Share |

Monday, October 13, 2008

DO WE NEED A STRONG GOVERNMENT

1. In a previous article I said that a multiracial country needs a strong Government.

2. A weak Government would not be able to deal with the quarrelling between the races, which is the natural tendency of most multiracial societies. Indeed in some multiracial countries violence and fighting are common. Witness the countries around us.

3. For the slightest reason the races would be at each other's throats. One incident was the reaction in some countries because of the currency crisis.

4. Even religious differences can lead to conflict and violence. We see this in Northern Ireland, Lebanon, India, Indonesia and elsewhere. It is important to remember that in Malaysia racial differences are associated with religious differences. We are already seeing incidents involving religious differences.

5. We now have a weak Government and clearly it is incapable of dealing with the tendency towards conflicts because of race and religion. Because of its weakness it commands little respect and even the weakest parties would thumb its collective noses at the Government. The Government apparently has no idea how to handle these problems. We see it apologising only to have it's apologies rejected.

6. The worst part is to find its apologies causing anger among the race for whom it is apologising. It has managed to displease everyone; to please no one.

7. Admittedly even a powerful Government, if it is incompetent and badly led would not manage to govern a multiracial country well. We see this happening with the present Government. In 2004 the people gave it almost unlimited power. But it was not able to use the power well and the people decided to reduce drastically its power. Now we see it floundering about, unable to deal with the sensitivities of a multiracial country.

8. The BN was a 14-party coalition of big and small parties. Because it was powerful the component parties did not challenge it. They know if they left the coalition they would be unable to exert any pressure on anyone.

9. Even if they join the opposition they would not be able to reduce the coalition's two-third majority enough to bring it down. For that reason none of the component parties would want to leave the coalition.

10. On the other hand a coalition of two parties would be very weak. This is because the bigger party need the smaller partner in order to achieve majority to form the Government.

11. Such a Government would be unstable as the smaller party could always threaten to leave and thus bring down the Government. On the other hand the smaller party can join the opposition giving it the majority to form a new Government.

12. The reason the BN was able to create political stability before was because it could not be threatened by any one of its component parties. If any one left the Coalition would not collapse. The party quitting would be out in the wilderness.

13. Presently because the Government coalition is weak every little party can thumb its nose at the Government. The Coalition Government could not afford to lose any component party's support. It is also not in a position to discipline its component parties.

14. The weak Government lives in fear of being toppled by its components switching side to support the opposition. That is why we see such silly things as sending members of Parliament to a foreign country ostensibly to study agriculture.

15. What does it mean to a multiracial country to have weak Government? The Government would not be able to concentrate on governing because it has to deal with continuous threats by its components of different races.

16. The stability of the country would be undermined. This would be bad for the economy. We are seeing today investors pulling out their money by the billions from the stock market; we are seeing little investment either by locals or foreign investors.

17. The trade balance is in our favour not because of anything smart done by this weak Government, but because the prices of oil, palm oil and rubber on the world market are very high (although now the prices are declining).

18. Generally the economy is bad, as bad as the race politics that we are seeing. The people are the ones to pay the price. They are suffering from high prices with no compensating increase in income.

19. We have had strong Governments for almost 50 years. When we gained independence few gave us any chance. They foresaw racial clashes and political instability.

20. But they are wrong. With strong Governments in place, the bickering between races was reduced. The country was stabilised and with that the economy grew. The objective of becoming a developed country by 2020 seems possible.

21. Now with this weak Government, with incompetent leadership the country is not developing as fast as it used to.

22. In a single ethnic country it does not matter if the Government is weak because it will not have to deal with the heavy pressure of racial conflicts even if the Government is less competent.

23. My observation of Malaysian politics over the last 50 years has convinced that a powerful Government lead by competent leaders is necessary for multi-racial Malaysia.

Dewan Rakyat disambung semula hari ini 13 Oktober 2008

Dewan Rakyat mulai bersidang hari ini 13 Oktober selepas berehat panjang sepanjang Ramadhan dan Hari Raya Aidil Fitri.

Pembentangan Bajet 2009 oleh Menteri Kewangan pada 29 Ogos lalu mula dibahaskan hari ini. Kemungkinan besar Ketua Pembangkang, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim akan memulakan ucapannya membahaskan Bajet mulai jam 11.30 pagi selepas sesi soal jawab. Klik di sini untuk lihat Aturan Urusan Mesyuarat (AUM) untuk hari ini.-Anwar Ibrahim

Pak Lah backs Najib on latest allegations

By Adib Zalkapli

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today defended his designated successor Datuk Seri Najib Razak against renewed allegations about the latter’s involvement in the murder of a Mongolian woman in 2006.

"I cannot believe Datuk Seri Najib will want to abuse power," said Abdullah when asked to comment on the allegations which surfaced over the weekend on the Malaysia Today website.

Malaysia Today carried a report detailing what it alleged was an exchange of text messages between Najib and Datuk Shafee Abdullah, the prominent lawyer who represented Abdul Razak Baginda, the close associate of Najib who was eventually charged with abetting two police officers in the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu in 2006.

In one SMS, Najib allegedly tells the lawyer that Razak — his advisor — "will face a tentative charge but all is not lost."

Malaysia Today said that this message raises some questions about Najib's role in the case. "Why did he mention 'tentative' charge and that 'all is not lost' for RB (Razak Baginda)? How would Najib know this before Razak was charged? These are important questions which will have ramifications, not just on this case but far beyond," a posting on the website said.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the opposition have tried to link Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor with the murder since it happened in October 2006.

Today, Abdullah backed the deputy prime minister against the latest allegations.

"I believe in him, that he would be a good person," said the Prime Minister.

"He will be Prime Minister and provide leadership."

Since Abdullah announce his decision to not defend the Umno presidency, tremendous momentum has built up for Najib to take over as party president next March and also as Prime Minister if the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition remains in power.

But in the past week the political pressures on Najib have mounted.

Besides the allegations surrounding his involvement in the 2006 murder, he is also being linked with a return to "Mahathirism."

His critics have accused him of being a "puppet" of former hardline Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, with some observers expecting a more authoritarian system of government with tighter controls.

In defence of Utusan Malaysia

Tabung Azan for Utusan Malaysia. We live in interesting times, where those who complain about the mainstream media being muzzled by the authorities are also the ones who sue these media at the slightest provocation.

DAP's Teresa Kok has filed a RM30 million suit against Utusan Malaysia, the Bahasa Malaysia daily controlled by Umno, over the azan issue. Another DAP leader has also sued the same newspaper for RM10 million, despite the newspaper having published an apology for a mistake it did in a report affecting the politician.

One can argue that ordinary people and organisations sue newspapers all the time. But Ms Kok is not an ordinary person and the DAP is not an ordinary body. As a people's representative, we expect Ms Kok to fight for our basic freedoms, including assuring Malaysians of the all-important Press Freedom.

If Ms Kok and the DAP really believe in the freedom of, say, the Rocket and Malaysia Today, they must also believe in the freedom of Utusan Malaysia.

When I was editor of Business Times and The Malay Mail, I lost many nights' sleep over legal suits filed by disgruntled individuals and organisations. Many politicians were unhappy but none sued because we provided them with the right of reply. And we published without malice. The newspapers I led never sued anyone, either.

I hope politicians will not make it a habit to sue the media, old and new. I hope Theresa would find it fit to withdraw her suit against Utusan Malaysia.

I must applaud Syed Ali Alhabshee's initiative over the weekend to come to the defence of Utusan Malaysia. Some will see it as a political gimmick, but I see the Umno Cheras' inititiave for its simple message: if we believe in a freedom, we must defend that freedom at all times.

Read Syed Ali Alhabshee's posting on the Tabung Azan for Utusan Malaysia, h e r e.

Updates, 530 pm:
Note: I'm including the article about Karpal Singh suing Utusan. I understand from this article that Utusan had apologized for the error in its reporting. And thanks Sinatra_Z for the RM30 million ringgit article

Karpal sues Utusan for RM10 million h e r e
The article that made Theresa Kok sue for RM30 million h e r e
-Rocky's bru

Tee Keat, Jui Meng in straight fight, Mei Fun and Ka Siong win in MCA elections

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 — It will be a one-to-one battle for the MCA top post at the party elections on Saturday, with vice-president and favourite Datuk Ong Tee Keat battling it out with former vice-president Datuk Chua Jui Meng.

At the close of nomination for national positions at the party headquarters this evening, only the two leaders had filed their nomination papers for the presidency.

The MCA nominations, devoid of any surprises, saw intense contest for all positions — president, deputy president, four posts of vice-president and 25 posts of central committee members.

Ong, who is also the transport minister, filed his papers soon after nomination opened at 1 pm while Chua, the former health minister, submitted his bid at about 3.30 pm, confirming the tussle to decide the 59-year-old party’s eighth president. Nominations closed at 5 pm.

For the deputy presidency, four candidates filed their nomination papers. They are MCA secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan, Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek, Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai and Lee Hack Teik.

In this race, Ka Chuan, the elder brother of outgoing president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, seems to have the edge over Chua, the former health minister who resigned from the Cabinet late last year after a video of him in a “compromising” position with his girlfriend was made public.

The deputy presidency fell vacant after incumbent Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy declined to seek re-election.

The top two positions are considered important at this juncture, especially after the party suffered a humiliating defeat in the March 8 general election, which saw MCA winning only 46 state and parliamentary seats compared to the 106 it had secured at the 2004 polls.

For those contesting the top two posts, winning in the party elections is the easier task while the bigger responsibility would be in capturing the hearts and minds of the Chinese community which deserted the party at the general election.

Eight candidates are vying for the four posts of vice-president, with incumbent Datuk Seri Fong Chan Onn leading the charge.

The others are Wanita MCA chief Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen; Datuk Kong Cho Ha, the Lumut Division chief who topped the list of 25 elected CC members at the last party elections; Datuk Liow Tiong Lai, former MCA Youth chief and current health minister; Datuk Chor Chee Heung, deputy home minister and Alor Setar Member of Parliament; Datuk Yap Pian Hon, former MCA vice-president and former Serdang MP; Lim Teck Chong, Kuala Langat MCA Division vice-chairman; and Tan Kok Heng of Johor.

Meanwhile, Selangor Wanita MCA head Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun today won the Wanita MCA chief post uncontested at the close of the MCA national, youth and wanita election nominations at the party headquarters at Wisma MCA.

There were no other candidates for the Wanita chief post when nominations closed at 5pm.

The Wanita deputy chief post was also won uncontested by Datuk Yu Chok Tow, the former secretary-general of the wing.

The same went for the four Wanita MCA vice-chairman seats, which were won by Agnes Shim, Datuk Christina Lim Bee Kau, Datuk Lee Pit Chern and Tan Ah Eng.

The MCA wanita chief post became vacant after incumbent Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen decided not to seek re-election as she was contesting the party vice-presidency.

Also, Deputy Education Minister Dr Wee Ka Siong is the new MCA Youth Chief after he was unchallenged when nominations for the post closed today.

Speaking to reporters after nominations closed, he said he would carry out a number of structural reforms to ensure the wing continued to be relevant to the youths.

Among the major changes, he said, was to lower the maximum age limit for the wing from the current 45 years to 40 years old.

“I pledge to do this in five years' time. This is appropriate in order for the wing to live up to its youthful image,” said the the 40-year-old Wee, who was the former secretary-general.

The post was left vacant when Datuk Liow Tiong Lai had to relinquish his post upon exceeding the age limit of 45.

Liow is going for the vice-president's post.

The post of deputy Youth head is being contested by Perak Youth Chief Dr Mah Hang Soon and Kapar Division Chief Song Kee Chai in a straight fight.

Song, 45, who said he was confident to win the post, said he would work closely with Wee on rejuvenating the team.

“I will be the conductor and Wee the driver, together I believed we will drive the youth to greater success,” he said.

Six candidates meanwhile are vying the four vice-chief positions. They are Chin Tung Leong, Yong Chen Leong, Koe He Choon, Yoo Wei How, Yit Lee Kok and Khoo Ngee Chai.

Twenty-four candidates are vying for the wing’s 20 Central Committee (CC).

The second largest political party in the country will hold its elections on Saturday.

Met by reporters at the close of nomination, Tee Keat said he would campaign as much as possible to win votes.

“On my plans for MCA if I win, I have already mentioned it in my manifesto. I am open to the multiracial outlook too. But our approach should be to fight for all races, not only for the Chinese,” he added.

On the inclusion of non-Chinese in the MCA, he said it must first obtain the blessings of MCA members. — Bernama

ACA completes Lingam probe, gets mixed response

ACA©The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The news that the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) had completed investigations into matters raised by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the V.K. Lingam video clip has elicited mixed feelings.

While the Bar Council and several others welcomed the completion of the investigations they had reservations about the quality or whether any further action would ensue.

“Previous ACA investigations into these same issues left much to be desired so we hope the investigations this time were more in-depth and thorough,” said council chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan.

ACA director of Investigations Datuk Shukri Abdull was reported as saying on Monday that the investigations on matters directly related to lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam were complete.

He added that the papers had been submitted to the ACA’s Prosecution Division for further action.

In its report, presented to the King on May 9, the Commission had found that it was former Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheilkh Abdul Halim who was talking on the phone with Lingam.

Among others, it recommended the ACA investigate the New Zealand holiday that then Chief Justice Tun Eusoff Chin and Lingam and their respective families had gone on in 1994.

Following the report, which found evidence of manipulation in the appointment and promotion of judges, the Attorney General and the Cabinet directed the ACA to investigate six individuals: Lingam; former Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim; Eusoff; former Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor; business tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan; and then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Hakam president Malik Imtiaz Sarvar said it was in the public interest that steps be taken urgently, in view of the serious lack of confidence in the judiciary.

“The need for reform is beyond question. The taking of appropriate measures, one way or the other, is a must.”

Transparency International - Malaysia president Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said the public had been wondering about the delay.

“I hope the ACA has been able to be completely independent and the new powers it now enjoys in prosecution will be fully justified because it is now solely accountable for investigations and prosecutions,” he added.

Retired Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Shaik Daud Ismail hoped the ACA would prosecute if the evidence called for that.

“They must otherwise the public will not have faith in them or any other Royal Commission.”

Government spent RM12.5b to resolve 1997/98 financial crisis

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 — The government spent RM12.5 billion to revive the economy through Danaharta during the financial crisis 10 years ago, Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop told the Dewan Rakyat today.

He said the cost was low, being three per cent of the gross domestic product, compared to 52.3 per cent in Indonesia, 23.1 per cent in South Korea and 34.8 per cent in Thailand.

Nor Mohamed said the government also recovered the RM7 billion allocated under Danamodal to recapitalise the banks affected.

He said this in reply to written questions by Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Bagan) on the impact of the 1997/1998 financial crisis, the parties affected and the measures taken.

The third meeting of the first session of the 12th Parliament started today.

Nor Mohamed said no “unseen hand” appeared every 10 years to disrupt the national economic and financial system.

The global financial crisis resulted from weaknesses in the liberal capitalist system dominated by the United States, he said.

According to him, there is a need to find an alternative system that provides a financial structure which is fair and impartial.

“We are also aware that under the current global financial system, 80 per cent of the world’s savings is being used by the US,” Nor Mohamed said.

“In fact, the US borrows US$3 billion (RM10 billion) every working day because the savings rate of its citizens is negative," he said.

Nor Mohamed said to prevent a future crisis in the financial world, priority should be given to ensure that a major portion of the savings by Asian countries and oil-exporting countries be used in this region.

In this context, Malaysia had proposed a mechanism to support such an infrastructure in this region and a seminar on this would be held in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 10, he said.

Nor Mohamed said that Malaysia has to be ready and prepared at all times to face and overcome financial crisis that will occur in the future.

“The crisis to come will be different in nature and we need to have an economic system which is flexible to face the challenges,” he said.

Replying to a supplementary question by Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi (BN-Batu Pahat) on whether the political situation could affect the economy, Nor Mohamed said an unstable political system could cause problems in attracting investments.

“We should have a stable political system,” he said. — Bernama

Parliament debate history of budget instead of Budget for 2009

Datuk Seri Najib Razak failed his first test in Parliament as Finance Minister as he was nowhere around this morning to present a revised 2009 Budget for debate or to explain why a revised 2009 budget is not necessary.

When the Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim spoke this morning, the two blocks of Cabinet benches were totally empty – not a single Cabinet Minister was present.

Not only the second Finance Minister even the two deputy Finance Ministers were absent.

Where have they gone to? What could be more important than the start of the parliamentary debate on the 2009 Budget unless Parliament is totally unimportant in their eyes.

In fact, as I pointed out to the House, there was not a single official representative of the government who was present in the House to respond to the Pakatan Rakyat demand that the new Finance Minister should present a revised 2009 budget because the whole set of the 2009 Budget data tabled in Parliament on August 29 had been made obsolete in the past six weeks by the worst economic crisis confronting the world in 80 years.

In fact, the Barisan Nasional government has lost all sense of direction and is presenting a spectacle of a “headless administration” in Parliament – may be this was why there was the need for an “agricultural” study tour of BN MPs to Taiwan last month!

Anwar said UMNO and Barisan Nasional Ministers are guilty of “arrogance of power”

They are also guilty of the height of irresponsibility and contempt for Parliament.

Umno Ministers are more preoccupied with the Umno crisis and party elections than the world economic crisis and its impact on Malaysia – when the party crisis of Umno and other Barisan Nasional component parties after the March 8 “political tsunami” must be completely subsidiary and subordinate to the larger economic crisis facing the country as a result of the global financial meltdown.

Sad and pathetic that Parliament will have to debate an outdated and obsolete 2009 Budget – which cannot inspire confidence in the new Finance Minister or the entire BN Cabinet. Debating history of budget instead of budget for 2009.

'Spices of India' probe intensifies

By : Adrian David, NST, October 13 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian, Singaporean and Indian authorities have intensified a probe into the trafficking of young tribal north-eastern women sold in the Southeast Asian flesh trade as "Spices of India".

Senior diplomatic and law enforcement officials of the three countries acknowledged that investigations had intensified following the latest rescue of five Indian women here, leading to the arrest of several vice kingpins in the three countries.


Manipur police are believed to have made several arrests, including that of Philip Gangmei and Vicky Kungo, in its state capital Imphal on Sept 23. There were another three arrests on Oct 3.

Singapore and Malaysian police are believed to be hot on the trail of another man, believed to be the mastermind of a Singapore-based "recruiting firm".

Earlier this month, Indian authorities intercepted another five of the women in Dimapur. They were about to be shipped to Singapore via Kolkata.
The officials said a third group of 15 young women from Punjab state were rescued by temple priests in Kuala Lumpur and repatriated last month.

"We believe the girls rescued are just the tip of the iceberg. There could be many more victims from other Indian states ," said a diplomat.

She said the Indian tribal women from small villages were being sought for their "exotic" and "pure" qualities as there was demand for them from wealthy clients at posh city nightspots.

The case came to light when one of the five women, from Manipur and Assam, escaped from a Kuala Lumpur nightclub, where they had been "dumped" after their arrival from Singapore last month.

The woman, who escaped on Sept 17, alerted the Indian High Commission in Jalan Duta, which then sought the assistance of police to rescue the other four.

All five were housed at the David Pasteur Christian Home for destitutes here, which linked up with social activist Kinderson Panmei to repatriate them home last Friday with the help of the Indian High Commission.

The women told the authorities that they were initially lured to Singapore with promises of lucrative jobs as maids for six months. However, they were later made to work as bar girls and prostitutes in nightclubs in Singapore and Malaysia.

Indian High Commission counsellor Sudhir Kumar Mehrotra said as many as 150 women from Manipur, Assam and Nagaland were believed to have been duped by recruitment agents in recent months.

The agents took advantage of many ignorant and destitute families in Manipur's backward districts, like Tamenglong, promising them a way out of poverty. Instead, the women ended up broke.

Following the rescue of the women, a non-governmental organisation, the Repatriation of Stranded Girls (RSG), appealed to Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh to carry out stringent checks on recruitment agencies.

The National Commission for Women, the All-India Christian Council, the Northeast Support Centre and Helpline called on the Malaysian High Commission in New Delhi, India's External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and its Tribal Affairs Minister P.R. Kyandiah to investigate the matter.

Uh-oh, Mahathir calls for return to “strong” government

With the reactionary forces now taking over Umno, Mahathir has fired a broadside calling for a strong, powerful government.

He said in his latest blog entry that a weak government would be incapable of dealing with racial and religious conflict:

We now have a weak Government and clearly it is incapable of dealing with the tendency towards conflicts because of race and religion. Because of its weakness it commands little respect and even the weakest parties would thumb its collective noses at the Government. The Government apparently has no idea how to handle these problems. We see it apologising only to have it’s apologies rejected.

Hang on a minute. Who are the ones actually stirring these conflicts? Who exactly is responsible for “race politics”?

If the government is weak today, it is because of its inability to reform the oppressive structures, many of which were put in place during Mahathir’s time. It is this inability to reform and undo the damage of the Mahathir era that led to the Abdullah administration losing much of its popular support. In fact, the Abdullah administrations initial popularity was based on the hope that Abdullah’s softer approach promised an era of liberalisation that would be in stark contrast to Mahathir’s repressive rule.

Of course, we know that Mahathir’s use of the terms “strong government” and “stability” are but code words for authoritarian and even repressive rule.

Apparently, 22 years of authoritarian rule is not enough for Mahathir. It was 22 years of suppressing problems and differences and sweeping dirt under the carpet, 22 years of one scandal after another.

Now with his son Mukhriz leading the nominations for the Umno Youth chief post and other candidates inspired by the regrouping of reactionary forces, Mahathir clearly feels emboldened enough to call for a return to authoritarian rule…. err, I mean “powerful government”.

19. We have had strong Governments for almost 50 years. When we gained independence few gave us any chance. They foresaw racial clashes and political instability.

20. But they are wrong. With strong Governments in place, the bickering between races was reduced. The country was stabilised and with that the economy grew. The objective of becoming a developed country by 2020 seems possible.

21. Now with this weak Government, with incompetent leadership the country is not developing as fast as it used to.

22. In a single ethnic country it does not matter if the Government is weak because it will not have to deal with the heavy pressure of racial conflicts even if the Government is less competent.

23. My observation of Malaysian politics over the last 50 years has convinced that a powerful Government lead by competent leaders is necessary for multi-racial Malaysia.

Obviously, Mahathir has learnt nothing about the rakyat’s yearning for human rights, social-economic justice, and accountability in all aspects of public life. Obviously, he knows zilch about their aspirations for People Power and democratisation.-anilnetto

'Kidnapped' Seputeh MP speaks up

Anwar calls for a fresh budget

Abuse of Power by The Deputy Prime Minister (MalaysiaToday)


The following text message correspondence is between YAB Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, and Dato' Shafee Abdullah, a Malaysian lawyer who initially represented Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda who is on trial for abeting the murder of Mongolian national, Altantuya Shaariibuu.

While it does not answer lingering questions about Najib's alleged past relations with Altantuya, the text messages show clearly Najib's active intereference in the case very early on. The messages highlight Najib's willingness to speak with both members of the Attorney General's Chambers and Inspector General of Police about the case, something that suggests an abuse of executive power.

What is particularly revealing and troubling is that the counsel, Shafee, keeps asking Najib for details indicating some political intervention that may have influenced the case. This observation is strengthened by Najib's message to Shafee on 16 November 2006: "Pls do not say anything to the press today. i will explain later. RB will have to face a tentative charge but all is not lost." This message raises a lot of questions about Najib's role in this case. Why did he mention "tentative" charge and that "all is not lost" for RB (Razak Baginda)? How would Najib know this before Razak was charged? Is there already a deal in place that will see Razak aquitted? These are important questions which will have ramifications not just on this case but far beyond.

The text messages were transmitted between Najib's personal mobile phone (+6012 2143177) and Shafee's mobile phone (+6012 3257052).

Those who seek the truth should challenge Najib and Shafee to deny that this correspondence took place between them. Perhaps a record of the messages still resides in the server of the relevant telecommunications company.

The truth is buried somewhere. Those who know what truly happened hope that the truth has been buried deep with Altantuya. But the funny thing is, the truth always finds its way into the hands of those who fight for justice – sometimes in the most mysterious circumstances.

The SMS-Chat Begin ....

Wednesday 8/11/2006

Shafee to Najib (S2N) Date: 8/11/2006 02:59:31

--> Dato Seri, The Razak Baginda thing is troubling me.Can I help? Salam, Shafee

Najib to Shafee (N2S) Date: 8/11/2006 03:45:05

--> I will speak with u later tonight.

S2N Date: 8/11/2006 03:45:31

--> Thank you

S2N Date: 8/11/2006 06:28:56

--> Met the investigating officer today.Position is serious for RB.The 3 are highly implicated.RB's case can be fought.There are redeeming features for him.But we need to meet Dato Seri as there are other looming issues at large.But not to worry. Salam > Shafee

N2S Date: 8/11/2006 21:06:11

--> I have spoken to IGP. U can represent n meet RB in court.

Thursday 9/11/2006

N2S Date: 9/11/2006 12:45:30

--> If RB's remand is upto Sunday, does it mean that he has to be charged by Fri or be released? i hope it is looking better for him.

S2N Date: 9/11/2006 13:11:23

--> 3 things can happen.Firstly, they can ask for more time for detention.We will resist.Second,they have to release him by Friday or thirdly charge him by Friday.Police took him to his office for document search.Nothing incriminating found.Now they are recording stmt from him.Later search in house.Under control so far Dato Seri. Salam, shafee

S2N Date: 9/11/2006 14:09:03

--> Dato Seri, Re RB need to meet up with you today. shafee

N2S Date: 9/11/2006 14:17:47

--> 630 pm at my house in PJaya this evening.

S2N Date: 9/11/2006 14:18:21

--> Thank you

Friday 10/11/2006

N2S Date: 10/11/2006 15:14:31

--> Any news about RB ?

S2N Date: 10/11/2006 15:19:40

--> Dato Seri, Negotiating for conditional release.If not police need 2 or 3 more days extention.I suspect its an exercise in public relation as they do not want public to think a VIP was given an easier time.Being a vip under these conditions is a liability.Otherwise we are on track according to plan. Salam, Shafee

N2S Date: 10/11/2006 15:27:01

--> Thanks, he is very stressful according to his wife n would be a huge help if he could get a conditional release latest by sun.

N2S Date: 10/11/2006 21:35:52

--> Saw the news on tv. RB was sent for DNA. Not sure it was neccessary.

S2N Date: 10/11/2006 21:40:19

--> Unnessasary.But I think its on his lung infection.He has just been sent again to HUKM.Will know more later from inside contacts.

Saturday 11/11/2006

S2N Date: 11/11/2006 03:17:56

--> Dato Seri, I was at ghkl ccu 4th floor.RB was admitted due to lung infection:mild pneumonia and asthmatic.This was the pain he was suffering in the chest and unexplained coughing for months.He is under an able physician Dato Dr Jeyaindran Sinnadurai(head of Dept of Medicine)Its good he is resting there than in the lockup.Dna was done to eliminate that he was at scene of crime(paternity can be ruled out as well).Need to see Dato Seri on some concerns. Salam. Shafee

N2S Date: 11/11/2006 08:54:17

--> ANy chance of a release by sun ?

S2N Date: 11/11/2006 08:58:14

--> Police should release him by then except that I think the police is disturbeb by Media and public pressure.Other factors need be coomunicated to Dato Seri in person. Investigation wise we are on track for release.


S2N Date: 11/11/2006 09:26:52

--> It is clear that the Police will ask for extention t'row.I will resist strongly in view of the fact that the last few days investigation on RB have completed investigations that require RB's presence in custody.Secondly, from yesterday the Police has done nothing much with him except to do the dna.Thirdly, I am concerned with the Police carelessness yesterday in allowing the 3 other suspects to be freely mixing and therefore tainting their subsequent stmnts as they could be 'group coached'.But it also show Police no longer need to isolate the suspects.Even RB was handcuffed to the C/I. Salam . Shafee

N2S Date: 11/11/2006 11:46:48

--> I Can see u today at my Taman duta hse at 6 pm.

S2N Date: 11/11/2006 11:59:08

--> OK Dato Seri.Insyaallah I will be there.

Sunday 12/11/2006

S2N Date: 12/11/2006 13:53:41

--> 2 days extention to Tuesday.They must release him by then maybe conditionally.Police asked for full 14days.He has message.


S2N Date: 12/11/2006 14:06:23

--> Will give Dato Seri in a while

S2N Date: 12/11/2006 15:10:17

--> 0320949418

Monday 13/11/2006

S2N Date: 13/11/2006 15:53:36

--> Am in his office now.Another search. AG will be unwilling to charge and lose a case yet again.It is agood idea to suggest to AG to hood on and let investigtion proceed with Razak Released on Bond.

N2S Tel: 60122143177 Date: 13/11/2006 16:23:29

--> How was the search ?

S2N Date: 13/11/2006 16:25:56

--> We provided them everything,including old pda and note books and a couple of bills.Nothing incriminating.

Wednesday 15/11/2006

S2N Date: 15/11/2006 13:21:32

--> Things going as expected.2 male officer charged for murder in common intention.Razak's name not in. Lady officer released but rearrested under Emergency Ordinance to be used as Crown witness(exactly as predicted). I am expecting RB to be released on Bond.4 of my lawyers are watching brief the proceedings in the murder case.Rb matter prob t'row. Pl call. Shafee Ps coming back now from Taipei.

N2S Date: 15/11/2006 23:31:09

--> So hopefully he will be released tmrw?

S2N Date: 15/11/2006 23:34:38

--> Dato Seri, I am driving up from S'pore ,no more flight to KL tonight.Hope for th best.Any indication? Shafee

N2S Date: 15/11/2006 23:36:52

--> Not heard anything untoward yet.

Thursday 16/11/2006

S2N Date: 16/11/2006 10:52:43

--> Anything Dato Seri? I am already in Court.

N2S Date: 16/11/2006 10:53:50

--> Pls do not say anything to the press today. i will explain later. RB will have to face a tentative charge but all is not lost.

S2N Date: 16/11/2006 10:54:30

--> OK, TQ

Friday 17/11/2006

S2N Date: 17/11/2006 10:50:30

--> Dato Seri, Its important you speak toYusoff Zainal Abidin as he knows the law a lot better in the Chambers.I am confident he is concerned with the negligible evidence agst Razak.The Raja Mahani and Tengku Ariston cases ought to be the guiding critera for AG.They cannot afford another scandallous loss by the Prosecution as in Norita, Ariston,Dato Balwant etc.

N2S Date: 17/11/2006 11:39:46

--> OK will try. Meanwhile try to console the wife. She is hysterical.

S2N Date: 17/11/2006 11:41:29

--> I know Dato Seri.I will do everything I can.Salam, Shafee

S2N Date: 17/11/2006 12:57:49

--> Dato Seri, Razak has not been sent to Hospital.He is clearly not well.He is refusing to take Prison's medicine for fear of sabourtage.The chief Physician of GHKL Dato Dr Jaya Sinnadurai is shocked that they have not brought Razak back to GHKL.I have spoken to Haji Darussalam,Sg Buloh's Prison Director.Can You sound this to Dato Radzi Shek Ahmad?Need to see you of s'thing that I think had happened that led to her death.Utterly shocking if I am right. Shafee

S2N Date: 17/11/2006 15:45:34

--> Dato Seri, I am at Sg Buloh Prison.I have organised Razak to be in HUKL,He is on his way there now. The Pengarah Hj Darussallam and deputy Supt Gunasegaran very helpful. Shafee


N2S Date: 17/11/2006 21:27:02

--> My regards to him. He Is always in my thought.

S2N Date: 17/11/2006 21:34:44

--> Will tell him

Sunday 19/11/2006

S2N Date: 19/11/2006 16:25:08

--> Dato Seri, I need Dsp Musa ,your ADc to call me to clarify a point.He is not answering Shafee

Monday 20/11/2006

S2N Date: 20/11/2006 13:02:33

--> Any developement Dato Seri? Shafee

N2S Date: 20/11/2006 14:30:20

--> Not yet.

S2N Date: 20/11/2006 14:30:38

--> Thank you

S2N Date: 20/11/2006 21:05:17

--> Dato Seri.Razak is being transfered to Sg. Buloh t'row.Can Dr. Jaya do anything?

N2S Date: 20/11/2006 23:04:50

--> When is he being transffered?

S2N Date: 20/11/2006 23:05:48

--> T'row

N2S Date: 20/11/2006 23:07:01

--> What time?

S2N Date: 20/11/2006 23:08:01

--> Probably late morning

Thursday 23/11/2006

N2S Tel: 60122143177 Date: 23/11/2006 13:46:51

--> Your message read" Najib released on personal bond!".

S2N Date: 23/11/2006 13:50:00

--> Razak released on Bail of 1 million. On personal bond undertaking. Shafee?I am terribly sorry for that mistake.Whole night tak tidur preparing. My profuse apologies Sir. salam. shafee

N2S Date: 23/11/2006 14:00:25

--> ALhamdullillah , at least he is on bail.Big relief for him n family.

S2N Date: 23/11/2006 14:02:02

--> Dato, I need to brief you urgently b4 you speak to him.Shafee

N2S Date: 23/11/2006 14:12:32

--> OK but not intending to speak to him as yet.

Saturday 2/12/2006

S2N Date: 2/12/2006 18:59:15

--> Dato Seri, Got some info that are troubling.Quite serious.Are you in Taman Duta?Can we meet? Salam, Shafee

... those who know more, please come forward!



Do you recognise this man? He is Che Det’s Puppet

Do you recognise this man (picture below), if you were to see him on the street? You should. On the back of this man who got things for himself on a silver platter, or on the back of hefty commissions, Che Det hopes to have his last hurrah (read Zaib Ibrahim’s comments in the Malaysian Insider). It will be a return of the politics of vengeance, or better known among academics—thanks to Dr. Khoo Boo Teik— as Mahathirism (authoritarian rule via ISA and Ketuanan Melayu). We had 22+ years of it. Isn’t that already a mouthful?

Tell me, fellow Malaysians, are we itching for more of this, or do we want change.? If the results of the 12th General Elections (March 8 ) and Permatang Pauh by-election (August 26) are any indication, we rejected not only Badawi’s leadership—gee whiz, I am delighted that he has quit and will make his exit in March 2009—but also the return of authoritarianism in whatever guise, and rule by ISA.

But now if we are remain indifferent or not careful, we will get “Najibism” which will be an unmitigated disaster, because behind this man is a lethal combination of the authoritarian Che Det and the unscrupulous and mean Rosmah Mansor as “First Lady”.

The mainstream media (even Kalimullah is offering the man some advice) is already promoting him aggressively together with Muhyiddin Yassin, and Mukhriz Mahathir as UMNO Youth leader. No chance for Tengku Razaleigh and sorry for Khairy Jamaluddin. All your war chest of money won’t help, KJ!

As for MCA, MIC, and Gerakan, everything is fine. Puppet, puppet lah. What is the difference? As long as they get their share of the loot, they will go along. And Badaw? He is spared of the mess he created. A Tunship (for Datuk Seri Jeanne Abdullah too, I guess) and a very generous gratuity await him from a thankful nation.—Din Merican

Hamid got it all wrong: SAPP

Kota Kinabalu: The notion that the Home Minister had "restored" or "granted" the citizenship of natives like in the case of Yong Lee Hua is "absolutely ridiculous".

He has no power to grant or take away the citizenship of a person who is a citizen by operation of law, said Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), Saturday.

To suggest that locals, who apply for recognition of their status as citizens through MyKad applications, should understand that it is a "privilege" and not a "right" is completely wrong, said SAPP Deputy President Datuk Eric Majimbun.

In fact, he said it is the law that determines whether a local Sabahan is a citizen and it was agreed in the 1963 Malaysia Agreement and the Federal Constitution that all Sabahans are citizens.

"When Sabah formed Malaysia in 1963 together with Sarawak, Malaya and Singapore, it was expressly agreed that all Sabahans, whether native Sabahans or otherwise, shall be automatically entitled to citizenship of the Federation.

"This was inserted into the Malaysia Agreement and the amended Federal Constitution. Sabahans like Yong are, therefore, citizens by operation of law," he said.

"Even if a local Sabahan did not bother to obtain an identity card, he or she is still nonetheless a citizen by operation of law. After all, the identity card regulations do not govern citizenship status of a person.

"Identity cards originated as an emergency measure adopted during the Communist insurgency to weed out and identify subversives," he said in a statement.

Since then it has become a useful and convenient identity document.

The Sepanggar MP said for genuine citizens their status of citizenship cannot depend on the whim and fancy of the National Registration Department, if they decide to replace their MyKad with a MyPR card.

Majimbun said it was only where non-Malaysians were concerned that the Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, was right when saying that the application for PR or citizenship was a privilege.

"However, for Malaysians, it is an absolute right to obtain a MyKad that denotes citizenship," he said, commenting on the statement by the Home Minister on Friday.

Syed Hamid was reported as saying that "he had directed NRD to make it clear that applying for PR status and citizenship were not a right but a privilege."

He had earlier said that though there were 30,000 applications involving locals, he had decided to grant citizenship to Yong because it was a deserving case.

- Daily Express, Sabah

Call to amend marriage law

KUALA LUMPUR: The Bar Council has urged the government to amend the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce ) Act 1976 to allow Muslim converts to dissolve their civil marriage in the High Court.

Its family law committee member, Pushpa Ratnam, said the existing provisions in the law did not allow the converting spouse to annul the union made under civil law.

"The law is clear that only the party who did not convert can petition for divorce in the High Court," she said.

Pushpa said this in response to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's statement that controversial issues such as conversions needed a solution.

Abdullah said complications in a conversion arose when couples of different faiths dissolved their marriages.

Pushpa said the prime minister acknowledged that there was a problem when a party converted to Islam without informing the other party and their children.

She said the conflict arose because the Law Reform Act generally did not apply to Muslims.

Pushpa said the council wanted amendments to be made to section 51 of the act to allow the converting party to petition for divorce.

"The couple must be given the opportunity to settle their matrimonial disputes in the same court," she said.

Pushpa said one group felt that the civil marriage of a couple had come to an end when a spouse had converted to Islam.

"Our stand is that if the couple's marriage was solemnised under the civil law, then they should go to the High Court to dissolve the union," she said.

- nst

PS from WMP - Challenge to TV3, Utusan, Syed Albar to prove

KENYATAAN AKHBAR
Per : Cabaran terbuka kepada TV3 dan Utusan dan Syed Hamid Albar - Dedahkan rakaman di Rumah terbuka dan gambar-gambar yang kononnya menunjukkan HINDRAF biadap.

HINDRAF mengutuk TV3 dan Utusan dan Menteri Dalam negeri Syed Hamid Albar yang hanya melemparkan tomahan dan tuduhan melulu dan tidak berasas terhadap niat baik, murni dan ikhlas penyokong HINDRAF yang menziarahi YAB Perdana Menteri di majlis Rumah terbuka sempena meraikan Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Pada 22hb September 2008 suatu permintaan ikhlas telah dibuat untuk menziarahi YAB Perdana Menteri di pejabat beliau dan Setiausaha beliau mengesahkan YAB PM tiada bantahan atas permintaan tersebut.
Seramai lebih 500 orang penyokong HINDRAF telah menghadiri majlis tersebut tetapi kurang daripada 50 penyokong dibenarkan bersalaman dengan YAB PM. Kami datang dengan niat ikhlas dengan semangat Maaf Zahir Batin disamping merayu supaya PM membebaskan semua tahanan ISA di hari mulia ini. TV3 dan Utusan dengan sengaja mengapi-apikan semangat perkauman dengan tujuan menimbulkan kebencian masyarakat Islam terhadap masyarakat India. Sekiranya benar tohamah tomahan mereka mengapa mereka tidak berani menayangkan gambar dan klip yang kononnya penyokong HINDRAF bersikap biadap dan kurang ajar.
Disebaliknya kami mempunyai bukti kukuh yang menunjukkan yang YAB Perdana menteri , Timbalan beliau dan ramai lagi menteri-menteri kabinet yang senyum panjang dan menerima salamam penyokong Hindraf dengan hati terbuka dengan semangat maaf zahir dan batin.
Memang benar disamping ucapan ikhlas tersebut penyokong Hindraf merayu agar semua tahanan ISA dibebaskan. Apakah rayuan ini boleh dianggap mencemar agama Islam? Motif Utusan dan TV3 mengapikan sentimen perkauman dan agama harus dikutuk oleh semua lapisan masyarakat Malaysia.
HINDARF membuat rayuan bagi semua tahanan ISA termasuk mereka yang dituduh kumpulan extremis dan pengganas Islam JI. HINDRAF mengambil kira kebajikan semua masyarakat apabila membuat rayuan tersebut kepada YAB PM.
Tahanan kami cuma 5 orang tetapi ramai anak-anak Islam, isteri-isteri Islam, bapa dan Ibu Islam yang menyambut hari Raya tanpa anak, bapa dan suami terkasih mereka. Apakah niat murni HINDRAF ini harus diputar belitkan dengan tuduhan yang kami mengancam dan menghina Agama Islam??
Kami mencabar Utusan dan TV3 agar menayangkan rakaman mereka dengan segera bagi membuktikan tuduhan mereka atau sebaliknya meminta maaf kepada masyarakat berbilang kaum di Malaysia kerana menimbulkan ketegangan perpaduan.
Yang anehnya berpuluh puluh lagi wartawan asing dan dalam negeri dengan krew TV mereka langsung tidak memaparkan atau menuduh HINDRAF biadap dalam laporan mereka.

P.Waytha Moorthy
Pengerusi
HINDRAF

News on Raya visit and police report at Malacca





Siasatan kes Lingam selesai

Monday, 13 October 2008

Datuk VK Lingam©Berita Harian

KUALA LUMPUR: Semua kes yang dibangkitkan Suruhanjaya Diraja berkaitan klip video mengandungi perbualan seorang peguam dengan hakim kanan bagi mengatur pelantikan hakim sudah selesai disiasat oleh Badan Pencegah Rasuah (BPR).

Pengarah Siasatan BPR, Datuk Shukri Abdull, berkata kertas siasatan kes yang mempunyai kaitan langsung dengan peguam Datuk VK Lingam, terutama berkaitan hubungan dan kegiatannya dengan pihak tertentu itu sudah lengkap.

“Kertas siasatan sudah diserahkan ke Bahagian Pendakwaan BPR untuk kajian lanjut. Semua keterangan saksi dan pihak yang berkaitan serta dokumen untuk menyokong kes berkenaan juga sudah lengkap,” katanya kepada Berita Harian.

Laporan Suruhanjaya Diraja itu, yang diumumkan sebelum ini antara lain mencadangkan BPR menyiasat khususnya mengenai percutian antara bekas Ketua Hakim Negara, Tun Mohd Eusoff Chin dan Lingam bersama keluarga masing-masing ke New Zealand pada 1994.

Suruhanjaya itu turut mencadangkan BPR menyiasat beberapa hakim yang dikatakan pernah menerima hadiah daripada Lingam serta hubungan baiknya dengan bekas Peguam Negara, Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah.

Berikutan itu, Peguam Negara, Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail mengarahkan BPR memulakan siasatan terhadap beberapa individu seperti dicadangkan Suruhanjaya Diraja berkenaan.

Sebelum itu, Kabinet mengarahkan siasatan serta-merta dibuat berhubung segala tuduhan terhadap individu yang dinamakan dalam laporan Suruhanjaya Diraja itu.

Mereka ialah Lingam; bekas Timbalan Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor; tokoh korporat, Tan Sri Vincent Tan; bekas Ketua Hakim Negara, Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim dan Mohd Eusoff serta bekas Perdana Menteri, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Shukri berkata, walaupun tugas pihaknya selesai setakat ini, siasatan lanjut akan dibuat jika bahagian pendakwaan mendapati masih perlu beberapa maklumat tambahan bagi menghasilkan kertas siasatan lebih kukuh.

“Kedudukan kes ini akan ditentukan bahagian pendakwaan,” katanya.

Mengenai kes salah pengurusan kewangan dan dana awam yang didedahkan Laporan Ketua Audit Negara 2007, Shukri berkata, siasatan kes itu kini pada peringkat akhir.

“Kami mendapat kerjasama semua pihak terbabit untuk mengumpul keterangan dan dokumen yang diperlukan berkaitan salah pengurusan dana awam,” katanya.

Laporan Ketua Audit yang dibentangkan 29 Ogos lalu mendedahkan wujud kelemahan di beberapa kementerian dan agensi kerajaan.

Businessmen close to Abdullah quit

More expected to leave as Najib erects his own inner circle of power

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 — Two businessmen close to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi are quitting their positions, as an expected exodus of his inner circle begins.

The two men — New Straits Times Press (NSTP) deputy chairman Datuk Kalimullah Hassan and Equine Capital chairman Patrick Lim — have been attacked in the past by former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, for allegedly benefiting from Abdullah's reign.

News of their resignations from their respective companies comes just days after Abdullah's announcement that he intended to step down as Premier in March.

With Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak set to take over the premiership in five months' time, the circle around him is expected to rise, political observers and bloggers say.

Kalimullah is also group executive chairman of ECM Libra Investment Bank, which has made headlines with major deals in the past few years.

But he is better known as the controversial editor-in-chief of the mainstream New Straits Times newspaper, and has been accused by Dr Mahathir of being a key "spin doctor" for Abdullah.

Dr Mahathir, who appointed Abdullah as his successor in 2003, has in recent years become his most bitter critic.

The former premier blames Kalimullah for allegedly blacking out his comments not only in the NST, but also in other mainstream media.

In a column in the NST on Friday, Kalimullah defended Abdullah's short reign and harshly attacked critics such as Dr Mahathir.

"One thing Najib will not have to worry about is a predecessor breathing down his neck, slandering him, his Cabinet, his party colleagues, his family, aides and friends. Because, for all his weaknesses, Abdullah is a decent, religious man," Kalimullah said in the column.

He joined NSTP in 2003 as group editor-in-chief before relinquishing the position in 2006 to become deputy chairman.

He tendered his resignation from the board on Sept 3, and it will take effect from Dec 31, online media TheEdgeDaily.com reported on Thursday.

As for Lim, his links with Abdullah were thought to be so close that Dr Mahathir had cynically referred to the businessman as "Patrick Badawi".

His resignation was officially announced to the Malaysian stock exchange in a statement on Friday. Among projects linked to him is the multimillion-dollar Monsoon Cup sailing regatta held annually in Terengganu. The event has drawn criticism for its ostentatious show of wealth before poor coastal villagers.

Lim was dealt a severe blow in August when a planned RM25 billion project in Penang was dropped. The Penang Global City Centre was nixed after opposition parties took over the state in the March general election.

There are widespread expectations that other top changes will occur soon in Umno-linked companies. These could include the Media Prima group, which controls the NST as well as several television networks, including TV3.

A former senior editor of a local daily said: "They will leave because they know where they stand." — The Straits Times

Advice, solicited or not, landing on Najib's lap

COMMENTARY

OCT 13 - Many well-meaning Malaysians and a few opportunists have been beating a path to the home and office of the country's next prime minister.

Some of them urged Datuk Seri Najib Razak to throw caution to the wind when he takes over in March by introducing wide-ranging reforms and making more structural changes to the economy, including revisiting the New Economic Policy and liberalising the services sector.

Others have bent his ears with ideas of winning over non-Malays and young professionals – the two categories of people who appear more inclined to listen to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim than any Barisan Nasional leader.

Quite a few wanted to know how Najib was going to handle a revitalised and energised Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Was he going to set up a panel of advisors headed by Dr Mahathir and be guided by their decisions? Was he going to give the former prime minister an advisory position in the administration? Was he going to politely decline the offer of help and advice from Dr Mahathir?

Informed sources told The Malaysian Insider that the Deputy Prime Minister has great respect for the experience and wisdom of Dr Mahathir and would tap on his ideas to reform Umno and strengthen the economy.

"The DPM will seek out input from various sources including Dr Mahathir but he will not be anyone's puppet.

"My sense is that he will not accept being criticised in public just because he is not following someone else's prescription for the party and country,'' said a source.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the favourite to become the Umno deputy president and deputy prime minister, believes that Najib will be his own man.

"It will be improper for anyone to say the country and Umno would be under the control of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad when Najib takes over the premiership… I don't think Najib would want it to happen as he has his own political programmes to re-strengthen Umno and regain the people's confidence," he told reporters after opening the Pagoh Umno division general assembly yesterday.

Several political pundits have speculated that Najib's term in office will mark the return of Mahathirism. This analysis is based on the fact that Najib's thinking and philosophy have been greatly shaped by serving more than two decades under the former prime minister and the fact that he would not want to tangle with someone who seems bent on righting the wrongs of the Abdullah era.

Dr Mahathir did little to dismiss the view that he would want a bigger say in policy matters under Najib's administration.

In an interview with The Star, he said: "We cannot give too much power to the PM and president of Umno because he can abuse it. I have been saying he should have a panel of advisers, one each for the PM and Umno president to ensure he doesn't go off on a tangent.

"That way it would be difficult for the Prime Minister to favour his family. The panel should not be appointed by him, maybe Mubarak (the association of former Barisan Nasional MPs and assemblymen) can play a role. If asked, I would be willing to serve for free.''

He reiterated this point in Melbourne, saying that Najib needs to consult former elected representatives and experts in running the country.

At this point, it appears that Najib will consult a whole spectrum of individuals and interest groups before making major decisions. He has already started looking for resource groups and a brains trust.

But it is unclear whether he will want to have a formal structure like a council or panel of advisors and be bound by their decisions.-themalaysiainsider

Now's the time for big measures

Country is still in good shape but storm clouds are gathering

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 — Given last week's tumultuous events, many Malaysians might be forgiven for thinking that the end of the world is nigh.

The Kuala Lumpur stock exchange has reverted to 2005 lows while the ringgit dropped back to almost 3.55 to the greenback from its high of 3.13 earlier in the year.

But Malaysians are in good company. Every other Asian stock exchange is haemorrhaging and almost all currencies have plunged against the greenback.

The good news is that authorities in the Western world seem to have finally realised the need for co-coordinated action. The piecemeal stuff hardly works and it is good that Group of Seven developed countries have pledged to work together.

Let's hope that investors listen because the really bad news will come when people no longer trust governments and things become every man for himself. Then, everyone will sink together.

Having said that, Malaysia is still in reasonably good shape. Having gone through the biting Asian financial crisis, the banks are adequately well capitalised and most companies have deleveraged, having learnt the
lessons of debt in troubled times.

Indeed, the country has racked up huge current account surpluses since 1998, indicating that it is still in a healthy net savings position. In fact, being over-regulated has its blessings and ignorance could seriously be bliss.

Malaysian investment banks never really went into derivatives because the central bank never condoned it and the Employees Provident Fund, the country's largest private pension plan, could not really invest abroad because the government, wisely on hindsight, put a cap on the amount that it could.

There will be slowdowns, there will be deferred investments but there will also be opportunity from these events.

Recently Dialog, an oil and gas services company that is short of skilled labour, got an intriguing offer from a huge Japanese oil company that had just had a massive refinery project in the Middle East postponed.

The firm circulated its 600-strong list of talent that it had hired for the project among Malaysian oil and gas companies, including Dialog, asking that they hire as many people from the list as it liked on half-pay while it would top up the rest.

Clearly, the Japanese firm did not want to lose its staff because it knew that it would be back in the Middle East once the storm clouds lifted.

The problem for Malaysia will be falling global oil and commodity prices that could hurt the government's revenue. The national oil company now contributes almost 40 per cent of the Treasury's revenue stream and the budget deficit is already standing at 4.8 per cent of gross domestic product.

But falling oil prices cuts both ways as it will also reduce the amount of money that the government needs to subsidise on pump prices. Indeed, the subsidies were what led to the rise in the deficit in the first place.

Even so, it appears likely that the deficit will rise if the government fully intends to implement all the projects that it promised it would. The solution is obvious. Like the deferred Middle Eastern refinery, many of these projects should be delayed.

Why have five economic "corridors", for example? Kuala Lumpur should just stick to the one that has the best chance of success — the Iskandar Development Region in Southern Johor.

It also may be a good time to consider liberalising the New Economic Policy, several of whose elements foreign investors find distasteful.

In 1986, when Malaysia was slipping into a serious recession, then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad declared the policy to be "in abeyance" where foreign investment in manufacturing was concerned. It led to a sustained 10-year boom.

Now is the time to take even more sweeping measures. — Business Times Singapore