Saturday, August 22, 2015

Rizal

I had to decide yesterday, Saturday 22nd August, whether to send Rizal on his betrothal, which was decided earlier, or attend my grandson Husyn's 1st birthday ? It was an easy choice because I'd committed to Rizal first. Also, this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, while Husyn has many,many more birthdays coming. Plus, I'm the leader of Rizal's delegation.

So, after my last visit to Felda Sg. Lui maybe 35 years ago, here I was again, entrusted with asking for a young woman's hands in marriage for the second son of my fourth brother. 

If  I didn't ask Idah to go to Mashitok's house to get the clarification for the proposed ceremony, we would probably be still in the dark. Mash did come to the house two weeks ago to tell me and Idah "Rizal nak bertunang." That was all he said, literally. Even at the last minute Yah said he didn't want the "tepak sireh." Two days later we went to the house to clear things up. In turned out Mash and Yah, too, were not sure. It was all up to Rizal. After waiting for some time, being told he was on the way home from work, we went back to my car, and Rizal arrived just as I switched the engine on. So there at the car window I got the itinerary all sorted out, and here we were at almost 12 noon, the appointed time, at Aisha's house, Sg. Lui, where the parents and family were already waiting.

I'd prepared a small write-up of some pepatah-petiteh a la adat meminang Nogori, but couldn't print it up because my 8-year-old hp stupid printer decided to quit on me, and my regular computer repairer said it's cheaper to replace than repair, and I'm not about to buy a new one. So I made up my mind early that I'd just go by the seat of my pants.

It went ok. We were there at 12, and we were ready to wrap things up before one, with "menyarung cicin" & photos, and lunch all thrown in. In fact the four of us in my car were even able to visit Bang Kalang just around the corner. Bang Kaland a.k.a. Razak Yaacob a.k.a. Jalaluddin Yaacob is the younger brother of the late Bang Sudin, my biras.

Nothing is cheap nowadays. Aisha's parents want a 10,000 dowry. I suppose the two of them can share that sum. After all they're going to get it for themselves. I might even suggest to Rizal to write a cheque - just don't bank it, ha ha. I said to the father, details should be discussed between Rizal & Aisha. We want everything to end well.

On the way home we stopped for cendul pulut at Bal's classmate's warong at Air Itam, had coffee at Cik Ani's house in Bahau, visited my parents' graves at Melang, bought cempedak and pisang goreng at Paroi (made Calit pay !), and finally reached the house. Wafa and her twin brothers were at S2.


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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Is the PM a crook ?

Events are unfolding at an incredible pace, in UMNO's business and all it touches.

Looking at the answers given by Najib & Co, incredible is an apt adjective.

I was a delegate to the Seremban UMNO division annual general assembly on 1st. of August. I came dutifully at 8.30, the appointed time. I asked both the Secretary and the executive secretary about the programme for the day, because the letter said  the meeting would be at Pusat Dakwah, but the opening ceremony by Najib at Kelana Resort. That's typical UMNO confusion. When the answer was everything at Pusat Dakwah on Najib's instruction, "to cut costs" ( ha ha !), morning session for opening ceremony, after Zohor for the meeting proper, I left the hall and came back around 1.50.  Mohd. Nor Bakar, the fish monger told me Isa and the freshly sacked Hasan Malek were there. In fact the tv showed  Hasan Malek sitting in the front row right in front of Najib.  If I was sacked, I wouldn't be anywhere near Najib, at least not in in first 3 days. Anyway, I'm not trying to get a chairmanship at a GLC , I suppose!

In the aftermath of the shoot-out of the 28th. of August, when the DPM Muhyiddin, the Minister Shafiei Apdal , (and of course poor Hasan Malik), the AG were summarily sacked, and 4 of the PAC members were kicked upstairs, Najib effectively sabotaged his own self-designed framework for the  defence of the 1MDB debacle. Events may well materialise to the contrary, but to my mind this is the ultimate suicidal act.

At the Pusat Dakwah function, JASA, the UMNO propaganda arm, had distributed  "22 Jawapan Najib Razak." The smartly and expensively  printed booklet obviously is an attempt to "answer" all the criticisms that have for the last several months been hurled at Najib. There are 22 listed answers by count. In fact some of the answers are related to others, so there are actually 14 answers, not 22. Even here there is  something missing !

To the 14 groups of questions, I would add 7 that I think Najib should also answer:  the 2.6 billion "donation",  the sacking of the DPM,  2 Ministers and the AG,  the 25-million diamond ring, Isa Samad's role in Felda and the financial nightmare looming, the fall of the ringgit,  the rise of the cost of living, and the image of a concerned leader.

Taking the ringgit's fall first, I remember talking to a senior MoF officer who served under both Mahathir and Dollah, who later served in NS, who observed that Mahathir had a DAILY meeting beginning at 8.30 SHARP to monitor the ringgit crisis in 1997. When Dollah took over, sometimes the meeting, which continued, took place, sometimes not, but always NEVER  on time. Now I wonder if Najib chairs similiar ringgit-crisis committee meeting anymore.

On the 2.6 billion "donation", well nobody would have known about the money if the WSJ had not blown the lid. Even then Najib certainly took his time in admitting it, when he could have started saying it was this extremely generous donation before the GE 13 the moment it was exposed. Now he thinks he's turning the table on PKR and DAP by demanding that they also must declare their political contributions. Najib cannot expect us to believe the excuse of "party funds" when even the Deputy President of UMNO did not know about it when the humongous gift was first made. And to use his private a/c ? And on the subject,  there are videos of Najib saying clearly how "trust a/c" are  to be administered. 

I have spoken to a former member of the Malaysian Bench, a former First Board Plantation executive, a former head of a State Special Branch, a nasi lemak seller, and many of my friends of various political inclinations, and ALL say:  that it's beyond belief anyone would give THAT much, unless it's for something in return, in which case it's corruption of the highest order; that this contravenes the Money Laundering Act; that since this was 2 years ago, the Income Tax Act has also been broken.    

On the whole-sale sackings, it's true that it's Najib's right. But the way he was using his right was wrong !

When Anwar was sacked, he had committed a crime. What crime has  Muhyiddin committed ? 2 days after he spoke out, again, against 1MDB, in an UMNO closed forum, suddenly Najib jumped out from his usual lethargic modus operandi  and fired the Deputy President and a Vice President of his own ruling party (and that Vice President from Sabah, the state that probably saved BN in the last general elections). If  Najib goes now, it's UMNO that will decide who becomes the PM.  The leadership of the party would pass to the incumbent Deputy President. 

The AG is not the secretary to the Cabinet. He beholds his position to the King, and his removal must follow strict constitutionsl ritual. His health ? He says differently, but the Chief Secretary seems to know better.  Not a dismissal ? Clearly there's constructive dismissal if ever there was one ! And talk about nicities - Gani has only until October to reach his retirement age, and Najib could have made a personal call. 

The 4 members of the PAC being "kicked upstairs"? This, together with the removal of the AG, is obviously sabotaging the mechanism that Najib himself put in place in the defence of the 1MDB debacle.
  
In view of that 2.6 billion, in retrospect a 25-million diamond ring is not exactly ridiculous.

And why is Isa Samad still in Felda ? The KWSP and similiar government-connected funds were used in the IPO that saw FGV shares at 4.50 or thereabout. It's now 1.60. So what happens to the retirement funds and the rest of the investors ? And what about the losses in the current accounts, and the bad investments in and out of the country ? I hear Isa now has an escort car when he travels. Raja Alias who built Felda to what it was before the politicians took over, would sometimes drive his little Honda ( the old tiny breed, not the new super variety) to work. He'd probably hide his face "malu" if he had the Felsco escort. But then, he may not need protection.

I know Najib, like Mahathir, used to "walkabout" also. Has he done so recently ? Does he know the actual cost of living right now ? Yesterday I bought some fruits on the PLUS. I couldn't believe the prices. You should check it out, too.

You see and hear all the time leaders in the West cutting short whatever their doing  to asap attend to domestic catasrophies. They know they  are put there by the people, and the least they can do is to at least appear to show concern,  especially when tragedies strike. When floods strike and mountains move Najib just carries on playing golf with the US President or visiting rich friends in the Middle East. In the latter case he even drags two Vice Presidents along, when either one or both can cancel the trip. The rich and powerful host would have understood. So much for "rakyat didahulukan"!

Now back to the 14 questions.

The Altantuya case is settled as far as the Courts of Law go. The question that Mahathir had raised is who gave the instruction to the two officers convicted ? He's not accusing Najib.

That Malaysia is a corrupt country ? Come on lah !

That BRIM is corruption ?  You give out cash for what ?  Is it to buy votes ? Do all the receipients deserve it ? My neighbour, a retired school teacher (not a graduate) who drives TWO Mercedeses, because they have a school catering service and houses for rent, duly gets her BRIM.

The 1MDB issue. Has enough been said ? Certainly not enough has been explained. And now the "Salam 1 Malaysia" has been removed on tv. Afraid it's being equated to 1MDB ?

The crooked bridge ? This was a Cabinet decision. Do facts change when Cabinet changes ? Why are excuses been offered NOW ?

That Najib's performance was better than Dolah's ? More UMNO seats, yes. But combined Parliament BN seats were 63.1% in GE 12 with Dollah, and less than 60 % in GE 13 with Najib ! Which is worse ?

That EPU is being bypassed. Just talk to the Government Servants. Just look at the PMO's set up. And all the "Pemudah" etc.

The abondonment of the Bumiputra "agenda" ? Talk to the Bumiputra contractors at the District Offices. The 1 Malaysia slogan - now playing soccer at the district selection the Indian players cry out "1 Malaysia!" and they have to take in one or two more of them. That's not a problem, but the intonation is the "Malay quota" concept of the Bumiputra agenda in the big scheme of things is being openly challanged and succumbs for the sake of appearance and correctness.

Has crime rate increased since the abolishment of ISA (and the Emergency Ordinance) ? Don't just quote figures nobody can countercheck. Listen to the stories being told also. And Singapore must know something we don't for keeping THEIR ISA  intact.

The purchase of the new executive jet. It's timing, my friend, it's timing. You make people pay more for everything and you splurge on a new jet ! How dumb can you be ?

It's true the GST has noble intentions, and just about all the countries in the Free World have done it. Since the implementation, have you studied the impact and the implementation ? It's supposed to be a restructuring of tax, some more and some less. But I pay GST for everything now, so it's all more now. Even paying for my daughter's PTPTN I have to pay GST where I paid no such tax before. Explain that.

Finally, this Mahathir thing.

Sure, the old man made a lot of mistakes in his 22 years. In that time who wouldn't ? But it looks bad if you make the same mistakes after him. 

When Lim Kok Wing told the old man to be careful to not lose his legacy ( probably prodded by his boss) I can almost see the smirk on the old man's face. The point is legacy you don't dictate. History dictates. We shall see what has been done in the 22 years Mahathir was PM, all the good, the bad and the ugly.  The thing is, Mahathir's premiership is over and can't be undone. It's the current affairs that we must put right while we can. 

Maybe the biggest mistake Mahathir made was making Najib  PM.
It would be a sad, sad day for UMNO if a son destroys what the father painstakingly  built.




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