Have a Great Weekend, Friends

January 28, 2010


I am ahead of schedule this week to bring you some wholesome entertainment. This is because in the next two days Kamsiah and I will be at her niece’s wedding ceremonies.  I have chosen with appropriate advice from Kamsiah to feature  some of the finest female vocalists for your weekend pleasure. I think we all deserve some light entertainment after heavy politiking on this blog.

We must ease tensions and remember that Malaysia is a beautiful place to be, although it can be better if we are a united people, less conscious  of our colour, race and creed. I am proud to be Malaysian, and it is hard for me to trade places. But I am also a Malaysian who recognises that Malaysia “tak boleh semua”, although some of our leaders “sapu semua”, leaving crumps for the rest of us.  Have a good weekend.–DJ Din Merican

Joni Mitchell– Both Sides Now

Petula Clark–Love, This is My Song

Anne Murray–Snowbird

Natalie Cole–Orange Coloured Sky

Vanessa Williams–Save the Best for Last

Brenda Lee– I want to be wanted

Diana Krall–The Look of Love

PKR’s Vice President Azmin Ali on Zulkifli Noordin Issue

January 28, 2010

PKR Vice President Azmin Ali  on Zulkifli Noordin Issue: “Now is the time to act against him.”

PKR Vice President Azmin Ali

PKR’s powerful vice president Azmin Ali says he’s not going to be another Zulkifli Noordin, the recalcitrant MP for Kulim-Bandar Bharu, and upset the apple cart for his own party and the Pakatan Rakyat for the benefit of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s UMNO-BN coalition.

By Wong Choon Mei, Harakah

Of late, Azmin has been the target of the UMNO-controlled media, which has been trying to pit him against PKR colleague Selangor Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim. And the reason – to foment negative publicity for the Pakatan state government and pave the way for UMNO to retake Selangor, the country’s richest state.

“The issue of rivalry between myself and Tan Sri Khalid  is a nonsensical notion spread by bankrupt politicians like Khir Toyo ( the former UMNO chief minister of Selangor),” Azmin told Harakahdaily in an interview.

“Let me make it clear right now. I give my full support to Tan Sri Khalid. I have always believed he can do the job and I am happy with his leadership. I will continue to support him in the state government through my role as the leader of the Selangor backbenchers.”

Destabilizing the Pakatan

The 46-year old Azmin is a pioneer member of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s Reformasi movement. His boyish good looks belie his age, but those close to him rate him as being one of the shrewdest political brains in the party. Many believe that if UMNO succeeded in luring him over – like it appears to be succeeding with Zulkifli – it would deal PKR and Pakatan a major blow.

Since the 2008 general elections, Najib and the UMNO-BN have done little to improve the country, choosing instead to focus their energies and time on destabilizing the Pakatan. Last year, they managed to stage a coup d’etat in Perak and they have made it clear Selangor is their next target.

“We won’t be sitting ducks but we will pick our time and our fights,” Azmin said. “In fact, on Wednesday, Selangor Pakatan will be convening a retreat to brainstorm strategies on how to retaliate and fend off UMNO’s attempts to topple us.”

“We cannot disclose our strategies but our biggest strength is when we act as a united and formidable front.”

Act now against Zulkifli

He also lambasted party colleague Zulkifli, whom many have accused of being an UMNO mole or Trojan horse out to trip the Pakatan.

Zulkifli had crossed swords with PAS MP for Shah Alam Khalid Samad over the use of the word Allah by non-Muslims. He then lodged a police report against the PAS leader. That sparked anger from amongst his Pakatan colleagues, not least from his own PKR party, drawing calls for his immediate sacking.

Indeed, Zulkifli appears to have flouted the gag order imposed on him by the PKR political bureau on Tuesday. He has created a fresh furore by calling the DAP a chauvinistic party that wanted to turn Malaysia into a Chinese country, and urging PKR and PAS to dump it and join hands with UMNO instead.

“Now is the time to act against him,” Azmin said. “The political bureau has already deliberated on his case and asked the disciplinary board to conduct an investigation within one month. I am now urging the disciplinary board to wrap up the whole thing within the next two weeks. In fact, the sooner the better.”

Selangor Menteri Besar’s Approval Rating Down

January 28, 2010

Selangor Menteri Besar’s Approval Rating takes a dip

by Hazlan Zakaria

Rumours that Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim is facing a dampening in popularity since taking power almost two years ago may yet be proven true.

khalid ibrahim pc 120809 02According to a Merdeka Centre poll, the MB’s approval rating has dropped eight points in recent months – from a high of 62 percent in June 2009 to 54 percent in January this year.

The survey comes hot in the heels of recent claims of rampant dissatisfaction in the state with Khalid’s administration.

However, interestingly the approval rating for the state government has remained quite strong – it stands at 60 percent, only losing ground slightly from 64 percent in June 2009.

The survey was revealed today in a close-door discussion on the public perception towards the Pakatan Rakyat state government at a Pakatan Rakyat retreat in Subang Jaya.

Survey’s useful

Sources said Khalid strutted his usual corporate savvy by stressing the need to serve Selangor’s five million residents, or “customers” as he calls it, with the utmost efficiency.

He also appealed to the elected representatives to win over the state public service institution in order for state policies to be implemented smoothly.

Speaking to reporters during a break later, the main organisation of the retreat Yaakob Sapari said the surveys commissioned by the state had helped identify weaknesses in the Pakatan government.

An area of concern was the state government’s problems in communicating with the public.  “Currently, the public mostly subscribe to the mainstream media, as such information from the state government does not get through. Only a few actually use the alternative media,” he said.

“This is something that we must address to make sure that our message gets through to the public”.

No ‘Perak style’ takeover

On rumours that BN will attempt to wrest the state from Pakatan next month, Yaakob said the state government was aware of it and are making preparations, just in case.

“This is BN’s psy-war. They have lost the battle for the votes of the rakyat. They should have gone to the rakyat to try to win them over, but instead, they are now using the police and courts,” he said.

“We know about all this and are monitoring the situation. In fact we are prepared to face this and have plans to counter it. I can assure you, no elected representatives will defect. What happen in Perak shall not repeat in Selangor,” he said.

In February last year, Pakatan lost control of the state government after three of its assembly persons defected and became BN friendly independents.

A similar takeover is rumoured to involve criminal and legal action against Khalid, Yaakop along with executive council members Ronnie Liu and Dr Xavier Jayakumamar.

All four have either outstanding cases or are under investigation by either the police or the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

Kamal Ahmad tentang PKR

28hb. Januari, 2010

PKR semakin sakit tetapi belum tahap lumpuh

oleh Kamal Ahmad

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) kini semakin sakit dan memasuki peringkat tenat, tetapi belum tahap lumpuh. Kenyataan Presidennya, Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, jelas memberi pengertian bahawa penyokong, ahli dan pemimpin parti itu kini saling bercanggah pendapat serta berpuak. Buktinya, Wan Azizah berkata, rombakan kepemimpinan parti itu pada 20 Januari lalu menimbulkan kekeliruan dan keresahan di kalangan tertentu. Beliau mengakui dan sedar tidak semua akan berpuas hati dengan keputusan dibuat kepemimpinan parti.

Dr Wan Azizah melalui kenyataan dalam laman web rasmi parti itu seterusnya mengakui PKR akan menempuh saat sukar untuk mencipta keseimbangan kepemimpinan yang terbaik dan strategi ampuh. Seterusnya, beliau mengakui bahawa kekecewaan diluahkan sebilangan rakan dan ahli parti memang ada asasnya sekali gus sedia berbincang dengan semua pihak terbabit.

Selangor contoh terbaik bagi menggambarkan senario perpecahan PKR di seluruh negara. Menteri Besarnya, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, adalah Ketua Perhubungan PKR negeri dan datang daripada cabang PKR Kuala Selangor yang dibubarkan. Cabang itu “lenyap” selepas hilang 15 ahli jawatankuasa (AJK) apabila dua daripadanya meninggal dunia, seorang keluar parti dan 11 meletak jawatan pada 20 Januari lalu. Tindakan mereka didorong kesedaran selepas kecewa dan hilang keyakinan terhadap Abdul Khalid.

Kes cabang PKR tidak upaya disembunyikan lagi oleh parti itu. Tindakan AJK itu juga adalah pernyataan atau manifestasi protes pemimpin bawahan dan penyokong beliau. Apabila seorang Menteri Besar digugat sebegitu rupa, pasti ada sebabnya. Ini berlaku ketika parti sudah menggenggam tampuk kuasa sekali gus membuktikan ada sesuatu tidak kena dengan Menteri Besar. Kesan kegagalan mentadbir cabang PKR Kuala Selangor turut dirasakan di cabang parti seluruh negeri. Hujah mereka ialah kalau Abdul Khalid gagal mentadbir cabang parti yang ada 5,000 ahli, di mana kemampuan beliau mengurus parti peringkat negeri. Apabila gagal mentadbir parti, Khalid juga sebenarnya tidak layak mengurus kerajaan serta rakyat Selangor.

Sebaliknya, Abdul Khalid seperti biasa menuding jari mendakwa UMNO bertanggungjawab atas semua perkembangan buruk PKR di negeri itu. Itulah cara beliau melepaskan diri daripada prestasi dan reputasi buruk dirinya mengurus parti. Contoh kelemahan pentadbiran beliau ialah menukar setiausaha, naib ketua, ketua penerangan dan bendahari peringkat cabang serta penyandang jawatan dalam perhubungan PKR negeri berpuluh kali sejak menerajui parti itu.

“Dalam hal ini, jangan sekali-kali Tan Sri (Abdul Khalid) salahkan UMNO. Dia harus cermin dirinya dulu siapa puncanya. Pembubaran cabang PKR Kuala Selangor dan keluarnya AJK serta ahli parti di Ijok bukan atas dasar mereka dapat imbuhan atau habuan daripada UMNO. Ini atas kerelaan hati masing-masing.

“Tan Sri (Abdul Khalid) dengan sombongnya tidak pernah membela nasib ahli-ahli parti… inilah yang sebenarnya. Saya ingin tegaskan sekali lagi ini bukan salah UMNO atau Barisan Nasional. Masing-masing (AJK yang meletak jawatan) ada fikiran. Dia tahu mana baik dan mana yang tidak baik. Mana yang boleh memimpin dan yang tidak boleh memimpin,” kata Azmi Muhamad, 51, bekas AJK Cabang PKR Kuala Selangor yang keluar parti itu pada 19 Disember lalu.

Antara sebab kekecewaan 11 AJK cabang yang didakwa terhadap Khalid seperti diumumkan pada 20hb. Januari lalu ialah:

• Gagal mengadakan mesyuarat AJK Cabang dalam tempoh 14 bulan terakhir menyebabkan biro tidak dapat diwujudkan sekali gus gerak kerja serta aktiviti tidak dapat diadakan.

• Wujud jurang kemesraan dan jalinan komunikasi dengan disebabkan sikap sombong selain tidak lagi turun menemui AJK serta ahli akar umbi.

•Cabang PKR Kuala Selangor tidak mempunyai pejabat pentadbiran parti sebaliknya menggunakan Pejabat Kerja Menteri Besar di pekan Ijok yang dibiayai kerajaan negeri.

• Khalid tidak mengambil inisiatif memperkukuhkan parti walaupun ahli bukan Melayu keluar parti dan menyertai Kelab Penyokong PAS.

• Bersikap enggan menerima pandangan, teguran dan cadangan dalam hala tuju parti yang hanya ditentukan olehnya.

“Kami juga kecewa dan bosan kerana Tan Sri (Abdul Khalid) gagal menunaikan janji-janjinya seperti mahu memajukan Ijok menjadi seperti Bandar Klang. Beliau juga menjanjikan membantu belia di sini memperoleh pendapatan sekurang-kurangnya RM2,000 sebulan. Pada awalnya memang ada belia dihantar berkursus, tetapi hingga kini masih belum ada kerja seperti dijanjikan.

“Kita rasa kecewa lagi apabila beliau mengambil sahabat baiknya daripada kalangan bukan orang Ijok. Contohnya, Pegawai Penyelarasnya duduk di Kajang, tetapi ambil beliau letakkan di Ijok untuk mentadbir Ijok. Seolah-olah di Ijok tiada orang bijak pandai (berkelayakan),” katanya.

Lantas Khalid dicabar mengosongkan kerusi DUN Ijok yang diduduki bagi membolehkan pilihan raya kecil diadakan bagi mendapatkan mandat baru rakyat yang rata-rata didakwa kecewa dengan beliau.

“Saya cabar beliau letak jawatan. Siapa yang akan dapat sokongan. Kalau dia betul-betul hebat, dia letak jawatan. Kita akan lawan habis-habisan,” kata Azmi yang pernah menjadi orang kuat Menteri Besar itu sejak 10 tahun lalu. Satu lagi kekecewaan Azmi sehingga mendorong beliau keluar parti ialah tindakan Abdul Khalid membubarkan Jawatankuasa Penyelaras PKR DUN Ijok selepas dua bulan dipersetujui penubuhannya dan menerima sijil pelantikan daripada Menteri Besar itu.

“Tetapi adakah benar surat pembubaran itu ditandatangani oleh menter besar sendiri kerana kami meraguinya. Namun beliau langsung tidak memberi maklum balas dan saya pun sudah membuat laporan polis mengenai surat itu,” katanya.

Cabang PKR Kuala Selangor wujud dengan sokongan kira-kira 30 ranting yang mempunyai kira-kira 5,000 ahli. Namun keupayaan Abdul Khalid mentadbir Cabang PKR Kuala Selangor, malah tindakan beliau selaku Ketua Perhubungan PKR Negeri, sangat kontroversi. Apakah yang boleh dinilaikan mengenai sikap beliau apabila pernah menukar sekurang-kurangnya enam Setiausaha Cabang dan lima Setiausaha Perhubungan Negeri? Apakah yang tersurat dan tersirat apabila beberapa orang sama ada “berhenti atau diberhentikan” bagi jawatan Timbalan Ketua Perhubungan dan Naib Ketua Perhubungan? Begitu juga jawatan bendahari dan ketua penerangan peringkat cabang serta negeri.

Lebih kontroversi ialah kenapa ada memorandum kepada Dr Wan Azizah dan Setiausaha Agung PKR mendesak Abdul Khalid meletak semua jawatan dalam parti dan kerajaan daripada cabang PKR Kuala Selangor, pertengahan 2009 lalu? Menariknya, ibu pejabat PKR senyap membisu tanpa memberi maklum balas kepada memorandum berkenaan.

Apa tanggapan ibu pejabat terhadap cabang PKR Kuala Selangor? Apakah yang ditanya kepada Abdul Khalid? dan, sehingga menyusul surat kedua kepada Dr Wan Azizah serta Setiausaha Agungnya seminggu kemudian yang bertanya status memorandum berkenaan, namun sehingga kini Abdul Khalid umpama berada di bawah perlindungan kepemimpinan tertinggi PKR di ibu pejabat. — Berita Harian

* This article is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

The Value of Measured Decision Making–Suara Keramat Pak Sako

January 28, 2010


On giving Zulkifli Noordin the sack: the value of measured decision making

Although I have views to share on various recent events and issues, I have been occupied and have not been able to blog. But I shall take a moment to comment on the Zulkifli Noordin matter.

Zaid Ibrahim is of the view that Zulkifli Noordin should be given the boot, and the sooner the better. Personally, I concur. The person in question has breached party and coalition lines by taking undiscussed renegade action against a coalition member.

The public’s disappointment over the PKR leadership council’s decision to give the disciplinary committee up to one month to decide on Zulkifli Noordin’s position is understandable. I too was expecting a more forthright handling of the issue by PKR. However that was not to be.

Haris Ibrahim, for example, laments over this lack of decisiveness and its political cost to PKR and Pakatan Rakyat as a whole. Yes, I believe there could be a political cost. But there are political costs either way.

I now speculate on and rationalise why PKR did what it did. There could be valid reasons. It could be possible that the political cost of taking this path is lower.

While a rapid sacking of Zulkifli Noordin could signal to the public that PKR is capable of rapid and decisive action, I believe there is merit in taking the current approach of going through the due party processes, such as submitting Zulkifli Noordin to the disciplinary committee prior to what could be an inevitable execution.

Remember that Anwar is the de facto leader of the party, not the official leader. Most importantly he is not and should not be seen as the dictatorial hand of PKR: enemies might politically exploit this impression. Moreover, if PKR is what it really stands for, then this sort of dictatorial rule is not in keeping with PKR’s culture of consensus and democratic decision-making. Anwar, therefore, should be  seen as a leader who promotes and abides by this culture of consensus and one who is able to give the subject fair hearing and a chance to have a say.

After that, the party could proceed to expel Zulkifli Noordin. This is precisely the move that I (would like to) believe Anwar is be taking. And I believe there is virtue in taking this route.

First, it defuses any possibility of sensationalising Zulkifli Noordin’s expelling and turning him into a martyr and giving him the opportunity to garner more support than he deserves. By taking this route, we dampen any possible gains that Zulkifli Noordin could make, put him to shame for his poor actions and then sack him without fanfare.

Second, there is also value in retaining the option of controlling when to deliver the trump card. Instead of letting their hand be forced (to immediately sack Zulkifli Noordin), Anwar and PKR are choosing to deploy this trump card out of their own will at a strategic moment.

Third, party decisions must at least appear to be as if it was made after having been given due consideration, not as if it was made spontaneously or haphazardly. I’m sure Machiavelli, Sun Tzu and Kautilya alluded to such things and more in their respective magnum opuses.

The key here is speed, in the words of our prime minister. The disciplinary committee should not wait for the tail end of the one month it is accorded to convene and decide. It should display vigorous dynamism. It should get going and pass its judgment as soon as possible.

The single drawback to all this is that the public may lack the patience to attempt comprehend the subtleties of decision making, and it is often tricky for political groups to explain such strategies to the public without being seen as verbose, cunning, or laying bare their strategising to rival political groups.

In the meantime, let us sit back and watch how it all plays out. As a French diplomat once noted, between a crisis and a catastrophe, we might as well have a glass of champagne.– Suara Keramat Pak Sako

A Good Spin

January 28, 2010


A Study in Creative Dissonance

by Syed Nadzri (January 27, 2010)

CONTRASTING articles by Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim appeared on the same page yesterday, in the opinion section of The Wall Street Journal Asia. They both centred on the controversial “Allah” issue, but that was where the similarity ended. In approach, tenor and presumably intention, their articles went in practically opposite directions from the start — the prime minister taking a conciliatory, disarming style, as against the opposition leader’s fault-finding digressions.

The contrast was apparent from their first lines, which told the whole story.

Najib: “In contrast to the impression left by some international reporting, in the hours and days after the recent vandalism of churches and other places of worship in Malaysia, the true spirit of our nation shone through.”

Anwar: “Malaysia has once again resurfaced in international headlines for the wrong reasons.”

The significance of the articles appearing in the same newspaper is enormous: The Wall Street Journal Asia is seen as a leader in global business news for Asia and read by “an influential pan-Asian audience of corporate and government decision-makers”.

Its reach and impact, is huge. Every word counts. That’s where Najib’s earnestness, in wanting to see through the whole “Allah” episode with minimal damage to the social fabric and delicate make-up of Malaysia comes out strongly.

“Across religions and races, Malaysians have spoken with a unified voice in condemning the despicable acts of a few,” Najib wrote, “and citizens have joined as one to assert that vandalism was never an acceptable way to express diverse views or resolve differences.

“Muslim groups volunteered to safeguard churches in their towns. Muslim social activists have written petitions to oppose these senseless acts of vandalism. Muslim civic groups are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Christians, Hindus and Buddhists to ensure that all people can freely worship as they wish.”

Christian and civic leaders had called for calm and interfaith dialogue, he added, as they were fully aware that those who perpetrated these acts did not represent the Muslim majority in Malaysia.

A rah-rah piece, yes, but what else could anyone expect? He is the prime minister, after all. But this prime minister has good reason and is on solid ground to say so.

Najib is plainly putting things in proper perspective, particularly for those in influential positions in the region, like WSJ readers, to right the false impressions that might have arisen since the Dec 31 High Court ruling permitting the use of the word “Allah” to refer to God in the Herald, a Catholic weekly newspaper.

“The government will reach out to all parts of Malaysian society in the coming days to foster open dialogue and work to resolve sensitive issues,” Najib wrote. He also said the country must resolve to maintain a fair and open society with opportunities for all Malaysians to flourish.

“Reforms have been undertaken, such as liberalising ownership requirements in key sectors of the economy, encouraging foreign direct investments, creating 1Malaysia clinics to provide access to healthcare and extending educational opportunities to all Malaysians,” he wrote.

“These reforms have sometimes been politically difficult. But they are important because the long-term health of Malaysia’s society and economy can only be built on what unites us rather than what divides us. We will not waver from the pursuit of 1Malaysia.”


But not necessarily so with the tone of Anwar’s piece: “The recent arson attacks exemplify what’s wrong with the way Malaysia regards its non-Muslim citizens,” he wrote.

“Since (the Dec 31 High Court ruling), an already tense situation boiled over, largely due to incitement by a few reckless politicians, the mainstream media and a handful of non-governmental organisations linked by membership and leadership to the UMNO.”

Anwar does what he always does best — what he thrives on, other than rabble-rousing — throwing his conspiracy theories into the issue, claiming that the government is using scare tactics and incendiary propaganda techniques to exploit public sentiment and garner support through useful diversions from embarrassing scandals.

He describes this as “old politics”. But perhaps this is the “old Anwar” we know so well: the one who always paints a picture of a disconsolate Malaysia and then pushes himself forward as the saviour.


Royal Malaysian Police Prevents Anwar Ibrahim from Speaking