Monday, March 19, 2018

Chance meeting ....... hmmmm

A chance meeting between Johor DAP chief Liew Chin Tong and former MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek has ignited speculation for one Chinese newspaper.
According to Oriental Daily today, which published a photograph depicting the duo at the meet, had insinuated that there were “secret discussions”.
“These are two influential politicians on opposing sides. What were they secretly discussing?” read the report.
Although the photograph was supposed to have been taken on March 9, the Oriental Daily report was published one day after Liew’s candidacy for Ayer Hitam was announced.
The incumbent Ayer Hitam MP is MCA deputy president Wee Ka Siong. It is widely known that Chua and Wee have been on and off rivals in MCA since 2008.
When contacted, an irate Chua stressed that it was a chance meeting in Kluang and there was nothing political about it. Liew is the current Kluang MP.
“We were both attending different functions. What’s wrong with political friends exchanging pleasantries?” asked Chua.
When contacted, Liew confirmed it was a chance meeting but refused to comment further.
[Source: Malaysiakini]

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Battling for the hearts and minds of the Chinese Johoreans.

A FEW days ago, DAP lawmaker Yeo Bee Yin bid a tearful farewell to her supporters in Damansara Utama when she confirmed that she would be moving from Selangor to contest in her homestate of Johor.
The Chinese vernacular media has indicated that Yeo may be fielded in the Bakri parliamentary seat which is considered a safe one for DAP.
Yeo’s father was reported to have said that the iron tree in their Segamat home had bloomed during Chinese New Year and he saw it as a good omen because the last time it happened, Yeo was about to head off to Cambridge University.
DAP has begun shuffling its cards to move more of their heavyweights into Johor to give a boost to the party’s quest to make further inroads into the state.
There has been so much hype about Johor being Pakatan Harapan’s frontline state in the general election.
But the real battleground is in the seats where Chinese voters could determine which way the seats go.
There are some 30 such parliamentary and state seats and the stage is set for another face-off between DAP and MCA, the two parties battling for the Chinese hearts and minds in the country.
Actually, DAP has won almost all the Chinese seats in Johor. The 2013 Chinese tsunami delivered a total of 13 state seats and four parliamentary seats to the party.
But politics is about power and the party knows that to cement their place at the top of the Chinese mountain, it needs to take down state MCA strongman Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong in Ayer Hitam.
The contest shaping up between the MCA deputy president and Johor DAP chairman Liew Chin Tong has already captured public imagination. The outcome of that contest could shape Chinese politics in Johor in the coming years.
Ayer Hitam, a nondescript town where agriculture is still the mainstay occupation, will be some sort of bellwether seat.
If it falls, then it means that the Chinese tsunami is still rolling on and MCA’s future will be cloudy in Johor and elsewhere.

But if Dr Wee manages to hold back the DAP challenge, then it could mean the start of a comeback for his party which has had a horrible time since 2008.
The political chatter in DAP is that Liew, currently Kluang MP, may also contest the Bekok state seat which is adjacent to Ayer Hitam. Bekok is a Chinese-majority state seat within the Labis parliamentary seat which MCA vice-president Datuk Chua Tee Yong won by only 353 votes.
Kulai MP and lawyer Teo Nie Ching is scheduled to contest in Yong Peng, one of the two state seats in Ayer Hitam, to provide back-up for Liew.
The party is also said to be toying with the idea of fielding Teo in Labis to take on Chua.
In other words, she will hold up the state seat in Ayer Hitam for Liew while Liew will hold up the Bekok state seat for her in Labis.
They will be the Bonnie and Clyde couple in DAP’s bid to dominate the Chinese battleground. The strategy sounds brilliant except that the mood in the small towns of Johor today is quite different from that in 2013.
There are rumblings on the Chinese ground and the feedback from Chinese press reporters is that not all Chinese voters in Johor want to change the state government.
This may result in split voting among the Chinese – state to Barisan Nasional, parliament to Pakatan. A segment of them are not convinced that Pakatan is a worthy replacement for Barisan. They are probably waiting for the candidate line-up and also who Pakatan will put up as their Mentri Besar.
They are also not impressed with the service record of some of the Pakatan lawmakers. They can now compare the service they used to get to what they are getting now.
The mood is not like before. When DAP tried to hold a kopitiam event featuring Lim Kit Siang in Chaah, a small town surrounded by thriving new villages in Labis, the coffeeshop owner agreed but told them: “No speeches.”
Some of the local folk have openly told Chua that they will support him this time.
Chua’s DAP rivals used to ridicule him, saying he has to work hard because of his narrow win. Chua is an intelligent and diligent politician and he had searched his soul to try to understand the 2013 election outcome.
“You can ask my voters, I am there for them on issues of education, welfare, temples. I am not just a festival YB. Even if you win by five votes, you have got to serve the electorate, you are still the MP,” said the Australia-trained accountant.
The first big show of force between the two sides will take place tomorrow. DAP is bringing in its top guns nationwide to celebrate the party’s 52nd anniversary in Yong Peng.
MCA will launch its Team Johor machinery in Johor Jaya, a state seat that MCA intends to take back from DAP.
The rivalry between DAP and MCA is as old as the history of electoral politics in Malaysia but it has taken on an extra-urgent tone in battleground Johor.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

MCA, stand up and be counted. Be a man.

First. it was Nazri who whacked the spineless MCA and now it's Zahid's turn to 'BBQ' MCA kau kau. I wonder when are they going to stand up against such bullies. If MCA cannot even defend itself, how are they going to defend the Chinese community when it comes under attack by UMNO? Liow Tiong Lai, please, have some dignity and respect for your own self by taking MCA out of BN. That's the least you can do without making yourself and the other MCA fellas looking so pathetic.

MCA president Liow Tiong Lai said it was inappropriate for Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also the BN deputy chairperson, to openly criticise MCA.
This was after Zahid reportedly chastised the party for their apparent failure to turn up at a BN event in Rembau yesterday.
"I believe it was a communication problem.
“It was inappropriate to openly criticise MCA without first inquiring on the facts of the matter.
"If it was me, I would not have done it," he said in a statement today.
Liow said he was informed that divisional MCA leaders did attend the Rembau event. However, state leaders were not present as they were not invited.
"I have instructed Negeri Sembilan MCA to investigate the communication problem and prepare a report," he said.
Liow, who is also the transport minister, confirmed he has met Zahid (photo) over the latter's criticisms. 
"I have expressed my opinion on the matter and he also expressed his opinion.
"He asked that we encourage our members to cooperate in the preparation for the general election.
"I do think that election preparation is of utmost importance... MCA is fully prepared for the general election.

"I would like to stress that when it comes to work on the ground, MCA gives its all," he stressed.
Yesterday, Zahid criticised MCA in front of its coalition partners after he did not see the party's representative on stage.
"Where is the MCA representative? There is not a single one. There is MIC, Gerakan, myPPP, but not MCA.
"Please show your face in the parliamentary constituency of Rembau even though you are contesting elsewhere," he was quoted as saying.
[Source: Malaysiakini]


WHY has 1MDB not submitted its accounts since 2014, Pua asked today, following the state investor’s disavowal of funds confiscated by the Swiss authorities.
1Malaysia Development Bhd said it has not lost any money and that its funds are fully accounted for, a claim which the Petaling Jaya Utara MP dismissed as lacking in credibility.
“If 1MDB money is fully accounted for, why hasn’t 1MDB made any full disclosure of its accounts since 2014?   
“In fact, 1MDB has not produced any legitimately audited account since March 2012 after Deloitte Malaysia withdrew its endorsement of 1MDB’s March 2013 and 2014 financial statements,” he said in a statement.
The state investor said yesterday that the CHF104 million (RM430 million) held by the Swiss federal treasury does not belong to 1MDB and is a fine imposed on banks which allegedly breached Swiss laws.
Responding to news and press statements by opposition leaders about the Swiss Parliament’s plans to debate and vote on a motion to repatriate the “stolen” funds to Malaysia, 1MDB said the amount in question cannot be claimed by the firm nor by the Malaysian government, as the money does not belong to 1MDB.
Pua said despite numerous requests by the auditor-general (AG) and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), 1MDB has refused to submit its updated financial statements and even hand over any bank statement of its accounts with foreign banks.
“It does not take a genius to figure out that 1MDB has more than something to hide.  
“This is the very reason the PAC could never have exonerated prime minister (Najib Razak) of stealing from 1MDB because the AG and the PAC were never given the necessary documents to verify that such illicit transfer of funds never took place.
“Even when I had asked for a simple listing of the debts still being held by 1MDB, as well as the debts assumed by the Ministry of Finance, it gets rejected by the parliamentary speaker.”
Pua said the reason the board and the top management of 1MDB are evasive is obvious and understandable, as they are an integral part of the plot by top leaders to steal tens of billions of ringgit from Malaysian taxpayers.
“The mother of all scandals has already precipitated the single largest anti-kleptocracy legal suit by the United States Department of Justice.
“Given that the board and top management of 1MDB are part of the part of the kleptocracy scam, how do they expect Malaysians to believe their denial of the ownership of more than RM400 million confiscated by the Swiss authorities?”
The denial also holds no water as 1MDB has also lied to about the nature of its joint venture with Petrosaudi International Limited, which masked the transfer of US$1.03 billion to the accounts of Good Star Limited in Switzerland, Pua said.
“1MDB repeatedly testified that Good Star was a subsidiary of Petrosaudi, before Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) subsequently confirmed that Good Star’s sole shareholder was the fugitive Low Taek Jho.”

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

What is the significance of religions?

Quick to follow in the foot steps of the London Bridge attack, the new target was Melbourne which happened yesterday, all carried out by ISIS followers.  Many leaders have tried to defray any accusation that the wanton act of this militants have anything to do with Islam.

Let's put matters into perspective.

Followers of any religion practice its teachings and doctrines. So when the followers promote peace and goodwill we credit that religion for guiding its followers to spread harmony and good relationships. Likewise when its followers kill others who disagree with their faith, should we look elsewhere to blame, or blame it on their beliefs, i.e. their religion?
Religion may be the saviour or destroyer of humanity. Most likely the destroyer. Unlike Islam which promote a self centred way to paradise, Christianity preaches an inclusive invitation to partake in a new life in eternity for all followers of Jesus Christ. That new life is not the state of the world we live in today certainly.
Can it be safely concluded that Islam promote destruction of other human beings who are not their sects or beliefs on the basis of what is happening now? Like in a bee colony, not all bees are soldiers but many are workers, yet their mission is the same - propagate and protect the queen. You can see the parallel.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

New Silk Road : Demons within, dragons without

We have tended to look at China with starry-eyed fascination, mesmerised by the immense opportunities for investments, trade, and business, not to mention corrupt gain. China has become something of a fairy godmother - for every problem or need there is a Chinese loan, a Chinese project or a Chinese business deal.
Of course, China has much to offer but only the most naïve will believe that China’s largesse is without a price.
Like it or not, we are dealing with a behemoth with the resources, the ambitions and the tenacity to overwhelm us if we are not careful.
A diplomat in Beijing
I lived in Beijing from 1979 to 1981 as a diplomat and was back in China again earlier this month to attend a meeting. The pace of change in China is simply staggering.
When I first arrived in the country, China had no middle class. According to some economists, its wages were just above that of sub-Saharan Africa.
Most people lived in mud brick shacks and there were as many bicycles as there were people. Vegetables like cabbage were brought from the communes when available and dumped by the truckloads on the roadside; the smell of rotting cabbage was everywhere.
Deng Xiaoping, the paramount leader of China from 1978 till his retirement in 1989, was one of the most remarkable leaders I have ever had the privilege of meeting. He saw what many of his more ideologically inclined colleagues were too blind to see - that if a way could be found to release the industriousness, creativity and ingenuity of the Chinese people, there would be no stopping China’s rise to greatness. In my view, that was his greatest contribution to China.
And he set about changing China through the Four Modernisations policy. It was a big deal then, much the same way as One Belt One Road (OBOR) project is today.

Less than four decades after I first arrived in Beijing, the city is not just a world-class capital city, it is the capital of the world.
The millions of bicycles that once filled the streets of Beijing are gone, replaced by millions of cars both foreign and locally-made.
In the week that I was there for my recent meeting, China’s first locally-built aircraft carrier began sea trials while its first locally-built passenger plane took its maiden voyage.
Almost everything - airports, roads, mass transit systems, telecommunications - is new and more advanced than anything anywhere else. The old ‘hutongs’ (alleys) are all but gone, replaced by dazzling high-rise condos, shopping malls, stadiums, coffee bars and fabulously expensive restaurants filled not by expatriates but by locals.
Except for the famous historical landmarks, very little remains of the Beijing I first encountered in 1979.
Impatient to fulfil its destiny
The mindset shift is also striking. The people I talked to were confident about their future and proud of what had been accomplished. They were anxious to get the best education, learn new experiences, discover new business opportunities, seek ways to exploit new technologies, and were ready to move to the other side of the world if necessary in pursuit of their aspirations.
As a nation, there is an eagerness to be the best and the greatest, to climb the highest, go the furthest, to build the biggest, fastest and most advanced. It doesn’t take long for visitors to sense that this is a nation on the move, impatient to fulfil its manifest destiny as possibly the greatest nation in the world.
Above all else, it is the strategic thinking and planning behind almost everything that is China today that is impressive. A country like China does not rise that high that fast by happenstance but by careful planning, thoughtful implementation and dogged determination. It seems that when China settles upon a strategy, it pursues it with uncommon passion.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that never in the history of human civilisation has any nation been able to make such a technological, economic and social leap forward in such a short span of time as China.
That is the China that we must deal with and we better be up to the challenge if we are not to share the fate of lambs headed to the slaughterhouse.
It is not to suggest that China is evil or necessarily intent on subjugation; it’s just that the sheer asymmetry of its power and prowess automatically puts other nations at a huge disadvantage.
As I walked around Beijing in awe, I couldn’t help reflecting on our own nation’s journey over the last 35 years or so. In many ways, witnessing China’s exponential rise to greatness also forces us to come to terms with our own performance, our own vulnerabilities and shortcomings. It is a depressing exercise to say the least.

During then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s visit to China in November 1985, for example, a few Proton Saga were given to a Beijing taxi company as part of the effort to gain publicity for the recently launched Malaysian-made car. Admiring crowds gathered around the Proton wherever it was displayed, astonished that a small developing country like Malaysia could produce its own cars. It was a proud moment for those of us who were there.
Some 37 years later, here we are desperately looking to China to rescue Proton from total collapse. In 1985, China produced about 6,000 cars annually; by 2008, China’s annual production had surpassed that of the United States and Japan combined.
Time and again, we seem to have squandered the lead we had through corruption, mismanagement and misguided policies or wasted resources on hair-brained schemes. Worst of all, we never seem to learn anything from our follies because we keep repeating them.
Unproductive, self-defeating exercise
While China was taking giant strides forward with its Four Modernisations programme, we were arguing over language, race and religion. Instead of building a world-class system of education, we were politicising it and pretending that just calling our universities great would make it so. While other countries were going out of their way to attract the best minds in the world, we were driving them away with bigotry and prejudice.
While China’s leaders were experimenting with ways to release the creativity, ingenuity and industriousness of all its people, our leaders were stifling it with discriminatory programmes and self-defeating policies.
Even now, when countries like China are focused on technological innovation and strategising how to seize global leadership, we are obsessed with religious laws, what people wear or who’s sleeping with whom, never mind that all these things do absolutely nothing to improve our productivity, enhance our competitiveness or prepare us for the challenges ahead.
Of course, we have our great plans - Vision 2020 and now TN2050 - but we have neither the patience nor the determination of China to do whatever is necessary to bring it to fruition. In the end, it’s all just hype, a “syiok sendiri” exercise, and we know it.
To be sure, Malaysia has made impressive advances as well but surely it is far less than what could have been achieved when measured against our potential.

How do we face external challenges and an increasingly competitive global environment with so much internal baggage? If we cannot get our act together, if we cannot exorcise the demons within, how can we ever hope to face the dragon without?
DENNIS IGNATIUS, a former Malaysian ambassador, firmly believes that we should put our trust not in the leadership of politicians but in the sanctity of great institutions - our secular and democratic constitution, a democratically elected parliament, an independent judiciary, a free press and a government fully accountable to the people.