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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Live - Polling day for Sibu by-election - Anil Netto

Live updates on polling day for the Sibu by-election.

On the scene: Bangkok at boiling point

CNN's Sara Sidner reports from Bangkok on Saturday amid clashes 
between security forces and protesters.
CNN's Sara Sidner reports from Bangkok on Saturday amid clashes between security forces and protesters.
 
Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) -- We arrive with camera in tow on the back on motorcycles -- the fastest way into the protest zone.

There is no traffic but the street named for a Thai King, Rama 4, isn't empty. Several piles of tires have been strewn about and set on fire. We watch thick black smoke billowing upwards.

At one end of the street protesters stand behind barricades made built from barbed wire, tires and sharpened bamboo sticks. At the other end Thai troops stand underneath an overpass. In the middle a few young men wheel huge tires into the road.

'Live fire zone' declared amid Bangkok bloodshed

There are also regular folks standing along some of the side-streets eating, talking, but mostly watching what is going on in their neighborhood.

We can see the flash of small firecrackers in the air and hear their sharp crack. We can also hear the sound of gunshots mixing with loud blasts.

Suddenly the neighborhood crowds start to run. A man is down. There is yelling. Men crowd around a body on the ground. Someone has been shot. We run towards the area most are running away from. The man is clearly unconscious, clotted blood oozing from his abdomen area. People are trying to help him. They are lifting him. He is heavy and they drop him.

Within seconds an ambulance screeches up. He is picked up on an orange stretcher, put into the back of the ambulance and whisked away.

iReport: Are you there? Send your images, video

People tap us and start pointing to Lumpini Tower a high-rise building in front of us on Rama 4 road where all this is happening. "Snipers, snipers get down," they tell us in Thai.

If snipers are there, we can't see them. Then another crack from somewhere. Another person hit. This time it's a woman. She is bleeding but conscious. Her foot has been injured. The ambulance arrives in a flash. She is taken away. The numbers of injured steadily increase throughout the day.

The Thai government promised to step up security measures in the area taken over by the "Red Shirt" protesters. It appears the government has kept its promise.

The military said it would increase the pressure on the protesters but that it had no intention of harming anyone. The protesters clearly blame the army for the deadly force. There is no way to know for sure who exactly is doing the shooting but neither of the people we saw injured were armed.

The sun is quickly going down on Bangkok but the situation in the commercial district is at boiling point yet again. This is no place to be. We jump on our motorcycle taxis and move out. But as we leave the question lingers: When will all this end?

Recruiting radicals

 

Najib takes a jab at Anwar and DAP



HINDRAF accounts: Home Minister and Police clears Hindraf and P.Waytha Moorthy. Shame on Mandore Ramasamy.


This Mandore Ramasamy sidestepped thousand of questions on the critical Indian problems. The latest and most obuious being the shooting to death of two Indian brothers in Taiping last month by the police sharp shoothers in their shoot to kill policy and there being at least three eye witnesses. Neither did this or the 11 other Indian mandore MP’s or the 78 PR MP’s move an emergency motion in Parliament as was rightly done in the case of police shot dead victim Aminulrasyid Amzah (15).
We have never had a single argument let alone a quarrel with this Ramasamy mandore. But just because we had campaigned against and criticized his towkay Chief Minister of Penang Lim Guan Eng for demolishing Kg.Buah Pala, the last traditional Indian village in Penang, this nutty professor went all out against Hindraf by making up and creating the Hindraf financial mismanagement allegations.
This is the very same Hindraf wave he rode to victory in DUN Prai and Parliament Batu Kawan and power as DCM2 of Penang. Shame on this mandore. Victory against Mandorism!  by this Home  minister clearing Hindraf.Would you believe it that this “esteemed” academic turned mandore was the country’s top political scientist in UKM!
Knowing that the full and transparent accounts was made public on http://www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com/2010/01/30/media-statement-28th-january-2010-hindraf-discloses-its-accounts-to-public/  this mandore still tried his luck to defame and slander us. But now it has back fired on him with the truth surfacing and no other that the Home Minister himself clearing P.Uthayakumar and P.Waytha Moorthy.
This mandore is so desperate so as to also implicate P.Uthayakumar who was then under ISA detention.
With this reply in Parliament  we now wish him all the best in defending his RM10 Million defamation suit which P.Waytha Moorthy had filed against him.
S.Jayathas

Najib Razak:“BN sahabat sejati sekolah China”(UM 13/5/10 page 2) Sekolah Tamil sahabat sejati siapa?

umno-najib0
This is UMNOs’ racist agenda:-
RM 120 Million for MRSM Trolak,RM 18 Million for Sibu Chinese schools and RM 3 Million for Hulu Selangor Chinese school. But for Hulu Selangor Tamil school it is piped water electricity, hampers and five thousand ringgit by UMNO, PKR, DAP and PAS. This is racism to the core but when we raise the racism, we instead are accused of racism by even PKR, DAP, PAS, NGOs’, Malaysiakini.com, NGOs’ Bloggers etc to divert attention away from the real racism.
Karnnai Nithi @ Compassionate Justice
13-05-2010 - STMT - 1  
BN sahabat sejati sekolah China

Malay-sian Police gangsters have license to shoot says IGP Musa Hassan (see NST Headlines 15/5/2010)

 igp shoot The Polis Raja di Malaysia has been allocated RM1 Billion in the 2010 national budget. What to shoot dead Indians?
The dumb arrogant (bodoh sombong) obsolete Malaysian Inspector General of Police(IGP) Tan Sri Musa Hassan says “People will be respectful of law when they know the rules” ( of being shot dead by the police without being found guilty by a Court of law).
Since when has the law of the jungle taken precedence as the order of the day in any civilized country?
Only IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan gets away from being sacked if not prosecuted for murder and/or “ethnic cleansing” of especially the hundreds of Indians. All this under UMNOs’ kill up to one Malaysian indian a week policy?
P.Uthayakumar.
License to shoot
Taiping Murder (2) Taiping Murder (4)
STP13 2-ELANGOVAN 4-GURUSAMY 5-SANTHANA
xx 17yrs Loga IMG_0026 Surendran 2
pc

UMNO Malay-sia: World’s most successful racist regime. RM 1.03 billion Maybank quarterly profit but Indians excluded from sharing this wealth.


one-malaysia3
The Starbiz 14/5/2010 at page B3. For the year 2010 Maybank’s profit is expected to be about RM 4 billion.
To start off with an Indians however capable or qualified will never get to become the Chief Executive Officer of Maybank. Indians will also similarly be excluded from the top twenty positions, and all Executive and Managerial positions in this or any bank.
PNB with  100% 8.9 million malay muslim shareholders own a controlling interest in Maybank
1) PNB equity from RM540 million in 1981 rose to RM76.7 billion in 2008 today. PNB is the world’s largest and most successful unit trust that spread ownership to 8.9 Million Malay shareholders an increase to 10 times from 840,000 in 1981. PNB today controls Maybank, Sime Darby, MIDF, Island and Peninsula and UMW Holdings. Since 1981,RM60 billion was paid out to 8.9 Million Malay shareholders at an average of RM6,741.57 per shareholder (NST 21/04/2008 page2).logo-maybank
2) Unlike Maika, UMNO on the contrary tasked professionals under a government instituted body for PNB. Had UMNO done the very same PNB style strategy for Maika Holdings, 80% of these 66,459 poor Indians, would have come out of their lower income status and perhaps moved up to at least the lower income group. But because of the UMNO’s malay muslim racist and supremacist agenda and design, these 66,459 low income Indians have now most likely slipped from the lower income group to the poverty level if not to the hardcore poverty level.
But UMNO would never accord shares for example in Maybank to for example Maika Holdings for the Indians to also share Maybank’s RM 4 billion yearly profits and wealth of the country.
Who speaks for the Indians PKR? DAP? PAS? Elite Indians? NGOs’? Bloggers? Malaysiakini.com? Malaysian civil society? The Malays? The Chinese?
Related Article
HYPERLINK "http://www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com/2010/02/11/who-speaks-for-indians/"Who speaks for Indians?
P. Uthayakumar

RM 1 billion Sime Darby losses. But peanuts RM 5,000 per Tamil School by UMNO, PKR, DAP and PAS


najib n muhyiddin This is the headlines in the New Straits Times today (14/5/10). Further RM 120 million for the 99.9% Trolak MRSM, RM 18 million for the Sibu Chinese and RM 3 million for the Hulu Selangor Chinese school.
But a mere RM 5,000 per Tamil school was given by PKR, DAP, PAS and UMNO at to the Hulu Selangor by elections.
Worst still, UMNO announced the basic necessity water and electricity to the Ascot Tamil school in Hulu Selangor after 50 years of Independence.
Where is RM 1 billion and that too loss when compared to RM 5,000 per Tamil school, water and electricity).
This level of racism does not happen in any other part of the world except in UMNO’s One Malay-sia and PKR, DAP and PAS brand of “multi-racialism”.
Who speaks for the Indians PKR? DAP? PAS? Elite Indians? NGOs’? Bloggers? Malaysiakini? Malaysian civil society? The Malays? The Chinese?
But when we point out this racism, we in turn are accused of being racist, having a racist agenda, being like Perkasa, extremist or even terrorist and locked up under the ISA without trial at Kamunting Prison Malaysia’s Guantanamo for 514 days!
Related Article
HYPERLINK "http://www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com/2010/02/11/who-speaks-for-indians/"Who speaks for Indians?

P. Uthayakumar
rm 1 billion

Bloggers Universe Malaysia 2010 – Guest speaker P.Uthayakumar


The bloggers’ event of the year, BUM 2010 will be held on Saturday, May 22. Themed “Bloggers moving Malaysia forward”, the event will feature some of the nation’s top bloggers, representatives from both sides of the political divide (Pakatan and Barisan), three panel discussions on current issues such as “The ‘Allah’ issue” and a Q&A session.
The bloggers’ event of the year – popularly referred to as Bloggers Universe Malaysia or “BUM 2010″ – will be held on Saturday, May 22 at the Lake View Club, Subang Jaya.
Themed “Bloggers moving Malaysia forward”, BUM2010 will feature Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim in a keynote address, and also the Minister of Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing, Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin in a special presentation on Internet-related issues.
This year’s event, fourth in the BUM series, is also to mark World Press Freedom Day which fell on May 3. It is organised by the Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI) in association with All-Blogs (the national alliance of bloggers) and a group of socio-political bloggers. According to BUM2010 organising chairman YL Chong a.k.a. Desiderata, the bloggers in the organising committee serve in their individual capacity and do not represent any specific political interests.
Chong also notes that both sides of the political divide are represented with the participation of Pakatan’s Khalid and Barisan’s Raja Nong Chik.
There will be three panel discussions on current topics of interest.
The noon session in Bahasa Malaysia titled “The ‘Allah’ issue”: Various perspectives’ will feature Haris Ibrahim of The People?s Parliament, Khalid Samad, MP for Shah Alam and Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, lawyer.
The evening forum titled “Bloggers Role in bridging the religious divide” will feature Kuala Selangor MP Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok MP and Human Rights Party pro-tem secretary P. Uthayakumar.
All the sessions will have a Q & A to encourage audience participation.
CPI director Dr. Lim Teck Ghee predicts, “This is likely to be a day full of hotly contested opinions and points of view on key divisive issues confronting Malaysia. But we believe that the presentations and dialogue can serve as the basis for clearer thinking rather than the muddled-headed pronouncements and political spinning that has been so prevalent.”
Places for the full-day event are limited to only 200 on a first-come-first-served basis.
Fees at RM60 cover a quickie lunch, hi-tea, and buffet dinner.
Registration details are available at bum4msia.wordpress.com

Chitrakala: Mohan T the real architect of the 4 million hijack

The Traveler, Sunday
The Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi said, "The earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed”.
The sacked Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED) Chief Executive officer Supermom Chitrakala Vasu’s was paid RM 25,000 per month. This was disclosed by Vickneswaran Sanasee who is one of the life members of MIED and former MIC national youth chief.

 mied
Exhibit 2


Not only that, Supermom Chitrakala somehow obtained  two Auto Service Centers licenses, somehow obtained two National Service Camps licenses and somehow bought an apartment in London.
While most Indians can’t even get a single license, Supermom got four, yet, that couldn’t satisfy this women’s greed.
The four ‘cash cow’ licenses were, of course, recommended by Samy Vellu.
Samy Vellu may have special reason for helping specially Chitrakala though she does not have any MIC vote bank that Samy could count on.
The hefty RM 25,000 salary, Proton service center, Perodua Service Center, National Service Camp, paid overseas holidays and practically free hand to run MIED like her own private company didn’t satisfy this women’s greed.
To satisfy her greed, Chitrakala made an unholy alliance with Mohan Thangarasu, the current MIC youth chief behind Samy Vellu’s back.
According to a source, Chitrakala used to spend more time at Mohan T’s office then her own MIED office.
Being a shrewd politician cum businessman, Mohan T exploited Chitrakala’s greed that landed her in the present predicament.
On Wednesday, Chitrakala was charged in the session court on three counts of cheating MIED funds amounting to RM 4 million.
The charges related to the hijack of RM 2 million to Silver Line Sdn Bhd and another 2 million to Wira Jernih Sdn Bhd, a company owned by Chitrakala’s brother-in-law,  Krishna Kunjamboo. (see exhibit 1)
Silver Line Sdn Bhd was setup with 5 million paid-up capital where Chitrakala and her husband Vasu Kunjamboo jointly were holding the majority shares.
Mohan T holds 1.4 million shares (see exhibit 2).
Presumably, the 2 million hijacked to Wira Jernih may have been channeled to Silver Line.
Silver Line operates the National Service Camp located in Sungkai, Perak. With the MIED 4 million hijacked money, Silver Line obtained 9.2 million loan from Affin Bank (see exhibit 3).
Nevertheless, the recent search in Companies Commission of Malaysia reveals that Chitrakala and her husband Vasu Kunjamboo have withdrawn from Silver Line.

Mohan T, now, has taken full control of the company and has appointed his right hand man to manage the company.

Is Mohan T the real architect of the 4 million hijack?

Did Mohan T ditch Chitrakala to safeguard his political career?

Temperature went high at the last MIC Central Working Committee meeting when K P Samy questioned the role of Mohan T, on the hijack of RM 4 million from MIED to Silver Line Services Sdn Bhd.
Apparently, an irritated Mohan hit back saying that he is free to do business with whoever he likes.
Mohan T is right in this aspect but one does not betray his partner.
While Chitrakala may end up in jail for her greed, the betrayer Mohan T may become a Senator, a reward from Samy Vellu.

 mied
Exhibit 1

 mied

Maika: Looking beyond Maika malaise

The Star,
anita@thestar.com.my

THE curtains are being raised on the crumbling house of cards in the most protracted prickly issue among the Malaysian Indian community. For over two decades, Maika Holdings Bhd, MIC's investment arm, initially touted as the “all Indian dream”, has been riddled with deep distrust, intense suspicion and weakened by scandal.

So, it was not surprising that when Westports Malaysia Sdn Bhd executive chairman Tan Sri G. Gnanalingam first revealed his plans to takeover Maika in a rushed press conference in late April, instead of stemming the voracious speculation which was his original intent, he had re-ignited the long pent-up suspicion.
Questions aplenty flowed on steady stream: Is this rescue a political play? Is it a brokered settlement with the MIC leadership? How many layers of agenda are there in this exercise? What's in it for Gnanalingam? Are the poor Indians, who have long endured this debacle, getting a raw deal?
It didn't help at all that the takeover plan was revealed by politicians just days before the Hulu Selangor by-election, which was perceived by many as an attempt to woo voters.
Truth is, as CIMB Group chief executive Datuk Seri Nazir Razak put it: “It's a very simple deal.” (CIMB is adviser and financier of the special purpose vehicle G Team Resources & Holding Sdn Bhd formed to undertake the exercise. G Team is equally owned by Gnanalingam and Datuk S.Kunasingam).
At a press conference to announce the conditional takeover offer on Wednesday, Nazir started out his speech this way. “I'm intrigued that when I announce billion dollar deals, the room (venue of the press briefing) is only half full but today, it's very full. There must be a lot of interest.” An understatement, indeed.
If you strip out the past, the highly-strung sentiments and the politics from the deal, Gnanalingam's plan - to wrest control of Maika, pay back shareholders their original investments, manage the debts, flog off its two valuable assets (an agricultural land in Sepang and a 74.1% stake in Oriental Capital Assurance Bhd), the excess proceeds of which will be channelled into a fund for the community and finally close the chapter on the scandal-ridden company - is a solution which gets most people thinking - “Why couldn't this have been done much earlier?”.
Unfazed by critics and quite confident he will be able to garner over 50% of Maika shares, a condition for the offer, Gnanalingam, who is also co-chairman of the Cabinet sub-committee on Indian affairs, remarks: “A thousand opinions are not better than one action plan.”
“If we can't solve this first problem, it's no use being on the committee. That's why I'm doing this.”
A simple deal, indeed
G Team has proposed to acquire all 125 million shares in Maika at 80 sen per share or RM100mil cash (the 25 million shares arose from a four-for-one bonus issue in 1996). The offer is conditional upon G Team receiving more than 50% of the voting shares of Maika. Once the offer becomes unconditional, it will also trigger a general offer for OCA shares (see also page 21).
On Friday, in what is the first sign that the deal has moved one step forward, Maika's board of directors confirmed that they had received a takeover offer, further stating that they were not seeking an alternative person to make a takeover offer of the company's shares other than G Team.
Maika shareholders are expected to receive the offer document within 21 days and the offer will remain open for at least 21 days with an option to further extend.
G Team has been given a time-frame of one year by the central bank to dispose of its stake in OCA. As for the encumbered land, once its title and valuation have been verified, a committee would be set up to determine the best way to realise the value of the land.
Should the exercise result in a financial gain, the monies will be donated to an established charity for the benefit of the Malaysian Indian community while any loss will be borne by G Team. G Team does not plan to continue the operations of Maika.
“It is our intention to close the chapter (of Maika),” said Gnanalingam.
And this - “There's no political involvement in this exercise. I feel Indians should resolve the issues themselves and as quickly as possible.”
The big question - is it a fair offer?
The offer price has drawn mixed response.
“He (Gnanalingam) is a businessman. He is only talking of giving shareholders their original investment value. If he's willing to pay RM1 for 125 million shares, then it's reasonable. What happens to those who bought the bonus shares at RM1? After waiting for 26 years, not many people are going to be happy with the offer,” says Datuk S. Subramaniam, president of Nesa Cooperative. (Nesa Cooperative filed and won a court order to stop the sale of OCA back in 2007)).
Gnanalingam, a former tobacco and advertising executive and now port owner since 1996, was ranked the 13th wealthiest man in the country with a net worth of some RM800mil by the widely followed rich index by Forbes last year. With that in mind, there are many who ask “Why couldn't he pay more?”

CLICK to view graphics
Here's why.
Maika's latest net tangible asset stood at 23 sen per share; at the offer price of 80 sen per share, the offer translates to 3.5 times book. In addition, it has liabilities of some RM60mil. (Maika's 2006 accounts show that it has two debts - RM34mil owing to Danaharta Managers and RM18.3mil owing to CIMB, which total RM52mil.)
In fact, according to a source, one of Maika's creditors, Danaharta Managers, had earlier agreed to take a haircut on the outstanding debt. In a letter to shareholders dated August 2007, Maika's then chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Manaff alluded to that. He said the board was hopeful of obtaining a substantial waiver of the accumulated interest of nearly RM20mil owing to Danaharta Managers. If this is still the case, then the debts ought to be lower than estimates.
But sources close to the offeror reveal that since news of a potential takeover has surfaced, the creditors have been less amenable to providing the haircut.
Back to the valuation. The Tumbuk Estate in Sepang is worth RM10mil while based on its latest available book value as at 2008, OCA is said to have a net tangible asset of RM102mil.
Based on 1.5 times book value, Maika's stake in OCA is worth some RM113.4mil. If you total the value of OCA with that of the land and minus the debt, it comes up to some RM63mil, as opposed to the total purchase price of RM100mil.
It is believed that in FY2009, OCA returned to the black after a three-year loss streak. A company source said the insurer's latest NTA stood at RM120mil as at end-December 2009. Based on those figures, Maika's stake in OCA at 1.5 times book comes up to RM133.4mil which, after including the land and debt, totals RM83.4mil.
“However you skin it, it's going to be pretty tough to get it to RM100mil,” says Nazir, adding that it is an offer at fair value based on what is available at this point. “It's fairly offered to everyone and we hope majority will accept.”
But there may be one stumbling block to the sale of OCA which has been there since 2007 - Nesa Cooperative's court order to freeze the sale of OCA.
“I have repeatedly said that at any time when an offer is made and the price is reasonable, we will apply to lift the injunction. We know there were offers in the past which valued the company at RM130mil and RM149mil. So, as far as the insurance company is concerned, these are the parameters. If the price is reasonable, there's no problem,” says Subramaniam, who owns some 8,000-10,000 shares
Disgruntled shareholders
Many shareholders appear only too relieved that the latest takeover offer would finally mean closure to the painful Maika saga, especially so for those who have written off the possibility of ever getting their monies back.
In fact, along the years, many shareholders were said to have sold their shares at 50-80 sen to interested parties. “These people were poor and desperate to raise any cash they could,” says an observer.
And there are others who believe they should hold out for a better price. One of them is S. Nadarajah, a management consultant.
“We welcome the move. But what's important is the price, which I feel is ridiculously low. It looks more like foreclosure value than real market value. OCA has considerable value that can be unlocked. It's a much sought after business,” he says.
That may be perception more than reality. Sources close to the insurer says a lot need to be done to bolster OCA's waning status. “Yes, it (OCA) is a valuable asset but it is nowhere near to what some Maika shareholders think. The person who buys the company needs to pump in at least RM20mil to revamp the operations, recruit people and get things back on strong footing. A lot need to be done. Some are saying it ought to be sold for RM200mil. I think that's a pipedream,” says the source.
“Coming in and out for Gnanalingam makes sense as he can make almost dollar for dollar return on what he paid for Maika. The downside could be limited unless of course, they take too long to flip it. The longer they take, the less value they will get,” adds the source.
Ultimately, whether the offer price is fair would be judged by how much the asset is finally disposed of, which has been promised will be an open and transparent process.
“There's clearly no intention to short-change anyone here. We have to start from somewhere. The key thing is to look forward,” says Nazir.
Moving on
Gnanalingam is clearly anxious to separate his takeover plan from the past. Why not? He's not responsible for the controversies that have long dogged the group. “I don't want to go into what happened in the past 26 years. It's irrelevant,” said Gnanalingam.
Unfortunately, that may be easier for them to do than the tens of thousands of Maika shareholders, who over the years have had to suffer the crushing realisation that their investments in Maika have painfully diminished.
That could mean another thing - that while the cleanup may not take too long, the repair could take much longer.
“Maika is a commercial entity that has been bogged down by political dogma. That's the main reason for its downfall,” says a corporate observer.
Back in the 80s, RM100mil in the coffers was an eye-popping load of money. “If the company had invested most of its money in equities then and sat pretty up until now, it would have billions in its coffers today,” says the observer. The colossal loss of opportunity, indeed, is hard to stomach.
“Political parties need to have their own ways of doing things in the business world. But they can't run away from the simple fact that just being granted access, is no guarantee to making returns. It does not mean, you don't have to manage it. Execution is still the issue whether you are the investment arm of Umno, MCA or MIC,” says the astute observer.
There are many issues about the company that are puzzling. Maika has not conducted an annual general meeting for the past three years.
The last annual accounts received by members was for financial year 2006. It currently only has a two-member board - Datuk C. Vijaya Kumar, chairman and Vell Paari, the CEO. Paari is also the son of Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, MIC president and the architect of Maika.
(StarBizWeek reached Vijaya Kumar and Paari but failed to get any comments for this article).
Given that there are adequate safeguards and checks and balances in the law, it is deeply distressing that the regulators have not appeared to act in a meaningful way.
At this point, what we do know for sure is that Maika, once trumpeted as the Indian community's answer to uplifting their flagging socio-economic status, is a dismal flop.
But what we do not really know is - how exactly did it reach this point?
Once the chapter is closed, will we ever?

****

Saturday May 15, 2010

A little bit of history

By ANITA GABRIEL
anita@thestar.com.my


MAIKA Holdings Bhd’s current state belies its euphoric start. Many, a lot of them rural folk, were swept away by the fancy promises of future profits by its promoters and the fact that their hard-earned monies, ploughed in to buy Maika shares, would turn them into stakeholders of the national economy.
For many working-class Indians, it was not solely the promise of wealth but the belief that this was the start of the walls of economic barriers being pulled down to raise the status of the community. Some called it a “certificate of pride”. On hindsight, this would turn out to be highly naive.
But there were also many urban Indians who were smitten by the idea of investing for decent returns and scooped up Maika shares; some of them have sold their shares over the years as the realisation crept in that chances of reaping returns were thinning out.
Maika was set up in 1983 as the MIC’s investment arm, to shore up the corporate equity of the Indian community from a paltry 1% to an ambitious 7%. It is the brainchild of long-serving MIC chief Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.
With that main agenda, the drum roll befitting a major festival began in 1984, with the intention to court thousands of Indians to subscribe for the restricted public issue of 50 million Maika shares at RM1 apiece, which was raised to 100 million shares due to the overwhelming response.
The picture of hopeful crowds which thronged the branches of United Asian Bank back then stands in start contrast to that of frustrated shareholders at highly-strung Maika AGMs caught up in fist fights and angry words under the hawk eye of hundreds of security personnel years later.
Many had pawned their jewellery and other valuable possessions and borrowed, undeterred by the then high interest rate regime, which resulted in a two-fold oversubscription for the shares.
One of them is management consultant S. Nadarajah, who was then 25 years old and employed as a clerk in a Chinese firm. He borrowed to buy 1,000 shares which, as a result of a four-for-one bonus issue, today has grown to 1,250 shares. Much to the chagrin of his mother, who was somewhat sceptical, his father too went ahead and borrowed to buy another 1,000 Maika shares.
“I was socially conscious. I didn’t just invest for returns. I deeply believed that it would help the Indians who were under-performing in terms of job opportunities and economic development. I had hoped the company would flourish,” says Nadarajah.
And it did for a bit. It was reported that in the first financial year, Maika made a pre-tax profit of RM2.17mil. Maika’s first chairman Tan Sri G.K. Rama Iyer, the former secretary-general of the Primary Industries Ministry, was appointed in 1985. Dividends of between 3% and 8% were paid in 1985, 1986,1988, 1991 and from 1993 to 1995. There was also a bonus issue in 1996.
Sadly, it didn’t take too long for sentimental expectations to match reality. As a business concern, Maika was not flourishing. In fact, it was anything but. The company was besieged by operational losses as a result of questionable ventures and when it did make operative profits, they were at best unimpressive. The seeds of discontent and upheaval was beginning to sow in the community.
The cracks started showing in 1987 and many attributed this to its overzealous expansion into a smorgasbord of businesses including commodities, petrol service station, cattle rearing, aquaculture, fruit farming, chopstick manufacturing and soft drinks.
According to news reports, the group suffered losses of RM532,025 in 1987, RM521,811 in 1988, RM3.09mil in 1989 and RM4.69mil in 1990.
At its peak, Maika had some 18 subsidiaries, most of which were inactive or loss making, with the exception of Oriental Capital Assurance Bhd. One of its memorable ventures include the acquisition of Anthonian bookstore, which further contributed to the losses.
It also made profits from the “sale of investments’’ which usually involved government-allotted blue chip shares such as Telekom Malaysia Bhd, TV3 and Tenaga Nasional Bhd, proceeds of which were used to write off debts and losses.
Many opined that Maika should not have been so hasty to sell those shares as in current times, those shares could be worth a handsome sum.
In the mid-80s, it acquired 386ha of the Tumbuk oil palm estate for RM13mil from the National Land Finance Co-operative Society (NLFCS).
Of the countless many subsidiaries it had formed, only one appeared to be a prized asset – one of the earliest insurers in the country Oriental Capital Assurance Bhd (OCA, formerly known as United Oriental Assurance Sdn Bhd).
Following a directive from Bank Negara that all insurance companies need to shore up their paid-up capital to RM100mil by end-June 2001, OCA proposed a rights and bonus issue. Maika’s share of the rights issue totalling 31.5 million shares at RM1 each was part-financed by a syariah facility of RM28.3mil from the former Southern Bank Bhd (now part of CIMB Bank Bhd) at an interest rate of between 8.5% and 9% per annum. The loan was taken on a short-term basis with the understanding that the insurance company would be listed on Bursa Malaysia. That, however, had failed to materialise. As at Aug 15, 2007, the outstanding loan obligations of Maika to CIMB and Danaharta Managers Sdn Bhd totalled some RM55.6mil including interest. Those debts remain outstanding till today.
By 2000, creditors were knocking on its doors demanding repayments. To fully settle a revolving credit facility of RM23mil which was demanded, the company disposed of 755 acres for RM38mil cash in 2005. According to Maika’s annual report 2006, some RM10mil of the proceeds were also used to part-settle the syariah facility which expired at end-September 2006; the principal amount outstanding was RM18.3mil which matured in September 2007.
But that was not all. In 2000, it was stated in the company’s 2006 annual report that Danaharta Managers demanded full repayment of a debt of RM23mil which was classified as non-performing and which ballooned to RM34mil as at 2006 due to a default in guarantee obligations and interest accrued. A small portion of that debt has been settled through foreclosure of assets. Maika has managed to stave them off on the premise that it would restructure itself by selling its Tumbuk estate, investment assets and through a cash call via a rights issue. In the event the financial restructuring fails to materialise, the company and its affected subsidiaries may be required to cease being in business, it had said in the annual report. However, it added that its stake in OCA, if disposed, would be able to fully satisfy the debts and raise additional funds for suitable business opportunities.
Till today, these issues remain outstanding.

*******

Saturday May 15, 2010

The prized asset - Oriental Capital

By ANITA GABRIEL
anita@thestar.com.my


INSURANCE companies, like most financial institutions in this country, are tempting targets because they are a licensed business, which by implication means they are not easy to come by. Furthermore, it is perceived as a major coup if an entrepreneur, never mind that he already owns a sprawling business empire, manages to grab a financial entity and add that to his stable of achievements.
Therein lies the most attractive asset in Maika Holdings Bhd's stable - its 74% owned Oriental Capital Assurance Bhd (OCA).
Its origins
OCA is one of the earliest insurers in Malaysia and its origin dates back to the pre-war days through the operations of several leading insurers from the Orient. To comply with the nation's development policy, in 1976, several overseas insurers merged their operations to form United Oriental Assurance (UOA) with Malaysians in the seat of majority control.
Datuk S. Subramaniam ... 'I agreed to sell but based on certain points.'
Long after, in 2002, the company underwent another transformation through a corporate merger between UOA and Capital Insurance Bhd, hence the creation of OCA.
Oriental is engaged principally in the underwriting of all classes of general insurance business such as fire, motor and marine, aviation, offshore and transit.
OCA has a paid-up capital of RM100mil and total assets valued in excess of RM380mil. Business volume is recorded at RM244mil and its niche strength is in onshore and offshore oil and gas and marine hull and cargo classes of business.
Maika initially acquired 3.3 million shares in the insurer between 1986 and 1988. Six years later, it acquired an additional 24 million shares in the company, hence emerging as a major shareholder with 63.6% stake of the then paid up capital of RM42.7mil and a year later, it acquired another 3.3 million shares. Based on documents obtained from sources, it has been stated that the average purchase price of OCA by Maika in the books as at end-December 2006 is 81 sen per share.
In 2001, OCA made a rights issue to bump up its paid-up capital to comply with the central bank's new rules. Maika partly financed its share of the rights issue of RM31.4mil through a syariah facility of RM28.3mil from Southern Bank Bhd (now part of CIMB Bank). It is believed that the loan was taken on a short-term basis with the understanding with the bank that the insurance company will be listed on Bursa Malaysia. The plan was upon listing, Maika will divest 30% stake in the company to a bumiputra partner and repay the loan. As it turned out, the listing plans got botched due to various reasons including the listing price.
Up for grabs - or maybe not
As far back as 1995, when OCA was still called UOA, there were numerous reports quoting Maika officials saying that they planned to list their insurance arm which later morphed into plans to divest the insurer. None has since materialised.
What is commonly known is that there were two parties who were interested to acquire OCA from Maika - Salcon Bhd back in June 2007 and Usaha Tegas Sdn Bhd (UTSB), controlled by tycoon T. Ananda Krishnan, also about the same time.
In a two-page letter dated August 2007 to shareholders by the then Maika chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Manaff, it was stated that the board had on June 21, 2007 accepted the offer by Salcon to acquire its stake in OCA for RM129.8mil or RM1.75 per share as it was “in the best interest of the shareholders and the future of the company. The time is right, considering the company's financial position and its loan obligations to accept the offer.”
As at end-December 2006, OCA's net tangible asset value stood at RM1.03 per share.
Salcon made an announcement to Bursa Malaysia on Aug 28, 2007 in a 13-page announcement on the proposed acquisition of OCA from Maika as well as proposed mandatory general offer for the remaining shares as it would trigger the takeover threshold. The proposed acquisition, it said, had received the nod by Bank Negara.
Many were intrigued by Salcon's move as its core business is in the construction, operation and maintenance of water and wastewater treatment plants. However, Salcon defended the move stating that it was part of a plan to diversify its revenue stream to include “long-term and stable recurring income vis-a-vis the relatively cyclical construction industry.”
At about the same time, UTSB had also expressed interest in acquiring the insurer.
For UTSB, observers said that with activities in telecommunications, engineering and power, to name a few, it could have easily found opportunities to grow business through an insurance arm.
In a letter dated end-July 2008 by UTSB executive director Ralph Marshall to Maika CEO Vell Paari, UTSB made an offer to purchase the 74% block in OCA free from any encumbrances for a total RM148.3mil, or at RM2 per share, subject to some conditions including that the net tangible asset value of OCA is not less than RM108.1mil as at the completion of the purchase of the shares.
UTSB had also sought exclusivity to buy the asset for 90 days from the date of Maika's acceptance of its offer letter considering the “substantial expenditures involved in examining the acquisition.”
The conditions turned out to be far too onerous. A day later, Maika's legal adviser shot out a letter to Marshall that it has been made clear that the “offer price for the sale shares ought to be firm and not subject to adjustment” and that some of the terms and conditions were “unacceptable.” “In the circumstances, our client (Maika) has no alternative but to reject your offer,” said the letter.
Unbeknownst to many, there was also a third offer which was made on behalf of a group of foreign and local clients to acquire the entire paid-up capital of Maika for RM1 per share in September 2007. One of the interested parties in this deal was Datuk Jeyaraj Ratnaswamy, managing partner of accounting firm MustaphaRaj.
“We were interested in taking control of the company but we wanted the minorities to stay on. We wanted a 3-5 year window to strengthen OCA and if the numbers were good, to list the entity. Then we would have asked the Maika shareholders to swap their shares for the listed insurer so they get to tap its future potential. But our offer was rejected,” Jeyaraj tells StarBizWeek.
Spanner in the works
In comes Nesa Cooperative (Koperasi Nesa Pelbagai Bhd) led by president Datuk S. Subramaniam. The co-op, which owns 625,000 shares in Maika, had filed and won a court order to freeze the sale of OCA by Maika to Salcon. That was enough to keep the rest of the potential buyers at bay - up until today, that is.
“The injunction made it difficult for anyone to negotiate. The process was outside the scope and hands of the people negotiating because of the court order. It didn't make sense to continue so the discussion came to naught,” says a source.
Many perceive Subramaniam's move as politically motivated given that he and MIC chief Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu are political rivals. But he dismisses that notion.
“In principle, I agreed to sell but based on certain points. Don't just limit the sale to Salcon alone. Be more transparent and open. Call for competitive bids. Try to sell it to an Indian co-operative, company or individual. That should be the first option so that we don't erode the already dismal equity the Indians have. If that can't be done, then offer to best bidders and make the process more transparent.
“I felt we could fetch a better price for OCA. I was not convinced that RM129mil (Salcon's proposed purchase price) was the best price,” he says, in an interview with StarBizWeek.
Caught in the middle
Meanwhile, the potential divestment appears to have been a major distraction, clearly taking a toll on OCA's performance. For the past three years, prior to financial year 2009, the company has been suffering losses. In FY08, it made a pre-tax loss of RM5mil from RM16mil loss the year before.
OCA's chairman is Datuk C. Vijayakumar, who is also chairman of Maika. The three other directors are Vell Paari (Maika CEO), Albert Saychuan Cheok and C. Kirupalani.
The current CEO is Lai Poong Shen. According to sources, his contract was extended for another six months upon expiry end-2009.
“The operational results are deteriorating. There has been no investment in new systems, inadequate top and middle management staff, no succession planning which is a concern as many at top management are retiring soon. All these issues need to be fixed,” says a source.
OCA's latest audited results for FY09 have yet to be released but it is believed to have chalked up a slight turnaround on the back of investments although it continued to make losses at operating level.
“The company is operating at a very low level and it needs to be revamped,” the source adds.
“The industry is tough right now. Motor (insurance) is not doing too well. This concept of supermarket companies is also stealing away our business. For example, when banks provide hire-purchase loans for cars, their subsidiaries take all the other related business like motor insurance. It is tough being an open market company or non-bank backed insurer like OCA,” says an industry analyst.
It is against that backdrop that it becomes more imperative for OCA to have a well thought out and clearly defined business strategy, which many say, it currently does not have.
One observer says the weakness could have stemmed from the merger of UOA and Capital Assurance which was poorly executed.
“UOA was largely into personal life, motor and so forth. When it acquired Capital Assurance which was big on the corporate insurance business, the plan was to merge both and build the team but the latter never happened. So, it slowly started losing the personal as well as corporate business,” says the insider. “On hindsight, perhaps the merger was badly executed. It should have been better managed,” he laments.
Given all these operational gaps, what is the central bank doing? According to sources, the central bank has put OCA on its “Watch List” (this information has yet to be ascertained) with a long to-do-list and some “extra reporting procedures.” Some of these areas which the company needs to urgently address, it is believes, include manpower, IT systems, board and management weakness.
With all these escalating structural weaknesses, the question really is - does OCA, as it stands now, fit the bill as a prized asset?

Najib takes the fight to DAP stronghold


SIBU: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak tonight made local history when he became the first prime minister to visit Rejang Park here, long considered a stronghold of the DAP.

He told the people who came to listen him speak on the eve of the polling day for the Sibu parliamentary by-election that the Barisan Nasional government under his leadership truly believed in the concept of 1Malaysia.

"Under 1Malaysia we want to work closely together and that is why I have come to Rejang Park because I am the prime minister for all communities," he said at the meet-the-people session held at Rejang Park, one of the town's earliest low-cost residental areas.

Making a final pitch for votes, Najib announced an allocation of RM5 million for flood-mitigation projects in Rejang Park.

Also present were Deputy Chief Minister George Chan, Rural and Regional Development Minister Shafie Apdal and the BN's candidate, Robert Lau Hui Yew.

Even though the residents supported the opposition, he said, he wanted them to listen to him -- to tell one story, with only one storyline, which was 1Malaysia.

"BN is the government that speaks one language to the people of Sibu. I want to prove to you its all right to have some problems or some unhappiness but this is a new beginning because we are listening to you," he said.

The Prime Minister said his pledge was to help all communities because he wanted Malaysia to become a strong 21st century nation that was fully developed, which was not an impossible dream.

One family

The government had proven it, for example, when he announced two days ago the country's first quarter figures of 10.1%, making it on track to achieve a high growth rate this year, said Najib, who is also Finance Minister.

"God willing, in 10 years' time we will have achieved developed country status with a high income (by 2020) but we cannot get there unless the Malays, Chinese, Iban, Kadazandusun and Indians are together in this journey as one family," he said.

He said, however, Malaysia could not be a prosperous nation unless there was harmony in the country and the only way to unite the diverse ethnic groups was by not telling lies, saying one thing to one community and a different thing to another.

Addressing a crowd at the Sibu Gateway here later, Najib said the country's recent success in registering a 10.1% growth in the first quarter of this year reflected the effectiveness of the government's economic stimulation measures.

While several countries, including some in Europe had yet to recover from the last economic turmoil, Malaysia was now back on track to achieve its vision of becoming a developed and high income nation by 2020, he added.

- Bernama

A big push for BN from Najib's final pitch

By Pushparani Thilaganathan - Free Malaysia Today

SIBU: News of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s meeting tonight with the Malay/Melanau community has upped Barisan Nasional’s support in the Nangka constituency.
Until late yesterday, the 5,470 voters here were peeved with Najib for ignoring them during his last trip.
Najib’s dismissal of the fringe community, which was hardly a distance from the Tua Pek Kong Chinese temple which he visited, was the final straw for an already angry community.
The Nangka constituents are furious with state assemblyman Awang Bemen over his inefficiency and conveyed this to Najib’s legmen yesterday.
Following ground reports, Najib was advised to return immediately and forestall a plunge in the Malay/Melanau support, which PAS has been actively canvassing.
Meanwhile, the situation in the Chinese community too has improved. BN is now looking at 42% support, according to an intelligence source.
“It’s a relief... at least we’re clear,” said the source.
There is much pressure on Najib to win more than a 5,000 vote majority here.
Some 2,537 postal voters have already been cast , comprising 1,910 military and 627 police personnel.
'Money in your hour of need'
Pakatan remains confident of its support among the Chinese, Malay/Melanau and Sarawak Bumiputeras.
BN is facing its toughest ever challenge in 24 years to retain its grip on the Sibu parliamentary seat as a consolidated Pakatan Rakyat coalition systematically chews into its vote pool.
Tonight sees the top leaders of both BN and Pakatan in Sibu running parallel gatherings.
Earlier today, two schools and four churches confirmed receiving funds totalling RM1.7 million as promised by Najib.
Boats ferrying BN’s little “Napoleons” armed with “goodies” have been whizzing up and down the Rejang river.
Each longhouse, Chief Minister Taib Mahmud had reportedly, said would receive RM600.
There are 110 longhouses in 13 villagers here boasting just over 10,000 votes.
Said a Pakatan insider: “It’s the final hours that we most fear… and money in your hour of need.”

Both sides not short on confidence

By B Nantha Kumar - Free Malaysia Today

SIBU: Operation rooms in both rival camps – Barisan Nasional and DAP – are working at optimum pace to beat the clock.

A visit to both centres saw volunteers laying out their strategies for tomorrow.
The DAP operation room, located in Jalan Lanang, will be the hub of information dissemination for supporters, said a volunteer from Kanowit.
Preferring to be called Lim Kuan, he said: “Many Pakatan Rakyat top leaders are campaigning in Sibu.
“People here use to see them on television and the newspapers; now they have a chance meet them and listen to their speeches.”
It also gave DAP a chance to explain Pakatan Rakyat’s policies and its relationship with PAS.
"Since the last few days, DAP’s rating has moved up not only among the Chinese but also with the Iban and Melanau.
“Our friends (PKR and PAS) are also working very hard in the village areas," he told FMT.
Calm and confident
Meanwhile, in the BN operation room in a top-notch hotel here, all appeared calm.
There was an air of confidence, with one BN official, who declined to be named, saying: “Yes, we will win. But the question now is, how big a majority.”
He said BN’s top leaders were working very hard to retain the seat.
“ We (BN) are facing a great battle from the opposition. But I feel every thing will change after tonight (Prime Minsiter Najib Tun Razak is expected to arrive later this evening).”
Sibu’s 52,158 voters will go to the polls tomorrow to determine which of the two traditional rivals – DAP and Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) – will represent them in Parliament.
As at 5pm yesterday evening, DAP’s probability of a win has inched up to 49.2%.

Whiff of change rising from Sibu

By Pushparani Thilaganathan - Free Malaysia Today

SIBU: With a day to go, DAP candidate Wong Ho Leng, 51, is euphoric as he can “now see the dream”.
The sweltering heat in Sibu is fuelling fumes of change across the constituency. After 24-long years, the DAP may very well be the closest ever to win on May 16.
“It's different this time... very different, I can feel the mood... I can see the dream,” said a grinning Wong, raising his voice above the din at last night’s gathering of over 3,000 listeners at Rejang Park.
This is Wong’s fourth attempt at the Sibu parliamentary seat.
In his last outing, he lost to the late Sibu MP Robert Lau by 3,323 votes in a three-cornered fight.
This time -- although still a three-way tussle with independent Narawi Haron in the arena – the primary battle to wrest the seat is between DAP and Lau’s nephew (Lau) Hui Yew (better known as Robert Lau Jnr).
The number “four” denotes death in Chinese and pundits are waging bets on who will “politically die” this time, as the Barisan Nasional’s Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) also has a “four” somewhere in its quotient.
The odds are building up for Wong and ironically, upping his chances at the ballot box, was PKR Wangsa Maju’s Wee Choo Keong's exit from the party yesterday.
Said a PKR insider last night: “This (Wee’s exit) will backfire at the ballot box. It is stupid timing... typical BN-style tactic. This is not Hulu Selangor or the Malays.
“You cannot intimidate the Chinese here. They are excited at meeting the steady stream of DAP leaders. They are seeing the effect of their collective might. It has put LGE (Lim Guang Eng) on an equal footing with other Malay ministers and Chief Minister Taib (Mahmud).
“It is a very powerful feeling... They are conscious of their collective strength now, especially after 2008. They like what they see... the knowledge and humiliaty in Guan Eng, (Lim) Kit Siang, Karpal Singh, Anwar Ibrahim. It’s all strong and credible.
“It’s not about money anymore. It's now integrity, which BN is very short on,” he said.
Before Wong took to the stage, Guan Eng had roused the crowd with his appeal for one more MP in Parliament now that Wee had quit.
“Vote for principled politics, not commercial politics…,” he said in reference to the “frogs” in PKR who had jumped to Umno.
Iban irritation
Meanwhile, the constant barrage of visiting federal officials is irritating residents in longhouses in Bawang Assan and Penusu.
Forced to fete and feed them, the residents are beginning to grumble.
A PKR team, which visited them yesterday, said the tuai (chief), many of whom are retired teachers and civil servants, are unhappy.
“There’s just too much feasting and protocol when the BN delegations come calling. They bring food and ask them to cook and fete the ministers.
“The Ibans are tired and fed up,” he said, adding that the mood in the longhouses is also shifting.
“The DAP has never ever stepped foot in some of these longhouses. The Pakatan strategy has allowed each party to focus on one group.
“That is good. We have put our PKR people in every longhouse. The BN has also come in but we are playing low key.
“We are confident that we now have some of the tuai rumahs on our side. They are educated pensioners who can understand our concerns.
“We feel we have about 25% of their votes,” said the official who was part of the team led by party leader Daniel Tajem.
Also on yesterday’s team were leading native customary rights land lawyers Baru Bian and Paul Raja.
Photos by B Nantha Kumar.

Aiya, why so serious one lah?

Umno has expressed its anxiety that Ibrahim Ali is a Pakatan Rakyat Trojan Horse that was sent to Barisan Nasional to create havoc in the ruling coalition. Judging by his latest outburst, reported by Malaysiakini (below), there are those in Umno who feel that Ibrahim Ali may in fact be giving Barisan Nasional the kiss of death.


NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

A friend sent me this today:

I was stuck in a traffic jam on the PLUS Highway last week. Nothing moved for half an hour when suddenly a man knocked on my window. So I rolled down my window and asked, "What's going on?"

''Terrorists down the road have kidnapped a few UMNO politicians. They're asking for a ransom or they're going to douse them with petrol and set them on fire. We are going from car to car, taking up a collection."

I then asked, "How much is everyone giving on average?"

"Most people are giving about a gallon."

*************************************************

Umno has expressed its anxiety that Ibrahim Ali is a Pakatan Rakyat Trojan Horse that was sent to Barisan Nasional to create havoc in the ruling coalition. Judging by his latest outburst, reported by Malaysiakini (below), there are those in Umno who feel that Ibrahim Ali may in fact be giving Barisan Nasional the kiss of death.

'I won't apologise even with a gun to my head'

In response to the demand by an MCA central committee member for an apology, a combative Ibrahim Ali said saying sorry to the MCA or its president would be the last thing for him to do while alive over the matter.

“I don't need to apologise to anybody. Even if the guy puts a gun to my head, I would not do so,” the head of Malay rights group Perkasa told Malaysiakini when contacted today.

“If they don't want Malays to gather, then the Chinese also should not hold gatherings,” he said.

Those who disagreed with such gatherings by Malays as the 'Melayu Bangkit' ('Malays Rise') assembly by Gertak, should find another place of sojourn, he added.

“This is my country, this is Malaysia and I know the history of Malaysia."

"Before it became Malaysia (in 1963), it was known as Persekutuan Tanah Melayu (Federation of Malaya)," he stressed.

“Even Tun Mahathir himself had explained that the gathering was meant to inform, and that the gathering was peaceful, just as the Chinese also organise their own gatherings.”

“If they (MCA members) do feel not safe with Malays having such gatherings, they can leave the country,” he quipped. -- Malaysiakini

http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/131889

*************************************************

Yesterday, I had to go to the Royal Eye Hospital for an eye examination. My optician is worried that I may be suffering from an ailment that may lead to blindness so she arranged for this examination.

I was asked to look at the following chart and was able to only see the first two lines. It may be true, after all, that I am losing my eyesight. Is this why I can no longer see which way Pakatan Rakyat is going?

Hmm…and I thought that Pakatan Rakyat was losing its direction. Maybe it’s just me after all.

Got to go for that eye operation as soon as possible.

Siapa MP dan ADUN PKR yang Zul Noordin maksudkan?

(Harakahdaily) - Semalam saya dihubungi oleh seorang teman sekolah lama yang mahukan kepastian apakah ada kemungkinan akan berlaku lagi tragedi rampasan kuasa tidak bermaruah seperti mana yang berlaku di Perak tahun lalu.

Teman itu meminta saya membaca berita di The Malaysian Insider bertajuk 'Second ‘Perak’ on the cards, warns Zul Noordin' yang ditulis oleh Clara Chooi berkaitan isu yang dibangkitkan oleh Ahli Parlimen Kulim Bandar Bharu yang ditalak tiga oleh PKR kerana keangkuhannya sendiri.

Zul Noordin dalam kenyataannya memberitahu ada dua Ahli Parlimen dan seorang Adun dari PKR akan bertindak meninggalkan parti kerana hilang kepercayaan kepada kepimpinan DS Anwar Ibrahim, alasan yang tidak berubah-ubah sejak bermulanya episod wakil rakyat melompat keluar.

Pada mulanya saya rasa teruja dengan berita itu, tapi bila direnung-renung dan ditilik-tilik, mana mungkin amaran tidak berasas itu menjadi realiti apabila wakil rakyat yang tidak dinamakan itu adalah dua orang MP dan hanya seorang Adun sahaja.

Bodohnya peguam yang berpaksikan agama dan bangsa itu membuat congakan asas matematik dalam politik. Pada masa sekarang Pakatan Rakyat menguasai 20 kerusi dan BN hanya memiliki 15 kerusi termasuk dua kerusi Bebas di DUN Kedah, manakala Kota Siputeh masih kekal tidak bertuan kerana ketakutan BN yang teramat sangat terhadap pilihan raya kecil di Kedah.

Kalau pun masin mulut Zul Noordin, berlaku apa yang dikatakannya, kerajaan PR Kedah masih utuh dan tragedi Perak tidak akan berulang di negeri jelapang padi ini. PR masih kekal menguasai kerajaan negeri kerana mempunyai 19 kerusi berbanding BN hanya 16 kerusi termasuk Bebas.

Pada ketika ini Adun PKR hanya ada 3 orang sahaja, Adun Bukit Selambau, S. Manikumar, Adun Sidam, Tan Show Kang dan Adun Kulim, Lim Soo Nee. Ketiga-tiganya menganggotai barisan Exco Kerajaan Negeri Kedah.

Apakah salah seorang dari mereka akan mengikut jejak bodoh dan senget Adun Lunas dan Adun Bakar Arang yang meninggalkan PR hanya kerana ingin mendapat sedikit habuan yang hanya boleh dijadikan modal permulaan membuka sebuah restoren di KL?

Dua lagi MP, kemungkinan gandingan MP Padang Serai dan MP Sungai Petani @ MP Padang Serai dan MP Kuala Kedah @ MP Sungai Petani dan MP Kuala Kedah tidak akan menjejaskan penguasaan PR dalam DUN Kedah.

Persoalannya siapakah dua orang MP dan seorang Adun PKR yang Zul Noordin maksudkan dalam kenyataan bodohnya itu?

Saya cuba menghubungi salah seorang dari Adun untuk penjelasan dan kesudahannya kami mencapai satu keputusan untuk diaturkan satu ceramah penjelasan isu lompat melompat pada 19/5/2010 di Bedong.

Ketiga-tiga Adun PKR dan ketiga-tiga MP PKR akan dijemput untuk memberikan penjelasan dan Zul Noordin juga akan dijemput untuk mendedahkan siapakah Adun dan MP PKR yang dikatakan akan melompat dari Pakatan Rakyat.

Mohd Firdaus Jaafar,
Ahli Parlimen Jerai

Kedah PAS plans ceramah to explain

(The Star) - Kedah PAS will hold a special ceramah next week to explain to the people about growing speculation that the state government would collapse if more PKR assemblymen resign.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak said the ceramah, scheduled for May 22 at the state PAS headquarters in Kota Sarang Semut, would be attended by all Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen and grassroots leaders.

There are 36 state seats in Kedah with Pakatan holding 20 (PAS 16, PKR three and DAP one); Barisan Nasional has 14 seats; and there are two independent assemblymen.

If two more assemblymen resign from the Pakatan alliance, it would result in a hung state legislative assembly.

“I have heard speculation that four more assemblymen, three from PKR and one from DAP, will leave their parties, and this has led to persistent talk that I will dissolve the state assembly. This is untrue. I will call them (the four assemblymen) to explain during the ceramah,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Azizan had been asked to comment on a prediction by Kulim-Bandar Baru MP Zulkifli Noordin that another Pakatan state government was likely to fall, similar to what happened in Perak last year.

Zulkifli was reported as saying that two PKR MPs and a state assemblyman would soon leave the party.

He was also quoted as saying that the departures from the alliance was imminent if it did not resolve problems swiftly.

“I can confirm that they are leaving soon. The state government should seek a dissolution of the assembly fast,” Zulkifli said.

To this, Azizan said the rumour about dissolution was created by Barisan to tarnish the image of the PAS-led state government.

“This is a psychological attack by Barisan to destroy me but I am not afraid. I hope Barisan can learn to be a good opposition and not use dirty tactics,” he said.

Azizan said Kedahans who wished to know the truth about the speculation should attend the ceramah.

Graduands To Be Front-line Motivator To Achieve NEM

KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wants local graduands to become the front line in mobilising the New Economic Model (NEM) and to push Malaysia to achieve the developed nation status.

From the perspective of national development and in the context of the NEM, the nation needed capable manpower, especially high skilled workers, to mobilise the economy in all fields, he said.

Najib said Malaysia also needed a quantum shift in churning out between 35 and 50 per cent professional workers if it were to achieve the developed nation status and compete with other countries such as Taiwan, Korea and Singapore which already had more than 30 per cent of its workers in the professional field.

He said this when launching the Graduands' Career and Entrepreneurship Carnival (K3G), here today. The text of his speech was read by Higher Education Minister Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

Najib said that statistics showed that Malaysia had a worker population of 10.6 million, of whom eight million were under the 45 age group category, while two million were under the age of 25.

Out of the total of 10.6 million workers, only 2.8 million were in the professional and management group while the rest were in the low-skilled or general worker category.

The Prime Minister also called on all graduands to discard the 'wait or passive culture' and to face the real world.

Instead, he said, the graduands should be bold and creative in grabbing and exploring new job opportunities, particularly those available in the New Economic Model, based on knowledge.

Najib also said that the graduands should exploit the opportunities available in the institutions of higher learning and raise their work quality and skill so that they could adapt themselves to the changing environment where the economic dimension was becoming more challenging.

While calling on the graduands to sharpen their skills so that they were marketable not only locally but also abroad, the Prime Minister also reminded them to be patriotic and to serve their own country.

Najib's bribery/'leadership' by example: trying to buy Sibu's dignity -

ps- Selamat mengundi Sibu! :)
Amidst great turnouts at PR crowds in Sibu, we read of Najib once again relying on blatant bribery:
Making a last-minute pitch in a DAP stronghold, he announced an allocation of RM5 million for flood-mitigation projects in Rejang Park.
“I want to make a deal with you. Can we have an understanding or not?” Najib asked some 1,000 people who attended a public rally at the residential area.
“The understanding is quite simple. I help you, you help me,” said the Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman.
“If Robert Lau becomes the MP on Sunday, on Monday I will ask the cheque to be prepared,” Najib told the all-Chinese audience.
O.O
How can we expect our policemen not to ask for bribes? How can we expect our civil servants not to demand under table money?! When our NUMBER ONE EXECUTIVE is the very one spouting “I help you, you help me.” ?!?
How many times have we heard this statement from the crooked traffic cop, or the government officer whose approval we need for our restaurant license?
How can we fight corruption in this country, with this sort of ‘leadership’ by example? >:(
The question that is really being asked here is: how much is our dignity worth?
In Chinese majority Sibu, I suppose this is an especially pertinent question.
The question may seem to be whether one should choose RM 5 million for flood mitigation projects, even if it means putting up with the same arrogant Umno racism that has existed for decades and continues today ala statements from Ibrahim Ali re: the May 13 gathering -
“Even Tun Mahathir himself had explained that the gathering was meant to inform, and that the gathering was peaceful, just as the Chinese also organise their own gatherings.
“If they do not feel safe with Malays having such gatherings, they can leave the country,” he quipped.
In fact however, the question is: what moral right could Najib possibly have to tie aid for flood mitigation to political choice?
Surely this is a) an election offence, and b) holding the rakyat’s own money and (more importantly) safety and livelihood ransom.
The people of Sibu *deserve* that RM 5 million to help stop flooding, REGARDLESS of who gets voted in tomorrow.
If Najib cannot see that, he must take us all for whores, and will clearly never, ever be a real statesman.