Archive for November 17th, 2007

Rashid knows when is next general election – why Chua Soi Lek so angry as to call him a “liar”

Election Commission Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahmat has made many Barisan Nasional leaders hot under the collar with his claim in Malacca on Thursday that he knew when the general election would be held — but he would not tell.

Even Deputy Prime Minister and UMNO Deputy President, Datuk Seri Najib Razak says he is clueless, though he would like to know.

However, nobody could be as incensed as the MCA Ministers and leaders as it must be a tremendous loss of face for them to be caught on the wrong footing, unable to answer what must be asked them umpteenth times everyday by their supporters as to when is the next general election when a lowly government functionary like the Election Commission Chairman is fully privy to.

Such manifest ignorance could not be more embarrassing at this time as it drives home what all MCA Ministers are most sensitive about — their continued irrelevance, impotence and marginalization in government!

This explains the Cabinet rage (like road-rage of Mat Rempits) of the Health Minister and MCA National Vice President, Datuk Chua Soi Lek who as good as called Rashid a “liar” (China Press) in making such a “preposterous claim”. Read the rest of this entry »


RM4.5 m Belum complex collapse – pass-the-buck begins as Tajol blames Ramli Ngah

The “passing-the-buck” game over the collapse of the RM4.5 million Perak State Park Corporation complex in the Royal Belum State Park, Perak has begun, with the Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazali blaming his predecessor Tan Sri Ramli Ngah for the debacle.

Who is really responsible for the collapse of the RM4.5 million Belum complex — Tajol or Ramli?

After visiting the Pulau Banding site of the collapsed structure in Grik yesterday, Tajol described the complex as a project that had never been viable and had been problematic from the start.

This is what he said in the New Straits Times report today:

“How can you spend RM4.5 million for a complex that has only 14 rooms?

“I am really frustrated (with the whole project). As an accountant, I knew that it would be a problem to manage due to the limited number of rooms. You need at least 50 rooms for such a place to be economically viable.”

Tajol said there were developers in Ipoh who could build a complex or resort with 100 rooms on a budget of only RM8 million. Read the rest of this entry »


RCI on Lingam Tape – hold your welcome with disturbing indication it will be very restricted inquiry

The welcome for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s announcement of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Lingam Tape scandal will have to be conditional as there is disturbing indication that it will be a very restricted and circumscribed inquiry denied the task to resolve the long-standing national and international crisis of confidence in the independence and integrity of the judiciary which had gone from bad to worse for nearly two decades.

It is most unusual and not a very good sign that Abdullah’s announcement of a royal commission came solely from a Bernama report instead of a proper media conference before a battery of local and foreign journalists.

Abdullah had stumbled from one faux pax to another in the mishandling of the Lingam Tape scandal, taking two full months to arrive at the decision to establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry, when such a decision should have been made right from the very beginning when Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim made public the first eight minutes of the 14-minute Lingam Tape if the Prime Minister had been serious with his pledges of integrity and a trustworthy government, two of the ten principles of Islam Hadhari.

Abdullah said in the Bernama report that the Cabinet had decided at its last meeting on Wednesday to set up the royal commission and the Cabinet will decide next Wednesday on the commission’s terms of reference. The members of the royal commission will be determined after its terms of reference were finalized.

Something is clearly amiss, which does not reflect well on the Cabinet with regard to the professionalism, competence or high standards of the Cabinet decision-making process. Read the rest of this entry »


Emergency Parliament debate – collapse of RM4.5 million Perak State Park complex in Belum

I have given notice to the Speaker, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah for an emergency motion in Parliament on Monday on the collapse of the RM4.5 million Perak State Park Corporation complex in the Royal Belum State Park, Perak.

Only two days ago, in his visit to Sarawak, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was calling on state governments to contribute positively to his campaign to improve the government delivery system.

The Perak State Government seems to have delivered a response with the collapse of the complex in Belum Park.

It is unfortunate but true that in his four years as Prime Minister, there are increasing evidence of Malaysia degenerating from “First-World Infrastructure, Third-World Mentality” to “Third-World Infrastructure, Fourth-rate Mentality” where there are not only cracks galore in public buildings, but we seem to have entered into a new phase of collapsing buildings!

Never before in the 50-year history of the nation has the public service been seen as more inept and incompetent — with the unending list of “crack-ups” of new government buildings and public construction projects, whether the brand-new administrative capital of Putrajaya, the RM270 million world’s second largest court complex in Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur, the repeated leaks in the Parliament Building after RM100 million renovation, the safety of the 15-storey Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry in Precinct 4, Putrajaya and the latest, the “implosion” and collapse of the RM4.5 million Royal Belum State Park administrative complex.

Who is going to be responsible for the RM4.5 million losses following the collapse of the Royal Belum State Park complex? Will it be the long-suffering taxpayers who will have to be the suckers again to foot the bill — while everyone else, whether the contractor, the government supervisor and those in authority who had a cut in the RM4.5 million project, enjoy impunity with some laughing all the way to the bank with their profits? Read the rest of this entry »


Rehabilitation for whom?

By Farish A. Noor

He’s trying to make me go to rehab;
I said no, no, no.
I ain’t got the time
And if my daddy thinks Im fine…
He’s trying to make me go to rehab;
I said no, no,no.

– Amy Winehouse, ‘Rehab’ (2007)

So now its ‘political rehabilitation’, is it? As a corrective measure for kids who go to demonstrations and who have been ‘bad’ in the eyes of the government? That Malaysia’s leaders can even suggest such a thing speaks volumes about the extent to which the space of alienation between the state and the nation has grown over the years, and points to the lack of contact, communication and understanding between the powers-that-be and the real Malaysian nation made up of the rest of us. (1)

But are we surprised? After all this is the same country whose geography is now cluttered with a smattering of ‘faith rehabilitation centres’ that have been set up under the auspices of an Islamist project said to promote some skewered vision of a modern, pluralist, democratic Islam that is benevolent and accommodative: So accommodative in fact that it can accommodate dozens, if not hundreds, of Malaysian citizens deemed ‘immoral’, ‘deviant’, ‘apostate’ and out of the ordinary according to the norms set by an invisible and unaccountable cabal of Islamic experts in the pay of the state. We already have rehabilitation centres whose job it is to ‘turn over’ these alleged deviants and misfits and force them to conform to the normative praxis of Islam that is deemed correct by the state, so should we be surprised if the leaders of UMNO and the government can go one step further and call for the rehabilitation of children as well?

From the viewpoint of an academic who studies the development of modern postcolonial states, Malaysia seems to be a textbook example of postcolonial development turned awry. What began as a country with so much promise — its plural racial and ethnic composition, blessed with plentiful resources that was also strategically located at the cross-roads between East and West –has been squandered for the sake of one ruling party that seems to cater primarily to the needs and demands of one specific ethnic-religious constituency. Read the rest of this entry »