PM announced civil service payrise

Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced a pay package increase between 7.5% to 35% for more than one million civil servants earlier on Monday. It is definitely great news for the custodian of public funds.

Bernama has the story:

Civil Servants To Get Pay Increase Of Up To 35 Pct

PUTRAJAYA, May 21 (Bernama) — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today announced a pay increase of between 7.5 per cent and 35 per cent for the more than one million civil servants in the country, effective July 1.

They will also get a 100 per cent increase in the cost of living allowance (Cola).

In recognition of the heavy responsibility of police and military personnel and the challenges they face in the line of duty, Abdullah said they would get an additional 20 per cent on top of the increase.

Speaking at the Workers Day gathering for the public sector here, he said the basic salary of the Support Group II (Grades 1 to 16) would be increased by 35 per cent while those in the Support Group I (Grades 17 to 40) would get a 25 per cent increase.

For the Management and Professional Group (Grades 41 to 54), the increase is 15 per cent while those in the Premier Grade (Jusa) will get a 7.5 per cent pay hike.

Abdullah said the salary increase for the 1,002,040 civil servants would cost the government RM3.4 billion this year or an additional annual expenditure of RM6.8 billion.

The increase in the payment of Cola will involve an additional expenditure of RM600 million this year or RM1.2 billion annually.

Abdullah said the strong growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product over the past five years, averaging 5.6 per cent annually, was the first factor considered by the government in determining the quantum of the pay hike.

This, he said, was spurred by the growth in private sector investment and the external trade volume which had surpassed the RM1 trillion mark.

“All these have allowed interest rates, inflation and unemployment to remain low. The Bursa Malaysia Composite Index also reflects the country’s tremendous economic growth, reaching its highest level recently,” he said.

The prime minister said the second factor was the need to attract and retain qualified, highly-motivated and performance-driven human capital in the civil service.

The government, he said, was also concerned about the rising cost of living due to the hike in global oil prices which had affected those in the lower income bracket.

The fourth factor, Abdullah said, was the government’s affordability which was aided by a marked increase in tax collection and a more prudent execution of expenditure.

“In fixing the quantum, the government is always mindful of its repercussions on the country’s financial position. Any salary increase will also involve pension calculations and certain allowances.

“The quantum has been decided carefully and prudently. The government was able to reduce the budget deficit from 5.3 per cent in to 3.5 per cent last year and we’ll continue with this prudent fiscal management,” he added.

Saying that the pay hike would lessen the burden of those in the lower income group, Abdullah said that at the same time, they should be mindful of the people’s higher expectations of the civil service.

“They’ll expect a high-quality civil service that commensurates with the salary increase. Take this opportunity to increase productivity and the quality of service to the people,” he added.

-The prime minister also urged government employees to be prudent consumers in light of the reported price increases lately.

“Do report errant traders to the authorities and spend your money elsewhere. Consumers who exercise their rights are smart consumers. Tell others if you come across these errant traders so that people won’t have to deal with them.

“The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry should also increase monitoring and efforts to educate the public on consumer rights,” he said.

Highlighting a matter close to his heart, Abdullah said the government wanted the country’s public sector to emerge as one that would achieve global distinction.

“The government is counting on its employees to add value to their work. They should strive to reduce red tape, be friendly, transparent, responsive, creative — putting the interests of customers above all else,” he added.

Abdullah said that civil servants should change their mindset to deliver services speedily, bearing in mind that they should play the role of facilitators and partners of the people and the private sector.

— BERNAMA

This is Ceupacs reaction to the announcements:

Cuepacs Happy Pay Rise Meets Expectation E-mail this news to a friend Printable version of this news

 

 

PUTRAJAYA, May 21 (Bernama) — The Cuepacs is happy with the salary increase of up to 35 percent for civil servants announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today as it meets the aspiration and target of the congress.

Cuepacs president Omar Osman said the congress was also happy that the government had increased the cost of living allowance (COLA) by 100 percent.

“We are satisfied, we are very happy with the announcement by the PM (Prime Minister) today.

“It’s certainly a historical announcement for us, the best. Previously when we asked, it was far below our expectations sometimes.

“We asked for 40 percent for the Support Group 1, now (we get) 35 percent for the group,” he told reporters after the pay rise was announced by the Prime Minister at the Public Sector Workers’ Day 2007 gathering at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre, here.

In a memorandum to the Prime Minister, Cuepacs had asked for an increase in salary of between 10 and 40 per cent for civil servants depending on their grade and salary scale.

The last time the government implemented a salary revision was in 1992.

The increase announced today also included for members of the police and armed forces who would receive an additional increase of 20 percent on top of the percentage increase given to all public sector employees.

Omar urged civil servants to make drastic changes in discharging their responsibilities with the objective of raising their productivity to the optimum.

He said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, and Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan had asked him to ensure that Cuepacs would play a role in changing the attitude of the civil servants to improve discipline, morals and image in providing service to the people.

Beginning today, Omar hoped that public sector employees would carry out a drastic change in their respective career so that they would achieve excellence and provide quality service.

He hoped that civil servants would make changes not only in terms of work quality but also in terms of image as they had been given a commensurate increase in salary.

He called on government employees who were `moonlighting’ previously in order to meet the higher cost of living to stop such practices.

He said Cuepacs would carry out a study to determine the number of civil servants doing part-time jobs and the reasons for doing so.

On the request by Cuepacs that the retirement age for civil servants be extended to 60 and the abolition of the Competency Level Appraisal (PTK), he said these were still at the discussion stage.

“I had asked the Prime Minister on the matter just now. There is an avenue for discussion from time to time, we will bring it up soon. There is no problem,” he said.

Asked whether the salary increase was an indication that the general election was approaching, he said: “We don’t think about the general election. Our thoughts are to raise the living standards, image and productivity of the workers, to produce excellent workers who can face competition so that there is no complaint from the public.”

He hoped businessmen would not exploit the salary increase to raise prices of goods.

“If possible, set up the Price Control Commission, call on the non-government organisations to participate in the commission. If it’s just to monitor, we think it’s pointless,” he said.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) is convinced that the salary increase would not create any anomaly between the graduate and non-graduate teachers.

“The NUTP is convinced that the graduate teachers would not suffer any setback from the difference in the percentage increase,” said its secretary general Lok Yim Pheng.
— BERNAMA

We hope now the civil service productivity would increase and commensurate with the payrise received. There are so much to be desired how certain departments carry out their daily business and operations, especially when it directly involved the public.

The civil service should focus on the reduction bureaucracy to improve of service efficiency and a method reducing corrupt practices. Accountability is also another important area to be stressed on.

Efficient civil service would generate a more efficient economic activity and this would encourage economic growth. There would be a progressive economic cycle from there on.

Published in: on May 22, 2007 at 00:08  Comments (5)  

Peristiwa 13 Mei dilawati semula

Ini perkembangan baru dalam senario penulisan bukan fiksyen Malaysia. Ujud sekarang usaha dikalangan blogger Melayu untuk memberikan pandangan mengenai peristiwa berdarah rusuhan dan pergaduhan antara kaum 13 Mei 1969, dari sudut dan kacamata orang orang Melayu, penduduk majoriti Negara ini.

Sesungguhnya, peristiwa hitam ini perlu dilupakan dan rakyat majmuk berbilang bangsa dan fahaman agama Malaysia perlu bergerak lebih dekat kepada perpaduan antara kaum dan integrasi nasional. Tiada ada positifnya ‘melawati semula’ (revisit) medan yang hanya membakar luka luka yang lama and begitu panjang masa diambil untuk dirawat dan pulihkan semula.

Rakyat Malaysia generasi muda sepatutnya perlu belajar dan memahami apa yang diusahakan selepas peristiwa ini, seperti apa yang Majlis Gerakan Negara (MAGERAN) berjaya pelupuri dan kerjasama dan kesefahaman antara parti parti politik yang timbul dari perundingan pasca peristiwa ini lebih penting lagi untuk diutara dan pertontonkan. Pendekata, ambil yang jernih dan buang yang keruh.

Namun begitu, terdapat usaha usaha dari pihak tertentu, terutama mereka yang cenderung kepada politik chauvisnistik Cina DAP yang sengaja mengimbau kembali peristiwa ini dengan tafsiran sempit mereka, untuk sebenarnya mengerohkan keadaan dan bukan sebaliknya.

dr-kuas.jpg

Sebagai contoh, buku “13 May” tulisan Dr. Kua Kia Soong ini adalah usaha tegar mereka yang berfahaman ala DAP kearah itu. Apa yang positif terhasil dari penulisan belum jelas lagi kelihatan.

Yang jelas ialah reaksi penulis penulis siber Melayu dalam alam bloggosphere. Laman blog 13 Mei: Dari Kacamata Melayu, www.pesanan-pesanan.blogspot.com, merupakan tindakan reaktif kepada usaha Dr. Kua menerbitkan buku dan mengiatkan perbincangan sudut sempit ini. Satu perkara yang menarik disini, laman blog 13 Mei ini terdiri dari bloggers Melayu yang membelakangkan fahaman politik kepartian mereka untuk bersatu mempertahankan suara Melayu dalam isu ini.

Mungkin ada pihak seharusnya mengingatkan Dr. Kua Kia Soong, mantan Ahli Parlimen DAP Petaling Jaya (1990-1995) dan chauvinis Cina sealiran kecenderungan dengan beliau akan bahaya dan kesan bermain dengan mancis dalam rumah kayu penuh berisi bunga api dan bahan-bakar kerosene.

Mungkinkah laman blog ini cuba mengajar mereka yang sengaja mencari penyakit?

Published in: on May 22, 2007 at 00:02  Comments (21)  

Rocky’s Bru is exactly one year today!

Happy Birthday Rocky’s Bru.

Today is Ahirudin “Rocky” Attan’s infamous blog, www.rockybru.blogspot.com first year’s anniversary. For a blog which is less than a year old, I think it made the most impact in the Malaysian history. The blogger was sued by NST and four others last January.

As an outcome of this, a solidarity of Malaysian bloggers was formed and today, they are making a pro-active effort to solidify this support and spirit of comradeship into a non partisan and impartial organisation known as National Alliance of Bloggers or All-Blogs, for short.

A toast, for Rocky and Rocky’s Bru! Next year, with the grace of God, we shall toast for All-Blogs.

Published in: on May 21, 2007 at 01:00  Comments (6)  

Corruption from the view of an ex-judge

This is an interesting development. A learned man of letters of the law is giving his perspective of corrupt practices in Malaysia, which include incompetency and non performance. Bernama, www.bernama.com, reported this:

Ex-High Court Judge Gives Public Lecture On Corruption E-mail this news to a friend  Printable version of this news

 

KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 (Bernama) — Want to know what constitutes corruption and issues surrounding it?. Attend a public lecture on corruption by a former judge at the Law Faculty of Universiti Malaya on Tuesday.

Various aspects of corruption and their ill-effects would be explained at the lecture entitled “Addressing Corruption in Malaysia” by Datuk Syed Ahmad Idid, a former High Court judge and ex-director of the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration.

“Corruption does not only involve money but also abuse of power and practising nepotism. In Malaysia, people always think corruption is only about money but they do not realise not doing a proper job as a staff is also corruption,” he told Bernama.

Ahmad Idid said temptation of money and how civil servants and private sector employees could avoid corrupt practices would also be explained at the lecture.

He said low wages that did not commensurate with the high cost of living could lead civil servants and workers to resort to corruption

“Hence, the Government must ensure civil servants’ salary is realistic and matched the cost of living,” he said.

Ahmad Idid said he would also talk about how corruption could create an economic crisis in a country if it was left unchecked.

The lecture, jointly hosted by the International Institute of Public Policy and Management and Universiti Malaya, is free.

— BERNAMA

Published in: on May 21, 2007 at 00:13  Comments (1)  

A CRITICAL RE-EVALUATION OF THE JEBAT REBELLION

A CRITICAL RE-EVALUATION OF THE JEBAT REBELLION: UNDERSTANDING THE CONUNDRUM OF A MALAY MINDSET

by AH Zainal

 

Revisionism in History has become quite fashionable in recent times. Perhaps this phenomenon is to be expected in the Information Age; more so with the prevalence of sophisticated electronic telecommunications that convey ideas and opinions across the planet at the speed of light. As events that shape history are constantly reassessed according to the prevailing contemporary viewpoints that shift with the sands of time, perhaps it is opportune that we re-visit a chapter in the annals of Malay history and re-examine that same chapter with the intention of trying to gain a better understanding of the Malay mindset both of the past and of the present.

The chapter worthy of this re-examination exercise is the tragedy of the Jebat Rebellion. This story is perhaps the most famous in the annals of Malay history; it has been written about, debated, discussed and argued endlessly without reaching any definitive conclusions. The source of this angst is the paradox of a victim of injustice undoing justice itself. This victim is none other than the most illustrious warrior-admiral, Hang Tuah. What makes this story exceptionally memorable is that twist of irony too delicious to be fictitious. Tuah, victim of a palatial conspiracy, redeemed himself to his sovereign lord by killing his ex-lieutenant Hang Jebat, whom, sought justice for Tuah by way of a one-man insurrection.

Previous evaluations of this story generally focus on the two principal characters: the protagonist and the antagonist. The question of whom is who shifts with each swing of the revisionist’s pendulum. Is Tuah, despite his warrior cunning, incapable of common sense thereby reducing himself to an automaton, and Tuah, the manifestation of loyalty, that definitive trait of the Malays, ultimately rewarded by fate? Or is Jebat, despite his prowess, second only to Tuah, the naive victim of a complicated skullduggery; the implication here is that the pursuit of justice itself in an act of naiveté, an exercise in futility within the framework of Malay society then?

To address these questions is an exercise in futility also. In this essay, Tuah is neither the protagonist nor the antagonist. His role is minor, like that of an extra in a movie set if you will, because his actions did not affect the storyline save for one event: he killed Jebat. That was possible only with the magical Kris Taming Sari, so it can be argued that the real killer of Jebat is the Taming Sari and not Tuah whom, by his own admission, cannot kill Jebat without it.

The importance of Tuah here is that he understood his role in the Malaccan Sultanate. True, he was the Admiral, but he was fundamentally a soldier in the service of his sovereign. Soldiers must be prepared to die in the line of duty; they act on the orders of the commander-in-chief or more accurately, at the behest of the sovereign lord. If your lord requires your death, then as a soldier, you are expected to lay down your life dutifully and without question. Tuah cannot be faulted for being a soldier. In the feudal society of Malacca, the right to rule includes the power over life and death, and this right is divinely exclusive to the Sultan. Soldiers obey orders; they are not supposed to think. People who obey cannot be considered as primary figures in any society; they are, in fact, extensions of the State.

Jebat, on the other hand, cannot be hailed as a hero either because he did the exact same thing as the gullible Sultan: he acted without consideration to the consequences of his actions. In other words, he reacted. Or over-reacted, if you like.

Jebat saw the Sultan as a man, not as an office. He failed to realize that once he had usurped and replaced the Sultan, he had to assume the role and perform the duties incumbent upon a Sultan. He did not rule, govern, administer, or even pay attention to the affairs of the state. What did Hang Jebat do once he removed the Sultan from the palace? First, he went on a senseless rampage and murdered everyone he thought to be accomplices in the plot to kill Tuah. This he easily achieved through his awesome fighting skills and the invincibility granted by the Taming Sari. Then, he delighted in princely pleasures, frolicking with the concubines and enjoyed himself thoroughly (and the concubines too, no doubt). He indulged in the benefits of power but ignored the responsibilities that come with it.

But after all that, did he set up a legal system that will prevent a repeat of injustice by mere slander? Did he attempt to re-establish order in society, form a new ruling council of chieftains (Bendahara, Temenggong, Laksamana, Shahbandar et al), formalize a system of public education, incorporate Islamic Jurisprudence in law even, in order to demonstrate that he will make a better ruler than his predecessor? Why not pardon Tuah posthumously and give absolution to the ‘late’ warrior-admiral as the new Sultan? At the very least, couldn’t he have sought Tuah’s grave to pay his last respects, before or after his rebellion? Sadly, the answers to the questions posed are no-s. This guy did not even bother to check, he simply took the word that Tuah was dead! Suffice to say that he was as gullible as the Sultan. If they each had a billion ringgit, they’d both be poor men!

Jebat did nothing to prove his worth; his sole concern was to remove the despotic Sultan who ordered his friend’s death. This Jebat fellow was not entirely brainless, but clearly he could not think very far. Can you fault him, though? After all, he was a soldier and soldiers were not trained to think; they were trained to follow orders. A major problem with this approach is that it becomes a blame game: Whom do you blame, Tuah or Jebat? Well, the answer depends on the angle you choose to look from.

If there is a villain in this story, try considering the Bendahara (Prime Minister) Tun Perak instead. The sagacious Bendahara knew instantly that the accusations leveled against Tuah were a complete falsehood, yet in his capacity as the Prime Minister, he acceded to the Sultan’s order and had Tuah ‘executed’ thus setting in motion the chain of events that make up this tragic story.

If justice were the crux of this story, then the Bendahara would have been the real bad guy. In spite of his wisdom, influence and position, Bendahara Tun Perak, statesman extraordinaire, arguably the person truly responsible for the rise of Malacca as a regional superpower (in those days), couldn’t he have advised the Sultan to think first before acting foolishly? Couldn’t he, in the least, reminded the Sultan of Tuah’s services as a mitigating factor and persuade the Sultan to allow Tuah to stand in his own defense?

Instead Tun Perak chose to acquiesce, preferring to save the Sultan’s face in the mistaken belief that the Sultan having to rescind an order would be even more detrimental than acting rightly like any good ruler should. Even so, what if Tun Perak, for argument’s sake, is indeed the real bad guy in this story? What would this line of thinking achieve? Nothing, save for we have another villain to finger. However, the objective of this essay is not to lay blame, but to understand the Malay psyche and social milieu that existed in those times, which ultimately led to the demise of the Malaccan Sultanate. For this, we need to look at the aftermath of this story.

And the aftermath of this story is simply this: No one learned anything from it. Not the Sultan, not Tun Perak, not even Tuah or Jebat. No mention of any changes or improvements to the governance of the sultanate took place after the end of this story. There was no new system of jurisprudence implemented to prevent a recurrence of this tragedy. Islam, despite being the dominant religion, played no role in the state; it was still limited to rituals and prayers. After the Sultan was reinstalled, it was business as usual for everyone. Which is the most damning indictment that can be delivered to this story: that there is absence of critical thinking and self-examination in the Malay mindset during those times.

This story has become legend; it confirmed the Malay mindset in validating the right to rule together with all its attendant responsibilities to be manifest in the personage of the Sultan. The right to rule stems from the mystical concept of the ‘Daulat’ that can be translated as the divine right of kings. The Malay word ‘Daulat’ is all encompassing; it contains the qualities necessary to make a good ruler, i.e. wisdom, vision, compassion, kindness etcetera but most important of all, the ‘Daulat’ has one unique aspect built into it and that is if the ‘Daulat’ is placed in the correct person, then the land of Malacca and all its citizens will flourish and prosper. Therefore in order to preserve the prosperity of Malacca, the concept of the ‘Daulat’ cannot be tinkered with.

This leads to an inevitable conclusion: the preference of Malay society of that time is to maintain the status quo, even though it has been proven to be defective. The system can somehow correct itself, thus proving its own righteousness. This resilience to change is endemic of all Asian cultures, not just the Malays. Asians, including Malays, are inwardly focused, and this attitude inhibits the birth of new frontiers of knowledge namely science, mathematics, law, and especially literacy (lest we forget, Malay tradition is oral, not written). There was no need to improve society, and by association, no need to improve oneself as individuals, because the belief in the ‘Daulat’ of the Rulers and the ‘Bumi Keramat’(Blessed Earth) of Malacca work together hand-in-glove making good living for all under the sun is so ingrained in the mindset of the Malays then.

And when confronted with the might of European expeditionary forces bent on conquest, the Malays of Malacca were easily swept aside, straight into the dustbin of history. The glory of Malacca was built on a social contract between the rulers and their subjects had a limited life span due to its own inherent weaknesses. Empires rise and fall, and Malacca was no exception. The survivability of any nation rests in its ability to adapt to changes, and the Malays must change if they have to survive the challenges that lie in store for them. Critical thinking, self-examination and accountability are qualities that are requisites in the wake of an ever-changing world. To survive, even flourish, we must recognize that learning from mistakes take high priority over laying blame to where it should.

Are any of the arguments put forth in this essay relevant today? Well, if we look at ourselves, or more importantly, if we listen to what we say, we might realize that fundamentally we haven’t changed at all since that Annus Horriblis of 1511. Phrases like “ Saya serahkan perkara ini kepada kebijaksanaan YAB Presiden” or “Terpulanglah kepada YAB Perdana Menteri untuk memutuskannya” and “ Ini tertakluk kepada Ketua, biarlah dia tetapkan perkara ini” echo loud and clear from the hallowed halls of Parliament to the meeting halls of Division & Branch meetings. Why, even in government departments we hear the same thing: “Ini bukan atas kuasa saya, ini bergantung kepada Tuan Pengarah” or “Sila rujuk perkara ini ke Jabatan lain, ianya bukan kerja Jabatan ini”. The practice of passing the buck goes back hundreds of years in Malay society.

It is not the intention of this essay to incite a rebellion, but rather to persuade a revolution in thinking. After all, even the best amongst us are human, complete with weaknesses and prone to err. The Sultans of Malacca were human too, and in the case of Sultan Mansur Shah, he proved to be more human than most. Crucial to our survivability is first, the willingness to admit mistakes and failures, second: to understand their causes, and third: to have to the courage to rectify them.

Janus, the Roman deity, is a unique figure in Pre-Christian Roman mythology. He has two faces: one can look to the past and the other can look to the future, but his body is eternally locked in the present. While being two-faced is characteristic of most politicians, not just Malay politicians, in looking to the past, we should understand the present since the present is the result of what had happened in the past. Unlike Janus, we do not have the ability to see the future, but we can learn from the past and measure them against the values of the present to guide us when we have to make the choices that determine our future. This is the key to our survival since we have nowhere else to go but to go forward.

AH ZainalKuala Lumpur, June 24, 2005.

 

The opinions expressed in this essay are those of the author and the author’s alone. The author maintains all intellectual and proprietary rights to his work. This essay may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the author’s written expressed consent.

Published in: on May 20, 2007 at 15:16  Comments (4)  

The NSTP Chairman was reckless?

There is an update to the earlier story. It seemed Dato’ Jawhar had made a mistake when he explained on Dato’ Kalimullah’s absence from the AGM on Thursday morning. Apparently he text messaged Dato’ A. Kadir Jasin sometime today, after reading Rocky’s Bru.

This was Dato’ A. Kadir Jasin’s comment on Rocky’s Bru, www.rockybru.blogspot.com, on the article “Wrong info on Kalimullah”, as a reaction to the subject matters posted yesterday:

A KADIR JASIN said…

Sdr Rocky,

Sorry for the incomplete fact in my earlier posting to you. I am blogging on the run. Just landed in Jakarta. I have been invited by Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) Malaysia, which is holding its XIII ABC Media Workshop here, to talk on blogging.

The following is the complete statement by NSTP Chairman, Dato’ Seri Mohamed Jawhir Hassan, sent to me via sms in response to postings in your esteemed blog:

“Dear Datuk, I saw your piece in Rocky’s Bru just now. I gave you a short reply yesterday because I thought a long story was not necessary. But since you put a question at the end about somebody in the NSTP management not giving me the correct information, I have to clarify in full.

Nobody in NSTP gave me the wrong info. The mistake was mine. I should have checked on the latest first before informing the AGM.

The actual events are as follows:

On Saturday, 13th I called on Dato’ Kali to enquire after his health. He told me his Pantai Dr wanted him to rest in Pantai for a week to relieve the pain developing on his neck. He was going there soon.

When Dato’ Kali was not able to attend I assumed he was resting in Pantai, and informed the AGM accordingly.

Actually that was not the case. When I got your msg that he was not checked into Pantai, I checked with NSTP, and they gave me the correct information, which was that he had to go for physio to Pantai that morning.

The mistake, therefore, is all mine and I apologise. The information was given in good faith.”

On my part I thank Dato’ Seri Jawhar for taking bloggers seriously.

I hope we had not been too hard on him yesterday. As I said in my address, the AGM might prove to be a baptism of fire for him.

Thank you.

8:21 PM

How could a Chairman of the supremo print media plc be that reckless? Was it an honest mistake or Jawhar had covered up for Kalimullah’s absence? In the first place, what sort of Deputy Chairman of NSTP, representing the editorial in the BOD was absent from an AGM?

Shareholders and power brokers should pay attention on this sort of absenteeism, especially for an important annual meeting. Too many questions could be left unanswered, like why company’s funds are used to finance an ex-employee private suit on a shareholder.

Published in: on May 18, 2007 at 23:09  Comments (6)  

The NSTP Chairman lied?

The NSTP (M) Bhd had its Annual General Meeting this morning at their office in Balai Berita, Jln Riong, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. A lot of prickly questions were thrown at the BOD. One shareholder, Ahirudin “Rocky” Attan asked for more accountability from the company. It was raised in the context of the case NSTP and four others Vs Ahirudin Attan. The BOD explained that the company had footed the legal bill for the plaintiff, so far amounting RM 70,000. It meant that NSTP had paid and still paying for the bill for Brenden Pereira, the Group Editor who left in December, in that private suit.

Another shareholder, raised the issue why the two editorial personality members of BOD were not present and the answer given because were they were ill (Dato’ Hishamuddin Aun was said to have undergone a heart by-pass surgery in Pantai Hospital recently). A veteran NST Editor Dato’ A. Kadir Jasin then cynically pointed out Deputy Chairman Dato’ Kalimullah Hassan was able to write a long story about Ijok even though he was “hospitalised”. The Chairman, Dato’ Mohamed Jawhar stressed that Kalimullah was actually being inferred in Pantai Hospital when the AGM proceeding was in progress. When checked, Dato’ Kadir discovered Kalimullah is not being admitted in Pantai.

Please refer Rocky’s Bru, www.rockybru.blogspot.com , titled “NSTP AGM” for this story and Dato’ A Kadir Jasin’s comment on this incident.

A KADIR JASIN said…

Sdr Rocky,

Many questions from the shareholders were not answered satisfactorily or not at all because the two editorial chieftains were “gravely” ill.

My attempts to get Sdr Datuk Syed Nazri and Sdr Datuk Manja to speak on behalf of the editorial department was not acted upon.

I told the meeting that the two were as capable as their missing bosses. (Sorry Syed and Manja if I put you chaps in trouble). I wanted to know if the NSTP is still practicing the “right of reply” policy because I noticed lately that NST, in particular, had refused to publish such a reply even when the paper was proven wrong.

I also related my personal experience when our query about the NSTP’s banning of Berita Publishing’s ads went unanswered for more than a year. We sent the latter in Jan. last year. Today I got the answer – the ban continues because I wrote “unpleasant” things about a certain powerful figure in the company.

As for the Deputy Chairman and editorial adviser not being at the AGM, the chairman told the meeting that he was hospitalized at Pantai, where the GEIC is being treated.

But upon checking after the meeting, I told the chairman that the information “could” be wrong. The deputy chairman was not hospitalized. The chairman replied via SMS. He said:

“Thanks Datuk. I am now informed he was not checked-in but he was required to do physiotherapy this morning and that was why he could not be present this morning.

“In fact the seating arrangement this morning included him and the secretary had to quickly rearrange things.

“Sorry my info was slightly wrong. You may want to verify that he had to do physio at Pantai this morning. Salam, Dato’.”

Could it be that somebody in the NSTP management did not given correct information to the chairman?

I also suggested at the AGM that if the new Malay Mail is not profitable, the NSTP should consider selling it.

Thank you

6:52 PM “

 

Did the “June 11th syndrome” now somehow have its infectious way to the NSTP Chairman too? When the call on bloggers to be responsible were made, shouldn’t mainstream media people do the right thing first?

 

Published in: on May 17, 2007 at 22:58  Comments (10)  

Tun Dr. Mahathir ill again

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was admitted to the ICU of the Langkawi Hospital 4pm yesterday after complaining breathing difficulties. He was in Langkawi for two days private visit.

His condition was said to be stable and satisfactory

 

 
  Dr Mahathir In ICU At Langkawi Hospital Because Of Breathing Difficulty

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 (Bernama) — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Langkawi Hospital at 3.50pm today after complaining of breathing difficulty while resting in his room at the Langkasuka Hotel.

His press officer, Sufi Yusni Yusof, told Bernama that the former prime minister was in stable condition and was being monitored by doctors.

Dr Mahathir, who was accompanied by his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamed Ali, arrived at the resort island at 11am today for a two-day private visit. They were scheduled to return to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow afternoon.

They were in Bukit Merah, Perak, since Thursday to attend a get-together of the “Class of 47” of the King Edward College of Medicine, Singapore.

Sufi said Dr Mahathir was conscious when he complained of exhaustion. He was taken to the hospital by car by his personal physician, Dr Nasir Muda.

— BERNAMA

 
 
 

 

 

This morning, he was flown to Kuala Lumpur and now admitted at IJN for further treatments. Tun Dr. Mahathir was in Taiping whole day on Sunday and he attended his ‘Class of 47’ King Edward Medical College Dinner at Bukit Merah Lakeside Resort.

 

 
  Tun Dr Mahathir Flown To IJN Kuala Lumpur From Langkawi

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LANGKAWI, May 15 (Bernama)– Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed who was admitted to the Langkawi Hospital Langkawi yesterday after complaining of breathing difficulty was flown to Kuala Lumpur on a special aircraft today for further treatment at the National Heart Institute (IJN).

His press officer, Sufi Yusoff, said the former prime minister had responded positively to the treatment provided by a group of doctors from IJN and the Langkawi and Alor Star hospitals.

“The doctors were satisfied with his positive response and as such, he could be transferred to the IJN.” Sufi said.

Dr Mahathir, who arived here yesterday with his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamed Ali, for a two-day private visit, was driven to the hospital by his private physician, Dr Nasir Muda, after he complained of breathing difficulty and was warded in the intensive care unit.

His son, Datuk Mukhriz, told reporters late last night that his father would be flown to Kuala Lumpur when his condition improved.

Before arriving in Langkawi, Dr Mahathir and his wife were in Bukit Merah, Perak, for a reunion of the “Class of 47” of King Edward College of Medicine, Singapore.

Reporters and photographers who were waiting for Dr Mahathir at the hospital and airport since early morning failed to catch him.

— BERNAMA

 
 
 

This is the third time Tun Dr. Mahathir being admitted in IJN since the ‘mild heart attack’ in the early hours of 9 November 2006. He was also admitted in IJN for exhaustion after his 10 February 2006 speech where for the first time, he called on UMNO members not to fear pre-mature leadership changes.

*An update as of the evening of Wednesday, 16 May 2007. Tun Dr. Mahathir is still being treated at the CCU in IJN, Kuala Lumpur. The cardiologist are still carrying out test and monitoring his progress. Updates are not frequent due to failure of Streamyx at my place, during the Monday’s torrential thunderstorm.

** An update as of the evening of Thursday, 17 May 2007. Tun Dr. Mahathir is still under observation at the CCU in IJN but has improved since yesterday. Failure of Streamyx still has not been rectified by TM Streamyx. Dato’ Mukhriz Mahathir said his father has started to eat regular meals

*** An update as of the evening of Friday, 18 May 2007. Tun Dr. Mahathir now started to walk around his room and have his meals at the sofa. His improvement has been significant. The is a probably he would be allowed to the regular suite by tomorrow if his condition stables further. Without doubt, he is required to have more rest. His son, Mirzan Mahathir remarked that his spirit is very high. En Mirzan and the other children conveyed their appreciation for all the doas and prayers extended by the public for Tun Dr. Mahathir’s recovery.

**** An update on late morning, Saturday 19 May 2007. Tun Dr. Mahathir and Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah conveyed their warmest wishes for the Raja Muda Perak marriage.

Excerpt from the Star,this morning:

Congrats from Mahathir

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is recuperating at the National Heart Institute (IJN), has congratulated the Raja Muda of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah on his marriage to Tuanku Zara Salim on Thursday.

The former prime minister had followed reports on the royal wedding in yesterday’s newspapers.

He said he was not sure when he would be discharged.

“I feel much better now,” he said in his room. – Bernama

***** An update as of late evening, Saturday 19 May 2007. Tun Dr. Mahathir has been allowed to leave the CCU and currently being warded at one of the VIP suites in IJN. According to Mirzan Mahathir, his situation has improved tremendously. His appetite also had improved.

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 (Bernama) — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was Saturday night transferred to the Bunga Raya Ward from the Cardiac Care Unit of the National Heart Institute (IJN).

The former prime minister was transferred at 9.30pm after doctors were satisfied with his steady rate of positive response to treatment and medication, the IJN Corporate Communications Department said in a statement Sunday.

Dr Mahathir is expected to continue to be warded at IJN to allow doctors to monitor his condition and to start cardiac rehabilitation, it added.

Dr Mahathir was admitted to IJN on Tuesday after he was transferred from Langkawi Hospital where he was warded on Monday after he complained of breathing difficulties while on a two-day private visit to Langkawi.

Doctors at IJN had diagnosed the breathing difficulties were caused by lung congestion associated with myocardial infarction in addition to the exacerbation of underlying basal bronchitis of the lungs.

— BERNAMA

****** An update as of afternoon, Sunday 20 May 2007. Tun Dr. Mahathir has to undergo further treatment, physiotherapy and not expected to be discharged from IJN that soon. However, his spirits are very vibrant. Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Mohd. Ali, who has been with him all the time since his admission at the Langkawi Hospital seven days ago, is doing very well also.

******* An update as of early evening, Monday 21 May 2007. Tun Dr. Mahathir is required to undergo physiotherapy, to improve his breathing. He is expected to be admitted for a few more days before allowed to be discharge and continue the recuperation at home.

#* An update as of afternoon, Wednesday 23 May 2007. In the words of En. Sufi Yusoff, Media Officer of Perdana Leadership Foundation “Boss is doing tremendously well”. However, Sufi is not. He is down with high fever.

#** An update as of 3.00pm, Thursday 24 May 2007. Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has been discharged from IJN and allowed to go home. He is required to continue recuperating at home and minimize his activities for sometime.

 

Published in: on May 15, 2007 at 16:57  Comments (3)  

Wong Chun Wai’s biased opinionated journalism

This is a follow up on an earlier article “Wong Chun Wai’s opinion on better democracy of press”, first published here on Wednesday, 9 May 2007, based on Wong Chun Wai own’s ‘On The Beat”, “Do Away With Archaic Laws“. It seems that Sufi Yusoff, Media and PR Liaision Officer of Perdana Leadership Foundation, had written to the Editor of the Star’s News Desk on 8 May 2007, as reciprocity to the same issue:

This is Sufi’s letter transmitted via e mail:


The Editor,

newsdesk@thestar.com.my

May 8, 2007


Dear Sir,

Re: Do Away With Archaic Laws – On the Beat

I read with interest the above article which appeared in On The Beat, Sunday Star, May 6, 2007.

2. I find it intriguing that the writer is calling on the Government to do away with certain “archaic” laws that he says are stifling Press freedom in Malaysia.

3. I appreciate the writer recognising the emergence of bloggers as a source of information, a viewpoint that I personally share alongside the emergence of internet-based media.

4. What I find amusing is while declaring that under the current administration there is greater democratic space and tolerance for dissent, the writer picks on “political players who had suppressed the media when they were in power”.

“Many of these figures lack the credibility to talk about press freedom and when they do so, they smack of hypocrisy.

Some are turning to the new media and have complained about media blackout when they, too, had used the same tactics to shut out their opponents,” says the writer.

5. Who are these “political players”? The writer must be specific in this era of the “freer media”. But to be realistic Press freedom is subjective. What may be free to some may not be free to others.

6. When two editors of mainstream English daily (not The Star) wrote two separate factually wrong articles about a certain subject and since it came under my responsibility to correct those errors as a party directly affected by their error, the editors chose not to publish my clarification. Nor did they bother to apologise.

7. But the reporting error committed would have affected the judgement of readers towards the subject at hand. Can I then assume that there is freedom to publish untruth or half-truths and freedom to deny the aggrieved party recourse? I have to mention that it was the bloggers and internet media that later published both letters. And these were the only avenue left for me to put across the facts in the face of refusal from the mainstream media.

8. Within media organisations, Press freedom, I believe exists only within the spheres of perception of editors or the ultimate decision maker, who may or may not be the editor i.e. owner, chairman etc.

9. Editors, I believe, should continuously push the freedom barrier or parameter less they be contented with the way things are.

10. If I may ask about the situation before this current administration, how many times did the writer or any other editor in The Star receive directives that amounted to a curtailment of their freedom from the political player/players? Were there directives dished out not to highlight certain politicians or certain issues by the political players/player? Were there directives to blackout the opposition by the political players? Were there any prohibitive directives at all or were they mere perception, perception that certain items may not be compliant with the wants of the political player therefore it should not be published?

11. Answers to these questions are important to show if the media is actually more free today or whether it is mere perception.

Not to push the barrier, to stay “compliant” only to complaint and grouse about the lack of freedom later would, as the writer put it, smack of hypocrisy.


Yours Sincerely,


Sufi Yusoff


Cc

Dato Wong Chun Wai
Deputy Group Chief Editor
The Star Publications Sdn Bhd
onthebeat@thestar.com.my

 

Its is only fair that The Star publish Sufi’s letter in response to Wong Chun Wai’s article. So when the Press Democracy is discussed in this flavour, Wong Chun Wai chose to refuse to extend the professional journalistic courtesy for Sufi to have his say. So much can be said about Press Democracy from how Wong Chun Wai treated this episode.

Eventually, Sufi had to produce this letter through the blogs. The content and how the issue is being presented says it all. It is never the intention for blogs to “steal the thunder” from mainstream media like The Star but this biasness on opinionated journalism will widen the gap between the Bloggosphere and mainstream media.

Published in: on May 14, 2007 at 12:33  Comments (7)  

No compromise with loyalty

This is what Joceline Tan wrote in her weekly political column in the Star yesterday (www.thestar.com.my):

No compromise with loyalty

No one tells Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad what he can or cannot do but even his staunchest supporters in Umno are concerned about what they see as his overtures to the opposition parties. As much as they idolise him, they draw the line when it comes to the political opposition.

INSIGHT:JOCELINE TAN

KOTA BARU is such an easy-going sort of town that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad appeared a little overdressed in his immaculately tailored Nehru suit.

But he looked so debonair that all eyes were drawn to him. Besides, he was in greater shape than those seated with him on the stage.

On one side of the former Premier were the incomparable Kelantan prince Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and the even more incomparable Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad, the former MP better known as “Dollah Kok Lanas”.

On the other side were Datuk Ibrahim Ali, who was sacked from Umno several years ago but has not given up on politics, and two Kelantan Umno old-timers, Tan Sri Mohamed Yaakob and Tan Sri Hussein Ahmad.

Mohamed was the Mentri Besar when Kelantan fell to PAS, and Hussein, a former MP, was once so strikingly handsome that people called him Sri Rama, after the hero in the famous wayang kulit drama Hikayat Sri Rama.

All very colourful characters, some still in currency, some past their prime, but all looking so cosy together on the same stage that afternoon.

The event was a talk organised by the pro-royalist Kelantan People’s Action Council headed by Ibrahim. Some say Ibrahim, who has an axe to grind with Umno, is using Dr Mahathir for his own purposes but there is probably something symbiotic going on there.

It is ironic that Dr Mahathir should be so desirable to this pro-royalist group after the way he clipped the wings of the royals.

The hall was not filled like the first time he spoke in Kota Baru. The audience then had included Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat and other top PAS politicians.

Dr Mahathir’s stamina was pretty amazing and he was on his feet at the rostrum for almost two hours. It was quite familiar fare – off-the-cuff, a little rambling and targeted mainly at Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

But he said several things that raised eyebrows even among his most fervent supporters in Umno.

He said he wanted Umno to win but that it would not be surprising if PAS won again in Kelantan because they had been in power since 1990. He also said people deserved the leaders they elected and Umno should focus on defending its national seat of power.

This, coming on the heels of his remarks during the Ijok by-election that there was a need for a stronger opposition, gave the impression that he seemed to be edging closer to the other side.

PAS has been quick to capitalise on it and party vice-president Datuk Husam Musa, who has taken to calling Dr Mahathir “my good friend,” said politics should not be dominated by one party and asked people to think about “Tun Mahathir’s advice”.

Politics does make for strange bedfellows.

Said Umno man and die-hard admirer Zakhir Mohamed: “I agree with Tun on many things but I’m worried about where he’s heading. When we met him in December, he talked about saving Umno. But what he’s saying now may hurt Umno.”

Dr Mahathir enjoys respect in Umno. When he speaks they listen, and they see him as a fearless voice on national and international issues.

But supporters and admirers alike in the party draw the line when it comes to siding with the opposition.

“Younger Umno members like me are open-minded about criticism especially from a party elder but we are 100% loyal to the party,” said PJ Utara Umno Youth vice-head Mohd Ezan Taib.

At the height of the Mahathir-Abdullah feud, the Youth wing caused ripples when it invited Tun Mahathir to speak at a forum.

Mohd Ezan said they were not taking sides but were merely unhappy over the disrespect some Umno quarters had shown the former Premier.

“Tun will always be special but we hope he won’t go beyond the party line,” he said.

And Dr Mahathir does get special treatment.

When the private jet he came in landed at the Kota Baru airport, the silver Mercedes Benz fetching him was allowed to cruise right up to the plane to pick him.

Earlier, several members of a bomb squad had meticulously swept the car for devices, one going under the car and another almost crawling into the boot. The police were not taking chances after the pepper spray incident on his last trip to Kelantan.

Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir insisted his father is very much an Umno and Barisan Nasional loyalist.

“He does not campaign for the opposition. He has had a long history of fighting them and there’s no love lost there. His grouse is with the top leadership and that’s where it ends.

“There’s nothing I can do to stop him from speaking his mind nor do I intend to do so. It’s his right to say what he thinks about issues,” said Mukhriz, an Umno Youth exco member.

The transition, said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, has been more difficult for Dr Mahathir than Abdullah.

“Umno is in a strong position but any action that attempts to undermine the strength can affect the final result in the general election. It’s not wise to go along this line and Umno members will have to draw the line at advocating a stronger opposition.

“An Umno man who does not want a strong majority for the party is a contradiction,” said Syed Hamid.

Dr Mahathir’s latest interview with Malaysiakini is likely to ruffle more feathers. He is clearly trying to drive a wedge between Abdullah and his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak apart from his indictment of the very ministers he had retained in his Cabinet all those years.

His attacks basically boil down to Abdullah-bashing. It says a great deal about Abdullah, the way he has put up with the criticism.

“I don’t think Pak Lah has been diminished by the attacks. Pak Lah has shown restraint and accommodation in letting Tun express his views,” said one Malay consultant.

For a great part of Dr Mahathir’s 22 years at the top, he was Umno and Umno was him. As such, it is not easy to now persuade members that when he attacks Abdullah he is attacking the president, and not the party.

For the average Umno member, loyalty to the party also means loyalty to the leadership.

Dr Mahathir talks a lot of sense but the trouble is that no matter how sensible he sounds, it still jars with contradictions when juxtaposed with the things he had condoned during his years in power.

The Malay intellectual Rustam A. Sani wrote with his usual eloquence about these contradictions in his blog last month, lamenting, “why so many people still want to listen to the man, and listen to him with all seriousness, is simply beyond me.”

Abdullah continues to be stoic about it except when the accusations touch on his family.

He does not want to retaliate against the man who put him there in the first place. Also, two of Dr Mahathir’s predecessors died outside of Umno because of disputes with him. Abdullah has no wish to see Dr Mahathir anywhere but inside Umno.

Just how long more will Dr Mahathir go on this way?

“I don’t think he is going to stop anytime soon,” said Syed Hamid.

Nor can anyone really stop this iconoclastic man who has, in his time, taken on figures from the formidable Lee Kuan Yew to the less formidable George W. Bush.

Like Singapore‘s Lee, he has ridden the tiger and come out victorious. But that was when he was still holding the reins of power.

These days, as he said somewhat tongue-in-cheek last weekend, he is a “pensioner.”Crossing the line: Dr Mahathir enjoys respect in Umno but supporters and admirers alike in the party draw the line when it comes to siding with the opposition.

I like the title of this article. It is a virtue that I value. Loyalty is a virtue that should swing both ways.

The past three months, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has been reminding UMNO members to be loyal to the Perjuangan and the institution. He has said some bitter things about lately how some UMNO members behave, but like his train of thoughts as a physician, one has to take the bitter medicine to get well from any illness. This behaviour should not allowed to be developed into a new culture. That is what Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad trying to do, stop the spread of the disease.

Its always back to how anyone view his speeches, since June last year in Kelab Century, Kota Bahru last July, Petaling Jaya Utara UMNO do last August, Johor Bahru in February, Kulai in March and last week in Kota Bahru; half empty or half full?

Over protective and defensive people tend to get it wrong, for all the wrong reasons. That’s what I am worried for!

 

*Addendum:
This is what I was talking about, (The Star, Monday, 14 May 2007):

Dr M denies shifting support

TAIPING: Former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has denied shifting his support to the Opposition.

He said his recent criticism was not the result of a shift in his support but was instead to ensure the continuing strength of Umno and the Government.

“The reason behind my criticisms is to see Umno become stronger. If I do not support Umno and keep holding on to its fighting principles, then Umno will become weak,” said Dr Mahathir to reporters after Umno Youth Wing’s ‘Internationalising Malays’ colloquium here yesterday.

Earlier, speaking at the closing of the colloquium, Dr Mahathir advised the Malays to work hard and learn to feel shame from failure, to build a stronger race.

He said this was the only way for the Malays to catch up with the Chinese.

“If you remain lazy, you will never see progress,” he said, adding that the Malays had a tendency to be lazy and find shortcuts to earn a fast buck.

“God gave us this uncanny power that the more we do something, the better we become at it.

“But in order to do this, we must be hardworking,” said Dr Mahathir.

He told the Malays that if they were given business licences, they should make use of them instead of finding other means of earning money from them.

“We have given the Malays many opportunities under the New Economic Policy and some have made use of that positively while some have taken it for granted.”

He added that although many Malays had done well for themselves, the achievements of an individual should not be confused with that of the race as a whole.

“Although the Malays are better off today than before, they are still far behind the Chinese,” he said.

Dr Mahathir also said the only way to banish the culture of bribery was to understand the meaning of shame.

“If we don’t know shame, it (bribery) will become a way of life. It can be stopped but only if we recognise that it can destroy us.”

 

Published in: on May 14, 2007 at 08:42  Comments (2)