Thursday, April 30, 2015

What about Najib’s right to reply?


Shahbudin Husin said Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s open show of defiance in the face of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s campaign to oust him would only provoke the former premier to intensify his attacks.

According to Shahbudin, if Najib maintains his resolve and Dr Mahathir remains true to his character, the Malaysian public will be witnessing a bitter war indeed, “As everyone knows, Mahathir will never back off, will never surrender, will never abandon something he has started,” said Shahbudin.

Does this mean Najib should not reply to Dr Mahathir and should just keep quiet instead?

When, out of respect for Dr Mahathir, the Prime Minister keeps quiet, he is accused of ignoring the issue and of not replying to all the allegations. However, when the Prime Minister does reply as demanded, he is now accused of provoking Dr Mahathir and of prolonging the issue.

No doubt Malaysians have a right to criticise. However, in that same spirit, those who are criticised also have a right to reply. Rights work both ways. We cannot apply the principle that while Malaysians have a right to criticise the Prime Minister the Prime Minister does not have the right to reply.

We have to decide whether we want the Prime Minister to reply or to just keep quiet. You cannot criticise the Prime Minister for keeping quiet and then when he replies you criticise him for replying. This is not how things work in a democracy and a civil society.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Why must Anwar be allowed to vote?


The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that each country has the right to decide its own rules as to whether prisoners should be allowed to vote.

The UK does not allow its prisoners to vote. Neither do Italy, Greece, Austria, Armenia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Russia and Liechtenstein.

France considers the ban on prisoners from voting as part of the sentence while Germany bans prisoners from voting only if the prisoner is convicted of a crime against the state or against democracy. Italian and Polish courts can, in fact, ban a criminal from voting even after his or her release from jail.

That is in Europe. In the US, the so-called leader of the free world, 48 of the 50 states do not allow prisoners to vote. And it is the same in many Asian countries, Japan included where the Tokyo High Court ruled that denying prisoners the right to vote is constitutional.

The opposition wants the government to allow Anwar Ibrahim the right to vote. This means Anwar must be given a special exemption from the law. What about the other tens of thousands of prisoners? Should they, too, be given the right to vote or does the opposition mean that only Anwar alone must be given this right?

Anwar was in jail during the 1999 and 2004 general elections as well. But this was never an issue back in 1999 and 2004. So why is it an issue now? And if Anwar is given the right to vote should not in the interest of fairness and justice all prisoners be allowed to vote?

But the tens of thousands of prisoners will not be able to walk to the polling stations all over Malaysia to vote since they are in prison. So this will mean they will have to vote via postal votes. And then the opposition will, as usual, raise yet another issue: the issue of fraudulent postal votes.

Basically the opposition is good at raising issues to make the government look bad. And not allowing Anwar the right to vote is yet one more of these issues being played up by the opposition. And the fact that the opposition wants only Anwar and none of the other thousands of prisoners to be allowed to vote is proof of this.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A vote of no confidence carries some risks


Yesterday, PAS vice-president Husam Musa proposed a no-confidence motion or a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak when Parliament commences next month.

A motion of no confidence, a vote of confidence, or a vote of no confidence, is a feature of the Westminster system of government that Malaysia is using. It basically means the executive, in this case the Prime Minister, is required to retain the confidence of the majority of the Members of Parliament.

In Malaysia’s case it must be at least 112 of the 222 Members of Parliament.

Malaysia has not yet seen any motion of no confidence passed against the Prime Minister but the last one passed in England was in March 1979 and the one before that in 1924.

It is easier to pass a vote of no confidence when it is a minority government but more difficult when the government has a clear majority like in Malaysia because the ruling party will have to break ranks and work with the opposition for the vote to be passed.

Once a vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister is passed with a simple majority, the Prime Minister either resigns or he seeks the consent of the His Majesty the Agong to dissolve Parliament. Since the Agong has to act on the advice of the Prime Minister, most likely consent will be given because if His Majesty does not give consent then His Majesty would be accused of interfering in politics.

And this would mean once the vote of no confidence is passed against Najib then Malaysia would face a fresh general election.

In 1977, PAS passed a vote of no confidence against the Kelantan Menteri Besar but he refused to resign. The Menteri Besar then requested that HRH the Sultan dissolve the Kelantan State Assembly but consent was denied. This resulted in riots and the declaration of an emergency.

Therefore, such methods do not always prove the best or the most peaceful and Kelantan has proven this. Does Husam want to take this risk of evicting the Prime Minister by force, like what PAS did against the Kelantan MB in 1977, which resulted in turmoil? We need to find a more peaceful solution to solve political disagreements.

Monday, April 27, 2015


KOTA BELUD: (April 27) -- State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said Sabahans would not accept all forms of religious extremism, saying it might cause disharmony among the people.

He asserted that Sabah had a different culture and practiced a higher level of religious tolerance and understanding.

"All peace-loving Sabahans cannot accept religious extremism. What is happening in Peninsular Malaysia has no bearing on east Malaysia, especially Sabah. Sabah has never had problems between Muslims and christians all this while, and that should not change," he said at a meet-the-people session in Kampung Tingkurus, near here today.

Last Sunday, about 50 Taman Medan Muslim residents in Kuala Lumpur staged a protest against the Community of Praise Petaling Jaya Church for putting up a cross on its façade, claiming the act was a challenge to Islam and could influence young Muslims.

` Subsequently, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak issued a statement that the police were investigating the incident and would take action under the Sedition Act and other laws if the protesters were found to have acted unlawfully.

Salleh, who is also Sabah Umno liaison deputy chief, said any attempt to bring in religious politics to Sabah was bound to fail.

"I believe Sabahans will not allow religious politics to creep into the state, known for religious harmony despite having more than 32 etnic groups.

"We have to maintain peace and harmony at all costs," he said.

He urged Sabahans not to be easily swayed by religious bigots'propaganda who were out to create religious animosity and distrust.

Expressing concern over the threat of religious extremism in the country, the former Chief Minister called on all Malaysians regardless of race, religion or political affiliation to unite and stand up against religious extremism.

"We are witnessing a rise in religious extremism (in Peninsular Malaysia) of late, and we hope it will not spread to Sabah," said Salleh.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Najib's Cabinet shares a collective responsibility


When Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman did not agree with Tunku Abdul Rahman’s decisions regarding various issues he resigned from the government.

Shahrir Samad had his differences with two Prime Ministers so he resigned when he could no longer agree with the Prime Minister and even refused to join the Cabinet when offered a post.

In more recent times Zaid Ibrahim resigned from Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s Cabinet when he did not agree with the ISA detentions of critics to the government.

In Malaysia such incidences are not that common but in other countries it is very normal for one to resign if one cannot agree with the Prime Minister’s policies or actions.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is currently under attack by no other than the person who forced the resignation of the previous Prime Minister. Dr Mahathir himself admitted this in his talk yesterday. And Dr Mahathir also said that Najib, too, should resign.

It is time that the Cabinet took a stand on this matter. The Cabinet is appointed by the Prime Minister and serves at the pleasure of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has the right to reshuffle his Cabinet, drop certain members of the Cabinet, and appoint new Cabinet members.

Therefore it is only proper that those Cabinet members who no longer have confidence in the Prime Minister resign from their posts so that the Prime Minister is free to appoint new members who share his vision and mission.

This is the spirit of a Westminster system of government where the Cabinet works with the Prime Minister or leaves. They cannot remain and at the same time be at odds with the Prime Minister.

The Cabinet members share a collective responsibility on all decisions made and they cannot later say that this was the Prime Minister’s decision and they did not agree to that decision. They have to show they do not agree by resigning, not by keeping quiet and then deny all liability later.

Friday, April 24, 2015


KOTA BELUD: Rakyat perlu waspada terhadap pelbagai tohmahan negatif pembangkang berhubung Cukai Barang dan Perkhidmatan (GST) yang cuba membentuk persepsi negatif rakyat terhadap sistem percukaian itu.

Speaker Dewan Undangan Negeri Sabah Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Salleh Tun Said berkata pembangkang terus memutarbelitkan mengenai fakta GST walhal mereka mengakui ia sistem terbaik, adil dan telus.

"Hakikatnya, pembangkang cuba membentuk persepsi negatif rakyat terhadap GST demi kepentingan politik mereka. Justeru, rakyat mesti bersikap rasional dengan bersedia mendengar penjelasan kerajaan," katanya.

Beliau berkata demikian pada majlis taklimat dan penerangan GST anjuran Barisan Nasional (BN) Kota Belud di Rumah Rehat di sini hari ini. Hadir sama pengerusi penganjur, Datuk Almudin Kaida yang juga Ketua Penerangan BN Kota Belud serta pemimpin parti komponen setempat.

Salleh yang juga Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri Usukan berkata pada realitinya GST tidak dikenakan ke atas barangan makanan keperluan asas harian pengguna.

Ia termasuklah beras, minyak masak, tepung dan sebagainya, pengangkutan awam, perkhidmatan tol, pembelian dan penyewaan rumah kediaman, perkhidmatan kesihatan dan pendidikan, pengeluaran pasport dan lesen, air paip, perkhidmatan kerajaan, penggunaan elektrik bagi 300 unit pertama bagi pengguna domestik dan pelbagai barangan asas dan perkhidmatan lain.

Selain itu, katanya, barang dan perkhidmatan yang dieksport juga tidak dikenakan GST, sekali gus menjadikan eksport negara menjadi lebih kompetetif di peringkat antarabangsa.
Salleh juga berkata kerajaan telah memberi banyak subsidi untuk mengurangkan harga barang dan perkhidmatan.

"Untuk 2015, kerajaan telah dan akan memberi BRIM sebanyak RM850 untuk mengimbangi kenaikan harga barang dan mengurangkan kos sara hidup," katanya.

Bercakap kepada pemberita kemudian, Salleh yang juga Timbalan Pengerusi Badan Perhubungan Umno Sabah berkata tidak ada sebab mengapa Parlimen dibubarkan hanya kerana memenuhi kehendak segelintir pemimpin yang mahu menjatuhkan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak.

Katanya, BN mempunyai mandat sebagai parti pemerintah sehingga pilihan raya umum (PRU) akan datang dan semua parti komponen BN berdiri teguh menyokong Perdana Menteri  seperti yang telah dizahirkan oleh pemimpin-pemimpin BN dan Umno.

"Persoalan yang mereka (pembangkang) bangkitkan telahpun dijelaskan, cuma mereka sengaja mengelirukan masyarakat. Mereka kena sabar dan tunggu pilihanraya akan datang untuk bersaing dalan proses demokrasi," katanya.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dr Mahathir’s self-fulfilling prophecy


Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has ‘predicted’ that Barisan Nasional will lose the next general election if Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is not removed and replaced. This can result in a self-fulfilling prophecy in the event people do not vote Barisan Nasional because of what Dr Mahathir said.

Therefore if this does happen Dr Mahathir has to share the blame. He is the one spreading panic with his doomsday talk.

Dr Mahathir also said he doubts Malaysia will become a developed nation by 2020 and added that a high per capita income did not equal development. He added that development was not just about achieving a high gross domestic product (GDP) or per capita income. “This alone doesn’t mean that we are developed,” he said.

Dr Mahathir admitted that it was an oversight on his part to not properly define the meaning of a developed nation when he first launched Vision 2020. “Malaysia needs to make our own mould of what a developed nation is, not just copy what another country is doing,” he said.

Dr Mahathir then defined a developed nation as a nation that has the industrial capability to produce the latest technological products, having a strong representation of educated people, and fully understanding the idea of democracy.

In the first place, Vision 2020 was merely an aspiration that did not have any details. Most people did not even understand what Vision 2020 meant but were too afraid to ask or did not want to appear stupid for asking. So it is understandable it is not going to succeed mainly because it was too vague, just like the Look East Policy, which many also did not understand what it meant.

Dr Mahathir is trying to shift the blame for the failure of Vision 2020 to someone else when the failure of Vision 2020 is actually because it was not realistic and too idealistic.

What does he mean when he says, “Malaysia needs to make our own mould of what a developed nation is, not just copy what another country is doing”? Can he explain the details? This is the problem with rhetoric and slogans that do not give us any details of how it is supposed to work.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

BR1M is not all bad


Two days ago, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he is opposed to BR1M because it gives an impression that Malaysia is a backward country and a country that is not successful. Instead, Malaysia should increase job opportunities so that the people can find work rather than depend on the government. BR1M, said Dr Mahathir, is a form of bribery.

BR1M pales in comparison to what Britain spends on the welfare of its citizens, which is more than RM1,300 billion on social security and national healthcare alone. However, we would not say that the UK is a backward country. The issue here is not that Malaysians do not have jobs like in the UK where about two million people are unemployed. In fact, because of the shortage of labour, about 20%-30% of Malaysia’s work force is ‘imported’.

The real problem is, unlike in the UK, Malaysia does not legislate and enforce a minimum wage law so more than half Malaysia’s working population survives below the poverty level where many earn less than RM1,000 a month. Even then this would depend on what you regard as the poverty level, whether it should be RM1,200 or RM2,000 a month.

Therefore BR1M is not really to help the unemployed as much as to help those employed but earning a salary that is too low and is not sufficient to cover the cost of living.

One alternative to BR1M would be to set the minimum wage at RM1,200 per month and to pass a law that employers who pay their work force anything less than that can be arrested and charged in court. But then the cost of goods and services would definitely increase and it would make Malaysia uncompetitive compared to the neighbouring countries.

The problem with putting more money into the pockets of Malaysians by enforcing a minimum wage law would be that inflation would set in. The cost of goods and services will increase and this increase will invariably be passed back to the consumer. Therefore there is no best solution but merely a solution of the lesser of the two evils.

BR1M, therefore, helps put more money into the pockets of the needy without actually increasing the costs of goods and services via legislated salary increases such as minimum wage laws. This is still a better option than gambling with inflation.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The protest against the cross


Caliph Umar ibn Al-Khattāb was one of the most historical figures in Islam. The Muslims, under Umar, conquered Jerusalem in the 630s and it is reported that when the Caliph entered Jerusalem the first thing he did was to fulfil his obligatory prayers and the Bishop invited him into the church to pray.

Umar, however, refused and chose instead to pray outside the church. The reason he gave was that he did not want future generations to misinterpret his action and to think that the Muslims had taken over or possessed the church.

Basically, Umar respected the sanctity of the Christian church and he did not want it to appear like the Muslims had displaced the Christians and had taken over their place of worship. And for sure Umar did not command that Christian icons such as the cross be removed from the church.

The Christians, in fact, had banned Jews from entering Jerusalem and it was Umar who lifted this ban so that Jews could now enter what was then the holy land to both Jews and Christians. It was through Umar’s effort that the Muslims, Christians and Jews coexisted side-by-side in peace in what is now considered the holy land to all three faiths.

Muslims tend to forget their history. Or maybe they never studied the Islamic history. But the early examples during the time when Muslims first conquered the Middle East was of tolerance and respect for those of the non-Muslim faiths.

The protest two days ago in Selangor regarding the cross on top of the church is not what Islam is all about. It is certainly not what Umar taught us and was not Umar one of Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) most trusted companions?

This is what happens when Islam is abused in the interest of politics. And the protest against the cross is not the first and only incident that is troubling this country.

We in Sabah are very concerned about this matter plus about all those issues involving the Bahasa Malaysia Bible, the Allah word, and many other controversies. This is taking Malaysia down a very dangerous path that may soon cross the point of no return with only a slippery slope ahead of us.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The balance that Najib is trying to achieve


“He reduced places for bumis in the government universities even though in the numerous private universities and twinned colleges, bumis make up less than 10 per cent. Bumiputera contractors and small business no longer had government favour. 
Most had to stop their businesses. Without saying so in so many words, he had adopted the Malaysian Malaysia slogan of the opposition, only calling it One Malaysia instead.”

That was what Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said in his Blog today. And he added, “Despite all these the Chinese refused to support Najib. They flocked to the opposition and he performed worse than Abdullah in the 13th General Election.”

First of all, Dr Mahathir did not offer any statistics or specifically mention which government universities he was referring to. For example, UiTM is still very much a Bumiputera-dominated institution since 1956.

As for the other government-funded universities and institutions of higher learning, we need to see the statistics and not just make sweeping statements that give the impression the Bumiputeras are being left behind.

Dr Mahathir said that in spite of favouring the Chinese, they still refused to vote Barisan Nasional and instead voted opposition. That is an unfair statement because social reengineering must not be seen just in terms of vote buying but also in terms of social justice.

The New Economic Policy that was launched in 1970 had two objectives: serampang dua mata. It was supposed to elevate the economic position of the Malays plus reduce the gap between the haves and the have-nots. Therefore, while in some aspects the NEP is supposed to help the Bumiputeras, at the same time it is also supposed to be colour-blind and to assist the needy non-Bumiputeras.

It is not correct to say that in spite of what the Prime Minister is trying to do for the non-Bumiputeras they still do not support the government. It is actually the other way around. Because the non-Bumiputeras are upset that the government is too pro-Bumiputera and does not consider the feelings and interest of the non-Bumiputeras is the reason why they have abandoned the government.

We cannot just talk about the Malays. There are about one million Malaysians who have left the country because they feel the NEP is discriminating to the non-Bumiputeras. They study overseas and then refuse to come home to Malaysia. That is a serious brain drain that needs to be addressed. And the only way this can be addressed is to show the non-Bumiputeras that they are not second-class citizens in Malaysia.

Sunday, April 19, 2015


Oleh SSK

Tunku Abdul Rahman meletakkan jawatan sebagai Perdana Menteri kerana maruah. Begitu juga dengan Tun Hussein Onn dan bapanya sebelum itu, Onn Jaafar. Terbaru bekas Perdana Menteri Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi juga melakukan perkara yang sama.

Seperti yang pernah Pak Lah perkatakan, Malaysia adalah sebuah negara yang mempunyai infrastruktur bertaraf dunia tetapi memiliki mentaliti dunia ketiga. Ketika ditemuramah tidak lama selepas bersara, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad berbicara perkara yang hampir sama tetapi dalam perkataan yang berbeza.

Apabila ditanya apakah penyesalan terbesar dalam kariernya sebagai Perdana Menteri selama 22 tahun, Dr Mahathir menjawab penyesalan paling besar ialah beliau tidak dapat merubah mentaliti orang Melayu. Orang Melayu terlalu berfikiran feudal, kata Dr Mahathir sambil mengeluh dan berkata "mengapa orang Melayu tidak boleh bersikap lebih pragmatik seperti kaum Cina.

Dr Mahathir sendiri begitu memahami jiwa masyarakat Melayu apabila beliau berkata pemikiran orang Melayu bercorak feudal. Ini mungkin baik atau sebaliknya bergantung kepada keadaan tetapi dalam isu-isu seperti maruah yang pasti ia adalah satu perkara yang baik.

Walaupun kita berhak bercakap mengenai kebebasan bersuara, demokrasi dan hak untuk mengkritik atau menegur, namun kita perlu memberi sedikit ruang untuk seseorang menjaga maruah. Apabila seseorang dilucutkan maruah maka seseorang itu akan mempertahankannya hingga ke titisan darah terakhir.

Malangnya, amalan seumpama itu bukan hanya melibatkan masyarakat Melayu tetapi juga kebanyakan orang Asia. Orang Cina memanggilnya sebagai air muka. Air muka atau maruah sangat penting kepada orang Cina. Jika anda membuatkan mereka kehilangan air muka maka anda berdepan dengan risiko balasan atau reaksi yang sangat teruk atau kejam.

Apabila anda terlebih serangan terhadap seseorang di sebelah barat, mereka akan berkata: berikan orang itu sedikit ruang. Di sebelah Timur kita akan berkata: beri muka kepada orang itu. Adakan Dr Mahathir memberi muka kepada Najib Tun Razak dengan cara yang digunakanya sekarang menyerang Perdana Menteri?

Tunku Abdul Rahman yang mempunyai darah keturunan raja lebih menjiwai perkara ini. Begitu juga Tun Razak Hussein dan Tun Hussein Onn. Dalam berurusan dengan Istana, mereka menyelesaikan apa-apa juga perkara di belakang tabir dan tidak mengkritik secara terbuka atau menyerang Raja-Raja.  Itulah cara Melayu melakukan sesuatu dan Raja-Raja memahami bahawa sebagai Raja Berperlembagaan Perdana Menteri mempunyai hak berbuat demikian.

Dr Mahathir membuat perubahan apabila beliau mewujudkan jurang antara Istana dan Rakyat dengan melancarkan jelajah seluruh negara untuk menyerang Raja-Raja dan mendedahkan mereka kepada cemuhan dan penghinaan awam. Dan inilah juga yang berlaku kepada Pak Lah.

Isu di sini bukan Crooked Bridge atau BR1M, tetapi 1MDB seperti yang diakui sendiri Dr Mahathir. Dalam hal ini, Perdana Menteri telah meminta SPRM dan PAC untuk menyiasat hal ehwal 1MDB. Itu sedang dilakukan dan hasil siasatan belum lagi diumumkan.

Kenapa Dr Mahathir tidak dapat menunggu sehingga keputusan diketahui sebelum beliau memutuskan apa yang perlu dilakukan? Cara beliau bertindak sekarang, seolah-olah Dr Mahathir telah membuat kesimpulan bahawa ada sesuatu yang "tak kena" yang bermakna tiada dapatan lain oleh SPRM atau PAC yang boleh diterima melainkan keputusan bersalah.

Dr Mahathir’s attack on one’s dignity


Tunku Abdul Rahman resigned as Prime Minister because of his dignity. So did Tun Hussein Onn and his father before that, Onn Jaafar. And in more recent times we had Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi doing the same.

As Pak Lah once said, Malaysia is a country with first-world infrastructure but third-world mentality. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad when interviewed soon after his retirement said almost the same thing but in different words.

When asked what was his greatest regret in 22 years as Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir replied his greatest regret is he could not change the mentality of the Malays. The Malays are too feudalistic, said Dr Mahathir, and he sighed and said why can’t the Malays be more pragmatic like the Chinese.

Dr Mahathir himself has summed up the Malay psyche very well when he said the Malays are very feudal. This may be good or it may be bad depending on the circumstances but in issues such as dignity or maruah that is certainly a good thing.

While we may talk about freedom of speech, democracy and the right to criticise or tegur, we must also leave some room for one to maintain one’s dignity. When a person is stripped of one’s dignity then one would want to defend it to the death.

That, unfortunately, is not just the Malay psyche but also that of most Asians. The Chinese, in fact, call it face. Face is very important to the Chinese. And if you make them lose face then you do so at the risk of a very brutal repercussion.

When you over-attack someone in the west, they would say: give the person some space. In the East we would say: give the person some face. Is Dr Mahathir allowing Najib Tun Razak some face in the way he is attacking the Prime Minister?

Tunku Abdul Rahman, being of royal breeding, knew this very well. So did Tun Razak Hussein and Tun Hussein Onn. In their dealings with the Palace they sorted matters out behind the scenes and did not publicly criticise or attack the Rulers. That is the Malay way of doing things and the Rulers understood that as a Constitutional Monarchy the Prime Minister has this right.

Dr Mahathir changed that when he created a divide between the Palace and the Rakyat by launching a nationwide road show to attack the Rulers and bring them to public ridicule and contempt. And we know what happened to Pak Lah as well.

The issue here is not the Crooked Bridge or BR1M but 1MDB, Dr Mahathir admitted. The Prime Minister has already asked MACC and the PAC to investigate the affairs of 1MDB. That is being done and the result of these investigations are yet to be announced.

Can Dr Mahathir not wait until the results are known before he decides what should be done? The way he is currently acting, Dr Mahathir has already decided that there is something wrong so that would mean no other finding by MACC or the PAC would be acceptable other than a verdict of guilty.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


Speaker Dewan Undangan Negeri Sabah Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Salleh Tun Said Keruak pagi Sabtu turun padang meninjau premis perniagaan sekitar pekan Kota Belud untuk melihat sendiri harga barangan yang dijual peniaga. Beliau yang juga Ketua Umno Bahagian Kota Belud diiringi oleh pegawai kanan Kastam, KPDNKK dan pemimpin Umno.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Don’t kill BR1M just to spite the government


Malaysia’s BR1M is being criticised as a scheme to bribe the voters into voting for Barisan Nasional. Judging by the ‘confessions’ in the social media, however, it seems that there are recipients of this aid accept the cash handouts but still vote opposition anyway. They are not in any way enticed into vote government just because the government gives them money.

What Malaysia is doing is not unique and neither is it the first. Many other countries have been doing the same thing for the last decade or two and statistics show that it has been successful in assisting the less fortunate segment of the population in releasing them from the shackles of poverty.

In 2000, a new idea on how to directly help the people other than by just building schools, hospitals and roads and by supplying water and electricity began to emerge. This scheme called ‘conditional cash transfers’ or CCTs first appeared in Latin America and then soon spread all over the world.

It was later copied in Africa and schemes such as ‘Give Directly in Kenya’, which was started by Michael Faye, managed to boost household incomes considerably. Studies show that the scheme succeeded in pulling people out of poverty.

Johannes Haushofer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Jeremy Shapiro, a former board member of Give Directly in Kenya, who randomly selected and studied poor households in 63 villages that have received this aid, say that the number of children going without food for a day has fallen by over a third while livestock holdings have risen by half. A year after the scheme began, incomes had gone up by a quarter.

In Vietnam, in a trial scheme implemented in 2006 where 550 households were given one-off handouts, it was found that two years later the poverty rate had fallen by 20%. The scheme was actually dubbed ‘cash for coffins’ because it was discovered that elderly recipients of this aid spent the money on their funeral arrangements to save their children the problem of finding the money after they die.

In Uganda, US$10,000 is given to groups of 20 people who then spend a third of the money to learn a trade and the balance on tools and livestock. They then set up joint enterprises and over four years their earnings increased by 50%. This scheme has one condition, however -- applicants must first submit a business plan.

In Brazil, the scheme is called Bolsa Família, a program aimed at reducing short-term poverty through direct cash transfers. The Economist describes Bolsa Família as an anti-poverty scheme invented in Latin America that is winning converts worldwide.

Brazil’s Bolsa Família, the centerpiece of ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's social policy, is currently the largest cash transfer program in the world, although the Mexican program, Oportunidades, was the first nation-wide program of its kind.

There are many other such programs all over Africa, Latin America, Asia, etc., and studies done show that they have been successful in bringing people out of poverty. And these programs by whatever name they are called have been a boon to the people who received the aid.

So Malaysia’s RM1M is not a new idea and is not the only one. It is also definitely not the first of its kind. The critics of BR1M argue that the cash aid is a form of bribery aimed at buying votes. It is fine for these people to talk when they do not face financial constraints like those who are receiving this aid are. But all over the world it has been proven that schemes such as BR1M do help those who are in need of such assistance.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

1MDB: Let’s not jump the gun


Penang Umno chairman Zainal Abidin Osman appealed to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to refrain from being too pushy regarding the investigations into 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) affairs.

“Tun Dr Mahathir should be patient and allow the investigations to be completed first,” said Zainal.

He also urged the Auditor-General and the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to expedite their investigations into 1MDB’s many ‘questionable investments’.

This appears to be a statement in support of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, plus a mild rebuttal to Dr Mahathir. However, the insertion of ‘questionable investments’ in that statement gives a hint into what Zainal is thinking -- and that is the investments are indeed dodgy.

The PAC, on the other hand, announced that it may not wait for the Auditor-General’s report before proceeding and may instead press ahead with its own investigation.

As unfair as it may sound, in politics one is considered guilty until proven innocent and one is subjected to trial by the court of public opinion. And this is what is happening with the 1MDB issue.

Basically, it is a classic case of the mob-lynching syndrome.

The opposition, plus those within Umno and Barisan Nasional opposed to the Prime Minister, are giving an impression that RM42 billion of the taxpayers’ money has disappeared or vanished. It has simply gone.

What is the basis for coming to that conclusion? Have the opposition and those other critics of the Prime Minister produced any evidence for believing so or is this based merely on rumours, innuendos and allegations?

The opposition demands justice and the application of the standard of innocent until proven guilty. But in the 1MDB case they practice the reverse and give the excuse that since there is no evidence of innocence then we must assume there is guilt.

We are yet to see 1MDB’s balance sheet. If RM42 billion has disappeared then the balance sheet would certainly reflect this. And the balance sheet would, therefore, show a figure of zero.

How do they know it is zero instead of, say, RM50 billion? The investigation is yet to be completed and no figures have been revealed thus far. So let us see what the figures are before we decide that a crime has indeed been committed.

Is this not the very essence of fairness and justice? Why should Najib Tun Razak be denied this same decency just because he is the Prime Minister?

Monday, April 13, 2015

The logic of the bridge to Singapore


Back in 2006-2007, in his effort to unseat Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad openly and publicly chided the PM for not building the ‘Crooked Bridge’.

The bridge, of course, has to be built crooked because it was going to be only half a bridge on the Malaysian side since Singapore does not agree to a bridge on their side of the Causeway. A straight bridge would be too short and therefore too low while if you want it built high it has to be longer, which means also meandering or crooked.

But why, in the first place, does Malaysia need the bridge to replace the Causeway and why does Singapore resist it?

If the Causeway is maintained ships will not be able to sail through the Johor Straits while a bridge would allow it. So Johor’s ports would benefit from the bridge. This also means the bridge will help Malaysia’s economy grow while it would have the reverse affect to Singapore.

In short, the bridge will improve Malaysia’s import-export trade while it will take away the business from Singapore. So Malaysia will boom while Singapore’s business will decline. And this is why Singapore opposes the bridge and also why Malaysia needs the bridge.

It all boils down to business rivalry between Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore will resist any move to boost Malaysia’s trade because this would rob Singapore of that trade. So anything in Malaysia’s favour would be against the interest of Singapore.

Johor can be the alternative to Singapore, argued Dr Mahathir. In fact, Johor can outgrow Singapore. But for that to happen the bridge first needs to be built. And that is why Dr Mahathir insists that the bridge be built and if the Prime Minister does not also agree then he must be ousted and replaced.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Najib broke his promise, said Dr Mahathir


“He was my hope after Pak Lah resigned. He said he would build the bridge when he became the prime minister even if Singapore opposes to it. But he didn't do.”

“If Singapore does not agree to this, it is not my fault. It is our sovereign right; it is in our own territorial area, territorial waters. Half of that Causeway belongs to us. I'm not touching Singapore’s side.”

“He said he made an agreement with Singapore, where is our independence? Are we part of Singapore?”

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is very angry that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak allegedly broke his promise about building the ‘Crooked Bridge’ to Singapore once he takes over from Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. What upset Dr Mahathir even more is that Najib ‘bends’ to Singapore by not proceeding with the construction of the bridge.

In the first place, the reason it is a crooked bridge and not a straight bridge is because it is going to be half a bridge. The bridge will be built only on the Malaysian side of the Causeway and not on the Singapore side. And this is because Singapore does not want to demolish their side of the Causeway and replace it with a bridge.

Since the Causeway on the Malaysian side is too short, it is impossible to build a straight half bridge or else it will be too steep. The bridge needs to be longer to make the gradient feasible and if it is going to be longer then it cannot be a straight bridge but must meander and be built crooked.

The matter of the bridge itself is not really an issue, as Dr Mahathir said, or even the broken promise. What is the issue is that Singapore opposes the destruction of the historic Causeway for sentimental reasons. So they would like the Causeway to remain. And if Malaysia does not demolish the Causeway then it would be giving in to Singapore.

It is basically a tug-of-war with Singapore and as far as Dr Mahathir is concerned Malaysia must win. But if the ‘Crooked Bridge’ is not going to be built then Singapore would win instead. And this something that Dr Mahathir cannot accept -- losing to Singapore.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sabah dan Sarawak kekal sebagai simpanan tetap BN: Salleh

 KOTA BELUD:  Sabah dan Sarawak akan tetap menjadi `simpanan tetap' kepada Barisan Nasional (BN) di bawah kepimpinan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Timbalan Pengerusi BadanPerhubungan Umno Sabah, Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Salleh Tun Said, berkata ini kerana rakyat kedua-dua negeri di Borneo ini merasakan Najib adalah Perdana Menteri yang memahami kehendak mereka.

Malah, katanya, Najib secara terbuka mengiktiraf bahawa Sabah dan Sarawak adalah rakan penubuhan negara Malaysia menerusi perisytiharan 16 September sebagai cuti umum.

"Mengambil kira keadaan ini, kita cukup yakin bahawa Sabah dan Sarawak akan tetap menjadi simpanan tetap bagi BN di bawah pimpinan Najib," katanya  selepas merasmikan mesyuarat Jawatankuasa Umno Bahagian Kota Belud di sini hari ini.

Salleh yang juga Speaker Dewan Undangan Negeri Sabah berkata  asas kepada pandangan Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad bahawa BN akan kalah dalam Pilihan Raya Umum (PRU) akan datang, disebabkan maklumat yang diterima bekas Perdana Menteri itu mengenai keadaan di Sabah dan Sarawak adalah tidak tepat.

"Mungkin ada pemimpin yang kecewa memberi maklumat salah kepada beliau (Tun Mahathir). Pada kami, Najib memahami perasaan orang Sabah dan Sarawak, malah sentiasa memenuhi permintaan kita," katanya.

Beliau berkata Najib bersikap terbuka dengan perkara yang dibangkitkan oleh kepimpinan BN diSabah dan Sarawak.

Dalam pada itu, Salleh yang juga Ketua Umno Bahagian Kota Belud menegaskan pendirian Umno bahagian itu menyokong padu kepimpinan Najib untuk terus mentadbir negara dan mengurus parti.

"Kita berpendapat Najib adalah pemimpin yang mampu memenuhi kehendak dan aspirasi rakyat, seterusnya membawa Malaysia mencapai status negara maju berpendapatan tinggi menjelang tahun 2020," katanya.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Time to put the Altantuya issue to rest


In Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s interview last night, he reiterated what he has been saying for many years, that he never met or knew Altantuya Shaariibuu. Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, on the other hand, said that the police investigation at that time revealed that Najib was not involved in her murder.

Three years ago in 2012, Asia Sentinel and other online news sites and Blogs published 153 documents relating to the French police investigation and the subsequent report to the French court that had ordered the investigation. The investigation and report focused on the issue of Altantuya plus the submarine contract.

Document D54 is a statement by the police to the court that there are no records of Altantuya Shaariibuu, Abdul Razak Baginda and/or Najib Tun Razak ever having entered France from 1999, the date the Scorpene submarines were first negotiated, until the day Altantuya was reported murdered. The immigration authorities and the French intelligence also confirmed the same.

Hence the opposition story that Altantuya, Razak and Najib had dinner in Paris where their photograph was taken is not true.

Document D76 presented to the court is a statement to the police by Fredric Faura regarding his role in the submarine contract. The police had asked him whether he had ever met Altantuya or knows who she is and he replied that he had never met her or knows of her. He added that they do not need any translator to transact business with Malaysia since Malaysians can speak perfect English.

Furthermore, all negotiations were done in Malaysia and not in France where the need for a translator was not necessary.

Central to the allegation against Najib is that Altantuya was involved in the submarine deal and had wanted her share of the profits, and that was why she was murdered. The French police, however, have reported that this is not true.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Dr Mahathir’s innuendos against Najib


While I agree that the Prime Minister, any Prime Minister for that matter, must be accountable to the people and must demonstrate transparency, plus must be open to criticism, there is a vast difference between criticism and innuendoes.

For example, in his Blog yesterday, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad questioned where Najib’s stepson, Riza Aziz, obtained his money from to finance the production of the movie, “The Wolf of Wall Street”.

As Dr Mahathir said, he is not accusing Najib of a crime or of any wrongdoing. He is just asking Najib to explain what is going on.

While that is not an outright allegation of misconduct, it is certainly what we would call an innuendo, also called an insinuation or allusion. It is a suggestion that something may not be quite right.

That, in fact, is a very effective method to raise doubts regarding someone’s integrity and honesty. Innuendos are not downright allegations but suggest that there is something wrong.

In 1998-1999, Dr Mahathir himself was the subject of innuendos when the opposition raised the issue of Petronas buying over his son’s shipping company. Dr Mahathir was clearly upset because he replied that Anwar Ibrahim, the then Finance Minister, refused to consider the RM2 billion that he (the son) wanted and instead asked Petronas to do a valuation of the company’s net worth.

Petronas then came up with a valuation of only RM1 billion. So his son had to take a ‘loss’ of RM1 billion, complained Dr Mahathir. But Petronas made a profit when it later sold the company for more than RM1 billion, Dr Mahathir argued. So it was a good deal for Petronas.

Dr Mahathir did not respond to the opposition question of where his son got the money from, whether RM1 billion or RM2 billion, to buy the company. Of course one can always raise funds through loans and investors.

The fact that Dr Mahathir was the Prime Minister and Petronas comes directly under the Prime Minister and, according to the Petroleum Development Act, Petronas reports directly to the Prime Minister and not to Parliament, makes this matter a serious conflict of interest.

But the matter was decided by the Finance Minister and not by the Prime Minister, explained Dr Mahathir. Hence Dr Mahathir cannot be accused of any wrongdoing or conflict of interest since Anwar made the decision. Anwar, however, said that he was forced to make the decision because of the gun at his head.

So you see how one’s integrity and honesty can be easily put to doubt by innuendos. And Dr Mahathir who suffered this should be the one person who should know this.

Anyway, in the US, the movie industry is financed by what we call ‘other peoples’ money’. They never use their own money but attract investors and venture capitalists. Venture capitalists fund high-risk projects that banks may not want to touch. Hence it is not difficult to raise funds if you have a good project.

And, with a star like Leonardo DiCaprio, financiers would be fighting over each other to fund the movie. The budget for the movie was US$100 million and within less than a year it grossed more than US$300 million. Hence it is a financial success plus a good movie.

We should be proud that a Bumiputera has broken into a business that even non-Bumiputera Malaysians would never dare venture into. Instead of being proud, we are suggesting that Najib should be ashamed of it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Rosmah Mansor, the target to get Najib


It was the same strategy that was adopted almost ten years ago in 2006. Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was said to be literally sleeping on the job. Pak Lah was also accused of not delivering his promises.

Hence Pak Lah needs to go, said the opposition, and in 2006 Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad joined this opposition chorus and started saying the same thing.

To discredit Pak Lah, they said he was not running the country himself and instead the country was being run by the ‘4K-government’: Kak Endon (Pak Lah’s wife), Khairy (his son-in-law), Kamal (his son) and Kalimullah (said to be Pak Lah’s spin-doctor).

Dr Mahathir then went all over the country to campaign against Pak Lah by discrediting the ‘4K’ team and by accusing Pak Lah of not delivering what he promised.

And this promise that Pak Lah did not deliver is the Crooked Bridge to Singapore to replace the Causeway and the double-tracking railway to Singapore.

Hence, bring down Pak Lah by accusing those around him -- his wife, his son, his son-in-law and his alleged ‘spin-doctor’.

Now it is Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s turn and the same strategy is being applied. Bring down Najib by discrediting those around him -- his wife, his stepson, and all those others.

If this strategy worked in the effort to bring down Pak Lah then you might as well use this same strategy to bring down Najib. Hence Najib’s family and friends is now the target of character assassination.

Most of the allegations against the Prime Minister are in the form of questions rather than tangible evidence of wrongdoing. They raise questions and demand that the Prime Minister replies, and until he does then he is presumed guilty.

The Prime Minister’s wife is supposed to play a role in government. And this has been the practice since the time of Dr Mahathir when the Prime Minister’s wife began to be called ‘The First Lady’. 

That term was actually coined during Dr Mahathir’s tenure as Prime Minister. So this is not a trend started by the current Prime Minister but has been so since Dr Mahathir’s era.

In the US, the First Lady is given an office and her own staff, including a security team. In Malaysia, of course, the role of First Lady is more informal and not institutionalised as in the US.

The main issue here, however, is that after six years in office Najib has still not implemented Dr Mahathir’s Crooked Bridge and double-tracking railway to Singapore. And this is what irks Dr Mahathir.

So now Najib is being accused of the same wrongdoings that Pak Lah was accused of and the same smear tactics are being used against Najib as were used against Pak Lah. And Rosmah is being painted as a monster to raise anger against Najib and to justify his ouster, just like what they did to Pak Lah.

Whoever is Dr Mahathir’s choice as the successor to Najib will have to be the man who can implement the Crooked Bridge and double-tracking railway to Singapore within the first year of taking office. If not then this person would also face the risk of getting criticised just like the current Prime Minister and the one before him were.

Dr Mahathir had already made it clear in a public forum back in 2008 that the person who replaces Pak Lah would have to listen to the advice of the ‘President’s Council’ that would be formed to ‘guide’ the new Prime Minister. That means the new Prime Minister must listen to what this ‘Council’ wants. It is not clear who else other than Dr Mahathir is in this ‘Council’ as no further details have been offered.

In short, there would be a de facto Prime Minister above the Prime Minister who will dictate what should be done. And this is what Pak Lah refused to do and what Najib is not doing as well. Hence, just as Pak Lah had to go, so does Najib.

This is the real issue, which Dr Mahathir himself admits. But to deflect this issue, Rosmah is being portrayed as the real issue. This makes the move to get rid of Najib appear noble and principled. Hence where Khairy was once the issue against Pak Lah, Rosmah is now the issue against Najib. It is as simple as that.

The GST is keeping with the world norm


Taxes are never a popular thing, anywhere in the world. And there is hardly any country that does not have some form of tax. Malaysia’s 6% goods and services tax (GST), which came into effect recently on 1st April to replace the sales and services tax (SST) of 16%, has, understandably, attracted a lot of controversy and protest because no one likes to pay taxes.

Some are saying that if Barisan Nasional were replaced with Pakatan Rakyat then Malaysia would be able to abolish taxes. This is not true and is a fallacy because no country that changes its government abolishes its taxes once the government is changed. The new government also needs these taxes to be able to run the country.

Malaysia’s GST is not an additional tax but a replacement to the old taxes. And this means now more people would pay taxes and what you pay depends on how much you spend. So the more money you have and the more money you spend the more taxes you pay.

About 160 countries have this form of tax so Malaysia is not the only one nor is it the first to implement it, whether it is called GST or VAT. Can all these countries be wrong?

In Singapore and Thailand you pay 7%. In New Zealand it is 15% and 10% in Australia. In Canada it is 5% and in all these countries it attracted a lot of controversy and debate as well.

In the EU countries it ranges from 15% to 27% and in countries like Indonesia it is 10%, Japan 8%, Mexico 16%, Philippines 12%, China 17%, Israel 18%, Morocco 20%, Pakistan 17%, and so on.

Hence at 6% Malaysia is probably amongst the lowest in the world.

Just as is true of most Asian countries, in Malaysia the wage earner pays tax while the rich have all sorts of ways to avoid or evade tax. Only about 1.7 million of the 11 million registered workers are registered taxpayers. Furthermore, foreign workers who do not pay tax send home billions every month.

Now even the rich would have to pay tax and the richer you are the more you pay because the rich would spend more, plus those who have thus far had a free ride now need to contribute to the tax coffers.

Monday, April 6, 2015


Oleh SSK

1. Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak dan kerajaan telah menerangkan hampir semua persoalan yang dibangkitkan oleh Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Penjelasan dengan fakta diberikan secara terperinci. Contohnya isu BR1M, 1MDB, jet kerajaan dan terbaru kes bekas anggota polis, Sirul Azhar Umar.

2. Namun, Tun M nampaknya tidak berpuas hati dengan jawapan-jawapan tersebut. Tun M bertegas mahu kehendaknya diikuti.

3. Bagi saya, Tun M berhak untuk mempunyai atau memberi pandangan sendiri, tetapi dia tidak berhak untuk memaksa pemimpin lain menerima bulat-bulat pandangan beliau. Itulah hakikat demokrasi. PM Datuk Najib berhak mempunyai pendapat berbeza. Dan ia harus dihormati semua, termasuk oleh Tun M.

4. Semasa Tun M menjadi Perdana Menteri, tidak semua keputusannya dipersetujui oleh ahli-ahli parti, tapi ahli-ahli parti terus menyokong keputusan itu atas dasar dan prinsip menghormati keputusan ketua No 1.

5. Contoh di Sabah semasa isu penggiliran jawatan Ketua Menteri, UMNO Sabah membantah dengan kuat mengikut saluran parti, tapi akhirnya kita terima walaupun kita tidak bersetuju.

6. Seperti saya katakan dalam tulisan sebelum ini, Tun M ada agenda sendiri dan kita jangan terperangkap. Tekanan-tekanan yang diberinya ke atas Perdana Menteri ada tujuan dan matlamat tersirat.

7. Sementara kita menghormati Tun M sebagai seorang negarawan, ia tidak bermakna semua pandangan negarawan itu dituruti. Pandangan dan pendekatannya mungkin sesuai pada eranya, tapi mungkin tidak sesuai pada zaman ini.

8. Justeru, jika timbul pilihan antara Tun M dan pemimpin No 1 kita pada hari ini, sudah tentu kita pilih Datuk Najib demi kelangsungan kepimpinan parti kita memimpin kerajaan bersama parti-parti komponen lain.

9. Sebagai pemimpin No 1, saya yakin Datuk Najib mempunyai pandangan jauh setiap kali membuat sesuatu keputusan atau tindakan. Pertimbangannya mengambil kira pandangan semua pihak demi kepentingan masyarakat terbanyak.

10. Tun M sendiri telah katakan sebelum ini bahawa dia telah menemui Datuk Najib dan menerangkan pandangannya. Ini bermakna Perdana Menteri tidak menerima bulat-bulat pandangan beliau dan ini tidak salah dalam sistem musyawarah kita.

11. Contohnya, Tun M persoalkan BR1M. Kerajaan bertegas melaksanakannya kerana ia bukan saja termaktub sebagai janji dalam manifesto BN, malah mendapat sokongan padu daripada masyarakat.

12. Jelas sekali bahawa serangan Tun M terhadap Datuk Najib ini ada agenda politik tersendiri. Dan melihat kritikan ini, maka pembangkang DAP, Pas dan PKR sudah tentu menjadi kumpulan paling gembira dan bertepuk sorak!

Friday, April 3, 2015


Oleh SSK

1. Akhir-akhir ini, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad makin sinis. Saya baca tulisan terbarunya dalam blog. Sekali lagi Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak jadi sasaran kritiknya.

2. Dari pengamatan saya, komen-komen Tun M ini menjurus untuk memberi tekanan kepada Datuk Najib. Dia berulang-ulang bercerita mengenai isu negatif. Inilah cara dan strateginya. Niatnya agar masyarakat mempercayainya. Yang terbaru dia cerita mengenai isu bekas anggota polis, Sirul Azhar Umar. Kenapa hal itu dibangkitkan lagi sekarang?

3. Dalam kebanyakan tulisan-tulisan Tun M sebelum ini pun, dia menyasarkan kepada Datuk Najib. Dia seolah-olah cuba memberi andaian dan persepsi negatif umum terhadap Datuk Najib. Sebab itulah, saya katakan bahawa niat Tun M di sebalik tulisannya itu boleh dipersoalkan!

4. Tun M berulang kali dan kerap melemparkan tuduhan terhadap Datuk Najib agar masyarakat percaya yang Datuk Najib itu sangat teruk. Ini propagandanya semata-mata. Malah, kritikannya hanya menimbulkan masalah tambahan kepada parti dan tidak membantu menyelesaikan masalah parti.

5. Bagi saya, kritikan-kritikan serta serangan Tun M dan kumpulannya yang semakin kuat terhadap Datuk Najib akhir-akhir ini ada agenda politik yang besar. Sebab itu, mereka memberi tekanan berterusan kepada Datuk Najib dengan membangkitkan pelbagai isu menerusi pelbagai kaedah dan platform.

6. Apapun, saya pasti Datuk Najib tidak bersendirian dalam mendepani cabaran ini. Dia mempunyai cara tersendiri mengurus dan mentadbir negara. Zaman kini berbeza berbanding era Tun M dahulu.

7. Datuk Najib memahami keadaan persekitaran dan pasti mengambil kira semua pandangan, termasuk pandangan Tun M dalam membuat sesuatu keputusan. Keputusan Datuk Najib sebagai Perdana Menteri sesuai dengan tuntutan semasa.

8. Datuk Najib adalah ahli politik yang sudah teruji. Dia menghadapi suasana politik yang berbeza dan pemikiran pengundi tidak sama seperti dahulu. Dalam keadaan sedemikian, pemimpin yang bergelar negarawan sepatutnya mencari jalan membantu parti. Tuntutan mereka untuk menukar Datuk Najib bukanlah satu penyelesaian, sebaliknya akan mencetuskan perpecahan dalam parti.

9. Saya kira bacaan politik Tun M silap dan tersasar. Ini kerana susana politik pada zamannya berbeza dengan sekarang. Hari ini saingan politik lebih sengit daripada zaman Tun M dulu. Pengundi kini mendapat maklumat dari sumber yang pelbagai.

10. Yang pasti, pengundi akan memihak kepada BN kerana mereka boleh melihat parti pembangkang kini dalam keadaan kucar-kacir dan tidak mampu mentadbir negara.

11. Oleh hal yang demikian, Tun M sepatutnya menyokong usaha-usaha mentransformasi negara yang dibawa Datuk Najib walaupun dia mempunyai pendekatan yang berbeza.

12. Jika Tun M berterusan mengkritik BN dan Datuk Najib secara terbuka, masyarakat akan melihat Tun M seolah-olah bersekongkol dengan musuh-musuh tradisi politik beliau sendiri.

13. Yang jelas, pimpinan Datuk Najib jauh mengatasi cara Tun M dahulu. Pimpinan dan pendekatan Datuk Najib yang bersifat terbuka disenangi, diminati dan jadi `favourite' orang Sabah dan Sarawak, kerana dia memahami denyutan nadi rakyat di kedua-dua negeri itu.

14. Mengambil kira semua isu ini, maka saya percaya hanya Datuk Najib yang terbaik memimpin. Secara peribadi, saya tegaskan bahawa BN akan kalah kalau bukan Datuk Najib mengetuai PRU-14 akan datang.

15. Sabah dan Sarawak berasa lebih senang dengan Datuk Najib kerana beliau memahami aspirasi kami. Dia mengiktiraf sokongan kami dengan memberi jawatan-jawatan Menteri yang penting kepada pemimpin dari Sabah dan Sarawak, malah memberi peruntukan besar untuk kedua-dua negeri di Borneo ini.

16. Dari persepsi politik, Datuk Najib sedar terhadap realiti 56 kerusi Parlimen dari Sabah dan Sarawak membantu bagi penubuhan kerajaan pada hari ini.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The exaggeration against Najib



Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has raised many issues against Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and has said that these issues are going to result in Barisan Nasional losing the next general election.

I do not want to comment about what Dr Mahathir said regarding Sirul Azhar Umar because this is basically a legal issue and involves the matter of his extradition from Australia and so on. I would, however, like to reply to the other two issues that Dr Mahathir raised, 1MDB and the new private jet.

The Special Branch has warned that Malaysia faces the risk of a terrorist attack, specifically from IS. If this is true then the security of the Prime Minister and DYMM the Agong cannot be taken lightly -- hence the need for suitable and efficient transportation for both the Prime Minister and the Agong.

Security cannot be considered only in terms of money. Of course security costs money and it is the same all over the world, especially in these very troubling times.

It costs more than RM5 billion a year for the security of the US President and his family. By the time he leaves office, the security of the President would have cost the US taxpayers more than RM40 billion.

When the President travels he is obliged to take Air Force One and it costs more than RM700,000 an hour to run that plane. The President’s ten-day trip to India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan cost RM32 million just for Air Force One alone while the trip to Portugal for the Nato conference cost RM10 million.

In fact, Obama’s dog handler is paid over RM360,000 a year while the other 226 members of Obama’s staff are each paid RM300,000-400,000 a year.

Such is the cost of security for the heads of state. Even the security of the British Royal Family costs the UK taxpayers a quarter billion ringgit a year.

Members of the British Prime Minister's protection unit earn as much as RM500,000 a year. The total that Tony Blair cost the UK taxpayers was RM34 million a year back then, although that has been reduced somewhat today. The 20 officers who were assigned to protect Blair costs RM2.5 million a month.

I am not saying that since it costs a lot of money to protect the UK Prime Minister and the US President then this justifies doing the same. The point I am making is that security is not cheap and security here includes proper transportation for the heads of state such as the Prime Minister and Agong.

Now, on the 1MDB issue.

Singapore has its Temasek Holdings, which was formed more than 40 years ago in 1971. Malaysia has its 1MDB, which has just started and needs time to prove its viability.

Temasek, after more than 40 years, is of course already profitable and has invested in all sectors of the economy. Its total portfolio is more than RM600 billion. Last year alone Temasek invested a further RM65 billion while it divested RM27 billion. Its Total Shareholders Return (TSR) for last year was 1.5%, 9% for the last ten years, and 16% since it started business.

Would you consider Temasek a bad investment with such returns compared to the amount of money the Singapore government has invested in it?

Another criticism of Dr Mahathir is the alleged involvement of businessmen Jho Low in 1MDB. I remember back when Dr Mahathir was Prime Minister and he was criticised about Ananda Krishnan’s involvement in Petronas and was also criticised about the appointment of his friend, Daim Zainuddin, as the Finance Minister.

When asked about this Dr Mahathir gave a classic reply. He said of course he would appoint his friends who he can trust. Who would appoint their enemies?

Nevertheless, the issue of friends or not is not the issue to be debated. It is whether in the long run 1MDB can be proven viable like Temasek has over more than 40 years, although the returns may be as modest as that of Temasek.

Investments are not meant for quick profit. They are meant for the long term so that the next generation will have something to look at after the oil has run dry. And this, too, is what oil-rich countries in the Middle East are doing.