Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The focus of our Internet development in Malaysia

Salleh Said Keruak

Lim Kit Siang seems to have taken offense with my response yesterday and is getting very personal when he said, “Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak has beaten all Ministers to make the most stupid Ministerial statement, not only poorly researched but highlighted total ignorance of his Ministerial responsibility apart from being the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Chief Blogger.”

Maybe he was not too happy with my reply when I said, “Lim Kit Siang just talks about speed. Malaysia’s focus is speed, coverage and affordability. We want to ensure that by 2020 at least 95% of Malaysians will have access to the Internet. And we also want to ensure that at least 50% of urban areas and 20% of rural areas have broadband speeds of 100 Mbps.”

Note the part where I said, “Malaysia’s focus is speed, coverage and affordability.” That means cost (affordability) is one point that I am looking at, which is also the point that Lim Kit Siang is talking about. So we are on the same page here.

In Malaysia, our Internet penetration is 67% of the population. We are still below South Korea (92%), Brunei (75%), Japan (86%), Singapore (80%), and Taiwan (80%). However, we are definitely ahead of the rest of Asia.

The average Internet penetration for the whole of Asia is only 38.8% and 73.5% for the whole of Europe. North America is, of course, ahead of the rest of the world at 87.9%. As I said yesterday, we are planning to give 95% of Malaysians Internet service by 2020, which is only five years from now, and MCMC plans to spend about RM9 billion by 2020 to achieve this.

Lim Kit Siang said, “…the issue is that high Internet speeds in Malaysia are too costly and unaffordable when compared to other countries when the Minister’s task is to make them affordable and popular.”

Yes, that too has been taken into consideration and I did not dispute that point in my reply to Lim Kit Siang. What must also be taken into consideration, which Akamai did not, is that the entry-level package for fixed broadband offered by Telekom Malaysia starts at 386 kbps. Therefore, due to the high number of subscribers for these entry-level packages (71%), this had the effect of pulling down the average speeds measured by Akamai.

For example, 87% of HSBB subscribers are for the lowest speed 5 Mbps package and there are hardly any takers for the higher speed packages of 30 and 50 Mbps. So while I do not disagree with what Lim Kit Siang or Akamai said, we need to also take into consideration how the average speed of the Internet is calculated. When 71% of the users are in the entry-level 386 kbps category, then the overall average would be low.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Internet speed in Malaysia: What Lim Kit Siang may not be aware of

Salleh Said Keruak

“Salleh appeared to be only interested in his blog and Facebook, busy with his new toy and cabinet assignment to be Najib’s chief propagandist to fight the prime minister’s political survival battle. One would have expected Salleh to be very occupied with blueprints, announcements, statements or even blogs as to how Malaysia is to return to the front-line of information technology powers. But Salleh has been conspicuously unconcerned about Malaysia’s poor Internet infrastructure,” said Lim Kit Siang yesterday.

Actually, this is the same complaint in the UK, which is ranked as the 16th in Europe in terms of Internet speed. It is estimated that if Britain wants to improve the communications infrastructure it would need to spend about RM200 billion. The question being asked in the UK is whether Internet users are prepared to foot his bill on top of the RM1,400 billion they need to pay for the other infrastructure like energy, roads and railway.

Basically Lim Kit Siang is grumbling about the slow Internet speed in Malaysia. Actually there are a wide range of Internet speeds that Malaysians can choose from but about 71% of Malaysian Internet users prefer the slower Streamyx broadband package that offers speeds of between 384 Kbps to 1 Mbps.

Even though higher broadband speeds are available, the majority of customers will subscribe to the cheaper and thus slower packages. In Singapore, Thailand, etc., the minimum speeds range from 4-5 Mbps. In Malaysia it is only 384 Kbps.

Of course we can also do this for Malaysia. We can increase the minimum Internet speed to, say, 5 Mbps and force Malaysians to buy this higher-speed package. But that would mean the cost would be higher as well and Internet usage will be available to only those who can afford to pay the higher cost.

In Malaysia, you can even choose the 20 Mbps package if you want higher speed Internet service. However, most Malaysians would not opt for this and would still prefer the cheaper and slower speed Internet. So in the end it all boils down to affordability and Malaysia offers affordable Internet to those who want it and higher speed Internet to those who money is not a problem.

Lim Kit Siang just talks about speed. Malaysia’s focus is speed, coverage and affordability. We want to ensure that by 2020 at least 95% of Malaysians will have access to the Internet. And we also want to ensure that at least 50% of urban areas and 20% of rural areas have broadband speeds of 100 Mbps.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The fallacy of who made Najib the PM

Salleh Said Keruak

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he had worked hard to make Najib Tun Razak the Prime Minister of Malaysia. So, since he made Najib the Prime Minister, then he has a right to remove him. This sounds like what they say in the US: if I can hire then I can fire.

Actually this is not true and is a fallacy. Dr Mahathir is not Najib’s boss or employer who can just sack him as he pleases. Some may even call it delusional that one man can think he decides who should or should not lead the country, as if the democratic system in how we choose leaders and governments no longer exists.

Dr Mahathir can probably make that claim when it comes to Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. After all, he did appoint Abdullah as his deputy and eventually resigned and handed the country to Abdullah.

But it was Abdullah who appointed Najib as his deputy. So, if anyone can claim that he made Najib the Prime Minister, then probably Abdullah is the one who can make that claim.

However, in 2013, Najib lead Barisan Nasional in the general election and the ruling coalition won that election. So, in 2013, it was the people or the voters and not Dr Mahathir who made Najib the Prime Minister. Dr Mahathir was just one voter amongst 11 million voters.

And it was Umno that chose Najib as its President. Therefore that makes him the legitimate leader of Umno elected by the members. At least there are no allegations of fraud during the party elections and Najib did not deregister Umno to cover up that fraud like Bapa Merdeka, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman, alleged Dr Mahathir did in 1987.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Dr Mahathir sounds like a broken record

Salleh Said Keruak

“If the currency and the economy is to recover, Najib must cease to be Prime Minister of Malaysia. Malaysians must demand for Najib’s removal. It is totally democratic to demand for his removal,” said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today.

“Only his ceasing to be the Prime Minister of Malaysia will the economy recover, the Ringgit revalued up, and cost of living go down. Only after his removal can Malaysians stand tall again,” added Dr Mahathir.

This is exactly what the opposition used to say about Dr Mahathir. In fact, Anwar Ibrahim blamed all the country’s social, political and financial problems on Dr Mahathir and even accused Dr Mahathir for the lack of democracy and civil liberties. Some even say that all the problems the country is currently facing are Dr Mahathir’s legacy.

The opposition goes even further as to say that if Umno is no longer in power and a Pakatan Rakyat (now Pakatan Harapan) Prime Minister takes over then Malaysia is going to be the greatest country in the world. Does Dr Mahathir share this view of the opposition that the problem is not Najib but Umno?

I remember a time when Dr Mahathir refused to take responsibility for the collapse of the Ringgit and he blamed the Jews for it. This was exactly what Hitler did when he blamed Germany’s problems on the Jews. This is starting to become very tiring and comical.


    KOTA BELUD: Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak described the documentary report entitled "A Fractured Nation" on Channel NewsAsia (CNA) based in Singapore yesterday as biased because it potrayed bad image of Malaysia using or through only tips from opposition sources.

    He said the report did not reflect the real situation in the country, and CNA should have came up with a balanced report by interviewing those who were members of the ruling party.

    "The report is clearly one-sided because it only highlights negative things about Malaysia, and CNA interviews only those who are members of the opposition. Channel NewsAsia's report on Malaysia Day is unfair, biased and regrettable, and should be rectified.

    "CNS should take into account the views of all parties as the report seems to portray our country is facing a lot of problems which is not all true.This report clearly shows that they have a point of view or an angle to hurt our country," he said.

    Salleh was speaking to reporters after attending the distribution of sacrificial meat in conjunction with the Eid Al-Adha at Miles 7, Kesapang, near here today.
The CNA reports that Malaysia Day was supposed to be an occasion to strengthen unity of all Malaysians but was allegedly taken advantage by certain parties to sow discord and disunity through the protests with a racial overtone.
 In rebuttal, Salleh said the foreign media were determined to spoil the good name of Malaysia with reports based on dubious sources.
 "They try to create the impression that the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) has made many mistakes and even took advantage of the situation -- where our Prime Minister is now in New York (on official duty) by publishing news that could discredit Malaysia, particularly the Prime Minister in the international media," he said.
He opined that the negative reports were initiated not only by the outsiders but also a certain group of people in the country.
Salleh said the majority of the people and leaders of the country had expressed their full support to the Prime Minister, saying "such acts divulge the futile path".
"The issues they raised on 1MDB and RM2.6 billion political donation have been answered...The Prime Minister has said 1MDB's account must be audited and a report was sent to the Committee of Public Accounts Malaysia (PAC)... So letPAC makes the investigation.
"The government has also plans on 1MDB's rationalization (recovery) and we believe within six months, these problems can be solved,"he said.
On the US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) which was channelled into Najib's personal bank accounts, Salleh said  Malaysian Anti-Corruption (MACC) had said it came from donors as a political donation.
 Salleh said so far there was no law in the country that "bar anyone from collecting money for political purposes".
 MACC was quoted as saying in a statement recently that it knew the identity of the donor who had banked in RM2.6 billion into  Najib’s personal account.

It was Dr Mahathir who blamed Najib for giving in to the Chinese

Salleh Said Keruak

Channel News Asia’s special report, INSIGHT: A Fractured Nation, is basically a documentary comparing the pre-Merdeka Day celebration Bersih or ‘Yellow Shirt’ rally to the Red Shirt rally on the Malaysia Day celebration.

The message in this documentary is that the Bersih rally was about democracy, free and fair elections, plus more transparency and good governance, while the Red Shirt rally was just about racism. Therefore the Yellow Shirt rally had noble intentions while the Red Shirt rally did not.

Dr Ooi Kee Beng, Ibrahim Suffian of Merdeka Centre and Dr Maszlee Malik of UIA were featured in that documentary. Dr Ooi explained that race has always been an integral part of Malaysian politics. So it is not whether you want to play the race card or not. Race and politics just cannot be separated, said Dr Ooi.

Dr Ooi also explained that while Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak may not actually support the Red Shirt rally, on the other hand he is not able to stop the rally from being held without appearing weak. Those promoting the rally form the support base for Umno and Najib would face problems if he were seen opposed to them.

We must remember that it was Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who immediately after the 2013 general election said that Barisan Nasional did not do well because the Chinese no longer support the government. Dr Mahathir blamed Najib for pandering and giving in to the Chinese and after ‘wasting time’ with the Chinese they still did not vote for the government. Najib should have just focused on the Malay voters, said Dr Mahathir.

Dr Mahathir then said to save Umno and Barisan Nasional Najib has to resign. If not then the government may fall in the next general election because Najib no longer has the support of the Chinese.

So it was not the Prime Minister who played the race card. It was his critics who played the race card as an excuse to oust him. Dr Ooi agrees with this when he said that Umno needs to reinvent itself to get the people’s support but Najib, who no longer has Chinese support, will first need to resign.

In not so many words Dr Ooi said that it was not Najib who played the race card but that the race card is being played against Najib and that Najib is as much the victim in this racial game.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Why did Mahathir not sue?

Salleh Said Keruak

The argument is simple. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has made certain allegations against Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. If the allegations are not true then Najib should sue WSJ. If Najib refuses to sue then that can only mean the allegations are true. Najib is therefore guilty.

According to an ex-WSJ editor, Barry Wain, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad has squandered an estimated RM100 billion during his the 22-year rule. According to the inflation calculator, RM100 billion, say in 1990, is worth RM225 billion today.

In his book ‘Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times’, Wain writes that the Dr Mahathir administration, which took office in 1981 with the slogan, “clean, efficient, trustworthy”, was almost immediately embroiled in financial scandals that “exploded with startling regularity”. By the early 1990s, says Wain, cynics remarked that it had been “a good decade for bad behaviour, or a bad decade for good behaviour”.

Dr Mahathir never sued Wain so the allegations remain. And because Dr Mahathir did not sue Wain does this mean the allegations are true? But then if Najib refuses to sue the WSJ, Dr Mahathir says that can only mean the allegations are true.

Friday, September 18, 2015

How the media plays a crucial role

Salleh Said Keruak

Political analysts look at Malaysia’s 2008 general election and conclude that the Internet or social media played a crucial role in influencing the outcome of that general election. In fact, that was around the same time that US President Barack Obama came into office and his entire fund raising campaign was done through the Internet.

It cannot be denied that the Internet not only played a crucial role in Malaysian politics since seven years ago but, in fact, is playing an even more crucial role today. The adage “do not believe everything you read on the Internet” has been replaced with “whatever is reported on the Internet is the absolute truth”. And what used to be called the alternative media -- the Internet and social media -- is now regarded as the mainstream media by many.

What can be regarded as the Internet war or media war in Malaysia has been given a new twist with the involvement of the foreign blogs and media. Malaysians have this perception that anything foreign or imported has to be better than local grown. This is not only as far as consumer goods is concerned but for news as well.

That is why foreign publications such as Sarawak Report and Wall Street Journal are regarded as the bastions of truth. Since they are foreign based and western run then what they say can only be true. No one doubts the veracity of their reports mainly because they are foreign and western based.

It was actually a very clever strategy by those who want to discredit Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to turn to foreign publications to conduct their campaign. If the story came from overseas then it must be true because foreigners only dabble in the truth. And this was why many believed that Iraq was producing weapons of mass destruction -- because the western media said so.

In time, however, people began to realise that they were duped. The stories were lies meant merely to discredit Iraq and rally world support for the US war against Iraq. In time, too, many are going to find out that not all of what the western media is reporting about Najib is true as well. But then, just like in the case of Iraq, they will find out too late and only after the damage has been done.


Oleh Salleh Said Keruak
Penganalisis politik yang mengamati pilihan raya umum Malaysia 2008 membuat kesimpulan bahawa Internet atau sosial media memainkan peranan penting dalam mempengaruhi keputusan pilihan raya umum itu. Malah sekitar masa yang sama Presiden Amerika Syarikat Barack Obama memulakan tugasnya di pejabat presiden dan keseluruhan kempen pengumpulan dananya dilakukan melalui Internet.
Sememangnya tidak boleh dinafikan bahawa Internet bukan sahaja memainkan peranan penting dalam arena politik Malaysia sejak tujuh tahun yang lepas tetapi kini memainkan peranan yang lebih besar. Pepatah "jangan percaya semua yang anda baca di Internet" telah digantikan dengan ungkapan "apa sahaja yang dilaporkan di Internet adalah kebenaran mutlak". Apa yang biasanya dipanggil media alternatif - Internet dan media sosial  sebelum ini - kini dianggap sebagai media arus perdana oleh kebanyakan pembaca.
Apa yang dianggap sebagai perang Internet atau media di Malaysia telah diberi sentuhan baru dengan penglibatan media dan blog asing. Rakyat Malaysia mempunyai persepsi bahawa apa-apa benda dari luar negara atau diimport semestinya lebih baik daripada yang ada di negara ini Ini bukan hanya merangkumi setakat barangan pengguna  tetapi juga laporan berita.
Itu sebabnya terbitan luar negara seperti Sarawak Report dan Wall Street Journal dianggap sebagai benteng kebenaran. Oleh kerana kedua-duanya berpangkalan di luar negara dan dikendalikan oleh pihak barat maka apa yang mereka sajikan dianggap semuanya benar belaka. Tiada siapa yang meragui kebenaran laporan mereka semata-mata kerana berpangkalan di luar negara atau barat.
Sebenarnya ia merupakan satu strategi yang sangat bijak oleh pihak tertentu yang mahu menjatuhkan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak untuk beralih kepada penerbitan asing untuk menjalankan kempen mereka. Jika cerita itu datang dari luar negara maka ia mesti benar kerana warga asing kononnya hanya melibatkan diri dalam kebenaran. Dan inilah sebab mengapa ramai yang percaya  dahulu bahawa Iraq  menghasilkan senjata pemusnah besar-besaran – semata-mata kerana media Barat berkata demikian.
Bagaimanapun, sejak itu manusia sejagat mula menyedari bahawa mereka telah ditipu. Cerita-cerita itu hanya berita palsu atau bohong belaka yang bertujuan semata-mata untuk menjatuhkan kerajaan Iraq dan mendapatkan sokongan dunia kepada Amerika Syarikat bagi melancarkan perang terhadap Iraq. Sejak itu juga ramai yang akan mengetahui bahawa tidak semua apa yang media Barat laporkan mengenai Najib adalah benar belaka. Namun seperti juga kes Iraq, mereka mengetahuinya terkemudian selepas “kerosakan” itu telah dilakukan. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Malaysia is number 31 in the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom

Salleh Said Keruak

This is what the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom reported:

“Malaysia’s economic freedom score is 70.8, making its economy the 31st freest in the 2015 Index. Its score has increased by 1.2 points since last year, with improvements in freedom from corruption, business freedom, and trade freedom outweighing declines in labour freedom and the management of government spending. Malaysia is ranked 8th out of 42 countries in the Asia–Pacific region, and its overall score is above the world and regional averages.

Malaysia has risen to the ‘mostly free’ category. Since 2011, its economic freedom has advanced by 4.5 points, the third largest point increase in the Asia–Pacific region. Gains in six of the 10 economic freedoms have been led by double-digit increases in investment, financial, and business freedoms.”

There are only five countries in the ‘free’ category and 29 in the ‘mostly free’ category, which is the category Malaysia is in. The balance of the 150 countries are in the ‘moderately free’ and ‘mostly unfree’ categories.

In Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s Economic Stimulus Package that was announced yesterday, he suggested that GLCs that have invested in properties overseas should divest their holdings and bring the money back to Malaysia.

It is not known yet how much this would come to but based on the increase in property values and the exchange gain, the GLCs would see a return on investment of at least 50% to 60%. The total involved in the UK alone is huge, and based on just the exchange gain Malaysia would see a profit of RM2 billion or more for every £1 billion, giving Malaysia a tremendous cash flow of hundreds of billions.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Should not guilt be proven instead?

Salleh Said Keruak

This is what Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad  has said regarding the Al-Jazeera documentary on the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu:

“Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has to clear our name and not simply claim that it was released to subvert the government.”

“Proof must be given that the murder, cover-up, the police involvement were not true and that Abdul Razak Baginda was in no way guilty of the terrible crime.”

“Merely saying that it’s not true may convince some Malaysians. However, the majority and foreigners will not be convinced.”

“It’s not pleasant to be told that the Prime Minister of Malaysia may be involved in murder.”

First of all, the court has already tried this case and has come out with its verdict. Is Dr Mahathir saying that the Malaysian courts cannot be trusted and that Malaysian judges are crooked? If not why is Dr Mahathir questioning the court and is insinuating that the court is not honest, which actually tantamount to contempt of court.

Dr Mahathir must remember that back in 1998 when he was Prime Minister the same allegation was made against him regarding the Anwar Ibrahim's corruption and sodomy trials. And Dr Mahathir replied that he is leaving it to the court to decide Anwar’s guilt or innocence, as the case may be. In fact, one lawyer who questioned the judge was actually charged for contempt of court.

Secondly, it is not up to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to prove his innocence, as Dr Mahathir suggests. It is for the court to prove his guilt. And the court has already discharged Abdul Razak Baginda. So in what other way is Dr Mahathir suggesting that Najib clear his name? Is there another method other than through the courts?

What the opposition avoids talking about

Salleh Said Keruak

The opposition is presenting a scenario that Malaysia is going bankrupt. They also point to the fact that the Ringgit has depreciated against the US dollar and the pound sterling without taking into consideration that many other countries have also seen their currencies depreciate, some worse than Malaysia and some with even stronger economies than Malaysia.

The opposition is full of criticism without offering any ideas on how they could do better if they were running the country. Anwar Ibrahim once said that they have solutions but will not reveal this solution until they come into power. What Anwar is saying is that they will keep this solution a secret until they take over the government. Do they really have a solution or is this just talk?

Malaysia’s economy is the third largest in Southeast Asia after Indonesia and Thailand and is the 35th largest in the world. Malaysia is also the third richest country in Southeast Asia based on GDP per capita after the city-states of Singapore and Brunei. Malaysia's economy is one of the most competitive in the world, ranking 14th in 2015.

In 2009, when Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak took over, Malaysia’s PPP (purchasing power parity) GDP (gross domestic product) was only US$383.6 billion. Today it is double that. Also, in 2009, Malaysia’s PPP per capita GDP was only US$8,100. Today it is triple that. Malaysia’s household income is now RM5,900 a month, an increase of 18% over 2012. According to a report by HSBC, Malaysia will become the world's 21st largest economy by 2050, with a GDP of US$1.2 trillion and a GDP per capita of US$29,247.

Why is the opposition ignoring all this and is saying that Malaysia is headed for doom when the facts and figures show that this is not so? Furthermore, the Prime Minister has formed an Economic Council to ensure that Malaysia will remain on track and will continue to improve as 2020 approaches. These are facts the opposition never talks about.

Today, the Prime Minister announced several new measures to support the economy. Malaysia’s GDP grew 5.3% for the first half of this year and is expected to expand next year. The government is also reactivating ValueCap with a capital injection of RM20 billion and more measures are going to be announced next month during the 2016 Budget to be tabled in Parliament.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The noisy minority and the silent majority -Salleh

Salleh Said Keruak

There is a phrase used in United States politics: the noisy minority and the silent majority. Basically this means while a small group of people may be making so much noise, shouting and demonstrating, there is a bigger group that remains silent and demonstrates its support or otherwise at the ballot box.

There may be thousands marching and screaming and demonstrating its displeasure. But there may be an even larger group that has no issues and do not share the views of this minority group of noisy protestors.

Politicians do not fear that noisy minority. What they fear is the silent majority because one never knows what the silent majority is thinking and what they will do come Polling Day.

The Singapore general election has proven this point. The noisy minority dominated the internet and the social media. They made it appear like they represent the majority rather than the minority. And the election result proved that the silent majority were not with the noisy minority.

Undeniably, in Malaysia as well the noisy minority dominates and monopolises the internet and the social media. In fact, many are intimidated and do not want to post their views on the internet because if you disagree with the noisy minority you would get vilified and insulted.

However, just like what happened in Singapore, the silent majority got turned off with what the noisy minority was saying on the internet and in the social media. They watched silently what was being said and the more the silent minority talked the more people were turned away. Sometimes overkill can work against you, like what the Singapore election has proven.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Aljazeera’s distortion and lies

Salleh Said Keruak

Aljazeera just came out with a documentary that is a rehash of an old story and presented as if it is a current development. Why Aljazeera wants to spin this distortion, some of which are merely lies and speculation, leads to a suspicion that an ulterior motive may be the reason.

Everything featured in that documentary is based on hearsay and not based on any tangible evidence. They even re-enacted various scenes with voiceovers, which give an impression that this is evidence whereas the scenes were actually played by actors. How they concluded that these scenes are an adaption of what really happened is not explained. In fact, Aljazeera admits that the scenes are re-enactments.

Aljazeera featured private investigator Bala’s so-called testimony, which he changed so many times. Aljazeera failed to also mention that the French police recorded Bala’s testimony in Paris but they found his testimony inconsistent and unreliable that they decided not to include it in their findings.

The focus of the Aljazeera story is that Altantuya was the interpreter for the submarines contract, something that happened even before she came onto the scene. The French police in its report said that Altantuya never entered France during that period, and neither did Razak Baginda or the Prime Minister. This Aljazeera did not mention.

Statements recorded by the French police confirm that the French submarine supplier never met Altantuya or know about her. In fact, there was no need for a French-speaking interpreter since all negotiations were done in Malaysia and not in France and everyone spoke English, the language used in the submarine negotiations. And the most important point of all is that the submarine deal was between the French and Malaysian governments and not between individuals.

The Prime Minister has denied ever meeting Altantuya or even knowing her. But the Aljazeera report is based on Bala’s statement implicating the Prime Minister, which even the French police who investigated this allegation had said was unreliable and inconsistent testimony.

This is a classic case of facts being weaved with fiction, with more fiction than facts, and stories that had been floating around and which were never substantiated being the basis of the Aljazeera report. I can only classify this Aljazeera report as naughty and malicious with a sensational story being presented as the truth.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

RTM to Reinvent Itself to Stay Relevant

Salleh Said Keruak

KUALA LUMPUR, 8 Sept 2015 - Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) will embark on a transformation programme with the aim of attracting a wider audience, both domestic and international, through the implementation of several strategic initiatives.
RTM, which is under the purview of the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, will focus on three key initiatives that was specifically developed to increase viewership and position the channel as a preferred choice among Malaysians.
The first initiative entails the establishment of a special committee comprising of experienced representatives from both the public and private sectors to discuss and recommend actions to boost viewership and channel ratings. The committee will function as an advisory board that will steer the channel towards achieving its refreshed objectives and KPIs.
The second initiative will focus on delivering quality content that will enhance viewer experience across various genres, including but not limited to sports, drama, entertainment, news and documentary. 

In order to address viewership fragmentation, RTM content will be diversifying further into multiple platforms that cater to viewers on the go. The planned media platforms will include mobile, free-to-air, online, direct-to-home and over-the-top mediums. To ensure its competitiveness, RTM will also monetise its content through international distribution channels at key content markets.
The final initiative will aim to improve on the existing operational structure. To achieve operational excellence, it will be important to rationalise resources and functional structure through consolidation of its production units and shared services. It is envisaged that this action will eliminate redundancies and ensure a more integrated and efficient operation.
To ensure the sustainability of these initiatives, RTM will look into improving its talent base through specific skills training and management. Revenue will also be enhanced through careful cost optimisation and aggressive marketing, promotion and sponsorships.

The AG’s advice to the PM is confidential

Salleh Said Keruak

Today, a debate is raging in the UK regarding Britain’s drone attack on ISIL in Syria who were plotting an attack on Britain -- the first time Britain has launched a drone attack to combat international terrorism. The debate focuses on the legality or otherwise of such action.

The opposition has questioned this decision of the British Prime Minister and Parliament was told that the PM first sought the advice of the Attorney General, in particular about the legality of such action according to international law, and the AG advised the PM that it was since Britain was taking a pre-emptive self-defence strike.

When questioned about what exactly did the AG advise, Parliament was told that any advise by the AG is confidential and the PM need not inform Parliament as to what that advise was. The issue is whether Britain’s action is legal and the AG said it was and that whether the PM needs to reveal this advice and Parliament was told that the advice is confidential.

Those who are raising all sorts of issues against Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak would best take note of this because the PM can take advise from the AG and act on this advise and keep this advise confidential. And as to what acts can be considered detrimental to the security of the country is entirely based on the advise of the intelligence community, economic sabotage included.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Elections are the prerogative of the prime minister

Salleh Said Keruak

In a Westminster system of government, it is the prerogative of the prime minister as to when to call for fresh elections. If the prime minister does not dissolve parliament to make way for fresh elections then parliament automatically dissolves five years from the start of parliament and elections must be held within two months. And the first session of parliament must be held within six months after the new government is formed.

In other words, the first session of parliament can be held six months after the elections while elections must be held five years and two months after that. So the prime minister can rule for five years and seven months or he can cut short his term and call for elections after just, say, three years.

The first four general elections after Merdeka were held in five years. The next four general elections were held in four years. The ninth general election was held in five years and the tenth in four years. That was followed by the last three general elections which were held in five years, four years, and five years respectively.

Whether the present government stays till mid-2018 or ends today is, therefore, entirely up to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. The fallacy being created is that ‘peoples’ power’ will decide. Peoples’ power can decide who gets to form the government through the ballot box. But people’s power does not decide when the government retires. The prime minister decides that and any action contrary to that would be called a "coup".

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Is PAS still part of Pakatan Rakyat?

Salleh Said Keruak

Anwar Ibrahim said that PAS is still part of the opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat. “The formation of a new opposition party (Parti Amanah Negara) committed to change and reform, augurs well for the mature politics of democratic accountability. Amanah will further strengthen the national opposition, together with PKR, PAS, DAP; and we will expand this cooperation to other committed non-governmental organisations which share our common objectives,” said Anwar today.

How do we comprehend Anwar’s statement? DAP has announced that Pakatan Rakyat is already dead and it no longer exists. So how can PAS still be part of a non-existent coalition?

Anwar then said that Amanah will join PKR, PAS and DAP in the opposition coalition. That is impossible. Pakatan Rakyat would have to choose between PAS and Amanah as its partner. They cannot have both at the same time. Either Anwar does not understand this or he thinks we are the ones who do not understand this.

Regarding Anwar’s statement about Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad attending the Bersih rally, it appears like Anwar is now treating Dr Mahathir as an ally. Does this mean Anwar has forgiven Dr Mahathir and is prepared to forget all those allegations he made against him?

It was Anwar who said he has six boxes of evidence against Dr Mahathir and that Dr Mahathir together with Tun Daim Zainuddin have robbed Malaysia of more than RM100 billion. Anwar also said that when Barisan Nasional is kicked out and the opposition takes over he will make sure that both Dr Mahathir and Daim are sent to jail.

Does this mean this is no longer the plan?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dr Mahathir wants to bring down the Najib government

Salleh Said Keruak

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad keeps repeating that a vote of no confidence should be passed against Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. He even attended the Bersih rally over the weekend to demonstrate his opposition to the Prime Minister. In the same breath he accuses the Prime Minister of using money to stay in power and of buying over the Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament.

So what message is Dr Mahathir sending to Malaysians? On the one hand he says the Prime Minister has compromised the Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament. On the other hand he says a vote of no confidence should be passed against the Prime Minister. So how is that going to be done?

You need at least 112 Members of Parliament to pass a vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister. Even if you can get 30 Umno or Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament to support the vote you will still need 100% of the Members of Parliament from DAP, PAS and PKR to pull it off. That can only mean Dr Mahathir has to work with the opposition and get them to support the vote for it to succeed.

What Dr Mahathir does not tell the people is that if a vote of no confidence is successfully passed it is not just the Prime Minster who falls. It is the government that falls. That is why in other countries when a vote of no confidence is passed against any prime minister the newspapers report about the government falling, not about the prime minister falling.

The present government is the government of Najib Tun Razak. When he falls then his government falls. And that is what DAP, PAS and PKR want. And it appears like this is also what Dr Mahathir wants: the collapse of the Najib Razak government.