Thursday, October 01, 2015

A Fractured Malaysia

CNA's documentary on "A Fractured Nation". This is one PM everyone should feel ashamed of for his racist comments to save his own skin. This video should also be kept for posterity so that our future generations know.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Murder in Malaysia

al Jazeera uncovers more mysteries in Altantuya's death.

Shot, then blown to smithereens with military grade explosives, the 2006 killing of Altantuya Shaariibuu was one of Malaysia's most sensational murder cases.

Even though years have passed since the young Mongolian's death, it is one case that has refused to disappear. If anything, the mystery has deepened. 101 East investigates those who were involved in the case and asks whether the two men convicted of her murder are "fall guys" for others who ordered the killing of Shaariibuu.

Watch the video as Sirul makes a new explosive allegation.

Watch the video 

MK: al Jazeera's Mary Ann Jolley deported while investigating the story 

FMT: IGP says 'Its utter rubbish"

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Is Najib Using 1MDB Funds?

Malaysian investigators scrutinizing a government investment fund have traced nearly $700 million of deposits into what they believe are the personal bank accounts of the country’s prime minister. A breakdown of what you need to know on this story:

What is 1Malaysia Development Bhd.?

A strategic development fund Prime Minister Najib Razak set up in 2009, promising it would develop new industries and turn the capital, Kuala Lumpur, into a global financial center. 1MDB is 100%-owned by the Finance Ministry, which also is headed by Mr. Najib. But unlike sovereign-wealth funds, it financed itself through issuing debt, and today owes more than $11 billion.

Why has it stirred controversy?

Critics of the fund, including members of Mr. Najib’s ruling party, say it took on too much debt and lacks transparency. The fund raised billions of dollars in bonds and has moved large amounts to accounts offshore. Some of its projects, including plans to develop oil fields overseas and a mine in Mongolia, haven’t panned out. The fund this year has rescheduled debt repayments and had to rely on a $1 billion capital injection from an Abu Dhabi state fund to repay other loans. 1MDB has defended its record and says its assets are worth more than its debts. There are four official government investigations ongoing into the fund’s activities.

What's the latest?

The Wall Street Journal in June reported that 1MDB played an indirect role in funding Mr. Najib’s election campaign in May 2013. The fund bought assets from a Malaysian company at what appeared to be an inflated price. That company later made donations to a Najib-linked charity that spent money on schools and other projects Mr. Najib was able to tout as he campaigned.

More recently, the Journal reported that Malaysian investigators looking into 1MDB had traced nearly $700 million of deposits into what they believe are the personal bank accounts of Mr. Najib. The investigation documents, reviewed by the Journal, mark the first time Mr. Najib has been directly connected to the probes into 1MDB.

How could this affect the U.S.?

Malaysia under Mr. Najib, who came to power six years ago, has drawn closer to the U.S. The country is seen in Washington as a bulwark against China’s growing territorial ambitions in the South China Sea. Foreign investors also have played a large role in Malaysia’s economy, and own about half of the country’s government bonds. Worries the government will have to step in and bail out 1MDB — worsening its fiscal position — have pushed the ringgit this month to fresh 10-year lows.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Rosmah's Hair Raising RM1200 Hairdo

In comments quoted by news portal Malaysia Insider recently, Malaysian PM's globe trotting wife Rosmah complained of the 1,200 ringgit (US$330) cost of having her hair dyed, and the 500 ringgit she pays to have dresses tailored. 

“It is really hard to make tailored clothes these days. Their prices come up to RM500, and I am speaking as a representative of a housewife that buys made-to-order clothes,” she added.

The comments – made at a public event to discuss the introduction of a new consumer tax in Malaysia – were quick to anger many in Malaysia, where the official minimum wage is 900 ringgit per month. Many people are believed to survive on less than this.

Asian Correspondent: Now you know why Najib needs the money

A Kadir Jasin: The father was a frugal man

Malaysian Chronicle:  The public sympathizes with "poor" Rosmah!

A Day At The Museum

Actually it was just two hours, but it was enough to leave the writer shaken and stirred. - The Star

 I was given my first ever senior citizen concession last week. It was completely unexpected so I got slightly hysterical. It happened when I decided to visit Muzium Negara over the Chinese New Year break. Two of my children, aged 24 and 20, tagged along to see what was “new” at the museum. After all, it had been many, many years since I visited (the kids have no memory of ever visiting) and it had undergone a RM20mil upgrade in 2008.

At the ticket counter, I noted the entrance fee was RM2 for Malaysians and RM5 for foreigners. What I didn’t notice was the RM1 fee for the elderly and disabled as, to my mind, there were no elderly or disabled persons in my group. Well, the eagle-eyed ticketing girl did. She accepted my RM6, glanced at our three Mykads (to prove we were citizens) and promptly gave me back RM1. Seeing my puzzled expression, she enlightened me by saying, “Seorang warga emas, kan? (One senior citizen, yes?”) “Nooooo!” I groaned inwardly as reality hit me. Yes, that’s me: Senior citizen June. Aunty got her first “official” nod as a “golden citizen”, as the Malay term puts it most glowingly, on the third day of the Year of the blasted Wooden Goat. Blame it on the extended retirement age. Because of that, I have not been put out to pasture and therefore did not think of myself as a retiree with discount privileges. To cover up my shock, I was giggling rather hysterically as I handed out the tickets to my children.

When I explained what happened, they tried soothing my frazzled nerves by saying, “But you don’t look old, Mum.” Yeah, but I feel it now. Going into the museum made me even more aware of being a senior citizen. There are stairs everywhere – even to the cafeteria and the wet, smelly toilets located outside – and hardly anywhere for a tired visitor to rest. Apparently, there is a lift for the disabled but it’s not immediately accessible; one has to go through the gift shop to get to it. But since I wasn’t disabled and elderly-looking enough, I climbed the stairs to the first floor foyer where two of the four galleries are located.

Gallery A focuses on Pre-history while Gallery B is dedicated to the Malay Kingdoms. I have a childhood memory of a replica of the huge ceremonial bird used to carry the Kelantan princes for their circumcision ceremony of yore. That was in what is now Gallery B, where there was also a dusty Peranakan matrimonial chamber in one corner. Both ceremonial bird and Peranakan room are gone. New exhibits showcase the grandeur of the Malay court like the singgahsana or throne. There is a huge bronze bas-relief of Hang Tuah which assured me that our legendary warrior hadn’t lost his place in history after all. Galleries A and B are quite well laid out in an open concept. But the lighting was a bit too low for my liking, as my golden citizen eyes had to squint to see some of the exhibits.

After the good impression from the first two galleries we were lured upstairs to Galleries C and D: Colonial Era and Malaysia Today. Foreign visitors generally find the museum a good introduction to Malaysia and appreciate the nominal entrance fee. As a visitor from Canada posted on TripAdvisor: “This nice little museum is great for those who want to know more about what made Malaysia so unique. It does not take long to see it all and for only RM5, it was reasonable.” But locals like my kids and I aren’t so forgiving.

As a journalist, I was bugged by the inconsistencies in spelling (is it “Melaka” or “Malacca”?), language confusion (nationalisme instead of nationalism), grammatical errors and occasional lack of context and coherence in the English texts for the exhibits. As a newly minted senior citizen, I felt it was rather thoughtless to make visitors climb up more steps to view a couple of the exhibits instead of providing ramps for easier access.

We found the last gallery, Malaysia Today, the least engaging. Quite frankly, by the time we finished, our interest had waned. It felt as if the museum had run out of steam and space to tell our post-World War Two shared history better.

As a British visitor wrote on TripAdvisor: “there is an emphasis on the Malay history (i.e. to the almost complete exclusion of the Chinese, Indian and other Malaysians) in the story of gaining independence, but this is somewhat ironically contrasted with the display on 1Malaysia, which gives one the impression that there is a little papering over the cracks of Malaysia’s issues going on.”

That’s quite an astute observation, made back in April 2012. After all, according to Department of Museums director-general Datuk Ibrahim Ismail in his website message, the national museum, in line with the 1Malaysia aspirations, is an “educational instrument” for “fostering a closer understanding, integration and tolerance among the people.” He adds: “Our diverse heritage shaped from the assimilation of the different races in Malaysia showcases unity in various unique ways, something which is rarely seen in the international arena.” That’s a lofty statement that sadly falls short in reality.

Therein lies my biggest disappointment with Muzium Negara: the failure to document the roles of Chinese and Indian leaders and the communities in the making of this diverse nation. It’s a tad ironic really, considering the artist of the lovely murals on the walls of the museum was Cheong Laitong, the architect was Ho Kok Hoe and the Italian glass mosaic tiles for the murals which cost RM135,000 back in the early 1960s were donated by philanthropist Tan Sri Lee Kong Chian. Their contributions are not mentioned anywhere in the museum, unless I missed it. But then, what’s also forgotten is that even the National Mosque, built at a cost of RM10mil, has a multiracial past. As reported in an August 2007 Star article, a mosque brochure stated it was “designed by a Malay, constructed by Chinese and Indians, and financed by Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Muslims”.

If Muzium Negara cannot manage to tell a fuller and more inclusive history, then it’s time for a National Museum of the Malaysian Chinese and Indian, like the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. I won’t mind contributing to a fund for that, as long as it is built to be truly accessible to all.

 - Article from The Star by June Wong

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Will the floods wash Najib away?

Raub MP Ariff Sabri says Najib is as good as gone with the floods as shown by his and his government's incompetence in handling Malaysia's worst flooding in years.

In his latest blog entry, the MP for Raub said, “To me, Najib has no more future. The fate of UMNO and his own is already sealed by the next GE.”

He argued that Najib’s handling of the floods especially in Kelantan, the worst hit state, left much to be desired, adding, “Kuala Krai is indeed a watershed which showed the government’s incompetence in handling a national disaster.

Accusing Najib of taking things too lightly, Ariff said in a cynical tone, “Najib and his gang appear to think, they can respond to the flood with a jamboree mentality complete with his minions pointing to the water and saying or mocking us – look Tonto – this is water.”

Look - Water!

Read more

A Kadir Jasin: 
Umno and BN can keep the PM and pretend that everything in fine, but they must accept the fact that the risk of them being chucked out at the next GE is immense.