information. Artiste Fathia Latiff put up a screen capture of the price of fuel in various OPEC countries on Twitter, asking why Malaysia, as an oil producing country, charges very high for petrol?  The screen capture is of oil prices back in 2014. The average value of fuel prices for Malaysia between September 4, 2017 and December 11, 2017, was RM2.23. For comparison, the average price of petrol in the world for this period was RM5.82!

Manipulated content – this is when genuine information or image is manipulated to deceive. Recently, there was a video of a skinny polar bear with muscle atrophy struggling to find food in a snowless land that was made viral. This was attributed to global warming. However, the video was filmed in August when the tundra was snowless. It was only published in December.  Even the indigenous community living in the area thought it was a stunt to raise more funds and was doing a disservice to the war against climate change.

I don’t know why Malaysians are so gullible and eager to share fake news.

In WhatsApp groups, you can see how some people could post about something religious and then help spread fake news – something totally against religions. Nowadays, this fake news comes with a disclaimer – “Dari group sebelah”.

Every time we forward or share a post without double-checking or verifying, we add to the noise and confusion.  We never consider the source, we never consider the supporting sources and worst of all, we never check our biases.

The late Tan Sri Amin learnt this the hard way.

Having seen that he was misled about the FRU not firing tear gas into Kampung Kerinchi, he went on to check about the claims of a baby that had died as a result of the tear gas.  None of the three village representatives had themselves seen the dead baby and no one had actually reported to them of the death.

When asked where the information had come from, they replied, “From Anwar Ibrahim and the other student leaders!”

It seems that nothing has changed since 1974.

(This article was first published on The Mole)

Non Compos Mentis

Zaid Ibrahim on a campaign trail (courtesy of parpukari.blogspot.my)

His Royal Highness Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Alhaj, the Sultan of Selangor from my observation is a calm and very private person. He rarely makes any statement or gives interviews to the media except during his birthday celebration.  Only once in a blue moon would Sultan Sharafuddin voice out his concern, especially during the Kajang Move, because it was affecting the efficiency of His Royal Highness’s state government.  The Sultan had also expressed his concern over the rudeness of the Opposition and its supporters towards the late Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak during the Perak constitutional crisis of 2009.

 

The latest episode involves the adverse reaction by DAP’s Zaid Ibrahim to the Sultan’s statement on Mahathir’s remark on the Bugis people.  The statement was made as part of an interview with The Star for this year’s celebration of the Sultan’s birthday.  In his Twitter postings, Zaid said that when some Rulers play politics, they must know the consequences. Do not think there is no price for partisanship.

 

What earned Zaid the wrath of many was when he also Tweeted a warning to Sultan Sharafuddin saying the Sultan should be careful with his words (as) no one is immune when (the) country burns.

 

That is typical of Zaid, when he displays the usual non compos mentis character.  Often displaying his republican attitude, Zaid suits well in the DAP – a party known historically for its rash behaviour when it comes to respecting the Rulers Institution.  It is also well that he is a Malay, from Kelantan, as it would appeal to the fence-sitting Malays in Kelantan who are politically torn after the departure of PAS from Pakatan Rakyat effectively ending the coalition.

 

The late Karpal Singh once petitioned to sue Sultan Sharafuddin’s late father, Almarhum Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Alhaj, in 1987 over a speech by Sultan Salahuddin to the Selangor branch of the Ex-Servicemen’s Association saying that he would not pardon drug traffickers in Selangor. The petition was rejected on the grounds that there was no lis.  In 2009, Karpal Singh had intended to sue Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak for appointing Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir as the new Menteri Besar, replacing DAP’s choice Nizar Jamaluddin.  Karpal was found guilty of sedition in 2014.

 

Since gaining some grounds after the 2008 general elections, the DAP has time and again displayed its disrespect to the Rulers Institution by not abiding by the dress code at state assembly openings.  One good example is of DAP’s Gwee Tong Hiang who was the Johor state assemblyman for Bentayan who did not wear a songkok at the state assembly opening.  The late Sultan of Johor, Almarhum Sultan Iskandar Ismail was not amused.

 

Two days ago someone here tried to be a hero by refusing to dress accordingly. If he wants (to differ), then get out of here now!” the late Sultan chastised.  Tong Hiang, unfortunately, was not present then.

 

The DAP had wised up since then.  Seen as a Chinese chauvinist party, such rude behaviour turned them into punching bags of the Malays, especially those from UMNO who had a feast turning the DAP into cheap meals.  The DAP quickly recruited liberal Malays into its fold, including Zaid, to do their dirty jobs for them.  This keeps the heat off the Chinese in DAP, but pit Malays against Malays.

 

What the authorities should realise is that such behaviour displayed most recently by Zaid Ibrahim sends the wrong signal that it is alright to reject Malay traditions including respect for the elders and the Rulers to the younger Malaysian who, at their age, would be mostly anti-establishment by nature.  If this goes unchecked, it would certainly give birth to more Zaid Ibrahims.

 

The authorities should take cue from Sultan Sharafuddin.

 

I am aware that Zaid had long been making false and incorrect accusations against me. He is a politician and a former minister whom I understand is against the royal institution. My advice to Zaid is simple, do not forget where you come from,” the Sultan said.

 

What 1MDB Suit?

There is currently no action against 1MDB. Only against properties thought to have been procured using money belonging to 1MDB,” said Thomas C Goldstein, Advocate Appellate, US Supreme Court said when asked about the civil forfeiture action against 1MDB.

Tom Goldstein was answering question raised during his talk on “Criminal Litigation in the United States of America” at the UiTM Faculty of Law today.

He said that based on the US Constitution, no one should be deprived of their assets without due process of the law, and all due processes of the law must have a hearing concluded before assets can be forfeited.

The DoJ, based on the complaint, is just tracing the money and think it may be linked to 1MDB. Right now, there is no suggestion of any criminal target,” he added.

Tom Goldstein is one of the US’s most experienced Supreme Court practitioners and his representations span virtually all of the US Federal Law.

As arguing counsel in the Court, Tom has prevailed in cases involving arbitration, bankruptcy, civil procedure, disability law, employment discrimination, the Fourth Amendment, free speech, habeas corpus, immigration, labour, securities, and trademarks.

When asked to whom would the DoJ return the seized money to, Tom explained that the issue has put the DoJ in limbo as the 1MDB has said that the money is not theirs, whereas the case is based on money taken from 1MDB, made by complainants that do not represent 1MDB.

The DoJ has recently to put on hold civil forfeiture lawsuits against assets acquired (by Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low), because pursuing these may have “an adverse effect” on its ability to conduct the criminal investigation. What the DoJ is doing is it is trying to prevent the money from dissipating by starting a criminal action,” Tom explained. “But right now there is very little activity pertaining to the case and no one has been named as criminal targets.”

Asked if this (that 1MDB says the money is not theirs) is the reason it has taken the DoJ so long to actually initiate something, he answered with a simple, “Yes.”

A huge amount of money made its way into the US, and the DoJ is interested to know where is the source of this money. It is not a criminal case and an escalation into one will only make life more difficult for them as there has been no precedent. No one has been named in the civil forfeiture suit. If a criminal case were to be developed then it would be a classical criminal case and the burden of proof falls on the DoJ that it has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that crime has been committed,” Tom added.

In addition to practicing law, Tom has taught Supreme Court Litigation at Harvard Law School since 2004, and previously taught the same subject at Stanford Law School for nearly a decade.

Tom is also the co-founder of SCOTUSblog – a website devoted to comprehensive coverage of the Court – which is the only weblog ever to receive the Peabody Award.

BNM Forex Scandal: A Crime Against Malaysians Exposed By Lim Kit Siang

I simply do not comprehend the fuss that is being kicked up by Mahathir’s fanatics.  On one hand they want the transparency that none of us got when Mahathir was the Prime Minister; on the other they are fuming because Mahathir, Nor Mohamed Yackop and Anwar have been implicated in the findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) for the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) foreign exchange scandal of the 1990s.

Mahathir’s long-time crony Daim Zainuddin, who served as finance minister from 14 July 1984 to 15 March 1991, for having aided and abetted Nor Mohamed by leaving BNM “to its own devices”.

Let us ask the very man whose perseverance has finally paid off:

This ought to be the reaction to the RCI findings if we are to ask Lim Kit Siang

Yes. The loss of RM31.5 billion through forex gambling was and still is a crime against the Malaysian people.  And if it weren’t for Lim Kit Siang’s persistence and perseverance, we would not have gotten where we are now.

Three people have been found principally liable for the criminal breach of trust and should be probed further over their involvement and liability.  They are the former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, his then-Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim, and ex-BNM advisor Nor Mohamed Yackop.

The commission found in its 524-paged report that the Cabinet in the 1990s was not given the full picture by Anwar on the forex losses, adding that he had “deliberately concealed facts and information and made misleading statements“. It is also of the opinion that the then Prime Minister (Mahathir) had condoned the actions of the Finance Minister.

The RM31.5 billion losses, the report said, were hidden using “unconventional accounting treatments”, such as booking losses to reserves in the balance sheet and the absorption of the remaining losses by the transfer of shares from the Government to BNM as well as the creation of a “Deferred Expenditure” to be repaid in instalments over a decade.

The RCI noted that Anwar Ibrahim, the then Finance Minister, had been informed about the actual forex losses suffered by BNM. It also said that Mahathir was informed by Anwar together with then Treasury deputy secretary-general Tan Sri Clifford Francis Herbert in late 1993 that BNM had suffered estimated losses of RM30 billion on the forex dealings for 1992 and 1993.

However, in the extract of minutes from three Cabinet meetings on March 30, April 6 and 13 in 1994, Anwar had made “no mention of the actual losses of RM12.3 billion for 1992 and RM15.3 billion for 1993.”

Anwar had chaired the March 30 meeting as the deputy prime minister. The losses for 1993 were reported as RM 5.7 billion.

The RCI also noted that the prime minister, who chaired the meeting on April 6, did not correct or offer more information when the forex losses for 1993 were recorded as only RM5.7 billion.

The RCI report said as pointed out by Herbert, he had expected Mahathir to be outraged but his reaction was quite normal with him uttering “sometimes we make profit, sometimes we make losses”.

His reaction to and acceptance of the huge forex losses suggest that he could have been aware of the forex dealings and its magnitude,” said the report.

Why Did It Take So Long?

Of course supporters of Mahathir got their knickers in a knot over the RCI findings, mostly harp on the duration it took to have a RCI formed, whether it was formed to time itself with the looming general elections so that the Pakatan Harapan would be epitome of broken hopes?

Lim Kit Siang may have harped on the matter, trying to get an RCI formed since 1994, if not earlier.  Mahathir was the Prime Minister then until the end of 2003.  No one during Pak Lah’s time took up the issue as Mahathir was then breathing down Pak Lah’s neck watching the latter’s every move.  In the end, Mahathir got Pak Lah ousted for not playing his game his way.

When Najib Razak took over at the beginning of the second quarter of 2009, Malaysia’s economy had shrunk even though oil price was high.  The GDP growth rate for Malaysia in 2009 was -2.5 percent because of the global financial crisis then, hence Najib Razak’s priority then was to safeguard the economy and take measures to improve on the GDP growth.

Malaysia’s GDP growth rate for 2009 was -2.5%

And ever since then Najib had been fighting on all fronts to make sure that Malaysia goes through a sustainable growth, and that there would be enough government money to still help the people, especially those from the B40 income group.  Hence, we see various initiatives like the 1Malaysia Clinic, Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (which is now being revamped), BR1M, PR1MA and various other 1Malaysia initiatives.

And while all that was happening, Lim Kit Siang was still going around asking for an RCI to be formed for the BNM forex scandal.  In the run up to the 13th General Elections, Lim Kit Siang wrote this on the BNM forex scandal:

“I had estimated in Parliament two decades ago that Bank Negara lost a colossal RM30 billion from the Bank Negara foreign exchange scandal under Mahathir’s premiership. But Bank Negara claimed RM10.1 billion loss in 1992 and RM5.7 billion in 1993 while former Bank Negara Deputy Governor Dr. Rosli Yaakop estimated last year at a public forum that Bank Negara lost between USD27 to USD33 billion, which was five times more than its foreign reserves and its entire assets of USD20.7 billion in 1992.”

You can read more on what Dr Rosli Yaakop had said on the BNM forex scandal  HERE.

Lim Kit Siang also said that Malaysian voters should not only pass a verdict on Najib’s non-transformation in the past four years, but also pass judgment on Mahathir’s 22 years of authoritarian and corrupt policies when he was Prime Minister from 1981 – 2003.  He said:

“I am on public record as saying that if Pakatan Rakyat is to capture Putrajaya in the 13GE, we should re-open investigation not only on the RM30 billion Bank Negara forex scandal of 1992, there should be a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the RM100 billion losses suffered by the country in the financial scandals of the 22-year Mahathir era.”

Kit Siang added that the voters should decide whether they endorse the proposal to have a wide-ranging public inquiry into Mahathir’s financial scandals in 22 years which have cost the country RM100 billion of losses and for which the present generation of Malaysians are still paying the price – although there is totally no accountability and transparency about these glaring instances of corruption, cronyism and abuses of power for more than three decades.

He said all that HERE.  And we should not forget that Lim Kit Siang also wrote a book on the BNM forex scandal.

And finally, and only when the economic outlook had improved, did Najib Razak announced that an RCI would be formed to investigate the BNM forex scandal.

In June 2017, Lim Kit Siang even wanted the report recommending the RCI to be made public.  Finally, on 8 August 2017, the RCI commenced, and Kit Siang’s 25 years of wait ended.

Kit Siang’s hard work finally paid off

And one other Pakatan leader who had been lying very low beneath the BNM forex scandal radar is Anwar Ibrahim.  If anyone was to ask why did the government not do anything between 2004 and 2017, the answer would be why hadn’t Anwar, since 2 September 1998, asked for an RCI on the matter? Was he afraid that he might get implicated?

You and I know the answer to that now.

And what about the 1MDB scandal? Well, unlike the BNM forex scandal, the 1MDB case was investigated by the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, the Royal Malaysian Police, Bank Negara Malaysia and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.  Police reports were also made against 1MDB. But not a single sen had gone missing!

For the BNM forex scandal, this is the first time that it has been investigated – by the RCI, and soon by the Royal Malaysian Police.  And the first police report was made by a member of the RCI itself after the RCI findings report was published – 25 years after the whole thing happened.

So, we should all say our thank you to Lim Kit Siang for exposing this crime against ALL Malaysians. Thank you, Lim Kit Siang – for persistently asking for your good friends to be investigated.

Pantywaist

Pakatan Cry Babies
Barely a few hours after Najib Razak’s announcing of the budget for 2018, the DAP came up with the above graphic to inform the people that (as usual) Najib Razak’s budget is a copycat budget.

But is it?

It must be remembered that the budget announced by Najib Razak will be implemented nationwide whereas the “Pakatan budget” mentioned in the graphic above is a pick-and-choose budget that only one has been implemented in just one state administered by Pakatan, and not a nationwide solution.

Abolish All Tolls

The Barisan Nasional (BN) -led government announced that from 1 January 2018, tolls at four locations, actually, will be abolished.  They are the Batu Tiga toll on the Federal Highway, the Sungai Rasau toll near Klang that is also on the Federal Highway, the EDL highway toll in Johor Bahru as well as the Bukit Kayu Hitam toll in Kedah.

Pakatan Harapan proposed to abolish all toll collections.  But it has not explained how they plan to compensate in the region of billions to the toll concessionaires for all the money that they have put into the highways they operate and loss of future earnings.

Furthermore, Pakatan promised since before GE12 to abolish toll collection at the Sungai Nyior toll plaza in Pulau Pinang but has not done so to-date.

Pakatan’s de facto a third of a leader, Anwar Ibrahim, had in fact made a promise not too long ago to not allow toll charges to be increased on highways they have shares in, namely, the LDP, KESAS and SPRINT.  So far they have done nothing. If they cannot even control the highways that they have substantial shares in how can we hope for them to abolish all tolls?

Anwar’s broken promise
Pakatan’s alternative budget is also unreliable when it comes to the abolishment of toll on highways.  Azmin Ali as the Menteri Besar of Selangor admitted that it was not going to be easy for them to reduce tolls let alone abolish them on highways where the state government has shares in.

Azmin Ali’s admission that it is difficult to reduce toll rates on highways Selangor has shares in
But instead of reducing or abolishing tolls, Azmin Ali introduced three new tolled highways namely the Sungai Besi-Ulu Klang Elevated Expressway (SUKE), the East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE), and the Damansara-Shah Alam Elevated Expressway (DASH).  This is a total of 89 kilometres of new tolled highways offered by the Pakatan government versus the 2,083 kilometres  toll-free Pan Borneo Highway offered by the Barisan Nasional government.

Instead of reducing or scrapping tolls, Azmin introduced three more tolled highways in Selangor
So, who is Pakatan trying to kid when it says it wants to abolish tolls on highways?  What funds do they plan to use to acquire the concessions from concessionaires?  The government is able to abolish tolls at four locations because three of them are under PLUS which is 100 percent government-owned through UEM and EPF, and one under MRCB which has Bank Rakyat and Tabung Haji, both are government entities, as shareholders.

Another puzzling behaviour of the Pakatan is that while it claims that it will abolish tolls in total, or in Selangor or Sungai Nyior only, or just reduce the rates, it has been proven that they are just a bag filled with hot air. It has been almost a decade since their coming into power in Pulau Pinang and Selangor yet they have nothing to show. So when the BN government abolishes tolls at four locations, the reaction from them should be one of sheer happiness. Yet they seem to be otherwise. Why?

One example is Azmin’s communications director Yin Shao Loong who is unaware that the concession period for the Batu Tiga toll was extended to 2038 and not 2018.

Had the Batu Tiga toll concession period been extended, the rate users would be paying according to the original agreement signed during Mahathir’s period is RM2.40 instead of the RM1.10 users are enjoying now.

In a way, the recent offer by Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd to buy the PLUS Expressway from UEM and EPF and not increase toll rates on the highway for 20 years may have triggered the government’s decision to abolish toll collection at those four highways.  I still hope that the PM could bring all the relevant parties together to discuss the proposal as it surely benefits the rakyat if feasible.

Abolishing the GST

Prior to the introduction of the 6-percent Goods & Services Tax (GST), business owners were charged the 16-percent Sales & Services Tax (SST).  The Sales Tax was a federal consumption tax imposed on a wide variety of goods, and governed by the Sales Tax Act 1972. The Service Tax, also a federal consumption tax, was levied on customers who consumed certain taxable services, and was governed by the Service Tax Act 1975.

GST versus SST (courtesy of Bloomberg BNA)
The SST was a single stage of consumption tax where businesses cannot recover the tax paid on their purchases. This tax will be treated as a cost to business.  However, it was not a transparent form of taxation as many business owners fail to declare their taxes through transfer pricing.  The GST introduces transparency, curbs the inefficiencies, tax-payment and misappropriation issues  of the SST.

This incurred the wrath of big business owners as they can no longer hide actual sales figures to avoid being taxed.

As opposed to the SST where every single item is taxed 16 percent, household items such as but not limited to sugar, flour, cooking oil, vegetables, fish, meat, poultry and services such as healthcare, education, public transport, housing and agriculture land are exempted from the GST.  If there is a spike in the prices of these items, it is the business owners that are to be blamed for marking up prices, and consumers can report them to the KPDNKK.

It is the efficient way to collect tax from businesses that has helped the government to find an alternative form of income when price of oil have gone down tremendously.

Pakatan wants to either revert back to the SST system but has not mentioned how it plans to make up for the loss of income since oil prices cannot be depended upon, or zero-rate everything as per its alternative budget if it decides to keep the GST system, with the option to increase the rates later.

Again, Pakatan is not being transparent to the masses.

120-Day Maternity Leave versus 90-Day Maternity Leave

There are two aspects to look at when talking about maternity leaves.  First, on the employers’ side – a worker that is unable to perform her duty taxes the company as she receives full pay during her absence, and other workers have to double up to do her work.  Second, going by the concept of ‘iddah of a divorced woman – the waiting period is three menstrual cycles or three months.  I did not use the example of a widow’s waiting period because that includes a period to sufficiently overcome a huge part of grief.

Let us compare with other Muslims countries:

Bangladesh – 112 days: 8 weeks (56 days) before delivery and 8 weeks (56 days) after delivery.

Indonesia – 3 months (90 days)

Pakistan – 90 days (45 before delivery and 45 after)

Oman – 100 days (50 days before and 50 days after)

Qatar – 50 days

Saudi Arabia – 70 days

Syria – 50 days

UAE – 45 days

Yemen – 60 days

Pakatan wants to implement 120 days maternity leave, but evidence shows that after introducing a 90-day maternity leave for Selangor’s civil servants, only 30 employees have actually utilised the 90-day leave in full.

Not many took up the 90-day maternity leave provided by the Selangor state government

I guess 90 days about stretches the limit, especially for employers providing 100 percent pay during maternity leave.

TAWAS versus ADAM50

Tabung Warisan Selangor (TAWAS) is a RM100 one-off gift for every child born in Selangor with the hope of accumulating RM1,500 when they are eligible to withdraw the money when they turn 18.  Amanah Dana Anak Malaysia 2050 (ADAM50) is a 200-unit gift in the form of a trust fund for 2.8 million Malaysian babies born from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2022. The 200 units will be credited automatically in the unit trust funds managed by Amanah Saham Nasional Bhd after the registration process is completed by their parents or guardian.

TAWAS was launched in 2008 as part of fulfilling Pakatan Rakyat Selangor’s manifesto promise. Between 2008 and 2011, RM588,391 was spent on advertising and promotion for TAWAS but less than 20 percent of newborns (60,972 out of 313,706) in Selangor were registered by the end of 2011.

The Selangor state government had no choice but to extend the registration deadline to allow for more participants but as at 22 July 2014, only 159,953 registration was collected.  The total number of live childbirths in Selangor was 421,652 by the end of 2012. By end of August 2017, TAWAS only managed to get 280,568 registrations.

TAWAS started off with funds amounting to RM13.5 million but the state government has had to spend RM22.87 million annually on TAWAS despite getting only 19.4 percent registration.  Why is there a need to spend so much on so few participants?

The Auditor-General reported that TAWAS, which was formed under the Menteri Besar Selangor (Pemerbadanan) through Yayasan Warisan Anak Selangor (YAWAS) failed to submit documents of issuance of Fixed Deposit Certificates (SST) between YAWAS and AmBank to the auditors.

There is no standard operating procedures (SOP) to fix a deadline for the issuance of SST to the participants from the date the registration was made or was approved. Audit checks found that there is no record of actual of issuance and receipt of actual SST to and from participants.

The TAWAS system only provides information on SST that had been prepared by AmBank, furthermore even YAWAS does not have detailed records on the interests received for each of the SST issued,” the report added.

ADAM50 is managed by Perbadanan Nasional Berhad (PNB) which has been managing funds such as Amanah Saham Nasional, Amanah Saham Bumiputra and Amanah Saham Malaysia.  The 200 incentive units and all dividends received on this initial amount of ADAM50 can only be redeemed when the child reaches 18 years of age.

Pakatan cannot even handle a far smaller fund efficiently and it wants to compare itself to a single corporation that handles funds in excess of RM265 billion.  Where has all the millions of Ringgits pumped into TAWAS gone to despite not getting the number of participants it had envisaged in 2008?

The Return of Petrol Subsidies

I won’t even go there. Everyone knows the removal of subsidies is so that it could be chanelled to the target groups instead of providing everyone, even foreigners, with subsidised petrol.

The Pakatan budget plans to subsidise only cars and motorcycles below 1,000cc. Only the Perodua Kancil and Perodua Viva would fit into the given category. How would the petrol pump know what cars are below 1,000cc and which ones are 1,000cc and above?

Other Pakatan Budget Jokes

While the BN government strives to lower taxes Pakatan’s alternative budget plans to introduce, on top of the 16 percent SST, an Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and increase Personal Income Tax to make up for the loss of income through the abolishment of the GST. Yet the pantywaist Pakatan have the cheek to cry foul and claim that the BN’s budget is oppressive.

So I will leave it up to you to decide whom to choose come GE14.

No Harapan

Last night, BigDog revealed that Mukhriz Mahathir did not receive a single nomination for any of ANSARA posts. This is a drastic change when he used to be the leading figurehead of ANSARA.

Compared to MCOBA, ANSARA is not politically-inclined at all save for some chapters. But even those Pakatan-leaning chapters did not nominate Mukhriz for any position.

When I advised the committee members of an Air Force veterans association to seek help from Mukhriz the Menteri Besar over an issue they were facing in Kedah, they shook their head saying they would rather seek help from the EXCOs or individual ADUNs as Mukhriz was not a performer.

Of course, Mukhriz has been making his rounds in his parliamentary constituency but even people there tell me that he hardly visited them when he was the MB. They dismissed it as a superficial attempt to show that he is still relevant.

He even visited Langkawi, where his own father is the self-appointed Ketua Pribumi, to tell people of his vision to develop Langkawi even further, including turning the padi patch behind the Ayer Hangat Cultural Village into a commercial area.

The problem is, the islanders are aware that for 22 years, Mukhriz’s father only brought development to the southern part of the island, enriching cronies and outsiders, giving them land, leaving people in the northern half to fend for themselves.

Just like Pulau Pinang, there is hardly a beach that locals could go to to enjoy.

Other than bitching about what BN does, they are also good at doing bad things like creating fear among the kampung folks by dishing out lies.

An example is the putting up of a land office map of several kampungs in Seri Medan with a crudely-drawn rectangle showing “the new alignment of the High Speed Rail” that will affect the respective kampungs. Not even people in the Johor Land and Housing committee have heard of such re-alignment of the HSR.

The District Land Office plan with a crudely-drawn rectangle to show realignment of the HSR being put up at a Chinese shop in Kampung Parit Warijo Lintang in Seri Medan

Although Pribumi has a foot in Kampung Parit Seri Menanti where a former UMNO man angered by not being given contracts had set up a Pribumi branch, the party has made a base out of Kampung Sri Bengkal’s favourite Soto Kambing joint in nearby Parit Yob which is operated by a housewife and her amputee husband.


But seeing the number of likes and comments on the Instagram page belonging to a high-ranking Pribumi official shows that the 1.5 million signatures of a petition presented by Pribumi AMANDA’s Syed Sajat is nothing but a fabrication.


Of late,  even Pakatan-organised talks cannot muster the same crowds as they used to. A sign that people are weary of the amount of bitching the Pakatan has been doing instead of spending time and taxpayers’ money in the form of their allowances to do good for the rakyat.

There may have been some crowd when Mahathir was in Kuching recently but you can hardly take that as a show for support. Even my BN-supporting relatives were there “to see what the fuss is all about” and to see what stallowners have to offer.

See how the latest Pakatan talk fared.

Even the President of Pribumi who claimed he was expelled from UMNO for fighting against the alleged excessiveness of Najib Razak, could muster a handful at his talks.


This is the sorry state of support that the Pakatan could muster. It tells a lot. Maybe they should save the trouble first before saving Malaysia.