DO U STILL REMEMBER HINDU WAS IN BATAK LAND not very LONG AGO?this is how the Hindu lives .








Hindraf Rally… (Ethnic) Minority Report ( 7 )




This privileged photographer — red shirt perching on top a Police vehicle — should be able to testify if teargas and water cannons had not been used in Batu Caves Temple.


Batu-Caves_a051.jpg

For context, read this blog entry.


After the public outpouring of dissatisfaction with their plight, it’s time we listened to our Indian brothers and sisters.


Dr Kumar of Persatuan Sosialis Malaysia, and Prof Dr Khoo Kay Kim of Suhakam have both spoken up on their behalf. Listen, and listen well, Putrajaya.


ALSO READ: TIME magazine: Facing Malaysia’s Racial Issues.


<!–

–>


Hindraf Rally… (Ethnic) Minority Report ( 6 )




The Personal Dignity of Hindraf Supporters. As late as 11:07pm, November 25, Screenshots received an alert from the Bar Council Monitoring Team for the Hindraf Rally that they needed back-ups of lawyers. Additional help from the lawyers was needed to attend to detainees at Pulapol, Jalan Semarak, and IPK Jalan Hang Tuah, Kuala Lumpur.


“Many arrested. Help 2 mobilise,” the SMS read.


Earlier in the day, Bar Council has alerted Screenshots that 69 people were arrested and detained at IPK Kuala Lumpur, about 300 were detained at Pulapol at Jalan Semarak.



This YouTube shows how a Policeman thrusting his booted foot on a fallen guy.
courtesy Lau Weng San of DAP.

The Star today (November 27) reported that a total of 105 people who took part in the Hindraf Rally on Sunday are still being detained. The paper quoted Federal CID director Comm Christopher Wan Soo Kee as saying that those still in custody would be released on bail today.


Here’s Screenshots’ tribute to those individuals who were placed in temporarily incarceration, standing up for their cause. May you be free if you haven’t been.


Dignity_a040.jpg

Dignity_a041.jpg


For context, please read human rights lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar‘s blog. He does not quite concur with the way Hindraf leaders espouse their cause, but he fully respects the personal dignity of Hindraf supportersthe common stand taken by this blogger.


Read on for this 21-image series.


Batu Caves Temple
Dignity_a042.jpg

Dignity_a062.jpg


Dignity_a063.jpg


Dignity_a064.jpg


Dignity_a065.jpg


Jalan Ampang-Jalan Tun Razak Junction


Dignity_a139.jpg


Dignity_a140.jpg


Dignity_a159.jpg


Dignity_a161a.jpg


Dignity_a166.jpg


Dignity_a167.jpg


Dignity_a169.jpg


Dignity_a170.jpg


Dignity_a176.jpg


Dignity_a180.jpg


Dignity_a181.jpg


Dignity_a182.jpg


Dignity_a187.jpg


Dignity_a295.jpg


Let us all learn to respect the personal dignity of the Indian community.


<!–

–>


Hindraf Rally… (Ethnic) Minority Report ( 5 )




UPDATED VERSION.This is a snippet of how our Parliamentarians — elected by the people, from the people and for the people — reacted to the chronic issues of the marginalised Indian community triggered by the Hindraf Rally.


For the Indian legislators in Barisan Nasional, one appears to have heightened Double-Speak of Real-politik.


In less than 24 hours, MIC MP for Cameron Highlands, S.K. Devamany, made a Bollywood U-turn from his pontificating-the-BN over Al-Jazeera to admitting in the Parliament, arguing that the rally had proved the failure of government policies which do not benefit the Indians.

UPDATES: Speaking at a press conference at the Parliament lobby today, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz said Devamany is scheduled to meet BN party whip, DPM Najib Abdul Razak, on Thursday, for breaking ranks from the government over the rally.


S.K. Devamany (MIC) BEFORE:





S.K. Devamany (MIC) AFTER:



I was thinking aloud, instead of skirting the real issues — and continuing to treat marginalised Indians as purely an Indian issue and not a Malaysian issue — can we have some concrete ideas to solve a 50-year-old malaise?


Over the last three weeks after the BERSIH and Hindraf Rallies, I have been wondering if the Police have the options of democratic means and approaches in handling mass congregation in public places?


Instead of setting up roadblocks that inconvenienced the public outside rally locations, and launching vehicle-checks by picking on certain race, the Police could


1 ) Issue the police permit in the name/s of the organisers of the rallies solely responsible for the consequences;

2 ) Limit the number of rally participants allowed and agreeable to the rally organisers;


3 ) Close some roads and gather the rally participants in a vicinity close to the destination of the recipient of the petitions — the Istana Negara for BERSIH Rally, and the British High Commission for the Hindraf Rally — while the rally leaders are given time to deliver the petitions


4 ) Allow the rally leaders to speak for 30 minutes after they return to update on the delivery of petition, and allow the crowd to disperse peacefully afterwards



As a precaution, I would also suggest that steps must be taken by the Police and the rally organisers to be vigilant against planted moles and agent provocateurs who would infiltrate the crowd to cause trouble and disorder — we have seen this during 1999 Reformasi and the 2007 Batu Buruk Incident.


More importantly, the Police must be independent in carrying out their duties and take no orders from the Giovernment. The Police survived on salaries paid for by taxpayers’ money, they should protect the people who feed them.


If we professed to be practising democracy, then we should be consistent in democratic practices. You can’t allow the Son-in-Law one set of law (July 2006), and the marginalised Indians another (November 2007). That is double standard and fundamentally undemocratic. I have raised this live on Al-Jazeera, and Malik Imtiaz has raised it in his blog. You can’t say you don’t hear us when the whole world knew about it.


Mass civil disobedience


As an advocate of Bangsa Malaysia, I categorically can’t agree with the way Hindraf leaders pursue their cause along racial lines. Hence, I couldn’t walk with Hindraf leaders but only to chronicle and blog about it using the power of photographs and images.



SOURCE:
ChannelNewsAsia on YouTube

However, we need to lend the voiceless a voice.


It was the sheer determination of the individual participants of the Hindraf Rally, dominantly our Indian brothers and sisters, in the face of Police high-handedness, that moved me greatly. They vividly tell us that their plights need urgent attention. You simply can’t brush them off by saying there are also poor in other communities while the Ministers rob away the APs and squander public funds.


In Hindraf Rally, very rarely do Malaysians see such defiance.


As Malaysiakini has recapped, despite repeated warnings and a court order which allowed the police to ‘arrest on sight’, they came out in the thousands on Nov 25 into the streets of Kuala Lumpur.


It was, in part, a protest inspired by Indian independence activist and pacifist, Mahatma Gandhi. Quote:

Like Gandhi, the Hindraf supporters were out to show mass civil disobedience and it was prominently shown by a crowd of almost 5,000 near the Hotel Maya at Jalan Ampang.


For at least five times, the crowd would run helter-skelter at each ‘water canon charge’, only to defiantly claim back their original positions, chanting “We want justice!” in both Tamil and English.



When Malaysians took it to the streets juxtaposed against the National Palace or the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, it no longer has forbearance on one to be marginalised or being impoverished.


It’s only redeeming the dignity of each individuals who make up this country.


<!–

–>


Hindraf Rally… (Ethnic) Minority Report ( 4 )




Did the Police used teargas and chemical-laced water cannons on the Hindraf supporters in the Batu Cave Temple?


A simple question but the top cops presented their stories differently — in the same The Star newspaper over the last 48 hours?


The Star, November 26 Page 8:


Inspector General of Police Musa Hassan said demonstrators broke into the Batu Caves temple compound and destroyed temple property early Sunday morning.


Musa also said no tear gas or water cannons were used at the demonstrators during the incident.


Batu-Caves_20071126.gifThe Star, November 27 Page 6:

Batu Caves supervisor S. Ratnam said there was minor damage to the Batu Caves’ property, but the temples were not damaged by Hindraf demonstrators who had gathered there early on Sunday morning.


Internal Security and Public Order deputy director Senior Asst Comm (I) Jamaludin Khalid contracted his IGP boss admitted that water cannons and tear gas were used to disperse the crowd.


Caveat: “I must stress that police did not fire tear gas or use water canons inside the temple premises to disperse the more than 1,000 gathered there.”


Batu-Caves_20071127.gif

Why the inconsistency? Singapore Straits Times has a take.



Also read:
– Terence Fernandez:
Time to listen
– Syed Nadzri: All it needed was a small spark to cause problems
– Ambiga Sreenevasan: Press Statement: Hindraf Gathering


<!–

–>

November 26, 2007



Hindraf Rally… (Ethnic) Minority Report ( 3 )




According to Malaysiakini, quoting Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar, police fired tear gas at those sleeping in Batu Caves temple at 4am yesterday. Unconfirmed reports said about 700 people were arrested there, said the online news portal.


The collection of on-site pictures seem to support the story. The crowd were rounded up on all corners, herded into the Batu Caves Temple — house arrest style.


Then, teargas and water cannons were fired into the crowd locked in the temple compound.


A picture tells a thousand words. I will let the photos do the talking.


600xa037.jpg

600xa044.jpg


Read on for this 23-images series.


600xa022.jpg

600xa055.jpg


600xa059.jpg


600xa049.jpg


600xa070.jpg


600xa072.jpg


600xa074.jpg


600xa007.jpg


600xa027.jpg


600xa026.jpg


Then… teargas and water cannons were fired into the temple compound where Lord Muruga resides.


600xa076.jpg

600xa078.jpg


600xa080.jpg


600xa082.jpg


600xa084.jpg


600xa085.jpg


600xa088.jpg


The morning after…


600xa092.jpg

600xa095.jpg


600xa091.jpg


600xa096.jpg


One never knew if these crowd ever made it to the Hindraf Rally in KLCC. But Gandhi’s images of civil disobedience may have taken root in Malaysia.


They needn’t carry any partisan political banners.


<!–

–>


Hindraf Rally… (Ethnic) Minority Report ( 2 )




This photo series is to be read together with a blog entry by human rights lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, who does not quite concur with the way Hindraf leaders espouse their cause, but fully respects the personal dignity of Hindraf supporters — the common stand taken by this blogger.


600xa115.jpg

600xa132.jpg


Read on for this 13-images series.





600xa120.jpg


600xa137.jpg
The crowd that braved the chemical-laced water cannons


600xa139.jpg


600xa140.jpg


600xa161.jpg


600xa165.jpg


600xa166.jpg
Uniformed personnel and plain-clothes at work


600xa176.jpg


600xa178.jpg
This Indian lady struggled as hard as she could, resisting to be handcuffed by the Police


600xa245.jpg
A rally participant picking up a teargas canister to lop at the FRU who shot it at the crowd


600xa295.jpg
Police! You are under arrest!


<!–

–>

November 25, 2007



Hindraf Rally… (Ethnic) Minority Report




Despite massive Police clamp-down, over 10,000 people still turned up for the Hindraf Rally — amidst a head-count of over 30,000 reported by Malaysiakini.



SOURCE:
Al-Jazeera on YouTube


SOURCE:
Malaysiakini.tv on YouTube


However, the Police clamp-down, using roadblocks and firing teargas and chemical-laced water-cannons at the protesters, had prevented the organisers of the rally from delivering the memorandum to the British High Commission.


Hindraf-Rally_01.jpg

Hindraf-Rally_02.jpg
Pictures by Screenshots reader AidaMarie via Blackberry


Hindraf announced that it has indefinitely called off the handing over of its petition as it could not get to the British High Commission after gathering for about seven hours.


At 1pm, after negotiations with the police, Hindraf leader P Uttayakumar emerged to give a short speech and urged the crowd to disperse peacefully. The crowd responded and began walking back down towards Jalan Sultan Ismail, away from the High Commission.


Stunned by heavy-handed police action


According to media reports, the police fired a volley of tear gas at Jalan Ampang as early as 7.40am today to disperse a large crowd who had gathered there. The area has been declared a curfew zone by the police, who have issued an ‘arrest on sight’ order.


Chemical-laced water was also used to disperse crowds in three areas in Kuala Lumpur, namely Batu Caves, Jalan Ampang and the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC).


There were allegations of unprovoked violence against the civilians who participated in the rally. Screenshoits is helping to compile the pictorial evidence, some termed as bloody, for a review by a select group of people.

mkinitv_client(“HindrafRally_25Nov.wmv”);

SOURCE: Malaysiakini.tv

Meanwhile, a source from the Bar Council Monitoring Team updated Screenshots that, at the time I blogged this, 69 people were arrested and detained at IPK Kuala Lumpur, about 300 were detained at Pulapol at Jalan Semarak.


Lawyers were dispatched to both the detention camps but access were denied.


Human rights lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar — who does not concur fully with the way Hindraf espouses its cause, has had two urgent blog updates — here and here. He talks about the personal dignity of Hindraf supporters


Meanwhile, another human rights lawyer Haris Ibrahim, a proponent of Bangsa Malaysia, articulated why he could not and would not walk with the Hindraf Rally.


Hindraf_Bar-Council.jpg
Haris Ibrahim, Edmund Bon and members of Bar Council Monitoring Team

Nevertheless, Haris volunteered his energy to participate in the 10-member Bar Council Monitoring Team led by Edmund Bon to get a first-hand account of police handling of the crowd. He told the AFP that he was stunned by the heavy-handed police action against the protesters.


Scapegoating ethnic groups


If BERSIH Rally is labelled as a Malay-PAS Rally, while Hindraf Rally is labelled as an Indian (Ethnic Minority) Rally, what then is in store for the Chinese and Kadazandusun, soon?


Scapegoating ethnic groups is not a constructive approach to achieving change in Malaysia, so said Anwar Ibrahim.


MORE!


<!–

–>

November 24, 2007



A Rudd defeat for John Howard




Australians write a new page in Australian history. The centre-left Opposition has taken over the government in Australia.


There has been a 4.5% national swing against John Howard’s coalition — coming from New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.


Australia_20071124.jpg
SOURCE: The Australian
Nov 25, 2007

Australia_20071124_Age.jpg
SOURCE: The Age Nov 24, 2007


After 11-and-a-half-years in office, Howard lost the government, the premiership, and probably his own Bennelong parliamentary constituency which he has won in 13 straight elections since 1974.


Should Howard lose, his slayer would be former journalist Maxine McKew.


Watch the video of Howard’s speech conceding a defeat.


When the Parliament convenes to elect the new prime minister, it will be Opposition leader, former diplomat Kevin Rudd, of the Labour party (ALP).


Already, Rudd promised changes in environmental, education and workplace policies as Australia’s new prime minister. Watch the AP video on CNN. Quote:

“I will be a prime minister for all Australians,” he told the cheering crowd. “Let us be the generation that seizes the opportunity of today to invest in the Australia of tomorrow. That’s the mission statement we have as the next government of this country.”


He added, “I want to do it with all of us working together.”



Australia may also get its first female deputy Prime Minister in Julia Gillard, 46.


Read how Labour Party crawls back to power after 11 long years in the doldrum.


Too much arrogance, a little too much self-satisfaction


In an early analysis, The Age suggests that when an increasing number of voters looked at John Howard and his senior colleagues during their fourth term, they saw too much arrogance and a little too much self-satisfaction.


Significantly, many of Howard’s ministers have lost their seats.


Australia_20071124_AFR.jpg
SOURCE; Australian Financial Review, Nov 24-25

Food for thought for Malaysia. It’s more than Dubya losing his sheriff.


<!–

–>


Hindraf: A new generation of oppressed and suppressed Indians?




MIC information chief M Saravanan slammed the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) for allegedly being “the stooges of DAP and to a certain extent, PKR.


However, veteran journalist K. Baradan observes that Hindraf rises due to the failure of MIC, resulting in the emergence of “a new generation of oppressed and suppressed Indians, in whose view all current Indian leadership is discredited”. They now rise to demand their rights. Quote:

Hindraf, not a political party and not even a full fledged organisation, and without proper finance, has managed to capture the hearts and minds of the marginalised among the Indian community and is trying to fill the leadership vacuum.


The only arsenal on their side seems to be a willingness to risk all to organise and fight.



And MIC can’t tolerate that. It wants its monopoly over the future of Indian-Malaysians to continue to be placed in its hands.


RM14 trillion class action suit against UK


In a nutshell, Hindraf aims to fire the imagination of the Indian-Malaysians to take stock of their fate in the nation. It has filed a claim against United Kingdom to seek RM14 trillion damage for bringing indentured labourers to this country and exploiting them for the last 150 years.


Hindraf promises that every Indian in Malaysia will get RM1million if it won in the class action suit.


Read on for Baradan’s article in Malaysiakini to get the larger picture.


Hindraf – a new force is born Baradan Kuppusamy Nov 23, 07 2:56pm

Sunday’s saffron rally by ethnic Tamils, mostly Hindus, could be a watershed event in the short 150-year history of Indians in Malaysia.


For the first time, religion, that is Hinduism, is the rallying cry, not ethnicity or class.


For the first time too, the organisers, the aptly named Hindu Rights Action Force or Hindraf, are challenging the Ketuanan Melayu (Malay hegemony) of Umno and condemning the unbridled anger shown towards Hindus and their cherished temples by local authorities, which they see as extensions of Umno.


The authorities are showing the big stick to cow Hindraf and Hindus from massing outside the British High Commission ostensibly to urge Queen Elizabeth II to intervene to end discrimination against Indians.


Ironically they want her help to win a case filed against her own government seeking trillions of pounds, more then the combined value of listed stocks in the London Stock Exchange!


But the real intention seems to be to embarrass the Malaysian government into ending its discriminations against Indians and to treat them fairly and humanely and share with them some of the resources which Indians have also laboured to achieve.


Losing their fear


I interviewed P Uthayakumar, the main force behind Hindraf, yesterday for nearly three hours and he listed a litany of woes the community faces – poverty, lack of scholarships, losing jobs to foreigners, discrimination and destruction of temples, just to name a few.


“Being poor and powerless and at the bottom of society we are the natural victims of Ketuanan Melayu,” he said. “We have had enough of it.”


Uthayakumar, for whom moderation seems anathema, is bristling with anger and is prepared to face any eventuality after Sunday.


(Uthayakumar was arrested under the Sedition Act this morning)


“I am myself surprised by the huge groundswell among poor Indians to fight for their rights. A few months ago hardly a dozen will stand by us but now thousands turning up for our rallies,” he said.


“They are losing their fear,” he said. “It is their weakness that everybody has exploited. Now they are breaking their shackles.”


My own observation in recent months confirms the trend among poor, discriminated Indians to speak out, to show their anger in a spontaneous manner.


Where did this anger originate from? It could have been sparked by the ill mannered way the body of Everest climber M Moorthy, a hero the marginalised Indians claimed as their own, was snatched from his wife and buried as a Muslim in December 2005.


For many Indians that incident symbolised Ketuanan Melayu at its worst.


“It was a defining moment for us,” said Uthayakumar. “Everybody failed his wife – the politicians, the courts, and the constitution.”


Hindraf itself was born after that episode and since then has successfully tapped into real and long-standing economic grievances that are now welling up wearing the saffron attire of Hinduism.


Lack of credible leadership


Hindraf is also taking advantage of a massive vacuum of credible leadership among Indians by making outrageous claims, by confronting Umno and the local authorities, and by not fearing, even inviting arrest.


By this manner it is gradually winning over the marginalised, powerless among the community.


The powerless in society naturally and emotionally gravitate towards any power that seeks to champion their cause and Hindraf is doing just that.


That is why thousands of people attended their rallies across the country in September and October demanding an end to discrimination and a fair share of the national wealth.


The heavy police presence at the rallies only deepened the sense of anguish and heightened the urgency to make sacrifices.


Poor individuals emptied their purse at these rallies where in one place RM18,000 was collected from the audience.

MIC’s failure


The failure of the “moderate, pro-Umno” leadership of S Samy Vellu and the MIC to address many of the grievances of the Indian working class has also turned them away from moderation.


In Parliament this week, Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang described MIC as “slaves of Umno” a description that is not far off the mark for the Indian poor.


The mere mention of MIC president S Samy Vellu at Hindraf rallies invited boos and jeers from the audience. It is that bad. Besides, Samy Vellu has been around since 1979…that’s simply too long for any community to put up with.


For some years MG Pandithan gave hope to the underclass. Using the Indian Progressive Front, he rallied the poor, and gave hope. Thousands rallied to his cause and voted against the Barisan Nasional in 1990 badly shaking some top Umno leaders who won by narrow majorities.


But eventually he let them down by embracing Samy Vellu again.


The Indian poor see him now as having “betrayed” their cause and his departure has added to the leadership vacuum.


The failure of the long-time MIC number two S Subramaniam, to fill the vacuum added to the leadership morose.


For many years, Subramaniam laid low adhering to a strict ‘I hear nothing, see nothing, speak nothing’ philosophy that has isolated him from the Indian poor, which had long and in vain looked for a rebellious streak in him and found none.


Nothing much can be said about the Indian leadership in the DAP or the PKR. They have not displayed the political acumen, the stature or the willingness to battle and suffer to win the hearts of the Tamil masses. Very few can even read or write Tamil.


They can’t fill the leadership vacuum and walk a thin line sandwiched between condemning the MIC but not joining up with Hindraf, which they see as a potential threat to their careers.


Smart, sneaky strategies


Hindraf, not a political party and not even a full fledged organisation, and without proper finance, has managed to capture the hearts and minds of the marginalised among the Indian community and is trying to fill the leadership vacuum.


The only arsenal on their side seems to be a willingness to risk all to organise and fight. It is also aided by smart, even sneaky, strategies like suing Her Majesty for trillions and on Sunday rallying to ask her to appoint a Queen’s Counsel to defeat herself in her own law courts!


But then such intricacies don’t matter anymore nor can many minds grasp them.


What matters is that a new generation of oppressed and suppressed Indians, in whose view all current Indian leadership is discredited, is rising to demand its rights.


That’s why Sunday could potentially be a watershed event for Indians because thousands of aggrieved people want to turn up and show their anger.


That can only mean a new force is born. Only time can tell how it will fare.


<!–

–>


Kee to Playing the Fool… again




Kee Thuan Chye, who created a record in the 36-year-old The Star by running the shortest-lived column in the newspaper he serves — just two articles before it got killed — gave a two-part interview to his former colleague who now freelances for Malaysiakini.


In Part 1, he talked about Kerishamuddin and the ‘de-sensitising’ of non-Malays by raising the Malay keris; the fallacy of Abdullah Badawi being the ‘Prime Minister for all Malaysians’; the astronaut aka space traveller; the ‘paean to Bumiputeraism called Putrajaya’, among other things.


In Part 2, Kee played fool on the culture of fearing the truth: BERSIH Rally; non-Malay support for the incumbency and gerrymeandering; the Chinese who fear PAS and continue supporting the BN; the Son-in-Law’s posturing on his Father-in-Law’s so-called contribution in implementing electoral reforms post-Mahathir; about the de facto law minister who is “less brainy” and often proved to be deficient at debating, and when running out of argument, who resorted to arrogance; AND free media and Mr Maidin, which can ‘only be expressed in unladylike language’.


It’s a gem… only that there is a caveat: (The views expressed here are strictly the interviewee’s own and do not reflect the stand of any organisation that he is with)


Part 1:

Kee to deciphering Umno semiotics
Helen Ang
Nov 15, 07 12:51pm


Helen: You’re someone who works intimately with language and having broad experience of the mass media – which in Malaysia is the channel for communicating the dominant narrative. As such, I’d like to get your reading on the ideas behind some of the things said and done at the recently concluded Umno general assembly.

Let’s start with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi saying: “The act of unsheathing and kissing a keris is part of our cultural heritage but its meaning has been twisted to spread fear among non-Malays, and the image of Umno and Malaysia has been smeared overseas.”


The PM was referring to Youth chief Hishamuddin Hussein who at the wing’s assembly in 2005 started his so-called ‘tradition’ of brandishing the keris. He has since said he expects non-Malays to eventually become “de-sensitised” to his waving this ‘symbol’, and in fact pronounced that naysayers should get used to it.


Deputy PM Najib Abdul Razak believes the act should be celebrated by all races. What do you make of the semiotics of the Umno keris? Is it a “symbol of protection for everyone” as Hisham and the local media would have us think?


Kee: I certainly don’t think it is a symbol of protection for everyone. This kind of talk is typical of Umno politicians who often twist semantics for the purpose of fooling the people. Well, it can fool those who are easily swayed by superficialities but not the intelligent public. Many Umno politicians appear to be pretty superficial themselves and therefore tend to misperceive that the thinking of the rakyat is mainly of the lowest common denominator.


The keris is a striking visual image. When it was first brandished in 2005, it naturally sent fear waves among the non-Malays. The body language of the person wielding it and the words uttered in accompaniment and, more significantly, the tone in which they were uttered combined to even more dramatic effect.


In 2006, the second time it made its appearance, the event looked choreographed – with Hishammuddin raising the unsheathed keris heavenwards and his Umno Youth brethren raising their fists in unison alongside him, in rows of solidarity. It was fearsome, like a military phalanx. All the signs pointed to aggression.


Hishammuddin was theatricalising a moment, and it was theatre with a powerful message – all the more effectively communicated because it was televised ‘live’ and it went out to millions of viewers.


And when you unsheathe a keris and hold it in that way, you’re bound to incite certain sentiments among your followers and to provoke them to ask when you are going to use it, as Hashim Suboh did. This inevitably recalls the moment of a day 20 years ago when Najib reportedly wielded a keris and vowed that there would be Chinese blood on its blade by the end of that day.


In Hishammuddin’s theatrics, the context was clear. It was an Umno Youth assembly, which is a strictly Malay gathering. The aggressive stance, the iconic Malay keris and the invocation to uphold the Malay struggle – all these pointed to an ethnocentric concern.


Other races were certainly not being defended; on the contrary, they were implied to be the enemy.


With weapon in hand, Hishammuddin was unequivocal in his assertion that Umno Youth wanted the return of policies favouring the Malays and would take action against those who opposed the movement’s proposal to revive the NEP. He later said that the keris represented Umno Youth’s “renewed spirit in empowering the Malays”.


So now for Hishammuddin to say that he would use the keris again in 2007 as a protector of all Malaysians – not just Malays – is disingenuous. Any intelligent Malaysian can see through the doublespeak.


What is even worse – and insulting – is what he said about “desensitizing” non-Malays to the issue of the keris. Only a person with a supercilious attitude would behave that way. What he implies by that statement is that non-Malays must accept what he does, no matter how revulsed they are by it. It’s like slapping someone in the face and then slapping him again and again, and telling him that he has to tolerate it each time until he gets used to it. What arrogance!


The arrogance surely stems from the idea of ketuanan Melayu that has been the focus of Umno’s propagation the last few decades. One could read into that “protection” doublespeak an implicit statement of Malay supremacy lording over the other races. This is the same kind of arrogance exhibited by Puteri Umno in its recent criticism of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP). A mere wing of Umno had the gumption to tell a partner of the Barisan Nasional to “stop making noise”.


This is the same kind of arrogance exhibited by Hishammuddin when he issued a warning to the MCA leadership last July to stop saying that Malaysia is a secular state. The leader of a Youth wing had the gumption to tell a senior partner of Umno’s in the BN to shut up. On an issue of national significance, to boot.


In supporting Hishammuddin’s keris antics, Abdullah reveals himself to be contrary to what the mainstream media have hailed him as – “a Prime Minister of all Malaysians”.


It undoes what he had been trying to do throughout this year’s Umno general assembly, which was to be conciliatory towards the other races by not bringing up issues that would be sensitive and threatening to them, particularly religion. No doubt Abdullah knows he cannot afford to alienate the non-Malay voters in light of the upcoming general election. He could have reminded the Umno delegates about this on the eve of the assembly when he briefed them on what issues to avoid. He could also have advised Hishammuddin to take that soft approach with the keris this time.


It was all rather predictable. Umno is inadvertently transparent that way!


In any case, how could Abdullah be considered a PM of all Malaysians when he was the one who stopped any further discussion of Article 11 of the Constitution; did little to clear the air about whether Malaysia is not a secular state; did nothing to quash a proposal by none other than the Chief Justice (then) to replace common law with Syariah law; rejected a proposal to set up an inter-faith council; told ministers within his own Cabinet to withdraw their memo to him calling for a review of laws that affect the rights of non-Muslims? One could go on.


Well, to go on to next in the hierarchy, Najib’s address this year was themed ‘Reaching for the Stars – Elevating a National Civilisation’, doubtless to ride on the “Malaysians walking a few inches taller” hype generated by the first Malay to go into space. I note a resolute semantics when one man’s ‘space tourist’ is another man’s ‘angkasawan’, while a cynic’s ‘joyride’ is the administration’s ambitious ‘space programme’.


The use of ‘angkasawan’ is blatantly deliberate; I find the English papers parroting this Malay word too. I’d read earlier that Nasa does not see Dr Sheikh Mustaphar Sheikh Abdul Shukor as an “astronaut” but rather a “space participant”. Is the ‘angksawan’ another case of Boleh creative accounting (adding and subtracting)?


Given the political reality we are in, a reality that has evolved under a campaign of institutionalised racial discrimination over the last 30-plus years, very few Malaysians would have expected the candidate for space to be other than a Malay. The non-Malay contenders were, to put it brutally, merely tokens. The final selection came as no surprise then.


The more cynical among us would also have deduced that it was all part of the Malay agenda of creating “towering Malays”. And there was not only one candidate, there were two. The second is now a spaceman-in-waiting, and to all intents and purposes, he will get his day in the stratosphere, because he will add to the list of “towering Malays”.


(I like the use of the term “spaceman” to describe each of our two aspiring angkasawan; as my dear friend Azmi Sharom pointed out astutely in his column for The Star recently, Sheikh Muszaphar is a man and he was in space.) More important, however, are the questions on a lot of people’s minds: What did our spaceman really achieve? And what has our nation achieved? Did we build our own rocket? Did we find a new way of going to space?


I would say we found a new ‘leng chai’ poster boy to set women’s heart aflutter … but in any case, to look back, there was the less than enthusiastic reception of the Everest conquerors that were Indian. Whereas a Malay man swimming the English Channel was rewarded with a Datukship – a feat that even a 12-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy (Thomas Gregory / 11 hr 54 min in 1988) accomplished minus the sort of state support and sponsorship given our Malaysian ‘hero’ Abdul Malek Mydin (17 hr 40+ min).


Non-Malays who have accomplished greater feats tend not to be lionised as much. As you rightly pointed out, the Indians who scaled Mount Everest got short shrift. This also happens in the field of sports.


The Sidek brothers were elevated to legendary status for their success in badminton, totally overshadowing the non-Malay greats who had led the way long before them (Wong Peng Soon, Ong Poh Lim, Ooi Teik Hock, Eddy Choong, Tan Aik Huang, Tan Yee Khan, Ng Boon Bee, etc).


When Mohd Hafiz Hashim won the All-England singles title in 2003, he was rewarded with a car, land, money and a hero’s welcome home. When Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong won the All-England doubles title last March, they were rewarded with only a fraction of what Hafiz got. Not that such rewards are necessarily good. Sadly, Hafiz hasn’t outdone himself since 2003.


Lack of a maintenance culture.


I have a theory that our performance in sports started to decline with the inception of the NEP. Before that, we had great athletes like Jegathesan, Rajamani, Ishtiaq Mobarak and Nashatar Singh, and our football team was as good as South Korea’s. But from the ’70s onwards, things took a turn for the worse. I put it down to the decline in national morale. And of course also to the team selection criteria.


Where does it all lead?


It all leads to further superficiality. That’s what our leaders are good at – creating the myth of Bolehness by resorting to the accomplishment of superficial ‘feats’. These would include having the tallest flagpole in the world, at one time the tallest building in the world, the paean to Bumiputeraism called Putrajaya (which now appears to be a white elephant), etc, etc. Is there a biggest ketupat in the world too?


Most certainly, but could have been eaten by now.


But what it amounts to realistically is spending millions and billions of ringgit, which you and I contribute to whether we like it or not. To the movers of the cause, it doesn’t matter what the cost is as long as it serves the Bumiputera-building exercise. I think that’s unfair. Non-Bumis also deserve an even chance. We contribute too. I was disgusted when I visited Putrajaya at night a few weeks ago – all that money spent on maintaining it, all that energy to light up the streets and the buildings, and all for what?


To blink at spacemen in Russian stations? But do go on …


I’ll tell you what disgusted me even more recently. When I visited the Independence Memorial in Malacca last May and looked at the exhibits (pictures, write-ups, etc), I found almost everything centred on the efforts of the Malays. The contributions of non-Malay nationalists were blatantly neglected or marginalised. A handful of Chinese and Indian leaders got mentioned in passing, but that was about all.


Unless I missed it, I didn’t even see a single portrait of Tun Tan Cheng Lock in there. And he was the leader of the MCA at the time. Not only that – his record shows that he was a true nationalist who was president of the All Malaya Joint Council for Action (AMCJA) which, together with Pusat Tenaga Rakyat (Putera), rallied for Merdeka long before Umno got wise to the idea.


I don’t buy that ‘National Civilisation’ hogwash. “National” is just another abused word for “Bumiputera”. But many non-Malays have been conditioned into believing the Umno propaganda, first from having their mindset programmed in school, then from being exposed to the spin-doctoring of the mass media daily and the grand-scale theatrical extravaganzas staged by the BN government occasionally.


When the general election comes around, they will probably vote like they have been doing over the decades.




Part 2:


A culture of fearing the truth
Helen Ang
Nov 22, 07 12:45pm


Helen: Let’s examine the nuances of non-Malay support for the incumbency. Pundits are predicting that disgruntled Chinese will swing to the opposition this time around. So it may actually turn out that a large percentage of the community will indeed buck the status quo.

What I think is that while Chinese are prepared to secretly (they will refuse to tell anyone who they voted for) cast their once-every-five-years ballot in favour of the opposition, their mindset in the remaining four years and 364 days will remain as you say, conditioned: fearful, refusing to engage and self-centred.


But given the uneven electoral playing field and lack of proportional representation, popular disenchantment may nonetheless not translate into a diminished BN influence. Sadly true?


Kee: The gerrymandering that has been done has really made it harder for the Chinese to swing votes in many constituencies. I was in Balakong a couple of weeks ago and the residents there told me that their constituency used to be opposition-controlled, but lately with the redemarcation exercise, the BN has been winning.


There used to be about 70 per cent Chinese in the constituency but that has been diluted to about 50 per cent. The other 20 per cent has been moved to another constituency. They don’t foresee the opposition winning it back this coming election unless a huge majority of the remaining 50 per cent vote for them. Many Chinese, however, tend to vote BN.


Surely they can see that BN is a gross disservice to their community? Who are those still so blinkered?


Those in business, those who fear PAS, those who think BN will provide the peace and order to allow them to pursue their livelihood, those who don’t want to rock the boat, those with vested interests and enjoy the patronage of the ruling establishment – these are the Chinese who will stand by it.


The BN needn’t worry about not winning. It would be a great shock if they lost. But I think BN’s greatest fear – more so Umno’s, really – is not getting a two-thirds majority in Parliament. Without that, they can’t have things their way. The Ketuanan Melayu agenda might not be so easily promoted. They will also find it difficult to settle for anything less when they’ve had it so good since elections were introduced in this country. A loss of the two-thirds could spark the beginning of a decline, which in the long term could result in Umno going through what the Indian National Congress or the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan have gone through.


I agree about the two-thirds majority being a matter of standing and ‘face’ for Umno. But what helps BN keep face is the thick layers of make-up that the mainstream media are prepared to paint on the coalition. The Bersih rally is the most recent example of the MSM’s cosmetic enhancement to conceal the heavy-handed and unwarranted approach by the authorities.


We can note that one of the reforms called for by Bersih is that opposing views have free and fair access to the mass media. Isn’t an impartial media the essence of a democracy?


Yes, that’s the essence of a democracy. This should have been one of the cornerstones of the ‘101 East’ forum on Al-Jazeera TV last week featuring lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, the Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz and Umno Youth deputy leader Khairy Jamaluddin. The forum discussed Bersih’s Nov 10 march ending in the handing over of their memorandum to the King calling for fair and free elections.


Yet for all that Khairy said on the show about the reforms that have been made by the Elections Commission such as the use of indelible ink, transparent ballot boxes, etc, he still ignored the main plot – how can elections be fair if the opposition is virtually blacked out in the media and the usual airing they get is when something negative is reported about them?


I’m sure he’s smart enough to know that free media access to all parties is the key issue, but he also appeared smart enough to deflect it by bringing up the cosmetic improvements.


Nazri, on the other hand, was far less brainy. In fact, he proved to be deficient at debating. And when he ran out of argument, he resorted to arrogance.


He said, ostensibly without thinking, that there was no need to reform the political system, that the views of civil society didn’t carry any weight. He implied that the government was always right because “we are the representatives of the people”. If the people have grouses, use the ballot box. Which he kindly pointed out comes about once every five years. That’s a pretty long time to wait to air your grouses. Why not air them at any time? Isn’t that standard practice in a true democracy? He said what the public demands is not necessarily right. At the end of the day, he asserted, “we will decide”.


So clearly, as you’re saying, we’re not a true democracy, we’re a flawed one premised on an even more flawed electoral system. And, yes, the BN, for which one can read Umno, decides on everything. But this is not something you’d grasp reading our local media. Is this ‘oversight’ due to over-regulating?


Khairy said the PM had announced that in the near future, the media would be allowed to regulate itself. “In the near future” sounds vague. But more importantly, what would be the real point of self-regulating if the media continues to have the Printing Presses and Publications Act around its neck? As we know, that Act requires all print media in this country to obtain a licence that has to be renewed annually – at the discretion of the Home Ministry. What an effective mechanism to encourage self-censorship, don’t you think?


Well, what I think about the newspapers’ self-censorship can only be expressed in unladylike language, I’m afraid.


Can one blame newspapers, which survive or close down at the pleasure of the Home Ministry, for being cautious about what they publish? Obviously, no. But being cautious and being subservient are two different things. Hiding the truth, choosing not to report significant news because it may be damaging to the government, putting a spin to certain events in the reporting of them to protect the government – these are the practices of the subservient. But is there always a choice between being one or the other? There is, if newspapers don’t get instructions from political leaders or their lackeys on what not to publish.


I’ve written this time and again. Newspapers toe the line set by their owners, who are the political masters of this country or their cronies. Correct?


Yes, many newspapers are owned by political parties, usually through a third party. And this does affect newspaper policies. Even so, the control was not as tight until Dr Mahathir Mohamad came along. Curbing the press and causing it to cower started with him. His suspension of several newspapers in 1987 was a watershed. Since then, no newspaper – indeed, no radio or TV station either – has dared to criticise the PM. It has become a tradition!


But, surely, the PM can’t always be above censure. He’s here to serve the people. So are his ministers. They can’t speak down from their high horse and declaim, “We will decide.”


Nazri is not the only minister who exhibits arrogance. Some of his colleagues share the same trait. It shows in their intolerance of criticism. Which usually results in their inability to handle flak. Then, they get defensive and start saying the most inane things.


One good example is Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin. From the things he’s been saying in the past months, you can’t imagine he was once a journalist. And a former chief editor, would you believe?


Easily! (laughs out loud). It – the inanity – comes with a Datukship.


Zainuddin’s bungling response to the Bersih march is now famous – or is it notorious? But let me first address what he said more than two weeks ago, just before the Umno general assembly, about young Malay writers being used by the English press to attack the Malays. He even named names – Azmi Sharom and Amir Muhammad. I know both of them well; they’re not the sort who would allow themselves to be used by anyone. They wouldn’t write what they didn’t believe. Zainuddin’s remark amounted to nothing less than an insult. He should apologise to Azmi and Amir.


As for his rebuke against Al Jazeera for its coverage of the Bersih demonstration, he will go down in history as saying that there is no point in holding protests because we have elections in Malaysia. How that logically connects, only ‘he’ knows. In any case, there was a protest in Kuala Lumpur when Condoleeza Rice was in town and another last month against the actions of the Myanmar junta. Khairy himself was involved in both. In fact, he took centre stage. And both were presumably issued permits. So, what gives?


What’s not given! Bersih’s permit application was rejected as was Hindraf’s for this Sunday to hand over their petition (to Queen Elizabeth) at the British High Commission.


In any case, Bersih was not disputing that there are no elections, it only wanted a free and fair one. And even with elections, it doesn’t mean that such protests are unnecessary. If the people feel unhappy about the way things are run in the country, they should have the recourse to make it known. One such recourse is holding a demonstration.


I’m not drawing parallels between Malaysia and the Philippines, but if there had been no People’s Revolution, no masses of people taking to the streets to express their disgust for a corrupt regime, Ferdinand Marcos would have continued to stay in power and possibly milked the country dryer.


BN’s chokehold on ‘the system’ from winning every election has made it impervious to recognising the people’s rights, one of which is the freedom of assembly and, as you say, utilising this freedom to protest.


The other day, I was watching Fahmi Reza’s film Sepuluh Tahun Sebelum Merdeka, which documents big demonstrations, big rallies in our own Malaya of 1947. These were allowed then – 60 years ago, when we weren’t even independent. Now we are an independent country and certain demonstrations are not allowed – especially those that don’t belong to the right camp. It’s ironic. What’s the meaning of Merdeka then?


Actually, I think the Bersih demonstration only made the government look bad after the fact because of the unseemly handling of the situation – after the water cannon used on the marchers, after Zainuddin’s boo-boo, after Nazri and Khairy’s confirmation of the government’s double standards, after the news spinning in the media for days afterwards.


If it had been given a permit in the first place and the media had given it neutral coverage, it wouldn’t have attracted such unwarranted attention. An event that big could not have gone unnoticed. The sensible thing would have to been to let it be recorded objectively. Malaysians would have read it and probably said, “Hmmm … okay, it happened” and gone on with their daily lives. Surely, it wasn’t going to revolutionise their lives or change their mindset radically.


When something is a normal part of existence, we don’t respond to it with extra excitement, we just take it as it comes. That is something that the government should surely realise. For instance, if you ban a book because you don’t want it widely distributed, the banning could actually make it even more popular. People become curious. And so, people became curious about Bersih.


Unfortunately, people’s curiosity will not be assuaged by the mainstream media we now have. Aside from getting a true picture of events like Bersih’s Nov 10, why else do we need a free media in Malaysia?


A free media will open the way for us to speak freely to one another as citizens of the nation, regardless of race. Then, we can have dialogue about ethnic issues with our Malay, Chinese and Indian compatriots and express our concerns candidly. As it is now right now, if you’re Chinese, don’t you often feel you can’t discuss, say, the NEP with your Malay friends – and vice versa? No matter how close that friend is, there will be a barrier.


After all, these are – as we are always reminded by our leaders and the media – “sensitive” issues. As long as we think that, we will be wary of not offending each other, an act that could lead to a loss of friendship. I have a Malay friend I consider to be my brother, but I would never engage him in face-to-face discussion of race issues or tell him how disenfranchised I often feel.


However, if there were a free media and any issue could be discussed openly, we would have a different world. I wouldn’t have that same hang-up. It would be the norm to speak freely. I could have a dialogue with my Malay friends, colleagues, acquaintances. Or even just complain about inequalities. We could agree with each other or we could agree to disagree. They would know where I’m coming from, and I would know where they’re coming from. We wouldn’t be holding a knife or a keris behind our backs. It would be actually much healthier. Better than bottling up frustrations and resentments, as is the case now.


When we can speak freely and frankly, only then can there be a real and deep connection among the people of different races. Despite all the government’s propaganda, the so-called racial unity and harmony that we have now is merely superficial. Polarisation is still the order of the day. Central issues are unresolved. All it takes is for things like the economy to take a turn for the worse and the unresolved tensions will flare up and threaten peace and stability.


There is really no need to fear a free media. We are 50 years old as a nation. If our leaders are mature and responsible, they will advise their respective tribes to be rational and take part in fruitful discourse rather than resort to violence. Besides, we have the law.


One excellent test case was the discussion of Article 11 of our Constitution, organised by the Article 11 Coalition and Aliran. That should have been a forum for rational exchange of ideas. Instead, we gave in to the violence-mongers. The authorities didn’t put them in their place and warn them against taking the law into their own hands. Instead, the authorities pampered them, let them have their way, let them get away with their threats.


I feel very strongly about this, so I’m going to have my say here too. The Chinese are too fearful and apathetic, too short-sighted and self-serving! That’s why they will not stand up for Article 11 and Lina Joy, but compliantly bend to the expediency that she’s a Malay-Muslim “problem”. She’s not! She’s a Malaysian issue, and affects every single of us.


You are right, but there are those who will tell you that if we discuss such issues openly, the consequences may be disastrous. I think they are exploiting this to keep us in line, keep us fearful and therefore thankful for their protection. If we go by the rule of law and our police act according to the law, those who threaten violence can be contained. Unless, of course, they are organised by powerful parties.


To come back to your question: why, indeed, do we need a free media? At the very least to expose corruption, malpractices and inexplicable practices. For instance, a free media would surely conduct a thorough investigation into the case of the Perak state building in Belum that collapsed. To get at the ‘real’ truth. And that’s just for starters. The media should indeed give us a regular dose of investigative journalism, but it would be pointless instituting that when there will always be some party blocking you from telling the truth.


We have heard it said many times before that ours is a culture of fear. Truly, it’s also fast becoming a culture of fearing the truth.



Kee Thuan Chye is an author, actor-director and dramatist. He has written four major political plays: ‘1984 Here and Now’, ‘The Big Purge’ [read at the Soho Theatre in London, 2005], ‘We Could ****You Mr Birch’ and ‘The Swordfish, Then the Concubine’ [adjudged one of the top 5 entries to the International Playwriting Festival 2006 organised by the Warehouse Theatre in the UK].


He’s also a journalist of 30 years’ standing, beginning his career at The National Echo in 1977.


<!–

–>


‘One last question. What does it mean to be Malaysian?’




CNN interviewed Malaysiakini editor Steven Gan on the news portal’s 8th Anniversary.

CNN: One last question. What does it mean to be Malaysian?


GAN: I don’t think you can get just one answer. In Malaysia the issues of race and religion are so overwhelming that if you ask a Malay Muslim you’ll get one answer. If you ask a non-Muslim person such as Chinese, you’ll get a different answer.


I’d like to see the issues of race and religion not be the dominant criteria when it comes to how we live as Malaysians. I hope that I will see that day.


I want Malaysiakini to play a role in bringing Malaysians together and to talk and keep talking. I think problems will start if they aren’t talking. What is important for Malaysiakini is to get them to keep talking to each other, which is something you don’t see in the mainstream media.


I’d love to see the day when Malaysia would not think about race and religion whatsoever. It would be like elsewhere, where religion and race just happen to be in the background. It won’t be a major criteria when it comes to applying for licenses, applying for scholarships, whatever.


But it’s still a long way to go.



Reporters with Borders. CNN also asked about what is taboo to report on in Malaysia. Steven said:

In Malaysia, religion, race … those are the two main issues that we would be more careful with. It doesn’t mean that we won’t do them. In fact, we have a pretty vibrant debate in our discussion forum. I feel like we do need to talk about those issues.


Malaysia is a very complex society. It is multiracial, multilingual, multi-religious … multi-everything! The problems are so complex that I don’t think we should allow the government alone to solve them. It is up to all Malaysians to come together, to come up with a solution.


And to do that, they will need to keep talking to each other. We (Malaysiakini) are providing that forum.



I reckon this general election Malaysiakini has a significant role to play vis-a-vis the politically-controlled mainstream media. That is more interesting to see how truth us being peeled like layers of onion. You will have tears in your eyes if you peel too long.


<!–

–>


Pakistan and Myanmar




Pakistan has been suspended from the Commonwealth for being “incompatible with the basic principles of democracy and the spirit of the Harare Commonwealth principles”.


On the other hand, ASEAN charter rules on integrating the region and promoting democracy shall benefit all — including for troublesome member Myanmar — Indonesia’s President said.


<!–

–>

November 23, 2007



Ringtone of the month




00:39 minute in MP3 (622k). Download here.


Stripped version (200k) available here.


<!–

–>

November 22, 2007



Photo-Bloggers welcomed to LG Viewty launch




Bloggers, especially those who use picture power in their blogs, are cordially invited to the media launch of LG Viewty, a full touchscreen 5-megapixel 3.5G cameraphone.

DATE: Friday Nov 23, 2007
TIME: 3.00pm
PLACE: Mayang Sari Ballroom, JW Marriot, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
ATTIRE: Smart casual



For preview, read this blog and LensaMalaysia.


For test-shots, please visit TV Smith’s Photo Blog — here and here and http://viewty.lensamalaysia.com.


For further information, please contact Tunku Putri or Lyn Chew at 03-79543569.


<!–

–>


Jon Eddy… Time for Domestic Inquiry to probe your staff




Unknowingly, the November 20 Forum jointly held by MCMC and MMCP (Nalaysia Multimedia Content Providers Association) has effectively dealt Maxis COO Jon Eddy Abdullah (picture below) a lethal blow.


Jon-Eddyx300v.jpgHe has a big task ahead of him:


It was implied at the Forum that his senior staff had made several indefensible decisions concerning technical auditing of the outsource Maxis Preventive Gateway (MPG), and data integrity of the SMS content providers. He now has to kick arses to protect his company… and himself.


Secondly, the MCMC-MMCP Forum also exposed four critical issues that beleaguered the SMS content industry, and key players themselves are complaining:


1 ) Macro Kiosk, a repeat offender of industry Guidelines, has been despised by its peers and the authority that regulates the industry;


2 ) The MPG is effectively operated by Macro Kiosk, a repeat offender by MCMC’s published records;


3 ) The MPG is not functioning the way it was intended;


4 ) By taking no effective action, MCMC and Halim Shafie are condoning all the evils that contaminated the entire industry, where unassuming mobile users were fleeced and scammed.


You have to read the Nov 19 blog entry in Screenshots — and the whole series of exposé on SMS Scams — to understand the background to the issues at hand.


1 ) Nov 20: The Amarjit Singh Magic Show


amarjit.jpgIn true blood bureaucrat’s demeanour, Amarjit Singh a/l Kartha Singh (picture left), the head of the Content, Consumer and Network Security Division at MCMC, opened up the forum to listen to nothing that he has not heard of during his older days as the Under Secretary at the Licensing & Regulatory Division, Ministry of Energy, Water and Communications (KTAK) and the present job.


He let the content providers take their turns to speak on the problems they faced reacting to the disruptive performance of the MPG and how the industry may suffer further if nothing gets done at the root.


Predictably, being a career bureaucrat, Amarjit Singh gave the bureaucratic mantra whenever there was specific demand from the floor: “We will look into it.”


Most of the attendees among some 40 present spoke like frightened meeks. However, they made one point loud and clear before the Forum was convened, that they did not want Macro Kiosk, or Toprole Network Sdn Bhd, to be invited to the meeting.


They cited Macro Kiosk as an interested party and the common target of industry grouses for being the vendor and operator of preventive gateway solutions for Maxis and Celcom


MCMC obliged and the Goh Brothers from Macro Kiosk were no where to be seen at the Forum. What does this tell you, Jon Eddy?


2 ) Highlights of the Nov 20 MCMC-MMCP Forum


As if reading from prepared script, representatives of the the CPs who took to the floor voiced their grievances and reservation pertaining to the Maxis version of Preventive System. (MPG)


They were poignant enough not to mention Macro Kiosk by name (using innuendos like ‘we all know who they are’ etc) but the audience was educated in no uncertain terms that Macro Kiosk had deployed a staff strength of 4 persons to operate the so-called ‘preventive gateway’ at two major celcos — 2 support staff handling Maxis MPG and 2 support staff handling Celcom (PCM)


Among other things, the grousing CPs have highlighted the following:


  1. That the same ‘preventive’ system provided by the particular vendor to the two celcos, has actually been used by their clients.


    The difference is: Previously before the celcos ‘commissioned’ their preventive gateways, Macro Kiosk has already been found in violation of the Guidelines and breached its ASP(C) licensing conditions. At the material time, frauds only affected Macro Kiosk’ clients.


    However, now with Macro Kiosk providing and manning the preventive celcos, the same system is affecting
    the entire industry as all transactions of SMS services via the 3xxxx shortcode are made mandatory to pass through it.



  2. That Maxis and Celcom are incapable of handling the system and administrative support, and staff from Macro Kiosk are the ones who actually manage all support service which include, alarmingly, modifications of the system.



  3. That it is professionally inappropriate for security-critical corporations like Maxis in rushing into implementing the system without adequate and proper trial, including processes that involving staging server to meet due diligence requirementr.


    As a result, the Forum was told, almost all CPs had suffered revenue loss of no less than 30% over average records due to such imcompetencies.



  4. That almost all CPs faced the same type of problems with the preventive system.


    One CP even mentioned that the MPG, which is supposed to protect the consumers, has ended up double charging the consumers.



  5. That the Forum illustrated one undeniable fact on data integrity, that Macro Kiosk has the access to all the subscribers data of all the CPs in the country.


    In other words, Macro Kiosk is, by default, enabled to do two things at their disposal: ( 1 ) to analyse all competitors information and ( 2 ) at the same time to sabotage any CPs who are viewed as unfavourable to them ina competitive environment — if it wanted to.


    In short, Data integrity is in no doubt being compromised.



  6. That Maxis currently implements the barring of Masking Number, and it is now causing havoc to the CPs.


    According to what was told to the audience, Maxis is not addressing the issue as the root cause is Spoof MO, a capability which the operator of the preventive gateway is privy to. Relatively, the Forum was told, Spoofed MT is less like the cause of consumer fleecing.


    It was also highlighted that, to date, Maxis has not come forward to categorically proclaim that it has stopped the Spoofed MO completely.



  7. Most significantly, from the feedback provided by the CPs at the Forum, it indicated that both Maxis and Celcom had not been forthright and truthful to the Ministry of Energy, Water and Communication and the MCMC. Both celcos have told the authorities that the preventive gateway had come from Toperole Network Sdn Bhd aut concealed the fact that it is effectively Macro Kiosk, a repeat offender by MCMC records.


    Besides, the CPs had also expressed their greatest fear that the real party which has full access to the system is none other than Macro Kiosk’s staff.


    One CP even went to the extent of saying that, quote, “MK is behind the whole things, and all CPs in the industry know it.”



3 ) Time for Domestic Inquiry at Maxis, then Celcom?


So, the next question is, tracing the chronology, had Maxis senior staff in charge of the SMS external content providers, comprising Nikolai Dobberstein (picture below) and Abigail Wong, been misleading the MCMC and KTAK on the issues surrounding the SMS Scams and the vendor/operator of the Maxis Preventive Gateway?


Why did Maxis, and for that matter Celcom too, have to go back and inform MCMC and KTAK of their subsequent undertaking and further assurance they will take over the operation of the preventive gateway in due course?


Willing witnesses are ready to testify that even Amarjit had been made aware of a Maxis undertaking and assurance to MCMC and KTAK that the celco, now delisted from Bursa Malaysia, will take over the maintenance role for the MPG.


Once done, the Little Birds said, an audit will be carry out by technical auditors appointed by the MCMC.


However, feedback gathered during the Nov 20 Forum indicated that none of the CPs were convinced such audit did take place to allay their fears.


According to documents and correspondence sighted by Screenshots in August 2007, that the then Deputy Secretary-General I at KTAK was already informed of the identity of the appointed vendor of the preventive system (Toprole Network Sdn Bhd) as being a subsidiary of Goldis Bhd (formerly Tan and Tan Group).


It was revealed then that all hardware would be located in data centre in Kepong, linked via VPN, and monitored by Maxis.


Maxis also gave the assurance that the information is “water tight and controlled”, sighted documents indicated.


Subsequently, MCMC issued imperatives requiring compliance on the side of Maxis, which include:


  1. Maxis is to take stiffer action on the non compliant ECPs and to expose the offender to the public

  2. KTAK suggested that for “crucial” business customers, such as banks, separate shortcodes must be used to separate from consumer services like ringtones, wall paper, etc.

  3. Maxis is to implement awareness campaign and press releases on SMS spam and spoof starting from the month of August 2007.

Based on those evidence, dear Jon Eddy, let’s re-visit what your senior staff Nikolai had said in a press statement in June, that if any of the “they (the 18 members of the Maxis Elite external Content Provider (ECP) Partners Programme) are found to be violating the Guidelines, he will suspend them (The Star, June 7, 2007).


Has he, Jon Eddy?


Set up Domestic Inquiry, start probing internally


We remember you were appointed as the Maxis Chief Operating Officer for the Malaysian operations on June 1, 2007, ain’t it so, Eddy?


Nikolai had made the corporate promise during your present tenure as his reigning supervisor. Consciously, you should know all that.


Though you didn’t make it to Egypt after resigning as CTO for DiGi, we respect you know what it entails in technical audit for the Maxis Preventive Gateway by global benchmarking.


Will you not do the Amarjit Singh bureaucratic swing by singing: “We will look into it”?


Do take note that, during the Lim Kim Seng Hari Raya party, a representative of Sybase 365, a company parented in the US, had proposed that in line with the implementatiion of the ‘preventive measures’, the industry Guidelines must now be adjusted accordingly to offload some burden to the celcos.


Institute a Domestic Inquiry, Eddy. When we reveal more documents, hopefully we will see less eggs on your face.



4 ) The Nov 19 Eastin Party


A brief summary on why Nextnation looked quiet after the Hari Raya and Eastin parties.


Convener of the ‘Eastin Party’, Lim Kim Seng, a Nextnation operative carrying a business card for Kotaemas Edaran Sdn Bhd, was tamed when he saw only a handful of content providers turned up for the luncheon he hosted. Save for a small number of content providers who had been faulted by MCMC for breaching licensing conditions that gave him the rubber-stamped endorsement for collective appeals for reprieve, he didn’t see the same crowd that patronised his Hari Raya do.


Industry sources indicate that a political appointee to the Minister of Energy, Water and Communications will be facilitating for the appeals to be forwarded to the Minister in due course. Go ask Lim Kwang Mi if you need further information.


However, throughout the November 20 MCMC-MMCP Forum, nothing substantial was heard from the Nextnation operative, nor from Rafli Ridwan, the pointman for Dubaitech Marketing who uses the Nextnation email domain at rafli@nextnationnet.com.


<!–

–>


Crude oil prices break $99, then retreat




Crude oil prices rose above a record $99 per barrel Wednesday as worries about inadequate winter supplies in the Northern Hemisphere and news of refinery problems stoked bullish sentiment. Via Associated Press 9 hours ago as I blogged this.


On the other hand, US crude oil futures were lower in late trading, weighed down by a large increase in supplies at the NYMEX-oil traded delivery point in Oklahoma, and despite an overall decline in domestic crude stocks.


On the New York Mercantile Exchange, January crude last traded down $US.43 at $US96.60, says The Age, Australia, some two hours ago at the time I blogged this


<!–

–>

November 21, 2007



Rocky ambushed… but survived




UPDATED VERSION. It’s an ambush that even Rocky’s lawyers weren’t informed.


According to journalists who covered the Jalan Duta High Court circuit today, NSTP & Four Others failed to get leave from the Kuala Lumpur High Court to initiate committal proceedings against blogger Ahirudin Attan (Rocky).


There was, however, an alert in The Star, September 21, of an application for such committal proceedings (read: contempt of court) by the plaintiffs who sued Rocky, alongside this blogger, for defamation.


Apart from this, I have no further details to report at the moment.


UPDATES: The applicants — NSTP and Four Others (Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan, Syed Faisal Albar, Hishamuddin Aun and Brendan Pereira) had claimed in their application that Rocky had breached an undertaking not to publish any more articles or comments on the libel suit between them.


However, the Judge said the application lacked sufficient information.


In dismissing the ex-parte application yesterday, Justice Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus said the applicants had failed to explain clearly how the six contentious articles published in the weblog Rocky’s Bru from May 18 through July 8 were “regarding the dispute before the High Court”.


‘Not by way of submission by counsel from the bar’


According to The Star, the judge said the applicants also failed to explain the manner in which these articles could be regarded as sub judice or how they might prejudice the fair trial of the action.


Justice Hishamudin ruled that the details and comparisons that the applicants intended to rely on in such an application must be set out in the (applicants’) supporting statement itself and not separately by way of submission by counsel from the bar.


According to Oriental Daily News, the Judge also ruled that by hyperlinking to the WALK WITH US blog, Rocky cannot be held liable over the contents of the hyperlinked weblog as he is neither its author nor publisher. Furthermore, the hyperlink is considered a ‘passive referencing’ alongside 85 other hyperlinks to other blogs appearing on Rocky’s Bru.


Rocky-NSTP_Sun20071122.gif
SOURCE: theSun, Nov 22, 2007, Page 10)

Media reports:
– Oriental Daily News:
《新海峽時報》起訴部落客缺足夠理由 駁回藐視法庭申請
– The Star: Application to start committal proceedings rejected
– The NST: Court says ‘no’ to committal proceedings
theSun: NSTP, four others fail to cite blogger for contempt


<!–

–>


‘The Indian-Muslim opportunists in Umno’




That’s the title of the Top Letter to Editor in Malaysiakini, today.


Read and bemused as I was re-reading this blog entry.


<!–

–>

November 20, 2007



Malaysia uses plagiarist’s blog to claim Pedra Branca at ICJ?




We all know that the Abdullah Administration hates blogs and bloggers, incessantly calling them lies and liars.


We also know that in the last three weeks, among others, Foreign Affairs Minister Syed Hamid Albar and Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail — and the AG’s son, junior Federal Counsel Faezul Adzra Tan Sri Gani Patail (who graduated from UiTM, September 2005) — have been setting camp in The Hague arguing Malaysia’s case to lay claim on Pulau Batu Putih, or what Singapore calls Pedra Branca.


But, is this a subliminal yet hypocritical reflection of the Abdullah Administration that it truly endorses blogs and bloggers?


Lo and behold, last week, Malaysia referred to an anonymous blog, anchored against plagiarised content and depth-of-field-suspicious photo, to present its case at all places, the International Court of Justice.


And here’s the nightmare for Syed Hamid and Gani. It took ( 1 ) none other than Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Professor S. Jayakumar to call Malaysia’s bluff, ( 2 ) none other than Singapore’s Attorney-General Chao Hick Tin to contextualise the photographic illusion gathered from the anonymous blog as inadmissible, and ( 3 ) none other than blogger Simply Jean to put paid to the plagiarist’s blog that Malaysia relied on in its arguments in the CIJ.


Singapore’s rebuttal, its final arguments in the Pedra Branca case, was published in today’s edition of the Straits Times, titled: Now you see it, now you don’t. Quote:


Batu-Putih_Malaysia.jpg

Batu-Putih_Spore.jpg
Malaysia’s photo on top and Singapore’s photo at the bottom.
SOURCE: Singapore Straits Times
Nov 20, 2007

AT A glance, the two pictures look alike. Both have Horsburgh Lighthouse and Pedra Branca in the foreground.


But look again – at the background which shows the Johor mainland, with Point Romania and a hill named Mount Berbukit. In one picture the hill is highly visible; in the other, it is hardly visible.


Therein lies the photographic illusion that Malaysia had created to exaggerate the closeness of Pedra Branca to Johor, Singapore said yesterday at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.


The first photograph, which Malaysia had shown the court last week, was taken by a camera using a telephoto lens.


The second photograph was taken by Singapore, using a camera lens that approximates what the human eye sees. As a result, the Malaysian photograph exaggerated the height of Mount Berbukit by about seven times, Singapore’s Attorney-General Chao Hick Tin said when he presented the two photos before the court.


He described it as ‘an attempt to convey a subliminal message of proximity between Pedra Branca and the coast of Johor’.But it was not an accurate reflection of what visitors to Pedra Branca would see if they were looking towards the Johor mainland, he said.



Malaysia’s referred blog


Yesterday was the first day of Singapore’s rebuttals against Malaysia’s oral arguments made last week.


The hearing over the Pedra Branca at the ICJ dispute entered the third week yesterday.


Last week, Malaysia had claimed the photo in question was taken from a weblog on Blogspot.com: http://leuchtturm3.blogspot.com. Leuchtturm means lighthouse in German.


Malaysia’s lawyers had implied that the photo it uses came from an independent source. (Yes! An anonymous blog on Blogspot is an independent source!)


But yesterday, Singapore’s AG, Chao, raised questions about the blog.


Batu-Putih_Blog.jpg
SOURCE: ICJ transcript,
Nov 19, 2007 (Page 21 of 67)

Quote from Singapore Straits Times:

‘This blog site is a most unusual one. It was created only last month.


There is no information on the identity of the blogger and the photograph used by Malaysia was only put on the website on Nov 2 2007, four days before the start of these oral proceedings,’ he said.



True enough, there are only 12 blog entries in the blog — four in October, and 8 in November 2007.


It’s also convincing that Malaysia has retrieved one of the the photos in the blog — enlarged picture available here — and presented in the ICJ to argue on the Pedra Branca case.


Strangely too, all pictures used in the blog are resized to thumbnails, except the two particular pictures of the lighthouse on Pedra Branca — one of which was tendered by Malaysia — are against the norm. They were planted at higher resolution at 280k and 309k, respectively.


That sparks the inquisitive mind of a Singapore blogger, Simply Jean — no relation to PM Abdullah’s second wife — and she sensed plagiarist at work.


Singapore Blogger exposes plagiarist blogger


Simply Jean said: “In view of such discrepancies, Simply Jean decided to do some investigative work. So, she searched the Internet for sentences located in the middle of a paragraph for plagarism. Heh heh… people who plagarise usually change the fronts and ends of a paragraph of *insignificant* portions – and this is where the evidence lies!!!


Precisely, that’s one of my methodologies when I read of Mitch Albom’s (plagiarised) article last November! (But that’s another story by itself.)


With internet search engine and by employing the plagiarist-uncovering methodologies, Simply Jean discovered the original text in Wikipedia, and the plagiarist’s work on leuchtturm3.blogspot.com.


It was the same way how Mitch Albom was plagiarised.


Simply Jean discovered that the author of the blog had changed the name of Cape May Lighthouse to Pulau Batu Puteh Lighthouse.


“Actually, if you click on the link at Pulau Batu Puteh Lightouse, it goes to Cape May Lighthouse at Wikipedia. That’s where the cat is out of the bag,” she said.


“There’s nothing wrong with copying from Wikipedia, but when you decide to copy from Wikipedia, and don’t credit it, and changed the wordings, then that’s… not very right,” she added.


Why did Simply Jean have to expose it? She said: “Well, I actually have not much interest in this court case, but, when they decided to bring the blogosphere into the news, then I felt that I had to do some justification for the community.”


On the larger picture, Simply Jean has a question for us in Malaysia that I feel too ashamed to answer:

I was somewhat wondering – how can Malaysia – such a big country with so much resources (including good photographers), rely on a photograph from a blog to present their case to the courts?


But what actually hurts our maruah bangsa is that we had allowed Jayakumar to rub it in for us.


‘Persuasive legal arguments’ VS ‘Unfounded political statements’


When Singapore started its rebuttals against Malaysia’s claims yesterday, they were launched by Deputy Prime Minister S. Jayakumar.


He highlighted five ‘baseless allegations and insinuations’ that Malaysia had lobbed against Singapore and rebutted each in turn, so said the Straits Times. Quote:

Among them was Malaysia’s charge that Singapore wished to ’subvert’ long-established arrangements in the Singapore Strait.


On the contrary, he said, it was Kuala Lumpur that tried to alter the status quo through the publication of a map in 1979 that altered its maritime boundaries with seven of its neighbours.


That was also the map that sparked the current dispute.


Prof Jayakumar said he was disappointed that Malaysia had resorted to such allegations in its bid to win the case. ‘We should seek to win by stating objective facts and submitting persuasive legal arguments, and not by resorting to unfounded political statements and making insinuations damaging to the integrity of the opposite party,’ he said.



Straits Times has a recap of yesterday’s Singapore rebuttal: S’pore calls Malaysia’s claims ‘baseless and unnecessary’, in which Jayakumar debunked Malaysia’s insinuation that Singapore had hidden two letters from the ICJ, a charge he described as ‘the most disturbing’ of the lot.


The verbatim transcript of the November 19 Singapore rebuttal is available in PDF on CIJ’s website.


Thanks reader Hanim for the heads-up. But gua manyak manyak malu woh.


From Singapore Straits Times

Now you see it, now you don’t
by Lydia Lim, Senior Political Correspondent
November 20, 2007




IN THE HAGUE – AT A glance, the two pictures look alike. Both have Horsburgh Lighthouse and Pedra Branca in the foreground.


But look again – at the background which shows the Johor mainland, with Point Romania and a hill named Mount Berbukit. In one picture the hill is highly visible; in the other, it is hardly visible.


Therein lies the photographic illusion that Malaysia had created to exaggerate the closeness of Pedra Branca to Johor, Singapore said yesterday at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.


The first photograph, which Malaysia had shown the court last week, was taken by a camera using a telephoto lens.


The second photograph was taken by Singapore, using a camera lens that approximates what the human eye sees. As a result, the Malaysian photograph exaggerated the height of Mount Berbukit by about seven times, Singapore’s Attorney-General Chao Hick Tin said when he presented the two photos before the court.


He described it as ‘an attempt to convey a subliminal message of proximity between Pedra Branca and the coast of Johor’.But it was not an accurate reflection of what visitors to Pedra Branca would see if they were looking towardsthe Johor mainland, he said.


Mr Chao was speaking before the ICJ as the hearing over the Pedra Branca dispute enters the third week. Yesterday was the first day of Singapore’s rebuttals against Malaysia’s oral arguments made last week.


Both countries are appearing at the ICJ to resolve their dispute over the sovereignty of the island 40km east of Singapore and which stands at the eastern entrance of the Singapore Strait.


Last week, Malaysia had also claimed the photo in question was taken from an online blog or weblog. The implication was the photo came from an independent source.


But yesterday, Mr Chao raised questions about the blog.


‘This blog site is a most unusual one. It was created only last month. There is no information on the identity of the blogger and the photograph used by Malaysia was only put on the website on Nov 2 2007, four days before the start of these oral proceedings,’ he said.


Mr Chao also sought to debunk Malaysia’s claim that Pedra Branca was near Point Romania in Johor. The phrase ‘near Point Romania’ was used in an 1844 letter from the Temenggong of Johor to Governor Butterworth in Singapore.


In that letter, the Temenggong gave permission for the British to build a lighthouse on any island near Point Romania.


Malaysia claimed the phrase included Pedra Branca, and that the letter showed Britain acknowledged Johor’s sovereignty over the island.


Mr Chao said the letter did not refer to Pedra Branca but to Peak Rock which, in 1844, was where the British planned to build a lighthouse.


He pointed out the distance between Pedra Branca and Point Romania was six times that between the latter and Peak Rock.


In an 1846 letter, Governor Butterworth explained his original preference for Peak Rock as the site of a lighthouse because Pedra Branca was ‘at so great a distance from the main land’.


Singapore’s rebuttals yesterday were launched by Deputy Prime Minister S. Jayakumar. He highlighted five ‘baseless allegations and insinuations’ that Malaysia had lobbed against Singapore and rebutted each in turn.


Among them was Malaysia’s charge that Singapore wished to ’subvert’ long-established arrangements in the Singapore Strait.


On the contrary, he said, it was Kuala Lumpur that tried to alter the status quo through the publication of a map in 1979 that altered its maritime boundaries with seven of its neighbours.


That was also the map that sparked the current dispute.


Prof Jayakumar said he was disappointed that Malaysia had resorted to such allegations in its bid to win the case. ‘We should seek to win by stating objective facts and submitting persuasive legal arguments, and not by resorting to unfounded political statements and making insinuations damaging to the integrity of the opposite party,’ he said.


lydia@sph.com.sg




<!–

–>


Flour… Winning the election using taxpayers’ money




Can you imagine a Hari Raya Haji, Christmas and Lunar New Year without flour?


Seizing the situation, the Abdullah Administration has come up with a brilliant idea to stay winning in the coming general election by creative spending of taxpayers money.


What is NOT reported


During a meeting with representatives of local flour manufacturers yesterday, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Shafie Apdal made a U-turn and rejected the millers’ demand to increase the price of general purpose flour — the main ingredient for roti canai and kueh-mueh — which currently retails at RM1.35 per kiiogram.



Shafie Apdal…
March 2006

The general purpose flour is classified as a price-controlled item, hence we have yet to hear of price increase in roti canai, for example.


No price increase till March, or General Election


According to the Little Birds, The government had initially agreed to allow the flour millers to increase the price of the multi-purpose flour, or what is readily called the white flour, to RM2.15 per kilogram.


In return, the millers were asked to hold the RM1.35/kilo retail price to at least March, Little Birds familiar with the industry told Screenshots.


The ministry also proposed to compensate the millers for their losses incurred from October right up to the time when the general election, expected to take place in March, is done with.


This is seen the latest tactic from the Abdullah Administration aimed at pacifying the voters by holding back price increases for essential commodities, and by cushioning the costs by means of subsidy, which is fundamentally taxpayers’ money.


According to industry insiders, the total market size for flour in Malaysia is about 69,300 metric tonnes per month. Out of which, about 17,000 metric tonnes, or 24.5%, is made up of the general purpose flour.


On the other hand, the price of wheat has gone up by RM710 per metric tonne, from RM790 to RM1,500.


Assuming that minister Shafie had meant that the government will subsidise the flour millers for six months from September through March, the month the general election is expected to be held, the quantum for the subsidy, just for the multi-purpose flour alone, will work out to about RM72 million — solid taxpayers’ money.


The arithmetic is simple: RM710 x 17,000 metric tonnes/month x 6 months = RM72 million.


That is discounting the fact the price of high protein flour — which is the essential ingredient for bakeries, wet and dry noodles, instant noodles, biscuits and cookies — will keep on spiralling.


Besides, there is no guarantee that the stalled increase in the price for white flour — and for that matter, the prices of fuel and expressway toll tariff — will not be reintroduced akin to the opening of the floodgates soon after the election.


There are three major flour millers in Malaysia, namely Federal Flour Mills, Malayan Flour Mills and Kuantan Flour Mills. They had collectively demanded for a second price increase to RM2.15 per kilo after the November hike.


Strangely, only one flour mill — Malayan Flour Mills, the smallest player among the three — attended yesterday’s meeting with the Minister, the Little Birds said.


However, none of the millers were complaining after the rejection by the minister as they know full well that they will be compensated through the subsidy after the general election.


What is reported, superficially


November 3, minister Shafie said bread producers and bakeries were allowed to increase the price of bread by the 10 sen to 30 sen per loaf as 70% of the increase went towards the cost of importing enriched wheat flour.


The minister also conceded that the increase in the price of enriched wheat flour could not be avoided following the rise in the price of wheat imported from the United States and Canada, which had reached US$450 per tonne compared with US$235 per tonne previously.


Local millers are now carrying cash to buy from spot markets as wheat supply is short.


There is also no immediate solution to the demand-exceeding-supply situation. Wheat prices surpassed $9 a bushel for the first time in September as a drought in Australia cut production, pushing global stockpiles toward a 26-year low. See Google News archive here.


Double whammy


It has been a double whammy for the wheat market: A global disruption in climatic conditions that severely affected harvest, and unannounced stockpiles by China and Russia for the same commodity.


At the same time, countries like Egypt, Jordan, Japan and Iraq have planned to buy some 460,000 tons of wheat at tender markets.


Bloomberg News reported in September that global wheat supplies are expected to decline to 114.8 million tons by the end of the marketing year on May 31, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in August. Inventories have fallen as adverse weather cut harvests in Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia. The United States is the world’s largest wheat exporter.


Wheat harvest in Australia, expected to be the world’s third-largest shipper of the grain this year, could be as low as 15 million tons, reported Bloomberg News/IHT quoting the Rabobank. The government’s commodity forecaster, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, has estimated the crop in June at 22.5 million tons, more than double last year’s.


The forecast for the Australian wheat crop may fall to 18 million metric tonnes from a previous prediction of 23 million tonnes in a U.S. report released September 12.


In Canada, the world’s second-largest wheat exporter, reserves of the grain plunged 29% at the end of July from a year earlier, Statistics Canada said September 11.


On the demand side, Indofood Sukses Makmur, the world’s largest producer of instant noodles and Indonesia’s biggest wheat buyer, has been increasing flour prices in each of the next four months since September through December, by 4.5% monthly, to pass on record wheat costs.


Today (Nov 20), Australia’s biggest publicly listed food group, Goodman Fielder, has joined a growing chorus blaming drought and rising commodity prices for an expected flat profit this financial year.


It announced that it was unable to recoup the rising price of wheat, edible oil and dairy products from retailers, so the increase would hit the bottom line.


The announcement follows similar comments from wine, beer, grain and meat companies including McGuigan Simeon Wines, Foster’s, Grain Corp and Australian Agricultural Company.


Ricegrowers have also said that their harvest would be down from about 112 million tonnes to about 15 million tonnes.


If you remember well, in September, Australian Agricultural, the nation’s largest rancher, had told customers that cattle prices will need to increase as wheat prices keep escalating. Wheat is used to feed livestock as well as for making bread, noodles and foods.


The global shortage of wheat has also impacted the price of other grains.


Already, barley prices in Winnipeg, Canada, gained 41% in the past year on increased demand for animal feed and for brewing beer. Canada is one of the world’s biggest barley producers.


Similarly, corn has gained almost 50% in the same period, as demand for grain-based ethanol surged.


Distorted economy, Malaysian style


All this, yet our Shafie Abdal is still looking at distorting the economy and dispensing subsidies.


<!–

–>


Happy Super 8, Malaysiakini!




Malaysiakini turns 8 today!


Mkini_Super8.gif

Many happy returns of the day!


<!–

–>

November 19, 2007



When Nextnation boss keeps selling shares…




After making a “Future Is Good” statement to Bursa Malaysia on October 30, the boss of SMS Content Service Provider Nextnation Communication Bhd, PC Tey, has been selling off blocks of shares 48 hours thereafter, from November 1


According to what Screenshots could monitor, Tey disposed some 50 million shares in one trading week, including a further 3.5 million shares disposed off November 7.


This was followed by another disposal of 4 million shares November 9.


NN20071115_shares.gif

So had other directors and majority shareholders, including Tey Poh Chen, See Poh Yee and Smart Tower Sdn Bhd, who made simultaneous disposals alongside the Group CEO. The Bursa Malaysia website has an archive of their transactions.


The price ranged between a high of 17 sen on October 22, and 20 sen on November 1, 2007.


NN20071119_TeyPY-Shares.gif

The question to ask is: How much confidence the boss, PC Tey, has for the future of the industry besieged with scams?


Or a substantial investor has come in, convinced that Nextnation is striking gold?


The story makes interesting reading at a time when other counters on the main board had seen brisk cashing out in the vicinity of 1,400-point bull run — with some said rushing to fill up the election war chest.


TA advisory on mTouche: SELL


Today, TA Securities issued an advisory and·downgraded SMS Service Provider mTouche to a Sell, with revised target price of RM0.87 based on 13.9x FY08 PER, which is a 10% discount to the broader market valuation.


The main contributing factors to the negative valuation were escalating overheads and shrinking revenue, and the ever changing regulatory framework in business environments.


According to TA, mTouche’s 3Q07 result was disappointing as it has come in 47% below estimates on an annualised basis.


mTouche’s Net profit dipped 12.7% compared to a quarter ago on the back of a 12.3% decline in revenue.


It was highlighted that mTouche had booked in a provision of RM3 million in 2Q07. If this amount has been excluded, earnings would have actually dropped by 75% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ).


In summary, TA said mTouche’s disappointing performance were largely due to:
1) Widening losses at Cellcast SEA and GMO amounting RM172K and RM355K respectively
2) Higher overheads resulting in lower gross margin of negatiove 2 percent point
3 ) Unfavourable regulations in China


TA cited that high finance costs arising from the issue of loan notes has caused mTouche’s 30% associate GMO to fall into losses this quarter.


Net net, mTouche’s performance this year was largely dragged down by JVs and associates which barely broke even versus profits of RM1.5 million and RM0.5 million achieved last year.


TA said it no longer benchmarks mTouche against regional peers like Sina and Linktone, given the shrinking contributions from associates and JVs in China to the company’s bottomline.


I am earnestly looking forward to end November for another round of financial reports from this MESDAQ counter, Nextnation.


<!–

–>


Prime force behind Astro monopoly




This is an illuminating letter from Malaysiakini reader Cheah Kah Seng. He shares a formula to ‘punish’ Astro for predating on its subscribers with pricing maneouvres, but cutting some packages and smart subscription of programming.


More importantly, he tells us the prime devil behind the Astro monopoly, and how best to resolve the menace. Read here.


<!–

–>


Ban the whole damned SMS service industry!




READ ON for the Eastin Party, 12.30pm Nov 19. ‘Bring along your company rubber-stamp’.


[ UPDATED ] If there are any righteous consumer protection organsations left — and I am looking at FOMCA and NCCC — they should get the government to ban the entire SMS content provider industry and stop consumers from being fleeced and cheated by the millions!


Here are the reasons why.


1 ) MCMC is useless


MCMC is useless not because the lay is weak. MCMC is useless because it’s now being run by a useless chairman in Dr Halim Shafie, a tired and retired career bureaucrat who continued to condone rogue SMS Scammers.


October 4, board members of the MCMC convened to deliberate, among other things, on the rampant SMS Scams that ripped off millions of ringgit from the unassuming consumers.


According to highly-placed sources, three SMS content provider companies, who are repeat offenders of the industry guideline currently enforced, had been identified for their ASP(C) Licenses to be suspended for one year.


One month had gone past since the October 4 MCMC Board Meeting, and Halim Shafie is still sitting on his ass.


One year had also gone past since the SMScam was exposed, and MCMC has failed to offer any institutionalised resolve to clean up the mess.


We want to be fair to allow Halim reasonable time to execute the Board Members’ decision. Screenshots will publish the names of the three rogue companies at the right time if nothing happens.


2 ) Amarjit Singh a/l Kartha Singh equally clueless useless


Those who had hoped for someone who had been breathing at Ali Hanafiah’s neck to make an effective cyberlaw enforcer after getting his promotion and pay increase — sorry, you can dream on.


Effective October 1, Amarjit Singh a/l Kartha Singh, fomerly Under Secretary at the Licensing & Regulatory Division, Ministry of Energy, Water and Communications (KTAK) was transferred to head the Content, Consumer and Network Security Division at MCMC — the very division to clean up the act involving the SMS Scam.


He was optionally retired from the civil service, and re-appointed into the MCMC, a statutory Commission with enhanced remuneration package in addition to his pension from the civil service.


The predecessor, Mohd Ali Hanafiah, on whom Amarjit had been dishing out policy imperatives from the Ministry all these years, was reassigned to a newly created position within MCMC.


Right now, even players in the SMS content provider industry are passing round a joke, questioning what Amarjit could do better than what couldn’t a bumiputra officer he inherited from.


Today, it looks more true than true. Amarjit is yet another tired and retired career bureaucrat in the mirroe of Halim Shafie.


Amarjit couldn’t even enforce what had materially been initiated by his predecessor to deal with the SMS Scammers.


3 ) Scammers offered ‘fines’, they don’t pay and MCMC won’t mind


Collectively, Halim and Amarjit, who were tied to the same supervisor-subordinate umbilical cord when they both served in the same ministry, had failed in their job.


It is a known fact that MCMC favours and protects its licensees to the extent of sinful pampering. Take an example. Those who have been found breaching licensing conditions stipulated in ASP(C) were offered compound, with no firm timeline to pay up.


By standard operating procedure — yes, MCMC is yet to ISO-certified for methodology and processes — the rogue CPs will be identified and ther names will be updated in the MCMC website once the compound has been paid up.


November 4, The New Sunday Times announced basing on MCMC sources, that the regulator had found five SMS Content Provider companies in breach of their ASP(C) licensing conditions and offered the respective compounds. See news-clip below:


SMS_Scam_NST20071104.jpg

If you check the MCMC website, to date, four out of the five CPs had not paid up and they are: T-Force Technology Sdn Bhd (Coumpound: RM190,000), Nextnation Network Sdn Bhd (RM60,000), Dubaitech marketing Sdn Bhd (RM50,000) and Sybase365 Asia Sdn Bhd (RM150,000).


It is pertinent to highlight the fact that Dubaitech marketing is an associate of Nextnation. In fact, Dubaitech’s pointman Rafli Ridwan uses the Nextnation email domain at rafli@nextnationnet.com.


Comparing the notes, interestingly, names the October 4 MCMC Board Meeting identified for suspension of their ASP(C) licenses appeared among those who were offered compound and hadn’t paid up.


4 ) The Eastin Party, Nov 19, 12.30pm


Meanwhile, an SMS content service provider identified and ‘offered compound’ by the MCMC is organising a congregation of CPs for a luncheon meet this afternoon. Attendees are asked to bring along their company rubber-stamps.


This is the SMS forwarded to Screenshots over the weekend:


Dear friends, i h emailed 2 u about MCMC held dialogue w CPs on 20.11.07, tuesday, 10.00am at MCMC Auditorium. Pls attend n speak out. On 19.11.07. monday,12.30pm, we h buffet lunch at Lobby, Eastin Hotel. Pls attend, bring company’s stampfor memorandum n discuss the matter. TQ for your support and cooperation, kslim.


There was confusion subsequent to the SMS. Some CPs were asking whether the luncheon was organised by the Malaysia Multimedia Content Providers Association (MMCP), the de facto trade body representing the industry players.


This prompted an email from MMCP president, Romuald Marappan, who blasted an email to all its members late yesterday afternoon:

Over the weekend i received a number of SMS’s requesting information on a memorandum that is to be handed over to MCMC.


For clarification, MMCP has no such plans to submit any memorandum nor has it been working on one. The Forum being organized by MCMC & MMCP, is thought to be a more effective manner for CPs to have a “one to one” session with the regulators.


I am told, MCMC has devised a means to gather information from all during that day.


Should you need further clarification, please do contact Jaan Hao or myself.


Romuald



Meanwhile, some CPs are wondering if MCMC had adopted the ‘divide-and-rule’ tactic — ( 1 ) by recognising the same CPs it has categorised as “REPEAT OFFENDERS” and ( 2 ) by splitting up the industry association — and allowed certain parties to hijack the forum it jointly organises with MMCP, scheduled for tomorrow.


5 ) Memorandum: With or without MMCP endorsement?


Despite Romuald’s email denial that MMCP has any plans to “submit any memorandum nor has it been working on one”, the same person has been listed in the Hari Raya Party — see Screenshots October 24 — as having been invited to give a briefing in relation to the supposed memorandum that the CPs are to bring their company rubber-stamps to seal at Eatin Hotel this afternoon.


SMS-Scam_Raya-Party.jpg

Draft of the suggested ‘Proposal’ (or what is now slated as part of the ‘Memorandum”) was distributed to the Hari Raya attendees. Screenshots was extended a copy, available here in PDF.


List of attendees among the CPs patronising the Hari Raya Party and minutes taken is available here in PDF.


In the final analysis, we should watch Halim Shafie’s steps at the dialogue tomorrow. Fould-proof protection of the consumers, who are potential victims of the SMS Scammers, will be determined there and then.


But we have a painless, non-expensive and immediately lethal solution to all these mess. Ban the damned SMS CP industry — the same way the 600 Premier Voice Content scam was killed.


<!–

–>


Mr Maidin, Al-Jazeera & police reports against Jeff Ooi




From the YouTube, people generally know that Mr Maidin (or ZAM to some) very much dislikes Al-Jazeera the way the satellite news channel presented the BERSIH Rally last Saturday.


Interestingly, certain entities are more angry than Mr. Maidin, and want to claim their pound of flesh.


NST20071118_Mamak.gif
SOURCE: The New Sunday Times, Nov 18, 2007 (Page 4)

It was reported in the Press yesterday that three police reports were lodged against this blogger, Jeff Ooi, for allegedly defaming the country, government and police force in the Al-Jazeera news bulletins.


According to The NST, the Umno mouthpiece which had the scoop against competing English dailies, the reports were lodged by the Malaysian Islamic Consumers Association (PPIM), Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress (KIMMA) and Pertubuhan Seni Silat Ikatan Kalam Malaysia.


The paper said they three groups are against “a statement issued by Ooi to an Al Jazeera reporter”. (The fact is: I issued no statement. I was Al-Lazeera studio guest to provide live commentaries as BERSIH Rally took place concurrently.)


“The statement was allegedly broadcast on YouTube,” the paper reported. (The fact is: Several YouTubes related to the Al-Jazeera bulletins were uploaded by YouTube’s registered users.)


According to The NST, the three entities wanted this blogger to be investigated, alleging that the interview given to Al Jazeera “not only tarnished the image of the country but was also seditious and caused racial tension”.


The NST said this blogger is also “alleged to have given inaccurate information to Al Jazeera in stating that the police used unnecessary force in dispersing the demonstrators”.


I wonder if by having three groupings lodging three same reports can make their allegations much sterner. But I am sure the People and taxpayers would expect the Police to spend their energy solving crimes and protect the populace.


To put things in context, I shall stand by what I have said in my commentaries over Al-Jazeera, give a fair context to the origins and objectives of the BERSIH Rally. Speak and be damned, you have to accept it. My lawyers have called to give me professional counsel.


For your reference, the related YouTube clips are available here and here.


Tunku Aziz blasts Mr Maidin


Also in yesterday’s NST, columnist Tunku Abdul Aziz, thr former president of Transparency International Malaysia, had an earful for Mr Maidin pertaning to the minister’s outburst vilifying Al-Jazeera. Quote:

One of the most unfortunate and unintended spin-offs of the Nov 10 affair was the unseemly and highly unprecedented attack on the Al Jazeera cable network by the Information Minister for what he claimed to be unfair and biased reporting of the event.


The minister, himself a distinguished former Malaysian journalist, has taken the BBC to task for a similar “sin” over another issue.


It worries me when a respected organisation such as Al Jazeera known the world over for its professionalism is subjected to this form of high-handed treatment in a country that promotes Civilisational Islam and liberalism.


I have watched the video clip of the interview and the transcript, and I must say the minister could have come out of the interview better, but he cannot blame anyone for the outcome of that unfortunate interview.


To make matters worse, the education minister should not have seen fit to join in the fray by accusing Al Jazeera of biased reporting.


The information minister is naturally entitled to his opinion, but, I presume, as a spokesperson of the government, he clearly has a duty to express the official views, if indeed they were on this occasion, in an agreeable manner. He strikes me as a gentleman imbued with a highly developed sense of equity and fair play, and a relentless seeker after the truth.


It would be well for him to start by looking at the sort of treatment meted out by our TV stations to parties perceived to hold different views from those espoused by the administration.


The question I am asking is whether the same “standards of truth” demanded of others apply to our Malaysian public and private TV stations. I am sure we would not want to be judged any differently, and on our current record, I fear we are in no position really to point a finger at anyone.



I won’t use this blog to give a lecture on what is globally-accepted description for double-standards. Mr Maidin and Mr Tunku Abdul Aziz have done the job for me sufficiently.


UPDATES: Another Umno police report filed against Raja Petra Kamarudin of Malaysia-Today..



Screenshots shall henceforth refer to ZAM as Mr (Zainuddin) Maidin to describe his genetic identity more accurately and more respectfully.


<!–

–>


Lingam tape: The brother spills the beans




Lawyer Wee Choo Keong, whose name was mentioned by Lingam in the tape, has come up with further expose.


mkinitv_client(“WeeChooKeong_18Nov.wmv”);

There were allegations of offers of gifts to a former top judge, a former police top brass, and a former top officer of the Attorney-General’s Chambers.


View the video, read the news and read the blogs (Rocky and Haris) — and potential members of the Royal Commission must also do that if they want to make informed decisions about the whole mess.


<!–

–>

November 17, 2007



LG Viewty: A cameraphone with real camera




I had dreamed of a 5-megapixel cameraphone when I first laid my hands on the LG Shine earlier this year.


I wanted the form factor, and LG Shine is just perfect for this. As a serious photographer, I also wanted a real camera that enables me do what I could do on a digital SLR, without the feeling of holding onto a brick when I speak across the airwave.


My wish was answered, barely six months after reviewing the LG Shine, and in fact with more features than I had dreamed for. Even a pro photographer will be delighted to have one… Welcome to LG Viewty LU990, 5-megapixel, l touch-screen and 120fps on videos!


(LG Viewty was inspired by an entry in urbandictionary.com for ‘viewtiful’, meaning “beyond cool, often stylish; excellent”. It’s a derivation from Atsushi Inaba’s video game, Viewtiful Joe.)



Viewty preview


LG Viewty is a 3.5G phone that taps into the standard fast speed downloads and uploads over the mobile network. Or in techynical lingo, it handles three radio bands: HSDPA (3.6Mbps), WCDMA (3G), and Tri-band (GSM/GPRS/EDGE)


If you viewed the video I put on DailyMotion, here’s a brief rundown of the features:

1 ) It’s a professional-level camera phone, with features found on many high-end stand-alone cameras
2 ) It comes with a Xenon flash
3 ) There’s a manual focus option for distinct shots
4 ) There an image stabiliser to mitigate blur images due to shaking hands
5 ) There is an array of options of ISO settings — 100, 200, 400 and 800 — for indoor or night shooting
6 ) It records video at up to 120 frames per second (fps), the highest frame speed ever for a handset camera
7 ) Videos can be edited and uploaded directly to YouTube
8 ) It has a 3-inch, 262K TFT-LCD touch screen powered by Mobile XD™ engine — wider and more vivid display
9 ) There’s a camera manual focus that acts as a jog wheel for scrolling and volume control on phone & MP3 modes
10 ) It’s a full touch-screen, with a retractable stylus
11 ) Key-in can be doen on simulated keyboard and OCR recognition even for Chinese characters!
12 ) On-camera editing that allows users to digitally “write” on photos and edit their own files


The official launch of LG Viewty for Asia was held November 13 in conjunction with the GSMA’s Mobile Asia Congress at the Venetian, Macao.


LG-Viewty-Macau_0115x600.jpg

Boh-Choi_LG-Viewty_0097x600.jpg


Boh-Choi_LG-Viewty_0113x600.jpg
Bo Choi giving this blogger a demo of live upload of YouTube from LG Viewty


Mr Bo H. Choi, Vice President/Team Leader (Asia, Middle East & Africa Business Team) of LG Mobile was there to take my pictures and videos and upload them live to Google’s Blogspot and YouTube, using the KU990..


I will write a detailed review when I get back.


<!–

–>


Violence against journalist… Umno style




A group of Umno members disrupted a press conference called by a member of parliament, during which a Chinese press photographer was punched and verbally assaulted yesterday.


A spokesman of the Malaysia Chinese Photojournalists Association (MCPA) confirmed with Screenshots that Guangming Daily photographer Koh Chun Seng ( 许俊诚 ) was punched on his right ear.


MCPA_pic1ax600.jpg

MCPA_pic1x600.jpg


MCPA_pic2x600.jpg
Pictures courtesy
Malaysia Chinese Photojournalists Association (MCPA)


Koh was also verbally assaulted when trying to snap photos of the whole event.


The press conference, called by Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai, was held at a multi-purpose hall in his constituency, which was located in the compound of the Cheras Umno headquarters.


Tan had called the press conference to highlight Umno’s alleged abuses of government funds allocated by the Prime Minister’s Deparment to build multi-purpose halls in Kuala Lumpur.


According to Malaysiakini, Tan was explaining to reporters, who were on site, on how Umno had abused government funds for the halls by building Umno service centres instead. Quote:

Midway through the press conference, a few Umno members came out from the party’s office and told Tan’s group that they should not be gathering in “their private property”.


“They also hurled vulgar words at us and demanded that I retract my statement,” he said.


According to Tan, the Umno members, which by then have surrounded him and his supporters, tried to push him.


According to Koh, a man in the Umno group had shouted “Move, move. Don’t snap pictures. Just go away from here.”


“I responded by telling him there was no need for him to shout at us. That led to another man in the group punching me,” said Koh.



Screenshots was informed that Koh has lodged a police report at the Cheras police station over the incident and later returned to submit photographs as evidence.


MCPA_pic3x600.jpg
Pictures courtesy Malaysia Chinese Photojournalists Association (MCPA)

Abuse of government funds


Tan told Malaysiakini that the abuse of government funds by Umno had been going on for a number of years. Quote:

“The problem started way back in 2002. They used the allocation to build multi-purpose halls for their service centres,” said Tan.


“The PM’s Department allocates the money for the halls’ maintenance and these people use it to hire workers for their service centres,” he lamented, adding that the problem was evident in Bandar Tun Razak.


“At one part of the town, there are five multi-purpose halls within half a kilometre. And there are three halls in another road.”



Meanwhile, the MCPA had issued a press statement denouncing the use of violence against journalists at work.


The association said it was alarmed at the repeated cases of photo journalists being attacked while on duty, and wanted the culprits who took law in their own hands to be reprimanded by the authorities.


“Our photo journalists must be protected by law,” the MCPA said. “We urged the authorities to take firm action to prevent such incidents from repeating.”


Recently, two journalists from Tamil daily, Malaysia Nanban, came under bodily attack and threats on their lives over their reports in the closure of Tamil schools.


In separate incidents, Johor-based photo journalist R. Raman (R. Kalaramu)were attacked by three people and is still in coma. On the other hand, Kedah-based M. Nagarajan received death phone calls.


The attack on Koh has been given wide coverage in the Chinese Press:

1 ) 星洲日报:
www.sinchew.com.my/content.phtml?sec=1&artid=200711161390


2 ) 光明日报:
www.guangming.com.my/content.phtml?sec=193&sdate=&artid=200711161656


3 ) 南洋商报
www.nanyang.com/index.php?ch=7&pg=10&ac=788454
www.nanyang.com/index.php?ch=7&pg=10&ac=788455


4 ) 独立新闻在线
www.merdekareview.com/news.php?n=5382


5 ) 当今大马
www.malaysiakini.com/news/74906



The Umno Cheras division is led by Syed Ali Alhabshee. He was quoted by Malaysiakini as saying that the PM, Tan of DAP, had angered Umno members by being “rude and encroaching into Umno’s private property”.


He plans to lodge a police report against Tan for trespassing, Malaysiakini said.


<!–

–>


Who should sit in the Royal Commission?
Let the Rakyat pick their choice!





58 Days!


Haidar & the 3-man Panel.


A 3 Lawyer-Minister Panel to study the 3-man Report.


Now, Royal Commission?


Anwar Ibrahim exposed the scandal on September 19.


It took 58 days before Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi could decide the need to set up a royal commission of inquiry on the controversial VK Lingam video clip.


What Abdullah announced Friday was that the royal commission will ‘soon’ be established. But terms of reference and members of the commission have yet to be ascertained


Only two days ago, media reports quoting a minister in the PM’s Department said Abdullah had appointed three Umno ministers — namely Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz, Home Minister Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad and Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Dr Rais Yatim — to study the reports submitted by the 3-man panel led by former Chief Judge of Malaya, Haidar Mohd Noor.


It was Abdullah who made the about-turn yesterday.


Cross-examine past CJs


As early as November 2, Screenshots had warned the lawyers of the following:

1 ) Press on for the setting up of a judicial appointments commission for the appointment and promotion of judges;


2 ) Press on for a royal commission of inquiry to examine the claims made in the Lingam Tape, as well as the present state of the judiciary.



For now, the Rakyat should nominate their choice of the right people to sit in the Royal Commission, and the Executive — aka the Abdullah Administration — must listen.


It will be good to cross-examine the former, but still-living, Chief Justices — Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim, Eusuff Chin and Hamid Omar — in one go.


Don’t let Abdullah, man of the hour, just pass the buck to Mahathir, so conveniently.


<!–

–>

November 16, 2007



101 East: BERSIH rally and Democracy… Malaysian-style.




The 101 East segment on BERSIH Rally… Several Malaysians have taken the trouble to YouTube the programme for those who don’t have access to Astro Channel 513, to share the information to enable you make information decision about Malaysia.


However, all the YouTube were badly produced — bad audio and bad visuals — while this set — Part I and Part II — with good captures was superimposed with some distracting alien materials that reduced the authenticity of the original footages.


View this set — Part I and Part II — while we wait for Al-Jazeera to YouTube its own version.


UPDATE: Al-Jazeera has Youtubed it: Part 1 & Part 2.


Teymoor’s three guest were people, one way or another, who spoke from the perspective of law: Lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, law minister Nazri Aziz, and the Son-in-Law.


One of the three said the system needs no institutional change, just the process that needs improvement. I don’t know where this guy studied management, but to many of us, process is an integral part of the system. A good system can’t have bad process, and Harry Lee could tell you this.


Sieve the rhetorics, but get the message if this country is in save hands — Democracy, Malaysian style.


P/S I gave a perspective on ZDNet Asia… pants down.


<!–

–>

November 15, 2007



Al-Jazeera… and after BERSIH




Last Saturday, Al-Jazeera English came under ZAM’s fire for not inviting government spokesman’s views for immediate response as the BERSIH Rally that took place November 10.


Is Al-Jazeera (editorially) ‘balanced’ as a news channel the way ZAM expected and practised it?


I was told that Al-Jazeera recorded this week’s episode of 101 East on November 10, with guests in the studio: de facto law minister Nazri Aziz, Khairy Jamaluddin (the Son-in-Law) and human rights lawyer, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar.


First run is on, tonight, Thursday (Nov 15) 10.30 local time over Astro Channel 513. The programme has Teymoor Nabili as the anchor.

ZAM offered, but declined


I was told that ZAM was offered to guest, but (perhaps with his English) he had turned it down.


The episode of East 101, if I am not wrong, discusses issues surrounding the BERSIH Rally and the need for political reform in Malaysia, which is a very interesting discussion that you won’t hear on local TV.


Will Nazri rise to the occasion and, again, deny there was any need for any institutional reform? Will he reprise the Umno mantra by saying, if people are unhappy they must make their feelings known through the ballot box?


Tune in to 101 East tonight and let us know your opinion. Also read Malik Imtiaz’s Disquiet and his readers’ responses to Two vs. One guest list..


I hope someone can YouTube it.


<!–

–>

November 12, 2007



BERSIH tops Technorati & YouTube




Malaysia’s Internet link to the overseas grid was severely jammed since yesterday evening, one day after the BERSIH rally and precisely when user-generated content began to feature the event across the cyberworld.


Internet cock-up last night


It generally doesn’t help whenever there is a “service upgrade” exercise on TM Net-Streamyx, there will be bound to have connectivity disruption. And it certainly doesn’t help when TM Net decided to “upgrade its service” in East Malaysia from November 10 through November 25, while we in Semenanjung are the ones who face the groan and grunt.


Friends who helped me monitor the cyber traffic jam told me that Malaysia-Today was inaccessible around midnight.


YouTube videos featuring the Al-Jazeera news bulletins on news breaking, which were syndicated through Screenshots, were inaccessible from 7.30pm last night.


UK-based Steven McDermott, who runs singabloodypore.rsfblog.org, told me that Screenshots was inaccessible in UK around 14:00hr GMT. He said my frontpage was able to load, but a window appeared, reading “IE cannot open this site http:// jeffooi.com operation aborted.”


“When I click on the OK botton, I get an IE error page,” he said.

“I am following the current protest online and I am aware that certain popular websites are being blocked by the authorities,” Steven added.


As at this morning, connection to YouTube at IP addresses 208.65.153.238, 208.65.153.251 and 208.65.153.253 had improved, but the round-trip still takes an average of 220ms, which shows considerable latency.


BERSIH_Ping-YouTube.jpg

Please beware that there may be constipated download experience — even on 1.5Mbps Streamyx — for the YouTube clips I — and Marina, too — had featured in the blogs.

Technorati & YouTube


Meanwhile, Technorati recorded a surge of the keyword search of ‘BERSIH’ over 24 hours across the November 10-11 period.


Blog posts mentioning BERSIH exceeded 160 per day during the material time, returning a total of 758 results on BERSIH.


BERSIH_Technorati.jpg

BERSIH_Technorati02.jpg


Assuming each blog receives an average 1,000 pageviews by conservative calculations, there would have been close to 800,000 pageviews on things BERSIH in the last 24 hours.


This is taking the extreme case that Screenshots recorded a spike of 24,600 pageviews and 21,000 unique visitors on Nov 10 alone. This is an unprecedented weekend traffic which usually hovers aound 5,000 pageviews on Saturdays and Sundays.


Thus, it may be an outright understatement to consider an average of 1,000 pageviews recorded on each of the 758 blog entries indexed by Technorati.


BERSIH_Screenshots.jpg

I believe, based on dynamic tracking, these had been the origins of visitors viewing updates on Screenshots (view Clustr-Maps for elaborations):


BERSIH_Clsutr-Map.jpg

For a Malaysia-centric weblog like Screenshots to gain international tracking, I believe there are Malaysians overseas who use this blog as a complementing source of information for them to get updated on happenings in their homeland. If ZAM did nothing to improve his outreach strategy, blogs and bloggers will outlast him to rule a few more days longer.


YouTube everywhere


Besides, Technorati also features the Top 20 YouTube videos on BERSIH, six of which were uploaded over the last 24 hours, namely.

1 ) Al-Jazeera Coverage on BERSIH Malaysia’s 10 Nov Rally uploaded by kdrajawali
2 )
Zainuddin at AlJazeera: BERSIH Rally for Electoral Reform by daulattuanku
3 )
Water cannons at Bersih Rally by jyneoh
4 )
AlJareeza: BERSIH Rally for Electoral Reform in KL, Malaysia by daulattuanku
5 )
Bersih succeeds in submitting memo to King by malaysiakini
6 )
FRU v Bersih @ Masjid Jamek by thaksan


This has been quite an unprecedented experience for people who believe in New Media, and want to pierce through the blackout by the mainstream media, which pretended as if nothing has happened.


On the global scale, losing to Al-Jazeera for not having a local team in Malaysia, CNN resorted to a slideshow of wire agency pictures to present the news. YouTube here.


On the other hand, BBC World correspondent Robin Brant, who newly replaced Jonathan Kent as the pointman in KL, provided a live cross-over backdropped against visuals supported by Reuters TV. YouTube here.


PayTV Astro Mandarin channel AEC/Bernama TV ran footages to recap the rally. The visuals showed images that largely did not make it into the local print media. YouTube here.


Ban YouTube, ZAM?


We will continue monitoring the connectivity problem to YouTube and other sites, with help from associates and networks around the world. Should there be any misbehavior in filtering the Internet content from within Malaysia, we will find out.


The fact is, this Abdullah Administration could have easily filtered and blocked YouTube using available technologies widely adopted by repressive regimes. But our ministers are saying we ain’t no Pakistan or Myanmar.


Beautiful.


UPDATES: One of the most touching pictures I have seen of the BERSIH rally is this of Amri, from Shah Alam. And I must blog about it.


BERSIH+Amri.jpg
Picture courtesy
Haris Ibrahim

Physically challenged on the leg, Amri bore responsibility on the shoulders. That’s Anak Bangsa Malaysia for you. Read Haris Ibrahim for details.


<!–

–>

November 11, 2007



Nov 10 and ZAM turned yellow




UPDATED VERSION: New YouTube included. This is the telephone interview — in crass English — Minister of Information ZAM gave to Al-Jazeera over the 5.00pm bulletin yesterday, moments after the BERSIH memo was delivered to Istana Negara.

BY POPULAR DEMAND: Here’s the transcript of the ZAM interview courtesy www.idlethink.com/bersih


The minister was asked to look at the visuals — This is democracy, Malaysian style — and to comment why weren’t the crowd dispersed peacefully, or why was the rally labelled illegal when it was the authority who refused to grant them a permit to assemble, democracy-speaking.


ZAM pressed on active denial mode, skirted the questions, argued with the TV Anchor, Laura, and vilified the Doha-owned satellite channel, live over Astro Channel 513 and live across the world.



It must have been too embarrassing for the Abdullah Administration to stomach that Astro removed (read: filtered; censored) the segment when it came on air again during the 6.00pm bulletin updates.


Later, Bernama helped ZAM with a context, timestamped 08:41pm, criticising the ‘Al-Jareeza attitude’ and for its ‘brand of journalism’.


I was made to understand that ZAM was offered another opportunity to refresh his statement, in its entirety during the 6.00pm Al-Jazeera bulletin, live, moments before the studio countdown.


However, ZAM didn’t take up the offer to improve himself.


I gave it a context after viewing the visuals of the 5.00pm bulletin showing ZAM’s outburst, and went on air with this wrap up during the 6.00pm updates, live from Al-Jazera studio.




UPDATES:
All those detailed had been released
according to Suaram.


This was reported by Sonia Randhawa in Facebook — Uphold the Malaysian Constitution. Reaffirm religious freedom — last night:


Urgent appeal: 10 November 2007

At least 20 arrested in peaceful rally for free and fair elections


At least 20 persons, including women, were reported to have been arrested during a peaceful rally this afternoon (10 November 2007) in Kuala Lumpur. They are currently being held at IPK Jalan Hang Tuah.


The rally calling for free and fair elections in Malaysia was organised by BERSIH, a coalition of over 70 civil society groups and political parties, including SUARAM. The organisers had applied for a police permit on 3 November 2007 but their application was rejected by the police.


The arbitrary arrests by the police during the rally is a gross violation of Article 10 of the Federal Constitution, which is the highest law in the country, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).


Despite the fact that the organisers have given assurances that it will take all measures to ensure peace and public order, the police still attempted to stop the rally even before it even started by setting up roadblocks in several locations near the venue and arrested 20 persons who were merely exercising their Constitutional rights to demand for free and fair elections.


So far, 15 names of those arrested have been obtained. They are:


1. Salleh Puteh (Male)


2. Anuar Abdul Ghani (Male)


3. Muhammad Haji Yaakub (Male)


4. Mariel Fong (Female)


5. Hasnah Hashim (Female)


6. Raja Salim (Male)


7. Asri (Male)


8. Mohd. Afrarouk Hussin (Male)


9. Daud Samad (Male)


10. Yahya Mohd Nor (Male)


11. Wan Zulkifli (Male)


12. Mohd. Mohd. Awu (Male)


13. Zainal Abidin Haji Abdullah (Male)


14. Elias Raja Daud Raja Abdullah (Male)


15. Mohd Ehsan Mokhtar (Male)


Actions needed


Please send letters to the Prime Minister and the Inspector-General of Police to register your strongest condemnation towards the utter disrespect for Malaysians’ fundamental rights to freedom of assembly and to demand for the release of all those arrested.


Your letters should be sent to:


1. Tan Sri Musa Hassan
Inspector-General of Police
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia
Bukit Aman
50560 Kuala Lumpur.


Tel: +603 2262 6222
Fax: +603 2273 9602


2. Dato’ Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi
Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Security
Prime Minister’s Office Malaysia
Perdana Putra Building,
Federal Government Administrative Centre,
62502 PUTRAJAYA,
Selangor, Malaysia.
Tel: + 60 3 8888 6000
Fax: + 60 3 8888 3444


Cc:


1. Ibu Pejabat Polis Kontinjen Kuala Lumpur


Polis Diraja Malaysia


Jalan Hang Tuah


51100 Kuala Lumpur


Tel: 03-21460522, 03-2485522


Faks: 03-20726786


CPO: Datuk Zul Hasnan Najib Baharudin


2. Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM)


Tingkat 29, Menara Tun Razak Jalan Raja Laut 50350Kuala Lumpur.Tel: 03-26125600


Fax: 03-26125620


Chaiman: Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman


3. Attorney General of Malaysia. Aras 1-8, Block C3, Parcel C Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan 62512 PutrajayaTel: 03-88855000


Fax: 03-88889378


Email: ag@agc.gov.my


AG of Malaysia: Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail



SAMPLE LETTER


[Letterhead of organisation]


10 November 2007


Tan Sri Musa Hassan
Inspector-General of Police
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia
Bukit Aman
50560 Kuala Lumpur.


Tel: +603 2262 6222
Fax: +603 2273 9602


Dear Sir,


Peaceful demonstrators arbitrarily and unlawfully arrested by police; release them immediately


We are writing to you to register our strongest condemnation and protest against the arbitrary and unlawful arrests of at least 20 citizens who were participating in a peaceful rally in Dataran Merdeka this afternoon (10 November 2007).


So far, 15 names of those arrested have been obtained. They are:


1. Salleh Puteh (Male)


2. Anuar Abdul Ghani (Male)


3. Muhammad Haji Yaakub (Male)


4. Mariel Fong (Female)


5. Hasnah Hashim (Female)


6. Raja Salim (Male)


7. Asri (Male)


8. Mohd. Afrarouk Hussin (Male)


9. Daud Samad (Male)


10. Yahya Mohd Nor (Male)


11. Wan Zulkifli (Male)


12. Mohd. Mohd. Awu (Male)


13. Zainal Abidin Haji Abdullah (Male)


14. Elias Raja Daud Raja Abdullah (Male)


15. Mohd Ehsan Mokhtar (Male)


The arbitrary arrests by the police during the rally is a gross violation of Article 10 of the Federal Constitution, which is the highest law in the country, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).


Despite the fact that the organisers have given assurances that it will take all measures to ensure peace and public order, the police still attempted to stop the rally even before it even started by setting up roadblocks in several locations near the venue and arrested at least 20 peaceful demonstrators who were merely exercising their Constitutional rights to demand for free and fair elections.


With such a blatant disregard for its own citizens’ fundamental rights, we question the legitimacy of Malaysia as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council.


We therefore demand that all those arrested by the police be released immediately.


Thank you for your attention.


Sincerely yours,


[Name]


CC:


Dato’ Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi
Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Security
Prime Minister’s Office Malaysia
Perdana Putra Building,
Federal Government Administrative Centre,
62502 PUTRAJAYA,
Selangor, Malaysia.
Tel: + 60 3 8888 6000
Fax: + 60 3 8888 3444


Ibu Pejabat Polis Kontinjen Kuala Lumpur


Polis Diraja Malaysia


Jalan Hang Tuah


51100 Kuala Lumpur


Tel: 03-21460522, 03-2485522


Faks: 03-20726786


CPO: Datuk Zul Hasnan Najib Baharudin


Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM)


Tingkat 29, Menara Tun Razak Jalan Raja Laut 50350Kuala Lumpur.Tel: 03-26125600


Fax: 03-26125620


Chaiman: Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman


Attorney General of Malaysia. Aras 1-8, Block C3, Parcel C Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan 62512 PutrajayaTel: 03-88855000


Fax: 03-88889378


Email: ag@agc.gov.my


AG of Malaysia: Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail



<!–

–>


Nov 10: How they painted it yellow




UPDATED VERSION. Road closures and blockades of entrances into the city? With three helicopters hovering over metro KL, the Police must now be wondering how did the 40,000 plus people break the cordon, decentralise and regroup effortlessly to reach the Istana by as early as 3.00pm, the start time scheduled for the march?


On hindsight, it must have been a cat-and-mouse game right from the start.


BERSIH_Route.jpg
The Route… Graphics courtesy
Malaysiakini

Organisers of the BERSIH rally had no qualms in announcing the four gathering points — Sogo department store, Masjid India, Masjid Negara and Pasar Seni — for the march to begin from Dataran Merdeka to Istana Negara. It now looks like a red herring to divert police deployment of force.


By 2.30pm. Tian Chua, leading a crowd of about 500 at Pasar Tani, marched to Dataran Merdeka only to be blockaded by the FRU and police personnel stationed in front of the Bar Council building, Jalan Pasar Besar.


BERSIH_Tian-Chua_09.jpg
Picture courtesy Malaysiakini

Verbal exchanges ensued, with wheelchair-bound Irene Fernandez of Tenaganita adding spice to the verbal volleys (pictures below, courtesy Malaysiakini).


Unit-Amal07.jpg Unit-Amal06.jpg

A kilometer away, Dr Hatta Ramli engaged another police blockade, and verbal exchanges ensued with some physical contacts and minor skirmishes reported. Elsewhere in Masjid Jamek and Masjid India areas, some BERSIH rally participants, particularly those in yellow shirts, were detained and later released (Read AP/IHT).


Somewhere nearer, aroud Majid Jamek, where the LRT bypassed the station without making a usual halt at Pasar Tani, drama ensued before the rain poured.


Unit-Amal04.jpg

That’s the very spot where Al-Jazeera correspondent Hamish MacDonald was doused in the chemical-laced waterjets.



Meanwhile, another group led by Ustaz Hadi Awang (enroute from Pasar Tani) and Nasharuddin Mat Isa, coming from Masjid Negara and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, weaved through the alleys connecting the Dayabumi basement carpark and made their way to the Istana.


Unit-Amal03.jpg

By then, Lim Kit Siang, Lim Guan Eng, Khalid Ibrahim and Kamaruddin Jaafar had waited patiently at the gate of the palace. The crowd, some meandering through Jalan Kampung Attap, had swollen to over 40,000, congregating behind the police condone some 200 meters away from the palace.


Police back-up were ordered, with truckloads of uniformed enforcers rushing to the spot. Traffic personnel were seen directing the crowd to cross the road safely.


The leaders appealed for more time when Brickfields OCPD Sulaiman Junaidi threatened to use force to disperse the crowd. Khalid Ibrahim asked for five more minutes as the memo was in the hand of Anwar Ibrahim and PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who were caught in the snarling traffic, an outcome of police blockades mounted on the perimeters of the city.


Finally, Anwar arrived on the pillion seat of a big bike.


Unit-Amal02.jpg

The delegation was, however, prevented from entering the palace compound. Minutes later, the memo was ultimately delivered at the gate, received by an Agong’s secretary.


The crowd dispersed peacefully, in much the same way they had walk from the starting point of the route.


Unit Amal Malaysia


Obviously, the organisers had learned their lesson well from the Batu Buruk Incident, where agent provocateurs had induced a pandemonium that ended with live bullets being fired at the civilians by the police.

The unsung heroes were the brigade in maroon, the
Unit Amal Malaysia, organised by PAS. This is the same group of youths who gave me a motorcycle ride from Taman Melewar to the Markaz Tarbiyah PAS Pusat in Gombak when I attended the Hari Raya Open House recently.


Unit-Amal01.jpg

They were there to maintain crowd discipline, to detect agent provocateurs, and to clear up the rubbish after the rally was over (picturea below, courtesy Malaysiakini).


BERSIH_Mkini15.jpg

Unit-Amal05.jpgNo peaceful demonstrations?


Last but not least, the presence of the Bar Council team of monitors, comprising some 40 voluntary lawyers and law students, had provided sufficient deterrent to prevent the peace rally from being hijacked into a ruckus.


There had never been peaceful demonstrations, the PM said?


Several of our brethren were seen saying their doa outside the Masjid Negara before the BERSIH memo was successfully delivered.


BERSIH_Mkini24.jpg
Picture courtesy Malaysiakini

Traffic jams in mainstream media


Meanwhile, this is how the two English dailies picked up and presented the news:


The Star

Headline: Road closures, checks cause massive jams in Klang Valley


Opening para:: Several roads in the city centre were temporarily closed, resulting in massive traffic jams in the Klang Valley yesterday.



The NST:

Headline: Illegal gathering causes traffic chaos in city


Opening para: A crowd of about 4,000 gathered for an illegal march close to Dataran Merdeka yesterday, causing massive traffic jams across the city.



In contrast to local media in Malaysia, there are now over 145 items in the global media indexed by Google News.


I could only feel aghast as we are a generation accultured in the era of old school journalism where media is supposed to report history as it unfolds and chronicled by their journalists. When had the media started to go with the version proffered by the politicians or their machineries, including the police, unquestioned?


‘Trapping the Agong’


UPDATES: PM Abdullah Badawi today said the BERSIH rally was an attempt to “trap” the Yang DiPertuan Agong and to drag royalty into politics.


He also made an oblique reminder to the Agong. Quote Star Online:

“I believe the King is mature, and the royalty will not be trapped into their (the opposition’s) politics,” he said after opening the 22nd Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) congress here on Sunday.


A Sunday dispatch by AFP quoted Parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang as Lim ridiculing the police chief, Musa Hassan, for claiming that only 4,000 people attended the rally, and criticising the government for what he said was an order to the media not to cover the event.


“No newspaper dared to publish photographs of the mammoth peaceful gathering, which was a tribute to Malaysians for their love of peace and commitment to democracy,” Kit Siang said.


In the same AFP story, leading human rights group Suaram said that up to 40 people were arrested, far from the figure of 245 given by police. Quote:

“They are trying to portray an image of the gathering being unruly and chaotic and that’s why they had to arrest 245 people, which is not true at all,” said Suaram executive director Yap Swee Seng.


“Seven people were injured by the police and one suffered a severe injury,” he added. “One person said he was handcuffed and had already fallen to the ground when he was kicked in the head.”




All pictures courtesy HarakahDaily.net, unless stated otherwise.


<!–

–>

November 10, 2007



PAINT IT YELLOW




UPDATES: The BERSIH memo was successfully submitted to the Istana around 4.00pm today, cheered on by about 40,000 people who braved the rain, and the police’s water cannons and tear gas, to accomplish the delivery.


There had never been peaceful demonstrations, the PM said? Today, the crowd marched and dispersed after the submission of memo, peacefully.


BERSIH_Harakah.jpg
Picture courtesy
Harakahdaily.net

mkinitv_client(“bersih03_1011.wmv”);

SOURCE: Malaysiakini.tv

Active denial mode


Incidentally, the BERSIH rally remained top news of the hour, every hour, since 3.00pm on Al-Jazeera International today.


I was in the Al-Jazeera studio to give live commentaries during the 3.00pm, 4.00pm and 6.00pm bulletins over Astro Channel 513. There will be a live crossover with Anwar Ibrahim during the 8.00pm prime time news tonight.


There are visuals that show Al-Jazeera correspondent getting doused in the chemical-laced waterjets the Police shot at the crowd.


The Minister of Information was caught rattling mindless criticism at the Doha-based satellite channel when was interviewed over the phone during the 5.00pm bulletin. It was active denial mode that shook many heads in the newsroom, and Astro deemed it fit to have it removed when the edited version was on air again at 6.00pm.


Here’s the 3.00pm bulletin, and the post-rally Interview with Anwar Ibrahim courtesy a Screenshots reader.




Now, contrast it with RTM prime time news, the versions reported by ntv7, and TV3, another two free-to-air TV stations owned by Umno-linked company.


BBC’s new pointman in KL, Robin Brant, and CNN International each has a report in addition to other global media chronicling the event. Read them comparatively to judge for yourselves how history took place and was reported locally and by foreign media, respectively.


Minaq-Jinggo has a set of 54 pictures of the rally.


ORIGINAL POST
BERSIH_In-Solidarity.gif

LATEST from Bar Council: ( 1 ) Bar’s team of monitors consists of 40 lawyers, pupils and law students identified by tags and arm bands and court attire. ( 2 ) Function is purely to document and monitor, adopting a non-interventionist approach. ( 3 ) There is another urgent arrest team which may or may not consist of lawyers monitoring the rally.


ALERT: Try to catch Al-Jazeera news bulletin from 3.00pm, and recaps thereafter. The station is tracking the rally and some independent opinions from Kuala Lumpur will be telecast.


Malaysiakini: Abdullah vows to crack down on BERSIH rally

mkinitv_client(“PakLah_Umno_FinalPC_0911.wmv”);
SOURCE: Malaysiakini.tv



.


SMS ALERTS FROM READERS:

11:40hr: Federal Highway road block at PJ. Complete check by police. They check 100%.
11:41hr: As at 11.30am, buses & trains still reaching Dayabumi
11:54hr: Can’t get into KL. All roads closed.
12:04hr: Road blocks along Old Klang Road


Satellite Image of Dataran Merdeka at the Jalan Tun Perak – Jalan Raja intersection as at 12:08hr


DATARAN_1207hr.jpg
SOURCE:
Urban Transportation Department, Kuala Lumpur City Hall


Previous last posting in Screenshots


<!–

–>

November 09, 2007



BERSIH Rally: Bar Council makes a point




There are obvious attempts to prevent Malaysian citizens from submitting a memo on reforms of electoral system to the Agong. Why?


BERSIH_targets_25250.jpgHow has the Bar Council responded to the warning by Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan?


Through Bernama yesterday, IGP Musa reminded members of the public not to attend the gathering planned for Saturday at the Dataran Merdeka.


The IGP was quoted as saying that the rally, organised by Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH), is capable of creating chaos and disturbing public order.


He also said the proposed gathering did not have a permit, and police would not hesitate to take stern action to break up the assembly.


Musa said police were doubtful of the real objective of the rally, and claims it would be a peaceful gathering. Reasons? Quote:

“This is because they (the organisers) are found to have announced the gathering widely, whether at ceramah functions, forums, via SMSes, websites, through the distribution of handbills and so on for the past few months,” he said in a statement Thursday.


At the same time, he said, they had also issued tips to members of the public on how to face the police in the websites.



Screenshots contacted Edmond Bon, chairperson of the Bar Council Human Rights Committee for an official statement. Here it is:

The points made by the IGP are noted. They have been made before.


Nevertheless, we have participated and witnessed many assemblies in the country which were planned, and turned out to be peaceful. The last major one of course was the Bar’s Walk for Justice. A common thread in these assemblies has been the commendable, non-interventionist approach taken by the police, Special Branch and FRU.


At the other spectrum, we have seen for example at the KESAS highway and KLCC incidents (both the subject of public inquiries by SUHAKAM) how the authorities have exercised some force in dispersing the crowds, in addition to accounts alleging the involvement of Special Branch involvement in inciting disorder. Not to forget the peaceful protests against the Myanmar government which saw participation by both government and opposition representatives.


It therefore calls on one to be more nuanced in discussing similar events, and issuing threats would be less helpful than constructively facilitating assembly rights. Consistent with international human rights law and the state practices of many countries, it also demands that a gradual mindset change be effected in Malaysia by looking to the authorities to assist rather than to impede the exercise of our rights.


The Bar and SUHAKAM oppose the necessity for police permits to assemble, and this position is the way forward if Malaysia is to become a developed nation by 2020.


Edmund Bon



Meanwhile BERSIH is set to go ahead with the 2-hour rally tomorrow.


High-powered delegation to submit BERSIH memo


A delegation of political and civil society leaders has been identified to submit a memorandum from BERSIH to the Agong’s representative at the end of the rally tomorrow.


The team will comprise of PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, DAP leader Lim Kit Siang, PAS secretary-general Kamaruddin Jaffar, MTUC president Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud, DAP publicity secretary of DAP Teresa Kok, Writers Alliance for Media Independence chairperson Wong Chin Huat, one representative each from student groups Gamis, SMM, Dema, Centre for Independent Journalism executive director V Gayathry, Women’s Development Collective executive director Maria Chin Abdullah and Penggerak Demokrasi Rakyat coordinator Anuar Tahir.


Opposition heavyweights, such as PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang are slated to attend the rally and procession.


In a late development today, BERSIH issued a statement informing the public to gather at four locations in the city should the designated venue, Dataran Merdeka, be sealed off by the police.


“The four meeting points are the Sogo department store, Masjid India, Masjid Negara and Pasar Seni (Central Market),” said BERSIH committee member Tian Chua.


BERSIH gives point-by-point rebuttal to police


Yesterday, BERSIH submitted an appeal to Kuala Lumpur chief police officer Zulhasnan Najib Baharuddin after its application for a permit for tomorrow’s rally was rejected earlier this week.


Three members of the organising committee signed the appeal, namely coordinator of activist group ‘Penggerak Demokrasi Rakyat’ Anuar Tahir, PKR vice-president R Sivarasa, and DAP’s chief election strategist Liew Chin Tong –


(Read related Malaysiakini story here.)


Media blackout ordered


Meanwhile, Fear Factor has been again invoked to thwart the rally that calls for reform of the electoral system.


According to Malaysiakini, the print media has been instructed by the government not to carry any statements issued by Bersih on the rally or to highlight the event.


Industry sources quoted by Malaysiakini said they are only allowed to run the authorities’ side of the story.


Several video montages of violent demonstrations worldwide, including the recent riot in Batu Buruk in Terengganu, have been played repeatedly on RTM1 and RTM2 over the week.


One such clip ends with the grim message, “demonstrations will only bring violence”, Malaysiakini said.


Response from international human rights group


Meanwhile, international human rights group, the New York-based Human Rights Watch, has called on Malaysian police to allow the BERSIH public rally tomorrow.


“The grounds for refusing the rally are nonsense,” said Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch.


“If Malaysia wants to count itself a democracy, it can begin by upholding constitutional guarantees of free speech and assembly,” he said. “The way the system works now, only the ruling coalition can get its messages out.”


“Organisers of the BERSIH rally only want to create a level-playing field for all in the coming elections, yet they are being denied the basic right of expressing their concerns in a peaceful demonstration,” said Adams.


He lamented that while Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has claimed to be a reformer, “but when it comes to holding onto power, he and his Umno party make one set of rules for themselves and another for everyone else”.


Internet references you can’t get in the mainstream media: From Anwar Ibrahim, Dewan Pemuda PAS Wilayah Persekutian and:MP Teresa Kok.


From Malaysiakini

Bersih gives point-by-point rebuttal to police
Fauwaz Abdul Aziz
Nov 9, 07 1:32pm


Poll watchdog coalition Bersih submitted an appeal to Kuala Lumpur chief police officer Zulhasnan Najib Baharuddin yesterday after its application for a permit for tomorrow’s rally for electoral reform was rejected earlier this week.


The reasons for the rejection were stated by Dang Wangi district police chief Mohd Zulkarnain Abdul Rahman in a letter received by Bersih on Wednesday.


Three members of the organising committee – co-ordinator of activist group ‘Penggerak Demokrasi Rakyat’ Anuar Tahir, PKR vice-president R Sivarasa, and DAP’s chief election strategist Liew Chin Tong – signed the appeal.


In response to Zulkarnain’s contention that Bersih is not a registered organisation, Bersih clarified to Zulhasnan (right) in a letter despatched the following day, that it was a coalition of 67 registered organisations and five political parties.


Dataran a public place


To ensure this does not become grounds for rejection, duly registered political party PKR, a member of Bersih, had stepped in as the endorser of the application for the permit, reads the letter.


Countering Zulkarnain’s statement that no approval had been issued by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) for the use of Dataran Merdeka, Bersih said the square was a public place that cannot be equated with a building or hall owned by DBKL, thereby necessitating its permission.


DBKL has, however, been informed of the rally, it added.


The letter also pointed out that Dataran Merdeka was only a transit place for participants of the gathering before they proceed to Istana Negara to submit a memorandum on free and clean elections.


To Zulkarnain’s statement that another event was slated to take place at Dataran Merdeka at 4.30pm, Bersih said their gathering would already have dispersed by that time and therefore would not be a hindrance.


Zulkarnain had also claimed the police have information that certain quarters would take the opportunity to disturb peace and public order or threaten the safety of civilians.


To this, Bersih reiterated its assurance that it would ensure all participants gather and march in an orderly and peaceful manner.


“We welcome the presence in reasonable numbers of uniformed police to be with us from a distance as we march from Dataran Merdeka to Istana Negara.


“If there are any groups causing a disturbance, we regard as the responsibility of the police to control the situation and ensure that such individuals or groups are arrested to prevent any untoward incident.


“If the police have any information on hand regarding such groups, the police should give us their names and identities and warn them that the police will act in the event they commit violence and cause a disturbance.”


Human rights aspect


Bersih also dismissed Zulkarnain’s claim that the rally would hinder traffic movement.


“It is evident that in any gathering and procession, whether medium-sized or small, will affect traffic. If this is used as an excuse, it will eliminate the right to assemble…


“Disturbances to traffic flow can be reduced and this requires the co-operation of traffic police as shown in most large processions outside our country.


“We appeal that you see this from the aspect of human rights by which members of the public have the right to assemble and to freedom of speech. This issue is among the foundations of this country’s democratic practices and its political future.


“If there is no reform of the elections system, the people of this country will lose their faith in the political system and this will lead to dire consequences.


“We hope the police can decide professionally and not be partisan to any quarter. In the event of failure, the image of the police will be affected and it will be seen as a tool of the ruling parties.”


<!–

–>

November 08, 2007



Happy Deepavali




Let there be light to triumph over darkness. Let the good defeat the evil.


Happy Deepavsli.


(I was told Abdullah Badawi’s presidential speech at the Umno AGM yesterday was “blacked out” by all the mainstream newspapers — except Utusan Malaysia and Oriental Daily News — today.


The newspapers take a respite as it’s Deepavali. Umno’s internal planners must have sabotaged their chief..


Let me wish my Indian brother who delivers my newspapers another round of Happy Deepavali.)


<!–

–>

November 07, 2007



‘Ganyang Malaysia; Selamatkan Siti Nurhaliza’




I am glad my Indonesian friends still take me as their brother as we partook to dangdut concert and keroncong performance to unwind.


Dangdut_06112007027.jpg
Puriwisata… Cameraphone picture taken with Nokia N95

Omah-Dhuwur_0017.jpgOmah Dhuwur Restaurant... Low-light on Nikon D200


Furore over Malaysia’s claims to several Indonesian songs as our own, and used them in Tourism Malaysia’s international roadshows without giving credit to the auteurs, has reached a new pitch in Jakarta and Sumatra.


First it was Jali Jali, a Betawi folk song with which the late Sudirman sang his way to stardom at the Bintang RTM preliminaries. Subsequently, Rasa Sayang(e), a song from Maluku, equally aroused the angst of our friends in Indonesia for having ‘hijacked’ the song to promote Malaysia as being ‘truly Asia’.


But taking away their songs without giving due credit, they feel that Malaysia is ridiculing their country and culture. It’s an impregnated feelings that few can hide.


Another song hijacked


The latest controversy was over another folk song from west Sumatra, titled Indiang Sungai Garinggiang.


It has been alleged that Tourism Malaysia had used the song as accompaniment for a dance routine at the Festival Asia 2007 recently held in Osaka, Japan, to portray Malaysia’s official art theme, Cinta Sayang.


Indonesian media disclosed that the western Sumatra song was originally composed by Tiar Ramon from Sumbar, in 1981. In fact, the song made its debut at no less a religious function than the opening of the national level of Musabaqah Tilawatil Quran in Padang, Sumatra, in 1983.


Media reports said Indonesia’s Counsel-General in Osaka, Pitono Purnomo, had written to the director of Tourism Malaysia, Azhari Haron, to lodge a protest. Thus far, it was said that Malaysia had offered a no-reply reply.


Indonesian press described Tourism Malaysia’s silence as a rebuke and started to link it to the recent incident where a diplomat’s wife was ill-treated as a n illegal immigrant.


The online portal of the REPUBLIKA newspaper ran an opinion poll on the whole shebang of impropriety on the part of Malaysia, and culminated with a summary on November 5: Bila jiran meremehkan kita (when neighbour ridicules us).


A reader who participated in the poll said: “Only cultured neighbours would appreciate a neighbour’s culture..”


Based on a sampling of 1,297 respondents (Nazri will certainly call this a minority for a country with 235 million people), the poll indicated the Indonesians’ rationale for having an uncultured neighbour in Malaysia:
– 40.9% said Malaysia has ridiculed Indonesia
– 20.5% said Malaysia is arrogant
– 15.6% said Malaysia is having the ‘Negara Kaya Baru’ syndrome
– 12.2% said Malaysia does not respect its neighbours
– 10.9% said Malaysia acted appropriately


While some readers had written to REPUBLIKA urging Indonesian authority to take hardline approach against Malaysia, I am mindful that friends of mine who hosted me to dangdut concert and Javanese traditional cuisines do say a different thing:

Ganyang Malaysia, selamatkan Siti Nurhaliza.
(Crush Malaysia, but save Siti Nurhaliza)


In my whirlwind visit I heard close whispers, Not that the Indonesians adore our Siti Nurhaliza, it goes many layers beyond to say who the cultured neighbours among us are.


<!–

–>

November 06, 2007



Indonesia: ‘Islamic State not part of Quran’




Here’s a heads-up for the Abdullahs and Najibs who sought political posturing out of the unconstitutional proclamation of Islamic State in Malaysia. The world’s largest Muslim contingent outside Arabia has a new definition.


The idea of the Islamic state, or Caliphate, has no basis in the Quran, or the Hadis (the sayings and deeds of Prophet Muhammad), announced Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the influential Indonesian Muslim association, on Sunday.


The statement was made by the Bathsul Masail (problem deliberation) Commission on the last day of the conference of the East Java chapter of Nahdlatul Ulama on Sunday. The story was the frontpage lead on Jakarta Post yesterday.


Significantly, the Commission made the statement after thoroughly reviewing the Quran and Hadis, along with other texts, including Attasyri’ al-Jina’i Al Islami, al-Qoish al-Hami’ al-Asyarqi Jam’il Jawami’, Ad Din Watdaulah watadbikis Syari’ah, and al-fiqkul Islami.


It said that while the discourse on an Islamic state has become increasingly popular among the nation’s intellectuals and the general public, it found no nas (argument and reasoning) in the books that provided the idea of an Islamic state with a textual ground. It said the books also said nothing about an Islamic state being a necessity.


“The Khilafah state therefore is a form of ijtihadiyyah (interpretation),” said the head of the Commission’s formulating team, Murtadho Ghoni.


Consequently, any effort to replace the country’s Unitary State system with an Islamic one was prohibited, particularly when such efforts would bring more problems to the nation, the Commission said.


Food for thought. I have kept the print edition of Jakarta Post for future reference.


<!–

–>

November 05, 2007



Terry Fox Run 2007




Twenty one photographers from LensaMalaysia turned up for the charity shoot of Terry Fox Run yesterday. Some of my pictures.


TFR07_JO_0088x600.jpg

TFR07_JO_0274x600.jpg


TFR07_JO_0119.x600jpg.jpg


TFR07_JO_0299x600.jpg
All LensaPress photos by Jeff Ooi


More pictures are available on LensaMalaysia Forum. We should applaud the organisers, sponsors and participants for the good deeds in raising fund for cancer research. See you next year.


<!–

–>

November 03, 2007



Leslie Lau, for Umno…




Quiting Singapore Straits Times to run his own (corporate?) communications company, Leslie Lau finds time to write political commentaries for TODAY, a Singapore domain used to be dominated in the same paper by Malaysian Oon Yeoh since 2003.


Lau’s first piece is for Umno.


Leslie-Lau_20071103.gif
Click for
PDF here

His quotes are from the generation of Hishamuddin Hussein, the Son-in-Law, Abdullah Rahman Dahlan and Shabery Chik under patriarch Abdullah — that is poised to replace all the Umno old hacks.


Reading Oon Yeoh for years, I believe he would concur with Lau that this year’s Umno AGM would be a tame affair as general election is drawing near.


While Lau paints Umno as being moderate, I am also quite Yeoh would paint it as Umno being hypocritical.


What Yeoh would like do would be to juxtapose the Son-in-Law’s speechess last year with his so-called moderate tone this year — and highlight the hypocrisy.


The pattern has become an obvious trademark for all to see. Once you staccato by one year being racist and being moderate the other, it makes you a fake.


Go and do haj


Just yesterday, TODAY used an NST commentary by Ramlan said and Abdul Razak Ahmad. The pungent parting-shot was hardly a Leslie-stereotype. They quoted one Umno dirty joke about some aspiring candidates who had deferred their plans for pilgrimage to Mecca due to fears of a possible early general election.


“My advice to them is to go and perform their haj, which should be more important,” said Alwi Che Mat, an Umno state information chief.


<!–

–>

November 02, 2007



ING de-lists Sunway and Pantai Medical Centres




Expensive private hospitals by layman’s standard — Sunway Medical Centre in Bandar Sunway and Pantai Medical Centre in Bangsar — were recently de-listed by ING Insurance Bhd from its panel of ‘managed care organisation’ (MCO) network of hospitals and specialists.


ING, headquartered in the Netherlands, has about one million corporate employees and retail members as its policy holders in Malaysia.


Are the private hospitals and their specialists charging too exorbitantly, or is the insurer cutting corners? Or is it plain dispute over discounts the MCO must give to ING and its clients? Read the story in Malaysiakini.


<!–

–>


Jaga BERSIH




Just a word of caution to the leaders marshalling the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH).


bersih-logo-very-small.thumbnail.jpgIt appears that BERSIH’s November 10 Rally is being spun as a Parti Keadilan Rakyat event, so as to paint the party with a broadstroke, smearing it as street-fighting rowdies of the reformasi days, or instigators of the bloody Batu Buruk Incident.


We need to correct this. Wrong perception may allow the authorities to justify their actions later.


BERSIH is a congregation of 26 NGOs and 5 Opposition political parties from Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak. People must know that.


We must tell the people that wearing of yellow on November 10 indicates the solidarity towards the common cause: We are all for a free and fair electoral system that commensurates with democracy.


Alert Amnesty International to present themselves for a live witness, if necessary.


<!–

–>


Retreat. Retreat not.




The Abdullah Administration is in retreat mode and tacitly avoided a constitutional crisis triggered by appointments in the Judicial system, at least for now.


The Abdullah Administration also scored a first as this is the first time the country was left without a Chief Justice after the incumbent retired two days ago.


Court of Appeal president Abdul Hamid Mohamad is now acting Chief Justice in place of Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim who retired upon age 66, a mandatory requirement in the Judiciary system.


The latter went down in history as one of the rare few CJ’s who didn’t get a 6-month extension upon retirement subject to application to and acceptance by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.


Singapore Straits Times believed that the Abdullah Administration did not have the time to prepare submitting an alternative candidate for the CJ’s post, given that it had expected an extension of Ahmad Fairuz’s term.


Don’t let up


One important point, though. Abdul Hamid is now 65. Even if he got confirmed as CJ, his tenure will expire April 18, 2008. That’s the narrow window of slightly 5 months before someone else — potentially Zaki Azmi, 62 — takes over.


Bar Council shouldn’t retreat.


You should make full use of these five-and-a-half-months to institute ( 1 ) a judicial appointments commission for the appointment and promotion of judges; ( 2 ) a royal commission of inquiry to examine the claims made in the Lingam Tape, as well as the present state of the judiciary.


Lawyers, and fellow Malaysians, YOU MUSTN’T RETREAT from where we had walked.


<!–

–>


FYI, Dr Halim Shafie




Dear Dr Halim


Are our SMS External Content Providers in the pink of health?


Two questions:

1 ) Aging trade receivables;
2 ) Retreating revenue from Malaysian market.


Let’s take a look at five SMS ECP companies traded on Bursa Malaysia, and zero in on the two questions I mentioned above.


Ask this: Assuming all things in market environment being equal for all players, why are some companies laden with trade receivables aging to as high as from 7 months 10 months (Nextnation), while others had them reduced from 10 months to four months (MNC Wireless), juxtaposed against a best-in-industry standard at 2.x months (M-Mode).


I understand you were too busy and even missed some Hari Raya parties. You were not at Lim Kim Seng’s party, were you?


So I helped you with some comparative studies of our public-listed ECPs which each has some form of modestic and overseas activities, just to help you read the tea leaves. Hope you make the best of it.


1 ) Nextnation Communications Berhad (NEXTNAT, 0096)


NN_3Q-2007a600.gif

2 ) MTouche Technology Berhad (MTOUCHE, 0092)


MTouche_3Q2007.gif

3 ) MNC Wireless Berhad (MNC, 0103)


MNC-Wireless_3Q2007.gif

4 ) AKN Messaging technologies Berhad (AKNMTECH, 0017)


AKNTech_3Q2007.gif
N.B. It’s not known if the net loss of RM6.06 million for the last quarter was a result of writing off some aging receivables to keep abreast with the industry’s maximum standard for account receivables

5 ) M-Mode Berhad (MMODE, 0059)


MMode_3q2007.gif
SOURCES: Disclosures to Bursa Malaysia

Financial information about repeat offender Macro Kiosk — identified and fined repeatedly by the MCMC — is not available for the comparative study as it is not listed on Bursa Malaysia.


Goldis.jpgWe hope the parent company Goldis Berhad, which is listed on the bourse, could volunteer further disclosures on its subsidiary‘s track record with MCMC. Lei Cheng, I hope you hear me?


On the other hand, all the other five public listed companies, mentioned above, are ASP(C) licensees registered with the industry regulator, MCMC. Several were listed as repeat offenders of the industry guidelines governing SMS external content providers.


Halim has to tell us, with no upheaval happening in the macro and micro economics of the country, why of these ECPs some seeing retreating revenues ONLY after the SMS Scam was exposed, while others maintain steady income?


What did you make up from the declared net profit, quarter by quarter in the last three? Get your Head of Industry Monitoring (or whatever new designation) to give you a debrief. Kick his ass if he can’t.


Read this blog entry for context.


Wasalam


JEFF OOI
Concerned Maxis mobile user who had been scammed and money not refunded


<!–

–>

November 01, 2007



NextNation… Next station?




I observed more than 13 million share were traded on the NextNation Communication counter on Mesdaq (NEXTNAT 0096) in the morning session today..


Live-Quote_NN_20071101x600.gif
Click image for a larger view

UPDATES: End-day transaction on Nextnation counter was in excess of 25 million shares traded


Live-Quote_NN_20071101(b)x6.gif
Click image for a larger view

This came soon after a statement — with very skimpy details — was released to Bursa Malaysia on October 30 from the company identified by MCMC as repeat offenders in the SMS external content provider scandal.


‘Profitable overseas operations’


I am asking myself: Is this to hype or push the share market?


The Oct 30 statement to Bursa Malaysia stated that Nextnation Communication Group has been enjoying business success in Malaysia and other overseas markets, “such as Thailand, China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and in the Middle East into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon”.


The statement said, during the year ended 30 April 2007, the Group recorded a total revenue of RM100.3 million, which is a 49% increase over the 2006 revenue.


“In the Annual General Meeting held today, Nextnation’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. PY Tey (picture left) said that this is largely a result of the favourable global telecommunications environment and the expansion in Nextnation’s overseas operations,” the statement said.


The Group declared a net profit of RM16.9 million, a marginal improvement over that of previous year at RM16.7 million. Tey attributed it to the startup cost for expansion in their overseas operations, higher operating expenses, system upgrades and improvement, and allowance for doubtful debts.


The Group also declared that “some of the overseas operation should be turning round the corner after the end of their gestation periods and together with the system upgrades”. The Group also said it expected to generate more revenue in the coming year.


Financial performance tracked


As Nextnation Communication is listed on Mesdaq, it is required to make voluntary disclosure to the bourse as a mandatory requirement for corporate good governance for public listed companies.


This is where and how information about the company’s financial performance is tacked, monitored and compiled by Screenshots in the last three quarters.


NN_3Q-2007a600.gif
SOURCES: Disclosures to Bursa Malaysia

From the published data gathered from Bursa Malaysia, Nextnation’s sales in Malaysia has dropped by 50% over the last three quarters, from RM17.24 million three quarters to RM8.71 million during the last quarter.


Likewise, there had been a drop of over 40% for revenues derived from “Other countries”, plunging from RM14.13 million three quarters ago to RM9.09 million during the last quarter.


Correspondingly, the company’s quarterly net profit has dropped from RM5.696 million three quarters ago to a net loss of RM250,820.00 two quarters ago, and improved to RM294,000.00 during the last quarter.


In contrast, based on Nextnation’s share price taken at 12:30pm on October 23, 2007, that is RM0.17, it was trading at 2.13 times net cash per share. The caveat is that, this is an assumption based on discounted receivable by 50%, which is largely in line with the Industry maximum standard.


Until the company discloses more information on its escalation of the aging trade receivables, has any of our fund managers, analysts and rating agencies ever asked the question why Nextnation’s accounts receivables (debtor aging) is now over 10 months while industry benchmark now only stands around 3 to 4 month?


Isn’t this contradictory to what was released to Bursa Malaysia yesterday — optimistic?


Will the company, after today’s 25 million shares transaction, turn around to write off say RM30 million from the trade receivables? How many minority shareholders does the Nextnation management have to account for?


I am just an observer looking into published data in the public domain, gathered based on my personal capacity. But I am asking again (and Dr Halim Shafie you please take note): Is this market hype or push?


Did Halim notice the company’s dropping revenue coincides with the exposé on the SMS Scams related to certain content providers in Malaysia?




<!–

–>


Umno’s CJ?




The focus today is who should succeed Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim, whose tenure expired yesterday as the country’s Chief Justice as he turned 66, the mandatory retirement age for judges as stated in the Federal Constitution.


Singapore Straits Times said Ahmad Fairuz has retired with the successor unnamed.


“The government’s prolonged delay in making a decision on the succession to the top judicial post underlines the dilemma that it is in,” the paper said today. “Its next move is being closely watched as a signal of its political will to institute reforms.”


So, who should he be the next CJ?


Will it be Justice Abdul Hamid bin Haji Mohamad, who was recently promoted on September 5 as the President of the Court of Appeal, the No. 2 in Malaysia’s Judiciary?


Under the Courts of Judicature Act 1964, the President of the Court of Appeal will assume the functions and role of the chief justice.


However, the legal circle and the Parliament were rumbling with the possibility that the CJ’s post may go to somebody else, who went straight to be a Federal Court judge only a month ago, bypassing the conventional process of having to first serve as a presiding judge in the High Court and the Court of Appeal?


In other words, is the new CJ going to be the same man who had served as a lawyer at various capacities — as the legal advisor and official position-bearer for Umno, and as a director in Berjaya-related company? (See Berjaya Land Berhad Annual Report and Bursa Malaysia filing.)


Is the man, now aged 62, is promoted twice in two months — from commoner to Federal Court judge in September, and to to CJ in November — Malaysia is going to be rosy for the next three years.


Parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang sounded the alarm as early as October 27.


Screenshots started the digital trail as early as August 23: Beneath the smoke-screen ( 6 ): The PM’s Chief Judge.


<!–

–>


Raja Aziz Addruse on constitutional rot




Senior constitutional lawyer Raja Aziz Addruse said on the last day of the 14th Malaysian Law Conference that the checks and balances that were in the 1957 constitution did not exist anymore.


He said it’s the judiciary and the Parliament (Legislature) that are responsible for the current state of the Federal Constitution.


He cited the reasons for this deterioration as ( 1 ) a failure of the courts to uphold fundamental liberties, ( 2 ) executive interference and ( 3 ) the amendment to Article 121 which meant that the courts’ jurisdiction was now as that determined by Parliament.


“Fundamental liberties no longer exist; this is a harsh thing to say but the courts don’t seem to think that fundamental rights are important,” he said yesterday at a session themed “What the Constitution means to me”.


“To me, the constitution now means nothing because it can be changed at any time.”


Bearing in mind that the incumbent government controls over 91% majority in parliamentary representation, we got the government and governance we deserved.


Our job now is to determine if we want this rot, alongside Judicial rot, to sustain forever.


Read Shaila Koshy’s report in The Star in full.


Be ready to boycott judiciary


Coming back to judicial rot, what should lawyers do next if there is no action on the judicial scandal exposed by the ‘Lingam Tape’?


Walk the talk and be brave enough to walk out of courts, boycott the Judiciary!


That was the bold suggestion made at a special session themed ‘We watched, we walked, we now … do what?’ at the Malaysian Law Conference yesterday.


The session kicked off with the eight-minute video clip being shown on the big screen. Exclaimed ‘Correct! Correct! Correct’ thick in a non-Queens’ English accent resonated the hall.

Lawyer Haris Ibrahim then told the audience that something drastic would have to be done if the upcoming meeting between Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Malaysian Bar president S Ambiga bears no fruit. Quote
Malaysiakini:

“I think, at its extraordinary general meeting on Nov 22, the Bar must be prepared to take the necessary resolutions to put a stop to this nonsense.


“I’m suggesting that there’s no other way to drive the point home that, until the judiciary is clean, we will not take part in a system that has become so tainted (because) we (would be tarred) by the same brush,” he said firmly.


He cited the example of Pakistan Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry who was suspended by president Gen Pervez Musharraf on March 9.


This led to lawyers boycotting the courts, confronting riot police officers, burning pictures of Musharraf and holding nationwide protests. It resulted in the reinstatement of Chaudhry on July 20.


“They brought the administration of justice to a standstill. The judiciary cannot function without the legal profession,” said Haris.


“I can’t see anything else than some drastic action by lawyers to say ‘No, we’ve had enough, we will not take part in it; clean up the system and give us the royal commission or else’.


“If not, I don’t see any way else that can help us get out of this quagmire that we find ourselves in now.”



There was a roar of support and loud applause from the audience.


<!–

–>


Aman di Bukit Aman?




To Chun Wai, it’s ‘Shattered peace on the hill’.


At one time, Ramli was the boss to the present Inspector-General of Police, Musa Hassan, and now the reversal of fortunes. It doesn’t look like a simple case of the Top 5 in the police force fighting his No.1.


I’d say it’s long rotten chain at the ACA, AG’s Chambers, the Ministry of Internal Security and down to the very Man who runs the country.


Hence, when Chun Wai quotes some security and political analysts as having even described the developments in the police force as “worrisome with talk that there are factions supported by different powerful political personalities” — don’t you feel strongly… tak begitu aman kot?


He says it right. The power play is somewhat scary, if not macabre, to most Malaysians who have never witnessed such open tension within the police force.


That’s Malaysia under the the administration of Abdullah, who became Prime Minister on Halloween.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: