Archive for December, 2015


Insensitive minister making fun of people’s hardship

All work and no play makes Maslan a dull boy

QUICK TAKE: What do the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan and the Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Ahmad Maslan have in common?

Both made outrageous, insensitive remarks about the average Malaysian, who is struggling to keep his head above water.

Last month, Abdul Rahman told the public that they should wake up early, so that they can use toll-free routes and avoid the traffic jams, when commuting.

A few days ago, Ahmad Maslan took pride in telling Malaysians that if they wanted to cope with the rising cost of living, they should start moonlighting.

Hinting that Malaysians should emulate him, he tweeted, “I have three jobs. MP, deputy minister, and Umno Baru information chief. Many in Malaysia are working two jobs.

“Working hard to make an honest living,” he added.

Ahmad Maslan is confused. He does not have three jobs. What he claims are jobs, are merely posts. Being an Umno Baru politician is not what people consider, “making an honest living”.

Today, in a quiet corner of Shah Alam, there lives a young woman – a single mother of three children. She is the driver, cook, gardener, cleaner, and handywoman for her household.

She also takes care of her ailing mother. Having been widowed, at an early age, she is fortunate to have an understanding boss, at a sundry shop.

If she needs to take her child to a doctor, she can come in late and make up the time, later. She is grateful that her elderly mother lives with her.

With children who are too young to take public transport, this mother drives them, to and from school. She keeps the house and garden as tidy as she can, and does simple plumbing repairs herself.

If this woman took other jobs, as Ahmad Maslan suggests, would she ever see her family and have time to care for her mother? This single mother is aware that most part-time jobs do not pay well.

The ordinary Malaysian, spends more hours commuting, than having quality time with his family. Unlike ministers, the rakyat do not have drivers to transport them along routes which have been cleared for them.

Ahmad Maslan should occasionally take a bus to work and see how people struggle with our decrepit public transport system. He would be exhausted, waiting for the bus and become bone-weary from being crushed against hoi polloi, and he will undoubtedly ponteng from the strain.

by Mariam Mokhtar
30 Dec 2015 – Ant Daily
All work and no play makes Maslan a dull boy


Make no mistake – NSC Bill is a grab for absolute power

COMMENT The Senate (unsurprisingly) passed the National Security Council Bill 2015. This, despite senators from both sides of the political divide voicing a range of concerns about it. That did not stop the government from pushing the bill through without compromise.

Lawyers and activists across the nation have been warning for weeks of the dangers of the bill and how it violated the federal constitution and the sanctity of the rule of law. It would have been in the interests of the nation to have had further discussion on it.

Yet the government remained stubborn and did not even show a willingness to listen to reason. What we had was a government acting in haste, willing to overlook clear constitutional and legal impediments to the bill, and taking the attitude that they know best.

This should have triggered alarm bells. It was therefore irresponsible to say the least, to deliver them this bill, unaltered.

Make no mistake. This bill gives absolute power to the prime minister to declare an area a ‘security area’. Once an area has been declared a ‘security area’ it becomes a legal black hole.

Anything can be done there by the security forces including arrest, seizure of property and even killing, without any of the usual legal safeguards.

“It is absolutely untrue that the prime minister has absolute power” thundered the bill’s proponents. But the clear wording of the bill contradicts them. They are set out below for the readers to judge for themselves.

Section 18(1) provides: Where the council advises the prime minister that the security in any area in Malaysia is seriously disturbed or threatened by any person, matter or thing which causes or is likely to cause serious harm to the people, or serious harm to the territories, economy, national key infrastructure of Malaysia or any other interest of Malaysia, and requires immediate national response, the prime minister may, if he considers it to be necessary in the interest of national security, declare in writing the area as a security area.

Section 18(3) provides: A declaration made under subsection (1) shall, but without prejudice to anything previously done by virtue of the declaration, cease to have effect upon the expiration of six months from the date it comes into force.

But Section 18(4) goes on to say: Notwithstanding subsection (3), a declaration in force may be renewed by the prime minister from time to time for such period, not exceeding six months at a time, as may be specified in the declaration.

The upshot of these three provisions is that the council’s role is merely advisory, and the prime minister is not obliged to take their advice. Furthermore, the prime minister, without reference to the council, may in his sole discretion extend the declaration ad infinitum.

If this is not absolute power in the hands of the prime minister, then what is? If one studies the bill carefully, it appears to provide ‘checks and balances’, but on closer scrutiny we can see they are anything but that.

Surely giving one person all powers over security with no checks and balances does not enhance security but could in fact compromise security.

The claim that there is parliamentary oversight is equally flawed as clause 18(6) only requires that the declaration be laid (not debated) before Parliament, as soon as possible after it has been made (which is any time).

Make no mistake – NSC Bill is a grab for absolute power
Ambiga Sreenevasan
24/12/15 – malaysiakini


Clown minister suggests two jobs to cope with rising costs

Ahmad Maslan takes a beating for ‘work two jobs’ remark

Opposition lawmakers and a social activist take a swipe at the Umno deputy minister, with Tony Pua suggesting the people sell nasi lemak and Art Harun saying the PM himself holds three jobs.

PETALING JAYA: Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Ahmad Maslan’s “work two jobs to cope with rising costs of living” remark continues to receive flak from many quarters with a social activist and opposition lawmakers taking to social media to give him a good telling off.

Lawyer and social activist Art Harun tweeted: “Another useful advice from amat maslan (sic) – take 2 jobs to overcome rising costs. Yes. Wake up early. Avoid toll road. Makan kangkung (eat kangkung).”

He also took to Facebook to post “Don’t be angry with Mat Maslan for suggesting that we should take 2 jobs to overcome rising costs of living. Even the Prime Minister takes at least 3 jobs. He is the PM. He is the Finance Minister. He is 1MDB’s advisor. Life must be hard for him too.”

MP for Lembah Pantai Nurul Izzah Anwar, in sharing the news report where Ahmad made the remark, said: “menteri tidak merasa, maka mudahlah mengarah” (Minister’s don’t experience it, so it is easy to issue orders).

Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua said: “And the story continues for Datuk Ahmad Maslan. Yes guys, if you think the cost of living is too high – no worries, just take up 2 jobs. You can sell nasi lemak during weekends, or drive Uber cars in the evening. Rakyat didahulukan! (People first)”

On Sunday, news portal Astro Awani quoted Ahmad as making the call, saying that holding down two jobs was not uncommon as it was done by many around the world.

“I think it’s not wrong (to have two jobs) in Malaysia, though we have regulations, but it is still one way to address the rising cost of living.

“They can work during office hours and still run their online business…As long as they have enough sleep and come to work. They can run their business on weekends,” he was quoted as saying.

Ahmad Maslan takes a beating for ‘work two jobs’ remark
December 28, 2015 – FMT


NSC Bill issue: Every legal power must have legal limits

VIEWPOINT: The proposed National Security Council (NSC) Bill 2015 takes away all constitutional guarantees and fundamental rights of citizens in respect of arrest, search and seizure of property which (if passed) can be ignored or suspended.

“This is a grave infringement of the Federal Constitution,” argued Malaysian Bar Council president Steven Thiru, adding the powers and independence of federal ministries, government departments and its agencies would be restrained and compromised on operations or matters concerning national security.

This means instrumentalities of the federal government or state governments – which could include Bank Negara Malaysia, the Securities Commission and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission – would be made subservient to the NSC.

NSC members are appointed by and report directly to the prime minister. It’s not an independent body and would function at the dictates of the prime minister.

“The NSC’s scope of authority is broad, as “national security” is not defined in the bill. This provision is open to abuse, as the NSC would be able to treat almost any matter as one of national security,” Thiru said.

By definition, the NSC is empowered to advise the prime minister to declare any area in Malaysia as a “security area” if the NSC is of the view that the security in that area is “seriously disturbed or threatened by any person, matter or thing which causes or is likely to cause serious harm to the people, or serious harm to the territories, economy, national key infrastructure of Malaysia or any other interest in Malaysia, and requires immediate national response.”

“The provision gives the NSC (and in effect the prime minister) extremely broad discretion to declare an area as a security area given the variety of circumstances, which may not be genuine national security concerns at all, such as peaceful public rallies or protests,” he warned.

The declaration is for an initial six months and “may be renewed by the prime minister from time to time for such period, not exceeding six months at a time.”

This unbridled power allows the prime minister to extend the period for an unlimited number of times.

Upon a declaration, the NSC may issue executive orders that would include the deployment of security forces (such as the police and the armed forces) in the security area and may appoint a director of operations answerable only to it.

The bill does not provide for the qualifications of the director of operations, who has enormous and unrestricted powers, such as the power to remove any person from the security area, impose curfew, and control movement of persons or vehicles.

The deployed security forces, “may, without warrant, arrest any person found committing, alleged to have committed or reasonably suspected of having committed any offence under any written laws in the security area.”

Further, there is power to dispense with inquests in respect of members of the security forces and persons killed within the security area, as long as a magistrate “is satisfied that the person has been killed in the security area as a result of operations undertaken by such forces for the purpose of enforcing any written laws.”

These powers are in effect emergency powers, but without the need for a proclamation of an emergency under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution. This usurps the powers vested in the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and violates the provisions of Article 150.

The bill is therefore of questionable constitutional validity.

The Malaysian Bar urged the government to withdraw the bill and to respect the rule of law and Federal Constitution.

NSC Bill issue: Every legal power must have legal limits
by K Harinderan
22 Dec 2015 – Ant Daily


How the opposition can win the next election

How the opposition can win the next election – Koon Yew Yin

By now it is clear that the 1MDB financial scandal, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s campaign against Datuk Seri Najib Razak, GST pain and numerous examples of corruption, abuse and mismanagement of the economy and governance, are not going to win the next election for the opposition coalition.

This is not to say that we should underestimate the average Malaysian’s disillusionment with, and distrust of, Umno and its partner parties in Barisan Nasional (BN).

Even the most simpleton Umno member is fully aware of how the division chiefs have enriched themselves with fat contracts, scholarships for their children, jobs in the civil service for their relatives and friends, etc.

Umno members are no fools. They know that the higher one gets to be in the Umno leadership hierarchy, the more the goodies and wealth they can accumulate.

So they are not surprised that RM2.6 billion was deposited in Najib’s personal account.

Many of the more ethical and principled Umno members agree that this is wrong. But will this mean that they will not vote for Umno in the next election?

I hope they listen to their conscience and I am sure many other Malaysians will join me in wishing the same.

But hope is not enough.

What will win the next general election is not Umno leaders and members such as Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Dr Mahathir turning against or forsaking the party and voting for the opposition.

Nor will it be the public anger, disgust and revulsion against the present government that alone can be enough to bring Umno and BN down.

What will win the elections is a strong, solid and unified opposition. This is such a no-brainer that one would have thought that all the parties in the opposition, especially the more progressive DAP and PKR, would make this the first of the five or 10 commandments that they agree to.

However, recent events give the impression that this pre-condition of opposition electoral success has either been forgotten or sidelined.

Hence it is reassuring to know that this is the main message that has emerged from the recent PKR congress.

Common sense and history tell us that without a unified opposition and especially whenever three or more cornered fights take place in any election in Malaysia, BN is invariably the winner.

We know that even before the election proper, gerrymandering has already given the BN candidate, especially in rural areas, a head start.

How the opposition can win the next election – Koon Yew Yin
30 November 2015 – TMI


Why the NSC Bill is disturbing

Why the NSC Bill is disturbing – Thulsi Manogaran

The National Security Council Bill 2015 was passed by the Senate yesterday. As a young Malaysian, I am disturbed by the way laws are made in our country.

The bill was first presented in Dewan Rakyat on December 1, 2015. This meant that all Parliamentarians first saw the bill on that Tuesday.

To provide an idea, the bill is 33 pages long, contains 44 Clauses and carries serious implications. It was then debated on December 3 for only half a day and passed on the same day.

The way in which laws are made in Malaysia is fundamentally wrong. Just because a bill is debated in Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, it does not mean that democracy is flourishing.

If the finer elements of democracy are not practiced then the debates in these Houses carry no meaning at all to ordinary citizens like me. Effective democracy entails proper debate as well as procedure.

If proper debate is to be effected, Parliamentarians need more time to deliberate on the bills especially one with such dire consequences.

Another important element of democracy is engagement with civil society and public participation in decision making. Can I raise this question to members of the Dewan Negara?

Did you know that more than 22,000 Malaysians have signed a petition against the passing of this bill? Did it not occur to you YB, to investigate in detail why they were signing the petition?

When civil society organisations realised the mishaps in the bill, they attempted to approach members of both houses. The #TakNakDiktator team lobbied at Parliament in the hopes of expressing their concern to MPs.

When Parliament passed the bill without meaningful debate, civil society organisations and the public at large turned to the Senate. The call was for Senate to come to live and oppose the bill for the welfare of the people. So an email was sent to all senators to invite them for a briefing.

However, senator Noriah Mamat called this group as “irrelevant people” when she was clearly annoyed that they were lobbying at Parliament. Shahanim Mohd Yusof raised this issue rather angrily in Senate yesterday.

She questioned how did civil society organisations obtained email addresses of senators. She said, “saya menerima email yang berunsur fitnah dan hasut, siapa yang meyebarkan email dan alamat harus diambil tindakan tegas terhadapnya”.

Senator Khairuddin Abdul Samad termed the NGOs as “Minioriti Jahat”. I quote him verbatim from the Senate yesterday, “Dari mana mereka dapat email kita semua siap dengan alamat , saya takut mereka akan serang rumah saya”.

Dear senators, why should you feel threatened and exposed when you receive emails from members of the public?

Yang Berhormat, did you not realise that your official emails are provided to the public and is displayed on Parliament’s website?

Why the NSC Bill is disturbing – Thulsi Manogaran
23 December 2015 – TMI


The RM7 billion PetroSaudi caper

The RM7b PetroSaudi caper

KINIBIZ The first major investment that 1MDB made – an injection of US$1 billion into a joint venture (JV) with PetroSaudi Holdings (Cayman) Ltd, 1MDB-PetroSaudi Ltd – ended in tragedy as US$700 million was immediately siphoned off to a company allegedly related to Jho Low, Good Star Ltd.

Basically, 1MDB injected US$1 billion cash into the JV but PetroSaudi’s share was an asset dubiously valued at US$1.5 billion. The valuation report was presented on the day the valuer was appointed.

While 1MDB was supposed to have injected the US$1 billion into the JV, the JV inexplicably received just US$300 million, with the remaining US$700 million being transferred to a company which was totally unrelated to the JV. Leaked e-mails indicate that the company, Good Star Ltd, was related to Jho Low.

This was one of the most shocking revelations about 1MDB and although it happened way back in 2009, some six years ago, this was revealed in reports only this year.

Sources say the 1MDB board was extremely unhappy with this then and instructed the management to get the US$700 million back but this was not done. Two board members, Mohd Bakke Salleh and Azlan Mohd Zainol, resigned because of this, the former in October 2009 and the latter in January 2010.

For the first three years of its life since 2009, 1MDB’s sorry role was to put money into the JV and fund PetroSaudi. As at end of Mar 31, 2012, its financial year-end, 87 sen of every ringgit borrowed of RM7.9 billion, or some RM6.9 billion, went into the JV.

The RM7b PetroSaudi caper
19/12/15 – malaysiakini

The dawn of A Better Malaysia!
Rafidah Aziz, Hannah Yeoh, Ambiga at TTDI ceramah


Mahathir in Putrajaya ceramah


What happened to 1MDB’s money? – CNBC Video
Nuclear lessons for Malaysia (Part 1) (Part 2)
BN govt is directing attention to distant past and distant future, in order to distract people from present misdeeds and poor governance
Felda - A picture is worth a thousand words
How the 1MDB Scandal Spread Across the World (WSJ)
We cannot afford ridiculously expensive RM55 Billion ECRL!
All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?