Annus Horriblis

The only admirable political achievement for 2013; BN recaptured Kedah from PAS

It comes to the moment to reflect back what had happened the past 365 days. Many could and should be learned, if we really wanted to. However, the will is rather suspicious, considering that many of the mistakes were avoidable and/or actually were repeat items.

2013 was not a particularly a good year.

The year was kicked off with HRH Sultan of Selangor Tuanku Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah issued a titah about “Non Muslims are prohibited to use kalimah “Allah” and the term is exclusively for the Muslims only”, in the wake of controversy due to the demand of certain minority to want to do otherwise.

In February came the shocking news. Hundreds of armed men from Tawi Tawi Southern Philippines landed in Kg Tanduo near Lahad Datu. They demanded the cessation of Sabah and back into the realm of self-proclaimed Sultan of Sulu. After 3 weeks of ‘talks’, the first skirmish broke on 1 March. Two Police commandos were killed. Two days later, they attacked a village in Semporna and 6 trapped Policemen were killed.

Two days later, in a joint operation between the Police and Armed Forces Ops Sulu was launched with the bombing of FELDA Sahabat 17.

It was the year the 13GE was held, which was actually at the final brim. Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak pushed several opportunities for an earlier date to call for the ‘Mother of All Elections’. Often, his excuse was he did not have enough space and opportunity to prepare although the four full years he led the nation as the 6th Prime Minister was actually equivalent to a full parliamentary term.

After being sworn in as the Prime Minister with his own mandate on 6 May 2013, Najib announced his Cabinet nine days later. The line up is baffling if not shocking, when deadwoods and political liabilities such as Dato’ Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor and Dato’ Seri Hassan Malek were included. Especially HINDRAF leader Wathyamoorthy, who was once considered as an ‘extremist’.

Summary of BN Manifesto 13GE

Summary of BN Manifesto 13GE

Despite having a very good manifesto, generally Malaysians were not taken in. With the exception of BN winning back Kedah at the 13GE polls on 5 May 2013, no other political score worth remembering about the year.

Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak got his own mandate as the BN Chairman with 133 seats In Dewan Rakyat in the ‘First past post system’ electoral process this nation adopted. Unfortunately, he faired worse than his predecessor exactly five years two months earlier, despite PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was dubbed ‘Sleepyhead Prime Minister’ and often caught dozing off in public functions.

In his initial reaction, Prime Minister Najib coined the term “Chinese Tsunami” for the very poor support amongst the Chinese towards BN despite his efforts to woo them.

The ‘Systemic Failure’ which almost brought BN as the ruling party and government of the day down to its knees, did not really have much affect on who Prime Minister Najib retain as part of his team and ‘inner circle’ and how things are done. Several of his own aides and advisers were believed to have made lots of money throughout the lengthy campaign that ran for over a year.

This is not withstanding the constant communications failure, formidably due to a web of complex network of media officers and advisers serving the Prime Minister is too many different circles. One of the glaring instance is the ‘Endless Possibilities’ campaign. When media officers who are supposed to facilitate news for the Prime Minister are themselves craving for news attention and validation, then the troff fit as pig’s swill gets thicker.

Front Page Utusan Malaysia Saturday 13 July 2013

Front Page Utusan Malaysia Saturday 13 July 2013

On 11 July 2013 in the early part of Ramadhan, Vatican Ambassador to Kuala Lumpur Apostolic Nuncio Joseph S. Marino stated his support for the Catholic Church’s publication The Herald quest to use kalimah “Allah” in place of God. That infuriated Muslims and demanded that Nuncio be expelled.

In late August, Defence Minister Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Hussein did a faux pas when he spoke to the media after the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting hosted in Bandar Seri Begawan.

In September, in the exercise to realise ‘subsidy rationalisation’ Strategy to reduce the budget deficit and burdening subsidies by the Federal Government to the amount of RM43billion per annum, retail price of RON95 and diesel was summarily increased.

Two weeks later in the effort to address growing economic desparity issues and grouses amongst the Bumiputera, Prime Minister Najib announced the Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Plan. Although sounds good in passing, but when scrutinised from the practicality of achieving the desired objective many skeptics saw it as a rushed plan without proper thought-through.

The Malay NGOs showing the support, outside the Palace of Justice in August

The Malay NGOs showing the support, outside the Palace of Justice in August

October was a month of UMNO internal party polls. One of the three promises made when he assumed the 7th UMNO Presidency on 28 March 2009 was the ‘democratisation of UMNO’. Although it has been continuously harped that UMNO went through a ‘Transformation’ process where the decision makers of top echelon posts were expanded by 8000%, the result brought upon little ‘transformation’ as ‘Status Quo’ was maintained.

Prime Minister Najib’s fifth Budget was remarked as a well presented budget. Although many goodies were offered which include efforts to curb speculative trading on the growing escalation of price of houses and programs for affordable home ownership for the lower and middle income, the announcement of introduction of 6% GST from 2013 onwards did not augur well with majority of Malaysians.

The other wonderful news for the year was that on 14 October the Court of Appeal unanimously decided against the High Court ruling for the Catholic church publication The Herald four years earlier.

In December, was the final touch to the icing of the cake. Prime Minister Najib demonstrated his true self of being obtuse. When Prime Minister Najib is his rebuttal speech of the 64th UMNO General Assembly praising his wife Datin Sri Rosmah Mansor live on national TV.  This is gainst the controversy created because she used the Malaysian Government VIP jet to her early November trip to Qatar, Prime Minister Najib’s move was seen as nothing but highly inappropriate and distasteful.

If Prime Minister Najib were to carry on as is and ‘business as usual’, 2014 would promise for another lousy year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE

*Updated New Year 2014, 0200hrs

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Published in: on December 31, 2013 at 23:45  Comments (9)  

Scrooging

Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak this evening announced an eleven items on Malaysian Government’s latest approach to reduce public spending, in the wake of public outcry towards the ‘subsidy rationalising’ policy and approach expected in 2014. Too many Malaysians especially the low income bracket suffered and groused as a result of increased in retail prices, beginning with the 20 sen increase of RON95 petrol and diesel on 3 September 2013 and total withdrawal of subsidy on sugar.

30 December 2013| last updated at 08:47PM

PM announces measures to cut public sector expenditure

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KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today announced 11 measures to slash public sector expenditure beginning Jan 1, 2014, one of which is the reduction by 10 per cent of the entertainment allowance of ministers and deputy ministers.

These measures are in accordance with the government’s desire to practise more prudent spending in the new year, he said in a statement issued here.

He said the decision to introduce the measures was made following a discussion with Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa.

Najib said the government would also reduce the entertainment allowance of senior government officers on the Jusa C Grade and above by between five and 10 per cent.

Furthermore, the toll facility for senior government officers would also be reduced by between RM50 and RM100 or 30 per cent, he said.

Najib, who is also the finance minister, said the government would also amend the eligibility for domestic and international flight tickets for civil servants, whereby civil servants on the Jusa C Grade and below will only be eligible for the economy class on domestic flights.

The government would also reduce by five per cent the electricity utility cost at all ministries, departments, agencies and government premises, he said.

The prime minister said the government would freeze fresh applications for renovation of government offices while optimising use of existing office space to reduce rental of offices premises.

Najib said the government would tighten the appointment of consultants for government physical projects, including conduct of feasibility studies.

The proposal for appointment of these consultants would have to be submitted to the National Development Planning Committee chaired by the Chief Secretary to the Government for prior approval.

Najib said the government would also cut down on the use of event management companies as well as the awarding of door gifts or souvenirs during government conferences or events involving members of the administration and civil servants.

He also said that the government would reduce the food and drinks as well as the use of buntings and banners when organising conferences, seminars, meetings, courses, workshops or any official government function.

The government would also apply the National Blue Ocean Strategy approach by optimising the use of the 1Malaysia Training Centre (1MTC) and facilities at government-owned training institutions for organising courses, seminar and workshops, he said. — BERNAMA

Read more: PM announces measures to cut public sector expenditure – Latest – New Straits Timeshttp://www.nst.com.my/latest/pm-announces-measures-to-cut-public-sector-expenditure-1.451149?cache=03%2F7.205584#ixzz2oz1gY4Qt

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The Malaysian Government needed to restructure and rationalize subsidy, cost the Federal Government RM43 billion per annum. Part of the roll out of this strategy to reduce budget deficit is the systematic withdrawal of certain subsidies and the introduction of consumption tax, GST, from 2015.

This announcement is thought to be in the right direction of the government making the initiatives, instead of asking the common rakyat to be “Spend thrift and change their lifestyle”.

This is not withstanding the fact that certain Cabinet Ministers making really stupid remark about “No complaints lodged in reflective of the rakyat’s acceptance in the rising cost of production and retail”.

Domestic Trade and Consumerism Minister Dato’ Seri Hassan Malek’s faux pas, as per reported by The Malay Mail:

Silence means tacit approval for price hikes, says minister

DECEMBER 27, 2013

Pakatan rally against assessment hikes at DBKL building in Kuala Lumpur, December 16, 2013. —  Picture by Saw Siow FengPakatan rally against assessment hikes at DBKL building in Kuala Lumpur, December 16, 2013. — Picture by Saw Siow FengKUALA LUMPUR, Dec 27 —

The failure by Malaysians to officially complain of price increases caused by government measures indicated their approval for the policies, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hasan Malek said today.

He also insisted that prices were determined by consumers and that the government has no role or power over the matter.

“We haven’t received any complaints. People have not complained, which means there is support. We don’t control the price, the consumers control it,” he was quoted as saying by The Star on its website today.

Since September, Putrajaya has embarked on aggressive cost-cutting measures after pressure grew for it to rein in a chronic budget deficit that traces back to the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 and which has left Malaysia’s national debt at just below a critical legal ceiling.

It has pledged to bring its overspending down from around 5 per cent of gross domestic product now to 3 per cent by 2015.

Among others, it has reduced fuel subsidies, removed price control for sugar, allowed an increase in electricity tariffs and confirmed the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST) all within the space of four months.

Yesterday, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad urged Putrajaya to balance the national budget by trimming its own expenditure before looking to add to the financial burdens of Malaysians.

The nation’s longest serving prime minister pointed out that there was ample opportunity to reduce wastages and leakages as evidenced by the annual Auditor-General’s report, before resorting to new and higher taxes.

Today, Hassan disagreed with Dr Mahathir’s suggestion but said the government would take it into consideration.

“We will look at Tun’s views as well as those of the public. We want the best system.”

– See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/silence-means-tacit-approval-for-price-hikes-says-minister#sthash.yP9ibSgt.dpuf

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Four days ago Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad boldly point out in his blog that the Malaysian Government need to check on its spending first, before passing the burden of the budget deficit and buck to the rakyat.

An extract from Bernama report on Prime Minister Najib’s fifth budget tabled 25 October 2013:

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak tabled Friday the 2014 Budget amounting to RM264.2 billion, aimed at invigorating economic activity, strengthening fiscal management, inculcating excellence in human capital, intensifying urban and rural development and ensuring the well-being of the people towards achieving a developed nation status.

When tabling the budget themed “Strengthening Economic Resilience, Accelerating Transformation and Fulfilling Promises” in Dewan Rakyat on Friday, Najib who is also the Finance Minister said RM217.7 billion was allocated for operating expenditure and RM46 billion for development.

The operating expenditure includes RM63.6 billion for emoluments, RM36.6 billion for supplies and services, RM114.5 billion for fixed charges and grants, RM1.4 billion for purchase of assets and the remaining RM1.5 billion for other expenditure.

From the Development Expenditure of RM46.5 billion, a sum of RM29 billion was allocated to the economic sector, a sum of RM10.5 billion was allocated for the social sector, including education, training, health, welfare, housing, community development; RM3.9 billion for the security sector; RM1.1 billion for general administration and RM2 billion for contingencies.

Najib said the government’s revenue collection is estimated at RM224.1 billion, an increase of RM4 billion from 2013.

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Probably the Federal Government is not as reckless as the DAP Penang State Government, where the Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng would buy a brand new Mercedes Benz S300L W221 to replace his 18 years old official S320L. Never the less,  so many CAPEX of various Ministries’ and Agencies’ spending are far from being spend thrift.

Prime Minister Najib as the Minister in-charge of Lembaga Kemajuan Tanah Persekutuan (Federal Land Development Authority or FELDA) should also check on investment acquisitions such as the RM500 million serviced apartment-hotel in Bayswater, London W2. The investment has no relations to FELDA, a Federal Government agency incorporated more than 55 years ago to restructure land development programs in the form of communal plantations.

FELDA’s serviced apartment-hotel in Bayswater, The Grand Plaza

What is also pertinent for Prime Minister Najib as the Finance Minister to be successful in his austerity drive is to vastly improve on project management, the requisition and delivery system, thus avoiding wastage and reducing efficiency. These items have been raised and highlighted by  the Auditor General, in which were raised in Parliamentary sittings in bouth houses and under constant radar of the media.

The Star story:

Published: Tuesday October 1, 2013 MYT 11:36:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday October 1, 2013 MYT 2:19:01 PM

Auditor General’s report highlights five general weaknesses

BY LOSHANA K SHAGAR

KUALA LUMPUR: The Auditor General’s report on seven projects and activities by government statutory bodies highlighted five general weaknesses.

In general the weaknesses were improper payment, work or supplies not according to specifications, low quality or inappropriate, unreasonable delays, wastage, weakness in management of products and assets.

Auditor General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang said on Tuesday, among the reasons were carelessness in adhering to procedures fixed by the Government, lack of attention to detail when planning projects or fixing scopes and specifications of tenders and no frequent monitoring of contractors, negotiators or suppliers.

He also mentioned reasons like lack of skill in project management, late decisions on acquisitions, incomplete and outdated agency information systems, lack of attention towards effectiveness or impact of a project, and lack of funds for asset management.

The seven government statutory bodies audited were Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Employees Provident Fund, Retirement Fund (Incorporated) (KWAP) and the Accountant General’s Department of Malaysia.

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The “Thirteen Million Plus Ringgit” question; Is this austerity drive genuine and eventually across the board or in substance, it is just ‘Penny wise, Pound foolish’?

Cutting a small fraction of salary, allowances and entitlement of Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Senior Government Officers would be meaningless if all these excesses highlighted by the Auditor General and unrelated investment and asset acquisitions still carry on, business as usual.

Many of policies and approach planned and being development are with the input and active participation of persons who play the role as very tight advisers and close aides to Prime Minister Najib. New agencies such as PEMANDU and TERAJU are incorporated, where professionals are brought in to do macro-planning role and paid super exorbitant salary.

A lot of the processes and outcome from all these ‘experiments’ are actually expensive, in effective and in the long term is counter productive to bigger agenda and existing policies.

Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee Chariman Dato’ Nur Jazlan Mohamed’s advice to Prime Minister Najib to change advisers and aides:

Nur Jazlan: PM perlu penasihat baharu

WARTAWAN SINAR HARIAN
30 Disember 2013
  • Datuk Nur Jazlan MohamedDatuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed
 1 / 1 

SHAH ALAM – Ahli Parlimen Pulai (BN), Nur Jazlan Mohamed hari ini menyarankan agar Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak mengambil penasihat baru,bagi memberikan idea baharu terhadap kepimpinan PM.

Jelas Nur Jazlan yang juga merupakan Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Kira-Kira Wang Negara (PAC),  kepercayaan terhadap penasihat-penasihat lama terbukti gagal memberikan keputusan lebih baik kepada BN, selain melantik konsultan asing untuk memberikan imej positif kepada kerajaan juga baginya perlu diketepikan sama sekali.

“PM perlu menghimpunkan penasihat-penasihat baharu beliau bagi memberikan idea baharu supaya lebih memahami denyut nadi rakyat.

“…kepercayaan terhadap penasihat lama terbukti gagal memberikan keputusan lebih baik kepada BN dalam PRU13 yang lalu, sekaligus memberikan imej negatif kepada BN.

“…kini, setiap kata-kata kerajaan BN menjadi satu bahan gurauan dan momokan rakyat sehingga dilihat sukar untuk kembali meraih semula sokongan daripada rakyat,” katanya dalam penulisan terbarunya.

Mengulas lanjut, beliau menegaskan rakyat sebenarnya sedar pembangkang juga tidak sebaik BN, namun oleh kerana mereka (rakyat) berada dalam keadaan marah sudah pasti mahu mencari mangsa untuk melepaskan kemarahan mereka.

“Rakyat sebenarnya, sedar pembangkang juga tidak sebaik BN, tetapi dek kerana mereka berada dalam keadaan marah, sudah tentu mereka mencari mangsa.

“Oleh itu, bagi saya kegagalan BN mengoptimumkan penggunaan jentera parti memberikan penerangan kepada rakyat akan memberi padah besar kepada BN sendiri,” katanya.

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Prime Minister Najib must provide the leadership to demonstrate seriousness in the austerity drive, beyond trimming his own salary and allowances. Immediate examples include the total ban of his wife’s utility of the Malaysian Government private jets ACJ319, BBJ, Bombardier Global Express or Falcon 900 if she is not traveling with him and big reduction on her own entourage, private office and security detail staffing and entitlement.

After all, Datin Sri Rosmah Mansor is just a consort and not an official, unlike elected representatives or commissioned officers of His Majesty’s Government.

Published in: on December 30, 2013 at 23:59  Comments (13)  

Movie of the Year Pick

Rosmah Mansor and her children

The controversy of Prime Minister’s wife Datin Sri Rosmah Mansor’s recent trip to Qatar for the International Forum for Women Enterpreneurism IV using the Malaysian Government ACJ319 VIP jet 9M-NAA is still fresh on people’s mind. This is on top of the growing more commonly ‘market talk’ of her opulence lifestyle and extravagances.

Now, the attention is starting to train on her son Riza Shahril Abdul Aziz, Chairman and CEO of Red Granite Pictures based in Los Angeles. The former HSBC employee is now Tinsel Town’s media attraction, especially with the US nationwide screening of “The Wolf of Wall Street”.

Los Angeles Times story:

Red Granite picks up movies dropped by studios

Finance and distribution firm Red Granite Pictures raises money from a pool of investors in the Middle East and Asia, and finances movies on a one-off basis.

Red Granite picks up movies dropped by studiosJoey McFarland, left, and Riza Aziz founded Red Granite Pictures. The 12-employee company has eschewed a template for producing movies. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times / December 12, 2013)
By Daniel MillerDecember 24, 2013, 5:00 a.m.

Where movie studios see trouble, Red Granite Pictures sees opportunities.

The new finance and distribution company’s business plan is both contrary and simple: Make the films the studios don’t.

Among its first projects are Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which comes out Wednesday, and next year’s “Dumb and Dumber To,” the intentionally misspelled sequel to the 1994 comedy.

On the surface, those pictures don’t exactly seem like the sort that a major studio would cast aside.

PHOTOS: Billion-dollar movie club

But both were complicated projects, fraught with thorny issues. Red Granite’s founders, Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland, said they thrive in these sorts of scenarios.

“One of our sweet spots is movies that have died in the studios — movies that are just great product that everyone was hot on but for some reason or another just didn’t make it to the greenlight stage,” said McFarland, 41, a Louisville, Ky., native who is Red Granite’s vice chairman.

McFarland and Aziz, Red Granite’s chairman, started the West Hollywood company in 2009. That year, they began working on their first film, the comedy “Friends With Kids,” which came out in 2012 and grossed $12 million worldwide.

They were also executive producers on the recent drama “Out of the Furnace,” which was released in early December, and co-produced “Horns,” a Daniel Radcliffe-starring horror film that will be distributed by Weinstein Co.’s Radius label next year.

PHOTOS: Celebrities by The Times

Red Granite, which has 12 employees, has eschewed a template for producing pictures. In the case of “Out of the Furnace,” the company acquired the project’s international rights from Relativity Media and then used its own in-house foreign distribution arm, Red Granite International, to sell the movie overseas.

On “Wolf,” Red Granite struck a deal with Paramount Pictures to have the studio distribute and promote the movie domestically for a fee. Red Granite sold the international rights to the film, mitigating the company’s downside risk.

“Every movie is different,” said Aziz, 37, who is the son of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. “We are very flexible in the model we [can] pursue.”

Red Granite raises money from a pool of undisclosed investors in the Middle East and Asia, and finances its movies on a one-off basis. The company is able to greenlight a picture without a distribution deal in place. But because it doesn’t have a fund it can tap, Red Granite must convince its investors that an individual project is worth the risk, rather than having the comfort of money to underwrite an entire slate.

On the set: movies and TV

That’s a tough business to be in, because one flop could scare off investors.

Graham King, the veteran producer behind such critical and commercial hits as “The Departed” and “The Aviator,” knows the travails of this business well. He produced Scorsese’s expensive 2011 3-D family film “Hugo,” which won five Oscars but struggled at the box office.

“That’s when I started paying attention,” King said. “The studios know what they are talking about. They take the occasional risk and they know what attracts an audience.”

“Wolf” is no “Hugo” when it comes to cost, but with a price of roughly $100 million, it wasn’t cheap. Red Granite paid for it all — a big bet for a fledgling company.

According to those who have seen prerelease audience surveys, “Wolf” could have a five-day opening run of $25 million to $35 million. That could be enough to beat out the five other films opening wide Wednesday — “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” “47 Ronin,” “Grudge Match,” “Justin Bieber’s Believe” and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-red-granite-pictures-movies-20131224,0,4900928.story#ixzz2oiU4ebFo

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The LA Times story is very interesting. Riza and partner Joey McFarland venturing into film projects which major studios rejected. And they plan to do this three-four times in a year. The “A pool of undisclosed investors from Middle East” and “Able to green-light a picture without a distribution deal in place” bits are both intriguing and mysterious.

It is like having rich individuals or corporations with deep pockets to invest into projects and not knowing how the products would be accepted in the market and eventually sold. Almost like Riza and McFarland are able to get bets placed in a gaming scheme.

In normal circumstances bankers, investment fund managers and capital and commercial papers shufflers don’t get involved, buy in or punt their investments in these sort of high risk projects. People with money are usually very prudent, unless one is really a known and trusted personality to them.

Apparently, Riza who is an LSE graduate worked in KPMG and HSBC for not too long. Probably not long enough to be exposed in so many aspects of banking, capital market and consultancy. More importantly, to create a vast network of ‘high net worth individuals’ and earn their trust.

Then two years ago, he and McFarland formed a Hollywood picture company. They are interested to pick up on films which the major studios don’t want.

Then there is the jaw dropping damning story by Sarawak Report. This include the Raw Deal story of Los Angeles resident Riza’s New York apartment purchase exactly a year ago, which was signed at the value of at USD33.5 million.

Hollywood producer pays $33.5M for Park Laurel pad

Riza Aziz is working on Scorsese’s “Wolf of Wall Street,” but purchased on the Upper West Side

December 04, 2012 04:00PM
By Katherine Clarke

Riza Aziz and the Park Laurel spread

Up and coming Hollywood producer Riza Aziz may spend most of his time in Los Angeles, but he’s clearly serious about having a New York City pad. The 35-year-old Red Granite Pictures co-founder, and the son of Malaysian Prime Minster Tun Abdul Razak, has paid $33.5 million for a seven-bedroom home at the Park Laurel at 15 West 63rd Street, according to public records filed with the city today.

Aziz, whose company is currently producing Martin Scorsese’s “Wolf of Wall Street,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, closed on the penthouse unit November 19, records show. The sellers were Peter Edward Chadney and Simone Cecile Von Graffenried Simperl, both residents of Switzerland. Neither of the parties could be reached for comment. An attorney for the sellers declined to comment.

It was not immediately clear if a broker had been involved in the deal, and the unit was not publicly listed. When Chadney and Simperl purchased the apartment in 2010, they worked with Janet Chang of Douglas Elliman. An assistant for Chang said she had not represented them in this deal.

The sellers purchased the apartment for almost $24 million in 2010, when it was listed by Raphael De Niro and Claudine De Niro of Elliman, according to Streeteasy.com. The De Niro group was not immediately available for comment.

The 15-room duplex has 7,728 square feet of interior space as well as a 1,244-square-foot terrace. It includes an AMX smart home system with integrated security control, solar window shades, sound proofing, heated marble mosaic floors in the bath and shower and a private elevator entrance.

Aziz, who reportedly makes his money as an investment banker, has been pegged as a producer to watch. He is one of a new generation of film financiers making their mark in Hollywood, according to a recent story in Variety. He also recently produced “Friends with Kids,” the 2011 movie starring Jon Hamm of “Mad Men” fame.

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Even if only 50% of this is true, it is something which would be horribly manipulated against Prime Minister Najib and the current policy and exercise of ‘subsidy rationalisation’ where the Federal Government is growing unpopular with the recent retail price hike of petrol and diesel, total withdrawal of subsidy on sugar, the announcement of introduction of GST (even roll out is in 2015) and electricity tariff next year by 15%.

The speculation of increment of toll rates of many Non PLUS highways also seems to caused anger in many corners of community.

It is a mind boggling expensive proposition of starting a film producing company in an industry of performing arts and creativity. Then, getting investors and financiers to buy and bank in ventures which have no tangible assets as collateral.

On top of that, the purchase of that ultra expensive New York dwelling.

Riza Aziz is definitely living the lifestyle of the ‘rich and famous’. That would draw too much attention by to variable of curious, skeptics and suspicious tough critics against Prime Minister Najib and his family, on how the thirty plus man made his money, to even begin with as a film producer and entrepreneur in a highly volatile industry where he has no real control nor expertise.

The escalation of this story and there on reactions and justifications that would follow suit and probably entangled this further spiraling into a viscous cycle is something of a film script on is own. Probably Rosmah is obtuse about how many Malaysians even in affluent circles still talk if not believe her alleged involvement and/or knowledge to the murder of Mongolian national Altantuyaa Sharibuu seven years ago, the RM130,000.00 a piece Birkin and RM24 million ring.

Published in: on December 28, 2013 at 00:30  Comments (14)  

Singaporean scums

Singaporeans are obedient and very law abiding in the tiny lil’ red dot. However, when they cross over into this land of rule of law, they start to show their true law disobedience self. The damning bit is when when caught, they conveniently try to bribe Malaysian Law Enforcement officers.

They say proof of the pudding is in the eating. In the context of story telling, proof is in the video taping.

Lee Mong Seng was stopped by SPAD agents for driving an unlicensed tourist van. He tried to bribe the agents with SGD200.00 and was arrested under Section 17(b) for the MACC Act.

Shaik Mohamed Bin Shaik  Zain, 68, tried to bribe a SPAD agent in Sultan Iskandar CIQ Complex of the amount RM50.00 for breaching tourist van license. He told the SPAD agent that he brought some Singaporean shoppers to Mydin. Shaik Mohamed was charged under the same Section 17(b) of the MACC Act.

Ng Geok Hock, a Singaporean taxi driver pleaded to bribe SPAD agents. He was arrested for similar breach of laws at the same spot like mentioned above. He pleaded guilty and was jailed for one day.

Updates on these cases on MACC website.

These are very common traits amongst Singaporean motorists when they cross over into Malaysia via Johor Bahru. Often, they find it convenient not to observe Malaysian traffic laws, which are almost identical to Singaporean traffic laws. When they are apprehended, they immediately attempt to bribe.

They never do this in their tiny lil’ red dot. It is not because they are naturally obedient citizens who respect and observe the law. It is because they fear the Singaporean stiff penal system, which provide very little tolerance for deviants.

These same Singaporeans feel that they need not respect Malaysian laws and customs most probably because they believe Malaysian authorities are not as strict and stiff as the counterparts. It seems its the kiasu thingy.

*Updated 1730hrs

Published in: on December 26, 2013 at 15:30  Comments (7)  

Archbishop of Malaysia insults PM Najib

The recently retired Archbishop of Malaysia Murphy Packiam in his 2013 Christmas address insulted Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak for in the former’s own words, “Forgetting where he (Najib) came from”

Archbishop Packiam prays that the PM will remember where he came from

DECEMBER 25, 2013

Archbishop emeritus Murphy Pakiam (pic) has urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to cement his own call for an end to Muslim-Christian hostility by withdrawing Putrajaya’s legal challenge against the Catholic Church’s use of ‘Allah.’

The Archbishop, retired recently and now administrator of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, made the call in response to Najib’s speech at the National Christmas Open House in George Town, Penang when he called on followers of the two faiths to set aside their differences and seek common ground.

“What did he say? Even if the world talks and laughs about this ‘Allah’ issue, Malaysia will not allow (its use by non-Muslims), we (government) will defend the exclusivity of its use.

“This is not a man who was educated in our Catholic school. By talking like that, you are just a bickering politician. I am praying that Allah will enlighten him to become a statesman,” the Malaysiakini news portal reported him as saying today.

Najib was educated at St John’s Institution, adjacent to the Archbishop’s house where the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) annual Christmas high tea was held today.

Pakiam said Najib was the one who should not stop preventing Christians from using the word ‘Allah’.

Pakiam used Najib’s experience in school as an example of how the Christian community had helped Najib as a boy in a Catholic school and respected his Muslim faith.

“From a small boy, from primary school until form 3, he (Najib) was there (St John’s Institute).

“When it came to catechism (classes), his mother was disturbed because he was a small boy going to a (Christian) religious class.

“But his mother had confidence in our brothers and phoned Brother Matthew who said: ‘Please don’t worry, we will see that he doesn’t go in’,” the portal reported.

As such, Pakiam said he hoped Najib would do his duty and serve all Malaysians.

“You think I am not angry? But he is the prime minister, so I have to pray to God to please help him do his duty for the whole country and not just Umno,” he said.

The Court of Appeal had in October overturned a High Court decision which ruled that the Home Ministry’s ban against Christian publication The Herald from using the word ‘Allah’ was unconstitutional.

The Church is now appealing the decision at the Federal Court in the hope of reinstating the High Court’s ruling.

Pakiam added that Najib’s insistence of exclusivity for the word ‘Allah’ was inciting right-wing groups against the Christian community.

“He knows the law. He knows the judgment the judges gave and he (Najib) is saying: ‘Oh, it’s allowed there (Sabah and Sarawak), but be careful in peninsula. Don’t stir this up. You are playing with fire.’

Legal experts have questioned the government’s move to permit the use of the word ‘Allah’ in East Malaysia, yet continuing defending the Court of Appeal’s decision.

The Court of Appeal had ruled that the word ‘Allah’ was “not an integral part of the Christian faith”, a decision that affects Christians in both East and West Malaysia. – December 25, 2013.

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This is a really idiotic statement from a clergy who used to the be supreme leader for all Roman Catholics in Malaysia.

Archbishop Pakiam should not manipulate the fact that Prime Minister Najib attend St John as a primary school student, not a believer in the Catholic faith. After all he is a Malay and by Constitutional definition, a Muslim.

More over now that he is the Prime Minister and President of UMNO, which is the nationalist political party for the Malays with the soul to uphold the struggle for the faith, race and nationhood of the Malays, it would be really stupid to suggest his allegiance would be for his primary school.

St. John’s Institution in Bukit Nenas is a Roman catholic missionary and most prestigious primary school in Kuala Lumpur and that is the legal and stature limit of the facility.

Then again, it is duty bound for Prime Minister Najib is his official capacity to defend Islam as per enshrined in the Federal Constitution which is the Religion of the Federation of Malaysia. He swore the oath of allegiance in the name of Allah S.W.T. to defend the Federal Constitution, to His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong XIV.

His Majesty is the Constitutional Head of Islam.

This is not the first time Catholic Church leaders insulted the position and role of Islam and the administration of Islam in this country. On 11 July 2013 Holy See Ambassador to Malaysia Apostolic Nuncio Joseph Marino supported the Christian Federation of Malaysia’s quest to use kalimah “Allah” in place of God.

Bishop Paul Tan of Diocese for Johor-Melaka had various times criticized on the kalimah “Allah” issue even insulted HRH Sultan Selangor’s titah on 9 January 2013, pertaining to the matter and based on the Selangor Fatwa Council ruling gazetted on 18 Feb 2010.

Extracts of FMT story dated  12 Jan 2013:

Bishop Paul Tan, head of the Johor and Malacca diocese, said the Sultan of Selangor’s role was to protect Islam and not to make rules for people of other faiths.

“We non-Muslims have our own heads. Besides, our country is a constitutional or parliamentary democracy, not a theocratic state, that is, Islamic state. Our Federal Constitution protects the rights of all our people, not only Muslims,” Bishop Paul told FMT.

Bishop Paul also pointed out that the matter was still pending appeal after the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled on Dec 31, 2009 that the ban on non-Muslims using the word “Allah” was illegal.

“As said many a time, historically the word is pre-Islamic and therefore cannot be claimed as a creation of Islam. We also have documents that [show that] in the early 17th century, [in the] translations of the Bible into Malay, the word ‘Allah’ was used,” he added.

Bishop Paul’s concern that should the Malaysian government forbid the non-Malays from using the word “Allah”, the nation would end up being ridiculed by the more enlightened people in other countries obviously is not shared by the rulers of states and BN.

“In all countries, except Malaysia, including Arab countries and Indonesia, there is no ban on Christians using the word ‘Allah’,” he said.

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Front Page Utusan Malaysia Saturday 13 July 2013

Front Page Utusan Malaysia Saturday 13 July 2013

On 13 July 2013 Bishop Phillip Lok demanded Prime Minister Najib stand up and takes action against Malay NGOs such as PERKASA, JATI, ISMA, Pembela etc. for voicing their grave discern on the outrageous statement made by Apostolic Nuncio Marino and demanding the Malaysian Government expel him.

Riong Kali dot com story:

Bishop calls for Najib to take stand against Perkasa, Jati

BY ELIZABETH ZACHARIAH
JULY 13, 2013

Najib, seen here at a Christmas party last year, must stand up to the extreme comments from groups like Perkasa and Jati, say local Christian leaders. The Malaysian Insider pic, July 13, 2013.Najib, seen here at a Christmas party last year, must stand up to the extreme comments from groups like Perkasa and Jati, say local Christian leaders. The Malaysian Insider pic, July 13, 2013.

Christians have had enough of the bashing from the likes of Perkasa and other Malay rights groups. They expect Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to intervene and “do the right thing” by rejecting such extremism.

This was the stand of the president of the Council of Churches Malaysia, Bishop Philip Lok. He was speaking to The Malaysian Insider in the wake of the demands by Perkasa and Jati that the Vatican’s envoy Archbishop Joseph Marino withdraw his support for the local church’s campaign to use the word Allah and that he must apologise within seven days.

The vocal rights groups have demanded that the government shut down the Vatican’s embassy and banish Marino if he does not apologise.

They were reacting to the Archbishop’s comments in an interview with local media that though he recognised that the ongoing court case on the Allah issue was an internal matter, he supported the position taken by the Christian Federation of Malaysia that Allah was a word for god in the Christian religion too.

Bishop Lok said that it was time the government took action against Perkasa and Jati for trying to disrupt diplomatic ties between Malaysia and the Vatican.

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In sundry, the Roman Catholic Church leaders have been very kurang ajar for the sentiments of Malay-Muslims, who are the majority of this tanahair if not total disrespect of the Federal Constitution.

This remark by Archbishop Pakiam is really demeaning and totally unacceptable. This year’s Christmas message by other Church leaders of affirming their desire to continue the pursuit on the kalimah “Allah” issue despite the Court of Appeal unanimous decision on 14 October 2013 would just invite negative reaction from Malay individuals and NGOs.

Published in: on December 26, 2013 at 00:30  Comments (23)  

Muslims deserve peace too

In their 2013 Christmas message, Malaysian Christian leaders expressed their wish for peace and harmony. This statement is made is the same breadth that they expressed their anxiety in the Herald’s quest to use the term “Allah” in replacement of  ‘God’ which the Court of Appeal unanimously decided on 14 October 2013 in favour of the Home Minister.

Riong Kali dot com Christmas eve story:

For Christmas, Christian leaders hope for peace among Malaysians

BY JENNIFER GOMEZ
DECEMBER 24, 2013

This Christmas, Christian leaders in Malaysia have expressed hope that Malaysians will develop better religious ties among each other. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, December 24, 2013.  This Christmas, Christian leaders in Malaysia have expressed hope that Malaysians will develop better religious ties among each other. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim,

December 24, 2013.

Peace and harmony among all, such is the hope of Christian leaders in Malaysia this Christmas, as 2013 closes a year they felt has been filled with racial and religious discord.

Both Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) Sabah president Rev Datuk Jerry Dusing and the Catholic weekly Herald editor Rev Father Lawrence Andrew said that particularly challenging for them was dealing with the “Allah” ruling.

“The Herald case was taken back to court and we had to calm everyone down over the verdict.

“But while we are disappointed, we are not going to give up hope,” Dusing told The Malaysian Insider, referring to the Court of Appeal ruling that upheld the Home Ministry’s decision to ban the Herald from using the word Allah.

The Herald had won the right in a 2009 High Court decision but the ruling was suspended pending the Government’s appeal.

The church has now filed a leave application to appeal against the Court of Appeal ruling at the Federal Court.

Dusing added that SIB’s case was also pending in court, where it was seeking declaratory reliefs related to the use of the word “Allah”, after its consignment of children’s religious publications containing the word “Allah” that was en route from Indonesia to Sabah was seized at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal in Kuala Lumpur in August 2007.

The books were seized on grounds that a government circular in December 1986 prohibited the use of certain words, including “Allah”.

The SIB case will come up at the High Court for mention next month.

Andrew said it was a challenge for him when the “Allah” case was resurrected, after the High Court in 2009 quashed the home minister’s order, ruling that the ban had violated the constitutional rights of the publisher.

“We had to go back to court this year for a few sittings, including the intervenors’ application and the appeal proper by the Government.

“A lot of time was spent working on the court case,” the Herald editor said.

Dusing said earlier this year, there was also a lot of uncertainty before the 13th general election in May, where the issue had even created factions among the Christian community.

“Various Christian groups had different views, including one faction that wanted to see a change in government, and this created some tension as well.”

Council of Churches Malaysia general-secretary Dr Hermen Shastri did not want to be drawn into the “Allah” debate, saying instead that the challenges he faced were to find ways to deal with certain forces in society that used religion to denigrate and cast aspersions on others.

“The situation becomes more complicated when such negativity takes on political dimensions,” Hermen said.

He said that when he was growing up, there was more openness among people of all backgrounds in neighbourhoods and schools.

“Unfortunately, today there are enough bad examples of people who are constantly harping on why one should build fences and promote religious chauvinism.”

All the Christian leaders are hopeful for better harmony and peace among Malaysians.

“Our country offers many opportunities for people to mingle culturally and inter-religiously.

“What we need are personalities who can inspire the younger generation to appreciate others and to share the rich diversity of cultures and religions in our country,” Hermen said.

He added that in Malaysia, people used to celebrate each other’s festivals in the spirit of sharing and understanding.

Dusing expressed similar hopes that the people would strengthen neighbourliness by going back to the concept of “open house”, saying this was the best way to foster understanding among the people.

“I want to emphasise that we are not fighting the Government or Muslims.”

In fact, in a pastoral communique in October, Dusing had said while the Court of Appeal decision on Herald had placed new restrictions on the constitutional rights to freedom of religion, the people were urged to continue their friendships with Muslim brothers and sisters and to extend love to them.

Andrew, too, hoped that this Christmas, people from all religions will not to see each other as enemies but as brothers and sisters. – December 24, 2013.

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A recent study by a local think tank shows that majority of Malays reject the notion that Non Muslims use the term “Allah”.

Riong Kali dot com story:

Majority of Malays think ‘Allah’ exclusive to Muslims, says survey

DECEMBER 24, 2013

The term “Allah” should not be used by non-Muslims, say 77% of Malays polled by Universiti Malaya’s Centre for Democracy and Elections (UMCEDEL).

“The issue of Allah is still sensitive in the peninsula. Regardless of their political beliefs, it is obvious that Malays still think that the term ‘Allah’ is exclusive to Muslims,” said UMCEDEL director Prof Datuk  Dr Redzuan Othman.

The poll also showed that the same number of Malay respondents disagreed that Christians in Sabah and Sarawak could use the term.

The survey, conducted from December 6 to 8, covering only the peninsula also showed that a mere 11% of the Malays polled agreed to the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims. On October 14, 2013, a three-man panel of judges in the Court of Appeal overturned a 2009 landmark High Court judgment allowing the Catholic Church to use the word “Allah” in the Bahasa Malaysia section of its weekly Herald.

According to the leading judge’s grounds of judgment, the use of the word “Allah” was exclusive to Muslims and not integral to Christian worship, contrary to the church’s arguments that the word was irreplaceable and vital to their religious doctrine.

Two-thirds of Christians in Malaysia are Bumiputera, who are largely based in Sabah and Sarawak and number some 1.6 million.

The Catholic church has applied for leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal ruling.

The Federal Court has fixed the leave application for hearing on February 24.

The church had filed its leave application on November 12 by submitting questions on the Federal Constitution, administrative law, as well as the power of the court to allow the minister to ban the use of a theological word.

The constitutional questions framed by the church lawyers were to debate on Islam as the religion of the federation, freedom of speech and religion, and the right to religious education.

The questions on administrative law centred on the home minister and his powers.

They also said that the home minister’s decision to ban the Herald from using the word “Allah” was illegal and irrational. – December 23, 2013.

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What this academic research methodological outcome is reflective of the exact sentiments and resolve of too many Malay individuals and so many NGOs representing the Malay interests. Interestingly, there are substantial number of Non Malays (Chinese and Indian) also agree that kalimah “Allah” is exclusively for the Malays.

This is also very much the will of HRH Rulers.

Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak also vowed that the Malaysian Government would continue to defend the sanctity of Islam as the religion of the Federation of Malaysia.

The Catholic Church weekly publication Herald intention to use kalimah “Allah” in place of the ‘God’ is simply the subtle intent to made available of utility of the sacred word to the Malays, in greater readership form and eventually, a bigger audience. The strategic objective is legalise the Malay bible openly available for the majority of Malay-Muslim in Semenanjung.

Hence, the challenge for the use of kalimah “Allah” in place of ‘God’ in the court is to legalise for the attempt to proselytise Malay-Muslims into Christianity.

That would cause anguish if not fury to the Malay-Muslim majority. The growing reaction of the Malays to the issue so far is already a strong reflection that the situation would only worsen if the matter is being pursuit and more opinion against the minority trying the resurrect a perceived right against what has been enshrined in the Federal Constitution even before this nation was formally born.

It is clear that kalimah “Allah” should remain status quo and the appeal by Catholic Church weekly publication Herald at Federal Court would just prolong and complicate the situation further. Especially when the matter is being continuously discussed by the various parties representing both sides of the religious divide in this legal battle.

It is clear that the democratically enacted Federal Constitution which enshrined the sanctity of Islam could also be substantiated by the principle of the concept of democracy where the interest of the majority surpass the minority.

Therefore, if the Christian leaders are really sincere in achieving peace and harmony in this country then they should drop the appeal and leave the matter status quo. It should be deemed an insult to the Malays if they affirm their position of continuous peace and harmony but instead would not put the kalimah “Allah” matter to rest despite the unanimous Court of Appeal decision.

Historically, the Malays are generally accommodative. They are even willing to share the equal rights for this nation. However, their generousity and hospitality is not a bottomless pit. Their limit on very sensitive issues such as the position and role of Islam and HRH Rulers as Constitutional Head of matters pertaining to Islam in this country should not in any form or circumstance be tested.

The Malays as the majority of this nation have the right to a peaceful and harmonious state of tanahair, without their sentiments being challenged.

Published in: on December 25, 2013 at 09:00  Comments (9)  

Glad Tidings

Merry Christmas to all the readers of BigDogDotCom of the Christianity faith.

Published in: on December 24, 2013 at 22:51  Comments (1)  

Al Bukhary Media

Redberry Group

Redberry Group

The cat is out of the bag. The ongoing negotiations between the Redberry Communications (as part of the Ancom Bhd Group) and representatives of the Al Bukhary Group for the take over of English business daily The Malaysian Reserve has been made public.

It is timely that the successful Malay corporate giant not only has his own English business daily, but a media group.

There have been structured and consistently growing subtle and direct attacks on Malay-based institutions and corporate groups which include all those under the Al Bukhary Group wing of late, in stories and opinion carried by Chinese control English-based business dailies, like The Edge, Kinibiz and Focus Malaysia. At some point and angle, even by The Star.

The Malaysian Reserve website

The Malaysian Reserve website

These attacks are part of the strategy to demonise the Malaysian Government policy against the Bumiputera business community such as NEP and preference for Malay-based conglomerates such as PNB, LTAT, Tabung Haji, JCorp and lately, FGV.

They manipulate the various perspective of ‘subsidy’, ‘preferential status’, ‘affirmative action’ and use them to instigate in the tone of ‘cronysim’, ‘unfair’, ‘opportunities denied’ and eventually perpetuating the notion of the ‘continuous practice of corruption’. Worse of all, it is ‘All the way to the top’.

It is a conniving strategy using business, corporate and economic perspective to achieve a political objective.

Hopefully, The Malaysian Reserve with the new owners would see more success stories of the Malay entrepreneurs and industrialists being featured, the right perspective and intonation.

Setting the record straight is imperative, after too much of manipulation and over-politicking. The interest of nation building should take prominence, to build the confidence of Malaysians especially the business community and potential commercial associates from abroad and the global market.

Published in: on December 23, 2013 at 19:00  Comments (9)  

Telling Tiong Hua

Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak challenged MCA to re-invent themselves and gain the prominence that they once commanded amongst the Chinese, so that they could continue to be the champion of prosperity in this land of plenty.

21 December 2013| last updated at 11:57AM

MCA 2013 : MCA must reunite, re-strategise to revive fortune says Najib

By Carisma Kapoor

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said MCA must reunite, restrategise, reinvigorate and reestablish to revive its fortune.

In his speech officiating MCA’s 60th annual general meeting, Najib in labeling the AGM as a “watershed moment” for the party, said MCA had to reunite after this and strive to be cohesive and united party.

He warned MCA that this was the last call for the party, and was no longer a wake-up call.

“It is too late for that,” he said.

Najib said the party had to restrategise and follow the BN formula to succeed in the future general elections.

He said the relationship between the Bumiputera, the Chinese and other communities was the basis of the BN approach and should be continued.

“The strength of MCA equates to the strength of the coalition.

“A divided house will fall, only a united house will succeed”, he said.

MCA must therefore also reestablish itself so that it is the party of choice for the Chinese community.

“These four steps depend on hard work. Nothing comes easy.”

In his speech, Najib also advised MCA to be “magnanimous and gracious”.

“Don’t be like the opposition,” he said, referring to the way the alliance had constructed lies about a blackout and some 40,000 Bangladeshis voting in the 13th general election.

Najib said this challenging the opposition who have said that they have a better vision than BN and do not lie to the public.

Read more: MCA 2013 : MCA must reunite, re-strategise to revive fortune says Najib – Latest – New Straits Timeshttp://www.nst.com.my/latest/font-color-red-mca-2013-font-mca-must-reunite-re-strategise-to-revive-fortune-says-najib-1.440757#ixzz2o5XEMTzz

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MCA President Dato’ Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek’s message in his Presidential Speech that reckless handouts is not the strategic solution to alleviate Bumiputera socio-economic position and play catch up with the dynamism of the bullish economy.

Published: Saturday December 21, 2013 MYT 10:45:00 AM
Updated: Saturday December 21, 2013 MYT 1:48:39 PM

MCA polls: Handouts won’t solve problems of poor bumiputras, says Soi Lek

BY FOONG PEK YEE

MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.

KUALA LUMPUR: The continued handouts will not help solve the problems of poorbumiputras in Malaysia, said MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.

He said the affirmative policies should be reviewed to find out how it had worked, and where it had failed to uplift the socio economic status of the bumiputras after four decades.

Bumiputras, he said, comprised about 67.9% of the population, and majority of the lower income group were still Malays.

Majority of the households earning less than RM2,000 a month were also mostly Malays, he added.

Because of the composition, any affirmative action to help the poor would look as if it would benefit the bumiputras only, he said.

With that, Dr Chua proposed that the policy of helping bumiputras should be more target based.

“The question we should ponder is whether the New Economic Policy should be race based or need based to end poverty regardless of ethnicity,” he said at the opening of the MCA 60th annual general meeting by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at Wisma MCA here Saturday.

Dr Chua pointed out the need to recognise the fact that bumiputras should not be treated as a homogeneous group because of the glaring intra disparity among the educated, rich and poor bumiputras, including bumiputras in Sabah and Sarawak.

“All right thinking Malaysians will not grudge the Government for helping the socially and economically disadvantaged group, but there will be strong resentment if handouts are given to the rich,” Dr Chua stressed.

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It is a strong statement for the leader representing the Chinese in the Barisan Nasional ruling coalition to stress the point of “There will be strong resentment if handouts are given to the rich”.

The Malaysian Government does not and have not been giving handouts to the rich.

Unless he was echoing those amongst the Chinese who perpetuate taking pot shots against those who have been selected to get contracts and/or concessions for specific projects initiated by the Government. Whilst taking these pot shots, the people intentionally connote with a tinge of racial over tone that these are examples of ‘cronyism’ practiced by Malaysia Government, particularly UMNO leaders in power.

The fact is that contracts, concessions and projects  are awarded to those who the Malaysian Government think are able to undertake and deliver.

YTL Comms' 1Bestari.Net

YTL Comms’ 1Bestari.Net

Many of these projects and concessions are awarded to Chinese entrepreneurs. An immediate example is 1Bestari.Net, a project to get all 10,000 schools be connected with 4G connectivity was awarded to YTL Communications. Amongst the losers in the bid were Telekom Malaysia and Celcom, which are GLCs.

Many believed that whatever YTL Communications could offer, TM and/or Celcom could do equally good if not for lesser cost. Yet, Prime Minister Najib as the final decision maker awarded the project to the current beholder.

It is an indisputable fact that more Malay professionals in ICT would have benefited laterally and horizontally had the project was awarded to TM and/or Celcom instead of YTL Communications, where most of the professionals and technical personnel are Non Malays. So are solution partners to the project, such as Bitara.com.

Prime Minister Najib endorsement of MDEC-YTL Comms project

Prime Minister Najib endorsement of MDEC-YTL Comms project

Another good example is when FGV wanted to expand their brown field plantations, they acquired Pontian United Plantations Bhd.  Pontian is a Chinese owned and controlled plantation company and an enormous sum of premium was paid for the acquisition.

An interesting fact about it is that not even one Chinese politician, activist and/or corporate and market analyst made a tiny toot about the acquisition of RM1.204 billion which was realised fully in cash.

Why? Chinese entrepreneurs gain extraordinarily handsomely from the cash sale to a plantation giant which is controlled and incorporated for the Malays, as an extension to the NEP.

Dr Chua must openly admit as the controller of the Malaysian business environment and eco-system, it is the Chinese entrepreneurs who benefitted the most from any projects, contracts and/or concessions awarded by the Malaysian Government. The Chinese business community control almost all upstream supply line of nearly all segments.

Ajib Gor with Dr Chua at Chinese Chauvinist Dong Zhong’s CNY celebration

Their integrated and well networked business associations provided a lot of synergy to many Chinese entrepreneurs, even several layers down the line. As such, they have the advantage of procuring materials and services at better prices, terms and even the whole chain of the delivery system.

The Malays had never been envious of this nor tried to take it away from them. What the Malays wanted is an opportunity for them to be alleviated and eventually emancipated from the ‘rural trap’ derived from the state of rural dwelling, under privileged, uneducated and lesser opportunities.

Hence, the New Economic Policy was formed and rolled out over 40 years ago.

No doubt that many Malays benefitted from this and move upwards on the socio-economic status. However, despite the implementation of this policy the economic gap between the Malays and Chinese is actually getting wider even though twenty years ago it had to narrow.

One of the factor of the widening gap is that Chinese entrepreneurs entrenched in the integrated and well networked business communities have strategic advantage when the Malaysian economy was very bullish (early to end 90s and again early 2000 to 2007). They are able to provide competitive if not lesser cost of production and distribute their products and services much better compared to Malay entrepreneurs.

This is the realism of the history of the Malaysian  process to nationhood.

84% of the eligible voters in the 1955 Federal Consultative Council general election are the Malays, who were 'Subjects of HRH Rulers'.

84% of the eligible voters in the 1955 Federal Consultative Council general election are the Malays, who were ‘Subjects of HRH Rulers’.

It is a cross road for MCA leaders and members should take stock. They have benefitted from the ‘kongsi kuasa’ power sharing formula since the days where only 14% of the eligible voters are Chinese ethnic. The Malays, made concession to ‘kongsi kuasa’ with MCA (also with MIC) for the sake of if they are serious in building this nation together, then the must work together as a team.

That was 58 years ago. Attempting to veer away from the formula which worked for more than half a century is to deny the ‘sacrifice’ that the Malays made such as allowing 980,000 ‘stateless persons’ to be admitted as citizens even when no proper due process were done and in actual fact majority of them do not qualify, as per stated in the previous constitution inked 21 January 1948.

*Updated 1630hrs

Published in: on December 21, 2013 at 14:00  Comments (28)  

Misfire

In the zestful quest to pin down political personalities and/or purposely incorporated new creatures undertaking newly created tasks, its best to ensure the validity of information provided.

We reproduce the e mail from the office of the CEO of PEMANDU:

Dear Big Dog,

I was highlighted to the blog posting by Syed Akbar aka Outsyed the Box below:

KJ Tells Idris To Give Con-sultan RM6.0M To Confirm Toll Hike??

I wish to clarify on behalf of PEMANDU and the Malaysia Government that the article which states that we will be paying consultancy fee amounting RM6million is absolutely false.

The workshop which is planned to be held at the end of this year will be facilitated by PEMANDU and assisted by the main government stakeholders namely MoF and KBS amongst others.

We hope that this matter can be rectified by stating the correct facts. Thank you in advance for your kind assistance.

Best regards,
Izhar Moslim
SUSK to Dato’ Sri Idris Jala

*************

It is refreshing that agencies under Prime Minister’s Department are very quick nowadays to respond at media writings, which include practitioners of bloggosphere. In this case, a respond was published in the  blogs within three hours of the original posting.

These media sensitive officials able to quash rumours or inaccurate stories, especially when facts are spun. Pro-government bloggers who wish to be critical towards and against the Government are also be kept checked and their posting credible.

Hopefully, they in PEMANDU react towards the Opposition and pro-Opposition media channels in the same attitude and speed. It is tough enough that pro-government bloggers are doing these work on the own, on their own initiatives.

If PEMANDU could keep this up, it is something Federal Government strategic communications could co-ordinate directly or on behalf of all Ministries, agencies and bodies should emulate and continue to improve. It drains resources when perception is casted based on fallacy and half truths being manipulated.

*Updated midnight

Published in: on December 19, 2013 at 21:00  Comments (20)