Whistleblowing speech by YB Wee Choo Keong in Parliament


March 29, 2010

by YB Wee Chee Keong

Teks ucapan YB Wee Choo Keong,  Ahli Parlimen Wangsa Maju,  pada 29-03-2010 – Perbahasan Titah Seri Paduka Baginda Yang  Di Pertuan Agung.

Datuk Yang Di Pertua,

Saya bangun untuk membahas Titah Ucapan Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Yang di-Pertuan Agung. Titah Ucapan Seri Paduka Baginda yang merupakan ucapan dasar kerajaan perlu disokong oleh rakyat jika ianya dilaksanakan dengan ikhlas dan adil oleh kerajaan. Saya menyokong sepunuhnya Titah Sri banginda iaitu “..negara kita terus maju dan rakyat hidup dalam harmoni serta menumpahkan taat setia yang tidak berbelah bagi kepada tanah air yang tercinta.”

Datuk Yang di-Pertua

AIRASIA

Saya telah dimaklumkan bahawa AirAsia telah menjelaskan semua airport  tax yang di hutang dan tangguh untuk beberapa tahun dahulu. Saya tidak boleh menerima bahawa AirAsia boleh hutang ariport tax selama 8 tahun dan mengapa MAB boleh memberi diskaun RM25 million.  Ini mustahil sekali. Sepatutnya MAHB kena caj faedah dan penalti terhadap hutang tersebut kerana wang tersebut digunakan oleh AirAsia.  Financial costs, dengan izin untuk hutang lebih kurang RM100 juta (hutang airport tax) mesti ditanggung oelh AirAsia.

AirAsia mengutip airport  tax sebagai agen mengutip bagi MAB dan ia sepatutnya membayar semua airport tax yang dikutip tetapi ia tidak membayar airport  tax untuk penumpang-penumpang yang tidak boleh terbang.  Apabila pelanggan meminta AirAsia membayar balik airport  tax AirAsia akan caj administrative fees lebih kurang berjumlah airport tax yang mereka telah bayar.

Saya percayai bahawa jumlah airport untuk penumpang –penumpang yang tidak terbang adalah berpuluh-puluh juta Ringgit.  MAB bertanggung jawab untuk mengambil tindakan untuk menuntut airport tax  tersebut dan selepas itu MAHB perlu membayar balik (refund) kepada setiap penumpang yang tidak terbang tanpa apa-apa potongan.

Datuk Yang di-Pertua,

Saya berharap Kementerian Pengangkutan atau Kementerian Kewangan memberi penjelasan berapakah jumlah airport  tax untuk  katigori ini yang masih di dalam simpanan AirAsia dan samada MAB akan mengambil tindakan undang undang terhadap AirAsia untuk menuntut hutang tersebut.

Datuk Yang di-Pertua,

“AIRASIA SELLING TICKET IN ADVANCE – NO BAILOUT”

AirAsia juga menjual tiket “in advance” dengan izin dan saya percaya bahawa jumlahnya adalah beratus-ratus juta Ringgit . Ahli-Ahli YB sedia maklum bahawa kebanyakan “low cost airlines” dinegara lain  telah gulung tikar.  Japan Airline pun telah gulung tikar. Saya kwatir dengan expansion oleh AirAsia tetapi airport tidak dibayar.

Saya ingin bertanya kepada YB Menteri  Pengakutan atau Menteri  Hal Ehwal Pengguna adakah mereka bercadang untuk mengeluarkan peraturan atau syarat kepada AirAsia supaya wang yang dibayar terdahulu oleh pelanggan-pelanggannya adalah sentiasa selamat jika AirAsia menggulung tikar.

Saya ingin menjelaskan disini bahawa soalan diatas tidak wujud jikalau Kerajaan boleh memberi jaminan di Parlimen bahawa Kerajaan tidak akan “bailout” AirAsia jika ia menggulung tikar kerana wang rakyat tidak boleh digunakan untuk membela sebuah syarikat swasta.

Datuk Yang Dipertua,

SETIAUSAHA POLITIK MENTERI TERLIBAT DENGAN RASUAH

Ahli-ahli YB sedia maklum, dua bulan berlepas seorang setiausaha politik kepada salah seorang Menteri telah ditahan oleh SPRM di Pulau Pinang kerana dia mempunyai wang tunai berpuluh juta Ringgit dan memiliki beberapa buah condominium mewah.  Selepas sehari dia ditahan oleh SPRM, YB Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri mejaga EPU (YB Tasek Gelugor) mengisthirakan setiausaha politik tersebut telah letak jawatannya.

Orang ramai mempersoalkan kedudukan boss setiausaha politik tersebut.  Bagaimanakah YB Menteri tersebut tidak menyedar  kegiatan rasuah setiausaha politiknya atau pun beliau mengalakkan tingkah laku setiausaha politiknya.  Saya amat hairan kenapakah sehingga hari ini setiausaha politik tersebut masih tidak dituduh di Mahkamah.  Saya ingin menanya YAB PM  bilakah setiausaha tersebut akan dituduh di Mahkamah dan samada sesiatan juga dijalan oleh SPRM terhadap YB Menteri, Ahli Tasek Gelugor tersebut.

Bilakah setiausaha politik YB Perdana Menteri, Shafee Abdullah, akan dissiat oleh SPRM ?
Datuk Yang Di Pertua,

WHISTLEBLOWING BILL

Ahli-Ahli YB telah dimaklumkan bahawa Kerajaan akan membentangkan Whistleblower Bill dalam sessi Parlimen ini.  Saya percaya semua rakyat mengalu-alukan Rang Undang-Undang ini.

Saya ingin menarik perhatian YAB Perdana Menteri kepada satu atikal bertajuk “Is Whistle-Blowing Really Serious?”  diterbitkan dalam majalah Malaysian Business dalam muka surat 44-45 pada 16 mac 2010. Penulis atikal ini adalah seorang bekas Ahli Palimen dan Presiden Dewan Negara, YB Tan Sri Adam Kadir. Saya juga difahamkan bahawa beliau adalah bekas Pengurusi POS Malaysia Bhd, sebuah GLC, dimana Kerajaan melalui Khazanah memengang 32.2% saham didalam POS Melaysia Bhd.

Izinkan saya memetik beberapa perenggan didalam artikel tersebut.

“I am endowed with the knowledge of a GLC which sustained a loss of half  a billion Ringgit caused by misplaced controls from outside the company over the sale of 40 million “X”.   shares. [saya difahamkan bahawa maksud “outside controls” disini adalah control dari Khazanah Bhd, yang diketuai oleh Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar dan “X” shares adalah Transmile Bhd ]


Sources in the company chose the accepted method of whistle-blowing to the relevant authorities, but nothing has come out of it. The blow could easily lead to the conflict of governance, at best, or corruption, at worst. The latter had most likely evolved from an understanding between the relevant GLC control-lever (adalah Khazanah Bhd) and the controlling shareholder of the “X” company.

Tucked in the GLC’s board record were resolutions to sell at RM10, RM12 and RM14 sequentially over a period of time. Soon after the ‘stop-sell” order from the control-lever (Khazanah Bhd) at RM14 to a specific buyer, the share collapsed on reaching RM14.50 plummeting to as low as 50 Sen. It hovered below Rm1 for a sustaained for a period of time. On February 26, 2010, the closing was 35 Sen, the proceeds are merely RM14 million – a difference of RM546 million! ”

Apa yang didedahkan adalah amat mengejutkan dan serius – seperti PKFZ.  Jikalau tuduhan tersebut adalah benar, tindakan segara perlu diambil terhadap pegawai yang bertangung jawab  di Khazanah Bhd kerana wang rakyat berjumlah RM546 million telah hagus dengan beberapa panggilan talipon sahaja keapda pegawai POS Malaysia Bhd – saya percaya.  Ini adalah satu contoh yang jelas : Harap Pagar pagar makan padi!


Saya merayu kepada YB PM / Kewangan untuk menjalankan satu sesiatan dengan segera apa yang telah didedahkan.  Jikalau tuduhan tersebut adalah benar, saya percaya benar, YB Menteri yang bertangung jawab untuk Khazanah  Bhd pada masa itu Jika masih memengang jawatan Menteri  mesti meletak jawatannya dengan segera untuk memikul tanggungjawanya, dan tindakan keras mesti diambil terhadap Menteri tersebut dan pegawai Khazanah Bhd yang terlibat.

Datuk Yang di-Pertua

SKIM CEPAT KAYA

Sun Shine Empire Sdn Bhd, Empire Property Venture Sdn International Bhd, Empire Property Sdn Bhd, Sunshine Villa Project di Melaka yang telibat dalam kegiatan deposit taking / skim cepat kaya. Syarikat tersebut di ketuai oleh James Phang, warganegara Singapura dan Datuk Alex Teh Cheong Teong di Malaysia.

Saya difahamkan bahawa Bank Negara telah mengambil tindakan terhadap Empire Property Venture International Sdn Bhd.  Saya dapat aduan bahawa directors syarikat ini telah mengutip deposit beratus juta Ringgit dengan mengunakan pelbagai penipuan melalui skim-skim palsu seperti project perumahan, Sunshine Villa Projek di Melaka.

Walaupun tindakan telah diambil oleh Bank Negara tetapi tidak mencukupi kerana Datuk Alex Teh masih menerima deposit melalui skim-skim lain. Pada kini Datuk Alex Teh ini menggunakan syarikat bernama YUAN ZHONG SIU SDN BHD untuk menerima deposit melalui kad kredit.

Saya menyeru Menteri Kewangan mengarahkan Bank Negara mengambil tindakan dengan segera untuk mempertahankan kepentingan orang awam supaya rakyat tidak di tipu oleh James Phang dan Datuk Alex Teh Cheong Teong tersebut.

Datuk Yang di-Pertua,

FORGERIES –LITOGRAPHS IBRAHIM HUSSEIN

Saya di maklumkan bahawa litographs “Line Series” 8 keping Alayarhum Ibrahim Hussein, seorang artis Malaysia yang amat terkenal di dunia, telah di tiru dan jual di Malaysia seperti original copy dengan harga RM800,000. Saya dimaklumkan bahawa forgeries ini di jual melalui syarikat frame, WL Fine Art Sdn Bhd, No 3,5,9 & 11, Jalan Chantek  5 / 13, 46000 Petaling Jaya. Satu laporan polis bernombor 009155 / 2009 telah di buat di Balai Polis Pantai pada 04-09-2009.  Pada kini kegiatan forgeries masih berterusan.

Saya berharap Kementerian Dalam Negeri menyatakan kenapakah tiada tindakan positif diambil and apakah tindakan akan diambil terhadap laporan tersebut.

Datuk Yang di-Pertua,

MODEL EKONOMI BARU

Saya bersetuju dengan YAB PM untuk mengadakan satu Model Ekonomi  Baru yang boleh selaraskan dengan dasar Kerajaan iaitu “1Malaysia” dan “Rakyat Didahulukan”.

Jikalau Kerajaan berhasrat untuk satu dasar demi “nation building”  and mencapai dasar 1Malaysia dan Rakyat Didahulukan, Kerajaan perlu mennghapuskan semua subisidi based on race dengan izin. Contohnya AP yang diberikan eklusif kepada kroni-kroni pihak tertentu sahaja. Rakyat tidak bantah AP di jual oleh Kerjaan tetapi rakyat bantah AP diberikan kepada kroni-kroni.

Saya bersetuju bahawa subsidi di kekalkan kepada bumiputra dalam satu masa transition katalah dalam 5 tahun supaya sahabat-sahabat saya boleh menggunakan masa transition ini untuk mereka menyedia untuk bersaing dalam semua kegiatan dalam negara.

Kalau subsidi masih dikekalkan tanpa syarat dalam Model Ekonomi Baru yang akan dilancarkan oleh YAB PM tidak lama lagi, berani saya mengata dengan terus terang bahawa dasar 1Malaysia atau apa-apa dasar untuk menyatupadukan rakyat tidak akan berjaya kerana yang dapat manafaat adalah “a small percentage of the population only as can be seen from the existing New Economic Policy” dengan izin.

Akhir kata, saya yakin bahawa jika kita beri perluang dan galakan sewarjanya, orang Melayu dan bumiputra lain boleh bersaing di galangan global. YES, WE CAN. WE CAN DO IT EVEN BETTER UNDER A REAL 1MALAYSIA, dengan izin.

Datuk Yang di-Pertua,

FITNAH MENFITNAH

Saya menyokong dengan taat setia Titah Ucapan Seri Banginda mengenai dengan fitnah-menfitnah dan izinkan saya memetik: “Beta juga dukacita kerana masih terdapat banyak perbuatan fitnah, pembohongandan putar belit terutamanya dalam media baru. Semua yang terlibat hendaklah sedar perbuatan ini tidak diterima oleh mana-mana agama. Beta menyeru pihak berkenaan menghentikan perbuatan tidak bertanggungjawab tersebut. Dismaping itu, pihak berkuasa hendaklah mengambil tindakan keras terhadap pihak-pihak yang terbabit”.

Saya tidak berniat membahas mengenai dengan perkara ini tetapi saya tidak boleh sabar lagi. There is a limit to everything, dengan izin.

Dalam pengalaman politik yang terhad selama  25 tahun, saya amat kesal dan sedih bahawa politik tanah air yang kita cintai telah mencapai tahap yang amat mebinbangkan. Kepetingan rakyat nampaknya “has taken a back seat” dengan izin.  Saya pasti rakyat mengikuti perkembangan ini dan lambat laun akan sedar dari dibuai slogan-slogan dan retorik politik semata mata.

Kehadiran saya dalam lawatan kerja ke Washington adalah untuk satu tujuan sahaja iaitu berjumpa dengan Department of Trade, Ahli-Ahli Congress dan Senators, Centre of Strategic International Studies (CSIS) di USA untuk “foster a better diplomatic and trading relationship with USA “. Lawatan kerja ini pun tidak dikecualikan.

Saya percaya perhubungan baik dengan USA akan mendatangkan manfaat kepada rakyat dan negara dimana lebih banyak trading relationship dengan izin diantara dua negara. Ini bermakna lebih banyak kegiatan ekonomi dalam negara dan juga mewujudkan lebih banyak kerja untuk rakyat Malaysia.

Lewatan kerja ini pun di putar belit fakta di dalam internet untuk mencapai matlamat agenda politik kumpulan tertentu.

Fakta di forum CSIS adalah wartawan Malaysiakini datang dari San Francisco sahaja yang berada di forum CSIS pada hari tersebut tetapi laporan dengan putar belit fakta dengan serangan peribadi yang tidak berasas tidak diterbitkan di Malaysiakini tetapi di portal lain. Selepas sehari dua barulah diterbitkan di dalam Malaysiakini lebih kurang sama dengan apa yang di laporkan di dalam portal tersebut tetapi tanpa serangan pribadi.  Fakta ini adalah amat mustahil!

To be fair dengan izin, YB Padang Rengas tidak menfitnah sesiapapun dan semasa beliau menjawab soalan ditimbulkan oleh representative dengan izin dari Amesty International mengenai kes liwat terhadap Ketua Pembangkang, YB Permatang Pauh.

YB Padang Rengas menyatakan bahawa YB Permatang Pauh adalah sahabat beliau dan conscience beliau tidak membenarkan beliau menfitnah sahabatnya dan kes tersebut adalah antara majikan dan seorang perkerja, dan laporan polis telah dibuat oleh perkerja. Jikalau tiada tindakan diambil, maka pihak perkerja akan menuduh kerajaan tidak adil.

Saya amat kesal dengan tindakan yang tidak bertangungjawab dan untuk menjejaskan kepentingan negara dengan lapoaran tertentu.  Kemungkinan matlamat pihak tertentu mahu menjahanamkan negara dari segi pandangan antarabangsa . Saya minta maaf bahawa saya tidak boleh memain peranan senyap lagi dalam keadaan yang amat jelas dimana fakta-fakta diputar blitkan oleh spin doktor dengan izin dan membenarkan mereka mencemarkan imej negara dengan agenda sempit yang didorong oleh motif memengtingkan diri semata-mata.

Tugas utama saya sebagai Ahli Parlimen adalah untuk mempertahankan kepentingan rakyat dan “act as a check and balance against the government of the day in the interest of the people”, dengan izin, dan bukan untuk memutar belit fakta untuk menjejaskan imej dan kepentingan negara.

Ahli-Ahli YB mesti bersetuju dengan saya bahawa kita mesti membezakan kepentingan politik  dengan kepentingan negara dan lebih teruk politik pribadi. Janganlah mengadakan benda-benda yang tidak wujud.

Datuk Yang di-Pertua

THE LITTLE NAPOLEONS

Tetapi saya amat dukacita apabila beberapa Little napoleons di sebelah sini (disebelah sana pun ada juga tetapi bukan hal saya). Little napoleons  menyoal kedudukan saya dalam mesyurat rasmi parti kenapakah saya dipilih oleh Parlimen Malaysia sebagai ahli untuk lawatan kerja di Washington baru-baru ini dan kenapa mereka tidak dipilih. Saya tahu “little napoleons” dan Ahli-Ahli YB dari PAS dan DAP pun pernah dipilih sebagai ahli lawatan kerja dengan Menteri-Menteri atau Sepaker ke Parlimen atau kerajaan negara lain.

Kalau pilihan saya menjadi satu persoalan, maka PR memerlukan satu dasar baru bahawa Ahli-Ahli Parlimen PR tidak boleh mengambil bahagian dalam semua lawatan ke luar negeri dengan Menteri, Speaker atau Ahli-Ahli Parlimen Kerajaan.

Walaubagiman pun saya tidak pernah mempertikaikan perlantikan little napoleons kerana saya tidak ada perasan cemburu walaupun little napoleons tersebut sideline saya dan menklasifikasikan saya senbagai seorang “junior MP”.

Walaupun saya tidak bersetuju dan saya tidak pernah mempertikaikan YB Batu, YB Bukit Lanjan dan YB Macang apabila mereka telah dilantik untuk “to chase after BN MPs in Taiwan to cross-over” walaupun tiada hasil.
Ada juga little napoleons yang pintar sedikit, mereka yang memlemparkan batu sebunyikan tangan.

Segelintir little napoleon sanggup melakukan apa sahaja termasuk “manufacturing lies” dengan izin seperti dengan “superimposed” gambar dan  diterbit dalam internet untuk fitnah dan mengaibkan tokoh politik negara semata-mata.  Tindakan FITNAH ini telah diakui oleh little napoleon tertentu tetapi tiada tindakan diambil terhadap dia. Sebaliknya tidakan disiplin diambil terhadap peminpin lain atas perkara yang temeh remeh.

If these little napoleon could stoop so low to do such thing like superimpose picture to defame others for political reason, nothing on earth will stop them from destroying the country, dengan izin.

Saya juga amat kesal dengan tingkah laku Little Napoleons terhadap isu-isu yang dibangkitkan mengenai dengan peristiwa September 16 atau isu-isu yang lain di Parlimen atau di luar,  tidak dijawab langsung. Jawapan little napoleons adalah serangan pribadi “in the hope that all will be well and the public will be fooled again”, dengan izin.  Little napoleons, nasihat saya adalah: If you have no answers to what have been said just hide under the saying “SILENCE IS GOLDEN’, dengan izin.

Saya juga berharap bahawa the little napoleons tersebut  jangan memaksakan saya untuk membongkarkan politics of deceit, politics of expediencies mereka dengan izin  dan politik cakap tak serupa bikin atau politik bermusin.

Dengan ini saya berharap these little napoleons berhentikan kegiatan politik kotor dan fitnah menfinah mereka melalui internet atau lain untuk satu tujuan matlamat poltik sempit mereka yang mementingkan diri sahaja tanpa mengambil kira kepentingan rakyat.

Jika kegiatan ini berterusan maka parti ktia akan hancur, perjaungan akan jadi sia-sia shaja dan dua parti sistem akan menjadi bayangan atau impian semata-mata.

Terima kasih

I am Malay first, says DPM


March 31, 2010

Deputy Prime Minister’s Score: I am Malay First

By FMT staff (http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com)

Although the scoreline indicates that “Malaysian” won the match, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, however, said as far as he is concerned, he is Malay first.

The UMNO Deputy President said if he called himself Malaysian first, he would be shunned by his own race. However, Muhyiddin also stressed that he is very much Malaysian. “I am Malay first but this doesn’t mean I am not Malaysian,” he told reporters in Parliament.

Muhyiddin was responding to a challenge by DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang, who asked the Deputy Premier to state which came first for him – being Malaysian or Malay.

Lim does not understand 1Malaysia

According to Muhyiddin, Lim has failed to grasp the true meaning of the government’s “1Malaysia” concept. “How can I say I’m Malaysian first and Malay second?” he asked. “All the Malays would shun me… and it’s not proper.”

Earlier today, Lim said Muhyiddin should resign if he is not prepared to declare that in accordance with 1Malaysia goal, he is Malaysian first and Malay second.

The opposition stalwart was reacting to Muhyiddin’s earlier comments, where he accused Lim of attempting to create fissures between Najib and him. Muhyiddin had taken the Ipoh Timur MP to task for questioning his commitment to the 1Malaysia concept.

He explained that the concept is aimed at fortifying racial unity, and is not a form of assimilation where a person’s indentity is erased and does not reject the special rights of the Malays as claimed by Lim.

‘Malaysian first, Chinese second’

However, Lim, who declared himself Malaysian first and Chinese second, said it is clear that Muhyiddin believes in the maxim that the best defence is offence.

“He completely evaded the three questions which I described as the three acid tests as to whether he really supports Najib’s 1Malaysia concept and has the 1Malaysia DNA,” he added.

The three acid tests for Muhyiddin were:

  1. Whether he agrees to the establishment of an opposition-headed Parliamentary Select Committee on 1Malaysia;
  2. Is he prepared to declare that the basis of 1Malaysia is ‘ketuanan rakyat’ and not ‘ketuanan Melayu’; and
  3. Is he prepared to endorse the objective of 1Malaysia as defined by the 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme (GTP) Roadmap to create a nation where every Malaysian perceives himself or herself as Malaysian first, and by race, religion or region second.

Lim said he also framed a fourth question as a result of the “evasion and prevarication” by UMNO Youth Chief Khairy Jamaluddin during the exchange in Parliament.

The fourth challege to Muhyddin was: Whether he is prepared to declare that the basis of the Malaysian Constitution is Ketuanan Rakyat and not Ketuanan Melayu?

‘Desperate politician’

Lim lambasted Muhyiddin for going on the offensive to launch a baseless and scurrilous attack against him, “alleging that I had questioned Malay special rights and rejected the differences in identity of the different races and the spirit of the constitution”.

“Muhyiddin must be a very desperate politician that he had to make such a baseless charge, as I had refuted the allegation that I opposed Article 153 of the Constitution.

“Isn’t Muhyiddin’s refusal to make such a declaration the best proof that he does not fully support Najib’s 1Malaysia concept?” he asked.However, Muhyiddin claimed that the “chauvinistic” DAP was rattled by 1Malaysia’s success.

Arguing that there is nothing wrong in leaders fighting for the needs of their race, the deputy premier asked if Lim would state that he is not going to stand up for Chinese rights.

“It does not mean that when we help the Malays, we won’t help the Chinese,” he said. Muhyiddin also took a swipe at DAP’s ‘Middle Malaysia’, challenging Lim to prove that PAS and PKR supported compared to the 1 Malaysia concept which is backed by all BN component parties.

During his first Cabinet meeting after taking over the leadership reins last April, Najib had reportedly urged his ministers to think of all citizens as members of one team rather than people of different races. He also made a plea for all Malaysians to discard their ethnic mentality and think and act as one people.

NEM: Some Initial Thoughts from SakAK47


March 31, 2010

NEM: Some Initial Thoughts

by SakmongkolAK47

The PM has outlined the main aspects of the NEM. I was waiting to read strategies to unleash the entrepreneurial energies of economic agents besides the same old players. Private sector means what? Does it mean the same old companies, friendly parties or the faceless multitude of ordinary business people?

Since 2004 ,for example, Khazanah has been divesting its holdings in many companies- may we know who and on what criteria? People can say all sorts of things on paper- using highly technical financial jargon which actually means they were hiding something.

What I take as entrepreneurial agents to turn this country into a nation of high-incomers are the large number of businessmen- the SME people, research of which has shown are more productive and generate more income that the big guns. These are the people who have been excluded from participation simply because they only have technical skills but no patronage and no intimate relationship with powerful decision makers. So why do we pander to the wishes of the superleaguers?

I was reading some comments given by ex-banker Amirsham who is the Head of the NEAC. He was telling that maybe some contracts should be given to a certain group of contractors not including the big leaguers. I would support the idea by pushing it a bit further. Why don’t for the next 5 years, we declare that all listed companies engaged in construction are not to participate in government mega contracts?Or the big suppliers are excluded in the next 5 years to participate in big government supply contracts. You have made large profits previously and you can hold on for the next 5 years. This would allow the middle and even top bottom leaguers enough room to prove themselves to become big leaguers. Such an interim policy of 5 years would also re-distribute contract opportunities from the current big leaguers to others.

Amirsham shouldn’t say- we leave it to the government to do that. As Head of the NEAC-  you must say it and say it loud  and clearly what needs to be done lah, tauke! Then we wouldn’t hear the stomach turning spectacle-  YTL Corp this and that, GAMUDA this and that, Syed Moktar this and that, Berjaya this and that.

Let’s see whether the big leaguers, without the traditional patronage, can be creative and venture elsewhere? Can they do that? They must- after all smaller contractors have been excluded from participating in big contracts. Remove all the classes in contractors. In 5 years’ time allow every contractor, on a Classless basis to compete on equal footing. I am sure the up and coming and qualified contractors can also do strategic partnership. Many of the smaller bumi contractors, for example, are highly trained people- engineers and technicians.

I have written a number of articles on what I wanted the NEM to be. At that time, we had no inkling what the NEM will be. I start from some key phrases the PM used. These included competitiveness and creativity. I had to re-read what Porter said about competition and competitive advantage. The key word of creativity pushes me to re read Joseph Schumpeter- creative destruction.

As I look into the NEM, I will have to say it is not actually a new construct at all. It is just a grandiloquent way of saying, we will do it differently. The PM said it himself-

I pledge this: we will work tirelessly to develop and implement the economic reforms that our nation needs to grow, our businesses need to succeed and, above all, for our people to prosper,” he said. “Some people are questioning the need for urgency to break the habits of the past. Do not be fooled. We need a new way of doing things. We must act now to position Malaysia for the future. We need to have a sustained and consistent big push if the reforms set out today are to gain momentum and help us achieve our goals.

I do not doubt the sincerity of this PM to carry out what he has said- a new way of doing things. This would certainly demolish the hopes of those hankering for a return of the inglorious past- where patronage and who you know rule the day. Since 1981, the driving force behind almost all businesses has been the dubious factor- hey do you know this Pengarah, this Ketua Pengarah, this Minister and the PM?

It is precisely that weakness that has created and sustained a select group of rent seekers and patronage hunters. Their success depended less on meritorious skills and expertise and more on harnessing the right political networking relationships. Success depends on sharing privileged information which excluded the real entrepreneurs out there.

The new model must strive to be closer to a market driven economy in the sense that it must introduce system that many free marketers believe- placing wealth creating assets closest to actual economic agents. Hence I welcome an assurance that our GLCs right from Khazanah to state owned companies will be divesting their holdings. Allow private sector entrepreneurs to develop the assets and apply better work ethics and different motivations.

Khazanah, for instance, will sell 32 percent of its stake in Pos Malaysia but let us do it on open tender basis, not “direct ngo”. But not before Pos Malaysia account for its humongous loss of over RM 500 million. Then not only must it be privatized, we must also make those responsible for the losses accountable. Do not allow those responsible for the losses to come back with a MBO plan or any business plans for that matter.

If it is not tenable to have one Pos Malaysia let us do a Mama Bell and Papa Bell — break it down to regional Pos Lajus. Let them compete among themselves and see who can offer better services. Why don’t we allow online tendering so that people in Khazanah or decision makers don’t come face to face with bidders until they are called in the final round? Hands off and on line tendering will allow the government avoid being accused of cronyism or patronage.

I have long advocated the freeing of the market from the clutches of state owned companies. In the absence of competition for example how do we know whether the State Owned Enterprises (SOE’s)  function on operating efficiencies or are just passive beneficiaries of the nature of the product? For example, in Pahang there are a few SOEs which are given monopolies in developing land for palm oil. I suspect, they enjoy good earnings simply because of the natural price of the product. Palm oil has a good price. All you need to do is to ensure you produce a certain quantity and sell at the good prices.

We really do not know whether this is due to productivity, efficiency, best practices or what? Because as soon as you compare productivity with private companies, then you will realize that SOEs have not been efficiently run. Their comparative productivity is lower than many private owned companies.

As long as you allow SOEs monopolies, you impose the crowding out effect. Genuine investors are sidelined from participating in certain economic segments. SOES get priority in many areas- land allocation and application, financing, guaranteed credit etc.

On these points, I have advocated when I was a state assemblyman  the closure of several GLCs and their subsidiaries. If they are not able to compete with even some upstart companies, while they have been receiving a variety of privileges, they might as well close down. Naturally, those suggestions were not well received by the CEOs of the various SOEs.

Message to All Malays who still live the Past


March 31, 2010

PERKASA: Have lunatics taken over?

by Mariam Mokhtar (March 30, 2010)

When one reads about an organisation led by an insecure, attention seeking leader, who revels in obfuscating remarks to “defend Islam, the special rights of Malays and bumiputeras”, it does seem that the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

So, am I alone in thinking that Malays should debunk Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy)? When challenging small, hate-filled groups we must be aware of the risks in talking up the threat they pose.

perkasa publicationThey may hope we would demonstrate or march to the police station and make reports (the police have better things to do) and give the group added gravitas.

Probably the more invectives that are hurled in retaliation, the happier they would be. No, we are not a hysterical lot. Clamours for Ketuanan Melayu are an insult to me and right-minded Malays.

Malays today are knowledgable. Extremist views on race and religion are not our vision of Malaysia. We aim for solidarity by encouraging participation from all sections of society for a truly democratic nation.

Confident Malays are not threatened by other races. Nor do they feel inferior or undermined. They are not spiritually bankrupt and do not get confused when non-Muslims use words like Allah.

Too few benefit

The NEP made a few Malay millionaires into billionaires. It excluded the Malay majority and hence failed spectacularly in its objectives. The government must be more creative in helping Malays attain success. Why stick with a recipe for failure?

Last week’s histrionics demonstrate that you can take the boy out of the kampong but you cannot take the kampong out of the boy. Fortunately, not all Malays live under their tempurung (coconut shell). We don’t need men who profess to be leaders by espousing Ketuanan Melayu but in reality are just sabre-rattlers.

perkasa first agm 270310 bannerMalaysians are aware of their surroundings – abuses of power, select Malays selfishly milking the NEP, endemic corruption, public institutions compromising their neutrality by becoming political stooges, no accountability in government bodies and politicians.

There are many disadvantaged people in Malaysia. Our urban and rural folk lead parallel lives, with little overlap. Our society consists of the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’. Racism, sexism and ageism are rife. It is little wonder there is a rise in cynicism. It is amusing to see the ’1Malaysia’ concept in a mess because of these.

We are a young nation, and we attained independence through the collective effort of the peoples of Malaya:  the Ordinary Malayans – rubber tappers, tin coolies, jungle clearers, road builders, railway workers, teachers, policemen, port labourers.

They were Malays, Chinese, Indians, Eurasians, Orang Asli. Some made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of independence. Must we now forget their contributions and treat their children and grandchildren not as true Malaysians, but merely as immigrants? Are we not indebted to them?

My great-grandfather was a rubber-tapper and he encouraged his son (my grandfather) to study and lift them out of poverty. At night, he studied by the light of a kerosene lamp. During the day, he escaped being called out to play by the other boys, by hiding and reading in the middle of a patch of long grass.

The daily journey to secondary school in Ipoh was by train and on foot. He then entered the Malayan Civil Service (MCS), worked his way up and was sent to England for various courses and tests. He grabbed every opportunity and was a success.

He worked in the towns and villages throughout Malaya, but complained that the Malay youth then were indisciplined, were bad at time-keeping and had an attitude problem. Many suffered from kais pagi, makan pagi (living from hand-to-mouth) and lacked motivation to work. The majority considered the bounties from the fruit trees or rivers sufficient for their daily needs.

This lack of incentive is deeply entrenched and will remain entrenched unless there is a brutal effort to exorcise it from the Malay psyche. We must give Malays a way out of poverty and halt their dependence on the NEP. The challenge is for them to break out of the spiral of underachievement and low expectation.

A crutch, not a panacea

The NEP, or its reincarnation, will not help the Malays or Malaysia. Instead of making Malays more competitive, it will make them more reliant on false hopes. It will make them idle and addicted to being the master, the supreme race, with little effort involved. It is a destructive ideology. It destroys their character and robs them of an identity. It is an admission of weakness. It relieves them of pride and dignity.

The Malays have had large amounts of money spent on them. No amount of money will elevate them unless it is put to good use to improve themselves. The desire to improve must come from within. They must understand that ambition and aspiration entails hard work and perseverance.

Malays have a strong cultural identity and family values but the NEP has helped to  institutionalize underachievement. So how can we offer security to our children if our adults lack ambition?

perkasa first agm 270310 bigger kerisEducation and a strong stable family life must be foremost in policy changes to make a difference. But politicians have messed up our education system. Government must create opportunities. We need investments, both locally and from abroad, but Malaysia’s negative image precludes that.

Those who champion Ketuanan Melayu should concentrate on the Malay community and seek answers for the following:- Malays lacking aspiration; Malay girls outperforming boys; Malay men abrogating responsibilities towards their family, spending money on successively younger wives, leaving families severely disadvantaged; high divorce rates in Malay marriages;

Most drug addicts and HIV/AIDS sufferers are Malays; abandoned babies are primarily Malays; incest, rape and sexual crimes are committed mainly by Malays. Why not sort out your priorities, clean up your own house first and stop pointing fingers?

Sadly, few Malays are willing to admit the faults within them but would rather lay the blame on other races. And please stop brandishing the keris about. They are revered items, as any good Malay knows, and should never be used in a cheap publicity gimmick.

Anwar has links to Apco, says Khairy Jamaluddin


March 30, 2010

Khairy Jamaluddin: Anwar too has links with Apco

UMNO Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said that Anwar Ibrahim should not be too hasty to accuse the government for its links to Apco when the opposition leader too has connections with several personalities on the global consultancy firm’s advisory council.

khairy jamaluddin kj interview 190310“We have heard the explanation from opposition leader on Apco, which I find a very tenuous argument, saying that Apco is connected to the Israel regime and the country’s security is threatened when Malaysia hired Apco as a communications consultant,” said Khairy, who is Rembau MP.

He said it is for the government to explain the role of Apco and its terms of reference, but he accused Anwar of having links with several members in the company’s advisory council.

“Members of the International Advisory Council of Apco that Anwar has accused of having strong links with the Israeli government include those who have very strong personal and professional links with Anwar,” said Khairy.

Reading out a list of names of people who are on Apco’s International Advisory Board, Khairy said if Anwar claimed that Apco has direct connections with Israel by virtue of its members, the latter too has direct links to Israel.

Among them were former US congressman Stephen Solarz, who had worked together with Anwar on various issues and they are both executive committee members of the global NGO International Crisis Group and former Canadian ambassador Sergio Marchi, who while in the World Trade Organisation, had openly gave his support to Anwar during his incarceration in 1998.

Others were former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski and former Indian foreign minister Lalit Mansingh.  “If Anwar’s allegations are true, then he also has direct links with what he has alleged today. This is not only one individual, but six individuals with connections to Anwar in the International Advisory Council of Apco,” said Khairy.

“Clearly, 1Malaysia was mentioned by Najib Abdul Razak in his first speech immediately becoming prime minister (April), while the contract of Apco appointment was made in August last year,” said Khairy.

Links to Ethos Consulting

Asked on his links to local firm Ethos Consulting – said to have recommended Apco to Najib – Khairy said that this was a deliberate action to malign his image.

Khairy assured that he would be submitting the information of Anwar’s connection to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz who is in charge of parliamentary affairs.

“This is a tactic from the opposition to divert the attention especially from their internal problems. What is more appalling is that this is to divert attention from the international lobbying done by Anwar to gain support in his court case.

He is mobilising international pressure. He went to the UK, the memorandum from the MPs of Australia… meeting former US president Al Gore in the UK – all this is to divert attention and to show that he is getting international support, which one day he might be able to show his thanks,” said Khairy.

Apco: In Mercenaries we trust


by Tian Chua
March 30, 2010

Apco: In Mercenaries we trust

In this dynamic and ever-changing world, Apco Worldwide stands tall as the giant of the lobbying industry. The firm, in its own words, offers “professional and rare expertise” to governments, politicians and corporations, and is always ready to help clients to sail through troubled waters in the complex world of both international and domestic affairs.

Malaysia isn’t Apco’s only client. In my last article, I described Apco’s relationship with homeland security and risk management consultancy firm Asero Worldwide. Asero is almost like a retirement home for ex-Mossad and ex-Shabak secret services officials.

Going through Apco’s record, it is amazing to see the audacity of the company in being so consistently and persistently opposed to the cause of social justice.

Dressing up dictators

As we all know Apco and its strategic partner Asero serve Israel and its Zionist agenda. On the international stage, Apco in particular is well known for assisting dictatorships across the globe.

Gujarat’s Hindu nationalist Chief Minister Narendra Modi hired Apco as image consultant in August 2007. The BJP politician was implicated in the religious riots that killed some 1,000 people.

Besides anti-Muslim chief minister Modi, APCO is well-known for running public relations campaigns for disgraced politicians.

In the mid-90s, the company was contracted by former Nigerian president-for-life Sani Abacha. Apco represented the dictator when the regime clamped down on a popular uprising and executed 9 pro-democracy activists, including the famous environmentalist-artist Ken Saro-Wiwa.

After the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, Apco found new fortunes in Russia, Eastern European states and Central Asia.

Ken Silverstein, the editor of Harper’s Magazine (June 30, 2007) described Apco lobbyists as the “crucial conduit through which pariah regimes advance their interests in Washington”. He exposed APCO’s specialised experience in working on behalf of authoritarian regimes such as Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan.

china celebrates 60th birthday anniversaryIn China, Apco helps Israeli firms to do business. In one of its brochures, Apco advertised that: “Apco will conduct and guide a participant through locating and screening processes relating to a potential business partner or a participant’s potential China distributors, integrators, agents, suppliers or competitors.”

Beating the war drum

Doing public relations for dictatorships is perhaps the more charitable part of Apco’s activities. Apco has a battalion of pro-war lobbyists under its wing. The firm is also a strong advocate of expanding armaments and the US military role in world affairs.

In October 2004, Apco and Kissinger Associates (owned by Henry Kissinger) formed a strategic alliance. Beside Kissinger Associates, Apco also built a broad network or coalition of conservative pro-Zionist lobbyists and consultancy groups including Heritage Foundation, Frontier of Freedom, Jewish Policy Center, etc.

In the name of war against terror, Apco helped to coordinate government communications to convince the public of the necessity of war. Its job also included manufacturing public opinion and feedback in supporting the war efforts. Basically it exploited Islam-phobia in Western society to sell aggression as the solution to regain security in the West.

george w bush awards three friends of america tony blair john   howard 140109 03In addition to supporting George Bush (right in photo), Apco also defended British prime minister Tony Blair’s unpopular move to enter the Iraq war. Apco had assisted Tony Blair (left in photo) to consolidate the war alliance. Together with the London-based Foreign Policy Institute, Apco prepared and published the pamphlet, ‘A Global Alliance for Global Values’ in which Blair declared:

“We must commit ourselves to a complete renaissance of our strategy to defeat those that threaten us.”

After the invasion of Iraq, Apco swiftly positioned itself to help American companies plunder Iraqi wealth and resources. In May 2003, Apco Worldwide launched a task force headed by Marc Ginsberg, the former US ambassador to Morocco, to help U.S. clients secure contracts for Iraq’s rebuilding.

Anti-reform in US

All evils start at home. Apco is not an angel in its home base either. Armed with such a heavy conservative political outlook, it is always ready to serve the right-wing political agenda against reforms and public interests.

Apco Worldwide was born out of the law firm Arnold & Porter, one of Washington DC.’s largest law firms that is well connected to the tobacco industry.

Apco is described as a lobby firm that “specialises in helping corporations advance their goals by manipulating legislators, and drafting and advancing model legislation and regulations. Key tools… include the creation of business coalitions and fake, corporate-funded ‘grassroots’ groups tailored to specific issues.”

In 1993, tobacco giant Philip Morris hired Apco to counter public awareness campaigns against tobacco. Apco organised a pseudo-NGO front known as The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC). The objective was to fight public health efforts seeking legislative change, and fence off attempts to restrict tobacco sale.

tobacco convention protest 151105 grim reaperNot only does Apco want people to think smoking is good for health, it also represents the profiteering interests of pharmaceutical companies and health care industries. Thus we are not surprised to notice that Apco is actively resisting and undermining Obama’s initiative for health care reforms.

One of Apco’s favorite legislators is Senator Joe Lieberman, who is a staunch supporter of military aid to Israel. Lieberman’s wife, Hadassah was Apco’s leading lobbyist for health care and pharmaceuticals clients.

On behalf of big drug companies, Senator Lieberman organised anti-health care reforms that hardliners hoped would frustrate Obama’s initiative; and have successfully delayed the passage of the new health care schemes.

Outside the US, Apco led the legal campaign against the distribution of cheap AIDS drug in South Africa.

Apart from health, Apco is also in league with big multinationals in the energy sector to reject concerns over global warming. Again, the assignment of TASSC was to present ‘rational’, ‘level-headed’ scientific evidences to paint the danger of global warming as illusion of alarmist environmental lunatics.

Paid by companies like Exxon Mobil, Apco was tasked to assemble an army of climate change skeptics to oppose the Kyoto Treaty’s “science and technology fatal flaws”.

In all these, APCO’s means and ends have been none but profits and bigger profits.

The public relations captains in Malaysia

Apco’s managing director in Kuala Lumpur is Paul Stadlen. Stadlen came to Malaysia in 2008, around the time of ISA crackdown against Teresa Kok, Raja Petra and Sin Chew journalist Tan Hoon Cheng. He was recruited to assist the communications strategy of the Home Ministry to justify the ISA arrests, particularly with regard to the international community.

Apco’s vice chairman Larry Snoddon was appointed Asian regional CEO on January 2009. H Snoddon was previously CEO of Burson-Marsteller, a UK-based public relations big player.

barrack obama and budget for iraq and afghanistan 100409 01Burson-Marsteller too had a very interesting record. Like Apco, Burson-Marsteller was hired by Nigerian Ministry of Information in the late 60s to counter international condemnation over alleged genocide and systematic human rights violations conducted by the Nigerian military.

Similarly, the firm was appointed shortly after Lee Kuan Yew’s infamous ‘Op Cold Store’ during Singapore’s formative years. Lee sought its services to help Singapore develop a 10-year program to attract overseas investments.

More recently, Burson-Marsteller represented US. private security services firm Blackwater in a controversial case. It was engaged to defend Blackwater employees, who had killed 17 Iraqi civilians following a shoot-out in the street of Baghdad on September 16, 2007.

However the real boss of Apco’s operations in Malaysia is based in Washington DC. The person in-charge of Najib’s image consultancy is Jonathan M Winer, the senior vice president of Apco Washington DC.

Formerly, Winer served as the US deputy assistant secretary of state international law enforcement from 1994 through 1999. During his term as deputy assistant secretary of state, he was known to be an expert in terrorist finances.

NONEIn U.S. domestic politics, Winer had once helped Kerry’s presidential campaign. Unfortunately unlike his boss John Kerry, Jonathan Winer is not a good friend of Anwar’s. Jonathan Winer had in fact started to help Najib to campaign against Anwar prior to the Apco contract.

As far back as 2005, conservative US groups cited Jonathan Winer’s congressional testimony to paint World Assembly of Muslim Youth (Wamy) as terrorist-linked organization.

Winer’s claim was never vigorously challenged. He based his conclusions solely on a single event when Wamy had invited Hamas leader Khalid Mishal as a VIP to its Riyadh conference held on October 2002.

Besides being sympathetic to Zionist causes, Winer had on many occasions expressed his deep prejudice towards Muslims and Islam in general. In his testimony to the US Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs on 31 July 2003, Winer described the organisation Ikhwan Muslimin (Muslim Brotherhood) as “terrorist group”.

He said, “The Brotherhood’s role in the development of other militant Islamic organizations is also illustrated by its relationship to the establishment of the Indonesian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiya, the JI, created with the aim of setting up an Islamic state in Indonesia. JI’s founder has acknowledged being inspired by the Brotherhood in the goal of jihad as a means to the creation of an Islamic state in South East Asia covering Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and the southern Philippines.

“JI then received funding from wealthy Saudis affiliated with Al Qaeda. In turn, the Brotherhood’s central financial mechanism, Al Taqwa, established operations in Malaysia that linked to JI… the al Taqwa group…has long acted as financial advisers to Al Qaeda, … providing direct assistance to Osama bin Laden as well as investment advice and cash transfer mechanisms for Al Qaeda and other radical Islamic groups.”

I presume the above view expressed by Jonathan Winer is not acceptable to my friends from Barisan Nasional. Nonetheless, has the Malaysian government requested the Apco consultant to change his view before signing the lucrative RM23m contract?

Can we trust Apco?

The modus operandi of Apco has been the same; it provides the public relations legionnaire that advocates the cause of those who can pay, and can pay the most.

The points I raised in this article have somewhat been included in my debate of Royal Address in the Parliament on 29 March, 2010. In the debate, I appealed to the BN, as well as fellow Malaysians, to treat this issue seriously.

Apco might provide a convenient shortcut to face-lift the government. But seriously, can we really trust a mercenary to serve our national interests?

And ultimately, if 1Malaysia, as the government claims, is about fulfilling a shared destiny of Malaysian people, we should not need any external intervention to shape our country’s future.

Tian Chua is member of Parliament for Batu and is also director of strategy for Parti Keadilan Rakyat.