Friday, May 29, 2015

The role the Monarchy can play

Salleh Said Keruak

Malaysia is a parliamentary democracy based on the British Westminster system of government. Malaysia is also a constitutional monarchy just like the UK is. However, the Malaysian monarchy has a bit more powers and a wider role to play than that of the British monarchy, which is mainly ceremonial in nature.

One very important point to note is that while the UK has just one monarch, Malaysia has ten. There are nine state rulers plus the Agong, who is erroneously always referred to as the King but who is actually ‘the first amongst equals’. For all intents and purposes, Malaysia does not have a King and the term ‘Agong’ if translated into English would mean ‘Supreme’ or ‘Paramount’ and not ‘King’.

That is something most Malaysians do not understand seeing that everyone refers to the Agong as Malaysia’s King when the Agong is merely a brother-ruler and at par with or equal to the other nine state rulers but is ‘the first amongst equals’.

The Agong does not have absolute powers since he is not an absolute monarch. Above the Agong is the Conference of Rulers that discusses various issues affecting the country, religion being just one of them but not the only one.

The Agong, therefore, has to rule at the pleasure of his brother-rulers and the Conference of Rulers decides the authority and scope of what the Agong can and should do. In fact, the Agong is appointed at the pleasure of his brother-rulers who can vote him out if he does not do things on consensus although that is yet to happen ever since the system was first introduced in 1957.

Unknown to many Malaysians, Malaysia’s monarchy and Conference of Rulers is probably the most democratic system in history because a committee of rulers decides matters based on what the Federal Constitution allows and disallows. The Monarchy checks and balances Parliament and makes sure that Parliament does not violate the Constitution or any of the Malaysian laws.

As what Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said back in 1988, the Conference of ten rulers is the trustee and protector of the Constitution that guards the Constitution from abuse by the politicians and from Prime Ministers who wish to turn Malaysia into a dictatorship.

This concept of power-sharing and checks and balances was destroyed in the 1990s when Parliament passed a law that no longer made it necessary for the Agong to sign any laws. Even if the Agong refuses to sign a certain law it still automatically becomes law anyway. This reduced the monarchy to one without any teeth.

Parliament needs to correct this and to restore the powers of the Agong so that it can revert to playing the role of trustee and protector of the Constitution.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The reforms we should look at

Salleh Said Keruak

The keyword today is reforms. However, while Malaysians talk about reforms and the need for Malaysia to reform, not many really understand what the word means and what it entails.

Malaysia is actually a very unique country. It is not only unique in terms of the multi-cultural composition of its citizens but also in the system of government that it has adopted.

Malaysia is also unique in that it is neither a Secular State nor an Islamic State. I would classify Malaysia as a parliament democracy with a constitutional monarchy and with Islam as the religion of the Federation. That is what the Federal Constitution says, anyway.

Malaysia is supposed to be run by an Executive (in this case a Prime Minister) who takes orders from the Legislative (in this case Parliament). The Executive has a Cabinet to assist him in running the country -- that also must report to Parliament. Ultimately this makes Parliament supreme.

Parliament’s powers, however, are not absolute. Parliament has the power to pass laws but these laws first need to be vetted by the Senate and the Senate has the power to send the laws back to Parliament if the Senators do not agree with those laws.

Once those laws are final they then need to go to the Agong for his signature and if the Agong is not happy with those laws he can refuse to sign them and send them back to Parliament to be amended.

So, as you can see, we have many levels of checks and balances to prevent a dictator from taking over the country. Then we have the judiciary that makes sure every level -- the Executive, the Legislature, the Monarchy, etc. -- behave themselves and follow the law.

Unfortunately, back in the late-1980s, all this changed. So when we talk about reforms we need to know what we are talking about. The reforms that Malaysia needs are the restoration of the powers of the various branches of government so that there are better checks and balances.

Basically, we need a functioning Executive, Parliament, Senate, Monarchy and Judiciary that work together but are independent of one another and are able to check and balance each other.

That is the reforms we should be talking about. Short of that it will be mere talk with no results in the end.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The irrational arguments regarding 1MDB

Salleh Said Keruak

I have noticed a number of comments regarding 1MDB vis-à-vis the Forex losses of 1992-1994, the main comment being that we are not comparing apples to apples.

The main argument is that in the RM30 billion Forex losses we know what happened and there is no mystery, even though today RM30 billion would be worth RM58 billion. In the 1MDB RM42 billion losses we do not know what happened and it is still a mystery.

First of all, it is yet to be determined as to what the 1MDB losses are, if in the first place there are indeed any losses. This is yet to be determined and we will only know once PAC and the auditors complete their investigations and come out with their reports.

We must remember that RM42 billion is 1MDB’s exposure, not losses, just like in the Forex matter the exposure was RM270 billion and the losses RM30 billion. So we must understand the difference between exposure and loss.

Secondly, are they saying that if 1MDB did indeed lose money but then if we can explain how and why it lost money then it would be acceptable since it is no longer a mystery?

The arguments as to why we must not compare 1MDB to the Forex fiasco and that the Forex losses are acceptable while 1MDB is not have become very irrational.

I would like to repeat again, as Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said, why can’t we wait until the investigation is complete and the report is out before we discuss the losses in 1MDB once it has been established there are losses and what those losses are.

Monday, May 25, 2015

As what Ku Li said

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Tiada kerajaan di dunia mempunyai sokongan 100%

Salleh Said Keruak

Timbalan Perdana Menteri Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin mengangkat sesuatu yang amat menarik tempoh hari apabila beliau berkata Umno mengalami 'defisit amanah'. Itulah sebenarnya masalah semua parti politik di seluruh dunia mengalami.

Pada tahun 1955, dua tahun sebelum Merdeka, Umno terpaksa bertanding pilihan raya sebagai Parti Perikatan, gabungan dengan MCA dan MIC, untuk dapat untuk mendapatkan kerusi yang cukup untuk membentuk kerajaan. Pada pilihan raya itu Perikatan telah memenangi 51 daripada 52 kerusi yang dipertandingkan, ia mungkin rekod dunia oleh mana-mana standard.

Walau bagaimanapun, sementara Parti Perikatan memenangi hampir 100% daripada kerusi, undi popularnya sedikit kurang daripada 80%. Hanya dua tahun selepas Merdeka, dalam tahun 1959, Parti Perikatan telah memenangi hanya 51% undi popular dan di 'sejarah' pilihan raya umum 1969 hanya 49% undi.

Kemudian Barisan Nasional telah ditubuhkan untuk menggantikan Parti Perikatan dan, dalam tempoh 30 tahun sehingga 2004, ia telah memenangi antara 53-64% undi popular. Apabila ekonomi berlaku untuk menjadi baik dan rakyat mempunyai lebih banyak wang dalam poket mereka, undi adalah lebih tinggi tetapi ketika dunia sedang menghadapi kemelesetan ekonomi global dan masa sukar ia adalah lebih rendah.

Itulah perkara pertama yang anda belajar jika anda mahu menjadi ahli politik dan jika anda bercita-cita untuk memegang jawatan awam. Cita-cita tidak penting kepada kebanyakan pengundi, terutamanya jika anda tidak mempunyai wang, kerana cita-cita tidak boleh meletakkan makanan di atas meja.

Satu lagi perkara yang anda perlukan untuk belajar jika anda mahu mentadbirkan negara adalah bahawa anda tidak boleh berenang melawan arus. Jika ekonomi global menghadapi pukulan maka negara anda juga menderita, terutamanya jika anda adalah sebuah negara seperti Malaysia yang perdagangan dan pelaburan nya, bergantung kepada barat dan Amerika Syarikat.

Kita dalam Umno tidak boleh mengambil sikap peribadi dalam perihal ini. Dalam persekitaran hari ini, jika mana-mana kerajaan boleh menang walaupun hanya 45% undi popular yang sudah agak luar biasa. Tidak syak lagi yang lebih teruk pernah ada pada tahun 2013 apabila Barisan Nasional hanya menang 47% undi. Walau bagaimanapun, ia masih memenangi 60% daripada kerusi berbanding UK di mana kerajaan telah dibentuk dengan hanya 51% daripada kerusi.

Walaupun pilihan raya umum 2004, yang dianggap 'yang sentiasa terbaik', telah dimenangi dengan kurang daripada dua pertiga daripada undi popular. Dan itu telah benar-benar tiada kaitan dengan 'defisit amanah' tetapi lebih kepada trend hari ini di seluruh dunia. Umno perlu realistik dan berdepan dengan realiti ini dan tidak hidup dalam penafian.

No government in the world has 100% support

Salleh Said Keruak

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin raised a very interesting point today when he said that Umno is suffering from a ‘trust deficit’. That is actually a problem all political parties the world over are suffering from.

Even back in 1955, two years before Merdeka, Umno had to contest the elections as the Alliance Party, a coalition with MCA and MIC, to be able to gain enough seats to form the government. In that election the Alliance won 51 of the 52 seats contested, probably a world record by any standards.

However, while the Alliance Party won almost 100% of the seats it did so on slightly less than 80% of the popular votes. Just two years after Merdeka, in 1959, the Alliance Party won just 51% of the popular votes and in the ‘historic’ 1969 general election just 49% of the votes.

Then Barisan Nasional was formed to replace the Alliance Party and, over a period of 30 years up to 2004, it won between 53-64% of the popular votes. When the economy happened to be good and people have more money in their pockets the votes are higher but when the world is facing a global recession and times are hard it is lower.

That is the first thing you learn if you want to become a politician and if you aspire to hold public office. Ideals are not important to most voters, especially if you have no money, because ideals cannot put food on the table.

Another thing you need to learn if you want to run a country is that you cannot swim against the current. If the global economy takes a beating then your country also suffers, especially if you are a country like Malaysia that depends on the west and the United States for trade and investments.

We in Umno must not take this personal. In today’s environment, if any government can win even just 45% of the popular votes that is already quite remarkable. No doubt the worse ever was in 2013 when Barisan Nasional won just 47% of the votes. However, it still won 60% of seats compared to the UK where the government was formed with only 51% of the seats.

Even the 2004 general election, which is considered ‘ the best ever’, was won on less than two-thirds of the popular votes. And that has absolutely nothing to do with a ‘trust deficit’ but is more about the trend today all over the world. Umno has to be realistic and face up to this reality and not live in denial.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Biarkan PAC jalankan tugasnya

Salleh Said Keruak

"Tuduhan yang belum dibuktikan dan tuduhan lain, akan menjejaskan penyiasatan itu dan akhirnya akan membawa kepada kegagalan," kata Pengerusi PAC, Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

"Saya mengesa kepadanya dan semua blogger lain untuk berhenti dengan sebarang tuduhan, kenyataan supaya tidak merosakkan siasatan 1MDB," kata Nur Jazlan yang merujuk kepada komen oleh Blogger Umno dan penyokong setia Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, A. Kadir Jasin, yang telah menghakimi dan pra-empted apa PAC akan melakukan.

"Dalam siasatan ini, PAC memegang hak untuk memanggil saksi-saksi. Mengapa ahli-ahli PAC kini diragui, dipersoalkan? Bagaimanakah kita kemudian menjalankan siasatan yang telus dan bermakna? "

"Saya meminta tuduhan ini dihentikan dan kami, di PAC, tidak terpengaruh dengan mana-mana pihak untuk tujuan politik."

Ini adalah nasihat yang baik dari pengerusi PAC Nur Jazlan yang telah meminta semua pihak, termasuk penulis blog, untuk tidak meragui siasatan jawatankuasa itu ke dalam 1MDB kerana ini akan memudaratkan penyiasatan itu.

Nur Jazlan telah berjanji bahawa siasatan PAC itu akan menjadi lebih meluas dan lebih mendalam daripada yang dilakukan oleh Ketua Audit Negara, kerana mereka akan meliputi semua aspek hal ehwal 1MDB termasuk juruaudit dana.

Bukan sahaja saksi dipanggil tetapi dokumen juga akan diteliti untuk mendapatkan kebenaran kepada perkara itu. Dalam apa-apa siasatan menyeluruh, ketepatan dan bukannya kelajuan akan menjadi asas dan, bagi kepentingan terperinci, pasti tidak akan ada jalan pintas.

Mungkin sudah tiba masanya kita kurangkan mempolitikan sekitarnya 1MDB dan membenarkan PAC untuk menjalankan tugasnya sehingga dapat menghasilkan laporan yang memenuhikan hati orang ramai yang hanya ingin tahu apa yang sebenarnya berlaku kepada 1MDB.

Now let PAC do its job

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Banyak cadangan tanpa penyelesaian

Salleh Said Keruak

Bekas Perdana Menteri Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad telah meminta satu suruhanjaya ditubuhkan untuk menyiasat 1MDB.

Ketua Pemuda Umno Khairy Jamaluddin telah meminta orang-orang tertentu dipanggil untuk memberi keterangan di hadapan PAC dalam penyiasatan yang sedang dijalankan dalam hal ehwal 1MDB, termasuk Jho Low.

Timbalan Perdana Menteri Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin telah meminta bahawa seluruh Lembaga Pengarah 1MDB dipecat sebagai hukuman atas apa yang berlaku dalam 1MDB dan polis dibawa untuk menyiasat sama ada apa-apa jenayah telah dilakukan dan jika ada, tangkapan dan dakwaan ke atas mereka yang bersalah.

Dan sudah tentu, pembangkang, telah meminta peletakan jawatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak di atas apa yang mereka anggap salah pengurusan atau kemungkinan pelanggaran dalam 1MDB.

Isu semua orang-orang ini telah memainkan adalah bahawa 1MDB perlu menjelaskan apa yang berlaku kepada wang itu, dalam kes ini angka RM42 bilion. Mereka mahu tahu sama ada wang itu masih selamat atau sama ada wang itu telah hilang, sepertimana dinyatakan beberapa orang.

Bagaimana semua pelbagai cadangan itu dapat menjawab soalan yang semua orang meminta - sama ada wang itu masih selamat atau sama ada wang itu telah hilang?

Bukankah ini apa yang PAC cuba lakukan, untuk menjawab soalan itu? PAC, sebenarnya, telah berkata bahawa siasatan nya yang lebih mendalam dan lebih luas daripada itu. Dan kita belum mendengar apa skop penyiasatan ini.

Jika kita terus mempolitikkan isu ini dan terus membuat 'bunyi' politik, ia tidak akan memberikan jawapan kepada semua soalan kita meminta. Satu-satunya cara untuk mendapatkan jawapan ialah dengan menunggu PAC untuk memberikan jawapan nya selepas penyelesaian siasatan nya.

Kenapa kita tidak boleh membenarkan PAC untuk melaksanakan kerja yang telah diminta nya untuk dilakukan, dan menunggu apa kesimpulan nya?

Kita belum pun membaca laporan PAC itu lagi dan kita sudah bertindak seperti yang kita sudah tahu apa dalam laporan itu sedangkan PAC sendiri tidak mempunyai sebarang jawapan lagi.

Adakah kita benar-benar berminat dengan jawapan atau kita hanya berminat dalam mencari orang untuk balas dendam? Kita nampaknya seperti lebih berminat untuk menghukum mereka yang kita mengesyaki lakukan jenayah tanpa menentukan jika pada pokoknya sama ada sebarang jenayah itu dilakukan, dan jika ya, oleh siapa, sedangkan kita terus mengatakan kami hanya berminat untuk mengetahui apa yang berlaku kepada wang itu.

So many suggestions but none with solutions

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Apa lagi Tun mahu?

Salleh Said Keruak


Today, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad touched on a number of issues in his blog posting. One issue was regarding the two police officers who have been convicted for murder.

Dr Mahathir says the two police officers merely acted under orders and, therefore, hanging them would be a travesty of justice. However, these two refused to testify during the trial to state that they acted under orders and neither did they say who gave that order. So how do we know they did act under orders since they never testified to that?

Is Dr Mahathir saying that the Malaysian judiciary is not honest and is capable of convicting an innocent person? This is the same thing the opposition is saying about Anwar Ibrahim’s two convictions for sodomy.

On the 1MDB issue, Dr Mahathir said the audit will revealing nothing. If we want to know whether RM42 billion has really disappeared and, if so, where the money has disappeared to, the audit would certainly be able to reveal that. And that is what the allegation is all about, that RM42 billion has disappeared.

Dr Mahathir suggests a commission of inquiry to investigate 1MDB would be better. I do not agree. Whether the commission of inquiry can do a better job than the PAC, or the external auditors, would depend on the scope and depth it has been told to investigate.

Dr Mahathir says the audit would take years and that is why it is better to hold a commission of inquiry. It is not the type of inquiry that takes time but the scope and depth of that inquiry, which includes how many witnesses need to be called to testify and how much documents need to be studied.

A commission of inquiry can, in fact, take longer than an audit if the number of people it calls and the documents it studies is large.

One thing that is puzzling is Dr Mahathir is more concerned about time and he wants everything done fast. Should not thoroughness be more of the essence than speed? Why go for speed at the expense of accuracy?

Is Dr Mahathir suggesting that the PAC drop the investigation that just started today and for the auditors to also suspend the audit and that the government should hold a commission of inquiry whose members, said Dr Mahathir, should not be chosen by the government? Who, then, should oversee this commission and decide on the composition of its members?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015



Oleh SSK

1. Mesyuarat Majlis Tertinggi (MT) Umno pada 11 Mei lalu, sebulat suara melahirkan sokongan padu kepada Presiden prti, Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak dan Timbalan Presiden Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

2. Ketika mengumumkan keputusan itu, Najib menyatakan MT mahu semua pimpinan parti bersatu dalam satu pasukan menangani segala cabaran dan mengambil tindakan positif mengukuhkan lagi kedudukan Umno dan Barisan Nasional (BN) di sisi rakyat.

3. Sokongan terbuka itu pastinya amat melegakan ahli-ahli parti di semua peringkat. Ini kerana parti perlu bersatu dalam menghadapi cabaran yang cuba diperbesarkan oleh parti lawan yang sentiasa mencari ruang kesempatan.

4. Bagi saya, sokongan MT itu mencerminkan keutuhan parti. Kita perlu bincang apa jua permasalahan antara kita dalam forum tertutup agar tidak diambil kesempatan oleh pihak-pihak tertentu yang mempunyai agenda tersendiri.

5. Dalam berorganisasi, sememangnya ada perbezaan berlaku. Namun yang penting, perbezaan itu harus diurus dengan baik.

6. Pada saya, wajib bagi Nombor 1 dan Nombor 2 berganding bahu untuk memperkuatkan parti. Nombor 2 harus bersama-sama Nombor 1 jika diserang oleh pihak-pihak tertentu. Itulah prinsip berorganisasi. Kena ada keikhlasan dalam perjuangan berorganisasi.

7. Pemimpin pula tidak seharusnya terpengaruh dengan `tukang cucuk' di kalangan penyokong-penyokong setia. Sebaliknya, semua pandangan harus dinilai dengan hati terbuka. Organisasi adalah wadah untuk mencapai matlamat membela bangsa agama dan negara.

8. Justeru, politiking harus diketepikan. Najib adalah pemimpin No 1 yang dipilih oleh ahli-ahli parti dan wajib disokong untuk kita mencapai matlamat kemenangan dua pertiga pada PRU akan datang. Kenyataan berbentuk desakan yang mengatakan Najib perlu berundur untuk membolehkan BN menang PRU akan datang, adalah semata-mata bertujuan jahat. Ahli parti jangan terperangkap dengan permainan politik itu.

9. Dengan pendirian MT memberi sokongan kepada No 1 dan No 2 menerajui parti, itu petanda bahawa `bahtera Umno' ini kukuh dan bersatu. Jangan kita berpaling arah hanya semata-mata mendengar suara dentuman yang kononnya dari dalam, sedangkan suara itu sebenarnya dicanangkan oleh segelintir pemimpin yang mempunyai agenda dan cita-cita politik tersendiri.

Keselamatan Sebahagian Daripada Hak Asasi Manusia

Salleh Said Keruak

Rakyat Malaysia gemar membicarakan tentang hak asasi manusia dan kebebasan individu. Tetapi pengertian hak asasi manusia dalam konteks Malaysia hanyalah berkisar kepada kebebasan bersuara, tiada penahanan tanpa perbicaraan, dan pemansuhan undang-undang yang dilihat sebagai zalim, seperti Akta Hasutan dan undang-undang perhimpunan haram.

Sebenarnya, terdapat definisi yang lebih luas mengenai hak asasi manusia yang melangkaui hak hanya untuk menentang kerajaan. Antaranya ialah hak untuk menerima pendidikan, hak untuk menerima bekalan air, hak mendapatkan penjagaan kesihatan, dan hak atas keamanan dan keselamatan.

Penafian mana-mana hak ini bermakna kita dinafikan hak asasi dan kebebasan asasi kita. Bagaimana kita boleh mengatakan bahawa kita mempunyai hak-hak dan kebebasan apabila hak ke atas keamanan dan keselamatan dinafikan dan kita tidak bebas untuk mengejar kebahagiaan dan ketenangan fikiran ?

Kita boleh mengatakan bahawa di sesetengah bahagian di Sabah khususnya di sepanjang Pantai Timur, kita dinafikan hak kita untuk hidup, kebebasan dan pengejaran kebahagiaan ekoran bahaya keganasan, lanun, pembunuhan dan penculikan yang kita hadapi. Apabila kita tidak terlepas daripada risiko dan bahaya, maka kita telah kehilangan hak asasi manusia. Ia semudah itu.

Usaha yang lebih perlu dilakukan bagi menyelesaikan isu keselamatan supaya rakyat Sabah, khususnya di kawasan Pantai Timur, boleh sekali lagi menikmati keamanan yang mereka biasa rasai sebelum ini. Pelancongan merupakan industri yang sangat penting bukan sahaja di Sabah tetapi juga untuk Malaysia dan insiden negatif seperti kes lanun dan penculikan tidak akan membantu pembangunan industri pelancongan.

Security is part of human rights

Salleh Said Keruak

Malaysians love talking about human rights and civil liberties. But human rights in the Malaysian context merely means freedom of speech, no detention without trial, and the removal of what they view as draconian laws, such as the sedition and illegal assembly laws.

Actually, there is a broader definition of human rights that extends beyond just the right to oppose the government. Amongst these are the right to receive an education, the right to receive potable water, the right to receive healthcare, and the right to peace and security.

The denial of any of these rights means we are being denied our basic rights and fundamental liberties. How can we say we have rights and liberties when the right to peace and security is denied and we are not at liberty to pursue happiness and peace of mind?

We can say that in some parts of Sabah such as along the East Coast we are being denied our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness because of the dangers of terrorism, piracy, murders and kidnappings that we face. When we are not free from those risks and dangers then we have lost our human rights. It is as simple as that.

More effort must be made to resolve this security issue so that Sabahans, in particular along the East Coast, can once again enjoy the peace that they used to have. Tourism is a very important industry not only for Sabah but also for Malaysia and negative incidences such as piracy and kidnappings will not help the tourism trade.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Najib’s question regarding Altantuya is relevant

Salleh Said Keruak

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak posed a very relevant question yesterday when he asked why only now does Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad raise the matter of the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu? Why did he remain silent for the last eight years and not speak up earlier?

The manner in which Dr Mahathir raised this matter is to insinuate that there are still many unanswered questions behind the murder that need to be answered and that if they were then this would implicate Najib in the murder.

This was the ‘picture’ that Dr Mahathir was trying to paint and is a very mischievous move aimed at creating doubts against the Prime Minister.

The photograph showing the Prime Minister in Paris with Altantuya has now been proven to be a fake. Even the person who fabricated that photograph has admitted that it was doctored and meant more as a joke.

Suaram then lodged a complaint with the French authorities and the French court ordered the French police to launch an investigation. Many witnesses were summoned to Paris for their testimony to be recorded.

The French police then compiled a report that ran into hundreds of pages and submitted it to the court. One of the crucial points in that report was that Altantuya never entered France at any time and neither had Najib during that crucial period.

The French submarine supplier then confirmed that it conducted all its business in Malaysia and not in France. Furthermore, all its officers spoke excellent English, as do their Malaysian counterparts, so there was no reason for a translator as had been alleged.

Anyway, the business had been conducted and concluded long before the period when Altantuya was supposed to have come onto the scene. Hence the story that she was the translator in the negotiations is a myth that has been proven false by the French police.

These are facts that probably Dr Mahathir is not aware of because his comments are based on what the opposition is saying. And the French police report to the court has proven all these stories to be false.

If Dr Mahathir wants to criticise the Prime Minister that is certainly his prerogative but his criticism has to be responsible and based on facts and not myths that have since all been proven false.

Dr Mahathir terus perhebat serangan peribadi

Salleh Said Keruak

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad memperhebatkan serangan ke atas kedua-dua bekas Perdana Menteri Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi dan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak di Ipoh, semalam. Banyak serangan, bagaimanapun, adalah sangat bersifat peribadi dan malah menyentuh mengenai keadaan kesihatan Pak Lah, berkaitan masalah tidur yang dihidapinya.

Dr Mahathir juga mengakui bahawa dia telah memaksa Pak Lah untuk mengambil Najib sebagai timbalannya dan kemudian memaksa Pak Lah meletak jawatan untuk memberi laluan kepada Najib. Sekarang Dr Mahathir mahu Najib untuk meletak jawatan untuk memberi laluan kepada Muhyiddin Yassin.

Dengan pengakuan Dr Mahathir itu, jelas dia mahu menjadi orang yang membuat keputusan siapa yang memerintah Malaysia selepas dia. Bagaimanapun, apa yang dia tidak sahkan semalam ialah apabila Muhyiddin mengambil alih daripada Najib, siapa pula yang Dr Mahathir mahu menjadi Timbalan Perdana Menteri?

Siapa saja mungkin dinamakan, apa yang Dr Mahathir mahu adalah bahawa Perdana Menteri perlu dilantik daripada pilihannya, yang ditentukan olehnya, dan seseorang yang akan mendengar arahannya.

Perhimpunan semalam sangat riuh dan bising dengan orang ramai yang mengejek memperlekehkan, serta ramai menjerit di bahagian belakang. Ini bukan jenis perhimpunan yang kita inginkan daripada seorang negarawan seperti Dr Mahathir. Ia seperti ceramah parti-parti pembangkang yang biasa diadakan di kampung dan agak memalukan untuk melihatnya.
Dr Mahathir juga menggelar Najib penipu - yang boleh bermakna pendusta, penipuan atau menipu - dan hari ini banyak blog pembangkang dan laman web yang mengulangi mantera 'Najib penipu'. Walaupun kita mungkin mahu mengkritik kepimpinan, kita perlu melakukannya dengan cara terhormat kerana ketiadaan rasa hormat itu mencerminkan keperibadian pengkritik itu sendiri.

Sementara itu, Ahli Parlimen DAP Petaling Jaya Utara, Tony Pua Kiam Wee, telah memohon untuk membatalkan saman fitnah terhadapnya oleh Perdana Menteri berkaitan dengan 1MDB.

Ini adalah satu langkah yang sangat pelik memandangkan Tony Pua telah mencabar lembaga pengarah 1MDB untuk mendakwa dia. Tetapi apabila mereka mendakwanya, dia memohon pula untuk mengetepikan saman itu. Adakah ini satu lagi daripada sekian banyak wayang yang dimainkan oleh pemimpin pembangkang?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dr Mahathir makes his attacks personal

Salleh Said Keruak

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad intensified his attacks on both ex-Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in Ipoh yesterday. Much of his attacks, however, was very personal in nature and even touched on Pak Lah’s medical condition, the sleep apnoea that he is suffering from.

Dr Mahathir also admitted that he had forced Pak Lah to take Najib as his deputy and later forced Pak Lah to resign to make way for Najib. Now Dr Mahathir wants Najib to resign to make way for Muhyiddin Yassin.

By Dr Mahathir’s own admission he wants to be the one to decide who rules Malaysia after him. What he did not confirm yesterday, though, is once Muhyiddin takes over from Najib who will Dr Mahathir want as the new Deputy Prime Minister?

Whoever it may be, what Dr Mahathir wants is that the Prime Minister has to be someone of his choosing, handpicked by him, and someone who will listen to his instructions.

Yesterday’s gathering was very boisterous and noisy with the crowd jeering and heckling and many people shouting in the background. This is not the type of gathering we would expect a statesman like Dr Mahathir to organise. It sounded like a ceramah that the opposition parties normally organise in the kampung and was quite embarrassing to witness.

Dr Mahathir also called Najib a penipu -- which could mean liar, fraud or cheat -- and today many opposition blogs and websites are repeating this ‘Najib penipu’ mantra. Even though we may want to criticise the leadership we need to do it with some dignity because lack of dignity reflects on the person criticising.

Meanwhile, the DAP Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara, Tony Pua Kiam Wee, has applied to strike out a defamation suit against him by the Prime Minister pertaining to 1MDB.

This is a very strange move considering that Tony Pua has challenged the 1MDB board of directors to sue him. But when they do sue him he applies to have the suit set aside. Is this yet another of the many wayang that these opposition leaders are playing?

Apa yang diharapkan kita untuk penyelesaian melalui perdebatan?

Salleh Said Keruak


Antara hobi kegemaran pembangkang adalah untuk mencabar pengkritik mereka untuk perbahasan. "Young Turks" Pakatan Rakyat yang sentiasa "membuat bising" seperti Rafizi Ramli, Tony Pua, dan sebagainya, pada dasarnya, gemar mencabar pemimpin Barisan Nasional untuk perbahasan.

Kini ia kelihatan seperti Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad telah dijangkiti penyakit pembangkang yang terdiri daripada golongan orang-orang yang mencabar untuk perbahasan. Dr Mahathir kini telah meminta Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak untuk berdebat 1MDB.

Ia bukan protokol wajar bagi seorang Perdana Menteri untuk menerima perbahasan daripada rakyat biasa, walaupun warganegara yang pernah menjadi Perdana Menteri atau Ketua Pembangkang. Jika Ketua Pembangkang mempunyai apa-apa isu-isu, dia sentiasa boleh membawa perkara perkara tersebut di Parlimen.

Bagaimanapun, debat tidak boleh mengatasi apa-apa isu seperti 1MDB. Perbahasan hendaklah meliputi isu-isu yang lebih luas. Sebaliknya, jika perdebatan ini terhad kepada hanya 1MDB, maka perbahasan perlu memberi tumpuan kepada dakwaan bahawa 1MDB telah kehilangan RM42 bilion atau RM42 bilion telah hilang ke udara nipis.

Apa pun yang berkenaan, suatu perbahasan 1MDB tidak akan menyelesaikan apa-apa isu-isu lain selain daripada, hanya melayan orang ramai yang menikmati menonton dua orang bertelagah. Satu-satunya cara untuk menyelesaikan masalah ini adalah untuk menunggu laporan PAC dan lihat apa yang dikatakannya.

Mengapa Dr Mahathir enggan menunggu laporan PAC? Apa yang dia takut? Adakah dia bimbang bahawa laporan PAC yang akan membuktikan bahawa RM42 bilion belum hilang?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

What do you hope to resolve through a debate?

Salleh Said Keruak


A favourite pastime of the opposition is to challenge their detractors to a debate. Young Turks like Rafizi Ramli, Tony Pua, etc., basically the noisemakers of Pakatan Rakyat, are fond of challenging Barisan Nasional leaders to debates.

Now it looks like Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been infected with the opposition disease of challenging people to debates. Dr Mahathir has now asked Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to debate 1MDB.

It is not proper protocol for the Prime Minister to accept debates from normal citizens, even if that citizen happens to be an ex-Prime Minister or the Opposition Leader. If the Opposition Leader has any issues he or she can always bring this up in Parliament.

Anyway, debates should not be on such a narrow issue such as 1MDB. The debate should cover broader issues. On the other hand, if the debate is confined to just 1MDB, then the debate should focus on the allegation that 1MDB has lost RM42 billion or that RM42 billion has disappeared into thin air.

Whatever it may be, a debate on 1MDB is not going to resolve any issues other than to just entertain the public that enjoys watching two people fight. The only way to resolve this issue is to wait for the PAC report and see what it says.

Why is Dr Mahathir reluctant to wait for the PAC report? What is he afraid of? Is he worried that the PAC report will prove that the RM42 billion has not disappeared?

Friday, May 15, 2015


Oleh Salleh Said Keruak

Sesetengah orang, termasuk Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad menuntut jawapan mengenai 1MDB. Bagaimanapun, saya melihat setiap kali jawapan diberikan, pengkritik ini akan mengetepikan sahaja penjelasan tersebut dan melabelkannya sebagai pembohongan. Mereka mengatakan bahawa mereka tidak lagi percaya apa yang kerajaan katakan.

Tentu sekali, itu adalah hak mereka tetapi jika mereka tidak percaya apa yang kerajaan katakan mengapa mereka menuntut jawapan jika tidak mempercayai jawapan yang diberikan.

Adalah lebih baik kita tunggu PAC menyiapkan siasatan ke atas 1MDB dan keluarkan laporannya. Juruaudit luar juga melakukan pemeriksaan yang sama. Lagipun, ahli-ahli PAC juga terdiri daripada kalangan para pemimpin parti pembangkang. Oleh itu, anda tidak boleh mengatakan bahawa ia adalah cubaan kerajaan menutup kes, seperti apa yang biasa mereka katakan setiap kerajaan mengeluarkan apa-apa kenyataan.

Dalam hal ini, perkara pokoknya ialah dakwaan bahawa 1MDB telah kehilangan RM42 bilion. PAC perlu memberi tumpuan kepada dakwaan ini dan mengesahkan sama ada RM42 bilion itu sebenarnya telah hilang atau sebaliknya. Jika jawapannya tidak, maka PAC perlu memaklumkan kami di manakah wang itu....inilah yang kebanyakan orang ingin tahu.

Seperti yang dikatakan oleh Dr Mahathir, kehilangan wang bukanlah menjadi isu. Dr Mahathir mengakui sewaktu beliau menjadi Perdana Menteri pun negara ini kehilangan banyak wang, mungkin lebih daripada jumlah yang melibatkan 1MDB. Apa yang penting ialah pengetahuan atau maklumat di mana wang itu hilang.

Dr Mahathir berkata beliau juga mungkin telah kehilangan wang semasa beliau menjadi Perdana Menteri tetapi kita tahu di mana wang itu telah hilang. Dalam kes 1MDB, "kita tidak tahu", kata Dr Mahathir.

Jadi apa yang PAC perlu lakukan untuk menenangkan rakyat Malaysia dan Dr Mahathir ialah mengesahkan sama ada RM42 bilion benar-benar telah hilang dan jika betul, di mana ia telah hilang, sekali gus meredakan kehangatan isu 1MDB.

Do they really want to know the truth about 1MDB?

Salleh Said Keruak

Some people, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad included, are demanding answers regarding 1MDB. However, I have noticed that when answers are given these critics would brush off the response and label them as lies. They say they can no longer believe what the government says.
That is their prerogative, of course, but if they do not believe what the government says then why demand answers when if the answers are given you will say you do not believe them anyway?

It is best we let the PAC complete its investigation into 1MDB and then come out with its report. The external auditors are also doing the same. After all, the members of the PAC comprise of opposition leaders as well. So you cannot say that this is a government cover up, like what they normally say when the government issues a statement.

The crux of the matter is the allegation that 1MDB has lost RM42 billion. The PAC should focus on this allegation and confirm whether RM42 billion has, in fact, been lost. And if the answer is no then the PAC needs to tell us where that money is, which is what most people want to know.

As Dr Mahathir said, it is not the issue that money has been lost. Dr Mahathir admitted that even when he was Prime Minister the country lost a lot of money, probably more than the amount involving 1MDB. It is the knowledge of where it has been lost that is important.

Dr Mahathir said he also might have lost money when he was Prime Minister but we know where it was lost. In 1MDB’s case we do not know, said Dr Mahathir.

So what the PAC has to do to pacify Malaysians and Dr Mahathir is to confirm whether RM42 billion has really been lost and if it has then where was it lost. Then the 1MDB matter can be put to rest.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Oleh Salleh Said Keruak

Greece sedang bergelut mencari dana bagi membayar balik pinjamannya sebanyak RM3 bilion kepada IMF yang kini patut dibayar.

Walaupun Greece boleh mendapatkan wang sejumlah itu dalam masa yang singkat, namun ia  masih tidak dapat menyelesaikan masalah yang dihadapi, kerana pada bulan yang akan datang, jumlah yang lebih besar sekitar RM10.5 bilion pula sampai tempoh matang untuk dibayar balik.
Jelas sekali, Greece memerlukan hampir RM15 bilion dalam tempoh beberapa minggu akan datang. Pada bulan Julai ini, Greece perlu sekitar RM35 bilion manakala bulan berikutnya (Ogos) perlu RM28 bilion. Ini bermakna dalam tempoh tiga bulan, Greece perlu membayar hampir RM90 bilion,dan negara itu tidak memiliki wang sejumlah itu.
Dalam keadaan sedemikian, alternatif yang sesuai ialah dengan melanjutkan lagi tempoh pembayaran balik pinjaman sehingga 10 tahun tetapi keadaan ini akan menambah beban hutang Greece sebanyak 12 peratus yang bakal membankrapkan negara itu ke tahap yang lebih teruk.
Pendek kata, adalah mustahil untuk menyelamatkan negara tersebut yang pada suatu ketika dahulu pernah menguasai sebahagian besar dunia. Nisbah hutang awam Greece ialah sekitar 175 peratus. Bagaimanapun, jika anda berfikir bahawa ini adalah sesuatu yang tidak baik, kedudukan Jepun adalah lebih teruk pada nisbah 228 peratus. Itali berkedudukan nombor lima dengan catatan 134 peratus. Singapura berada di kedudukan nombor 11 (107 peratus). Perancis pula 96 peratus, Kanada (93 peratus), UK (87 peratus), Austria (80 peratus), Jerman (75 peratus), Amerika Syarikat (71 peratus), manakala Malaysia berada di kedudukan bawah dalam senarai iaitu nombor 63 dengan catatan 54 peratus.
Pembangkang terus mengatakan bahawa Malaysia kini menuju ke arah kebankrapan. Namun hakikatnya Malaysia masih menjadi destinasi pelaburan asing. Masalahnya ialah pembangkang hanya mengambil kesempatan mensensasikan atau memperkatakan isu ini tanpa disokong dengan fakta dan statistik.
Sementara kita boleh bersetuju bahawa kita perlu pembangkang, namun ia wajar menjadi pembangkang bertanggungjawab yang tidak mengelirukan orang ramai dan menyebarkan perkara yang tidak benar. Pembangkang Malaysia nampaknya tidak mengambil berat tentang kebenaran tetapi hanya beria-ia menjatuhkan kerajaan meskipun menggunakan maklumat separa tepat.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Malaysia is not going bankrupt

By Salleh Said Keruak

Greece is struggling to find the money to pay its RM3 billion loan to the IMF that is now due. Even if it can find that money in such short notice that still does not solve the problem because next month another RM10.5 billion is due.

Hence Greece needs almost RM15 billion over the next couple of weeks.

In July, Greece needs another RM35 billion and in August another RM28 billion. That means in three months Greece has to fork out almost RM90 billion, money that it does not have.

In such a situation the alternative would be to roll over the debt for another ten years but this will cost Greece another 12% and would bankrupt the country even further.

In short, it is impossible to save the country that once ruled half the world.

Greece’s public debt ratio is 175%. However, if you think that this is bad, Japan’s is worse at 228%. Italy is at number five at 134%. Singapore at number 11 at 107%. France is 96%, Canada 93%, the UK 87%, Austria 80%, Germany 75%, the US 71%, and Malaysia down at number 63 on the list at just 54%.

The opposition keeps saying that Malaysia is going bankrupt. And yet Malaysia still attracts foreign investments. The problem is the opposition is just sensationalising the issue without supporting what they say with facts and statistics.

While we can agree that we need an opposition, it has to be a responsible opposition that does not mislead the public and spread untruths. Malaysia’s opposition does not appear to be concerned about the truth but only about running down the government even if it has to tell half the story.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Lembaga Tabung Haji paid a fair market price

By Salleh Said Keruak

Wee Ka Siong of MCA and Lim Kit Siang of DAP have referred to my Blog posting where I was alleged to have said that the Lembaga Tabung Haji land purchase from 1MDB was discussed at the Cabinet meeting. I did not say that. What I asked was whether the Cabinet ever discussed 1MDB during the weekly Cabinet meetings.

Tabung Haji has its own Board that runs the organisation and decides its policies. Not every operational matter of every organisation is discussed at the Cabinet. If not the Cabinet meetings would take days.

The issue seems to be regarding Tabung Haji paying 1MDB a discounted price of RM188.5 million for a plot of land at the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) or RM2,774 per sq ft. What Tabung Haji paid was for converted land with title, planning approval and infrastructure. This is relatively cheap if compared to similar transactions concluded in the Golden Triangle.

Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB) bought the 1.8661 acre German Embassy land for RM259.15 million or RM3,188 per sq ft. This is about 6% higher than the market value of the land based on the appraisal conducted by CH Williams Talhar & Wong and Raine & Horne International Zaki & Partners.

SP Setia Bhd paid RM294.97million or RM2,200 per sq ft for the 1.22 ha British High Commission land in Jalan Ampang.

Oxley Holdings (M) Sdn Bhd, a unit of Singapore-based developer Oxley Holdings Ltd, purchased 1.3 ha in Jalan Ampang for RM446.7million or RM3,300 per sq ft.

KSK Group Bhd paid RM568 million or RM3,299 per sq ft for a 1.6 ha parcel in Jalan Conlay. The vendor was Suasana Simfoni Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Singapore-listed UOL Group Ltd.

If the issue is that Tabung Haji paid too much for the land or that it was a bad investment then this is not so, as the many other transactions around that area have proven. And the land deal was negotiated before 1MDB even became an issue and not after that.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Was 1MDB never discussed during Cabinet meetings?

By Salleh Said Keruak

When Anwar Ibrahim was sacked from Umno and the government in 1998 and then started to criticise the Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said something quite sensible.

The Prime Minister does not run the country singlehandedly all by himself. The country is run by the Cabinet, which collectively decides on policies and other matters. Hence whatever is done is based on collective decision and collective responsibility.

The Cabinet meets once a week on Wednesday mornings and that same afternoon the Ministers go back to their respective ministries to brief their senior civil servants about what the Cabinet has decided and what the ministries have to do.

Anwar, however, insinuated that Dr Mahathir was running a one-man show. Dr Mahathir denied this and said, quite correctly, that Anwar himself, in fact, chaired some of these Cabinet meetings.

The Cabinet, argued Dr Mahathir, works on the basis of collective responsibility. Zaid Ibrahim understood this quite well when he resigned from the Cabinet in 2008. Zaid knew that he could not remain in the Cabinet if he does not agree with some of the Cabinet decisions because as long as he is part of the Cabinet he is collectively responsible for all its decision and actions.

Currently some of the Cabinet members, the Deputy Prime Minister included, are making statements as if they are outsiders and not part of the Cabinet. Are they suggesting that these matters currently attracting controversy were never discussed in the Cabinet meetings or that they were and that they had disagreed with the decisions?

If Cabinet Ministers have anything to say then it should be done during the Cabinet meetings. We must remember that it is the Prime Minister who appoints them as Ministers so if they feel they no longer have confidence in the Prime Minister or disagree with certain Cabinet decisions then they should resign instead of trying to derail what the Prime Minister is doing.

To say that they are members of the Cabinet but they do not know what is going on or do not agree with the Cabinet decisions is absolutely unethical. They cannot be members of the Cabinet and then deny all responsibility and refuse to accept collective responsibility.

Has the Deputy Prime Minister never chaired any of the Cabinet meetings and was 1MDB never discussed during Cabinet meetings? Are the Deputy Prime Minister and those other Cabinet Ministers trying to save their own necks by pretending that they have nothing to do with the matter and know nothing about what is going on?

The 1MDB issue is no longer about transparency

By Salleh Said Keruak

Initially, the criticism against 1MDB was supposed to be because of the lack of transparency in how the organisation is being managed. Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak then ordered an investigation into the affairs of 1MDB but still the attacks would not stop.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has launched a road show to carry his message all over Malaysia that Najib has to be ousted because of how 1MDB is being managed and because of the lack of information about what is happening in 1MDB.

Is Dr Mahathir really interested in knowing more about 1MDB or he is just using 1MDB as the excuse to oust Najib? If he wants to know more about 1MDB then why does he not want to wait for the investigation report to be released and decide after he sees the report whether all the allegations are true or not?

When anyone raises the issue about how he managed the country in the 22 years that he was Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir replies that there is no proof of any wrongdoing and he challenges his critics to show proof if there are any. But when he criticises Najib he does not need proof and suspicion alone is proof enough that there are wrongdoings.

First he says RM42 billion disappeared. Then the figure is reduced and then later is reduced yet again. And now he says he did not say that RM42 billion disappeared into thin air and what he said was that 1MDB had borrowed RM42 billion and they must account for what happened to the money.

That is what Najib is trying to do. And that is why he ordered the investigation. But Dr Mahathir is not interested in the investigation. He has already made up his mind that Najib has to go, never mind what the investigation is going to reveal.

It is clear that the issue is not 1MDB any longer. Dr Mahathir just wants Najib to go and the 1MBD issue is being used as the excuse to oust him. Dr Mahathir does not care if 1MDB can account for the money or even if it can show it had made a profit. In fact, Dr Mahathir wants Najib out now before the investigation is concluded in case the investigation proves Dr Mahathir wrong and he can no longer use this issue as an excuse to demand Najib’s resignation.

Is Dr Mahathir really concerned about 1MDB or is he more concerned about replacing Najib with a new Prime Minister who is prepared to kowtow to whatever he wants? Maybe Dr Mahathir would like Najib to call off the investigation since he is not interested to see the report.

Friday, May 8, 2015

It is a purchase, not a bailout


Lembaga Tabung Haji is said to have bailed out 1MDB by purchasing a certain asset owned by 1MDB.

The word ‘bailout’ is a negative term and has been intentionally used or misused to insinuate that there is something wrong going on.

When Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Berhad (BBMB) practically went bankrupt because of BMF’s bad loans in Hong Kong and Petonas was forced to pump in money to save the bank that would be considered a bailout.

Bailouts occur when money is pumped into the ailing organisation without any returns on that money. Neither do you receive dividends or do you get your money back.

Perwaja was a bailout because if money had not been pumped into that company then it would have gone under. Again, there were no returns on the money the government pumped into Perwaja.

When the government bought back the MAS shares from Tajudin Ramli that was a bailout. If the government had not bought the shares back then Tajuddin would have gone bankrupt and the government was forced to buy back the shares at way above market price thereby incurring a huge loss to the taxpayers.

As Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said, when Petronas was asked to buy over Konsortium Perkapalan Berhad that was not a bailout. Mirzan Mahathir wanted RM2 billion so that he could cover his RM1.7 billion debts but in the end Petronas agreed to pay only RM1 billion.

So Mirzan ‘lost’ RM1 billion on the deal while Petronas later sold the company for a huge profit of hundreds of millions. In such a situation, since Petronas made money on the deal, that cannot be considered a bailout but a buyout -- although if Petronas had not bought over the company Mirzan would have gone bankrupt.

So, when Tabung Haji bought over that asset from 1MDB at a slight discount over market value do you call it a bailout when Tabung Haji did not pump money into 1MDB for no returns whatsoever like what happened in all those other examples above?

Is Permatang Pauh Hadi’s Waterloo?


The talk amongst PAS circles was that Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was not going to win the Permatang Pauh by-election by more than a 5,000-vote majority. This was because the PAS supporters in Permatang Pauh who number about 12,000 outnumber the PKR supporters.

The message that PAS was going to send to PKR and DAP is that since they did not assist PAS in the Rompin by-election then PAS was going to do the same in the Permatang by-election.

The PKR and DAP boycott of Rompin was a show of protest towards the PAS President, Abdul Hadi Awang, rather than a protest against PAS. PKR and DAP can no longer work with PAS as long as Hadi is still its President.

This is not only because of the Hudud issue but also because of the Kajang Move and the Selangor Menteri Besar crisis, which Hadi did not support, and which dashed the hopes of Dr Wan Azizah becoming the new Selangor Menteri Besar.

However, the supposedly PAS boycott of Permatang Pauh did not materialise. Most in PAS did not support the boycott and continued to support PKR. That was why Dr Wan Azizah won with a higher majority than expected.

This does not bode well for Hadi. Permatang Pauh showed that not all are behind him. And this would probably be more visible next month during the PAS party elections when it is expected that Hadi will face a challenge for the party leadership.

The future of Pakatan Rakyat depends on solidarity amongst the three coalition members. And solidarity can never be achieved unless PAS gets a new President. This would mean the future of Pakatan Rakyat hinges on PAS getting rid of Hadi and replacing him with someone more acceptable to PKR and DAP.

The question is: who is more important to PAS, Hadi or Pakatan Rakyat? If PAS was to have a chance at federal power it can only be through Pakatan Rakyat. This means Hadi needs to be sacrificed for the good of PAS and Pakatan Rakyat.

It would be impossible for PAS to retain Hadi unless it wants to remain as an opposition party forever. So Hadi might be ousted so that PAS can move forward and realise its dream of becoming the federal government.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The paranoia surrounding 1MDB


Malaysians are getting too paranoid on the subject of 1MDB.

Tabung Haji has for years been investing in various instruments, property included, to ensure that the depositors’ money grows. Idle money depreciates so money must be made to work for it to appreciate.

For more than 50 years this has never been an issue. But now that Tabung Haji is said to have purchased an asset from 1MDB, all hell is breaking loose.

Is the Tabung Haji purchase of this asset a bad purchase or is the objection mainly because it is said to be purchasing the asset from 1MDB? And, therefore, if the purchase were not from 1MDB then it would be okay.

No one is scrutinising whether the purchase is good or bad for Tabung Haji. The issue is that the purchase is from 1MDB and any purchase from 1MDB must be opposed.

This is beginning to sound like an opposition spin: anything the government does is wrong and we must oppose it for the sake of opposing even when it is good.

The fact that 1MDB may have purchased the asset at a lower price and sold it at a higher price is not a crime. Is that not the objective of doing business: to purchase low and sell high? If it were the other way around then it would certainly be bad business.

Tabung Haji obtained the advice of a professional independent valuer to establish the market price of the asset before purchasing it. And Tabung Haji did not pay a price above market value.

The allegation against 1MDB is that it made bad business decisions. But even when it makes good business decisions there are still objections. Now the objection is not that 1MDB is losing money but that 1MDB is making money.

1MBD was also accused of losing RM42 billion; that RM42 billion simply ‘disappeared’. If RM42 billion disappeared then how do you account for that land which Tabung Haji bought? This would mean the money did not disappear but is in that land.

And then when 1MBD makes a profit on that land, as how it should, this, too, is raised as an issue. It looks more and more like the objective of the critics is merely to see 1MDB fail so that this can be used to force the Prime Minister’s resignation.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The expectations in Rompin and Permatang Pauh


Kedah Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir said there was no way his father would campaign for the opposition in the Permatang Pauh and Rompin by-elections.

No doubt Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is not openly campaigning for Pakatan Rakyat. However, there is such a thing as subtle campaigning, which is what we can see happening.

Dr Mahathir needs not say Pakatan Rakyat is good. All he needs to say is Barisan Nasional is bad. That is good enough and is as good as saying Pakatan rakyat is not bad, meaning good.

A number of political observers -- Wan Saiful Wan Jan of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs and Oh Ei Sun of the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies included -- have predicted that Barisan Nasional will win in Rompin and Pakatan Rakyat in Permatang Pauh, which means status quo. But if they win with a lesser majority than in 2013 that would be considered a ‘defeat’, or kalah dalam menang, as the Malays would say.

Of course, a win is still a win, even by just one vote. But the win needs to be with an impressive enough majority-vote and not reduced too much from two years ago.

In 2003, Barisan Nasional won Rompin with a 15,000-vote majority and Pakatan Rakyat won Permatang Pauh with a 12,000-vote majority. If Barisan Nasional’s majority is reduced drastically in Rompin while Pakatan Rakyat’s is reduced to below a 10,000-majority in Permatang Pauh, this will be taken as negative development.

Mahathir’s Kungfu is Azmin’s Taichi


The ongoing Permatang Pauh by-election campaign reminds me of the Hulu Selangor by-election of 2010. In that by-election, P. Kamalanathan of MIC (Barisan Nasional) faced Zaid Ibrahim of PKR (Pakatan Rakyat).

In the 2008 general election, the late Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad of PKR won that seat with an extremely slim majority of just 198 votes. Kamalanathan won that same seat two years later with a majority of 1,725 votes, much to everyone’s surprise who had expected Zaid to win mainly because Kamalanathan was an ‘unknown’ while Zaid was a high-profile figure.

There were, of course, all sorts of reasons given why Zaid lost, internal party sabotage being one of them, but many agreed that Kamalanathan won because he presented himself as a more likeable character compared to Zahid who was said to be a bit aloof.

Some even indicated that Zaid did not look people in the face when he salam and this put people off who interpreted this as being not too friendly. But the bottom line is we never know why voters vote for you and a simple smile and eye contact could be all it takes to win their votes.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is currently campaigning against Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and the issue being raised is that Umno is no longer a good party and is going to suffer in the coming general election if the leadership is not changed.

Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali is using this attack on the Prime Minister to tell the voters in Permatang Pauh that Dr Mahathir himself has condemned Umno so the voters should reject that party in favour of PKR.
Azmin is playing a very clever game of Taichi and in Taichi you turn your opponents’ attack against them.

Azmin is turning Dr Mahathir’s attacks as his Taichi and is using Dr Mahathir’s own words to tell the voters that Umno is not worthy of their votes.

This is the danger you face when you run down your own party. Your opponent can use this back against you. And in Permatang Pauh this is what is happening, the opposition is using what Dr Mahathir is saying to its advantage.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The majority support fallacy of the opposition


The opposition loves organising ceramah, rallies and protest demonstration so that they can get crowds of people onto the streets and give an impression that the opposition has a large popular support.

The opposition gets 1,000 or 2,000 people onto the streets and they claim that this is proof the majority of Malaysians oppose the government and they then demand that the Prime Minister resigns.

Malaysia has a population of 30 million. About 18.5 million Malaysians are of voting age. About 13.5 million Malaysians are registered to vote. About 5 million Malaysians have not registered to vote. About 11 million Malaysians came out to vote in the 2013 general election. About 5.6 million Malaysians voted for the opposition.

The opposition is creating this illusion that it has majority support and that the majority of Malaysians want the Prime Minister to resign. A few thousand Malaysians, even the 10,000 Malaysians who rallied on 1st May 2015, do not represent 18.5 million eligible voters.

The opposition also keeps saying that they won 51-52% of the popular vote. What this merely means is they won 51-52% of the votes of those who turned out to vote. That represents only 30% of the eligible voters. And this would also mean that about 70% or 13 million eligible voters did not vote for the opposition.