Archive for June 8th, 2016

A Self-Inflicted Downgrade for Malaysia?

Barron’s Asia
June 8, 2016

Goldman Sachs finds itself ensnared in the 1MDB scandal which threatens to squeeze the nation’s credit rating.

Goldman Sachs is sharing its giant vampire squid with Najib Razak’s government in Malaysia.

The investment colossus has found itself at the scene of many a scandal – a financial Forrest Gump, if you will. From U.S. Treasury bidding probes to Greece’s debt crisis to the subprime meltdown, Goldman’s bankers were there reaping fortunes behind the scenes. In a 2009 Rolling Stone piece, Matt Tiabbi famously branded it “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”

Make that Malaysia, too. As the Wall Street Journal reports, U.S. officials are probing whether Goldman broke the law by not alerting authorities about dodgy dealings at state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

It’s the latest reminder of how Prime Minister Najib’s 1MDB mess is wrapping its tentacles around an entire nation. The unpredictable ways in which it threatens to drag Southeast Asia’s third-biggest economy under, like some massive vampire squid, can be seen in Putrajaya’s balance sheet. Could it even lead to a credit downgrade? Read the rest of this entry »

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Hadi-led PAS is more and more like UMNO, sometimes even out-UMNO UMNO

I am surprised by the attacks on the DAP launched by the PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang since the run-up to the Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar parliamentary by-elections, as if Hadi’s political caliber and leadership have to be judged by the intensity of his attacks on the DAP, regardless of their truth or falsity.

PAS led by Hadi is more and more like UMNO, sometimes even out-UMNO UMNO, and I can hardly recognize the “open-minded” PAS of Tok Guru Datuk Seri Nik Aziz Nik Mat, who was Kelantan Mentri Besar for 23 years or the PAS of the previous PAS Presidents Fadzil Nor and Yusuf Rawa for some two decades before Hadi’s presidency.

Hadi had talked about being the adviser to UMNO and Najib, but sometimes I wonder whether it is Najib who is actually advising Hadi!

Recently, there had been a few instances of PAS under Hadi which is more and more like UMNO, sometimes even out-UMNO UMNO.

PAS had accused UMNO of communalism in advocating “ketuanan Melayu” but it has now followed the UMNO footsteps as illustrated by the PAS adoption of Malay warrior garb and other traditional Malay attire and customs at the recent PAS Muktamar – which even caused an UMNO Minister, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz to observe sardonically that UMNO’s formula had proved to be so successful that PAS was mimicking them.

But this was not the extent of PAS mimicry of UMNO – when Hadi wielded a long keris at the PAS Muktamar, longer than the short keris that Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had wielded three times at the UMNO Youth General Assembly when he was UMNO Youth Leader, with such awful consequences for plural Malaysia!

Even former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir was moved to chide PAS for trying to be more nationalist than UMNO – as if the longer the keris, the more nationalist the party, using the length of the keris to measure nationalism!
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Hudud merry­go­round again distracts an ailing nation

By Dzulkefly Ahmad
5 Jun 2016, 8:14 am

Sadly, our beloved Malaysia is now…

… a nation plagued with crippling perennial problems of gross endemic corruption, hefty embezzlement, wastage and widening income inequality….

… a nation virtually torn apart because of a deepening racial divide and religious intolerance due to bigotry…

… a nation whose critical institutions are chronically subverted by the powers-that-be, thus losing its cardinal role as check and balance on the separation of powers for effective governance …

And yet, despite all these gross failures of nation building, hudud, is once again taking centrestage in Malaysian politics. But why? Why was the Private Member’s Bill from Marang MP Abdul Hadi Awang allowed to be tabled?

To stand down all other government matters in the order paper, only to be told that the PAS president Hadi wanted the debate on the ‘motion/bill’ deferred, is simply nonsensical.

Any thinking Malaysian would realise that granting leave to amend the Syariah Court Act of 355 (Criminal Jurisdiction) and conveniently deferring the debate to a later session, smacks of mala fide. It’s a sinister political manoeuvring at best, and downright despicable at worst.

Unproductive never-ending debate
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A new political scenario would surface if the UMNO and PAS members in the Kuala Kangsar by-election rise above petty party politics and vote as patriotic Malaysian voters for AMANAH candidate to save Malaysia from corruption and injustices

A new political scenario will emerge in Malaysia if the UMNO and PAS members in the Kuala Kangsar by-election on June 18 can rise above petty party politics and vote as patriotic Malaysian voters in support of the AMANAH candidate, Professor Ahmad Termizi to save Malaysia from widespread corruption and rank injustices in the country.

Although the Kuala Kangsar by-election is a four-cornered contest, the real battle is between the UMNO/Barisan Nasional and the AMANAH/Pakatan Harapan candidates.

It is true that the PAS candidate had achieved the best results in the Kuala Kangsar parliamentary constituency since Merdeka in 1957 in the 13th General Election three years ago – losing by only 1,082 votes.

In the 13th GE, PAS secured 13,136 votes against UMNO’s 14,218 votes, with PAS securing 46.6% of the votes cast.

But the 13,136 votes won by the PAS candidate in 2013 were not just PAS votes, but votes for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) comprising DAP, PKR and PAS.

Now, as Pakatan Rakyat is no more because of the refusal of the PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang to honour the PR Common Policy Framework and be a PR team-player, it is impossible for the PAS candidate to poll more votes than the 13,136 votes three years ago.

In fact, PAS is likely to lose more than five thousand votes as compared to the 2013 General Election result, bearing in mind that PAS won 9,277 votes in the 2008 GE and 5,748 votes in the 2004 General Election.

Only the AMANAH/PH candidate can defeat the juggernaut election machinery of UMNO/BN in the Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-elections, although the Kuala Kangsar by-election will be an even more uphill and difficult battle than the Sungai Besar by-election. Read the rest of this entry »

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