Tun M - Mixed Feelings


Written on 3/31/2008 10:32:00 am by sikapitan

Since GE 12, Tun has been more than willing to share his views on many things, especially the present situation in UMNO. His long-standing disapproval of Pak Lah was partially vindicated by the stunning lost for Barisan. Recently, he was even more forthright in interviews and forums.

It was reported in the Star today that Mahathir was very candid (and a bit non-pc for my taste…but that’s Tun) of his views on Anwar. Below are excerpts taken from the Star:

On de facto PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, he said cynically that “everybody loved Anwar.”

“When he is with the Jews, the Jews love him. When he is with the Muslims, the Muslims love him. When he is with the temple groups, they love him too.

“Everybody loves him. He is a convincing orator. He talked bad about me to foreigners. He told them I put him in jail,” he said.

On talks that Anwar stood a chance to be the next prime minister, he said he would make a “good prime minister of Israel”.

Sounds a bit like a bitter old man I would say (regardless of the fact that I think his answers were absolutely funny…in a ha-ha kind of way) although it does raise an interesting point. Is DSAI really a leader for all or does his sway where the wind blows? At least with Tun, you pretty much know his stand on a lot of things (especially with regards to the PalestineIsrael conflict, which makes him pretty much a global giant in the Muslim world)

But Tun has also exhibited some inconsistency recently, and it is this apparent “forgetfulness” of his deeds during his premiership that has been holding up people from taking his words seriously. Despite valid arguments, it’s pretty hard to accept a lot of his ideas and thoughts because people already have a negative perception of Tun.

Below are selected excerpts from his article which was published in the Sun. It was clear, straight to the point and pretty much valid. But at the end, some will get the impression that it’s a bit like Michael Jackson telling Will Smith how to be black.

Dr. M speaks up on Rulers and Politicians by

Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad

…Terengganu is blessed with petroleum deposits. It should get 5% of the total earning from oil production. The Federal Government; fearing the previous PAS government might use this money wrongly had withheld payment. But when the Barisan Nasional (BN) regained Terengganu the money, now called "Wang Ehsan", was lavishly spent by the Federal Government on Terengganu. It is not a small sum. Over these years "Wang Ehsan" totalled several billion.

(Note: Terengganu has been a part of Barisan since 1974 until 1999. Previously, it was with Perikatan. Terengganu was under Tun’s control, as PM, for 18 years. Terengganu has been in the top five of POOREST State in Malaysia, almost always behind Kelantan, for all those years)

We know that since the BN regained Terengganu in 2004, all kinds of projects have been developed in Terengganu. This includes The Monsoon Cup, luxury housing for sale to foreigners, Crystal Mosque and theme park, university, etc. Some of these projects are very good but many are totally unnecessary and wasteful.

But what the Terengganu people are saying is that all these mega projects costing billions of Ringgit have been contracted out to people outside Terengganu. Terengganu contractors got practically nothing.

But additionally, they say the contracts all went to one person and they are suspicious that behind this person are members of the first family. The rumours also say that the previous Mentri Besar was responsible for these things happening and of course, they think that he might have benefited financially.

The rumours went on to say that the Prime Minister might have influenced the Mentri Besar into doing wrong things. These are all rumours. It will be quite impossible to prove anything as the perpetrators are skilled in hiding themselves.

This is not good for a Government keen to abolish corruption and be transparent. To clear its name, an investigation should be made.

But the public is leery of investigations by Government agencies and departments. Even Royal Commissions are not highly regarded. The people believe, not true of course, that the Government has been interfering with the work of the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA), the Police and the Attorney General (A-G)'s Chambers. The say this is borne out by the results of investigations by these agencies.

When a Deputy Minister was accused of accepting money for the release of a detainee, the A-G said there was no case because the detainee said he did not give any money to the Deputy Minister. It is so easy. If you have a case involving someone, all the enforcement agencies need to do is to ask him whether he was involved. If he says "no", then there is no case.

For some reason, judges are finding that people accused of murder are not guilty because of insufficient evidence by the police. Yet people who are totally not involved in a case, who were not accused of any misdeeds and who did not appear in court at all and been given a hearing are found guilty and publicly condemned.

(Note: Tun Mahathir was Prime Minister when Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was convicted of sodomy and corruption in a case many legal observers felt was not properly conducted. The conviction for sodomy was later quashed by the Federal Court in 2004.)

The public cannot be blamed for not having faith in Government agencies doing investigations. The public cannot be blamed for suspecting cover-ups by the Government or worse still the Government may be using these enforcement agencies to threaten people. To clear its good name, the Government should get credible foreign agencies to do the investigation. Of course, they must be given full access to the documents etc.

Now my detractors are going to say I did worse things when I was Prime Minister. Well, if that is so, let us have the foreign agencies investigate me also. I am aware that people are looking into possible misdeeds by me during my 22 years so as to threaten me and ask me to shut up. So far they have not found anything.

Not only have I not taken anything that was not due to me while I was Prime Minister but I have given back to the Government and the people everything that I had received as gifts during my tenure of office. The Government had offered me land in Kedah and Langkawi and I had refused to accept. I have a 5-acre plot in Putrajaya which I paid for even though the Government was offering it to me free.

Unless there is a frame-up, I think there should be nothing to pin on me. Even other accusations against me, including the dismissal of judges, were not my doing and I do not feel obliged to apologise. Ask the Tribunal to apologise.

The person asking that the Government should apologise for what happened to Tun Salleh Abbas may have forgotten that as President of the Muslim Lawyers Association, he fully supported the action that was taken. He castigated the Bar Council for condemning Tun Hamid Omar over the dismissal of judges. Now he wants to be more correct than correct. I wonder why.

The Sun, 29th March 2008


He was a great many things to many people. He is a leader, an inspiration, an icon, a giant among giants. He is a dictator, a nightmare, an embarrassment, a small man trying to do big things.

Me? I am the kind of person who likes to view the bright side of life. The past is the past, but it is what lingers on that matters. KLIA, Putrajaya, LRT, KLCC…we cannot deny how these have changed our lives. The rest, well…go figure.



Written on 3/29/2008 01:06:00 am by sikapitan

I received a text message on Thursday evening informing me of a massive police operation going on at PWTC. Then, as I was reaching USJ, I received another piece of message that said that a few ministers have resigned, and there was going to be another “earth-shattering” announcement after Maghrib prayers. This was confirmed by another source, again, via sms.

This is perhaps another example of the latest shift in politics, one which we have seen in more mature democratic societies, but only now being felt here in Malaysia. I am of course referring to the power of information. Information has always been an integral part of politics, but even in terms of world politics, it has seen its importance outweigh other components only in recent times.

No longer does military might or economic prowess supersede the importance of disseminating correct information to the widest target audience possible. The US of A invasion of Iraq is the perfect example of how even a powerful country could be on the wrong side of something just because the information that was being relayed to the widest audience in the world does not support their argument.

Despite their military supremacy, undeniable importance in the world economy and wide impact on societies throughout the world, the Americans could not prevent intense scrutiny almost instantaneously by the entire world. Every mistake is amplified, every perceived victory is scrutinized.

The same is happening here in Malaysia. Ironically, the government’s effort in promoting broadband usage perhaps single-handedly created the “YouTube” culture in Malaysia that spawned an almost one-sided Opposition camp in the World Wide Web. Words no longer mean as much as videos, and even blogs are no longer traditionally text based to maximise its impact on its target audience. More and more people have the time to surf the net, and put in their input, because less and less time are needed to access WebPages.

This is in furtherance to the power of the SMS, which also came indirectly as a result of the government’s effort in promoting mobile connectivity throughout Malaysia. We have all received dozens of SMSes during Election Day, constantly updating us on the results, sometimes hours before it came out on mainstream media. It has left the traditional communication medium, sadly, almost irrelevant (as long as it remains objectively PARTIAL to certain quarters).

When Pak Lah announced (after a lengthy Supreme Council meeting) that UMNO has decided to support Ahmad Said (what else can they say?) and hold the UMNO election this December (good news for us, bad news for Pak Lah?), immediately news were disseminated through SMS. Discussions went off in households throughout Malaysia, just like mine. My guess is for every one person who received an SMS, another 3 – 5 would hear about its content.

I text a friend telling him that December is too long. I e-mailed a friend that Pak Lah has again lost another battle in what’s looking like a long and complicated war for his own political survival by appearing to bow down to pressure from Sultan Mizan. By the time the news was repeated on midnight, I have already discussed, argued and reached a conclusion on the issue reported.

The power no longer lies in the hands of the select few but spread out to those who could provide information. Managing the communication channels remain a thorn on the side of Barisan, who has dismissed alternative channels simply because they themselves remain archaic in their form of communication. Ironically, there’s a YouTube video of Anwar Ibrahim appealing to rural voters by referring to an e-mail (on the latest corruption gossip) he read from his BlackBerry. It worked to perfection because information was relayed instantly to the listening crowd, even though they might think that the BlackBerry is a form of fruit. How many UMNO Supreme Council members who use e-mails (personally, not using their political secretary), let alone a BlackBerry? Go figure

We Must Be Heard


Written on 3/26/2008 05:14:00 pm by sikapitan

UMNO’s proposed postponement of their party election to next year is a step backward in Pak Lah’s quest to bolster public confidence in the government, which is primarily led by UMNO members.

Accountability and transparency should be at the forefront of UMNO’s struggle. I put the recent election results squarely on the problems within UMNO and the image that UMNO projects to the public, regardless of ethnicity and religion. That is why it was easy to dismiss MCA and MIC (especially MCA) because all the Opposition had to do was say, “A vote for MCA is a vote for UMNO”, and you’ll find everyone deserting MCA.

People may assign fault to people like Khairy and Hisham. Yes, Hisham’s keris-wielding act smacks of arrogance and ignorance (or is it forced arrogance and ignorance?), but these are issues where the leadership could tackle behind close door with a firm hand. As another example, Khairy’s rise as a political force within UMNO DESPITE the public’s general dissatisfaction and suspicion of him could be handled and tackled by the leadership, but nothing was done.

The leadership failed to listen to the voice of the people, the growing dissatisfaction, and failed to carry out its promises which brought it such great joy in the 2004 election. There is a vacuum in leadership that brought with it disharmony amongst grass-root supporters who are tired of being pinned down by various issues brought up by the Opposition but were denied by the leadership.

Let’s not start with the messy handling of picking candidates prior to GE 12, where successful leaders were plucked out from the constituency and instead cronies were put into place. Or even the current long-drawn issue of the MB of Terengganu, where the latest news is that Pak Lah has again lost in another open battle against the monarchy.

These are issues which the grass root could address through an open election. A democratic and free UMNO is the starting point for the revival of Barisan Nasional. This latest move to postpone the election is a blow to any effort of ridding UMNO of the deadweights that held it up and Barisan Nasional in the past election.

It is not merely UMNO’s interest to see a change (if a change is what they wish). It is in our interest as Malaysians to see a change for the better, regardless of our political affiliation. A true champion of a Malaysian cause could see beyond party lines and say that, “Yes, a more honest and truthful UMNO would benefit Malaysia”.

A corrupt and oppressive UMNO is bad news for everyone, because it allows people without real competence in leadership to continue in their position (albeit made weaker because of the Opposition) and this position of leadership determines how Malaysia is being run.

Yes, the easier alternative is to allow the Opposition to run the country. Fair enough. But if the Opposition then conducts itself in a manner that is dishonest and corrupt, can we then turn to a corrupt Barisan to mount an Opposition? Isn’t it better for the fight to be between two corrupt-free parties based on ideals and policies rather than sentiments and fear of corruption?

A balanced, fair and just contest must consist of balanced, fair and just contestants. An UMNO election this year would be the first step towards a new, corruption-free, people-friendly Barisan Nasional which is good for everyone anyway. Whether Malaysians see it that way or not is an open question. Go figure.


Of Incompetence and Hypocrisy


Written on 3/25/2008 11:31:00 am by sikapitan

I laughed when I read UMNO is protesting against the Sultan and I laughed even more when I read the Opposition asking UMNO to respect the wishes of the Sultan. This is again evidence of political interest above and beyond serving the people.

UMNO, who previously condemned the Opposition for the whole “Perak MB dilemma”, are now eating up their words by openly protesting against the Palace of Terengganu. This issue should be dealt with quietly, with diplomacy and grace. Unfortunately, in another evidence of lack of leadership, Pak Lah has started an open argument against the Sultan, who is also now the King.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin had a brilliant idea – Idris and Co. should seek an audience with the Palace, discuss all the misgivings, apologize for any wrongdoings and then seek a solution. If the Palace is adamant in not wanting Idris, then a candidate that is agreed by both UMNO and the Palace should be chosen.

Regardless, there is a political process that could nullify the Palace’s appointment, which is the vote of no confidence. The assemblymen could have waited and use this process to their advantage, without provoking an open war with the Palace. Why Pak Lah didn’t think about this is beyond my comprehension. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t but the whole handling reeks of incompetence and ignorance of protocol and constitutional law.

On the other hand, I question the motives behind the Opposition’s call for respect of the monarchy and its decision. Isn’t transparency part of the agenda of the Opposition? Yes, it’s true that we should respect the monarchy (I really do believe in it), but at the same time it smacks against the call for transparency when there is so much hidden from the public in a decision making process that ultimately will impact the public the most.

What are the issues against Idris Jusoh? If rumors (of Idris going against the Palace’s “request”) are true, is it then the Opposition’s mantra that the Palace has the absolute right to only choose those who would abide by their wishes? Would request for lands and projects then has to be approved by all MBs in the future?

Then, there is the issue of the choice of MB. Again, questions must be asked why Ahmad Said was chosen amongst the many ADUNs. What's so special about him that the Palace is so adamant in placing him as MB? Even before the election, there were talks that Idris would not get the mandate as the next MB. TWO other reps were named as most likely replacement, and if these two were chosen, perhaps the issue would not have reached this stage.

But they chose Ahmad Said. This is the man who courted controversy before with the incident in the State Assembly where he acted like a gangster in arguing with a PAS assemblyman. He is a combative grass root leader, by all accounts, and according to many, lacks the necessary intellectual capacity or even charismatic charm that is needed to lead a state. The choice really is a step backward for Terengganu. People say that he is similar in style to Pahang’s Menteri Besar, Adnan Yaakob. Wow, that’s so reassuring.

Let’s not dismiss the reports going around that a few assemblymen were offered huge sums of money around March 14 to support Ahmad Said as the next Menteri Besar. I read that some were even offered up to RM 300,000! Imagine that amount floating around just to garner support for MB. Imagine then the amount floating to garner support for Prime Minister’s post! Sorry, I’m digressing.

So if the people think that he is unsuitable, or even if the people is unaware that he is unsuitable, isn’t it the task of the Opposition to stand up for the people? Shouldn’t the Opposition look at the man, look at his credentials, his capabilities and say, NO, he’s not the right person to lead Teregganu?

Instead, they are now INVITING Ahmad Said to JOIN them. It’s crazy. Instead of fighting for the truth and for the people, they are more concerned about fighting for power and control. Go figure!

MB Elect sacked from UMNO


Written on 3/24/2008 11:24:00 am by sikapitan

Terengganu’s MB-elect, Datuk Ahmad Said, was sacked from UMNO for defying party’s leadership order to decline the appointment as Menteri Besar. The trouble in Terengganu has now turned into a full-blown crisis for UMNO.

Idris Jusoh remains the choice of the UMNO leadership and also the elected assemblymen of Terengganu, but the Palace has refused to accept Idris for a second term. Please refer to the previous post for more details.

This impasse gives rise to a constitutional conundrum that has left many clueless as to what will happen next. Despite what Pak Lah said, it IS constitutional for the Palace to appoint Ahmad Said. However, it is arguable that the Palace (will all due respect) failed to observe that they must choose a person whom they believe WILL COMMAND the respect of the State Assembly. “Believe” is not an absolute term, therefore the discretionary power of the Palace is also not absolute.

There are talks that Ahmad Said may join PAS. This is irrelevant because once the State Assembly is in session, you can be sure a vote of no confidence will be passed against him. This would lead to the Palace needing to appoint another person OR call for a snap election. This would certainly be good news for the Opposition, especially since they lost by thin margins in most of the areas in Terengganu.

The question now is: what is the motive for Ahmad Said to accept the MB post and risk his membership in UMNO and also take on a post that he knows will not be supported by fellow assemblymen? Is this another example of one man’s greed and appetite for power above loyalty and servitude to the people? What about the people of Teregganu? Why is the Palace so adamant in not wanting Idris?

Could it be true?

In related news, unsubstantiated reports have surfaced that police reports have been made against Datuk Ahmad Said 11 years ago for alleged rape. Apparently, the source of this piece of information has removed the said article after it was picked up by another prominent blogger. In any case, it is a serious allegation that gives rise to two important questions: (1) why did UMNO allow a person of questionable character to even BE in the party, let alone be nominated to contest? (2) if it’s not true, it gives rise to a question as to how dependable are the information we receive from bloggers and blogs and sources that don’t conform to ethical reporting?

Please note that this is merely a rumor at this stage.

United doused the Scouse

Manchester United comprehensively outclassed a poor Liverpool team 3-0 in yesterday’s BPL match. I’ve always admired the history of Liverpool, and I believe that they deserve all the support of their ferociously loyal fans. But I also think that Liverpool is not playing like a team that wants to challenge for a title. They ARE a big club, and they must start believing that. I cannot believe that they still think Rafa is the man to lead them. Their loyalty is commendable, but his lame efforts in signing players and even lamer tactical naivety will only further pull down this once great club to a level of Everton and Tottenham. Match Report

Breaking News: Losing Control...


Written on 3/22/2008 08:37:00 pm by sikapitan

After the debacle in Perlis, Pak Lah was dealt another blow when the office of Sultan of Terengganu released a statement appointing Ahmad Said, the ADUN of Kijal, as the next Menteri Besar. This is despite the fact that Pak Lah and the other 22 state assembly representatives in Terengganu supports Idris Jusoh to continue as the Menteri Besar.

Unlike Perlis, where the issue was Pak Lah had no inkling that Shahidan has lost the support of the elected assemblymen, the situation in Terengganu is really a battle between the Palace and Pak Lah. Although press reports suggest that Idris’s fall out with the Palace is due to the Batu Burok riot and his “cockiness”, alternative sources have suggested that this is due to Idris’s reluctance to comply with certain “demands” from the Palace. However, this remains a rumour unsubstantiated.

However, in terms of current UMNO leadership, this situation shows how embarrassingly weak the government’s position is in even executing its plans. Understandably, Pak Lah would like to see Idris continuing the rapid development in Terengganu, especially after he successfully led Terengganu UMNO in GE 12.

The Palace has the prerogative to appoint a Menteri Besar. But it would be a comical situation when the House is in session and all 22 ADUNs of Barisan passed a vote of no confidence against Ahmad Said, again depriving Terengganu of the leadership it desperately needs to hold the tide against the Opposition.

Part of being a leader is the ability to be steadfast and strong yet speak with a soft, persuasive voice in pushing forth your agenda. There’s a soft voice, but is it persuasive enough? Go figure...

Permatang Pauh, more than meets the eye...


Written on 3/21/2008 04:30:00 pm by sikapitan

At this moment, I’m in Penang Island, the crown of the Opposition’s jewel maybe. I was here since yesterday, ironically, moving from one Opposition state (Selangor), passing through another (Perak), before reaching my hometown. It is, to me, a chain of states that has always been closely connected due to the migration of the younger generation to KL.

The younger generation, or so I’ve been led to believe, are IT-savvy. Therefore, they remain the main source and recipient of a lot of alternative information available online. Prior to GE 12, these young “migrants” return to their hometown to lay down the “truth” to their parents about the corruption, nepotism, arrogance and mismanagement of the present government. In my opinion, it is not surprising that these states fell to the Opposition like a huge domino stack.

Anyway, today I visited my father’s Aunt at Permatang Pauh, the parliamentary seat currently being held by Anwar’s wife, Wan Azizah. Before that, we stopped by my father’s former High School, the BM High School (primarily to show my wife that yes, we are not that boring of a family). But this High School holds with it a legacy that may change the course of Malaysian politics. You see, BM High School was also where both Pak Lah and Anwar Ibrahim attended their secondary education.

Pak Lah’s apparent weakness and incompetence has allowed a resurgent Anwar to lead the Opposition to unprecedented victory in GE 12. Now that talks are rife of East Malaysia’s BN reps ready to jump ship, it might really be possible for Anwar to be our next PM. So this humble area (including Kepala Batas, Pak Lah’s hometown and Parliamentary seat) full of traditional Malay houses and surrounded by paddy fields may be the place which give rise to two PMs.

Back to my father’s Aunt, or more fondly known as Tok Su. Now, Tok Su used to be Permatang Pauh’s Wanita UMNO’s chief, back when Anwar was the Deputy Prime Minister and the MP of that area. In fact, I remember the days when we would attend his open house and get RM 2. I used to quip that it was pretty stingy for a Finance Minister (but he had THOUSANDS of kids coming over).

So you would have guessed, correctly, that when the Anwar-Mahathir debacle came to a head with Anwar’s sacking and arrest, a lot of this strong supporters formed PKR. Tok Su became a highly influential member of PKR in that area, and her strong and vocal voice was often at loggerheads with her previous mates who are still sticking with UMNO. But she was distinctly beyond dirty politics from the start, preferring instead to use wit and humour to gather supporters.

From an area where UMNO was predominant, the Anwar saga really split the people into two camps. Those who stayed with UMNO must have laughed at the attempts of PKR, especially after 2004 where the Opposition was truly wiped out with only Wan Azizah remaining as the lone, lonely soldier. It also splits families, and Tok Su’s wasn’t spared, although the fall-out was not as catastrophic as some I’ve heard.

She is the epitome of a grass-root leader who will decline posts and money just to serve loyally her elected representative. Without fear or favour she declined the tempting offers from UMNO and threats from others. So I guess she must have been delighted to hear of the Opposition amazing victory in Penang (she seems completely oblivious to what’s going on in other States...she couldn’t care less).

She looked animated and excited when we were discussing politics (well, it was more like her telling a lot of amazing stories and us listening). I can share with you that the current Timbalan Menteri Besar of Penang, M. Fairus, a 32-year old PKR ADUN of Penanti, was selected just two days before nomination day because there was NOT enough candidates to stand for the Opposition. In fact, he came in without any money (basically, he’s just a simple guy without funding), and this was even raised by UMNO supporters during their campaigns. I guess UMNO was still trying to play the “money-game” and hoping that most Malays are still after the quick buck.

So the joke was that if my father had accepted Tok Su’s offer to stand as a candidate in Penanti, he would have been the Timbalan Menteri Besar. He missed out big time, my mom said. But my father said that if he comes in as an ADUN simply because he wants the TMB post that would not be ethical and morally correct. God, he’s sooooo straight that it gets annoying sometime. I guess a lot of Permatang Pauh’s folks are now ruing their missed opportunity to be the TMB of Penang. It’s just, as Malays say it, his rezeki.

M. Fairus had no money, but he had the support of people who worked NOT for the money, which “surprisingly” yields better result and implementation of campaign strategies. These volunteers would work day and night tirelessly for a cause they believe in, without hope of getting contracts or favours, so the support that they gain is also pure and true. These grass root support will triumph over any “duit kopi” campaign in the long run, and so it prove this time.

Where PKR has not enough candidates, UMNO had too many, until factions materialized and infighting became common-place. Everyone is jockeying for position and with money thrown into the mix, the quest to be just even the Ketua Cawangan is intense. There were 6 people contesting for the 4 seats available, and you can just guess the support those dropped would give to the ones selected. They can rent 10 buses to carry people, but if each one is only filled with 4 people, what does that say about your grass root support?

This neglect of the foot soldiers led to even more money being wasted with tales of “allowance” money abound all over the country as UMNO tries its best to gather support. If UMNO had just paid more attention in collecting a lot more Tok Sus instead of businessmen, they wouldn’t need to spend a lot (of the rakyat’s money no less) to oil their election machinery.

The choice of candidate is also important for the future. No longer can UMNO just put anyone in and he would win. This is wonderful for our democracy, and also for this country in general, as each elected representatives would not take their constituency for granted. Wan Azizah visited Permatang Pauh at least once a month, and even if she’s not there, people can still turn to Tok Su to settle their problem. One UMNO candidate was humiliated when he went on a campaign round and was told off by a Chinese trader that Wan Azizah comes over every month, and he only shows up once every four years! Why should he when he’s busy with his multi-million ringgit contracts?

There are a lot of things that was shared this afternoon that I could not share with you for fear of being sued for defamation etc., and I believe that these stories are nothing new anyway. It’s just surprising to hear it from the people on the ground, even though stories of corrupt Dos (District Officers) and phantom voters have been around for years. The battles, the dirtiest battles, are not fought in the big towns and cities, but in little rural areas like Permatang Pauh.

When we left Tok Su, she was smiling happily with the thought of Wan Azizah coming over tomorrow to have a “kenduri”. Her loyalty and affection for both Wan Azizah and Anwar may be misguided to some, or inspirational to others, but the crux of the matter is she believed in them with all her heart.

UMNO needs to find back its heart and soul. It needs to convince people like Tok Su.Go figure.

My Heart Will Go On...


Written on 3/19/2008 06:01:00 pm by sikapitan

Rafidah To Stay

Contrary to rumors, Rafidah will continue to head Wanita UMNO. She expressed her surprise at being dropped from the Cabinet. She further admitted to sending a 16 page letter to Pak Lah after the recent election ( was it one of the reasons she was removed?) but will not divulge the content.

So she's staying on to fight the good fight. It'll be an interesting party election this year for UMNO.

MP Korek korek korek

Tengku Adnan, who was dropped from the Cabinet, has replaced Md. Radzi, who announced his resignation today, as the Sec-Gen of UMNO. The MP of Putrajaya, who was recently embroiled in the VK Lingam saga, was quite clearly enthusiastic over the prospect.

Isn't it weird when Md. Radzi claimed that he could no longer function as Sec-Gen effectively because he's not a minister, only to be replaced by a man who is also NOT a minister! So does this mean that he is less able than T.Adnan, or T.Adnan will not be effective in his role?

Or is it just two old politicians, playing the game - one knowing when to get out, the other forcing himself in when he really should get out. Go figure:)

The New Cabinet UPDATED (in italics)


Written on 3/18/2008 03:27:00 pm by sikapitan

Pak Lah just announced his new Cabinet, and I’m not referring to IKEA. It’s a lean mean cabinet, but there are still 27 ministries, down from the previous 32 but not 24 like some predicted. UPDATED!

Rafidah and Pak Lah

Surprisingly, Rafidah Aziz, one of the longest serving ministers, was dropped from the MITI portfolio which she held since 1987. With both her and Samy Vellu out from the Cabinet, the remnants of Tun M era are fading into the sunset. Much has been said about Rafidah’s political prowess, but the contradiction between her legendary work ethics and alleged corrupt practices means that she has to be sacrificed.

What this will do to Pak Lah’s political future is unknown. Rafidah has strong support from Wanita UMNO, the wing that has now seen its influence slowly dwindling with both Rafidah and Shahrizat out of the Cabinet. This will lead to further discontent amongst the rank-and-file. But it could also signal the beginning of a power struggle within Wanita UMNO, what with Azalina Othman remaining a favorite of Pak Lah and having the backing of her Puteri UMNO cohorts.

Malaysiakini just reported that Rafidah has called on a surprise press conference at her former Ministry. It was reported that she may resign from her position as Wanita Chief, paving the way for a battle between Shahrizat, who was made special adviser with the ranking of minister, and Azalina, who is now the designated Tourism minister for the post of Wanita Chief. (Read the above...just as predicted)

Pak Lah has also killed two birds with one stone. By removing Rafidah, he has sent a strong message to the public that he is ready to change. But more importantly, and I think (although bless Pak Lah if he really wanted to change the Government) the main consideration in removing Rafidah, is the fact that Rafidah could be one of the strongest voice if the call for Pak Lah to resign continues within UMNO’s rank and file.

Pak Lah and Rafidah have never been friends, and Rafidah’s almost daughter-like relationship with Tun M is certain to cause anxiety amongst Pak Lah and his supporters. With Rafidah and Shahrizat both allegedly unhappy with Pak Lah’s handling of GE 12, it takes a brave man to continue giving power to the leader of a wing that has done so much as part of UMNO’s campaign machinery.

It remains to be seen what happens next, but it’s harder for UMNO to call on Pak Lah to resign now that he suddenly becomes the darling of the Opposition supporters and general public. It’s almost a brilliant move by Pak Lah, but how much of it was due to serving the public instead of personal political interest?

Other Casualties

Tengku Adnan Mansor, the infamous minister embroiled in the VK Lingam saga, was also dropped from the Tourism portfolio to be replaced by one of Pak Lah’s favorite, Azalina (previously Sports Ministry). Jamaluddin Jarjis (Science & Tech) is finally gone despite (or because of) the much-hyped (and much criticized) Angkasawan project. Frankly speaking, they deserved to go.

What interest me more is the removal of Mohd Radzi (Home Affairs) and Azmi Khalid (Natural Resources). Is this a way for Pak Lah to punish those who did not toe the party line? Both Radzi and Azmi are seen as instrumental in persuading the Perlis assemblymen to support Md. Isa and not Shahidan as the next Mentri Besar of Perlis. As everyone in Malaysia knows, Shahidan was chosen by Pak Lah but, in an embarrassing situation, he was rejected by the Raja of Perlis. Pak Lah bowed down to pressure, and accepted Md. Isa, but I believe that he wasn’t too pleased with the whole episode.

Update: Malaysiakini just reported the resignation of Mohd Radzi from the post of Sec-Gen of UMNO and Barisan Nasional. He tendered his resignation today, citing that he can no longer work effectively under current circumstances.

I mean, why would you want two guys who basically disagree with your choice to serve in your government? Again, the question is, is this move politically motivated or for the good of the public?

Isn’t there anyone else?

The one to keep an eye on is Muhd Taib or Mike Tyson as he is more fondly known. His rise to the post of Minister (Rural and Regional Development) after years in the background showed how resilient he is and how savvy he is when it comes to his own political career.

In case anyone needs a reminder, Mike Tyson was previous the Selangor Menteri Besar who had to resign in 1997 after he was charged with trying to bring in RM 2.4 million (in cash apparently) into Australia. Of course, his credibility being questioned, and with investigation going on, he had to slip quietly into political wilderness.

But he remains within UMNO, always taking his time to make statements, just to remind everyone that he is still around. Despite having strong support from the grass root, he was not chosen by Khir Toyo to contest in Selangor (of course, Khir is scared that someone will take away his power). With Khir Toyo spectacular losses in Selangor, the path is now open for the former darling of UMNO to make a comeback and wrestle back Selangor.

The question remains the same. Credibility is an issue. But rest assure, by next election, Mike Tyson will be going for the K.O.

Pleasant Surprises

It was a pleasant surprise to hear that Zaid Ibrahim is moving up as Minister in charge of Legal Affairs in the PM Department. Zaid of course courted controversy within UMNO with his willingness to question current practices and was even disciplined before by UMNO. His frank and open opinion on the state of UMNO after GE 12 earned him extra points from UMNO supporters wanting to see changes and also the general public. His book, In Good Faith, is pretty enjoyable and showcased a man who believes in the fundamentals of democracy.

He couldn’t do worse than the man he replaced – Datuk Nazri Aziz. Nazri is still a minister though, but thankfully, the Minister of Law portfolio is no longer his. With incompetence and arrogance, Nazri has diminished the integrity of our judiciary and legal system by his mere presence. Every time he speaks, it’s as if I’m in the Twilight Zone and he’s an alien who couldn’t really understand what the rest of Planet Earth is talking.

Another good move was the inclusion of Shahrir Samad (Domestic Trade), the vocal member of UMNO who dared to cross the line by agreeing with an Opposition’s motion in Parliament (rightfully so). His desire for transparency and accountability in government’s actions are widely noted, and his presence lends a fair bit of credibility to the present line-up.

Let’s hope that Pak Lah doesn’t stop at the Cabinet level. There’s still a lot of work to be done. We need strength, we need intelligence, and we need decisiveness. Go figure.

Full list of cabinet

Those who missed out on the opportunity to make more money!!!

Those dropped from list

International Trade and Industry
Rafidah Aziz (Umno)

Human Resources
Dr Fong Chan Onn (MCA)

Home Affairs
Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad (Umno)

Science, Technology and Innovation
Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis (Umno)

Natural Resources and Environment
Azmi Khalid (Umno)

Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor (Umno)

Lost in 2008 general elections

S Samy Vellu (MIC)

Women, Family and Community Development
Shahrizat Abdul Jalil (Umno)

Zainuddin Maidin (Umno)

Rural and Regional Development
Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin (Umno)

Prime Minister's Department
Dr Abdullah Md Zin (Umno)

Declined to accept post

Housing and Local Government
Ong Ka Ting (MCA)

Did not contest parliament seat

Chan Kong Choy (MCA)

Prime Minister’s Department
Mohd Effendi Norwawi (PBB)

Those resigned and retired

Chua Soi Lek (MCA), resigned in January 2008

Energy, Water and Communications
Dr Lim Keng Yaik (Gerakan), retire from politics

Source: Malaysiakini

rocky's bru: Anti-Pak Lah posters, in pics


Written on 3/15/2008 09:31:00 am by sikapitan

rocky's bru: Anti-Pak Lah posters, in pics

A brief discourse on a loss...(Pt.2) UPDATED!


Written on 3/14/2008 12:24:00 pm by sikapitan


These banners and many others started to appear around KL on Thursday. In light of Mukhriz Mahathir's leaked letter calling for Pak Lah to resign, it is perhaps safe to assume that trouble is brewing in the UMNO camp.

The problem is that during the selection of "wakil BN" in the run-up of the GE, Barisan's leadership (UMNO, MCA & MIC) did not help matters by showing uncertainty and disorganization. Quite a few incumbents, who had won by huge margins in 2004, were replaced by outsiders who did not have enough support in the areas they are contesting.

Mukhriz' Letter

I guess a lot of these disgruntled folks are baying for blood when Barisan "lost" in GE 12. But the timing of it could have been better, and quite honestly, there are not that many capable (translation: liked and trusted by the people, not just UMNO members) who could replace Pak Lah...

Could it also be a conspiracy to topple down Pak Lah? A well-orchestrated loss to the Opposition would make it easy for a "messiah"-like figure to appear and suddenly rescue Barisan from its self-made abyss. Interesting?


Protest in Penang, and racially insensitive comments by leaders on both sides are adding unnecessary tension to an already tense situation. Why can't we have intelligent politicians, on both side of the camp, who would actually THINK before speaking up? Could it be entirely possible that the leaders whom we so "admire", lack the necessary management skills and natural intelligence to be articulate and thoughtful when coming up with statements to the press?

More work, less talk is better for them I guess. Oh, talking about people who talk a lot, where's KJ? He's been pretty much under the radar (so unlike him) since the election. Probably for the better, considering the weird circumstances surrounding his win in Rembau. Hishamuddin, why so quiet? This is the time for you to show your strength...or is there something out there that we don't know about? The drama could rival Mis Tres Hermanes, and it makes for great viewing for all of us!!!


Barely a week has gone past and we have witnessed one political drama after another since GE 12. While many have been concentrating on the lack of understanding between the “Barisan Rakyat” in Perak, UMNO itself is faced with uncertainty over the Menteri Besar position in Perlis and Terengganu. Rather than go to great lengths describing these issues (why aren’t you guys updated on this?), just go to Malaysiakini or TheStar (depending on who you want to believe).

Power Is Everything

Lim Kit Siang surprising rejection of PAS’ M Nizar Jamaluddin as the Menteri Besar in Perak and subsequent retraction and apology is another reminder that regardless of whichever party you come from, power is everything.

I actually believed LKS’ reaction was sparked by MCA stating that DAP has misled the Chinese voters by agreeing to accept a PAS guy as the MB. I guessed DAP panicked, afraid that this comment would suddenly remind the Chinese voters of the promises DAP made during campaigning. They fear they would lose the power given to them by their Chinese supporters.

So it’s quite surprising to read the interesting comments all over cyberspace, from the Chinese especially, that they don’t care who leads the state, as long as it’s not from Barisan. My personal opinion is that DAP via LKS, by reacting this way, has actually alienated even more of their supporters, Chinese or non-Chinese.

The whole concept behind DAP’s campaign this time is the fact that they are race-blind, that they represent the hope that Malaysia will be led by someone who is competent, regardless of race. By rejecting M. Nizar, it just showed the paranoia DAP actually has, and further amplify its image amongst Muslims that they are a Chinese based party!

They must realize that their astounding victory can not be attributed mainly to Chinese votes. They must realize that a lot of Malays and Indians voted for them, simply because they run on a platform of equality amongst races and most importantly, because they represent the alternative to Barisan.

The fact that PAS did not contest in the same seats as DAP made it easier for DAP to win, and this cannot be dismissed lightly. Instead of the opposition votes being split between DAP and PAS (like in 2004), they are focused on DAP only. I could probably summarize by saying that it is entirely possible that PAS supporters in Perak DID vote for DAP.

Therefore, the reaction was ill-timed, and inconsistent with the spirit in which Barisan Rakyat conducted its campaign. In terms of politics, it really is a blow in the eyes of the public, especially those who voted for the Opposition. A lot of my Chinese, Malay and Indian friends voted for the Opposition, regardless if it was PAS, DAP or PKR. This reaction would certainly fall foul of the spirit on which the Opposition was brought into power.

Let’s look at the “operational” side of it. Why does it matter if a guy from PAS heads the State? No laws can be passed unilaterally anyway in a State Assembly that’s dominated by DAP and PKR, and let’s not forget, UMNO. In fact, it is probably the best idea to put a PAS guy there as a system of check and balance. Plus, it’ll really make a positive impression on the public if the Opposition can accept a leader whose party did not win the majority of the seats in Perak.

PKR has also thrown itself into the fray by threatening to pull out from administrating Perak if the DAP gets 8 assembly seats. Doesn’t this seem like very petty to me and you? You shouldn’t wash your dirty linen in public. Organize something collective, discuss and compromise. Isn’t that the platform that the Opposition stand on?

Go figureJ

A brief discourse on a loss...(Pt.1)


Written on 3/10/2008 05:02:00 pm by sikapitan

Some general observations from the “Tsunami” election 2008 (remember 08.03.08 – you’re there when it happened…)

Barisan lost. It’s as simple as that. Pak Lah can claim that they still won, but if you minus Sabah & Sarawak (55 seats), Barisan’s control in the Parliament is a measly 85 seats, with the Opposition breathing down their neck with 80. The real battle has always been in the Peninsular, and in true Rocky Balboa style, Barisan took a hell of a beating.

Who listens to them?
It’s interesting to note the various political pundits going on air discussing on the morale-boosting victory for the Opposition. Where were they in the mainstream media leading up to the elections? Why do suddenly we see the newspapers discussing the weaknesses of Barisan while before this everything “looked” just fine? It’s a joke sometimes, and their credibility has to be questioned after this.

Or perhaps, just perhaps, they too are suddenly unleashed as the powers that lord over them grows weak? It is an interesting possibility, a potential side-effect of the “Tsunami”. Could we now see Harakah being distributed openly? Will the mainstream media finally find its voice and speak the truth?

Ill-communication (cue the Beastie Boys...)
Communication. That is one aspect of the election that Barisan missed, and one I believe contributed to its massive losses. The message that they are trying to convey, the medium in which it was delivered, and the people that delivered it are no longer accepted and relevant to the increasingly vocal and boisterous Malaysian voting public.

Barisan continued on with its typical campaign posturing – TV ads, Newspaper ads and posters and buntings galore. In Subang Jaya, Barisan’s posters outnumbered DAP’s by at least 5 to 1. Its ironic then that DAP’s candidate, Hannah Yeoh (a fellow SMKSU alumni), won more than double the votes her BN candidate did. How much was spent on those MCA ads is beyond my simple calculation, but as every business minded person would question, where’s the Return on Investment?

Ugh, not another ad...
Barisan may have miscalculated on the impact intense propaganda has on Malaysians. Even a Barisan supporter would be turned-off listening to another SELAMAT AMAN MAKMUR ad on the radio. Imagine the effect it had on the fence-sitters and Opposition supporters.

The problem when the entire mainstream media overload on BN propaganda is that it loses credibility and most importantly, relevancy. The consequence of this is the search for alternative source of info, and in this day and age, most people will turn to the Internet.

Rise of the New Media (the truth is out there...somewhere)
News and opinions reported in websites and blogs gain more credibility and prominence compared to mainstream media. Even SMS-es, regardless of its veracity, hold more weight than a full-paged report in the newspapers. This will lead to people easily being swayed by reports, rumors and plain old lies as long as it doesn’t appear in the Star, Straits Times, TV3 etc.

Barisan, under the stewardship of Pak Lah, has fallen into the trap a lot of incumbents make when they have been dominating for a long time, be it in Politics or Business. They become stale in their marketing strategy and believe in their own strengths without actually taking the time to step back and view the voice from the consumers/public. It’s a simple business lesson that could also be applied in politics – never rest on your laurels.

Barisan as a Brand
As a brand, Barisan’s values are constantly being challenged by a vibrant and flexible Opposition that could change its values with every coming election to suit the people’s needs (remember the old Barisan Alternatif?). That should be cause of concern for Opposition supporters, but hey, politics are never about rationale thinking. What’s more alarming was to see how Barisan let its brand and values take a beating without taking any steps to mend the wounds.

Brand Refresh is the term people use in Business-Speak. It means re-examining the values that your Brand convey to the public and whether or not the public accept that values and believe in it. It means a constant re-look at your Value Proposition – the thing that makes people want to buy you or stay loyal – from a different angle and adding on compelling reasons for people to choose you. Barisan should always adapt its Brand so that it remains relevant to the current issues.

What happens when a public company reports massive losses?
Nevertheless, at the end of the day, no matter how well the message is conveyed and how wonderful the Branding exercise has been, if the product sucks, people will still not buy it. And in politics, most often than not, the products are not the policies, but the people who introduce and implement the policies. This Tsunami loss is a reflection that Malaysians don’t want the product, they don’t believe in the product.

In business, a CEO has to be accountable for the failure of the product. It’s time we run the country like a business. Go figure.


Crazy Laws...


Written on 3/06/2008 01:56:00 pm by sikapitan

How True

Law of queue: If you change queues, the one you have left will start to move faster than the one you are in now.

Law of the Telephone: When you dial a wrong number, you never get an engaged tone.

Law of Mechanical Repair: After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch.

Law of the Workshop: Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

Law of the Alibi: If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tire, the next morning you will have a flat tire.

Bath THEOREM: When the body is immersed in water, the telephone rings.

LAW OF ENCOUNTERS: The probability of meeting someone you know increases when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with.

LAW of the RESULT: When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will!

LAW OF BIOMECHANICS: The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.

THEATRE RULE: People with the seats at the furthest from the aisle arrive last.

LAW OF COFFEE: As soon as you sit down for a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.

Got it from someone. Cool. Selamat mengundi!