Archive for December 23rd, 2008

RM4.6 billion PKFZ scandal – no need for MCA to campaign in KT if OTK continues to hide the truth

“Nothing to hide” – this was the front-page headline of Sun yesterday on Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Kiat’s “tell-all” press conference on Sunday on the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal – which told absolutely nothing!

Although Ong adopted the stance that he had “nothing to hide”, in actual fact he had hidden the most important fact in his “chronology of events” on the RM4.6 billion PKFZ scandal – the RM4.6 billion retrospective approval given by the Cabinet in June 2007 to bail-out the four unlawful “Letters of Support” which gave implicit government guarantees issued by the two previous MCA Transport Ministers to the money market for the RM4.6 billion bonds for the PKFZ project.

Both the two previous MCA Transport Ministers had acted unlawfully, as they had no powers to issue financial guarantees committing the government, which could only be issued by the Finance Minister and only after Cabinet approval.

However, the Malaysian Government would have created a major crisis of confidence in the international money market if the Cabinet had not bailed out the two MCA Transport Ministers and given retrospective approval to the four Letters of Support which gave implicit government guarantees to the RM4.6 billion bonds issued by Kuala Dimensi Sdn. Bhd (KDSB), the PKFZ turnkey contractor, for the PKFZ project.

Can Ong explain why he had deliberately omitted this important fact in his “chronology of events”, which need not have to depend on the outcome of the Pricewaterhouse Cooper audit report? Or is he denying that Cabinet had given such retrospective approval? Read the rest of this entry »


Islam and the Malay Mindset: What Went Wrong?

by M. Bakri Musa

This was the topic for a small group discussion at a recent seminar organized by Kelab UMNO New York/New Jersey. I was a passive participant at this dialogue, at least initially.

In the ensuing discussions, the students duly reaffirmed the greatness of Islam, citing many ready examples. Islam emancipated the ancient Bedouins out of their Age of Jahilliyah (Ignorance), and did it all within a generation. Islam then spread as far westward as Andalusia and eastward right up to China. In the process Islam inspired and created great civilizations and empires that lasted till at least the early part of the last century.

After over 1400 years however, Islam (at least the physical empire, though not the faith) was done in by European colonialism. With colonialism’s ending, there was a quick resurgence of Islam. Today it is the faith of a quarter of the world’s population, and fast growing.

Islam has been part of the Malay world for well over half a millennium. It is very much an integral part of our “Malayness” such that the statutory definition of a Malay is tied to the faith. Our embrace of Islam remains firm if not enhanced, despite being under complete Western (specifically British) colonial domination for a good portion of the time.

With the resurgence of Islam, Malays like Muslims everywhere yearn for the return of those earlier glorious days. Thus far that is all there is to it – just a yearning; much of the Muslim world remains tragically mired in poverty, with its citizens deprived of their basic human dignity and rights. Read the rest of this entry »