Wednesday, October 29, 2008

UMNO Youth

UMNO's election will be next. The UMNO Youth race will be interesting to watch where outgoing PM's famous son-in-law will take on Datuk Seri Mohamed Khir bin Toyo, the former Selangor MB and Tun Dr Mahathir's son, Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir.

KT shot to stardom when Tun Dr Mahathir, who have not met Dr Khir before, appointed him as the new Selangor MB in 2000.

KT remained as MB of Selangor till 2008. He led UMNO and Barisan Nasional to an election defeat in Selangor in March 2008. KT then resigned as the Chief to claim full responsibility, although he is still the State Opposition leader.

He lost in a state which news media claimed with strong words that sounded "a sure win". After losing Selangor, there were many reports circulating such as the Mont Blanc pen and the current legal tussle with Teresa Kok, with the support of leaders from her own Pakatan Rakyat and especially PAS when it comes to the Islamic issues.

Khairy Jamaluddin, if Syed Hussein Al Attas' book is to be taken true, will have to win this election at all costs. Otherwise, the analysis by several political analysts that KJ will be the youngest PM at the age of 40, will not come true.

And perhaps, KJ might be out in the cold storage for a very long time.





KJ's rise to power was not democratic. He was "handed" the job by Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein Onn. UMNO members and the general public surely remember when KJ took the stage at the assembly, he was jeered.

Over the years, KJ made controversial and questionable statements, some conflicting too. Read it HERE.

The Rembau MP face a challenging election, at a time when Pak Lah will retire as President of UMNO with a list of issues clouding over him. These issues include

  • the Oil for Food scandal

  • the Scomi deals - KTM, RapidKL

  • Datuk Kamaluddin and the nuclear fuselage

  • ECM Libra-Avenue Capital merger

  • Islam Hadhari

  • Datuk Kalimullah who failed a Special Branch security clearance and allowed to be in the circle of power in control of the media

  • Datuk Patrick Lim with the Perth home, Equine Capital, Monsoon Cup , Terengganu development, and Penang properties

  • the Fourth Floor boys


KJ was in the news all these while for being involved with the Fourth Floor, ECM Libra - Avenue Capital merger, and many more.

These indirectly put KJ in the spotlight as the most powerful son-in-law. Leaders from within the ruling Government and Opposition have frequently questioned Pak Lah's Government for allowing the involvement of family members.

KJ will need to battle it out and show why he is worthy of being the new UMNO Youth Chief. UMNO members will be evaluating KJ based on track record and his years as the famous son in law.

We shall wait and see how KJ fights for his political career this time all by himself, given that Pak Lah has lost a lot of support inside UMNO.

Being the son of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir, many expects Datuk Mukhriz to be like his father, or at least have the similar traits.

True enough, although Datuk Mukhriz was passed around the state of Kedah like a hot potato for the candidacy as MP in Kubang Pasu, Langkawi and finally Jerlun, Datuk Mukhriz lived up to expectations.

He won the seat in Kedah where the "March tsunami" was greatly felt. In times when the country needed a change of leadership, many were still in a state of denial and continued to support Pak Lah - till the term "yes men" came to the scene to categorize these people.

Datuk Mukhriz together with leaders like Datuk Seri Rais Yatim did not follow the voice of the majority in Government and in UMNO. They were vocal and voiced out on many occasions.

Given the bravery of Datuk Mukhriz together with the influence of Tun Dr M, he is now in the forefront of UMNO Youth.

Who will win the UMNO Youth race?

Monday, October 27, 2008

What do Malaysians want?

Let me carefully list down the perceptions of many Malaysians of our Government:

1. The Government does not care for the people
2. The Government is weak
3. The Government is poor



Yet, our Government provides :

1. Medical subsidies
People from all walks of life can get medical treatment in Government hospitals for RM 1 (under a GP) and RM 5 (under a specialist).

The generosity of the Government under Malaysia's medical system does not include insurances. Imagine if you purchased insurances. You won't even need to pay RM 1 or RM 5.


2. 3000 JPA, MARA and Petronas Scholarships (this amount is only an approximation but the range is around this figure)
Can anyone tell me which Government in this world gives out 3000 scholarships to the youths of Malaysia?

I can only say - Malaysia.


A PIECE OF MY MIND
Malaysians are actually an ungrateful lot. We always compare our wealth disparities with other countries who are developed like Singapore, Australia, US and UK.

How true is that?

Let me share my experience in Australia. A few times I seeked medical help at the Hospital for a skin infection and a stiff muscle.

When I registered at the counter of the Emergency Department, I was told "the fees today is AUD 165" on one occasion and "the fees today is AUD 345" on another. The average wages for a part time employee in Australia is just around 16 - 22 AUD.

Thankfully, JPA purchased a Overseas Student Health Cover in Australia for me. If I am not mistaken, OSHC policy costs about AUD 380.00 for a basic insurance scheme. This scheme covers 90% of each of my medical visit and I have to pay the first AUD 30 of my medicine, if any.



Imagine the bill?

Australia's health system is in a total mess and I am sure UK too. On each visit to the doctor, it took me 2 hours after registration JUST TO SEE THE NURSE.

The nurse then took my blood pressure and my temperature. The staff then sent me back to the waiting hall where I waited for another 2 hours just to see the doctor.

A total 4 hours. And I dare to say this again under Oath. At Ipoh's General Hospital, the Hospital has this policy of 45 minutes to 1 hour wait only before you see the doctor.

I am sure this is a nationwide policy already by Ministry of Health (most probably under Chua Soi Lek's era).

Why praise the systems of other countries when we are being so bias? Why are we discriminating our country? Can we not praise the medical staff of Malaysia and the system?

I am sure comparatively with the other developed country's models, our medical system is not as bad as described. It is just that people tend to subscribe to negative perceptions and generalize our system as a bad one.

For those in Canberra and Sydney, if you read the news, there were patients who had to sleep in their cars although on drip, sleep in bed stationed at the hallway of the hospital and emergency room, and some even turned away.

The lack of hospital beds have caused a big dilemma and politicians are still indecisive of how to solve the matter in the short run.

Remember the case of 10 Downing Street and Lee Kuan Yew? Lee Kuan Yew's wife was said to be needing medical attention in UK while on a trip there. There was a report that Lee Kuan Yew had 10 Downing Street to interfere and sped up his wife's queue and subsequently, Singapore Airlines flew her home.

Lee Kuan Yew caused a furore when he announced that but later he cleared up by saying that 10 Downing Street did not interfere, although the Singapore Embassy made a call to Tony Blair.

I leave the benefit of the doubt and the truth behind this to you to decide. You can read more HERE.

With that, I can say that it must have been a long queue!

I am sad today for I do not know why we Malaysians and the many doctors are enjoying the systems built overseas.

Malaysia's system in place might not be perfect but the patients' needs are catered for, as compared to the models in developed countries.

Perhaps, the logical explanation will fall to the point of wages. This can possibly be solved with the interesting idea of a high cost economy proposed by Tun Dr Mahathir.

Although this will attract more human capital back to Malaysia, but it will surely cause a hit in our trade sectors because our traded items will be more expensive.

It will be a trade off. Under a carefully managed economic plan, if the benefits weigh more than the costs, this idea by Tun will be beneficial to the country.

Let us talk about scholarships then. The Malaysian Government rewards deserving students be it under Bank Negara Malaysia, Petronas, MARA or JPA with scholarships and the opportunity to study overseas.

Oh yes, need I say that the figure I estimated above is just for overseas scholarships? Petronas, MARA and JPA also provide scholarships to students to study locally.

Such a "poor, lousy and weak" Malaysian Government can give out 3000 scholarships per annum for students to study in colleges and oversea universities that have world class recognition in core sectors like Medicine, Finance, Biotechnology, Psychology, Economics and lots more.

I am just wondering if the rich US, UK, and Australian Government gives out 3000 scholarships per annum to students?

No? The argument of many who migrates is that the US, UK and Australia provide a better system of governance and policies.

The Malaysian Government should consider to dismantle all subsidies to our medical system and transfer the costs to the consumers of the public health system. Perhaps that way, people will then be able to see how generous our Malaysian Government is.

I might be sarcastic here, but it could be implemented. This will provide the insurance industry in Malaysia to bloom.

We should also forego the provision of scholarships to students and instead, leave our children with a postponed debt using the loans system like PTPTN.

Leaders and communities will no longer need to talk about "unfair" allocation of scholarships of from the perspective of cronyism or races.

We can then provide loans to deserving students who want to study locally or overseas based on an agreeable scheme which require students to repay the total costs plus a low interest repayment or fully convertible into a work contract under Government Linked Companies or any Government agencies.

That way, Malaysia will have lots more money to develop the infrastructure system, the communications structure and also the efficiency of our Government.

It will also fulfill the wishes of the people who wants a country that models the developed ones like Singapore, Australia, UK and US.

We should also perhaps follow the tax system of Australia where the highest tax bracket is $47,100 plus 45c for each $1 over $150,000. We can assume it is 45%.

What about UK? It is at 40% of savings income and all other income that includes employment wages.

Let us truly consider a shift of burden from the Government to the people, just like the models in countries where Malaysians idolize and migrate to.

This will then lead us to a serious consideration of a high cost economy. Malaysians, hopefully are realistic. I hope we are not expecting to earn AUD 5000 a month (after exchange rates conversion) and expect to continue paying AUD 1.50 for a plate of char koay teow, AUD 0.30 for a piece of roti canai or AUD 0.80 for a daily bus fair.

Or do Malaysians really expect that? I pay AUD 12.50 for a plate of char koay teow, AUD 6 for a daily bus fare and AUD 8 for roti canai here in Australia.

And who earns AUD 5000 a month in Australia? Teachers perhaps. In percentage terms, comparing job to job and wages to wages, Malaysia's percentage of expenditure on roti canai per monthly wage for a teacher is lower than in Australia.

Perhaps, we should really consider Tun's idea for a high cost economy? This will surely reduce the income disparities of Malaysia with the rest of the world in the developed countries category.

But there are of course trade offs. We will lose out in terms of tradeable sectors because our exports will be more expensive and costs for investors in Malaysia will be higher.

It will be highly uncertain if we can get AUD 5000 a month and expect to pay AUD 1.50 for a plate of char koay teow.

What do Malaysians want? I am willing to hear. Do not be unrealistic. Be professional and well informed, and I will be willing to chat and discuss issues from a macro perspective.

-end-

A Piece of My Mind

An interesting comment I received just a few hours ago :

Obviously you are out of touch with reality. MCA is already 3/4s inside the grave & come next gen. election, it will be buried 6 ft. under. MCA has been a slave of UMNO for too long. It needs to die first before it can wake up again.


It is really funny to see someone calling me out of touch with reality. Being a university student with "nothing much to do" and a frequent blogger, I in fact read a lot not only from mainstream media but also blogs and talks with friends.

Nevertheless, I accept your following few statements. MCA is in dire straits now till they are not in the position to make demands or contribute optimally to the Malaysian society.

MCA has never been a slave of UMNO. They have always adopted the "unity approach". Imagine if MCA holds their shaolin swords and start making hurtful remarks, what will happen to Malaysia's stability?

Again, MCA has never been a eunuch. If you look at the picture, MCA flashed the Rukunegara at the height of tension when certain UMNO leaders were playing the racial card.

MCA again assisted many Malaysians especially the communities when it comes to the controversial Government scholarships.

Need I even talk again, like I have been countless times in the past, about Datuk Michael Chong's service to the community of Malaysia?

I have never been out of touch with the politics of Malaysia - be it Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat. That is for sure.

To be honest, if you ask me, I think Parti Keadilan Rakyat needs to be sent into oblivion first. The PKR has been formed with the objectives of freeing Anwar.

Now since Anwar is out of prison and in Parliament, the whole PKR team is always talking about Anwar. It is as though the PKR party is led by "His Royal Highness" Anwar Ibrahim.

Look at the promises of Anwar. When Barisan Nasional fails to live up to promises, the general public criticise BN as though they are criminals and pests to society.

But when Anwar fails to live up to the promise of a "June Government", "Sept 16 Government", Sept 26th Government", and the many other dates, where is the criticism?

PAS members who uphold the principles of Islam and truths have failed to live up to their standards. There were comments by leaders that they have seen the list of crossovers and have full faith in Anwar.

Is that a lie? I have always, since my school days, respected the PAS principles and their integrity. I need not tell you stories of the well loved man - Tuan Guru Nik Aziz, the late Fadzil Nor, and of course Dato' Husam Musa.

Now, several executive committee members of PAS were making statements about the "crossovers list" and about Sept 16th. Sadly, nothing happened.

DAP is also another party to question. They seem to be confused with their struggles and objectives in Pakatan Rakyat which seem to be contradicting those of PKR and PAS.

If only DAP had officially respected the Constitution and the protection of Islam, the Bahasa Malaysia and the status of the Majlis Raja-raja Melayu, then of course I am sure many more Malaysians from all races will join their struggles.

Tunku Aziz's inclusion into the leadership will not attract people if DAP leaders shouts for a "theocratic state". Their principles for a free and democratic foundation will surely be attractive to young blood be it Malays, Chinese or Indians whom we call Malaysians.

But sadly, DAP's views have been clearly blinded by a complete and perfect model of freedom and democracy.

I enjoy my liberty to comment on anything I want and whatever rests in my mind. Thank you and I shall continue with several more writings that include the controversial scholarship allocation in Malaysia, and of course a little comment on the upcoming UMNO Youth Election race.

MCA's Voice

I strongly urge party veterans like Dr Fong Chan Onn, Ong Ka Ting, Ting Chew Peh, Chua Jui Meng and others to guide the leadership of MCA.

Party stalwarts and seniors should share their invaluable experience and knowledge with the new MCA leaders and forge ahead together.

Turn MCA into a strong party where MCA serves the Malaysian community with distinction.

Let MCA continue with their unity approach in Barisan Nasional. I disagree with the term "fight for the Chinese" because that will only be a mirror to UMNO's racial cards.

MCA should continue the efforts of promoting national unity and a progressive Malaysian society by using the Rukunegara and the Constitution of Malaysia as a guide for policies.

The Barisan Nasional approach all these while maintains the essence of unity among the diverse community in Malaysia.

That was the challenge which our forefathers faced and later laid as foundation to the formation of a country - Malaysia.

I have to say, MCA's election this time was democratic where there's no "menu" or "chaidan".

An exception perhaps to the President's post. The outgoing leadership vaguely hinted that Datuk Ong Tee Keat should be given the task to lead MCA for the next 10 years.

Given the level of transparency and democracy in the elections, MCA members remain loyal and supportive of the party and its leadership. Had it been otherwise, we would have seen members quitting the party. Read HERE.

Members have voiced out to the leadership of MCA that they want BN to create a Deputy Chairman II post. However, I do not know who turned that into a proposal for a Deputy PM II post.

Perhaps, BN can show to the people that they will always be a united front and fair to all races. But appointing MCA to the post of Deputy Chairman of BN II will open the floodgates for the Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak, the Malaysian Indians, and the other races to make similar demands.

It is sufficient at this time to see MCA members to reflect on their demands with considerations of the unity in Malaysia as a whole.

Leaders of all parties in BN will and should continue to be members of the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council.

MCA members should have instead proposed that the BN Supreme Council should convene meetings more often to make decisions of party policies, instead of UMNO deciding all by themselves - since many claimed they were all these while.

Let the Supreme Council be the centre of discussion and decision making where all political parties are represented equally.

If election results are to be considered, MCA won just 15 seats for Barisan Nasional this time. Demands for the Deputy PM II post doesn't seem proper since their performance in the elections were not good.

If instead, Malaysians voted for MCA and if MCA had won 30 - 40 seats, perhaps their demands are justifiable.

It is very unfair and unjust of MCA to hold UMNO and Barisan Nasional at ransom with their 15 MPs. This is against the power sharing formula of Barisan Nasional.

Although many people these days are saying that UMNO is not respecting its allies also, then should the allies follow the footsteps and create a havoc?

Instead, discussions should be carried out with UMNO and other component parties at the Supreme Council level to develop a clear understanding of a power sharing formula and the meaning of unity.

Again, I prefer the unity approach. Demands from MCA will open the floodgates for MIC, Gerakan and many other political parties to ask for a similar recognition.

Who will we satisfy then? Will we have 10 Deputy Chairman of BN and Deputy PMs?

What MCA should do now is to convince the voters from all walks of life and races that MCA is still relevant and can best serve every Malaysian.

Let us watch the leadership of Ong Tee Keat and Chua Soi Lek.


Note


APOMM thanks Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting for his contributions to the Government of Malaysia in his capacity as Housing and Local Government Minister as well as his dedication and service to Malaysians especially the Chinese community when he was President of MCA. I wish him all the best and a happy retirement.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Housekeeping

Since I returned from Melbourne for a seminar with Tun Dr Mahathir, I realise that I have neglected some of the comments written in APOMM which were of great quality.

I have been extremely busy with my workload here for the past two weeks. Now, I can resume my regular blogging activities.

To begin my blogging, I would like to thank Dr Wendy Smith, the Director for the Centre of Malaysian Studies. I was in contact with her as I wanted to get a copy of her speech that she delivered at the Seminar Pembangunan Insan.

It was indeed a great speech from the perspective of an academician about Malaysia and Tun Dr Mahathir. There were necessary processes that she needed to go through before sending the speech to me. Finally, a week ago, I received it.

For those who are interested, especially my dear friends in ANU, please read it HERE. Thank you Dr Wendy.

Next, I would like to direct my readers to a few comments and messages that will make us reflect and think about our leaders and the future of Malaysians.


1. Kursus Perpaduan dan Integrasi (Canberra) - a comment left by "winter" HERE.

2. Dr Mahathir (Sept 20, 1997) at the World Bank meeting - The Challenges and Opportunities We Face

3. MCA's request for a DPM post - a comment from Jared HERE

4. Tun and the monetary system - a comment left by "Letting the time pass by" (Hisham) HERE


Now, I would like to extend my sincere apologies to the "Anonymous" person who provided a criticial analysis about Tun. But allow me to clear some misunderstandings.

In your comments, you brought up dictatorship system countries like Iran and North Korea before you provided us with information about their transportation system as compared to Tun's era where you confidently said that Tun deliberately public transportation to rot so that Proton could survive.

Due to the mentioning of dictator style management of countries, I had to assume full responsibility as a blogger here to clear any possible misinterpretation of what you wrote.

Thus, it was only natural for me to come out in my later post that Tun was democratically elected.

I apologize if in any of my lines I accused you of linking Tun to a dictatorship regime. It was only a spontaneous move from me to clear any vaguely linked misguided information about dictatorship and Tun.

And with this, I hope I maintain my professionalism in blogging here at APOMM. Thank you for reading my blog always and giving well informed comments.

For my friends in ANU, if anyone wants to further discuss about the issues raised during the Kursus and to clarify the essence and the truth behind each action or dilemma, I am always free to talk over a cup of coffee. This is important as we should not be misled by misguided comments that night.

I have to agree that nothing came out from the two day course. However, I am sure the two officers will produce a report about what students have been discussing and the comments or sentiments among us, leaders of tomorrow.

There can be no conclusion as it will only mean that the officers are taking sides with opinions which clearly they didn't as they are professionals and not biased.

There can be no solutions either because nothing is solved over night and we are not in a conference or Parliamentary session that will have a say on the direction of Malaysia.

The Kursus was there for us students to sit together to talk frankly about matters and be prepared for the future when we step out of our current phase as students to lead Malaysia.

Thank you all for the comments and I welcome any further ideas from you, my friends.

Friday, October 24, 2008

KURSUS PERPADUAN DAN INTEGRASI PELAJAR-PELAJAR MALAYSIA DI LUAR NEGARA ( 2 )

Today, I continue my controversial remarks on the Kursus and the mentality of some students in ANU. Allow me to say, that I respect all views but it seems like some people have not given the issues a proper process of consideration and thinking.

These have led some of my friends to come up with emotional words and comments. I have to say, whatever I say here will tend to cause controversies and perhaps some might not take my words lightly and feel offended.

Nevertheless, my blog stays professional and I will say with liberty and sound arguments all that is in my mind.

On day 2, Encik Amer (left) conducted the Unity and Integration Course with a lecture on Friedman’s book – The World Is Flat.



He then led us through a path of reflection on the challenges of globalization. The final event was a discussion on the Asian Financial Crisis and students were told to make some presentations on


Why Malaysia survived? Why Indonesia suffered? If you were the PM, would you have done the same? Why?

The speakers for the night had to be different, so I could not voice out my opinions on these questions, although I did use the Q&A session to explain certain misleading points by my fellow friends.

When it comes to a fixed exchange rate regime, there are two different types which many didn’t know. A fixed exchange rate policy is not just in the form of pegging but can also be in the form of an active managed float.

Malaysia chose the former in 1997 to tackle the sudden shocks. Some of my fellow friends vaguely slammed Tun Dr Mahathir and the Malaysian policy. Comments by other students on the other end include :

  • Tun manipulated the crisis to make it seem like a national crisis and united us against the Western propaganda, thus disallowing us the opportunity to think rationally to tackle the issue.

  • To blame George Soros is not right. He is a speculator and investor and has every right to short sell or make profits. He might not be a winner in moral terms but he surely has the right to do what he did back then.

  • Bailouts in US and Malaysia are different. Back in 1997-99, Malaysian companies bailed out are cronies to the ruling political parties.

  • Thailand, Korea and Indonesia who adopted the IMF prescriptions have recovered with growths as compared to Malaysia. Yes, their currency might not be as valuable as us, but they have better recovery and growth than us.

  • There are reports that Malaysia’s pegging system did not achieve the full desired results. We could have approached it in another way. The pegging seems only good for the short term but not the long run.

  • Capital controls during the financial crisis where Malaysia forbids outflow of the Ringgit. Is it necessary?


Now, allow me to begin by refuting some clearly misguided things. I started off my comments on the currency outflow controls.

Malaysia implemented the capital control and put a cap of about RM 20,000 that could be allowed to be taken out of the country.

Soon after, Malaysia allowed flexibility where travelers and investors can take money out as long as they declare them. Today, Malaysia has removed all restrictions on capital controls from the strict policies implemented just 10 years ago.

With news starting to spread like wildfire of an unavoidable Asian currency crisis, Tun had to take the immediate response. The plan was to peg the ringgit and execute strict capital controls.

Imagine when we hear a recession coming our way. If we have a fixed amount of money, say RM 1000, in our wallets, and we walk in to a food stall with a range of options. In good times, we eat a plate of rice even if it is RM 5. But in view of a recession coming soon, as rational consumers, we choose a cheaper option of around RM 3.

Money in the economy is not circulated well enough. There will then be a situation like what Malaysians like to say “no money”. If we allowed Ringgit to flow out also, I am really sure that we would have experienced a condition of “NO MONEY” because we would get an economy of low money circulation and low sum of ringgit.

Based on psychological and economic thoughts, I personally agree with the capital control system implemented during the financial crisis.

In South East Asia, Thailand’s economy headed for the crash first. Their crash was sort of expected before financial speculators caused a big drop in the value of the Baht. The Thai Government was vigorously promoting rapid economic development, emulating the successes of Tun Dr Mahathir and Lee Kuan Yew.

In Bangkok itself, commercial and residential properties saw prices soar to high levels. Investments ballooned under the Government policies back then.

However, sadly, the investments were mainly based on questionable estimations of future consumption patterns. That resulted in excess capacity based on property – percentage terms.

Approximately 465000 apartment units were unoccupied in Bangkok with ongoing projects too, before the financial crisis hit. It was said that there were enough excess space to meet its residential and commercial needs for five years comfortably!

In the financial sectors, Thai financial institutions faced great default debt. The banks had been borrowing USD from international banks and lending Thai baht to local property developers, in view of the investment boom.

That led Thailand’s lowly regulated currency trade exposed to dark waters. True enough, financial speculators stepped in, knowing that Thailand practices a de facto pegged system (managed float where the Government attempts to keep the Baht/USD at a targeted rate).

Thailand’s foreign reserves soon dried up and they had to kowtow to the pressure and asked IMF for financial assistance.I have to say, Thailand was lucky to have Thaksin Shinawatra and his party’s policies.

Thaksin came into power and governed Thailand CEO-style which led to an early repayment of Government debt. Growth was also stable because Thaksin gave out cheap loans to the agricultural and micro industries. That helped to boost growth tremendously and reduced the economic burden of the people.

Of course, someone in the hall started to say that if he was such a great leader, why did he run to London now?

I was surprised at how I can be interrupted on a question about the morality of Thaksin, when I was clearly talking about economic managements of Thaksin because there were presentors who controversially said Thailand and Indonesia recovered better than Malaysia.

If that’s true, it will only be sensible for me to compare economic policies. Malaysia did not give out soft loans and assistance to the economy as much as Thailand.

We approached it in other development and Government spending methods where we looked at the long term of our manufacturing, finance, telecommunications and technology industries.

Sadly to say, we were all misguided that night. Allow me to present to you the Real Growth Rate of Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.


Indonesia GDP Real Growth Rate

2002 4.4%
2003 4.9%
2004 5.1%
2005 5.7%
2006 5.5%
2007 6.3%

Thailand GDP Growth Rate

2002 5.3%
2003 6.9%
2004 6.1%
2005 4.5%
2006 5.1%
2007 4.8%

Malaysia GDP Growth Rate

2002 4.1%
2003 5.6%
2004 7.1%
2005 5.3%
2006 5.8%
2007 6.3%

Source : Asian Development Bank


Looking at the figures, some students at the hall have clearly misled the students and officers.

Indonesia is recovering but still in debt (to IMF too, if I am not mistaken), rupiah still comparatively less valued than Ringgit and not as developed as Malaysia.

Thailand experienced greater growth than Malaysia in the early years of my data here.

To refresh your memory, my friends, that was the time when Tun retired from politics in Malaysia to be succeeded by Pak Lah who adopted the “budget surplus” approach while Thaksin came into power (2001-2006) with economic policies comparable to Tun Dr Mahathir’s era – soft loans, rapid development policies, Government spending mechanisms and many more.

Nevertheless, the sweeping statements that these countries are recovering faster than Malaysia is nothing less than a fairytale bedtime story to mislead the people in the hall.

I have a friend in New Zealand who always try to get me to comment on issues, policies and current happenings. I have always told him this phrase whenever I am unsure, “I am sorry, I do not know this well so I cannot comment”.

For the first time, I have to agree with Khairy Jamaluddin. He once ticked off an audience who tried to debate with him during a Q&A.

Seemed like that person did not have facts supporting his arguments with KJ. Professionally, KJ said that before we have an informed debate, please be informed first.

That, I have to agree and I hope people do not just make sweeping statements that are controversial and can mislead many people.

In that hall for the Kursus, many were not Economics students and presenting false information and misrepresentations of data like this will be bad for our country.

Let me move on to other matters raised. Back then in 1997, many of our parents were worried with job securities, money and the stability of our economy. What more to say about prospects!

In 2008, now, we start to criticize the Government for the pegging system. Let us reflect on ourselves. If Tun did not peg the ringgit and did not implement the capital controls, all of you would not be taking scholarships to study in Australia today.

Some of our families would be poorer than now and I am confident many will call our Government a stupid one. Thankfully, we did not experience debt, poverty and poor economic conditions.

As such, we are now blessed with a liberal environment to comment anything we want because we really survived. Working with backward inductions from the current state of our economic conditions to the 1997 crisis, aren’t we glad to have leaders who knew how to steer our country in the short run?

We laugh at our country being poor, being incompetent and comparatively weaker than other countries in many aspects. But to think that a very poor and lousy Malaysia to have successfully steered through the waves of the Asian Financial Crisis, aren’t we the Mighty Ant?

I can understand why some students were critical of the Government’s policies. Humans are always like that. We always say we could have done better. But since many describe our country as incompetent, poor and weak, how then did we miraculously survive the Asian Financial Crisis?

I do not need to answer that, I am sure. As for the comments of Malaysia vs George Soros, it was Tun who blamed George Soros for sending South East Asia into crisis. Was he wrong to do such a thing?

Tun made the Asian Financial Crisis a national issue because it was indeed a Malaysian dilemma. We had to face the waves of financial setbacks. At that time, Tun Dr Mahathir with his information in hand, blamed George Soros for it. I do not know why some of my fellow friends slammed Tun for this.

Of course our Government came out and explained all their financial control policies like the mergers into 10 anchor banks, the peg, and the capital controls. Given all these explanations, there had to be reasoning. These were informatively directed at the financial speculators.

On a lighter note, some other individual commented that “George Soros is a financier and he had every right to take the profit-making steps of short selling currencies. We cannot blame him for doing so, although morally he can be judged”.

I can agree with this. However, if he has the right to perform his magic as a financier, why can’t the Malaysians and the leaders have the right to criticize George Soros for what he did?

And if he as a financier can enter currency trade, the Government obviously has every right to intervene and regulate the markets.

I personally do not know why there were people who defend George Soros’ rights as a financier but cannot accept the role and the rights of the Government of Malaysia in a sovereign and democratic country.

Again, I have to say, be responsible with your comments. But as advised, I will make a declaration here that “I agree to disagree”.

I stand corrected and welcome any comments. Thank you and this ends my blogging on the Kursus.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

KURSUS PERPADUAN DAN INTEGRASI PELAJAR-PELAJAR MALAYSIA DI LUAR NEGARA ( 1 )

Dr Jamaludin from UKM and Encik Amer from UPM were speakers and moderators at the two day course organized by the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia.

Dr Jamaluddin is the Head of Quality Management in UPM while Encik Amer is a lecturer in UPM now in the Faculty of Economics and Management.

Encik Amer was twice selected as Special Officer to ex Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad and former Higher Education Minister Dato’ Dr Shafie Salleh.

Part of the module in Day 1 was a Forum. I have to thank Ammar for his choice in making me the last speaker at the informal student forum. I was thankful for being able to wrap things up and give my “shallow” thoughts about Malaysia.

Given the chance to address the mini audience, I gave my views on Malaysia’s unity and steps to enhance a greater integration in our country.

I started off by saying that I will be discussing the topics and my other fellow friends’ ideas based on the many books I have read about Malaysian economy and politics such as K.S. Jomo’s analysis as well as the Malay Dilemma.

I am proud to say that I read the Malay Dilemma and understood it even though I am a Chinese but by a show of hands of how many amongst the audience had read the book, not many were seen.

I rebutted the speakers before me and presented some arguments as well as suggestions on the New Economic Policy, education and politics.

The New Economic Policy was initially formulated to reduce the wealth disparities between races. The income gap and economic pie was heavily controlled by the non Bumiputeras.

Was Malaysia to be blamed for the economic conditions? No. We were the products of a divide-and-rule policy by our colonial masters. With the NEP, Tun Razak and Tun Dr Mahathir’s ideas were to create a country where growth, advancement and development is propelled ahead by a united Malaysia.

The generator of growth at that point was mainly by the minorities. If a motor runs at 25% capacity, how far can the motor go? The vision of the NEP that was later supplemented with a fairer National Development Policy was to create a motor at 100% capacity.

As for the Bumiputeras, Tun Dr Mahathir attempted to create a selected handful of Malay tycoons. They had the responsibility to elevate the bumiputera equities and economic levels. However, they have failed and instead of trying to reduce the income disparities, they enrich themselves.

Although some see the NEP in multiple angles, this is what the humble kid here thinks. I proceeded to slam the Biro Tatanegara where I was once a “graduate” from this camp module. Government policies were always about Wawasan 2020 and the integration and unity of all Malaysians.

However, BTN modules have a different philosophical approach where I experienced a traumatic module in BTN. I dare comment publicly in that hall and in my blog right now that the officers were racists and provocative of racial sentiments. I have also talked about this before in my older posts.

I recommended to the Officers present that the Government has to make sure BTN’s module is reviewed because with Kursus like these being organized and policies of unity being implemented, we cannot afford to have the dismantling effects of BTN’s module over the efforts of other Government agencies in our quest of one way towards UNITY.

There were some individuals who explained that PKR seems to offer an alternative, although with uncertainties, to the coalition of Barisan Nasional. It might be true, that PKR offers a different landscape of politics.

To be led by Anwar is another dilemma. Anwar Ibrahim was once an UMNO leader and he definitely led ABIM in his university days. He might have the experience of governance but what happened to his credibility as a leader?

Look at the September 16th promise and the many other dates before and after that were promised to a large number of MPs and the people where a new Government of Pakatan Rakyat will be formed.

Nothing was materialized. 37 days have passed, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. A Piece of My Mind is still counting.

Also, what guarantees are there that Pakatan Rakyat will offer to be a better Government?

DAP puts forth the idea of a theocratic state where they will not recognize Malaysia as an Islamic state while PAS is seeking a set of Government policies and regulations based on Islamic principles.

The coalition of Pakatan Rakyat is extremely filmsy where sensitivities of other races and religions are not cared for but yet they want something more for themselves.

Thus, politically, I say that some individuals’ ideas have not gone into these length of thoughts. However, I have to agree that UMNO, MCA and MIC should stop playing up the racial and religious sensitivities of everyone.

I then moved on by suggesting to my fellow friends about the theory of dynasty of racism. I need not say it again because I have blogged about this before HERE.

These sensitivities and racial matters these days seem to focus on the Government and Bumiputeras.

The other races must also note that their criticisms must be directed to their own people too. Look at the many companies in Malaysia. To apply for jobs, some companies require the applicants to be able to speak in Mandarin.

Are these not discriminatory policies too? It is actually a trade off. Are the Chinese and Indians willing to forego their identity in their quest for a one united Malaysian race?

Otherwise, we will still be back to square one when it comes to cultures, customs and religion. I urged my fellow friends to consider sending their kids in future to the national schools where education at school level shows high levels of unity.

This is because each of the races have to give in something to achieve another great height.

The vernacular school systems and the religious schools bear similarities to the divide and rule system by our colonial masters.

Total unity can hardly be achieved in this way but at least with a national schools system, near perfect unity can be better achieved.

I ended up by strongly urging the formation of a University Perpaduan Malaysia (once blogged about it HERE and HERE) and the need for a Race Relations Commission Panel in Malaysia (also blogged about it HERE).

My final words for the night was to urge my fellow friends that Malaysia was once a peaceful country where we care for each others’ feelings and sensitivities.

In the past, we can have a happy Malaysia with a multiracial society. Now, why can’t we continue to have rakyat Malaysia berbilang kaum dan agama yang hidup bersatu padu di negara yang aman dan damai?

How I wish I can see the days where Tun Dr M, Tun Dr Ling, Datuk Seri Samy Vellu as representatives of the major communities in Malaysia unite be it in Government, festivals and Elections.

Leaders are influential in determining the daily lives of our people as we tend to listen a lot to them.

I loudly declared in the hall that the current state of disharmony in Malaysia is all because of a weak leadership. I disagree with the words “work with me, not for me”. This system of leadership is another way of allowing many cooks to boil the soup. The soup, will definitely fail.

These are all the humble opinions from a 22 year old man who stand to be corrected, criticized or supported. I respect the diversity of views. But the liberty I have in hand right here at APOMM gives me the guts and cheek to comment responsibly on what rests in my mind.

That ends my blogging of Day 1. Day 2 will follow soon.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Congratulations



A Piece of My Mind congratulates the new leadership of MCA for winning the just concluded elections.

I hope team "kangkung" of Ong Tee Keat and Chua Soi Lek can lead MCA to a better political future. This is perhaps not the best time to come up with a proposal for MCA to hold the Deputy Chair of BN and the Deputy PM II post.

The Race Relations Act was a boost to MCA's spirits but seeing the temperature of race relations in Malaysia now and with UMNO's elections coming soon, the MCA's proposal to have the Deputy Chair of BN and DPM II post is not at a right time.

Or could it be a BN strategy where a fresh election could come soon under the BN leader? Perhaps huh? And we will see Najib giving MCA the DPM II post while entering a new election to get a stronger mandate for BN to govern Malaysia.

Uncertainties, as always, exist in Malaysian politics. It is way interesting than the US Presidential elections.

I am currently busy with assignments and I have 4 due this week. I will be off the blogosphere for at least a week, unless I can find some spare time in between my time slots or plans.

Will be back blogging soon !


Regards,
APOMM Editor

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Father of Modernization

I have just received a comment for my blog entry Seminar Pembangunan Insan Melbourne 2008 (V). The following was written by an anonymous person :

I really laugh reading that mahathir is the father of modern transportation.All countries regardless led by dictator or not will naturally develop its pubic transport.Do you know that North Korea and even Iran have their own Metro system.

The LRTs and KTMs may have been built during Mahathir time but they are all inefficient and more oriented to distributing the dough between cronies.

KL initially had a KTM system, two LRT system and a monorail line all operated by different OPERATORS!!

This is followed by bankruptcy of the LRT operators and the monorail company became bankrupt last year,now all except KTM come under RapidKL.

The money spent to cover these cronies asses could have provided fleets of buses for Ipoh and severall Malaysian cities!!Mahathir would have to do more than that to be called father of modern transportation in Malaysia.

As an avid memeber of skyscrapercity.com and even ktmrailwayfan, many agree that transportation became worse than pre-Mahathir years when Mahathir assumed power.This is all thanks to Proton.It's possible that Mahathir deliberately allowed public transportation to rot so that Proton could survive.


A PIECE OF MY MIND

First of all, Dr Mahathir is not a dictator. He was democratically elected by UMNO to be President and effectively, the PM of Malaysia. Dr Mahathir won all elections except one only as MP.

When he was Prime Minister for 22 years, he led Barisan Nasional to election victories with 2/3 majorities at least in all of the editions.

How then can you link Tun Dr Mahathir to be a dictator? Well your statements saying that all the operators of LRT, KTM and Monorail have different operators only show that Malaysia promotes competition where competition ensures an efficient allocation of resources be it capital, materials or labor.

Assuming Dr Mahathir allowed only one developer to build the KTM system, the two LRT system and the monorail line, what will Tun be described as? Tun will be at the receiving end of cronyism, dictatorship etc.

The company and the board of directors that received the contract to develop transportation in Malaysia will be labeled as cronies of Tun or a proxy to enrich Tun’s wallet.

However, bear in mind. These did not happen. Tun spread out the wealth and the contract for there to be competition and also had in mind the concern for the income disparities of groups.

Malaysia is not a dictatorial state. If Dr M was a dictator, and comparing your ideas with North Korea and Iran’s development, I believe Tun would have turned Malaysia into a metropolitan state comparable to those like Singapore and Japan – at least in Kuala Lumpur.

Transportation became worst under Tun? I guess you have been under a cult that paints the wrong picture. Proton was subsidized by the Government.

Is that wrong? Look at United States of America, the country where everyone says is a country of freedom and free market. They always promote the idea of free market and whoever can’t compete, should let those who can. Look at the hypocrisy of the West. They are now bailing out the firms that total to about USD 1.4 trillion now.

And their Government’s public debt is at least USD 10 trillion. If you say we are wrong in subsidizing Proton, look at the European Union.

They subsidize the agricultural industry annually under the Common Agricultural Policy that sums up to 44% of the European Union budget.

What about Airbus and Boeing? Do I need to write an article about the handicaps that the Governments of US and EU put on their beloved “pet projects” against the rest of the world?

I need not, I am sure.

Tun did not deliberately make the transportation of Malaysia to be like this. Public transport is not as optimal as the developed countries.

But mind you, Malaysia is still listed as a developing/contender country. Look at Thailand and Vietnam. They are even worst.

Of course, under the new Budget, the Government has allocated a large sum to make Malaysia’s transportation system comparable to other overseas models.

In my opinion, the main reason for Malaysia’s dilemma in transportation system is not due to Proton as described by your primitive thinking.

It is largely due to the substitutability of the public transportation system where price of vehicle fuel is very low as a percentage of real disposable income as compared to the economies in other world. Please don’t come and tell me Saudi Arabia or Brunei because we are not as well endowed in oil as they are.

In places like United Kingdom and Australia, people do their grocery shopping weekly or fortnightly. However in Malaysia, we drive our cars out to the market daily to get stuff.

I have to admit, that at times, I drive my car out just to have a bowl of noodles, alone, or at times just to buy a few stuff like butter and oil. Is that efficient? We do not bother much about these because the price of petrol is not that significant.

The substitutability of public transport with personal transport as well as the lack of demand pressures on public transportation has contributed to Malaysia’s dilemma now.

Whatever it is, I respect your views. In fact, we should respect the diversity of views. And I thank you for placing a comment here and look forward to have further discussion or debates with you.

LaRouche vs Bretton Woods



Recently at the Australian National University, there were students who campaigned for LaRouche's new system. They handed out brochures and went around explaining about LaRouche's proposal which some labelled as the new Bretton Woods system.

For those interested to know more about LaRouche and his ideas, visit this website http://larouchepac.com/ .

The Bretton Woods system is a system that follows closely the model of a gold standard. Members of the agreement were required to keep the market exchange rate within 1% of parity conditions.

The United States dollars at that time had the highest Purchasing Power and thus, the USD was used as the reference point.

Today, financiers know that parity conditions are just theoretical. Take a read on LaRouche's idea. I welcome any comments or tutoring from all financiers and economists.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Seminar Pembangunan Insan 2008 - Melbourne (V)

Speaker : Dr Wendy Smith - Director, Centre for Malaysian Studies, Monash University

Venue : Carillo Gantner Theatre, Sidney Myer Asia Centre, University of Melbourne

Date : October 11th, 2008

Event : Seminar Pembangunan Insan 2008


YANG AMAT BERBAHAGIA TUN DR. MAHATHIR MOHAMED, YANG AMAT BERBAHAGIA TUN DR. SITI HASMAH HAJI ALI, YANG BERGAHAGIA DATIN PADUKA MARINA MAHATHIR, TAN SRI dan PUAN SERI, DATUK dan DATIN, TETAMU KEHORMAT, TUAN-TUAN dan PUAN-PUAN,

Dengan penuh gembira dan sukacita saya mengalu-ngalukan kedatangan YANG AMAT BERBAHAGIA TUN DR. MAHATHIR MOHAMED dan YANG AMAT BERBAHAGIA TUN DR. SITI HASMAH HAJI ALI ke Melbourne, Australia dan ke Majlis yang istimewa ini.

Izinkan saya menghadiahkan serangkap pantun sebagai alu-aluan:

Pulau Jati berpekan enggang,
Sungai Bidara penuh gelama,
Pedagang berkayuh terus ke hilir,
Harimau pergi meninggalkan belang,
Manusia bersara meninggalkan nama,
Untuk Malaysia tokohnya Tun Mahathir

Sekarang izinkan saya menyampaikan ucapan dalam Bahasa Inggeris.

Tun Mahathir, we welcome you to address the forum today as you have played a most central and critical role in the transformation of Malaysian society over past decades, with extremely forward looking ideas and policies which have been proven to cater for the current and future welfare of Malaysian youth.

Malaysian society underwent rapid social change from the New Economic Policy era, with the creation of many new universities and colleges, providing career paths for young people into the professions, and waged employment in the government and private sectors.

I lived in Malaysia for nine years during the second decade of the New Economic Policy and I observed these changes directly. Overnight, young people were the first in their families to hold a tertiary degree, and the size of the middle class expanded rapidly.

Your period in office saw the creation of tremendous opportunities for young people such as those embodied in:

· the Look East Policy, with off shore technical training and education in Japan and South Korea and the motivational soft ware of Japanese work ethics.

· Your “hands-on” approach to I.T. innovation – surely an area in which young people excel in all societies – and the national level I.T. agenda embodied in the Multimedia Super Corridor.

· Your emphasis on sport with the staging of the magnificent Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998

· Your dedication to modern transport systems, making automobiles accessible to families from a wide range of income levels, and the provision of modern commuter and light rail systems, for young people to use in their new careers and consumer lifestyles.

· Your dedication to making Malaysia a nation which its citizens can be truly proud of in a global context, with the magnificent KLIA international airport, which we all enjoy every time we go there, the Formula One track at Sepang and the sky sculptures which dominate the Kuala Lumpur cityscape, the Petronas Twin Towers.

Tun Mahathir, with your economic, educational and technological policies you have charted a trajectory for Malaysian society and Malaysian young people, giving them a clear goal and timeframe to aim for in your Vision 2020 document, which presents young Malaysians with the “nine challenges” for realizing a “a united Malaysian nation, or Bangsa Malaysia”, to quote
“with a confident society, infused by strong moral and ethical values, living in a society that is democratic, liberal and tolerant, caring, economically just and equitable, progressive and prosperous, and in full possession of an economy that is competitive, dynamic, robust and resilient”.

Moreover, you have also created a solid grounding for Malaysia’s engagement with other countries, not only through your Chairing of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Non Aligned Movement but also through championing the importance of regional economic trade, agendas many of the graduates here today will live through in their subsequent careers.

We in Australia are very happy to have been able to join hands over the years with Malaysian young people who came to study in our universities, over 250,000 since the 1950s, and these Australian university alumni have gone back to lead Malaysia in medicine, finance, the arts, education, law, science and technology, in fact, in all professions and disciplines.

Equally, Australian universities, Monash, Curtin and Swinburne, have been permitted to set up full branch campuses in Malaysia and these are now a context for Australian students to experience life in Malaysia and complete part of their degrees there.

During your term of office, in 1993, the world’s first Centre for Malaysian Studies was established, in an Australian university, Monash, to recognize the importance of a focus on Malaysian studies within Asian Studies disciplines.

And more recently, the Australia Malaysia Institute, a bilateral council established by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has awarded, since 2005, 7 fellowships for Australians to research Malaysia related topics in Malaysia and 16 for Malaysians to do research in Australia on both Australian studies topics (6) and collaborative research in any discipline (10).

We hope the future of Malaysian and Australian young people will continue to draw closer and closer together in the contexts of education, sports, I.T., medical and safety research, religious exchanges and trade and investment. The forum today is an important step in that agenda.

The inspirations embodied in your legacy tower over us like your brainchild, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, which are praised in the book Skyscrapers – a History of the World’s most famous and important skyscrapers (Judith Dupre, 1996) as having “ a design based on traditional Islamic geometries in which complexity is a metaphor for the incomprehensibility of God”.

Thank you so much, Tun Dr Mahathir and welcome to our forum in Melbourne.

The Role of JAKIM in Malaysia

Dear readers, I found two interesting websites. Makes me wonder why JAKIM is not checking on these people who "walk the corridors of power" and the many celebrities too.

I am sure the modernization of Malay Muslims have seen a more globalized Malay society. However, some of these pictures are too revealing for a Muslim in terms of dressing and certain pictures show actions that I believe are against the Islamic principles.

I might not be a Muslim scholar but I am not a fool in Islam too.

Several things make me wonder about the role of JAKIM in Malaysia whether they are just an organization for "exhibition purposes" only or are they really an enforcer of Islam in Malaysia where our country is an Islamic country.

These things include pictures in http://xbrain.biz/2007/07/15/son-of-dato-khalid-jiwa/ and http://my-artis.blogspot.com/. I do not blame the bloggers for sharing entertainment pictures and perfect information.

I do not question the rights of the individuals too. But I sit here, wondering about the role of JAKIM. I agree with Dato' Husam Musa's statement - HUJAH LAWAN HUJAH. Let arguments counter arguments in RPK's case which involves Islam.

As I have mentioned in my TheStar email Interview with a reporter, cases like these will provide the Government of Malaysia and JAKIM to enter cyber politics. They provide an opportunity for the agencies to enter the cyber world to reach out to the target groups and spread the knowledge as well as "truths".

JAKIM, what are you guys in there doing !?

Tun Dr Mahathir’s Choice



http://agendadaily.com/cms/content.jsp?id=com.tms.cms.article.Article_1b63fcca-cabec5bb-154de0b0-d08a5a1a

http://bigdogdotcom.wordpress.com/2008/10/14/tun-dr-mahathir-meraikan-najib-dan-muhyiddin/

Tun Dr Mahathir endorsed the nomination of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as the new UMNO President and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as the new Deputy President. Since UMNO is the largest party in the ruling coalition of Barisan Nasional, the two will be the new leaders of Malaysia.

Congratulations, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. Your bravery in speaking out and not being part of the “yes-men” has been rewarded substantially.

In the past, I predicted that Pak Lah and Najib will stay on to face this election while Tengku Razaleigh and Muhyiddin will form a team to challenge the leadership. And I have said in the past that Tan Sri Muhyiddin cannot take on the incumbents himself.

He needed the backing of senior party members or statesmen. Now, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad states his preference clearly – Najib for President and Muhyiddin for Deputy President.

Personally, I am not sure if Najib will be able to fend off all the allegations and scandals targeted at him. Najib all these while did not fight back to defend himself like a warrior.

The Sukhoi-Altantuya-Submarine (SAS) scandals hang over Najib like a noose when he takes over as PM soon. Note that I used the word “soon” because Pak Lah only mentioned that he will not contest in March and Najib will be his successor.

He did not say when he will handover to the general public, although I am sure Pak Lah is a responsible made and would have told the leaders of Barisan Nasional about the handover.

In the hot seat, I am sure Najib will stand back up and fight all allegations against him. Also, note that Dr Mahathir has advised Najib to turn to senior leaders for advise and consultation when it comes to party and country matters.

Tun Dr Mahathir made it clear to Najib that family members should not be part of the Advisory setup of the Prime Minister’s office. Perhaps a “stay away” message to Rosmah?

Nevertheless, I can’t wait to see the new leadership’s performance. It will be a great opportunity for Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to consolidate his position in UMNO and proceed to be the 8th Prime Minister of Malaysia after Najib.

As for Najib, he has been the real target of the Opposition all these while. One can only wonder how he will face Anwar Ibrahim in Parliament and in the world of politics.

Let us all pray and hope that Malaysia is the one who benefits in the end.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Seminar Pembangunan Insan 2008 - Melbourne (IV)


Speaker : YABhg Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
Venue : Carillo Gantner Theatre, Sidney Myer Asia Centre, University of Melbourne

Speech : Challenges Facing Youths Today to Make The World Of Tomorrow


Audio
For friends of mine who are interested, you can download the audio from the link above. I apologize that I do not have the video version. I will attempt to get hold of a copy of it but I am sure the copyrights belong to MyM and the organizing parties.

As for the speech by Dr Wendy Smith at SPI 2008, I have been in contact with her and she will get back to me once the necessary procedures have been undertaken. Once I receive her speech and permitted, I will publish it in my blog here.

Come back for more updates !

Note : Dr Wendy Smith is the Director of Centre for Malaysian Studies at the Monash University. Many thanks to Yeam for recording this audio :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Seminar Pembangunan Insan 2008 – Melbourne (III)

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (I)

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (II)

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (III)

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (IV)

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (V)

Seminar Pembangunan Insan 2008 – Melbourne (II)

From left : Me, Jack Delosa, Geok Lin (my pal from Monash Uni) and Beh (a newly met friend also from Monash Uni)
Jack Delosa with his inspiring talk. He ended his session by asking the participants to experience emotions like depression, sadness and finally he encourage us to show the "crazy happy feeling" by jumping and shouting out with joy. All of us felt the difference and he deserved our thunderous applause.

Professor Danny Samson presenting his paper - Business Challenges of The Next Generation Leaders.

Tun Dr Mahathir's arrival at the theatre.



Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad - delivering his speech at Sidney Myer Asia Centre, University of Melbourne.




Several of us students from other states had the privillege for a photo and tea session with Tun Dr Mahathir.



Tun Mahathir interviewed by a reporter.



Tun Dr Siti Hasmah, chatting with students.



Had a nice picture with two great women at the event, Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir and Dr Wendy, Director of Malaysian Studies Institute at the Monash University.


Tun Dr Siti Hasmah, Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir and several other VIPs moving on to the next event.


Tun Dr Mahathir, before leaving the event, was interviewed by a committee from MyM on Tun's insights as well as advice for youths of today in facing challenges.






-end-


Seminar Pembangunan Insan 2008 – Melbourne (I)

On October 11th, MyM (Malaysian Youths Melbourne) organized a Seminar Pembangunan Insan. The Speakers for this event were Jack Delosa, Professor Dr Danny Samson, and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The event was held at Carillo Gantner Theatre, Sidney Myer Asia Centre, The University of Melbourne.

Jack Delosa started the event with an inspirational talk on how to turn goals, decisions and dreams into action. His style of motivation is very different and we were very impressed. Formally, his presentation was titled “The Winner’s Edge”.

Professor Dr Danny Samson then took over the floor and delivered a speech on Business Challenges of The Next Generation Leaders.

Soon, after lunch, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad arrived to a rousing reception. It was a touching moment for me as it was my very first time seeing Tun deliver a speech live, although I have met Tun during his Raya open house in Seri Perdana a long time ago.

After the national anthem, Abang Izhar (President of MyM) delivered his speech as organizing chairperson and soon followed by Dr Wendy, the Director of Malaysian Studies Institute at the Monash University.

Dr Wendy was very fluent with her Malay language in her speech before Tun’s in which she praised Tun for his efforts under the New Economic Policy, Development Policy and Tun’s vision as well as leadership that led Malaysia to what we all see today.

She then stressed that she personally experienced the NEP and saw Malaysia boomed into such a great country. Dr Wendy stayed in Malaysia for 9 years.

I had a chat with her briefly during the VIP tea session and she shared her lovely opinions of Malaysia with us. At a point during her speech, she mistakenly used the phrase “We Malaysians ….”. It went on to capture the crowds’ hearts as she felt like she is a Malaysian also.

Generally, in her speech, she had high respects for Tun and hoped that Australia and Malaysia can have good relations in the future in many areas.

Dr Wendy had a pantun for Tun and I was very impressed. I am currently attempting to get a copy of Dr Wendy’s speech to be placed in this blog. I will post it here as soon as I received it.

In YABhg Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s speech, Tun spoke on the history of Malaysia, the globalized world and took a shot at the Western ideologies.

Tun elaborated on the challenges of the Sultanate and the Malay struggle in the beginning and moved towards topics on the financial turmoil, the failure of the Bretton Wood system, the criticisms of the Western superpowers where the weak are bullied into receiving only “the tailends” while the powerful gets everything.

Tun Dr Mahathir also stressed that there should not be blind loyalty to the Government and there should be a measured criticism of the Government because massive opposition against the Government be it in demonstrations etc will cause unrest and instability.

Later, there was a Q&A session where students were allowed to ask questions. Among the questions ask were regarding the :


financial crisis and the Islamic finance sector
to which Tun replied on explanation of gold dinar, worthless paper currency today, and Tun took slammed US for their bailout that today totaled to USD 1.4 trillion.


the challenges of Asia in facing pressure from the West on global warming
to which Tun replied that the West were the ones who started clearing their forests first but now they are criticizing developing countries for chopping trees. Tun then sarcastically said that many still thought Malaysians were living on trees and since they are our “homes”, we need to keep them.


the AUKU and encouragement of students in politics
to which Tun took a vague shot at Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Tun replied that before he was Education Minister, there was no AUKU. Tun said that meant he was responsible for AUKU but Tun further commented that “I was responsible at a time when students were irresponsible”.

Students at that time were actively demonstrating against the Government and creating unrest at campuses. Tun further commented that there was a student who always held and organized demonstrations and Tun said that this “student” is still around now.

Tun continued by saying that when the police wanted to see this “student” at his house, he was never around. (VIDEO PROVIDED in next article – coming soon).


the lowest point of Tun Dr Mahathir
to which Tun replied that it was during the Mahathir – Razeleigh battle where he won by a mere 40 plus votes. Tun said that it was his low point because he received about 3/4 of the nominations but when the voting results were out, he won by a slim majority only.

Tun further commented that he later discovered that some parties were buying votes and caused himself to nearly lose the Presidency of UMNO.



Right after the Q&A session, before the closing of the event, a few student leaders from other states were ushered out of the hall to proceed to a foyer upstairs. I was among the privileged.

We waited for Tun at the foyer and got to know a few other students. From Canberra, it was me, Yeam and Aimran while the rest of the students were from Adelaide, Erina (my college friend) from Sydney and there was a buddy Ridhwan from as far as Auckland, New Zealand.

Tun had a photo session with the organizing committee and came up to the foyer soon after. We were introduced by Abang Izhar to Tun Dr Mahathir and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah at the foyer (perhaps a beautiful balcony would be a better description).

We spent some time taking photos with Tun Dr M and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah and there were official photographers and press there too. Tun Dr Siti Hasmah had a few words with me at the foyer and asked about Canberra.

Tun Dr Siti Hasmah then invited me and the other students to join her for some tea. Abang Izhar talked to Tun over tea while me and Yeam had a great chat with Tun Dr Siti Hasmah throughout the time.

Tun Dr Siti Hasmah shared some of her personal life with us and of Tun Dr Mahathir. I respect all privacy but to a question about whether Datuk Mukhriz was here in Melbourne or not, Tun Dr Siti replied that her son is currently very busy with the country and party.

Later, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had a picture with us Canberrans at the tea table. Invited guests, speakers and sponsors were there too.

Honestly, I was nervous to sit at the VIP table. Erina and I were hesitant at first but were ushed to quickly sit with our honorable guests. There were side tables and I was glad to see Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir there too. I walked over and kindly requested to have a picture with her and Dr Wendy.

The event moved on at the dining hall with reporters, businessmen, and academicians talking to Tun Dr Mahathir and they had a photography session. The tea session ended at slightly before 5 pm.

Before I left, I had a great chat with two PhD students studying Malaysian politics under Professor Greg Barton of the Monash University.

Professor Greg Barton and his two students talked to a few of us about our scholarships, about Malaysia and about Tun Dr Mahathir. One of the PhD students said that “he comes from a country where Dr Mahathir is more famous than his political leaders”.

According to him, over the past week, there were news reports in Bangladesh speculating that Tun Dr Mahathir will be coming back to lead the country and it will be a good thing for Asia. News from Bangladesh.

As a whole, it was a great event and I have to thank Abang Izhar, the organizing President, and Abang Sufi, Tun’s PA, for the opportunity and session with the honorable guests. I will never forget this event!

I will upload pictures and videos in another blog entry.


- end -

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Mat Taib Nak Bersara Awal?

Komen gambar
Pak Lah - Najib - Mat Taib. Lepas Pak Lah, Najib jadi PM. Lepas tu, Mat Taib nak jadi DPM?

Ya benar tajuk artikel saya ini. Saya tak suka buat cerita dan tak suka lapor isu yang berunsurkan fitnah dan bohong.

Sebenarnya, bekas Menteri Besar Selangor ini akan bertanding dalam pilihan raya UMNO pada bulan Mac 2009.

Janganlah terkejut jika saya kata MB Selangor ini akan bertanding jawatan Timbalan Presiden UMNO. Sekiranya menang, Mat Taib akan menjadi Timbalan Perdana Menteri Malaysia.

Tan Sri Muhammad Taib pernah ditahan di Brisbane, Australia kerana gagal melapor jumlah mata wang yang dibawa ke Australia pada bulan Disember 1996. Bagi jumlah yang melebihi 20,000, memanglah diwajibkan untuk melapor kepada pihak imigresen dan kastam.

Jumlah yang dibawa masuk? AUD 1.2 juta.

Pernahlah saya tulis artikel "4 Generals of Pak Lah". Mat Taib merupakan salah seorangnya. Maaflah Mat Taib. Saya rasa Tan Sri tak akan menang kali ini. Sebaliknya, Tan Sri akan diundi "kalah" dan diberi jawatan "pesara".

Nampaknya jawatan Timbalan Presiden UMNO terlalu sesak. Mungkinkah Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz akan menyertai perlumbaan ini?

Tunggulah pengumuman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. Sekiranya beliau bertanding untuk jawatan Timbalan Presiden, maka ramailah yang akan "bersara" kerana keberanian Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin dan kebolehan Y.A.B. Tan Sri sebagai Menteri dan VP UMNO akan menjadi faktor penting dalam pilihan raya UMNO kali ini.

Saya tak pasti sama ada Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak akan menjadi PM ke 7 yang baik. Pemimpin yang menjadi sasaran tembakan Kem Pakatan Rakyat ialah Najib. Maka, pada pilihan raya ke 13 mungkin melihatkan parti Barisan Nasional kecundang.

Politik sebenarnya penuh persepsi. Percaturan politik terlalu kotor sehinggakan orang ramai tak akan percaya kepada isu sebenar dan bukti. Sebaliknya, kata Tun Dr Mahathir pada suata ketika dahulu, memanglah benar. "The world loves conspiracies".

Kemungkinan besar, Barisan Nasional akan kalah kerana konspirasi dan persepsi orang ramai. Sudah ada blog-blog yang mula memaparkan gambar keluarga Datuk Seri Najib. Emel sebegini pun saya pernah terima. Nak lihat? Di sini.

Maka bermulalah, perang psikologi dan persepsi.

Sebagai rakyat Malaysia, saya harap Tengku Razaleigh, Tun Dr Mahathir dan Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin mampu memimpin Malaysia.

Where Malaysia can learn from Australia

Malaysia should learn from Australia in battling tobacco addiction, child and women abuse, mannerism and many other basic values.

I am not saying that Aussies have the best attitude in the world because they aren't. In fact, Aussies have a high level of patriotism till I dare say they are over protective of themselves against other people especially Asians.

Nevertheless, Australia is a successful country with their effective campaign via graphic images. I finally found the latest tobacco ad of Australia's Everybody Knows Campaign.

There is another ad, a new one, that caught my attention and it is very impressive. Any Government officials reading this blog, please take note and forward it to your department heads or Ministers.

I hope to see quality advertisements like this in Malaysia, although we can be proud of Petronas' ads, as always.


Anti Tobacco Campaign Ad

NAPCAN - Children See, Children Do

- end -

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Confused with Khairy, or is Khairy confused?

November 2, 2007

"There’s a certain extent (to which) these people in Umno will not go after me. So it gives me ‘protection’ to change things.

“If I don’t use this ‘protection’ to change things for the better, then I’m just wasting time and marking my time to go up the ladder of politics. That’s not what I am about.

“I want to use this time that I have while I have this ‘protection’ to change things, to change Umno for the better,” he said yesterday during a question-and-answer session at the Kancil Awards Festival Speakers series.



October 6, 2008
source :
The Star - Khairy firm on contesting

“I have never used my father-in-law’s influence for personal gain. I will be banking on my record as deputy chief for the past four years and for the party work that I have done,” he told reporters yesterday when met at his Hari Raya open house at Kg Gadong near here. ...

Khairy rubbished claims by critics that he was banking on his ties with Abdullah to win the wing’s top post, adding he had the credentials to lead including being campaign director for the Barisan Nasional Youth in several by-elections.


A PIECE OF MY MIND

2004 - KJ won uncontested to be the Deputy UMNO Youth Chief

2005 - KJ was involved in the merger of ECM Libra Capital and Avenue Capital which formed the now ECM Libra Avenue. Controversies continue with the loan and purchase of the firm's shares. YB Lim Kit Siang labelled KJ as the "richest unemployed".

2006 - KJ led a protest against the US delegation led by Condoleezza Rice in KL.

2006 - KJ produced the reality TV show MyTeam.

2007 - KJ became the President of UPB MyTeam FC.

2007 - KJ won uncontested to be the Vice President of FAM

I am not sure what he meant by "I want to use protection to change things". UMNO leaders are only saying about a new change, shift and reform now at least in terms of the leadership and UMNO elections.

What have you done, KJ? I am interested to know. Well, KJ won many seats uncontested. Even Datuk Mukhriz had to wait till Tun retired to enter politics officially and hold positions in UMNO. I need not mention about Datuk Ling Hee Leong and Lim Si Pin's case too, do I?

I am not sure also what KJ meant by saying "I have never used my father-in-law’s influence for personal gain. I will be banking on my record as deputy chief for the past four years and for the party work that I have done".

Check out some of the shots at KJ.


August 27, 2008
The Dandelions


... I am writing this resume to prepare myself for the worse. I may be jobless after that traitor Anwar Ibrahim make good of his promise to take over the government this coming Sept 16th. I may need to quit my Deputy Chief of UMNO Youth and my powerful father in law no longer can provide for me. Damn Anwar Ibrahim!!

I should not make that stupid statement at the Permatang Pauh ceramah that day. What I was thinking saying we are here to bury Anwar’s political career and challenging Anwar Ibrahim to resign as PKR adviser if he failed to become prime minister by Sept 16. I should just stop and that and not saying I would quit as Umno Youth deputy chief. Damn my smelly mouth!!

I am jobless after selling my shares in ECM Libra Avenue Bhd in 2006. Hey! I sold it at 65 sen per share, 6 sen cheaper from the price I bought at 71 sen, so I actually loss a lot of money! I only made less than RM 7 million after selling all my shares. What rich? I borrowed the money to fund my RM9.2 million shares, sold it for RM7 million so I actually lost RM2 million okay! Damn that old man Lim Kit Siang, simply say I am the richest unemployed man!!

Luckily my father in law is a good and generous to me and thank God I am the Deputy Chief for UMNO Youth, I still can ‘cari makan’ as the Malays say. For quite some time I am depending on my father in law to pay off my cars, traffic summonses and my 2 iPhones. I am quite embarrassed to depend on him, but what I can do? You see I have three cars with number plats KJ10Q, WNA13 and WMT8001. The car number plates itself also cost more than the car, you know! Damn the cars!! ...



October 7, 2008
1. I feel so sad about the plight of Khairi Jamaluddin, one of the candidates for head of UMNO Youth. He says that he is being prevented from meeting UMNO youths. This might result in his losing the race for the much coveted post.

2. I would advise him not to be disheartened. There are so many other ways of influencing Pemuda than meeting with them. I will not enumerate them as he will know how to use these other ways.

3. If I remember correctly he won the post of Deputy Chief of Pemuda without anyone casting any votes. He won it uncontested. Apart from UMNO Youth chief Hishamuddin Hussein who gave other possible candidates a tongue lashing - telling them in no uncertain terms that they must not contest the position because it was reserved for the Prime Minister's son-in-law, others suspected of having ambitions to contest for the post received phone calls from family members of the PM and other influential supporters not to do anything to spoil the ambition of this first time UMNO member with absolutely no track record from winning uncontested.

4. Although my son will be contesting I have no doubt Khairi will win hands down.

5. I don't know whether people have heard about the thief who cried "thief!". Well the thief got away because people who are not very intelligent went chasing in the opposite direction. The highly educated thief then walked away with his booty.

6. I say good luck to Khairi. You are brilliant and worthy of being a brilliant graduate of that great institution, Oxford University of Great Britain.