Why Saudis Are Holding Strong on Oil

By Meghan L. O’Sullivan
Bloomberg
JAN 26, 2015

A consensus has emerged since the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia that the kingdom will not change course on oil policy. This consensus is probably right, at least for the short term. It is, however, correct for reasons other than the ones that most observers have invoked.

Moreover, while it looks unlikely that the kingdom will alter oil production in the coming months, barring a major change of heart of non-OPEC producers, interesting changes to Saudia Arabia’s cabinet roster and other energy policies and could be closer than most realize.

The basis of the conventional wisdom is rooted in personalities. New King Salman bin Abdulaziz has pledged continuity, stating he will adhere to the “correct policies” of his predecessors. He also said that oil minister Ali Al-Naimi will stay in his post. Read the rest of this entry »

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UMNO leaders launched a two-prong attack on DAP to exploit Hadi’s “May 13 if third vote restored” statement, including UMNO cybertgroopers launching a campaign of lies and demonization on social media, including twitter-bombs, against DAP leaders

UMNO leaders launched a two-prong attack on the DAP to exploit PAS President, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s “May 13 if third vote restored” statement, including a vicious campaign of lies and demonization on social media against DAP leaders by UMNO cybertroopers.

In past few weeks, my twitter account had been spared twitter bombs by UMNO cybertroopers, but in the last few days after Hadi’s statement, it became the target of several series of twitter bomb attacks, through trolls and fake multiple accounts, spreading lies and defamatory messages and graphics.

One theme of the twitter-bombing was to accuse me of being the cause of the May 13 race riots in Kuala Lumpur, such as the tweet “TAHUKAH ANDA? @limkitsiang adalah pencetus Rusuhan Kaum 13 Mei.. #DAPRasis #S14”.

Another was the defamatory graphic depicting me as a communist in the garb of Mao Tse Tung, with the quote and caption: “’MELAYU KELUAR! APA LAGI DUDUK SINI, KITA HENTAM LU, SEKARANG KITA SUDAH ADA KUASA” LIM KIT SIANG (BAPA 13 MEI)

Read the rest of this entry »

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Pastoral letter in reference to Herald case

– Julian Leow
The Malaysian Insider
27 January 2015

My Dear People of God,

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7

We have come to the end of a long journey which began in 2008 when we were told that we cannot call God in the way the majority of our Catholics in Malaysia have been used to for centuries.

We mounted a challenge in the court to exercise our constitutional right to manage our own religious affairs. The Church took the position that the minister’s restriction went against the spirit as well as the letter of our Federal Constitution. Read the rest of this entry »

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The measure of Najib as prime minister

– Sakmongkol AK47
The Malaysian Insider
27 January 2015

I recently wrote an article “Menilai Najib”. It was reproduced in Free Malaysia Today. People commented on that. Many of the comments were not objective. Indeed most were irrational rants.

I think most of the commentators didn’t read the original article on my blog. They prefer instead to read the stylised FMT version. Accordingly, most of the comments never debated the issues I raised but chose instead to vilify me as a person.

The points I raised were (1) what made Datuk Seri Najib Razak a bad prime minister and (2) what made him a bad finance minister. I was hoping for a more robust counter. Instead, it’s the usual ad hominem attacks.

They are commenting on the article re-written and interpreted by FMT. They vented their anger. They asked who am I to assess Najib. They accused me of repeating what my “tokongs” say. Fortunately, I am immune to that kind of insulting riposte. Read the rest of this entry »

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If PAS has no confidence in Pakatan Rakyat achieving great victories if local government elections are restored nationally, PR must return to the drawing board as this does not bode well for PR’s grand design to win Putrajaya in the 14GE

I just do not know whether to laugh or to cry.

Yesterday, the Malay Mail Online carried a report entitled “DAP seeking full ‘control’ of country through third vote, Isma claims”, quoting the latest vitriol by the Deputy President of Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma), Aminuddin Yahaya alleging that “the move to restore local government elections is part of the DAP’s strategy to take over Malaysia as the opposition party already has control of nearly 60 per cent of the state seats in the country”.

He said that DAP lawmakers make up 58 per cent of the total state constituencies in Malaysia and that the figure could reach 60 per cent, with the help of urban based PKR.

This caused me to tweet: “Ignoramus. Don’t even have Std 5 maths std”.

If Aminuddin is right and talking sense, then DAP on its own will be well on the way to capturing power in Putrajaya and forming the Malaysian government. But he is of course talking nonsense.

What a pity Isma has such a Deputy President who is so shallow in basic maths, which does not speak well for the organisation.

Out of a total of 505 State Assembly seats (excluding Sarawak) contested in the 13th General Elections on May 5, 2013, Barisan Nasional won 4,515,228 or 47.25% of the national vote, but 275 state assembly seats or 54% of the total of 505 seats; while Pakatan Rakyat won 4,879,295 votes or 51.06% of the national vote but only 229 State Assembly seats or 45% of the total of 505 seats. One state assembly seat in Sabah was won by a non-Pakatan Rakyat opposition party.

These statistics bespeak of the injustice, inequity and iniquity of the electoral system, with Pakatan Rakyat winning more votes but less seats! Read the rest of this entry »

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Hadi, ketahuilah, 13 Mei mustahil berulang

– Haris Zuan
The Malaysian Insider
26 January 2015

Peristiwa 13 Mei ialah isu eksklusif Umno-Barisan Nasional (BN) dan orang lain yang mahu menyebut, dan apatah lagi membincangkannya, boleh didakwa di bawah Akta Hasutan.

Hanya Umno bebas menggunakan isu 13 Mei (versi mereka sudah tentu) untuk membodoh dan menakut-nakutkan bangsa Malaysia, khasnya orang Melayu dan Cina.

Namun, kali ini, Presiden PAS, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, mengeluarkan ancaman yang biasanya hanya dilaungkan oleh Umno – 13 Mei akan berulang jika pilihan raya kerajaan tempatan diadakan semula – dan kali ini Umno tidak pula marah dengan kenyataan Hadi Awang ini.

Kisah ini awalnya mudah sahaja. PAS membangkitkan isu pilihan raya kerajaan tempatan kerana mahu menyanggah dakwaan bukan hudud sahaja yang tidak diputuskan secara bersama di peringkat Pakatan Rakyat, pilihan raya kerajaan tempatan juga – yang diperjuangkan oleh Pulau Pinang dan Selangor.
Maka, dengan menggunakan logik ini, pada PAS, menjadi hak Kelantan untuk melaksanakan hudud di negeri tersebut secara bersendirian (atau dengan kerjasama Umno – parti pemerintah yang hanya menunjukkan minat terhadap Hudud setiap kali terdesak kehilangan kuasa). Read the rest of this entry »

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Greece shows what can happen when the young revolt against corrupt elites

Paul Mason
The Guardian
25 January 2015

The rise of Syriza can’t just be explained by the crisis in the eurozone: a youthful generation of professionals has had enough of tax-evading oligarchs

At Syriza’s HQ, the cigarette smoke in the cafe swirls into shapes. If those could reflect the images in the minds of the men hunched over their black coffees, they would probably be the faces of Che Guevara, or Aris Velouchiotis, the second world war Greek resistance fighter. These are veteran leftists who expected to end their days as professors of such esoteric subjects as development economics, human rights law and who killed who in the civil war. Instead, they are on the brink of power.

Black coffee and hard pretzels are all the cafe provides, together with the possibility of contracting lung cancer. But on the eve of the vote, I found its occupants confident, if bemused.

However, Syriza HQ is not the place to learn about radicalisation. The fact that a party with a “central committee” even got close to power has nothing to do with a sudden swing to Marxism in the Greek psyche. It is, instead, testimony to three things: the strategic crisis of the eurozone, the determination of the Greek elite to cling to systemic corruption, and a new way of thinking among the young.

Of these, the eurozone’s crisis is easiest to understand – because its consequences can be read so easily in the macroeconomic figures. The IMF predicted Greece would grow as the result of its aid package in 2010. Instead, the economy has shrunk by 25%. Wages are down by the same amount. Youth unemployment stands at 60% – and that is among those who are still in the country. Read the rest of this entry »

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Get real PAS, differences within PR not minor

– T K Chua
The Malaysian Insider
26 January 2015

PAS vice-president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said it correctly that people were getting fed up with the bickering within Pakatan Rakyat.

I think “fed up” is too mild a word. I think most Malaysians are completely pissed off. Many are in fact wondering whether PR is still a viable alternative to Barisan Nasional.

Worse still, I think Tuan Ibrahim has completely misdiagnosed the real problems in PR.

What happened within PR is not about minor differences. What happened in PR is about major and substantive differences which all parties must come to an agreement before proceeding further. Read the rest of this entry »

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DAP remains committed to be an inclusive party embracing the rights and interests of all races and religions in Malaysia, and not just for any one race or religion

The PAS President, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang let off a time bomb in Harakah yesterday, and the reverberations are still going off all over the country, creating shock, anguish and dismay not only among DAP and PKR leaders and members, and the majority of Malaysians who have placed their trust and hope in Pakatan Rakyat, but also among PAS leaders and members as well.

For the past 45 years, the spectre of May 13 had been the favourite weapon of unscrupulous UMNO leaders to intimidate voters from freely and democratically exercising their constitutional right to vote, but I had never expected that a day would when it would also be invoked by an Opposition leader in a manner which UMNO leaders had never done before – as UMNO leaders have yet to threaten the spectre of May 13 if local elections are restored, but which they will now do readily with the precedent set by Hadi.

It is not only wrong to equate the restoration of the third vote, which the people in the country had enjoyed in the fifties and early sixties, Hadi also made a grievous mistake in giving a racial twist by suggesting that the restoration of local government elections is a grab for political power by the Chinese in the urban areas.

This is totally ignoring the process of Malay urbanisation in the past five decades, as out of 49 local government authorities in the urban areas (comprising three city halls of Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching Utara, nine city councils and 37 municipals councils), 39 have Malay majorities of over 50% of the population, three have Chinese majorities, with seven have a plurality of races with four with Chinese dominant and three with Malays dominant. Read the rest of this entry »

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Business leaders fret over ‘cocktail of political risks’ as UK election nears

Larry Elliott and Jill Treanor in Davos
The Guardian
25 January 2015

Davos delegates fear possibility of minority government and second poll, as well as uncertainty over EU membership

The general election risks exposing the UK to a “cocktail of political risks” that could threaten growth and force the country out of the European Union, according to business leaders.

The growth of minority parties such as Ukip and the Greens and the fall in popularity of the Liberal Democrats are forcing bosses to prepare for the possibility that a second poll may have to be called months after the one scheduled for 7 May.

The Conservatives’ pledge to call an EU referendum in 2017 if they are in government is also causing anxiety. Doubts over Britain’s political future were voiced openly by executives at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Speaking on the sidelines at the gathering of political and business leaders in the Swiss Alps, John Cridland, director general of the CBI, said: “Britain is no longer a two-party system, it is a six-party system, and it looks like it won’t be until 5am on the morning after the election until we know what the result is going to be. The UK could end up with a minority government and a repeat of 1974, when there were two elections in swift succession. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sorry, Mr PAS President, I beg to differ

By Mohamed Hanipa Maidin
Malaysiakini
Jan 25, 2015

MP SPEAKS Is it true that local government elections would lead to instability or May 13? I seriously doubt such a weird proposition, regardless whoever made that statement.

After all, local government’s elections were in this country before BN government unjustifiably abolished them.

In fact, those elections predated May 13. Thus relying on such an unfortunate event to flatly reject the revival of such elections is indeed mind boggling to say the least.

Globally speaking, local government’s election is a universal phenomenon especially in developed countries including Muslim countries. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why We Know So Little About The Horror In Northeast Nigeria

The Huffington Post | By Charlotte Alfred
01/20/2015

Fighters from the extremist group Boko Haram laid waste to a cluster of towns in northeast Nigeria earlier this month, inflicting a massacre that Amnesty International said may be the bloodiest in the Islamic militants’ history.

The assault on the fishing town Baga and 16 surrounding communities in Borno state began on Jan. 3. Two weeks later, crucial details about what took place remain unclear.

Witnesses described the mass slaughter of men, women and children, and many estimated that hundreds of people had been killed. A senior official in the Borno state government told the BBC that some 2,000 people were dead. The Nigerian military has fiercely disputed this figure, saying on Monday that 150 people, including Boko Haram fighters, had been killed.

How Boko Haram was able to take control of the area is also subject to dispute. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is Davos just an excuse for the 1% to have a bonding session?

Larry Elliott
The Guardian
23 January 2015

Thomas Piketty wasn’t there but they were talking about his ideas: they’re committed to progress as long as nothing changes

Committed to improving the state of the world. That’s the motto of the World Economic Forum, which wraps up in Davos tomorrow with the rich and powerful pondering whether to listen to Mark Carney’s views about the global economy or head for the ski slopes.

Many will opt for the latter, not because they have anything against the governor of the Bank of England. On the contrary, the former Goldman Sachs banker picked by George Osborne to run Threadneedle Street is very much part of the Davos family. It is simply that one of the reasons the WEF is held in Davos and not in Atlantic City or Blackpool is that it has plenty of black runs available for those who, after four days, have had enough of hearing Christine Lagarde warn about the risks of rising inequality.

All of which raises a couple of obvious questions: is Davos simply an excuse for the 1% to have a big bonding session in which they convince themselves that we are all in it together? And does it actually do any good? Read the rest of this entry »

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When accountability takes a backseat to race

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
25 January 2015

Local government elections have suddenly become an explosive issue in Malaysia, no thanks to PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang who suggested it can lead to race clashes last seen on May 13, 1969.

Umno-owned mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia has supported him, as has one federal minister who said the third vote can lead to greater racial polarisation as Malaysians voted along racial lines.

These two politicians and Utusan are probably still digesting the results of the last two general elections through their rose-tinted glasses of race and religion rather than figuring out that more Malaysians are colour-blind to race these days.

While those from Umno do see the world according to racial lines, it is sad to see that Hadi trumpet the same tune although his party puts Islam at the front and centre of its political struggle and eschews race as a platform.

Didn’t PAS talk about an Islamic welfare state in the last general elections and keeps talking about Islam – whose adherents come from all races across the world, and not just Malays? Read the rest of this entry »

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Thanks to Hadi, Malaysians must focus on why there should not be local government election in Malaysia on the 50th anniversary of suspension local council polls

Thanks to Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, Malaysians must focus on the question why there should not be local government election in Malaysia on the 50th anniversary of suspension of local council polls.

Fifty years ago, on 1st March 1965, the then Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman suspended local council election, giving as justification the threat of Indonesian Confrontation. However, he gave the solemn undertaking that “The very moment peace is declared, I can assure this House that the elections will be held”.

It is 50 years down the road and Malaysians are entitled to ask why they should continue to be denied local government election, when local government election is accepted as a basic democratic right of citizens in countries committed to a democratic way of life.

Of course, I do not agree with Hadi that local government election may lead to another May 13 race riots. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is the economy in crisis now?

By P Gunasegaram
Malaysiakini
Jan 22, 2015

QUESTION TIME Granted we have lots of problems in the country and tonnes of wastage. We overpay for contracts, we have a strategic investment fund which has gone amok and is investing willy nilly with borrowed money, we have a looming disaster in the form of RM30 billion at risk in a private finance initiative gone wrong and we have loads of patronage.

Does this necessarily mean that the economy is in crisis if we put all this together with a weakening ringgit and oil prices which have fallen off a cliff? Does this mean this year will be a disaster and one of gloom and doom for Malaysia?

It is tough to do but this is when we need to be rational about things and assess economic conditions with a cool head, separating this to some extent from the sad state of politics in the country which leads to a whole host of economic concerns.

Let’s just take a couple of the most serious concerns and examine them in some detail to see what gives. First, the weakening ringgit which was at its lowest levels in six years. But why was it low six years ago – early 2009 to be precise? Read the rest of this entry »

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Supremacy of the Federal Constitution

Azrul Mohd Khalib
The Malay Mail Online
January 21, 2015

JANUARY 21 ― The indignant tone that recently came out of Jakim’s Director General Datuk Othman Mustapha, who denounced the questioning of religious authorities as being part of a liberalism movement, is representative of the larger problem we have with the government religious institutions in this country.

They feel that they are above criticism. That they can do no wrong and are infallible. That to criticise them is to question Islam.

Yet, the attitude and actions of the religious authorities over the past decade have shown all too clearly why the Shariah system in Malaysia is where it is in our Federal Constitution.

There is an actual risk of abuse and misuse of power. It is not abstract or theoretical. It is very real. Ask Nik Raina of Borders. Read the rest of this entry »

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Now that the two immediate former Home Ministers, Hishammuddin and Syed Hamid have denied sending any unilateral letter to FBI, it is up to the three previous Home Ministers, Radzi, Azmi and Tun Abdullah to clear themselves

Now that Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar have joined Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, as the two immediate former Home Ministers (March 2008 – May 2013), to deny that he had sent any letter unilaterally to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) when holding the Home Ministry’s post, it is up to the three previous Home Ministers serving from 1999 to 2008, i.e. Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, Datuk Azmi Khalid and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to step forward and clear themselves.

The trio should speak up as elder statesmen to clear the air and not behave like fugitives from justice seeking refuge from the truth as if they had done a great disservice to the nation.

The Home Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had made a most astonishing claim when trying to exonerate himself from any wrong in his infamous letter to the FBI vouching for the character of the alleged gambling kingpin Paul Phua, standing trial in Las Vegas, Nevada for illegal gambling, that previous Home Ministers before him had also written such “clarification” letters.

This is why all previous Home Ministers for the past 15 years should speak up and put the record straight, not just in the national interests, but to remove any stain on their record as Home Minister. Read the rest of this entry »

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So what’s your freedom worth?

Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
23 January 2015

As the world experiences the worrying expansion of global radicalism, reports of violence and killings committed in the name of religion evoke all sorts of emotions – it propels humanity into extreme ends: you either strongly disagree or strongly agree with the atrocities committed in the name of God, religion and faith.

Many of us are still trying to make sense of the recent attacks in Paris, the battles fought by Isis and the massacres carried out by Boko Haram. These aggressions aren’t just about a series of offensive cartoons or the overzealousness of installing an Islamic caliphate or even the evil of Western education, but it is a declaration of war against freedom of expression and human rights. Most of all, it signals the breakdown of logic – the raison d’être of religious wisdom and prudence; it indicates an abrupt shift to feverish radicalism.

Every heinous attack committed by religious extremists leaves many of us wondering: what is it about religion that makes one more inclined to embrace violence and lose one’s sense of humour or common sense? Where do you draw the line between jest and insolence? Read the rest of this entry »

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Yang tidak dimengerti Hadi tentang ‘undi ketiga’

– Izmil Amri
The Malaysian Insider
23 January 2015

Salah tanggapan Presiden PAS Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang terhadap pilihan raya kerajaan tempatan amat disesalkan. Di saat Pakatan Rakyat (PR) berusaha menjauhi wacana politik perkauman, beliau pula gigih membangkitkan momok 13 Mei, dan mengaitkannya dengan pilihan raya kerajaan tempatan.

Tidak jauh beza dengan buah butir percakapan kumpulan-kumpulan ultra Melayu. Sikit-sikit 13 Mei, seolah-olah tidak ada hujah bernas lain selain hujah kaum dan politik ketakutan.

Lebih menyedihkan, modal pilihan raya kerajaan tempatan ini kini dijadikan modal perbandingan dengan cita-cita pelaksanaan hudud di Kelantan. PAS membandingkan urusan jenayah syariah berasaskan firman Tuhan, dengan isu pemilihan tukang urus longkang tersumbat dan lampu jalan tidak menyala. Ini amat memilukan hati.

Apa yang Hadi nampak barang kali, hanyalah kalau dibuat pilihan raya ini, yang akan jadi ahli majlis dan datuk bandar, semuanya Cina belaka. Geleng kepala. Read the rest of this entry »

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