To Wipro’s Bashah: Bloomington, Indiana and Los Angeles, California

May this James Ingram’s popular hit tune bring back memories of your days in Bloomington, Indiana and Los Angeles, California . It is obvious to me during recent kopi tarik sessions that America did a lot in defining your worldview. American trained guys do not quit. They are trained to take the ups and the downs in equal measure, getting stronger, more determined and very focused on redefining the rules with each passing phase in the journey of life. Keep it that way. We must engage in an ongoing struggle to find a new “S”-curve. To compete, we must innovate.

Bashah, not bad for a boy from Bukit Mertajam, Pulau Pinang. Great times ahead, pal, once we have sorted out the political mess and have our Pak Sheikh back in Putrajaya, inshaAllah.—Dee Jay Din Merican.



What’s next?

UMNO Eats Humble Pie PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 29 March 2008

What is the most unpalatable pie in the world? It is not apple pie, nor it is “Popeye”. It is “humble pie”. This is a lame joke. Once upon a time, the Western elite would finished all the meat they hunt. Meanwhile, the remaining viscera would be made as pie eaten by the servants. Of course, the taste is bad, but they still had to eat it. Therefore, we have the proverb “humble pie”.

The BN has also eaten “humble pie” under the current Terengganu political situation. They have been complacent and overlooked the attitude of the palace. They thought it is such a matter of course for Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh to continue in his position as the state’s Menteri Besar.

The delay of Idris’ appointment is already a warning. However, the BN didn’t do anything to solve the problem. By the time the palace decided to appoint Datuk Ahmad Said, the BN was caught unprepared.

“The BN can’t afford to lose the sixth state.”

The BN showed a tough stance and wanted to strip of Ahmad’s UMNO membership. At the same time, they claimed that they have received the necessary support from the Terengganu state assemblyperson.It seems the BN is strong and wanted others to follow them. However, they were actually bluffing and did not have much to go on with. They should have know that they are hopeless. The palace’s strategy is comprehensive and foresighted. They moved forward steadily and knew that they will win.

The party membership is no longer important after Ahmad was appointed as the Menteri Besar. Even though he may be expelled from the UMNO, he is still the Menteri Besar.

He has 90 days to rope in PAS and BN state assemblyperson to join the state government under his leadership. With the support from the palace and the position as exco member, surely some people will change their mind and support Ahmad.

Of course, the BN still has the trump card. They can deny Ahmad through their votes during the state council meeting. The question is, are they able to pool enough votes?

Even so, the palace and Ahmad are able to face it readily. Ahmad may request the Sultan to dissolve the Executive Council to hold another state elections.

Does the BN have the courage to face another elections after a great setback? Moreover, Terengganu UMNO has been divided. It is not easy to win the state elections. The BN can’t afford to lose the sixth state.

Perhaps they can take the risk. They can declare emergency so that the central government could takeover Terengganu. This practice had been used in Kelantan.

However, a emergency declaration requires the approval from the Sultan or the Regent Advisory Council. I’m afraid that the problem will be more complicated.

There is no way for them to forward or backward. They are helpless and can only eat humble pie. (Translated by LEE MEI NYEE/ Sin Chew Daily)

Wake Up Call to Mainstream Media: Back to Basics or We will boycott You–Din Merican


Fauwaz Abdul Aziz

March 29, 2008

The newspapers have to go ‘back to basics’ in terms of journalistic and professional ethics if they are to remain relevant in Malaysian society today, said a report by three media watchdogs. If they do not heed the message made clear by voters on March 8 – that voters had not been taken in by the powerful pro-BN media machinery – the newspapers would risk losing the last remaining shreds of credibility and relevance that they enjoy, the report added.

Launching the report today, Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) executive director Gayathry Venkiteswaran said this return to the fundamental role and purpose of journalism includes doing away with government-prescribed ‘ratios’ that determine how many ‘pro-Barisan Nasional’ (BN) versus ‘pro-Opposition’ reports are published.

“(The general election) really showed how irrelevant the kind of coverage in these newspapers (was) because, despite the bombardment of these (pro-BN) articles… and ads…, the results showed otherwise,” she told a press conference at CIJ’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

“Something had happened, and I think the people had already made up their minds not to believe the newspapers and maybe the ads just went beyond the limit. People just said, ‘forget it, lah’.

“I think it’s really time to go back to the basics of what journalism is all about. That is step one. We should not have to say what is the ratio of what is pro-BN and what is pro-Opposition,” she added.

The report – a quantitative analysis of the election reporting of six English, Malay and Tamil-language newspapers – was a ‘Media Monitoring Initiative’ jointly-conducting by CIJ, Writers Alliance for Media Independence (Wami) and Charter 2000-Aliran.

The report provided a quantitative breakdown of newspaper articles in relation to BN component parties and BR parties (PKR, DAP and PAS). According to the report, The Star was the most partial among English newspapers in terms of elections reporting in favour of Barisan Nasional (BN) with 63.12 percent its election reports being ‘pro-BN’.

Various pro reports

The daily was also found to have had the smallest proportion (5.5 percent) of pro-Opposition reports, while 31.3 percent of its stories were ‘neutral’.

‘Pro-BN’ and ‘pro-Opposition’ reports refer to those that put the BN coalition or opposition party in a positive light.

‘Neutral’ reports, on the other hand, are those that provide space for the various parties concerned to give their side of the story. Neutral reports also pertain to those stories which do not contain any clear ‘persuasions’ in favour of or against one coalition or party, said Gayathry.

Not far behind The Star in terms of partiality towards the BN was New Straits Times (NST), Gayathry said further.

While the NST had slightly more space (5.9 percent) for pro-Opposition stories than the Star, it had only slightly more (31.31 percent) of neutral stories.

In terms of pro-BN stories, the NST is up there with The Star as having 60.29 percent of its stories being in favour of the ruling coalition.

The Sun was found to have dedicated the most space (40.87 percent) in its pages to ‘neutral stories’. Just over 16 percent of its stories, furthermore, could be described as pro-Opposition.

Pro-BN stories, however, still dominated the “free” newspaper with just under 43 percent.

Other than the English newspapers, the three broadsheets covered by the Media Monitoring Initiative were Malay daily Utusan Malaysia, and Tamil dailies Malaysia Nanban and Makkal Osai.

Utusan Malaysia had allotted about 83 percent of its pages for pro-BN reports, and only 1.89 percent for pro-Opposition reports.

Of all six newspapers, Malaysia Nanban and Makkal Osai contained the most space for pro-Opposition stories.

While 23 percent of Makkal Osai’s election reports were ‘pro-Opposition stories, Malaysia Nanban carried pro-Opposition reports that took up 19 percent of its pages.

Makkal Osai’s pro-BN stories took up 66 percent of its pages while 70 percent of Malaysia Nanban’s stories were pro-BN.

Gayathry said the report could not provide a quantitative analaysis of the Chinese-language newspapers as there were not enough human resources to conduct the monitoring exercise systematically and regularly.

Ensure justice is done

In addition to the internal reforms of newspaper organisations, the government needs to allow for the emergence of more publications and media houses so that the ensuing increased competition can ensure the justice is being done to the journalism profession, the report recommended.

“For this to be done, the laws that govern the licencing of media need to be relaxed while anti-monopoly regulations (should be) introduced to create a healthy market of ideas and information.”

Restoring the people’s faith in the existing print media houses also require the doing away of laws that impede the growth of diverse, plural and credible media, the report said further.These include the Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Communications and Multimedia Act, the Internal Security Act, the Official Secrets Act and the Sedition Act.

“In their place, there are more effective models of self-regulation that will ensure that rights and responsibility grow hand-in-hand.

“The media bosses need to take the challenge to set aside ringgit and sen differences and to take on board the task of demanding that these laws be dismantled. The governing parties at the federal and state levels should know it is in their interest to support this move.”


There is a strong message in the above report to the Managing Editors and their teams in The New Straits Times, The Star and Utusan Malaysia and those in TV3. In this list, I would personally include BERNAMA which is headed by a Badawi bodekist, Dato Anuar Zaini. They should take notice of the findings in this report, stop being lapdogs of the Government in power, learn the basics of good journalism and television, and behave like a true Fourth Estate.

We need accurate, balanced and careful coverage based on the principle that a well informed public will make intelligent choices. Malaysians are increasingly Internet savvy, and can also find their own information. Otherwise, our mainstream media will face serious consequences.

Civil Society Groups—the Fifth Estate— led by Haris Ibrahim of The Peoples’ Parliament, Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Institut Kajian Dasar Executive Director Khalid Jaffar are now leading the campaign to boycott the mainstream media and advertisers and companies who use them. Anwar Ibrahim specifically called for the boycott of Utusan Malaysia and TV3. Let us hurt their pockets by supporting the call to boycott the mainstream media.—Din Merican

Ole Blue Eyes is Back

Guys and Gals,

Ole Blue Eyes Frank is back to entertain you for this weekend. This time he sings one of my favorites, That’s Life”, followed by “My Way”. Have a lovely and swinging Saturday night with the one who is truly cares. Treat her or him nice. Forget this week’s messy politics and focus on having a good time. Take care.—Dee Jay Din Merican


Here is Dean Martin too.



Dr M: Ask the tribunal to apologise

March 28, 2008
“Ask the tribunal to apologise.”

This was the direct retort of former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad to calls for him to apologise for the ‘wrongs’ surrounding the 1988 judicial crisis.

lingam tape inquiry day 4 170108 mahathirIn remarks written by him which was published today by English daily The Sun, Mahathir said the dismissal of former Lord President Mohd Salleh Abbas and Supreme Court judges Wan Sulaiman Pawanteh and George Seah were not his doing.

He, therefore, feels no obligation to apologise.

If any party were to apologise, it should be the members of the tribunal led by Hamid Omar which sacked Salleh, said Mahathir.

Mahathir also said he was open to the authorities investigating his person for any “misdeeds” during his 22 years as Prime Minister.

“Unless there is a frame-up, I think there should be nothing to pin on me,” he said.

Moving on to the suggestion by DAP national chairperson Karpal Singh that he apologise for the 1988 debacle – which many regard as ‘the darkest moment’ for the judiciary – Mahathir said on this point his conscience was clear.

“Even other accusations against me, including the dismissal of judges, were not my doing and I do not feel obliged to apologise. Ask the tribunal to apologise,” he said.

Being more correct than correct

Taking a potshot at Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Zaid Ibrahim – who had asked for the government to apologise for the sacking and suspension of the five judges – Mahathir said the lawyer had “forgotten” that he had supported the then-government for its actions.

judiciary forum lingam tape 171107 salleh abbas palace of justic“The person asking that the government should apologise for what happened to Tun Salleh Abbas may have forgotten that as President of the Muslim Lawyers Association, he fully supported the action that was taken,” said Mahathir.

“He castigated the Bar Council for condemning Tun Hamid Omar over the dismissal of judges. Now he wants to be more correct than correct. I wonder why,” he added.

In 1988, Mahathir had convened the special tribunal to try Salleh on charges of misconduct and for questioning constitutional amendments that seriously eroded the powers of the judiciary.

Supreme Court judges George Seah and Wan Sulaiman – who had ruled that the tribunal was convened unconstitutionally – were also sacked after being found guilty of misconduct by another tribunal.

Three other judges – Azmi Kamaruddin, Eusoffe Abdoolcader and Wan Hamzah Mohamed Salleh were suspended.

Probe misconduct in Terengganu

In his article, Mahathir also suggested investigations – preferably by “credible foreign agencies” –  should be conducted to look into allegations that abuse of power and misconduct had led the Teregganu royal palace to reject Barisan Nasional’s (BN) initial choice for menteri besar (MB).

According to him, rumour has it that various “unnecessary and wasteful” state projects worth billions of ringgit had been contracted to outsiders behind whom are members of ‘the first family’.

abdullah ahmad badawi and idris jusoh and ahmad said and terengganuIt was also alleged that Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had “influenced” former MB Idris Jusoh who was responsible for such a state of affairs and from which he had “benefitted financially”, said Mahathir.

“These are all rumours. It will be quite impossible to prove anything as the perpetrators are skilled in hiding themselves,”he said.

He also said that the public was “leery” of investigations by government agencies and departments.

“The people believe, not true of course, that the government has been interfering with the work of the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA), the Police and the Attorney General (A-G)’s Chambers. The say this is borne out by the results of investigations by these agencies,” he said.

As such, the job should be left to foreign experts to look into the matter, he added.

“The public cannot be blamed for not having faith in government agencies doing investigations. The public cannot be blamed for suspecting cover-ups by the government or worse still the government may be using these enforcement agencies to threaten people,” he said.

“To clear its good name, the government should get credible foreign agencies to do the investigation. Of course, they must be given full access to the documents etc,” he added.