Seeking world dominance

The Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) will be launched today by the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today in Alor Star. The over RM 100 billion development plan, especially giving a lot of focus on agriculture based industries will encompass the four northern states; Perlis, Kedah, Pulau Pinang and northern Perak. Sime Darby Bhd. is taken to task to be the lead player for this ambitious program.

Some of the programs introduced to the farmers include co-operative managed farming and genetically engineered crops such as industrial maze for poly-chemicals industries, in between regular maze and paddy seasons. Some skepticism are thrown towards how these crops meant for industries affect the ecological system of the food chain.

Sira Habibu, The Star bureau head in Alor Star published this piece “Seeking world dominance” in The Star on 18 Nov 2002. I am reproducing it here again in commemoration of the launch.

Byline: Stories by SIRA HABIBU

ARE we really being used as guinea pigs to assess the
safety of genetically engineered (GE) food? Some
people ask this question because they find it hard to
believe that the authorities would ever let this
happen.

But people, including Asians, Americans and
Australians, are already being “force fed” with
unlabelled GE products.

Under the pretext of finding a solution to feed the
world, industry advocators are astutely influencing
authoritative bodies to lay the foundation to pave the
way for corporate giants to dominate the global food
and seed market.As history has shown that even the
medical fraternity has abused its position to conduct
dangerous experiments on unsuspecting civilians and
military personnel, it should be of no surprise that
the corporate sector, buttressed by powerful political
and economic forces, has turned the world into a
borderless laboratory with people as the guinea pigs.

New York-based Consumer Policy Institute consumer
report publisher Dr Michael Hansen said in a recent
conference in Kuala Lumpur that the US Food and Drug
Administration “does not require safety testing for
genetically engineered plants”.

“The FDA had, thus far, not stated its opinion related
to the safety of genetically engineered crops; it only
states what the companies believe perhaps assuming
that the companies are responsible corporate citizens
who had conducted the necessary safety tests prior to
commercialising their products,” he said.

None of the genetically engineered crops on the market
in the United States, including GE maize, has been
assessed using the protocol set last year by the Joint
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United
Nations (FAO)/ World Health Organisation (WHO) Expert
Consultation on Allergenicity of Foods Derived from
Biotechnology, said Dr Hansen.

Scientific findings had revealed that the sequence of
endotoxins found in Bt maize and Bt cotton (plants
designed to self-produce insecticide) is similar to a
known human allergen vitellogenin (main precursor to
egg yolk protein) and the sequence of endotoxin found
in Bt potatoes is similar to beta-lactoglobulin (a
major milk allergen).

Other studies had also shown that the endotoxin from
Bt cotton is a mucosal and systemic adjuvant as potent
as the cholera toxin, he said.

Dr Hansen said another study concluded that it is
necessary to perform toxicological tests on
“self-insecticide transgenic plants” to demonstrate
the safety of the endotoxins for the mucosal tissue
and for the immunological system of animals.

“Global agreement (Codex Alimentarius guideline) has
been reached on what constitutes proper safety
assessment of foods derived from GE plants, yet such
suggested studies have not been carried out on GM
(genetically modified) maize or any other GE crop
approved in the US,” he added.

It is apparent that the companies have adopted the
“innocent until proven guilty” philosophy as they
thrust GM products into the market, challenging
concerned groups to prove that the products are
unsafe.

Citizens Alliance for Consumer Protection (South)
Korea (CACPK) can attest to this. Its president, Kim
Jai Ok, said the alliance protested the approval of GE
maize to be introduced into the South Korean market,
“and the KFDA (South Korean Food and Drug
Administration) has asked us to show scientific
evidence that the product is hazardous to health”.

“The KFDA told us that there are no articles or
evidence to show that GE maize is harmful to health.
How can there be any evidence when such research had
not been carried out? They are putting the onus on us
to prove otherwise.

“But in (South) Korea it is difficult to find
scientists to conduct independent studies as most of
them support genetic engineering because they are
getting their research grants from corporations,” she
said.

Kim said she would not rest until she gets the
evidence needed, “and then the alliance will sue the
KFDA if the GE substances are proven to be harmful.”

Both Hansen and Kim were among the 26 speakers at the
First International Peasant Scientist Conference held
in Kuala Lumpur which was jointly organised by the
Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN
AP), Malaysia Programme on Sustainable Agriculture and
Pesticide, ERA Consumer and Tenaganita.

The conference with the theme Science for the People:
Challenging GE and Agrochemicals attracted 95
participants from Thailand, Indonesia, the
Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka,
Japan, South Korea, the United States, England,
Australia and Malaysia.

Debunking corporate propaganda

The biotechnology industry is thrusting “designer”
food, crops and seeds into the market under the
pretext that such technology is needed to increase
agriculture productivity to feed the world.

PAN AP executive director Sarojeni V. Rengam said
people with vested interests were fooling consumers
into thinking that biotechnology was the answer to
food security, environment protection and poverty
alleviation.

“In fact, the world produces more food per inhabitant
than ever before. Today, 800 million people are
malnourished because of poverty, inequality and lack
of access, not because there is not enough food,” she
said.

Further, the use and patenting of GE food and farming
technologies in developing countries could have
extremely serious economic complications, she said.

Forum For Biotechnology and Food Security (India)
chairman Devinder Sharma said 230 million people in
India go to bed hungry “because they can’t afford to
buy food”.

“Some 65 million tonnes of unsold food are rotting in
India, yet we are still importing food,” he said,
adding that farmers in
India were committing suicide
because they could not make ends meet.

Devinder said farmers in Indonesia, the Philippines
and
Vietnam are also finding it increasingly difficult
to compete with cheap produce imported from the
United
States
.

“We have been forced to open our markets via the WTO
(World Trade Organisation) and other agreements. We
are told that we need GE crops to enhance our
competitiveness. But how can we compete with farmers
from the North who are given huge subsidies,” he said,
stressing that the determinant factor in
competitiveness was subsidy not productivity.

He said people must realise that the countries of the
North do not want the South to be self-sustaining
where staple produce is concerned.

“They have cleverly set the agenda to ensure farmers
find it more profitable to plant cash crops than
staple crops,” he said.

Concurring with this, Farmer Companies Federation
Indonesia (FSPI) manager Nur Lela Djohan said there
were increasing numbers of Indonesian farmers who were
opting to plant cash crops.

“Planting padi is not lucrative at all. Farmers are
not earning much from it,” she said, adding that
globalisation was effectively destroying the
Indonesian agriculture sector.

Indonesia is rich with fertile soil, with 60% of the
220 million population involved in the agriculture
sector. But we are heavily dependent on food imports.
Last year we imported 3.5 million tonnes of wheat, 1.2
million tonnes of maize and two million tonnes of
rice.”

FSPI trainer Rustam Affendi said costs of production
have increased with the rising consumption of
pesticides.

“The pests are becoming more and more resistant and we
have to either increase the dosage or use more
powerful pesticides,” he said, adding that the pests’
biological enemies were also killed in the process.

“Moving from multi to monoculture farming is
undermining the farmers’ self-sustainability, not to
mention the increasing use of pesticide is also
affecting their health,” he said.

Fighting corporate manipulation

Former Indonesian president Suharto had in 1987 issued
a decree banning 57 pesticides used in padi
plantations following advice from scientists from the
FAO and the International Rice Research Institute
(IRRI) to check massive brown-plant-hopper
infestation.

Devinder Sharma said Suharto’s move was heavily
criticised by the pesticide companies and even the US
Embassy in
Jakarta.

“Suharto was told that Indonesia‘s food security was
in danger and famine will hit
Indonesia if he
proceeded with the bans. But the president (whose
parents were poor farmers from Kemusuk village in
Central Java) stood his ground,” he said, adding that
the move was unprecedented as no other world leader
had ever banned so many pesticides at one go.

Two years later, rice production in Indonesia had
increased by 20%, consumption of pesticide was down by
65% and cost of cultivation reduced by 50%.

Suharto has shown that political will is all it takes
to make a difference in meeting the needs of the
people.

The focus is now on the governments in Asia which are
being coerced to adopt policies and put in place
regulatory and legislative frameworks to legitimise GE
food, crops and seeds.

University of Queensland contemporary studies
programme lecturer Dr Richard Hindmarsh said
governments in Asia are being pressured to put the
regulatory framework in place, including Intellectual
Property Rights (IPR) laws, to facilitate local
testing and commercialisation of the golden rice (a
beta-carotene enhanced transgenic rice designed to
address Vitamin A deficiency).

“Bio-colonisation is already taking shape in Asia and
Africa with the Rockefeller Foundation, CGIAR
(Consultative Group on International Agricultural
Research), various rice institutes (including IRRI),
Asean and A-IMBN (Asia-Pacific International Molecular
Biology Network) and the African Rice Initiative
playing central roles,” he said.

Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA)
research and communications director Ellen Hickey said
even school children were not spared by the industry
with corporations spending millions in advertising
campaigns to drive home message that GE is a cool
thing.

She said the US system of regulating GE crops is very
complicated and completely inadequate, adding that
public disclosure or comments on the products were not
allowed.

“It is next to impossible to tighten the regulation on
any of these crops. No matter how strong our case,
even a small victory is usually overturned within a
matter of months as a result of industry pressure.

“It is difficult to fight against GE products in the
regulatory and political arena, given that the
industry has deep ties with powerful allies,” she
said.

She said corporate campaigning against GE foods “is
still the best bet”, adding that farmers stopped
growing GE potatoes following an announcement by
McDonald’s that it would not use the produce for its
French fries because of consumer concerns.

“The biotechnology companies were a bit surprised when
grass-root opposition to GE crops began to surface.
They expected Americans to accept these crops with no
questions asked,” she said, adding that corporations
have a great deal of power to influence US government
decisions.

PAN AP campaigns and media co-ordinator Jennifer
Mourin said the conference was concluded with a
two-page unity statement and plan of action.

“The participants stated that they are committed to
unmasking corporate propaganda and tactics of
domination, harassment and repression,” she said,
adding that institutions and universities are also
challenged to develop people-centred science curricula
and programmes apart from promoting and developing
community-based research.

The action plan includes monitoring, exposing and
challenging the influence of trans-national
corporations on governments as well as challenging the
co-option of NGOs and institutions by corporations.

Mourin said agrochemical companies were “growing
larger by the year” following mergers and acquisition
of smaller companies.

“Top on the list is Syngenta, which recorded a
whopping US$5.4bil (RM20.5bil) in sales last year,
followed by Aventis Crop Science (RM14.6bil), Monsanto
(RM14.3bil), BASF (RM11.8bil), Dow AgroSciences
(RM9.9bil ), Bayer (RM9.2bil) and DuPont (RM7.3bil),”
she said.

CACPK president Kim said South Korea, which accepted
the International Monetary Fund package, lost most of
its seed companies to trans-national corporations
during the 1997 Asian currency crisis.

It seems that agrochemical companies are casting their
webs firmly over the seeds, with apparent attempts to
control the source of life at its root. Food for
thought – he who controls the seeds controls the
world.

Published in: on July 30, 2007 at 14:01  Comments (3)  

Exactly a year Tun Dr. Mahathir was attacked in Kota Bahru

At 11.00 am today, it was exactly a year ago former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was spray attacked in the Enterprise, at the doorsteps of Sultan Ismail Petra Airport, Kota Bahru, Kelantan. He had just stepped out on the main doors into an eager awaiting crowd and the moment he stepped into the Enterprise to speak to the 1,000 odd crowd and press through the sunroof, someone had discharged an obnoxious gas spray which made him choking and left a burning sensation in the face.

Lucky it was a temporary sensation and an hour later, he and the others who were affected had recovered.

It was supposed to be an impromptu affair, much like six days earlier when arrived at Bunga Mawar Terminal, Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah International Airport, Subang from London, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was asked to address an eager crowd. And he did and everyone felt good as Tun Dr. Mahathir felt appreciated and welcomed and everyone else were acknowledged for their support of the former Prime Minister. However, in Kota Bahru, it turned ugly.

That fateful Friday morning, we arrived at the airport at 9.00am. Amongst those who waited to welcome him were Tan Sri Abdullah “Kok Lanas” Ahmad and former UMNO Supreme Council member Dato’ Ibrahim Ali. The crowd grew and some came with banners to welcome the statesman. Hundreds of t-shirts in support of Tun Dr. Mahathir were issued. Ibrahim’s man asked whether if the Enterprise would be made available so that Tun Dr. Mahathir could speak to the crowd upon arrival at circa 10.00am and it was agreed.

He was scheduled to give a talk in afternoon at the Perdana Hotel on current political issues even though it was canceled by the original organiser, Ex-BN representative association or Mubarak. Tan Sri Abdullah instead played host for the talk. In the evening, he was supposed to attend a dinner organised by Majlis Tindakan Rakyat Kelantan (MTRK) at The Grand Riverview Hotel. Ibrahim is the President of MTRK. It was a planned full day in Kota Bahru for him.

When Tun Dr. Mahathir arrived from Kuala Lumpur and came through the VIP gate, as usual, the eager supporters and well wishers tried to close in to catch a glimpse of the statesman and shake his hand if possible whilst he and Ibrahim tried to walk through the crowd to an awaiting Mitisubishi Pajero, the Enterprise. As he almost approached the back door to mount in, when a man in black jacket tried to stop him and the pushing started between the man, the security details and supporters like Ibrahim and several Pasir Mas UMNO people. That was when the gas first felt.

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Despite being pushed and caught in struggle in front of the rear door, Tun Dr. Mahathir finally managed to mount into the Enterprise and Ibrahim followed.

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When he was in the Enterprise, Ibrahim gave him a megaphone and asked him to stand from the backseat through the sunroof to address the now very excited awaiting crowd, just like he did six days earlier. And he did. He carved a very pleasant smile and started to wave at the crowd. That was the moment when the gas spray was released again and this him he was hit.

 

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Tun Dr. Mahathir was in so much discomfort and had difficulty to breathe that he fell to the back seat and took off his glasses. Within a blink of an eye, he was yanked out of the Enterprise by his long time bodyguard, Ismail Manaf and was carried together with his P.A. Sufi Yusof to an awaiting car parked next to the Enterprise for immediate evacuation.

 

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Another blog also captured the episode. A police report later was made by Ibrahim at the Kota Bahru Police District HQ. By day’s end, six people were picked up by the Police and a day later, a total of eight person were arrested for the spray attack incident. Eventually, one person were produced in front of a Magistrate and a remand order was obtained for the Police to facilitate the investigation further.

Tun Dr. Mahathir was taken to Renaissance Hotel where he rested for a while and recovered from the spray attack. By 1.00pm, he had fully recovered and left the hotel for Friday prayers with Tan Sri Abdullah, Tan Sri Mohamad Yaacob, the former Menteri Besar and Ibrahim. This time, the security details were much swifter, tighter and more Police personnel were issued to escort him, including the local UTK unit.

After lunch, he did give a talk to a very eager crowd, mostly UMNO supporters at Perdana Hotel in the afternoon, as planned. This was a landmark speech indeed where for the first time he mentioned the involvement of the ‘first family'; son and son-in-law, in various decision making process and made by the Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. He also took a swipe at Riong Kali.

Eventually, one man was charged for the spray attack at the Kota Bahru Magistrate Court under Section 324 of the Penal Code for causing hurt using obnoxious material to Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and three others. Dato’ Nik Sapiea Nik Yusof, a local businesman was charged and the trial started in early April this year. Tun Dr. Mahathir appeared as a witness at the trial on 6 May 2007 and said this in court.

For 22 1/3 years, Tun Dr. Mahathir as the Prime Minister moved freely amongst the people, shaking too many hands in far too many places and events and never once something like this had ever remotely come close. The motive of the spray attack is believed to be politically motivated.

Personally, to witness the spray attack on Tun Dr. Mahathir and saw him suffered in very close proximity was a ghastly unimaginable experience which traumatised me for quite a bit. What made the episode more ugly was the attack was planned and mounted by a citizen of this state and country.

Was it desperate enough that some quarters had to resort to this stunt in attempt of stopping the well respected statesman to speak his mind? God help us all!

Published in: on July 28, 2007 at 00:23  Comments (6)  

Malaysia Today blocked!

The most popular political portal Malaysia Today.net was blocked from any access within Malaysia this afternoon. The portal, famed for the “No holds barred” tagline, carried political and alternative news, made headline sensation since Monday, 23 July 2007 when UMNO Information Chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib made a police report about comments made to an article published on 8 July 2007 deemed derogatory and demean HM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong and Islam.

On Tuesday, 24 July Malaysia Today’s editor, Raja Petra Kamarudin was called to the Dang Wangi Police HQ and his statements were recorded. He was also interviewed.

Since this afternoon, access to the site has been blocked. Why and who is doing the blocking is not sure at this point of time. According to sources, the DOS attack was staged from a TM net registered IP address. However, if the block was made by any of the Government’s machineries, it is contravening the Mutimedia Bill of Guarantee when then the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad announced the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) back on 1 August 1996. Dr. Mahathir also repeated the Malaysia Government’s commitment for its International Bill of Guarantee on the MSC in New York, 25 August 1996.

It is grossly shameful, especially for the internet cyberworld if the Government blocked or allowed internet to be blocked and contradict their own guarantee.

Published in: on July 27, 2007 at 19:18  Comments (13)  

Mike Tyson helped Malaysia Today hits above five million

Premier Malaysian political portal Malaysia Today.net hits above 5.5 million today and still on going. On Monday, Bloggosphere went into pandemonium after rumours about the portal’s editor, YM Raja Petra Kamaruddin was arrested by the Police. There was an upsurge in hits.

After the news was rectified to be UMNO Information Chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib made a police report about Malaysia Today that published an article which was deemed to derogate and demean HM SPB YDP Agong and Islam, Raja Petra was called to Dang Wangi Police District HQ for his statements to be recorded and interviewed on whole day Tuesday, 25 July 2007. Malaysia Today recorded slightly over five million hits yesterday. An article, “See you in hell Muhammad son of Muhammad” was published on Monday in retaliation on the Tan Sri Muhammad making the police report.

The interests and curiosity on the portal are still rising. Raja Petra published his story about being interviewed by the Police, “A Comedy of errors“, today and several other articles like Husin Lempoyang’s “Bila pemburu musang tak kenal musang“, to explain the stupidity of this clumsy episode. It is expected Malaysia Today.net will hit six million visitors by day’s end.

That is a new record! Thank you Tan Sri Muhammad, as the UMNO Information Chief and thus, de facto Head of Propaganda for UMNO, you and your clumsy manners have actually promoted Malaysia Today.net instead of curbing it after you find it ‘unacceptable’ and ‘spreading lies and inaccurate information’. Ab. Jalil Backer an UMNO member in MyKMU.net shares my point.

So Tan Sri, anymore smart ass ideas?

Published in: on July 26, 2007 at 18:16  Comments (6)  

KD Tun Razak now joined

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TV3 announced that the official names of boat one and two of the Scorpene submarines now under construction are KD Tunku Abdul Rahman dan KD Tun Abdul Razak, respectively. The story was earlier carried out by this blog as “Kisah Kapal Selam” on 21 February, “The Scorpene completely joined” on 16 March and “Najib refutes MT’s reports, submariners get dolphins” on 18 March.

The Royal Malaysian Navy Chief Admiral Tan Sri Ramlan Mohd. Ali was at the Izar dockyards in the Mediterranean port of Cartagena, Spain to oversee the joining of the second Scorpene submarine, KD Tun Abdul Razak. The joining signify that all the major and larger equipments and components like engines, communication, surveillance and weapon systems, fuel tanks and batteries, ballast system and living quarters of the submarine are already in place. From now on, it will be out fitting of the smaller equipments and components.

There exist a 20 officers man project management team at the DCNi dockyards in Cherbourg, France fully monitoring the construction and entire program very carefully. It is lead by First Admiral Roslan Ahmad.

At the time being, 140 odd officers and other ranks who will man, operate and maintain the two submarines are under religious training program in Brest, France. An Agosta 70 submarine, Ouessant has been provided by the French Navy (NAVFCO) for this purpose.

Published in: on July 25, 2007 at 14:51  Comments (5)  

UMNO Info Chief did a police report against Malaysia Today

Yesterday was a bit of a pandemonium, here in Bloggosphere. I received so many messages asking about Malaysia Today.net‘s editor, YM Raja Petra Kamarudin being arrested. Apparently, the story about the arrest is not true. What actually happened was the UMNO Information Chief, former Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib made a police report on Malaysia Today’s article first published on 11 July 2007, deemed to have some highly inappropriate and insulting comments posted by readers against HM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong and Islam and they are deemed seditious. The report was made against Raja Petra because he is the editor of the political portal.

It was a very hot story. It was news in NST and Utusan this morning. It also appeared as an item in Bulletin Utama, TV3 last night. The rumour about Raja Petra being arrested drew so many concerned and curious internet users alike, cramping onto Malaysia Today, until it jammed. Over 3 million hits were recorded and additional temporary capacity was needed to cater for the upsurge.

In retaliation, Raja Petra posted this article in Malaysia Today. It kind of reflect Raja Petra’s anger to the police report made against him, especially by someone like Tan Sri Muhammad. Tan Sri Muhammad, who was caught with millions in various country bills leaving Australia almost ten years ago turned a lot heads when he was acquitted by a Brisbane court for admitting in court his understanding of English was very poor.

Raja Petra is not new against internet political writing and being detained by the Police for that. He was arrested by the Police at least twice and once in 2001, he spent 60 days being detained under ISA.

The main issue in this case most probably the authorities will hold the editor or moderator of a website or blog for the comments posted by the readers. Raja Petra, like many other moderators, prefer not to moderate his website for the principle of “Freedom of Expression”. It is shown here that the readers abused the openness that Malaysia Today has to offer and totally unrestrained comments might get the moderators into trouble.

This is not the first time it happened. Apparently notable blogger Jeff Ooi also got into trouble once because of the comments posted in his blog.

So the issue here is that serious bloggers like Raja Petra and Jeff Ooi usually know what is the very fine line and parameter that separate from ‘acceptable’ and ‘inappropriate’ but readers and commenters don’t. Some are very reckless. In the zest of putting their thoughts and emotions, often they cross this near invisible line and thread into what is abstractly insensitive. Then again, in other blog, moderators purposely and irresponsibly allowed slanderous lies and defamatory remarks against leaders and even HRH Malay Rulers be posted and continuously linger for public consumption, like in the case of Susan Loone.

Its up to the readers now. Do they want the freedom for information or they simply what to thrash out their emotions and untrained thoughts. Like other public apparatus meant to be consumed by many, if some incorrigibly refuse to restrain and observe maturity and appropriateness, then maybe the facility might be withdrawn for all the wrong reasons for the rest.

Like they say in Malay, “Tepuk dada, tanya selera“.

*Updated as of Tuesday, 25 July 2007. Malaysia Today Editor YM Raja Petra Kamarudin was asked to go to Dang Wangi IPD, for his statements being recorded at 11.00 am. After a long interview, he walked out of the Police HQ at 7.10pm. The Star has the story.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Dato’ Seri Nazri Aziz said this and this in the Parliament yesterday, in response to the issues raised in Dewan Negara pertaining to the police report made against Malaysia Today.

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Photos were obtained from Jinggo’s posting Forum MyKMU.net

Published in: on July 24, 2007 at 11:30  Comments (7)  

A year after Tun Dr. Mahathir returned from Europe

Today is exactly a year after former Prime Minister and UMNO President Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad returned from a long trip summer holidays in Europe. It was the first time Malaysians get a chance to meet him after his stinging attack against ‘The Level Four Boys’ and issues pertaining the cancellation of the Scenic Bridge project in Johor Bahru and Proton at an event organized by various NGO and streamed via broadband by Malaysia Today.net, at Kelab Century Paradise, Taman Melawati, near Kuala Lumpur on 24 June 2006.

His open criticism against Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s leadership, management and decisions at Kelab Century Paradise to a crowd of 1,000 was a landmark speech. It attracted so much attacks in return from the Government, including Cabinet Ministers such as Dato’ Seri Nazri Aziz and Dato’ Khaled Nordin.

He and wife, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Mohd. Ali arrived from Stansted Airport, North London via a chartered jet at Petronas Private Terminal, Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz International Airport, Subang at 9.30 am and was met by close personal friends.

Outside the gates of the terminal, over 1000 well wishers and supporters gathered, some with banners and special printed t-shirts were issued. A Malay political portal, MyKMU.net had organized this welcome back session to show that the rakyat still in very much support of Tun Dr. Mahathir and the issues that he has been vehemently highlighted. Some noted political bloggers like Dato’ Ron, Dato’ Kadir Jasin, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, Rocky and Sang Kelembai were also present.

I was one of the persons organized the welcome back session. Just before Tun Dr. Mahathir stepped out of gates of terminal, someone asked whether my Enterprise could be used as a platform for Tun Dr. Mahathir to speak to the well wishers and maybe talked to the waiting press, since it has a sunroof. I summarily agreed and repositioned the Mitsubishi Pajero V6 Pajero, named “Enterprise”.

When Tun Dr. Mahathir stepped out at 10.10am, he walked to a very anxious crowd who eagerly wanted to see him up close and walked down the road about 100 meters to the awaiting Enterpise which was repositioned almost to middle of the road. He climbed into the back seat and I asked him to stand up through the sunroof and he did. The crowd cheered as he waved, with a sunshine smile. I later asked him to stand on the backseat so that he was perched higher and he did and started waving more to the eager crowd.

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For the next fifteen minutes, he addressed the crowd and talked to the press, including foreign bureaus who send their reporters. He was beaming and gleaming with glee, as he never thought that there would be supporters to welcome him home.

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Blogger Gerbang Ruhanie, Dato’ Ruhanie Ahmad passed to Tun Dr. Mahathir his latest book, “Mahathir Menyinga” at the end of his speech on the Enterprise. It was about the cancellation of Scenic Bridge.

The last time I smsed Dato’ Mukhriz Mahathir was 12 hours earlier, who sent Tun Dr. Mahathir of in London. He said his father did not expect anyone to be at the airport to welcome him home, since he considered himself as ‘orang pencen‘. However, Dato’ Mukhriz challenged me “Now, would you prove him wrong?”.

I did. We all did. And Tun Dr. Mahathir was definitely pleased people like me proved him wrong.

*Some of the photos were taken from Minaq Jinggo Photopages

Published in: on July 22, 2007 at 08:11  Comments (4)  

Tun Dr. Mahathir’s message for Kubang Pasu UMNO

Former Prime Minister, UMNO President and Kubang Pasu UMNO Head for over 30 years, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had a message for this year’s Kubang Pasu UMNO branch delegates who will be convening today in Jitra for the Kubang Pasu UMNO AGM. In his message, he apologized for unable to accept this year’s nomination for UMNO Annual Assembly as a delegate representing Kubang Pasu Division after the bitter and humiliating 9 September 2006 defeat caused by organized effort by some quarters and where the UMNO Disciplinary Board found nothing irregular happened when complained. He also felt his further involvement is futile.

 

Ahli-ahli Umno Bahagian Kubang Pasu,


Saya ucapkan terima kasih kepada cawangan-cawangan Umno Bahagian Kubang Pasu yang telah mencalonkan nama saya sebagai perwakilan Bahagian ke Perhimpunan Agong Umno 2007.

Saya minta maaf kerana tidak dapat menerima pencalonan tersebut dan bertanding kerana saya merasakan yang ianya adalah sesuatu yang sia-sia.

Walaupun mendapat pencalonan saya akan tetap kalah jika saya bertanding. Ini terbukti apabila saya memutuskan untuk bertanding sebagai perwakilan Bahagian ke Mesyuarat Agung Umno 2006.

Sebenarnya keputusan saya untuk bertanding sebagai perwakilan Bahagian pada tahun lepas adalah untuk melihat kebenaran jangkaan saya bahawa akan ada pihak yang akan memastikan saya kalah supaya saya tidak dilantik sebagai perwakilan.

Ini terbukti benar dan saya tahu bahawa ada pihak yang telah memberi rasuah kepada ahli-ahli Bahagian untuk tidak mengundi saya.

Saya tahu apa sebenarnya yang berlaku yang menyebabkan kekalahan saya walaupun Lembaga Disiplin Umno mengumumkan bahawa tidak ada bukti salahlaku pada peringkat pemilihan perwakilan Bahagian Kubang Pasu 2006.

Memandangkan yang penglibatan saya akan menjadi sia-sia, maka saya tidak dapat menerima pencalonan tersebut dan tidak akan bertanding sebagai wakil Bahagian ke Perhimpunan Agong Umno 2007.

Saya minta maaf dan mengucapkan terima kasih kepada cawangan-cawangan yang telah mencalonkan nama saya.

Sempena dengan sambutan ulangtahun ke-50 kemerdekaan negara kita, saya berdoa agar parti Umno ini akan terus kekal di atas landasan yang betul demi memperjuangkan nasib bangsa, agama dan negara.

Selamat bersidang.


Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad

Putrajaya

Julai 21, 2007

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On the late evening of 8 September 2006, Kubang Pasu UMNO Division Head Dato’ Johari Baharom addressed 400 delegates and division members at Darul Aman Country Club near Jitra to deny Tun Dr. Mahathir being elected as a delegate representing Kubang Pasu Division at UMNO Annual Assembly on 15-17 November 2006 in Kuala Lumpur. Other people who spoke at the event were Tan Sri Osman Aroff, former Kedah Menteri Besar and Kubang Pasu UMNO Deputy Head and currently UMNO Disciplinary Board member and Dato’ Saad Man, former Kubang Pasu UMNO Vice Head who at that time was suspended by the UMNO Disciplinary Board for money-politics.

After the meeting, ‘brown envelopes’ were seen distributed amongst selected Branch Heads.

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Tun Dr. Mahathir held a press conference at Perdana Leadership Foundation, 11 September 2006 in response to his humiliating defeat on 9 September 2006 Kubang Pasu UMNO AGM after evidence shown to him some branch delegates at the Kubang Pasu UMNO Division were paid RM 200.00 and given a ‘list’ (or menu) in ‘brown envelopes’ on which candidates have to be chosen. He came out at No. 9. His son, UMNO Youth Exco Dato’ Mukhriz Mahathir however was elected one of the seven delegates to the UMNO Annual Assembly.

On 29 September 2006, six Kubang Pasu UMNO members came to Kuala Lumpur and tried to make an official report to UMNO Disciplinary Board on the money-politics during the divisional election but were not entertained with a lame excuse of none of the Disciplinary Board members were available to accept the complaint. Brig. Gen. (Rtd.) Dato’ Hussainay Hashim, the UMNO Executive Secretary however reluctantly accepted the complaints on behalf of the party.

One of the six complainants, Ismail Taib was beaten up in front of his own home in Jitra on 12 Nov 2006, three days before the UMNO Annual Assembly in Kuala Lumpur commenced.

So much have been done to ‘de-voice’ former UMNO President Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, through UMNO channels. UMNO establishments which intended to invite him to speak were “pressured” to withdraw or cancel. During the pre-9 September Kubang Pasu UMNO AGM period, the UMNO Secretary General Dato’ Radzi Sheikh Ahmad were amongst top party leaders who seen were busy campaigning and scheming at ground zero to ensure that Tun Dr. Mahathir was not elected as a delegate in 15-17 November’s UMNO Annual Assembly.

On 29 June 2007, UMNO Deputy President Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak said that were not enough ‘solid evidences’ to show that there were money-politics in 9 September 2006’s Kubang Pasu UMNO AGM, based on the complaints made and UMNO Disciplinary Board findings and thus, no action shall be taken.

*An update as of 1900hrs Saturday, 21 July 2007

UMNO Youth Exco Dato’ Mukhriz Mahathir has been elected as a Kubang Pasu UMNO delegate to the next UMNO Annual Assembly at Kubang Pasu UMNO Division AGM. He polled second with 298 votes. Zulfitri Yaacob, UMNO Kubang Pasu Division Head Dato’ Johari Baharom’s Special Function Officer polled the No. 1 place voted as a delegate with 322 votes.

A total of 424 branch delegates attended and voted.

Published in: on July 21, 2007 at 11:02  Comments (7)  

S 61 Nuri wreckage found, crew died

The aircraft and crew of the fateful RMAF S 61 utility helicopter which went missing six days ago was found in thick jungle within 5 km from Genting Sempah, at 1.24pm. All the crew did not survive the crash. Bernama.com has the story, Nuri wreckage found, all six airforce on board killed’. Bad weather has been initially blamed for the accident.

At the moment efforts are being made to extricate the bodies from the crash site.

Apparently, this is the 18th crash of the same type since the initially acquired 40 units and RMAF started operations 39 years ago. Considering that it is a utility helicopter and the backbone of RMAF and ATM operations all these years, especially during the days of fighting communist terrorists, in the interiors, the S 61 Nuri have shown an impeccable service record for our security forces.

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The Government have been looking for the S 61 replacement since more than few years ago. However, the limited millitary spending by MINDEF have kept the program on priority KIV all these while, in favour of other serious spending such as the acquisition of the two Scorpene class submarines and 18 Su30MKM multirole combat aircrafts. Replacement is expected to cost between USD 20-30 million per aircraft and dependent on the specifications that goes with it. Amongst the shortlisted are Eurocopter NH 90, Sikorsky S 70 Blackhawk and Mi 171. A more high end tri-engined Augusta Westland EH 101 should be the perfect replacement for the S 61 Nuri fleet but it was deemed too pricey.

When asked to comment on the grounding of the remaining 20 odd S 61 Nuris, the Deputy Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Mohamed Najib Tun Razak, who is also the Defence Minister said that the aircrafts are the backbone of RMAF and ATM operations. Until replacements arrive, they will be still servicing the needs of the security forces.

Currently the Army Air Corp is operating 16 units of Augusta 109E multirole utility helicopter and the RMN Naval Air Wing is operating 6 units Westland Superlynx 300 and 6 units Eurocopter AS 555N Fennec for their specific operational needs.

On another note, a group of press people is lost in the Genting Sempah jungle area. They went in at 5.45pm with some police personnel and forest rangers for the crash site but were asked to turn back by the army. On the way out, they are unable to find their way. One of the reporters called their colleague who was waiting by the side of the Karak Highway. A search party has been dispatched to locate the missing press.

* Photo taken from Airliners.net, www.airliners.net

Published in: on July 18, 2007 at 00:06  Comments (8)  

Mukhriz not going for UMNO Youth top post yet

UMNO Youth Exco in charge of international affairs and NGO, Dato’ Mukhriz Mahathir denied a The Star report that he made a statement at this point of time that he might be contesting for the top post in UMNO Youth, in the next party elections. Instead, he thought it was important for him now to help UMNO Youth Head Dato’ Hishamuddin Hussein to beef up party machineries in anticipation of the upcoming general elections expected anytime soon. He said this after officiating the Sg. Siput UMNO Youth meeting on Sunday.

He also said this to the press after meeting the family of Kept. Intan Nor Asykeen Mohd. Arof, TUDM, the co-pilot of the missing S 61 RMAF utilities helicopter four days ago at TUDM Sg. Besi yesterday afternoon. Kept. Intan was a former MRSM Balik Pulau student and Mukhriz is the President of MRSM Alumni Association, ANSARA. Other ANSARA Excos accompanied him during the call on Kept. Intan’s family.

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Mukhriz, a former MRSM Kota Bahru, retained his President seat in a 93 – 51 with a comfortable 42 vote majority defeated challenger Dr. Shamsul Anuar Sulaiman, a former MRSM Kuantan, at ANSARA AGM’s on Saturday. This is Dr. Shamsul’s first attempt to be seated for any position at the ANSARA Exco level.

This is also the first time Mukhriz was challenged and some dubbed this as an effort to run him down from his primary powerbase, a precursor to the next UMNO party elections. However, Mukhriz vehemently denied the ANSARA elections was a proxy fight between him and UMNO Youth Vice Head, Khairy Jamaluddin.

Media including TV3 and NTV7 waited around till the end of the ANSARA AGM in anticipation to make a news of Mukhriz’s defeat however were disappointed. No stories appeared anywhere when Mukhriz managed to retain his seat. This was the first time TV news cameras appeared in an ANSARA AGM.

Ironically, Dr. Shamsul was the immediate UMNO Youth Exco in charge of international affairs predecessor to Mukhriz. Hopes are placed that the challenge should not affect the brotherhood fostered within the alumni.

 

Published in: on July 17, 2007 at 07:45  Comments (11)  
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