Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Zakaria Deros' men threatened DAP with May 13

The DAP, PAS and PKR have all ganged up to call for the demolishing of the Raja of Pandamaran’s Istana (palace) which was constructed illegally.

So the praetorian guards of the Raja, a local godfather otherwise known as Zakaria Deros, current Port Klang assemblyperson and once railway gate keeper, decided to teach those sh*t-stirrers a lesson.


A mob of about 20 people clad in sunglasses (MIB = men in black?) confronted about 100 opposition demonstrators which was led by DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng. Zakaria’s men were seen to be brandishing steel pipes.

After some preliminary shouting to and fro, the praetorian guards waded into the protestors and beat up some DAP members. The opposition party demonstrators were forced to retreat to an area outside the main entrance of Kampung Idaman, where Zakaria’s mansion is located.


According to Anon, visitor to my earlier posting Zakaria Deros' Illegal Satay House, the Pandamaran folks came out to protect DAP and PKR demonstrators from the pipe-wielding thugs.
.
Selangor PKR vice-chief Khairul Anuar Zainudin, who was there, claimed the praetorian guards hurled racial slurs at the principally Chinese protestors. Khairul said: “They played up racial sentiments. They were shouting ‘Cina balik!’ (Chinese get out!), ‘Kalau kamu mahu Mei 13, saya hari ini boleh bagi kau’ (If you want May 13, I can give it to you today).”

Two other eye-witnesses confirmed that such words were used by the group which backed Zakaria.

Khairul claimed that the hoodlums were outsiders and not from Kampung Idaman.


One bright spark that emreged out of this fracas had been the mainly Malay locals protecting the mainly Chinese demonstrators. Out of adversity there was unity. Syabas, anak Malaysia!

Is AAB's position in UMNO shaky?

Yesterday the New Straits Times (NST) article has it title screaming or perhaps wailing "UMNO urged to defend Pak Lah"..

"... urged to defend ..."?

The article had Entrepreneur and Co-operative Development Minister Mohd Khaled Nordin pronouncing that:

"Pak Lah is not a weak leader. All the decisions he announced were made collectively by the Cabinet members. If (Tun) Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) thought he could use Pak Lah as his proxy to continue his legacy, then he is wrong."


"Pak Lah is not a weak leader ..."?

The very fact that Khaled had to raise this denial means that the already well-known perception of AAB is becoming far too worrying, especially within UMNO, bearing in mind that the message has been meant for the UMNO supreme council.

Khaled then argued that unlike opinionated Dr Mahathir: "Pak Lah listens. He has a responsibility to develop the economy. That’s why he cancelled some of the projects decided during Tun’s tenure. He is a successor to Dr Mahathir, not a proxy to him. I don’t think the people want to have a proxy prime minister. They want a real PM."

Looks like Khaled is still trying to 'sell' AAB as the leader of UMNO. This means that there is fear of Dr Mahathir succeeding in his anti-AAB campaign.

Khaled then reminded us that AAB gained his mandate from the people and he did not have to listen to Dr Mahathir. Yet another 'sell' of AAB by Khaled!

"If Dr Mahathir wished to continue his legacy, he should have asked to become a Minister Mentor like Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew. But since he chose to retire, he should not keep on repeating the same accusations against the party and the government. He wanted to be heard. He was heard. What more does he want?”

A plaintive complaint and then unbelievably, the UMNO bloke said:

"He is now worse than Lee Kuan Yew. At least Lee openly shows that he wants a say in the future development of Singapore. What is Dr Mahathir’s motive? Nobody knows except him."

I can't believe that an UMNO person would place LKY above any UMNO leader, but I suppose times must be truly f**ked for UMNO.

Khaled wants the UMNO supreme council to bring matters regarding Dr Mahathir to a head, probably to sack or at least threaten the Grand Ole Man with expulsion from UMNO.

He demanded (was it hysterically?): "The party must make a stand because Dr Mahathir’s attacks are on the party and the government. The Umno supreme council should tell Dr Mahathir that he is wrong and be ready to defend Pak Lah against him.”

That 'defend' word again!

... but this time addressed directly to the UMNO supreme council. Does this mean that not all UMNO supreme council members have been doing so, that is, supporting AAB?

Khaled added, attempting to place his appeal on a slightly higher (party) plane: "He is openly opposing the party and the government, not Pak Lah himself. It is unfair to see it as a Pak Lah versus Mahathir feud."

And a wee bit on national interest just in case anyone thinks it’s all about AAB:

"The people want the leaders to concentrate on developing the economy instead of being constantly disrupted by the former prime minister. If he continues doing this, at the end of it, the people will suffer."

KTemoc reckons that such a message, with such a desperate plaintive-appealing NST heading for the news article, all don’t brood well for AAB's position. His authority and status in UMNO are not as solid as he ought to be enjoying as president and prime minister.

Zakaria Deros' Illegal Satay House

Would you believe it - another property of Zakaria Deros has also been found illegally built and just sealed close by orders from the Klang Municipal Council (MPK).

It’s his DZ Satay House restaurant, just located nearby to his Istana Idaman mansion.

Municipal councillor Teh Kim Poo (he’s a Datuk, so must be a BN bloke – yes, just googled his name - he’s Klang’s MCA chief) said: “Yes, it has been sealed because the restaurant sits on JKR (Public Works Department) reserve land, which is state land. Furthermore, the restaurant does not have any temporary occupancy licence or a business licence.”

Cheeky sod that Zakaria character – built a satay restaurant illegally on JKR land, no permit, no licence whatsoever – I wonder whether the meat for the satay was legally slaughtered? ;-)

This time the MCA wanted to claim credit for thumping Zakaria, so it seems that the closure order came a few days after Teh started a fund-raising drive to help satay trader Abdul Salim Mohamad Nor, whose stall was torn down by MPK because of an extension constructed without a building plan.

Can you f**king beat that – small time trader get harassed, had his stall ripped off because of just an extension, while big time local godfather gets a Datukship, a 4-storey mansion and an illegally constructed/operated satay house.

Teh, who had queried the MPK’s unfair action then to 'close one eye' over the matter, said that sealing off Zakaria’s satay restaurant was not enough. He said it must be demolished as well.

Oo la la, the sharks have smelled blood if even the MCA dared to talk so bravely against abang UMNO.

But I am a bit unkind to the Port Klang MCA. To be fair to Teh Kim Poh, who incidentally is the Pandamaran assemblyman, he had on an earlier occasion objected to another Zakaria Deros' 'bright idea'.

Zakaria plus a group of councillors (who?) had backed a RM10.4mil project, which had since been scrapped following public protests. Teh Kim Poh was one of the strongest objectors to that ill-conceived project.

The dodgy development concept called for 1.2ha of a 10.3ha field to be constructed into a complex with three to five storey buildings housing 60 units of offices and shop lots. Twenty per cent of these lots were reported to be given to the Klang Municipal Council (MPK).

What was far dodgier and frightening for proper governance had been that Teh’s protests against the project at a council meeting were not even recorded. Apparently some creative minutes-taking occurred - there were many allegations of how the minutes were purportedly altered.

Then, Zakaria had in 2000 slapped Bandar Klang (DAP) assemblyman Teng Chang Kim at the state assembly building. That allegedly occurred when a heated argument had broken out during coffee break between the two, when Zakaria voiced dissatisfaction over the use of the word haram with regards to factories squatting on agriculture land.

The Mentri Besar slow talked the two into peaceful settlement, obviously more to protect the hoodlum behaviour of Zakaria than anything, but the fact that Zakaria saw fit to raise his hands against another assemblyperson must be frightening.

Then in 2001, Zakaria was among 13 UMNO members found guilty by the UMNO disciplinary board for breaching party ethics during the party polls. He was issued with a warning. Obviously he hasn’t changed.


The Sultan of Selangor wants Zakaria to resign from his position as Port Klang's assemblyperson or have his Datukship taken away. Why threaten only - strip him of the title straightaway!

But we need to wait and see, because from what I've heard, this Zakaria Deros is one mighty powerful local godfather.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Anwar Ibrahim backs Dr Mahathir 2nd time

After Mahathir experienced AAB’s gagging of him every which way, he accused the PM of running a police state. In that regard, Mahathir is quite correct because when the doctor was PM, he wasn’t worried about former PM like TAR bashing him.

And TAR did bash him, especially in TAR’s later years when a certain journalist took advantage of his very advanced age and instigated the poor old man into saying rather hurtful stuff that went beyond politics and policies. TAR once said something rather impolite and insulting, referring to Mahathir’s ancestry. But Mahathir braved all that rather placidly, never hitting back at TAR.

Perhaps AAB has less confidence than Dr Mahathir, because he or his ‘advisors’ really gagged and blockaded Dr Mahathir. They were/are sh*t scared of Mahathir.

Did anyone for one instant believe Dr Mahathir would have not have been elected as one of Kubang Pasu’s divisional delegate if the ruling UMNO echelon didn’t employ dirty tricks and misuse government machinery, and also indulged in money politics and threats to dissuade UMNO Kubang Pasu’s members from voting for their former boss?

Invitations after UMNO branch invitations to Dr Mahathir had to be withdrawn or cancelled. Even members of one division were trucked away to a pop concert to prevent their attendance at a dinner for Dr Mahathir.

It’s little wonder the former UMNO president described Malaysia under the AAB regime as a police state.

And for the second time, Anwar Ibrahim supported Dr Mahathir's criticism of AAB. Yes, indeed he agreed with Mahathir that under AAB, Malaysia is a police state. He said Dr Mahathir's comments were a devastating critique of the new administration.

However, Anwar wasn’t going to give the Grand Ole Man a free ride – he said WTF, it’s all inherited from Dr Mahathir anyway.

Anwar sarcastically commented: "On the issue of the police state, I think he is quite correct. The same laws are in operation, the same excesses, police brutality, irresponsible acts are being used by those in office or government for their own political ends."

Don't forget too, dear readers, someone was then deputy PM - hehehe!

But he with the poor memory, Anwar Ibrahim called on the AAB government to address police brutality and repressive laws. He said: "This matter must be discussed and deliberated fully and there is no point for the government to be in a state of denial. It is incumbent for the present leadership not to repeat the blunders of the past."

Hell hath no fury like a politician promised better things and then scorned!

Anwar Ibrahim backs Dr Mahathir's criticisms of AAB

We have so far heard the ‘kami sokong kami sokong’ brigade chirping away like a primary school girls’ choir. We have the Propaganda Minister telling us of a marvellous survey on his staff where all unanimously ‘sokong’ AAB against Dr Mahathir.

Then we have the world’s best known SIL stating he wasn’t affected by the accusations of the former PM, even as he made a big show a couple of months back disposing his RM9.2 million worth of shares, a sum that the ‘heavens’ sometimes bestowed like manna on those with fantastic karma – for example, like if you’re married to a princess or such likes.

Then we have Mr ‘Clean’ breaking his normal elegant silence, to describe Dr Mahathir’s latest round of criticisms as doses of venom. AAB lamented that Dr Mahathir couldn’t even wait for his explanation to the issues that the Grand Ole Man had raised.

Now, step in Anwar Ibrahim, who was asked for his views on the two UMNO top personalities by reporters at the Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house at his residence in Bukit Damansara, KL.

Anwar said that the government should give a rational explanation to refute the allegations raised by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said the government should confine itself to answering the allegations pertaining to the issues and policies raised by Dr Mahathir and not resort to any deviation (meaning evasions, beating around the bush and throwing red herrings), like bullsh*t ‘kami sokong kami sokong’ or SIL gimmickries.


Anwar said modestly: "It is not in my interest to get involved in these two people's feud but there are allegations that involve policies which are serious as ... (they come from)... a prime minister of 22 years. This matter should be discussed and deliberated (by the current administration)."

Hah, ‘enemy of my enemy’!

"(It is) no point for the government to be in a state of denial but give satisfactory answers."

He even averred that Dr Mahathir, as a citizen, has every right to criticise the current administration and this warranted some detailed explanation from the current administration, particularly on allegations pertaining to issues and policies.

"We may not be in agreement with Tun (Dr Mahathir). I do not agree that we should belittle (anyone). I do not believe the solution is in being merciless towards him (Dr Mahathir). I respect the right of Dr Mahathir (to criticise). If there is basis to the statements, the government has to reply."

In other words, Anwar is admonishing the AAB government not to go for the man but the ball. Too many vicious fullbacks with nasty leg tackles!

Anwar said the current administration's replies to Dr Mahathir's allegations were not convincing as "several leaders were merely saying Dr Mahathir should not have criticised the prime minister".

But perhaps that's all they could muster up? Anwar believes that the comflict between Dr Mahathir and AAB won’t be resolved in the near future.

He stated: "The former prime minister has taken a strong position. The issues are not just a matter of a few policies but a major devastating critique at the administration."

KTemoc reckons that Anwar has correctly assessed his (or PKR's) target is the AAB government rather than Dr Mahathir.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Demolish Raja of Pandamaran's Palace?

Some of the residents of Kampung Idaman, Pandamaran criticised the Selangor state government for double standards in not demolishing the illegally erected palatial mansion of Zakaria Deros, a Port Klang assemblyperson, when it had demolished numerous squatter houses in the area for the same reason of unauthorised construction.

They naturally asked why is the illegal construction by Zakaria Deros tolerated by the so-called law with just a mere measly RM24,000 fine while their only roofs over their heads were smashed to shreds?

Teng Chang Khim, assemblyperson for Port Klang (DAP – Sg Pinang) added on the pressure by stating that the law requires Zakaria’s illegal mansion to be torn down. He stated that nothing short of that is acceptable.

Teng, a practising lawyer, said the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1976 clearly stipulates that local authorities, in this case Klang Municipal Council (MPK), must demolish the building should Zakaria fail to do so.

Teng claimed that Selangor Menteri Besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo was attempting to pull the wool over the public's eyes with the suggestion that the matter was closed with just a fine. But Teng said the fine was not good enough. He accused Toyo of trying to protect the illegally constructed property of the powerful and influential Zakaria.

Teng said: “The MPK president (Abdul Bakir Zin) argued that the building would not be demolished because it was 80 percent completed. This is a big lie, because according to the act, no one can erect a building without written consent from the local authorities.”

Well, those squatters’ huts were 100% completed. Why then were theirs demolished?

Former Kajang assemblyperson Dr Shafie Abu Bakar (PAS) told the crowd that earlier this morning, he had helped himself to a ‘tour’ of the mansion and found that it had at least 17 rooms. He sniped: “It is a palace ... for the ‘king’ of Pandamaran.”

World's toughest exam

couldn't post this on Friday evening due to bloggers.com being down - then I had to be away




Julian Puvenaswaran, a Malaysiakini reader questioned the true intent of the government’s Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP).Many who had the misfortune to have to take the near-impossible-to-pass CLP exam are also questioning the ridiculous results where only 10% of candidates passed. Furthermore there is a noticeable lack of transparency in the exam process.

Puvenaswaran averred he has enormous difficulties in accepting that out of more than 1,000 students sitting for the exam, only 107 could pass. This incredulous pass rate is further worsened by the fact that the 10% pass rate this year also included those re-sitting the exam. That could well mean that, of the 107 who passed, many might have sat for the CLP exam several times.

Thus, the pass rate for first-timers could be anywhere from 6% to 10%, but more likely the lower end. Puvenaswaran asked whether one could accept that the remaining 90% of students who failed had been that stupid or unintelligent?



Star photo
Raja Singam, Principal of Brickfields Asia College (BAC)
with some of 2008's CLP top scorers from the college


Coincidentally, 90% of the 1,000 over students who sit for the CLP yearly had been graduates of foreign universities. Could it be that those foreign universities, especially those in the UK, did not train their law graduates adequately and competently? What about the external LL.B degree from University of London which has served Malaysians extremely well for eons?

He drew our attention to another fact that every year, thousands of local law graduates enter the legal profession. He revealed that UiTM, as an example, has an annual output of over 1,000 law graduates, all of whom may automatically enter the legal profession, exempt from the CLP exam.

Puvenaswaran believed that the true intent of the CLP exam is nothing more than to penalise graduates of overseas universities, including those who take external law degree courses in Malaysia.

He averred that people were forced to go overseas to do their LL.B not because they just want to go to do their law degree overseas, but because they couldn’t get a place in local universities to do law due to the quota and limited number of places. Many students struggled to finance themselves, scraping for every cent to enable them to study law overseas.

Kaytee observes that the situation is not unlike the case of the Malaysian Medical Council’s (MMC) derecognition of the Crimea State Medical University after a visiting Malaysian minister made a racist comment that there were too many ‘black’ Malaysian students there.



privately-funded graduates from Brickfields Asia College (BAC)
no chance for any of them to get into UiTM

While the MMC has a right to keep an eye on medical standards of overseas teaching universities, there was a lack of transparency in the process of the de-recognition, which seemed on the surface to be triggered by the minister’s racist pronouncement.

Another inconsistency in its decision was allowing an earlier batch of Malaysian students at that university to continue their courses while disallowing later batches of mainly ‘black’ Malaysian students from studying there. If the CMSU is not good enough for Malaysian standards, then it is not good for every batch of Malaysians, not just subsequent batches of mainly 'black' students.

Related:
(1) Mediocrity beats Meritocracy
(2) University Admission Figures - One Big Lie!
(3) Good but not good enough?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Aussie politicians = UMNO politicians

PM John Howard of Australia is one real hypocrite. He knows that many Australians are fearful of Muslims, especially after the Bali bombings (twice) and the continuous snide demonising of Muslims since 9/11, some of those made by a few Howard ministers.

So he plays regularly to the public gallery to ensure his party enjoys support as the ‘strong, resolute political party that takes-no-shit’ from any Islamist terrorists or unsocial Aussie Muslims. Nothing like a jolly good schooner of fear or dislike of strange looking turbaned bearded Muslims to motivate Aussie public support for the party who ‘appears’ to take a hard line against those alien 'intruders'.

Mind you, Howard is not alone in playing the bigoted card. A couple of Aussie State Premiers and Opposition leaders, especially those in NSW have been like him. Years ago it was the chinky Chinese, today it’s the marauding Muslims.

Howard recently attempted to introduce into the Aus citizenship test some elements of what he called ‘Australia-values’. His policy was seen by many cynical observers as an indirect attack on Middle-East Muslim migrants. Coincidentally (I am being sarcastic here, in case you missed it) Howard made this policy announcement in the turbulent wake of his extremely unpopular Industrial Relations (IR) Law, which has already in some cases victimised workers in favour of some unscrupulous employers.

Political analysts said that Howard’s political invincibility may well be shattered by the IR Law as Aussies don’t like a political party that hasn’t done the right thing by the workers, the typical ‘Aussie battlers’.

So perhaps it’s time for John Howard to re-energise the public into marshalling around the brave White Chief’s banner again. John Howard and his party have a notorious history of sly subtle and sinister bigoted political campaigning.


The Tampa incident and the children overboard scandals were two of the worst examples of John Howard's Liberal Party gutter politics, where fears and dislike of Middle Eastern and Afghanistani refugees were deliberately instigated to promote the Howard government's credentials as a hardline anti-immigration authority (against some specific groups) in contrast to the Labour Party's softer and more humane policies.

It’s not that those politicians are racists, but hey man, it’s just a case of whatever it takes to win the votes.

Now, a wonderful opportunity has just arisen for John Howard to condemn a leading Muslim cleric, Sheikh Taj el-Din Al Hilaly, who apparently had shown sheer idiocy in allegedly comparing scantily dressed women to 'uncovered meat' in a sermon in Australia.


The alleged comment was made last month yet it has been 'dug up' strategically like a convenient nugget at a time, like now, when John Howard is facing severe criticism for refusing to announce a time table to withdraw Aussie troops from Iraq, when even the Yanks are doing so. Everyone knows that Howard is waiting for the little green light from Uncle Sam.

The cleric had apologised immediately when the furore broke out. He unreservedly apologised to any woman offended by his comments, insisting he only intended to protect women's honour. In his statement, Sheikh Hilaly says women in Australia have the freedom and right to dress as they choose

Despite that apology, John Howard was quick as Gordon Flash in condemning Sheik Taj el Din as appalling and reprehensible.


And boy, did Little Johnny lay it on thick with his bollocking of the Sheik despite his opening qualifications that “if the translation of the Sheikh's sermon last month was correct, I condemn the remarks unconditionally”.

Unusually when a politician isn’t sure yet of the veracity of the alleged politically incorrect statements, he could still condemn but generally in one conditional but brief sentence. But this was a good opportunity for Howard to lash out good and proper, beyond the obligatory cautious brief sentence.

Sheik al Hilaly was the man who risked his personal health and indeed life in flying to Iraq to help secure the release of an Aussie hostage, Douglas Wood – see my posyting Sheik al Hilaly - From Australian Villain to Australian Hero?. But tough if John Howard wants to lay it thick with his criticisms of the cleric – WTF, he’s just a convenient 'unpleasant' Muslim, nd Little Johnny needs a bit of public support right now!


But why did I call John Howard a hypocrite?

By contrast, just less than a couple of weeks ago, when an Israeli newspaper, the reputable Ha’aretz reported that the Israeli ambassador to Australia had in an interview made an unbelievable racist statement about Asians (yellow race with slanted eyes) – see my posting
Showing True 'Colours'! - John Howard was deafeningly quiet as a bloody mouse.

No sir, I didn’t hear him or any government minister utter one single word of condemnation of the Israeli racist statement, not even with a qualified
“if the translation of the ambassador’s statement was true, I condemn the remarks unconditionally”. Only the Opposition spokesman for foreign affairs, Kevin Rudd said the one line qualified condemnation of such racist remarks.

No, Howard didn’t dare nor want to say anything against Israel. He became conveniently deaf and dumb during that period. But Muslims are fair game, not because so much he detests Muslims per se but because he reckons he can get a few extra votes from Australians worried about al Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah, Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah (not that they can tell the difference among those groups with different objectives) and other terrible turbaned people.

As for his Australia-value policy in the citizenship test, I didn’t hear him nor one politician (on both sides of the political fence) say anything about those young 3rd or 4th generation Australians of Italian stock openly and gleefully supporting the Azzura (Italian national soccer team) against the Socceroos, the Aussie national soccer team during the recent World Cup.


Now, wouldn't that a worry for Howard's Australian values? F**k, those so-called Aussie youths should have been shipped back to Italy if they publicly demonstrated their allegiance to Italy over Australia.

Why then Howard was strangely deaf and dumb? Mate, there are lots of Italian Aussie votes!

Similarly so when Melbourne bid for the 1996 Olympic Games, the Greek community of Melbourne (the biggest Greek community in the world outside Athens) openly and defiantly refused to support the Melbourne bid but disloyally went for Athen’s instead. Did any Aussie politician say anything? Silent as a mouse, so as not to chase away the considerable Greek Aussie votes.

So most (with some exceptions) Aussie politicians would keep their mouths shut when the Jews made racist comments (because of their very significant political funding) or when Italian and Greek Aussies campaigned against Aussie teams (because of their very significant votes), but open theirs in double standard fashion when Muslims say the wrong thing (because of the very significant votes from the mainstream Aussie community who fears Muslims).

Yes, Aussie pollies are not unlike UMNO pollies. It's only in the style and subtlety that vary.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Goebbels-speak

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
- Joseph Goebbels

AAB’s spinmeisters, including the Johor and Trengganu MBs (Raja Petra Kamaruldin of Malaysia-Today blog in one article told us that the latter was ordered around like a subordinate by the SIL) are hard at work in damage control after Dr Mahathir did his kiss-and-tell, following the so-called 4-eyes meeting with the PM. Puteri UMNO also joined in the obligatory condemnation of Dr Mahathir.

But the best among the whole lot of the ‘kami sokong kami sokong’ choir was the Propaganda Minister – nowadays they call the office the Information Minister. Zainuddin Maidin tsk-tsk-ed Dr Mahathir for making the second drastic mistake in his political career.

Zainuddin averred Mahthir’s first political miscalculation was bringing his once-protégé, the firebrand from ABIM named Anwar Ibrahim, into UMNO, to groom Anwar as his political heir. But alas, Zainuddin lamented that the parachute stunt only damaged UMNO’s unity when those two had a serious falling out. In fact it was terminal for Anwar!

Zainuddin claimed Dr Mahathir’s second political miscalculation was revealing the substance (or, as KTemoc sees it, lack of) of his meeting last Sunday with AAB.

He averred that at a time when the Malays and Muslims were hoping for reconciliation, at least of opinions between the two leaders before Hari Raya Aidilfitri, if not for the two to be pally buddies, the Grand Ole Man upset the cempedak cart by revealing matters of a sensitive nature discussed at the meeting.

What sensitive nature?

Bullsh*t! Prior to the meeting Dr Mahathir had already announced to the world what he was going to say to AAB, and after the meeting he revealed nothing more than what he said he would say. And furthermore, he also revealed that AAB said virtually nothing other than to take down notes and declare his SIL and son were darling little angels – which we know AAB would.

So what was new and revealing, or sensitive?

Now this is the best part. Zainuddin said that following the doctor’s political miscalculation, according to Zainuddin's own Book, he (Zainuddin) conducted a random survey among his own officers of the Information Ministry a day after the meeting. Voila, very much to our astonishing surprise, Zainuddin said his staff gave mucho sympathy to AAB. Thus, Zainuddin declared AAB the winner!

He said the survey also found that the people were disappointed with Dr Mahathir's approach in making the open statement. Tell me why I am not surprised by Zainuddin’s survey finding.

I expect Zainuddin to reveal another fantastic finding of his personal survey (of his staff), that the most popular candidate to succeed AAB is …….. (only one guess, and sorry, no prize).

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Dr Mahathir's Aidilfitri loyalty test

Bernama reported:

Tycoons, politicians and ordinary Malaysians, young and old, made a bee-line to greet former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at his Aidilfitri open house at his residence here [Seri Kembangan] Wednesday.

Neither the morning heat nor the afternoon rain deterred the visitors who made it a point to stop by his villa at Country Heights.

Among those who visited Dr Mahathir and his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamed Ali were Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim and Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Aziz Shamsudin.

Corporate captains Ananda Krishnan, Tan Sri SM Nasimuddin Amin and Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew also joined the crowds to tuck in the big spread of traditional Raya cuisine.

Former MCA president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik and former Selangor menteri besar Datuk Seri Abu Hassan Omar were also there.

Well, at least these blokes have stood out to be counted. I now have a bit more respect for Rais Yatim and Abdul Aziz Shamsudin. Where was once-No-1-supporter Humpty Dumpty? I wonder whether I should hammer Raja Bodek of Pulau Pinang, but my sense of fair play tells me to hold fire until I may be sure he was a former ardent sycophant like Humpty Dumpty?

AAB's Empire Strikes Back

AAB’s chief hatchet man, minister Nazri Abdul Aziz came out swinging in defence of his boss after the latter was still attacked by the Grand Ole Man. He accused Dr Mahathir of attempting to unseat the government, and criticised the doctor’s continued verbal assaults on AAB during the Hari Raya break.

He averred: "We all know that he wants to bring down the government, bring down Pak Lah. I don't know what's wrong with him. It is Hari Raya and we should be coming together, asking for forgiveness."

UMNO, initially upbeat about a possible reconciliation between the party’s two top blokes is now crestfallen, with fears of divided loyalties because Dr Mahathir is not without his supporters.

On balance, KTemoc sees also no compromise on AAB’s side. For example, there is yet no result from the so-called investigation into the Kubang Pasu UMNO divisional delegate election scandal, where allegations of money politics and abusive use of threats and government machinery were employed to block out Dr Mahathir. The lack of activity in this regard has been disgracefully so despite AAB’s personal promise that that it would be done.

Undoubtedly it has been swept under the carpet, what more when the investigating panel is filled by personalities hostile to Dr Mahathir. Even if the finding is eventually and painfully extracted like a rotten tooth, we may all expect it to be Hutton-ised, a whitewash.

I can hardly blame Dr Mahathir for feeling AAB or at least those behind AAB had been the ones not playing on a level field. The Grand Ole Man is hitting back in the only way left for him, with his supersonic megatonnage mouth.

Brendan Pereira, editor for the government-linked New Straits Times newspaper, a bloke that Dr Mahathir had attacked openly in recent times as an un-UMNO-ish import, unsurprising claimed that some Malaysians had experienced a colossal letdown after the talks.

He wrote in his column: "For many Malaysians, this has been an uneasy few months - watching two respected leaders slugging it out in public. For many Malaysians, it has been a difficult time - having to choose sides."

Not so, I must disagree. Malaysians did not expect much from the talks. In fact, most of us knew both sides had used that to ‘buy time’ and to avoid presenting the perception (to UMNO members) that any one side was unwilling to engage in the so-called reconciliatory discussions. If anyone was disappointed that Dr Mahathir would continue his ‘shock & awe’ I would say it’s the AAB side, with supporters like Brendan Pereira.

We independent bloggers are actually rapt, because we want to see the UMNO dirty linen being washed in public, and who better than Dr Mahathir as the dhobi.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Rosy hazy days are here

The Star Online reported:

Singapore’s former premier Lee Kuan Yew says Malaysia has changed for the better under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and believes a recent diplomatic row was just a temporary setback.

In remarks published yesterday, Lee praised Abdullah’s calm handling of a dispute with Singapore over race relations and indirectly contrasted the current Malaysian leader with his fiery predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“I would say that there’s a change for the better,” Lee told the Straits Times, referring to how the Malaysian leadership handled the latest episode in Kuala Lumpur’s often testy ties with Singapore.

“It’s measured, it’s calm and it has an eye to future co-operation, which we welcome.”

[…]


***
Meanwhile, somewhere away from KL ........

Aide: "Aiyah, arn chnua lu por ee ah"

* why did you brown-nose him?

Big Ego: “Karn leen nair, ee see kah tee lang leh.”

* Fuck it man, he’s our own

Aide: “Hia nair ah. Ua, hia nair tua kamcheng tee peng lai eh ah.”

* Oh, I see. Wow, such close relationship – how did it come about?”

Big Ego: “Ee ay knia sai – aiyah, chi leh hau snair knia chin eng puoi lah!”

* his SIL – hey, this young bloke is easy meat

Aide: "Hia nee tai siow ah!”

* so he is one big d….. [censored]

Big Ego: “Hu leh lau see kui ah, kar char choot toh hoe. Wah parng chi leh tok chiam hor ee kee-yong karn. Lang lang hoe liao lah – hehehe!”

* that old bastard – he should have left much earlier. I really gave one to him [Hokkien version more saucy and wicked]. Now, it's so much the better for us - hehehe

Dr Mahathir to AAB -"Your children!"

Just one day after meeting PM AAB, Dr Mahathir gave more details of his criticism of his successor.

One of those juicy items that we all wanted to know - because we Malaysians are bloody busybodies and love a jolly good scandal or gossip (same bloody thing) – that the Grand Ole Man said was he wasn't satisfied with, or convinced by, AAB's explanations, was the allegations regarding the world’s most famous SIL and son Kamaluddin.

Dr Mahathir said: “He said he didn’t think his children were involved. He said that Khairy was working with him before and suddenly became his son-in-law. And he says he will ask them. That’s all.”

Aiyah, Tun, what do you expect? In AAB's eyes, they are angels lah!

Dr Mahathir alleged that Khairy and Kamaluddin had interfered in the award of projects.

A couple of decades ago, the Chinese communists have a term for scions of powerful ministers who acted very un-communist-like. They called them the Red Princes and Princesses.


I had blogged on The Blue Prince beginning of this year, so I am not surprised at all by Dr Mahathir’s allegation.

US preparing to 'cut & run' from Iraq

There is no further doubt that the USA will be withdrawing soon, as indicated by President and his men who have made the following noises:

(1) Bush, who continues to insist that only victory will satisfy him in Iraq, said at the weekend that he was a ‘patient man’ when it came to supporting the Iraqi Government, but that his patience 'has limits'.

(2) Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, after meeting military commanders at the White House, said the plan was for the Iraqi people to take responsibility for their security ‘sooner rather than later’.

(3) Iraq is clearly a huge negative for the Republican Party in this [mid-term] election campaign, and everywhere its candidates are calling for ‘course correction’ in Iraq and for Iraqis to take control of their security needs, and quickly.

This is another way of saying - without mentioning ’cut and run’ - that if the Iraqis do not meet the challenge fast, the US should begin to pull out its forces anyway.

(4) Some time next month or early December James Baker's Iraqi Study Group is expected to recommend a significant change of policy. Baker, a secretary of state in the administration of George Bush snr, says his bipartisan group has not yet considered recommendations, but he has made it clear that he favours neither a policy of ‘stay the course’ nor one of ‘cut and run’.

(5) Key Republican senators such as the chairman of the armed services committee, John Warner, reinforced the growing view among senior Republican members of Congress that unless the Iraqi Government moved to take on the militias, it would become politically impossible for the US to keep its 140,000 troops in Iraq

In reality the Yanks are screaming ‘retreat’ in hubristic euphemisms, but retreat they will. Iraq is not only another ‘Vietnam’ for them in the sense of an impossible-to-defeat insurgency, but also for their eventual humiliation, the most powerful nation in the world defeated for the third time by an Asian (including Middle-eastern) country and forced to hightail it back to the USA in ignominy, with its tail between its hind legs.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Dr Mahathir - far from 'satisfied'

The Star Online said that Dr Mahathir was ‘satisfied’ with his meeting with the PM, but obviously Mahathir was ‘satisfied’ only insofar as he was able to tell AAB directly what he thought was wrong with his successor’s policies, governing and certain personalities.

Dr Mahathir has since demonstrated that he wasn’t going to quieten down. He averred: "I will continue until there is some change, until I achieve some results."

And he warned that the AAB government's economic performance has undermined support for the ruling party to the extent that it could hurt UMNO's chances at the next elections

In fact Dr Mahathir went as far as to cast doubts on AAB’s prospect as a second term PM aspirant, saying: "It depends on how he performs. I was there to tell him what I'm not happy with. I was not going to suggest what he should do. But it is up to him to decide what to do."

There was only elegant silence from AAB after the meeting.

Mahathir pooh-poohed away allegations that his attacks are harming UMNO, saying AAB's mismanagement was responsible for the damage.

He criticised AAB’s economic management saying: "For the past three years, there has been no move, the economy has not been doing well. People have not been able to get jobs, and unemployment is still high. Nothing has been done really to improve the economy."

"UMNO cannot win elections without public support and today the public is very critical of the present conditions of the present economy, the present system of administration, the involvement of his family members."

That was a Wing Chun sun-fist jab at both the world’s most famous SIL and son.

However, Mahathir assured party diehards that the opposition has no chance of winning at the next elections by 2009, though it’s most likely they would reduce the government's majority.

In their talks, Mahathir said AAB cited a survey that found the popularity of both men had been damaged by the row which has raged for most of this year.

Mahathir said: "I told him that I don't care if I am popular or unpopular. But if anybody does anything that is damaging to the country and to the Malays in particular, I am going to come out and criticise."

I wonder why Dr Mahathir didn't say the above in spades like "WTF do I care two sh*ts." It would sound more colourful - that's the problem with Malaysian politicians, too dull and colourless!

He then added what must be the wistful wish of some in UMNO: "Of course, I'm 82 years old. People believe that if they delay long enough this interfering nosey-parker will disappear and will not be able to speak.”

What! And make us miss our daily excitement and fun hearing the two camps screw each other?

What Dr Mahathir & AAB discussed!

Well, the much touted solve-all meeting between the two UMNO elders had coemand gone, and the outcome isn’t that encouraging – hardly surprising when one side had been bombarding the other a la ‘shock & awe’ and the other side conducted guerrilla dirty tricks in retaliation.

When asked whether he was ‘happy’ with the meeting, Dr Mahathir replied in his usual blunt manner:

“I can't say I'm happy. I am satisfied that I have been able to say these things directly to him. People say that I have been making comments from outside, but now I have seen him. I also made it clear that I want to be free to make my criticisms. If I find that anything done is not good for the country, I will continue with my criticisms.”

Then Dr Mahathir told AAB a thing or two about the latter’s side blockading him from speaking at UMNO branches:


“I did explain that this block against my speaking to Umno is not good, not right. I have lost my civic right. Also the idea of postponing the Umno elections is not right. Although I had done it before, it was because the elections came one year before the general election. Now the general election is not even anytime soon, so there is no reason why the election of Umno’s office bearers should not be held.”

Dr Mahathir also revealed what other issues were discussed, the main ones that interest us being the doings of the world’s most famous SIL and the doctor’s complaint that each time he was invited to any place, someone would send the police to question and intimidate the people (the inviters) - basically Malaysia becoming a police state

Dr Mahathir said AAB rejected the former’s allegation that Malaysia has become a police state. Instead AAB shot back that Dr Mahathir in openly criticising him, have become unpopular and he too (AAB) has lost popularity, with the only people benefiting being Anwar Ibrahim and Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.

Goes to show one thing – DAP Lim Kit Siang doesn’t matter in the UMNO scheme of things ;-) Sorry saudara Lim, eat your Chinese heart out!

As for the son and SIL, Dr Mahathir said AAB averred that the ‘rumours’ about the young laddies ordering MBs and other bigwigs around like subordinates are not true, but he wants to find out from them whether they did or not.

Does AAB believe so much in his children that he reckons the son and SIL would confess they did order people around?

I gather it all ended on a less than sweet note, because Dr Mahathir said no one is going to stop him from continuing to talk out, to criticise the government if necessary.

The full transcript of Dr Mahathir’s revelation is here.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Malaysian Religious Zealots terrified elderly US couple

An American elderly couple got the shock of their lives when they raided at their condominium unit by a band of Islamic Affairs Department officers.

They were rudely awakened by a pounding on the front door in the early hours, and despite the man showing himself to be a foreigner, the religious affairs officers were not satisfied, demanding to see his wife. Not only that, they wanted to search his room.

How about that, 60 years old, white, a granny and granddad married for 42 years, rudely woken up in your sarong nighties by terrifying strangers and accused of khalwat.

This is exactly what US citizens Randall Barnhart, 62, and his wife Carole, 61, experienced on Oct 14 in Langkawi.

The NST reported:

Barnhart and his wife were asleep at 2am when there was pounding on the door and male voices shouting in Bahasa Malaysia.

Fearing an attack or robbery, Barnhart told the men to go away or he would call the police.

One of the voices, speaking in English, identified the group of men as Islamic Affairs Department officers and ordered him to open the door immediately.

"I positioned myself ready to fight and partly blocking the door so I could defend myself and my wife if anything were to happen. Then I opened the door to find six men in my face," said Barnhart.

Barnhart said the men wore blue jackets with the department’s crest on the breast pockets, with one of them producing an authority card.

He claimed there were no police officers with the six men.

KTemoc recalls that after the disgraceful abuse of young women by so-called Religious Affairs officers at the Zouk nightclub raid, the authority decreed that any raid by Religious Affairs officer may NOT be conducted without a police officer.

Barnhart said one of the men yelled at him, asking how many people were in the apartment and said: "You are Muslim, we are coming in."

"I told them we were Christians and they were not to come in. They then demanded to inspect the apartment. They were threatening and aggressive. Again I said no," he said.

He said the men then demanded to see his "woman".

After another heated exchange of words, he allowed the men to see his wife. The men, he said, then demanded to see their marriage licence.

KTemoc notes that even after seeing an elderly white couple, those idots still demanded to see their marriage licence – what the f**k!

"I told them I did not have it on me and that it was none of their business. Next, they demanded to see our passports, so I showed them.".

"They took down our passport numbers and noted that we were from the US. Then one said ‘thank you’ and shook my hand," he said. The men then left.

WTF do they need the numbers of the US passports for?

Eight hours later, he lodged a report at the Kuah police station.

Since the incident, Carole has been terrified and has insisted on going back to the United States.

The couple is in Malaysia on a six-week sailing holiday and rented the condominium unit.

Since his yacht needs repairs, he bought an air ticket to Chicago for his wife.

F**King great stuff, what do you reckon she will be telling her people back home?


That Malaysia has officers from the ‘Sword of Islam’ terrorising Christians and that George Bush has been right to bomb the sh*t out of Iraq!

First the Chinese, now the Yanks – who will we be offending next?

Whopping road hazards, whopping sum & whoppers?

230 ‘black spots’ have been identified as killer zones on Malaysia’s road system. If lives are to be saved, then all those identified dangerous stretches and accident-prone spots on our federal and state roads in Peninsula , Sabah and Sarawak should be improved to remove their hazardous features.

But Humpty Dumpty – no, he’s not promising to make those hazardous road spots ‘disappear' as he did with one complete highway – said that the cost will come up to a RM1 billion. Either he or Bernama termed the sum as a quote whopping unquote sum.

Whooping? What does that imply?

Much more of our tax money perhaps 'disappearing'? Or worse for our drivers and transport passengers, those ‘black spots’ won’t be all fixed because we don't have the 'whopping' RM1 billion?

I seem to recall we wasted more than RM1 billion cancelling the scenic bridge that never was. Yes, we spent more than RM1 billion of taxpayers money NOT building a bridge, which wasn't built yet. In fact, the ridiculous fact was it would have been cheaper to build the bridge. What kind of contractual arrangement was that, which our government committed us to? A 'whopping' government management idiocy or a 'whopping' whopper?

If this 'whopping' RM1 billion is needed to improve the safety features of those dangerous ‘black spots’ then we must implement their overhaul for the safety of the public, but I would be more confident if the government is more transparent in its costing and spending of public money. We need transparency, accountability and public scrutiny of the 'whopping' sum.

Incidentally Humpty announced the road problem and associated cost when he had his Deepavali ‘open house’ at the Putra World Trade Centre where he received ministers, corporate figures and community leaders among the 'whopping' whooping 10,000 guests.

I wonder how much it cost to host such a 'whopping' ‘open house’, but I am sure a minister’s 'whopping' monthly salary should be enough to cover it with plenty of 'whopping' change back.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Fine Zakaria Deros but rein in Selangor MB

OK, the PM has even hammered him publicly, giving others the imprimatur to also criticise him. AAB said: "Society cannot accept such offences committed by an elected representative and action must be taken against him."

Just to be sure no one misses the OK to whack this bloke, Bernama and the NST have also published news critical of him.


So, who's the 'lucky' bloke to earn such attention, even from the PM?

State Assemblyman Zakaria Md Deros is in the dog house for having built an ostentatious ‘istana’ (palace) amidst a low cost housing environment, a provocative act in a Malay kampong (village) area.

A Malay himself, he has been utterly insensitive in a low cost Malay housing area with a predominantly Malay culture that frowns on arrogant display of tall poppy lifestyle. His 4-storey mansion is at least ten times larger than others in the vicinity.

And talking about tall poppy, local residents have been pissed off, stating the palace-like building has become an eye-sore to those living in the area. One even declared: "I cannot bear to look at it, but it cannot be avoided. It is staring right at me once I open the door of my house".

He averred that locals had been against the project and that it had led to arguments between them and Zakaria's aides. Another criticised Zakaria for showing off his powers by defying their feelings.

Just to complement his social ‘sins’, he also committed a legal ‘sin’, by erecting his palatial mansion without submitting a building plan for approval. OK, so the accusation of his 'arrogant display of powers' is proven!

Now, normally when an UMNO member, especially a local bigwig, does that, he or she would be able to get away with it, but the fact that Zakaria has been hammered publicly by the PM, MB and the UMNO controlled media means he’s out of favour with the party.

Then there is also the matter of his family dominating the Klang Town Council. While there is no legal impediment to three members of the same family sitting on the Council, there is the universal concept of public propriety, namely avoidng public perception and criticisms of unbalanced public representation and dodgy conflict of interest, which of course UMNO hasn’t been exactly the tauladan (exemplary model) in upholding.

Selangor Menteri Besar (MB) Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo, not everyone’s favourite, said that Zakaria, by building the house illegally, had contravened the Road, Drainage and Building Act 1974. He wants to fine Zakaria the maximum 10 times the cost of the building plan.

There’s no doubt that Zakaria deserves to be fined for not submitting a building plan, but I don’t like the MB’s politically initiated decision to whack Zakaria 10 times the normal amount. ‘Two wrongs’ don’t make ‘one right’.

The proper process should be followed and a balanced assessment of his fine should be fairly decided upon. It may well be 10 times the usual amount, and so be it, but it’s dangerous supporting a MB who decided on the heat of the political controversy to shoot from his hips at a civil offender.

If Zakaria is to be frown upon for his display of arrogant political power, likewise we must frown upon Mohamad Khir Toyo for his ad hoc announcement of punitive fine against Zakaria. We don't want Toyo's demonstration of absolute autocratic exercise of powers.

In fact I deem it far more important to rein in someone like the MB than Zakaria.

Bush's 'Vietnam'

In my earlier posting F**k if they do, f**k if they don’t I discussed President Bush’s admittance that the deteriorating situation Iraq has become somewhat like those of Vietnam during the American occupation there in the 60’s and 70’s, where the US lost more than 55,000 dead in its 10-year war.

A visitor Ranger wrote in to present his opinion as to why he disagrees with the Iraq-Vietnam parallel. I appreciate his well written piece but we all have our own opinions, which is why I have rustled up, admittedly hastily, a off the cuff response. Initially I thought of just responsing to his comments in the earlier posting, but I reckon it's worth a posting on its own. Maybe some of you more knowledgeable people may want to add on your views ;-)

My response:

There are many parallels. While there is no “North Vietnam” or its “regulars” equivalent in Iraq, there are neighbouring “sanctuaries” and the former Baathist-dominated army. One mistake the Americans made, and a huge one, was to fight Iraq in 2003 like they did a decade before that when they then pulverised Saddam Hussein’s military.

That was why they (or Defence Secretary Rumsfeld) overly believed in and depended on the “shock & awe” concept couple with a blitzkrieg sweep into Baghdad, using only a light mobile land force – they were some 300,000 less in land force strength than they ought to have been.


This so-called Rumsfeld doctrine was in fact influenced by the US horrendous experience in Vietnam. So, even in the planning for the invasion of Iraq, the dark cloud of Vietnam hung over the Americans’ head. Rumsfeld thought he would minimise involvement of ground forces, depending mainly on the “shock & awe” to win the battle (but unfortunately not the war). Surely as a ranger, Ranger, you don’t expect the war (or occupation) to be won solely by air power?

Therein lies part of their current problem.

The other part has been the obduracy of Rumsfeld (backed by Cheney) who refused to acknowledge his poor strategy, which was aggravated by the Administration's ill-defined objective (so how to “maintain” when it’s not well “selected”), an inadequate ground force by as much as a quarter million men (virtually admitting his terrible mistake) or make amends. Rumsfeld was afraid of reinforcing the public’s perception of his mistake and, through pouring in of more men, reminding Americans of another ‘Vietnam’.

On the Iraqi side, unlike the Americans, they learnt from their disaster in the 1st Gulf War. They refused to fight the US on the latter’s terms, namely a conventional war. Saddam (or his advisors) made arrangements to disperse the elite Republican Army as loosely-connected independently-led smaller groups of insurgents. These aren’t to be confused with the al Qaeda movements, the latter only taking advantage of the chaos to come in much later (uninvited by the Iraqis) to install a presence in Iraq.

Please read my earlier posting Vietnam Haunts the USA but Inspires Iraq.

Similar to the USSR and China (and many other communist countries) supporting Vietnam, many Muslim nations are also supporting the Iraqi insurgents, although in the latter case, there is an additional issue of the Sunni-Shiite divide. But you may bet that Saudi Arabia, for selfish reasons caused by fear of an encroaching Shiite “crescent”, is (note the present tense) the main supporter of the Sunnis while Iran supports the other side. They may fight each other (adding to the chaos and impossibility of a stable Iraqi state) but they also target the Yanks and allies.

I do not accept the American-stated arguments that the current utterly horrendous insurgency situation, albeit participated by multiple groups with different objectives and allegiance, aren’t administered by a central authority. Yes, there are peripheral groups which don’t have a central command. But in some better organised groups like the (former Baathist) Sunnis and the southern Shiite groups, they woudl be led by their respective central command.

That they don’t operate like the Vietnamese doesn’t mean they aren’t led like so. Bearing in mind the modern electronic environment and the American dominance of it, those insurgents aren’t exactly ignorant of this factor, nor going to oblige and allow the Yanks to paint a picture of their organisation(s) through intelligence gathering of the air waves. New age, new technology, new insurgent tactics.

As I said, the Iraqis have learnt from previous lessons, including others. Why then would they indulge in a Tet-like offensive if that was disastrous? Besides, the observation of the Vietnam similarity was more in reference to the Vietcong-like insurgency rather than conventional warfare (Tet). An additional point is the insurgents, being insurgents, don't have conventional forces and they don't want to participate in conentional warfare.

Again, you cannot draw parallels between the current Iraqi quagmire and the Gulf War I campaign to regain Kuwait. In the earlier war, George Bush Senior conducted a well planned political campaign prior to the invasion to ensure the majority of the Arab world was on his side. His son didn’t and in fact had the greater part of the World (not just the Arab one) against him.

The father had a well defined limited objective – he just recovered Kuwait and didn’t charge into Baghdad, nor did he leave troops in Iraq after he had achieved his objective; his invasion forces were well marshalled and more than adequate. OTOH, his son had no clear objective nor plans for an occupation, nor the commensurate forces to implement whatever nebulous scheme he and his strategists had in mind, and he ignored the only bloke who had the experience and know-how to make it work, namely Colin Powell.

He relied instead on a bunch of Vietnam draft dodgers, and most dangerously, blokes who were Zionist-Israeli lobbyists, where the last had an entirely different objective of their own (of course for the US to carry out, without the US being any wiser), namely the plain destruction of Saddam’s military and the fragmentation of Iraq as a viable threat to Israel (they want that also for Iran – re Iran please read WMD Lies - Version II).


This last group wasn’t/isn't interested in a stable cohesive Iraq. They weren’t going to get rid of Saddam to have another (and worse for them) better Iraqi leader administer a powerful Iraq to pose a future threat to Israel. Please read Rumsfeld Incompetence & Iraq's Civil War.

For more of the Cheney-Rumsfeld influence on President Bush please read also my posting Iraq War - Colin Powell Revealed Some Facts.

So, I disagree with Ranger's analysis that the insurgency situation in Iraqi is unlike Vietnam. Throw in a hostile local populace (Sunnis or Shiites) and a corrupt pro-US regime and sheer corruption on the American side, and hey presto, the picture is almost complete.


What is still lacking, or rather, not strong yet thus far are two elements, namely (1) the fierce domestic anti-war movement in America but which is surely growing each day, and (2) a generally sceptical American press, which like the anti-war movement, is indeed getting disenchanted with the Bush Administration.

Already we read of former State Secretary Bakar alluding to bringing in a member of Bush’s Axis of Evil, Iran and Bush’s terrorist state, Syria to help ameliorate the Iraqi situation. Another “Kissinger in Paris?”

I invite Ranger and other readers to read my analysis of the American problem in Iraq, and why I had believe they would lose the war in my earlier posting Driving the Sea to the Fishes! (2)


Related:
(1) Iraq: Vietnam II?
(2) Why Terrorism Will Continue?
(3) Appeasement? Absolutely Not!
(4) Terrorism: What Goes Around Comes Around
(5) Heartland of America Traumatised by Casualties in War
(6) Dilemma of the three 'D's
(7) Desperate Bush Dragging Out Smelly Old Lie
(8) US Kills For Democracy & Liberty
(9) US & Israel - Re-Entering Vietnams
(10) Another My Lai!
(11) 100 insurgent attacks per day on Coalition forces in Iraq

Friday, October 20, 2006

Learning Better English

One writer to Malaysiakini informed us that he improved his English by watching English langugage TV programmes (from Singapore).

I don't entirely disagree with the educational value of that but is there be a better way to master English?

Watching TV of course appeals to the receptor's most important sense, his/her vision. Educators have asserted that our visual sense dominates our learning by as much as 75% , whilst our audio sense rules only some 15%.

This is of course only a general rule, because when it comes to more specific learning like driving or making roti (bread) or sewing, the sense of touch assumes equal if not greater importance than the audio sense. Wine tasting of course calls upon the sense of taste and smell, and learning to be a perfume expert ... well, you make a guess.

However, our visual-audio senses takes in not the language of the TV programme but the message it conveys - violence? cruelty? hatred? foreign pop culture and practices?

While there is no doubt that visual-audio media is great for learning English, what about the old hobby/practice of reading or just listening to good radio programmes?

PAS Volte-Face on Dr Mahathir

Remember when Dr Mahathir was thumping AAB, PAS was praising the Grand Ole Man sky-high? PAS used to call Dr Mahathir the 'devil' but during his tiff with AAB, he was elevated back to 'heaven' (by PAS 'ticket to heaven'?) as an archangel, and was even hailed as a national hero and probably a national treasure as well.


Now that there is talk of the pending meeting between the two UMNO leaders, PAS has changed its mind about Dr Mahathir. PAS VP Husam Musa said:

If I was Pak Lah's advisor, I will tell him not to meet Dr Mahathir.

First of all, Mahathir will dictate to Pak Lah on what to do on several issues like the bridge and the AP (approved permits). In that context, Pak Lah will just listen to him and I think that is not good for Pak Lah. Mahathir will pursue his own agenda.


Wait one! whose side is PAS on now?

Alternatively, both of them can come to terms with one another. They will compromise on certain things but I don’t think that is possible. Mahathir will not stick to his principles and he’s in it for short term gains.

But but but, didn't you PAS people hail Dr Mahathir as a national hero - now you're saying he's a bloke who won't stick to principles?

This talk will benefit Mahathir more than Pak Lah. If the aim of Mahathir is to push Pak Lah down, then he can now dictate issues to Pak Lah, issues (that is) difficult for Pak Lah to answer. If Pak Lah cannot explain (these issues) to the public, it will be more difficult to explain to Mahathir.

Somehow after reading Husam's volte-face vis-a-vis Dr Mahathir, my recent growing respect for PAS has taken a serious tumble. PAS is becoming like Anwar Ibrahim.

'Ketupat in Kashmir' - An MGR Extravaganza

I love Indian movies, where the scenes can take startling and amazing shifts of landscapes - one moment the hero is crooning to his paramour in the Taj Mahal gardens, next instant they're skiing down the snow slopes of Kashmir (of course no terrorist); then flash, and you see them on a boat in a Simla lake, before dancing with gaiety in the verdant tea plantations of Darjeeling. Oh, those songs - it's hard to ever imagine Indian movies without songs.

Then in-between the songs, there would be promises of eternal love, of intrepid resolute to fight the evil landlord and devoted filial piety to Mum and traditional apom and etalli.

But what if we transpose those scenes to politics with an Alice in Boleh Land surrealist image - where the evil landlord transforms to assume a benign benevolent paternalistic hero-MGR-ish image, making equally startling and amazing sheaves of (or shaft the) promises, which of course we known would never be fulfilled one iota - hasn't been during the last 50 years.

Oh, how the man promised to undertaken various programmes and projects to uplift the standard of living of the community. Even single mothers, who were once without power and hope, have now been empowered to be self-reliant and independent, with hope for their children and themselves and an opportunity to come out of the poverty cycle and marginalisation.

I hear the drums going ke-tum ke-tum ke-tum ke-tum ke-tum tak tak tak, while sitars and hand organs wailed ominously, and the pseudo-MGR leaps on stage with dazzling teeth and wrapped in rich silk shawl to sing the following Deeparaya jingle, to the flashing shifting background scenes of Kashmir, Taj Mahal, Simla ........

organise, motivate and mobilise
yeah man yeah Must I Come too
bullshit, chong lah, tuapen, lie
who cares if peasants turn blue

we've deepa ketupat in Kashmir
& raya cakes in snow clad Simla
but suckers we've no bloody fear
of you tambis ever getting this far

now flash to beautiful Taj Mahal
see beauties and beast real ugly
& if you peasants see him gatal,
you can sigh in pseudo-ecstasy

but get a share? dream on tangachi
cause you are those marginalised
Must I Come help you? It's crazy
you suckers haven't yet realised


Aneh just want your votes dear
every 5 years dangles before you
sweet fragrant ketupat in Kashmir
promises of dreams to come true

but like the highways that disappear
so will his promises and whatever
thus will those ketupats in Kashmir
be just out of your reach forever


... ke-tum ke-tum ke-tum ke-tum ke-tum tak tak tak ... Jolly great opiate for the masses - hah, another five more years. But Happy Deeparaya!

Related:
(1)
The Toddy Syndrome
(2)
Humpty Dumpty Bit Hands That Fed Him
(3)
Malaysia's Economic Pariahs?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

F**k if they do, f**k if they don’t

When I started blogging over at BolehTalk I discussed how Iraq would be another ‘Vietnam’ for the Americans, I was laughed at, with some ‘experts’ explaining why there couldn’t be any parallel.

Well, bibs, none other than George W Bush, President of the USA, has just admitted on American TV channel ABC that Iraq could be compared to Vietnam.


Another defeat for the world's most powerful nation with its tail behind its hind legs as it scurried back to mainland USA?

In the meanwhile, one of the most respected and distinguished Australian diplomat, a retired foreign affairs chief who had served seven Australian PMs, Richard Woolcott, described Australian involvement in the war in Iraq as a ‘catastrophic blunder’ that has substantially increased the terrorist threat to Australia.

He lambasted Prime Minister John Howard as a man who seemed unable to admit the obvious. He said: "The Iraq war has been a disaster and has substantially increased the terrorist threat Mr Howard said it would reduce. The aim of foreign and defence policy is to make Australia secure - ironically some of our policies have placed Australians at greater risk."

Mr Woolcott also said the Australian government - like the Yank's and the Pommie's, altogether the original Coalition of the Killing - has been caught in a no-win situation with no viable exit strategy.

He said: "The United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, having made such a catastrophic foreign and security policy blunder, are now trapped in a dilemma of their own making."

He warned a precipitious withdrawal from Iraq could cause more chaos, while staying the course would only continue the bloodshed, energise the terrorist and Jihadists, including those in Australia’s own region.

A case of f**k if they do, and f**k if they don’t - yes, the Coalition of the F**k-ed

Woolcott's criticism of the war followed recent comments from Australia's former defence chief General Peter Cosgrove that it had boosted global terrorism and Britain's top soldier Sir Richard Dannatt, who called for the recall of his troops from Iraq.

The Forgotten People

Sim Kwang Yang, a columnist for Malaysiakini wrote the following article – it’s a wee long but it’s worth a read, especially the last section, as it tells us about a part of Malaysian society that we haven’t heard or talk much about, unlike the very marginalised Indians or the privileged UMNOputras and their BN cohorts. But like the Indians they too fall between the cracks, though not so badly because they keep striving.

***


The young boy’s story

I was enjoying my late evening bubbly beverage at a neighbourhood coffee shop when this scrawny none-too-prosperous-looking Chinese boy tried to push me some illegal CDs.

Then he sat down at the next table drinking a glass of cold Chinese tea, which at 40 cents, was the cheapest item on the menu. He also looked hungry. So I ordered some fried rice for him. He acknowledged my gesture and wolfed down the meal like a ravenous beast.

I started to get him talking about himself by asking some strategic questions in my broken Cantonese. He was 16, he said, still studying in a Chinese junior secondary school. But he could not study well because his family could not afford expensive tuition classes.

His parents were hawkers selling food at a local market. They had to get up at four or five in the morning, and would not be back until two in the afternoon. They would spend the entire evening preparing for the next day's business. Yet, they did not make enough money to make ends meet.

Without his parents' knowledge, this new found young friend of mine began selling illegal CDs and DVDs, starting at six in the evening until one in the morning. He made about RM2 for each article sold, less if the customer insisted on a discount. On a good day, he could take home RM10 for his expenses. A syndicate - represented by a young lady with a large shoulder bag standing not far away - took care of him, his transport, inventory, stock list and accounting.

By the time he got home to sleep, it would be about 2am. He did this six days a week. He did not have much sleep, and his study was slipping. But at least, he had not been arrested by the enforcement officers. He agreed with me he should stop doing this dubious trade, but there seemed to be few other options.

I looked at his innocent young face and shuddered at the kind of future awaiting him in years to come.

I understand there are quite a few young Chinese kids who suffer a similar fate. Apparently, the drop-out rate is about one third in our Chinese school system.

They end up doing all kinds of odd jobs, anything to scrap out a living. The temptations of living in a huge city are great. Often, they find that they can make easy money doing things which are illegal, selling pirated CDs, collecting debt for loan-sharks, repossessing cars, running errands for various crime syndicates. It is a matter of time when they graduate to become syndicate luminaries themselves. Very few could extricate themselves from a life-long web of crime and violence.

The woman's story

Then there is the old lady running the coffee shop where I have my late evening bubbly beverage.

I watched one day when the health officers from our local council came to her shop for the usual inspection. When they left, the old lady whispered to me it took only RM30 to get rid of them. "They said my toilets are dirty. Where got my toilets dirty? They are looking for Duit Raya only."

Over the next few months, she would sometimes sit down at my table to catch her breath, and told me her story.

By now she is 61, and her husband is 73. They both run the coffee shop business. Every morning, she would be at the shop at 6.30 to open the door and light the fire. Then, she is off to the market for the day's purchase of various ingredients. The next few hours would be devoted to non-stop washing, peeling, cutting, and cooking, so that all the dishes would be ready for the lunch crowd at around 10.

When the crowd does turn up, she would be serving, trouble-shooting, supervising, collecting payment and running around until two in the afternoon. Cleaning up will take another hour or so. She would then catch a short nap, in the small space under the staircase.

At six, the action starts again. Her son the chef will turn the shop into a Chinese restaurant. The old lady and her husband still have to be there, to sell their chicken wings roasted over a charcoal fire and to serve the drinks. By the time they pack up for the evening, it would be well past two. She probably goes to bed at three in the morning.

They rest for one day every two weeks, and she complains that she never gets enough sleep.

She has done this for half a century, she told me one day. They started at a shack along Jalan Bukit Bintang at a time when the famed street was just like any haphazard road in China Town. Her brisk business did close for a week in the duration of the May 13 incident.

At her age, most old ladies would have retired long ago to a life of ease and comfort. Unfortunately, she made a bad investment opening a huge food court, and borrowing money from a loan shark. The unwise loan had to be repaid by selling off two houses, one van and three cars. That is why they are still rebuilding another business during her sunset years.

I asked her if she had ever sought help from the any government schemes and cheap loans that I read about. She laughed heartily and said she has the wrong colour skin for all that benefits.

The young boy and the old lady above are not well-schooled. But they are street-wise, having been exposed to the cruel working of the world from a young age. They may not know the sort of nation building policies and grand statistics that Big-Shot People bandy about in air-conditioned conference rooms and government meeting halls. But they know the worst of the system in place because they are the victims.

Nevertheless, I have not heard them whine about the lack of assistance from any quarters. They understood instinctively the capitalist dictum that "there is no free lunch in this world" more than your most educated professionals.

Many Chinese professionals and business people do not like playing against the loaded dice, so they have sought more level playing field across the oceans. In one study presented to a meeting of the Chinese Assembly hall in Kuala Lumpur, it was estimated that about one million of the most qualified Chinese people have migrated overseas in the period between 1957 and 1900. That is what I call an exodus. Of course, it is a massive loss of blood from our body politics in more ways than one!

But my friends the young boy and the old lady will never immigrate anywhere. They do not have the paper qualification, and they do not have the money. The very idea probably has not crossed their mind, since their family and friends are all here anyway. Malaysia is their homeland, even though they are denied this sense of belonging by the dominant political movement of the land.

Lumped together statistically

Of course the young boy and the old lady will never dream of buying shares and trading on the stock market. The corporate world is another universe to them, though they will have to buy the goods and services provided by our corporate giants.

They probably know about the legendary wealth of the very rich Chinese people in Malaysia. Perhaps they will gossip enviously about the good Karma of the most famous Chinese tycoons, those who can still retain a foothold in the world of commerce and finance despite the onslaught of unfriendly government policies.

What they - and millions like them - do not realise always is that they are lumped together statistically with the tycoons as a single ethnic group, to entrench the prejudice that all Chinese are rich, and so should be "marginalised" in a strange twist to the idea of positive discrimination.

They will probably not care much about this raging controversy on how much equity shares are held by the Malays. The only ASLI they know is Orang Asli (photo). Perhaps they do not believe in any government statistics anyway, being just average Malaysians at heart, and therefore very distant from government business, except when paying taxes or bribing "little Napoleons".

Whatever the Big-Shot People may say, the young boy and the old lady still has to get on with their daily struggle for survival in their separate ways. They are small fish in a huge ocean. Only the big fish can enjoy gargantuan and sumptuous free lunch in the name of righting racial wrongs.