11th January 2017
Messages of condolences flooded social networking site Twitter following the passing of Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem.
Adenan, who was recently warded at Sarawak General Hospital Heart Centre in Kota Samarahan, died at the age of 72 this afternoon.
Among the earliest to express their condolences were Umno leaders Mas Ermieyati Samsudin and Khairy Jamaluddin.
Khairy in his tweet, expressed his condolences to Adenan’s widow, Jamilah Anu, his family, as well as the people of Sarawak over Adenan’s passing.
Soon after, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak also took to Twitter to express his sorrow over Adenan’s death.
“I will be going to Sarawak to pay my last respects,” he tweeted.
Stating how Adenan had contributed greatly to Sarawak, Malaysia, Najib added that Malaysia had lost a respected leader.
Other Barisan Nasional leaders who expressed their condolences were Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Tengku Adenan Tengku Mansor, Razali Ibrahim, Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Bung Moktar Radin, Liow Tiong Lai, Ahmad Maslan, Tan Keng Liang, P Kamalanathan, Mary Yap and Azalina Othman Said.
Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said today was a “sad day for all, especially Sarawak”.
“(We have) lost a leader who had contributed a lot and he is also someone I respected. May his soul rest in peace among the pious,” tweeted Hishammuddin.
Opposition leaders also tweeted their sorrow over the passing.
Among them were Azmin Ali, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Lim Kit Siang, Mohd Shafie Apdal, Mahfuz Omar, Fuziah Salleh, Darrell Leiking, Charles Santiago, M Kulasegaran, and Hannah Yeoh.
Azmin in his tweet, prayed for Adenan to be granted “husnul khatimah” (good end) and to be placed in heaven.
Lim, on the other hand, expressed his “deepest condolences to the bereaved family”.
“Malaysia and Sarawak have lost a great visionary leader,” he tweeted. Read the rest of this entry »
Mainstream media practitioners should stop their hypocrisy belly-aching about “fake news” on social media when they are themselves the worst purveyor of false news
Mainstream media practitioners should stop their hypocrisy belly-aching about “fake news” on social media when they are themselves the worst purveyor of false news.
Two days ago, one mainstream media admitted purveying “fake news” about Ketua Umum PKR Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in its articles in 2013 alleging that Anwar was a dishonest politician involved in money-laundering activities, including giving RM50 million to the late Karpal Singh to fix judges.
This same mainstream media was recently purveying the “fake news that I had met Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad on Dec. 3 last year and “sealed a deal” that Mukhriz Mahathir would become prime minister and I would become Deputy Prime Minister.
Despite my denial, this mainstream media continued to carry reports on this “fake news”.
Yet this mainstream media had the temerity to conduct a campaign against “false news” in the social media, with an major article entitled “DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN REAL AND FAKE NEWS” on New Year’s Day and another entitled “Non-truths must be treated with contempt” today.
What moral high ground do these mainstream media practitioners possess when they are equally guilty of creating or purveying “fake news” in the mainstream media? Read the rest of this entry »
Will Malaysia slide down to its lowest ranking and score in 22 years in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2016 which will be released in a fortnight’s time?
Will Malaysia slide down to its lowest ranking and score in 22 years in Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2016 which will be released in a fortnight’s time?
I do dread the TI CPI 2016 release, as the past year had been one of the worst years on the corruption front for Malaysia.
Malaysia which dropped four places in the TI CPI 2016, falling from No. 50 to No. 54, and the CPI score slipped from 52 in 2014 to 50 in 2015, would have fallen lower in ranking in TI CPI 2015 if five countries, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Puerto Rico and St Vincent – which had been ranked higher than Malaysia – had not been excluded due to technical reasons like not meeting three minimum secondary sources for research.
The TI CPI 2015 had not taken into account the last bad news on the Malaysian corruption front on the last few days of the 2015, when Malaysia was rated third in international website, foreignpolicy.com’s “worst corruption scandal in 2015”. Read the rest of this entry »
New York correspondent
10 January 2017
Barack Obama sealed his racial legacy the moment he sealed victory in the 2008 election – a black man would occupy a White House built by slaves, a history-defying as well as history-making achievement.
In 1961, the year of Obama’s birth, there existed in the American South a system of racial apartheid that separated the races from the cradle to the grave.
Whites-only water fountains. Whites-only schools. Whites-only graveyards.
In some states, his very conception – involving an African father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas – would have been a criminal offence.
Washington, too, remained a largely segregated city.
When in the 1950s, a former TV executive by the name of E Frederic Morrow became the first black White House aide not to have a job description that included turning down beds, polishing shoes or serving drinks with a deferential bow, he was prohibited from ever being alone in the same room as a white woman.
Back then, as Morrow recounted in his memoir, Black Man in the White House, African-Americans were routinely stereotyped as sexual predators incapable of controlling their desires.
Little more than half a century later, a black man ran the White House – occupying the Oval Office, sitting at the head of the conference table in the Situation Room, relaxing with his beautiful young family in the Executive Mansion – a family that has brought such grace and glamour to America’s sleepy capital that it is possible to speak of a Black Camelot. Read the rest of this entry »
Noor Ashikin Abdul Rahman
The New Paper, Singapore
Jan 10, 2017
We are only 10 days into the new year, but if that all-too-familiar feeling called wanderlust is already creeping in, its not your fault.
Besides, it is never too early to start planning your next getaway.
If a short vacation that will not break the bank is what you are eyeing, consider Penang.
The Malaysian state is not just steeped in culture and tradition – it is also a haven for foodies.
The best part? We have done the calculations for you – the airfare will set you back less than $100, while decent accommodation will cost less than a $100 per night. Read the rest of this entry »
10th January 2017
1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), founded by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, is the subject of money laundering investigations in at least six other countries including Switzerland, Singapore and the United States.
Civil lawsuits filed by the US Department of Justice allege more than $US3.5 billion ($4.76 billion) was misappropriated from the fund.
The lawsuits seek to seize $US1 billion ($1.36 billion) in assets allegedly siphoned off from 1MDB and diverted into luxury real estate in New York, Beverly Hills and London, valuable paintings, and a private jet.
Mr Najib, who also chaired 1MDB’s advisory board, has denied wrongdoing and said Malaysia would cooperate with international investigations.
“The AFP is aware of allegations relating to companies associated with 1MDB and have assisted our foreign law enforcement partners with their investigations in relation to a number of these matters,” the AFP told Reuters. Read the rest of this entry »
January 10, 2017
In giving his farewell address on Tuesday night in Chicago, President Obama will follow a tradition begun by America’s first president.
George Washington offered a series of warnings, what he called a “solemn contemplation.” His parting words have been deemed so valuable that they are read on the floor of the U.S. Senate each year, including his warning about the dangers of partisanship:
“It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another; foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passion.”
The presidential farewell address became a fixture in the 20th century, right along with the arrival of television in American homes. In these modern farewell speeches, almost all of them talk about the difficulty of the job, and urge the American people to be nice to the next guy. Read the rest of this entry »
Koon Yew Yin
10th Jan 2017
A few days ago, I received a whatsapp with a long heading. It dealt with the education woes of the Malay community and was titled: HASIL DARI DASAR BANGANG, SIAPA YANG BANGANG KALAU BUKAN KITA YANG MEMILIH MEREKA PEMBUAT DASAR BANGANG? SEORANG RAKAN SEJAWAT DI IPT MENULIS
Loosely translated, this is the equivalent in English: PRODUCT OF STUPID POLICY: WHO IS IT THAT IS STUPID IF NOT OURSELVES WHO HAVE CHOSEN THOSE POLICY MAKERS. A FRIEND FROM THE UNIVERSITY WRITES
This post in the social media has gone viral in many Malay chat groups. But I doubt if it will ever appear in the Malay newspapers such as Utusan Malaysia or Berita Harian. Or even be carried or commented on in the English media even though it is worthy of national discussion and analysis.
Here is a quick summary of its contents: Read the rest of this entry »
Let Mohd Faiz, Harith Iskander, Mohd Ridzuan and Ziyad Zolkein be exemplars of world-beaters for Malaysians
Events in the first ten days of the new year have given both hope and dejection about the future of Malaysia.
Standing head and shoulders above all other events in the first 10 days is undoubtedly Penang footballer Mohd Faiz Subri’s clinching of the Fifa Puskas Award for the most beautiful goal of 2016, putting his name on the same list as past winners such as famed football stars Christiano Ronaldo and Neymar.
The 29-year-old Penang striker has indeed brought joy to millions of Malaysians thousands of kilometres away when Mohd Faiz was handed the award for his spellbinding free kick at a glittering ceremony in Zurich yesterday.
Mohd Faiz created history as the first Asian to be bestowed the gong named after Ferenc Puskas, the Hungarian football legend who enjoyed huge success with Real Madrid during the 1950s and 60s as well as his national team.
Last year Harith Iskander won the Funniest Person in the World competition in Finland while Malaysia won two gold medals in the Rio Paralympics, one by Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi in men’s 100m T36 and the other by Ziyad Zolkefli in the men’s F20 shot putt.
On the dark side, Malaysia ascended the world chart to become a “global kleptocracy”.
Mohd Faiz’s success is an inspiration to all Malaysians to regain confidence in themselves and the nation to aim to be among the best in the world – not to be mediocre or worse, heading towards a failed and a rogue state.
Let Mohd Faiz, Harith Iskander, Mohd Ridzuan and Ziyad Zolkein be exemplars of world-beaters for Malaysians. Read the rest of this entry »
Leslie Lopez Regional Correspondent In Kuala Lumpur
JAN 7, 2017
The Malaysian government is laying the groundwork to shut down 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the state investment firm mired in a scandal that has become the most serious blight on Prime Minister Najib Razak’s administration at home and abroad.
Under a plan spearheaded by a high-level government unit called the Budiman committee, the assets of the state development fund will be transferred in the coming months to two companies owned by the Finance Ministry.
These valuable assets are two massive plots of land in Kuala Lumpur and one on Penang island. Read the rest of this entry »
I will be surprised if 99% of the civil servants at Prime Minister’s Department monthly assembly today were not thinking of three things, Malaysia’s ill-repute as global kleptocracy, 1MDB and “MO1” when they heard Najib’s speech this morning
I will be surprised if 99% of the civil servants at the Prime Minister’s Department monthly assembly this morning were not thinking of three things, Malaysia’s ill-repute as global kleptocracy, 1MDB and “MO1” when they heard the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s speech this morning.
In his speech, Najib said the recent arrests made by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) are a reminder to civil servants against wastage.
Najib said wastage “is equal to taking away what belongs to the people,” and he reminded those in government that they cannot take away the people’s rights.
The founder of Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4), Cynthia Gabriel and Bersih chairperson Maria China were spot-on when they responded to Najib’s speech by urging the Prime Minister to lead by example on his reminder to civil servants this not to take what rightfully belongs to the people. Read the rest of this entry »
Cabinet on Wednesday should congratulate Cardinal Fernandez as the first Malaysian to be appointed as a Roman Catholic cardinal
The Cabinet on Wednesday should congratulate Cardinal Fernandez as the first Malaysian to be appointed as a Roman Catholic cardinal.
As a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation which is the site for the confluence of the great civilizations in the world, Malaysians should celebrate whenever a Malaysian regardless of race, religion or culture scaled new heights or achieved new accomplishments.
At the “Red Hat” ceremony in the Basilica of St. Peter’s at the Vatican on November 19 last year where Cardinal Fernandez was one the 17 new Cardinals who received the red hat (biretta), Pope Francis underlined the different cultural traditions of the new Cardinals.
He said: “We come from distant lands; we have different traditions, skin colour, languages and social backgrounds; we think differently and we celebrate our faith in a variety of rites. None of this makes us enemies; instead it is one of our greatest riches…”
The Pope lamented the modern world in which “polarization” and “exclusion” are burgeoning and considered the only way to resolve conflicts.
Malaysians share similar concerns at the rise of polarization and exclusion not only on the global stage but also in Malaysian politics and life. Read the rest of this entry »
Three mini-political earthquakes in Sabah and Malaysian political landscape to lead to the major political earthquake in the 14GE to change the government in Sabah and Putrajaya
The launching of the Pakatan Harapan Sabah this morning is one of the three mini political earthquakes to lead to the major political earthquake in the 14th General Election expected this year to peacefully and democratically change the government in Sabah and Putrajaya.
As Mat Sabu, the President of AMANAH, said just now, the issue is not whether one is a Sabahan or not, but whether the political leaders asking for popular support are men and women of integrity.
The next general election should be a choice between democracy or kleptocracy; good governance or injustices and abuses of power.
In the past year or so, Malaysia had become a global kleptocracy – which I said in Parliament is a government of 3Ps, Pencuri, Perompak and Penyamun. Equally shocking, Sabah has emerged as the most kleptocratic state in Malaysia.
In the last few days, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) arrested a Federal Ministry Secretary-General and a few millions of ringgit were found in his possession – but this was small fry compared to the tens and hundreds of millions of ringgit which the MACC found when it raided two top officers of the Sabah Water Department in October during the Sabah Watergate scandal!
China has caught and imprisoned “tigers” and Indonesia “crocodiles” in their anti-corruption campaigns but the Malaysian MACC has still to net and jail a single “shark”, and unless the MACC can net the “political sharks” in the fight against corruption, the focus on civil servants will not take Malaysia’s anti-corruption campaign very far.
There must a clean, honest and dedicated political leadership, both at the national and state levels.
Sabahans are entitled to ask why with Sabah’s vast wealth and natural resources, poverty in Sabah is so acute and abject with Sabahans among the poorest in the country. Read the rest of this entry »
Liow should explain how MCA could reconcile its public stand to oppose Hadi’s private member’s bill with Najib’s announcement that Barisan Nasional government will vote in support of Hadi’s private member’s bill motion in March Parliament and government take over Hadi’s bill?
There is a rule of thumb in political exchanges that personal attacks or character assassination is the last resort of political opportunists and scoundrels who have run out of arguments based on facts and reason, and this is what the MCA President Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai resorted to when he launched a ferocious personal attack on me, accusing the DAP as a privately-owned “Kit Siang & Son Sdn. Bhd” and not a political party.
I can understand Liow’s frustration and exasperation, but it is no justification nevertheless for him to resort to personal attacks and character-assassination.
What was Liow frustrated and exasperated about?
The latest incident was the MCA leadership’s total inability to respond to my statement on Thursday catching Liow “red-handed” in saying one thing to the Chinese but giving a totally different impression to the Malays – which is the height of political dishonesty and chicanery at work in plural Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »
Jan 7th 2017
The opposition has a chance to strike
A ROUND of applause, ladies and gentlemen. Any typical leader of a typical democracy, when found with nearly $700m of ill-explained money from an unnamed foreign donor in his accounts, would experience a swift and fatal fall. Yet, nearly two years after news first broke that Najib Razak’s bank balance had been thus plumped up, his high-wire act continues.
You could even argue that the Malaysian prime minister, who denies any wrongdoing, is at the top of his game. Mr Najib appears to command the unstinting loyalty of the party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which leads the coalition that has ruled the country since independence in 1957. He has undermined a fractious opposition, not least by peeling an Islamist party away from it. And as investigations proceed in several other countries into the alleged bilking of colossal sums from 1MDB, an indebted state investment-fund whose advisory board Mr Najib once chaired, the prime minister himself remains untouched. Staying in power helps stave off any risk he might face of international prosecution. A general election is due by late August 2018, but perhaps Mr Najib will call a snap poll in the next few months to give himself several more years’ rule. Read the rest of this entry »
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s hint to the first Cabinet meeting of the year on Wednesday that 2017 is going to be an “interesting year” has already been more than fulfilled in the first five days of the year.
The new year in the past five days started not just with a double whammy but a multitude of whammies, including:
The Malaysian ringgit currency starting the new year with a new record low of RM4.5002 against the US dollar since the 1998 Asian financial crisis, signifying very tough economic year for Malaysians;
The gutting of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) although it was already quite impotent to fighting grand corruption. No “tiger” or “crocodile” had been caught by the MACC,but there seems a “devil’s bargain”: that the MACC is given the green light to go after civil servants so long as they leave the politicos and their “favourite” civil servants alone.
by Will Davies
January 5, 2017
Ringgit was among the weaker major Asian currencies in 2017
China’s economic slowdown will weigh on Malaysian trade: BMI
Malaysia’s ringgit, one of Asia’s worst-performing currencies over the past year, has further to fall, according to BMI Research.
One reason is because it is affected by the yuan, which is going to remain under downward pressure, BMI said in a Jan. 4 note. There will also likely be a narrowing of real interest-rate differentials between the U.S. and Malaysia, with the latter probably staying on hold this year while the Federal Reserve increases rates by a total of 50 basis points. Further weakness in the global bond market would also put the ringgit under pressure given that around 40 percent of Malaysian bonds are held by foreigners.
BMI has lowered its forecast for the ringgit. It expects it to average 4.50 per U.S. dollar this year and 4.40 in 2018, from 4.00 and 3.88 previously. The currency, which fell 4.3 percent against the greenback last year and 18.5 percent in 2015, hasn’t posted an annual gain since 2012. Read the rest of this entry »
by Andrea Tan and Chanyaporn Chanjaroen
January 6, 2017
He was the leader of one of the largest mass defections in private banking history, with more than 100 staff following him from RBS Coutts Bank Ltd. in the thick of the global credit crisis to create a financial phenomenon in Singapore at a little-known Swiss bank.
Hanspeter Brunner, together with former deputy Raj Sriram and chief operating officer Gary Tucker, were the kernel of a plan by BSI SA, founded in 1873 in Lugano, to build up a $10 billion wealth-management business serving the burgeoning ranks of Asia’s millionaires.
Brunner, a veteran Swiss private banker who has spent more than two decades in Asia, offered his Coutts colleagues an extraordinary lifeboat.
Then-parent Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc was being bailed out by the U.K. government, while all around the financial industry was culling tens of thousands of jobs.
Brunner knew every banker, analyst, back-office worker and client at Coutts, according to people familiar with the move. When he went to BSI, even the pantry lady followed, three of the people said. This wasn’t just a chance for BSI to grab a few star talents in the cutthroat world of private banking in Asia, this was a wholesale exodus. Brunner’s lawyer Ng Lip Chih of NLC Law Asia LLC declined to comment.
The mass move to BSI Bank Ltd., the Singapore unit, forged a sense of camaraderie among the defectors and cemented a bond with Brunner, who managed to negotiate pay increases of as much as 40 percent, according to the people, who didn’t want to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter. BSI’s payroll swelled from 30 employees to 200 within a year, according to a company report.
They little knew that Brunner was bringing them from one crash to another. In May, Singapore’s financial watchdog ordered the bank to shut its operations in the city-state, blasting BSI as the nation’s worst case of banking misconduct. Read the rest of this entry »
Tan Sri Alwi Jantan’s mournful poem “Cry my Beloved Country” is the plaintive cry of all patriotic Malaysians who love Malaysia and grievously hurt at the harm we have done to ourselves
When I received on the WhatApps a poem “Cry my Beloved Country” by “Alwi Jantan, Perth, 1st January 2017”, I wanted to be sure that it was penned by Tan Sri Alwi Jantan himself, and not a “fake”.
I took pains to check its veracity and I was vindicated when I spoke to the 81-year-old former top civil servant himself, and he confirmed that he had himself written the poem.
Born in Dungun, Terengganu on 16th April 1935, Alwi had a long civil service career belonging to the first Merdeka generation of public servants, starting in the civil service in August 1958, and who went on to serve as Director-General of National Archives and Library Malaysia in 1971; Selangor State Secretary (1972-76); Secretary-General of three Ministries, namely Local Government and Federal Territory, Health and Agriculture; Deputy Secretary-General of Prime Minister’s Department (1981-1984), ending his public service career as Director-General of Public Services Department (PSD) (1987-1990).
Alwi’s mournful poem “Cry my Beloved Country” to ring in the New Year of 2017 for a very troubled Malaysia is the plaintive cry of all patriotic Malaysians who love Malaysia and grievously hurt at the harm we have done to ourselves.
This is Alwi’s “Cry my Beloved Country” on behalf of Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region – a cry deep from the heart of grieving Malaysians in the run-up to the 60th anniversary celebrations for the Proclamation of Merdeka on August 31, 1957:
Read the rest of this entry »
By Gareth Richards
Translation matters. It always has, but perhaps now more than ever. It is a paradox that globalisation offers the technological means of communication and conversation across borders, and yet politics (including the culture wars) seems to be driven by small-mindedness, xenophobia and enmity. It is these “moments in time when the world is changing” that “bring out the best and the worst in people,” as Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng puts it. If literature possesses an emancipatory potential – if it can open up spaces for critical thinking and be a flame in the darkness – then the act of translating fiction and poetry surely lies somewhere near its centre.
The recent edition of the George Town Literary Festival offered a clear focus on the potential of literary translation. In general terms, the thematic core of the festival – captured by the Welsh word hiraeth, the longing for a homeland that is no longer there – necessarily explored the ways in which literatures travel, across time and space. In addition, there were also dedicated panels that discussed the subtle arts of reading, reimagining and translating foreign fiction and poetry across many different languages. One thing was made clear: no one will ever read an author’s work as closely as her translator does.
We caught up with a number of respected literary translators at the festival to reflect on the process, products and prospects for this work in Malaysia and beyond. Here we feature the KL-based poet Pauline Fan, who is also co-editor of NARATIF | Kisah, a bilingual literary journal that features work by both Malaysian and international authors. For her, translation is a “confluence” of literary traditions where important connections are made. And this work is nested within an ongoing moment of “encounter, engagement and critical contemplation”. Read the rest of this entry »