Archive for May 31st, 2011

Negara Ku no more

By CeeKay
May 30, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

MAY 30 — I was born in 1958, a year after Merdeka. My dad came from China and my mom was born in Kota Bahru, Perak. I have known Malaysia to be my one and only home and I am proud to say that I am a Malaysian anywhere I go despite all the shortcomings of this nation.

I grew up in a kampung near Alor Star where there were fewer than 10 Chinese families but we were treated well by our Malay neighbours. We celebrated Chinese New Year and Hari Raya together, visiting each others’ homes, with no fear of whether the food was halal or against our religion?

Konfrontasi bought the villagers together and I can remember my Dad and my brothers helping out doing guard duties together with our Malay neighbours. May 13 came and went without any incident and, in fact, the Chinese families were escorted out to town by our Malay neighbours. Some of my best friends were from this kampung; we swam in the stream and played in the padi fields. These are fond memories. Read the rest of this entry »


Why I returned

By Walter
May 30, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

MAY 30 — I left Malaysia in 1988 not long after the upheavals in the Malaysian political scene, which included Operation Lalang and the sacking of the Lord President.

I spent a total of 16 years away — in Singapore, the Middle East, France and the US — as an expatriate, and experienced living abroad. During the period, I had many opportunities to become a permanent resident elsewhere but home is where the heart is… and my heart was not in any of those places. Once our youngest child left for university in 2004, I chose to return to Malaysia. Why? Read the rest of this entry »


Khazanah MD ‘frustrated’ in regulated industries, reports FT

By Yow Hong ChiehMay 30, 2011 | The Malaysia Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — Khazanah Nasional Bhd managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar has admitted to being disappointed by his inability to trim fat from the portfolio he inherited in 2004 due to political interference, the Financial Times reported yesterday.

“We have had our frustrations, and there have been areas, mostly in the regulated sectors such as electricity, automobiles and aviation, where value has stagnated or even declined,” Azman (picture) told the international financial daily.

The Financial Times said that despite scoring a “crushing victory” in a US$3.6 billion (RM10.8 billion) takeover battle with India’s Fortis for Singapore healthcare group Parkway Holdings, Khazanah was still struggling to turn around companies in its legacy portfolio, which includes national carmaker Proton and Malaysia Airlines.

“Big questions remain about Khazanah’s ability to deal equally decisively with the rest of its portfolio, not least because of government opposition to radical surgery on any of its significant companies,” the report said. Read the rest of this entry »


Makers of men, creators of leaders

Kalimullah Hassan
The Malaysian Insider
May 29, 2011

MAY 29 — In the movie “Scent of a Woman”, actor Al Pacino plays the character of the blind retired US Army Lt Col Frank Slade who befriends young Charlie Simms. Charlie, despite his disadvantaged background, is a student at an elite school — Baird — which has produced some of America’s great business and political leaders, thinkers and scholars.

Charlie witnesses an act of vandalism, a schoolboy prank, by three of his schoolmates, all of whom are from old money and privileged backgrounds. The school, supposedly standing by its tradition of integrity and propriety, demands that Charlie Simms tells on his friends and even entices him with a scholarship to Harvard if he does. This was the moral dilemma he faced — sell his soul and be rewarded, or, keep his integrity and be punished.

Charlie kept his silence and refused to blow the whistle on his friends. His friends, on the other hand, kept their silence to save their skins even though it meant that Charlie would be punished.

At the disciplinary hearing, before the whole school, the three pranksters had their well-known fathers and family present to support them but Charlie was alone as his parents could not afford the trip to Baird from Oregon.

I have always cherished the scene in the movie when the blind Lt Col Slade turns up at the hearing just as the disciplinary board was about to pass judgment on Charlie. The headmaster had just finished chastising Charlie, saying he had no choice but to expel him because Charlie was “not worthy of being a Baird man.”

That’s when Frank Slade stands up and says, “Mr. Simms doesn’t want it. He doesn’t need to be labelled…” still worthy of being a Baird man.” What the hell is that? What is your motto here? Boys, inform on your classmates, save your hide; anything short of that, we’re gonna burn you at the stake?

“Well, gentlemen, when the s*** hits the fan, some guys run and some guys stay. Here’s Charlie facing the fire, and there’s George (one of the perpetrators) hiding in big daddy’s pocket. And what are you (the school) doing? You’re going to reward George … and destroy Charlie? Read the rest of this entry »


Umno — self-induced rigor mortis

Sakmongkol AK47
The Malaysian Insider
May 30, 2011

MAY 30 — I have written so many essays critical of Umno in the past.

Friends asked me why am I still in Umno? How can I write many nasty things about Umno and seemed to get away with it — why haven’t I been hauled up by the Umno disciplinary committee or something and not ticked off? Isn’t there anything good that Umno has done.

Let’s clear one thing first. This is the source of many of Umno’s problems. Some people assigned to themselves the right to determine who should or shouldn’t be in Umno. They then judge others in terms of their thinking and criteria. Pak Lah or any others can’t measure up to Mahathir in many aspects. But they are not necessarily inferior to Mahathir. They are different. They must be judged on objective terms, not the subjective standards of one Mahathir.

Najib doesn’t seem to do things anything right according to Mahathir. The old man is so stressed up and suffers physical debilitations. Read the rest of this entry »


A ‘snap poll’ in Malaysia? Political surprise, journalistic cliché

Clive Kessler
The Malaysian Insider
May 30, 2011

MAY 30 — Once again there is talk of an early or imminent election in Malaysia.

No surprise, nothing unusual in that.

And once again the commentators are considering the likelihood of a “snap poll.”

Again, no surprise, nothing unusual in that. Just silly.

The expression “snap poll” a cliché.

And, as ever, hasty recourse to the irresistibly available cliché is a sure sign that clear, fresh and direct thinking about the matter at hand has been avoided, short-circuited. That an “end-run” (to use a cliché!) had been made around the moment of analysis, the need for thought.

What is, or was, a snap poll? The term was coined to denote an election that is called suddenly, at an unexpected moment, to take advantage of the element of surprise.

The snap poll is to political life, to electoral politics, what Pearl Harbor was to naval warfare. Suddenly, early one morning, unannounced, out of a clear blue sky… Read the rest of this entry »


Economists see higher inflation from energy hikes

By Lee Wei Lian
The Malaysian Insider
May 30, 2011

Power tariffs will be increased by 7.12 per cent on average come June 1. — Reuters picKUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — Economists expect today’s price hikes in electricity and natural gas to be passed through to inflation-weary consumers, possibly pushing up the monthly consumer price index (CPI) by as much four per cent in the next few months from 3.2 per cent in April.

This follows the announcement from Putrajaya today that the electric tariff will be raised by 2.3 sen per kilowatt hour (kWh) or an average of 7.12 per cent while the price of natural gas charged by Petronas for power generation will go up by RM3.00 per mmBtu each six months until it reached market levels.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the monthly inflation rate from June through to the third quarter approaches four per cent,” said Maybank Investment Bank chief economist Suhaimi Illias. “People also forget that effective next month, the diesel super subsidy will also be removed which will impact the cost of logistics.”

He added that there could be a risk to consumer spending from higher inflation but said that the country’s economic growth should remain intact. Read the rest of this entry »

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