Saturday, February 11, 2012

OMG, this is one publicity we don't need

Under the headline “BBC to issue global apology for documentaries that broke rules”, UK’s The Independent newspaper reported that “The BBC will today apologise to an estimated 74 million people around the world for a news fixing scandal, exposed by The Independent, in which it broadcast documentaries made by a London TV company that was earning millions of pounds from PR clients which it featured in its programming.

“BBC World News viewers from Kuala Lumpur to Khartoum and Bangkok to Buenos Aires will watch the remarkable broadcast, available in 295 million homes, 1.7 million hotel rooms, 81 cruise ships, 46 airlines and on 35 mobile phone platforms, at four different times, staged in order to reach audiences in different time zones. The BBC will apologise for breaking ‘rules aimed at protecting our editorial integrity’.”

The Independent exposed last year in an investigation into the global television news industry how the BBC paid nominal fees of as little as £1 for programmes made by FBC Media (UK), whose PR client list included foreign governments and multinational companies. The company made eight pieces for the BBC about Malaysia while failing to declare it was paid £17 million by the Malaysian government for “global strategic communications”.

The programmes included positive coverage of Malaysia’s controversial palm oil industry.

According to the report, investigations into the scandal “uncovered 15 breaches of editorial guidelines”, of which eight were related to FBC’s programmes on Malaysia.

The apology, according to the report, will read: “In the case of eight other programmes, all of which featured Malaysia, we found that the production company which made the programmes appeared to have a financial relationship with the Malaysian government.  “This meant there was a potential conflict of interest, though the BBC was not aware of it when the programmes were broadcast.”

That the BBC had been duped into airing the programmes is its problem. The British broadcaster is paying the price for its oversight.

What should concern us is that taxpayers’ money paid to FBC Media. Its unprofessional conduct has caused our country shame. Instead of benefiting from FBC’s costly handiwork, Malaysia’s image has instead been further damaged.

The question is: how could our government (and its agencies) have made such a mistake when we know that teams upon teams of “high-powered” media professionals have been employed by Putrajaya since Prime Minister Mohd Najib took over in 2009?

Did they not know who or what FBC Media is? To have their “global strategic communications” contractor caught red-handed, and with its pants down, does not speak well of the government’s media teams and personalities.

Perhaps this is the problem and outcome of being too dependent on outside advisers and consultants, and not being hands-on enough.

[Source : A Kadir Jasin]

Cattle and Condo don't gel

I find it totally unbelievable to hear the CEO of the National Feedlot Corporation, Wan Shahinur Izmir, making the claim that the NFC 'had the right to use the RM250 million government loan as it deemed fit' as long as it repaid the interest,

I wonder who is he trying to kid.  The company obtained a soft loan from the government [read rakyat's money] to go into the cattle rearing business but instead, some part of the money was used for  the so-called property investment.  One can easily verify this whether such actitivity is stipulated in the company's M & A.  I doubt it.  Even though, assuming that the property investment business yields good return, but what about the purchase of the Mercedes vehicle and the trip to perform the Umrah?  Surely these two could not be considered as good investments as one possesses depreciative value and the other, money gone, except for the memory in Sharizat's head.  Therefore, as CEO of the company, where is his sense of fiduciary duty?

Another good example is the BMF scandal in the early eighties. Can a petroleum company be engaged in the banking business?  No you can't, not unless it is stated otherwise in the company's M & A.  So in 1983, when the BMF scandal was at its height and in order to salvage the situation, an overnight sitting of Parliament was convened to amend the Act to allow PETRONAS to take over the interests of BMF, and voila, PETRONAS was now in the banking business.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

It is coming .... Windows 8

MICROSOFT will pull the covers off Windows 8 - a radical rethinking of the operating system that runs most of the world's computers. And it has one clear goal in sight: The iPad.

The software giant will talk about the forthcoming release on that date and hold what is essentially a massive public beta of the next-generation operating system, an overhaul intended to stress the growing importance of tablet computers and smartphones to the overall world of technology, reported Fox News.

Users will most likely be able to download the software for free that day, though Microsoft refused to confirm when it would be available.

The new operating system boasts a completely revamped user interface Microsoft calls "Metro."

It will run on top of the conventional interface and is intended to work not just with the world's hundreds of millions of Windows computers but also with the emerging mobile devices that have taken consumers by storm.

The new interface will display applications as tiles for quick and easy access, while also allowing them to toggle back to a classic Windows look.

Other user interface changes already unveiled include a new "lock screen" for the operating system that gives far more information at a glance than the current iteration of Windows and pervasive touch input controls - yet another a signal that Microsoft will be focused on devices that emphasize touch.

[Source: NewsCore]

Hasan Ali, you have been exposed!

A popular PAS-affiliated blogger has stripped former Selangor PAS chief, Hasan Ali, of his bluster to expose the real reason behind his recent attack on DAP.

Hasan, who was sacked from the party last month for undermining PAS’ leadership, recently warned that DAP would merge Malaysia with Singapore if the opposition takes over Putrajaya.
He also speculated that DAP would abolish Article 153 of the Federal Constitution on the Special Privileges for Malays.

But Abdul Rahman Talib, better known as Tulang Besi, pointed out that Hasan’s animosity with DAP was fresh and had begun when the latter was passed over for the position of Selangor Menteri Besar.
“Several months before the 2004 general election, Hasan had organised a secret meeting with DAP to discuss a collaboration between both sides,” he wrote on his blog, Malaysia Waves.

“At the time DAP had left Pakatan Rakyat and had no political affiliations with PAS. The meeting was attended by Hasan and a senior DAP leader.”

At the time Hasan was holding the post of PAS vice-president. According to Rahman, the agenda included an agreement for DAP and PAS not to compete with each other and to refrain from attacking the other in the media.

He added that the meeting was so secretive that it was held late at night and that Hasan had switched cars in Masjib Bulat in Section 14 before the meeting.

Rahman’s claim runs contrary to Hasan’s insistence that he had never conspired with DAP or PKR. But Rahman has a solid reason to stand by his statement.

“I’m privy to the details of this meeting because I was among its organisers,” Rahman said. “And today this same person (Hasan) is condemning and hurling baseless accusations at DAP.”
“It is obvious that he is no more than a liar whose only aim is to wrest position and ranking. Hopefully his hipocrisy will be revealed one by one.”

Hasan wanting to divide Pakatan
Rahman also pointed out that Article 152 of Singapore’s Constitution clearly states the Special Privileges of the Malays in Singapore.

He emphasised that although the People’s Action Party (PAP) had ruled over Singapore for more than 50 years, the party had never abolished these rights.

“So where is Hasan’s rationale that DAP would abolish Article 153?” he asked.

Rahman then proceeded to give Hasan another roasting for threatening to expose the “parasites” within PAS during his upcoming nationwide roadshow.

Hasan had claimed that a “group of parasites” had infiltrated the party, held various important positions and listened to the opinions of PKR and DAP.

Rahman, however, called to mind Hasan’s winding up speech when he stepped down from his vice-president’s post during which he openly attacked the party’s clerics.

Rahman quoted Hasan as hitting out at the clerics for keeping the powers of the Syura Council vague which would enable them to easily change party policies as they wished since they acted as the party’s top leadership.

“And now he is labelling certain individuals as parasites and accusing them of disrespecting the clerics for wanting to change the party’s policies,” he said.

“The fact of the matter is that Hasan has been sacked for not respecting the decision made at the PAS annual general assembly and is now striving to divide Pakatan Rakyat.”

[Sources: FMT]

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Had Sharizat been a Chinese citizen, it would have been curtains for her.

Note the part highlighted in red. The following is an extract reproduced from the Malaysian Chronicle.

Wu Ying, a tycoon once listed among the richest women in China, has come to her last hope of survival.

The former 31-year-old billionaire, now on death row, is waiting for the top court's final review of her capital sentence, which was upheld by a local court last month, a few days ahead of the Chinese New Year.

Shen Ziming, the presiding judge of the case from the High People's Court of East China's Zhejiang province, told China News Service that the court endorsed the previous judgment after finding the defendant illegally raised up to 770 million yuan (US$122 million) from 11 lenders with the promise of high returns from 2005 to 2007, and hence should be "severely punished" for the apparent Ponzi-like scheme, as she has "brought huge losses to the nation and people with her serious crimes".

Shen said Wu concealed her debt to lenders and pretended to be financially powerful by "showing off jewelry and registering nominal companies".

According to China's criminal code, a person convicted of financial fraud is punishable by death if the money involved is "especially huge" and an "especially heavy loss" of the interests has been made to the state and the people.

Although some legal experts supported the judgment, wide sympathy and pleas for the fair-skinned woman with a short haircut have quickly ranked top on the country's most popular micro-blogging site.

Speculation swirled around both the suitability of the charge and whether capital punishment is too severe for a non-violent financial crime.

Zhang Sizhi, an 85-year-old barrister with national renown, wrote an open letter to the top court and pleaded for re-consideration when it exerted its right of review, for there are still "reasonable doubts".

Zhang Yanfeng, Wu's lawyer, argues that the case does not constitute the crime of financial fraud, a charge that requires fundraising from the general public by means of "swindling" for the purpose of illegal possession.

"Nine out of the 11 lenders are Wu's old friends and should not be considered general public," said Yang Zhaodong, one of Wu's lawyers.

He then said Wu has used the funds to invest in trading companies, hotels and real estate, instead of using the money to cover existing debt and purchase personal luxuries as accused by the prosecutors.
Oral testimony shows the lenders still believe Wu borrowed the money to improve cash flow instead of illegal possession and personal indulgence.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Our Sunday Girl - Cecilia

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel have recorded many hits in the sixties and seventies and this is just one of the many favourites of mine from these two modern day poets.

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