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Thursday, 17 August 2017

Stay Classy!

It's unbelievable how the tables have turned. Good ole Mahathir, who once ruled the roost with his 'Melayu Mudah Lupa' catchphrase and penchant for selecting his successors in a purportedly democratic nation, is now experiencing INSUBORDINATION!!!

Maklumlah.

The antagonist in question is Ahmad Zahid Hamidi aka Bugis Antarabangsa aka Jawa-yang-hilang-panduan, or as my Other Half commonly refers to him: The Grinning Imbecile. He earned the last moniker after we had to line up for 2 days to get my passport done. After all that waiting, a massive poster of him looking insufferably cheerful was too much to bear.

Anyway, Mahathir must clearly have done something egregious to earn the vicious attack. After 1MDB losing billions of ringgit, I could not bring myself to find out what Mahathir must have squirrelled away for himself. But I sacrificed myself for you, dear reader.

It turns out, the answer is: NOTHING. His shortcoming was due to - wait for it - his race!! Turns out Mahathir punya bapak has Indian ancestry.

PUT THOSE ROTTEN EGGS DOWN!! I know! It's such an anti-climax after the international fiasco over funds!

We all knew that ole Mahathir had Indian blood lah. We didn't call him Kerala mama and Kutty ayah for nothing!

It's just that Malaysian politics, pretty much like its American counterpart, sinks lower when you didn't think it was possible.

Norshahril Saat in The Straits Times, says:

These personal attacks speak volumes about the behaviour of Malaysia's political elites: They are willing to publicly shame opponents if things do not go their way. They are also eager to expose their opponents' weaknesses, while concurrently ignoring their friends' fallacies.

Currently, Mahathir seems to be attempting to salvage lost Malaysian pride in his criticism against the ruling administration, but he has already played that game one too many times. He has quit UMNO in a huff, and rejoined later, on numerous occasions!

I mean, he was the guy who gave Tunku Abdul Rahman a hard time! Johannan Sim elaborates on what happened when Mahathir left UMNO the previous few times.

All I am going to say, is that politics is so unpredictable. A lot of us have been tirelessly working to effect change, for free and fair elections. For democracy to work.

But sometimes, all it takes is a freak incident that snowballs into something else.

The whole world is in upheaval. God only knows we could do with a lucky break.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Bike Sharing Schemes

Okay, remember how I am constantly moaning about how cycling just refuses to catch on in Malaysia?

A couple of years ago, a very industrious gentleman by the name of Jeffery Lim made great inroads in encouraging cycling as a form of transport. The guy is a bloody legend. He helped out DBKL by creating a cycling map from scratch!

If you need a copy of the map, I am sure it's physically available at certain locations, but it's certainly ONLINE.

Now that you have some established routes, all you need is a bicycle.

Problem solved!

If you're in Melaka, the Chinese company Ofo has already launched its bicycles there. Users pay only US$0.23 per hour to rent the bike. That is less than RM1 per hour.

And if you're in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore's oBikes are not only launching, but are offering FREE unlimited one hour rides from 14 August until 30 September. No promo code needed.

Privately, I have had my reservations about these sort of bike rental schemes. Kuala Lumpur is not the first city for some of these bike companies to set up their business.

In Melbourne, for instance, the bikes for rent have been thrown in the river, up some trees, and basically just vandalised.
These are chunky bikes; how did they get up there??

I do despair of such asinine behaviour. You know how historians and social scientists like to tell us how far we have come as a human race? Bah humbug!

I hope Malaysians don't sink so low as to vandalise these bikes. I recognise that these aren't state of the art bikes; they are clunky and heavy, but they get you places if you put in the effort.

I must say that Rapid Transit Network has been improving their attitude towards cycling as they have mandated first and third Sundays of the month for bring full-sized bicycles on board the Kelana Jaya, Ampang and Sri Petaling Line LRTs.

Previously, people were only allowed to carry folding bikes onto the LRT, monorail, and MRT during off-peak hours on Monday to Friday, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.

I cannot emphasise how important connectivity with transits is, for a longer commute.

I have, though, wondered what the cost of maintaining and renting out these bikes must be. In Melbourne, the law is that helmets must be worn at all times while cycling. Apparently, the helmets went for a walk - very frequently!! Replacing them each time must be costly.

Frankly, I prefer to ride my own bike. It's a 21-speed, weighs next to nothing and rides like a charm. I also confess I wouldn't like to share helmets with anyone else. I must say that bicycle maintenance can be a pain. Degreasing the chains and then lubricating them up again takes up time and energy. You also need to lay out the tools and space for doing it.

And have I moaned about how dirty wheels contacting the rim brakes can squeal in such an annoying way that it can be extremely embarrassing if you haven't cleaned them in awhile.

But that's life, and the cost of living healthy while keeping as low a carbon footprint as possible.

Perhaps Malaysia might learn to appreciate that.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Accidental Whistle-Blower

What began in 2010 as a blog about an environmental crisis in the Malaysian state of Sarawak is now the most comprehensive portrait of a diseased body politic and its attendant scandals.

Rewcastle Brown has benefited from the fact that many involved in Malaysian politics are increasingly jaded with it. Her biggest scoops have depended on documents and information leaked by quietly disgruntled government and financial officials. Anonymous tips continue to clog her inbox.

At the bottom of every Sarawak Report webpage, above the site’s teal logo, there’s a link with instructions for how to send her an encrypted email. “I’m fairly practiced at squirreling out stories and sources — I talk to people; I ask people if they know anyone worth talking to,” Rewcastle Brown says. “But now people have started finding me, because they know I’m the only guy on the block who does this.”

Read the rest of it on TIME's The Accidental Whistle-Blower: How a Retired London Journalist Uncovered Massive Corruption Half a World Away.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

MH370 Course On Simulator

Not for the first time, the 1MDB fiasco is being overshadowed by the the MH370 news: Malaysia Confirms Flight 370 Course Was on Pilot's Simulator.

Australian officials overseeing the search for the plane last month said data recovered from Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah's simulator included a flight path to the southern Indian Ocean. Malaysian officials at the time refused to confirm the findings.

On Thursday, Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai told local journalists that the flight path was found on the simulator. He also cautioned there were "thousands" of destinations on the simulator and no evidence that Zaharie flew the plane in that area or deliberately crashed it.

I think the captain is being thrown under the bus, with the option of retracting the accusation, should it not become necessary anymore.

Aviation blogger Jeff Wise notes that some numbers and data do not match.

I personally think it's been cooked up.

The reason I say this is because if someone was on a suicide mission, they wouldn't meticulously plan the details of their death, and certainly not on a flight simulator which was a passion of Capt Zaharie. Depression and passion don't mix.

Now, if he was homicidal, on the other hand, and out to kill as many people as possible, you'd think he'd at least state his reasons for the attack on other humans. At least leave a note. Even bloody ISIS knows how to do that.

I believe this guy.

It appears to me that the Malaysian government is yet again using the MH370 to distract people from the dirty issue of funds embezzlement.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

The Guardian On 1MDB

There were two articles in the Guardian recently, dedicated to the 1MDB fiasco:

Malaysia’s new security law, due to come into force on Monday, would be alarming at any time. Its sweeping powers permit authorities to declare national security areas which are off-limits to protests, where individuals and premises can be searched without a warrant, and where killings by security forces need not result in formal inquests.

Changes to the country’s criminal code, undermining the rights of suspects, are similarly concerning. Human rights groups warn that existing laws, including the colonial-era Sedition Act – which Prime Minister Najib Razak once vowed to repeal – have been used to detain and muzzle critics. The country’s police chief recently warned that protests by electoral reform group Bersih would be permitted only if participants avoided calling for Mr Najib’s resignation.


Read the rest here: The Guardian view on Malaysian politics: a scandal meriting the world’s attention

On another note, Sarawak Report ran a story on Xavier Justo just over a year ago that predominantly made the mainstream media headlines because of his tattoos and purported "hedonistic living". I read it and filed away in memory that it involved PetroSaudi and the 1MDB fiasco.

Now the whole story has appeared in its entirety on the Guardian. It actually sounds like it should belong in a Hollywood script (maybe it might, some day), and contains details of the brazen transactions conducted by the crooks affiliated with the slimeball called Malaysian Official 1.

Excerpts:

In January 2015, Tong, Rewcastle Brown and Justo met in a five-star Singapore hotel, the Fullerton. Tong booked a conference room, and brought a number of IT experts, as well as the editor of the Edge, Kay Tat. At the meeting, Justo laid out the 1MDB joint venture, making the same claims that the US Department of Justice would set out 18 months later: namely that hundreds of millions of dollars that were intended for economic development in Malaysia had instead been diverted into a Seychelles-based company. The man at the centre of the transaction was alleged to be Najib’s adviser and family friend, Jho Low.

It was a potentially huge scoop. Tong agreed to pay Justo $2m. Tong and Rewcastle Brown were immediately handed disk drives with the data. But the payment was never made. Justo did not want the money in cash, and he worried that a large transfer of funds into his account would look suspicious. Tong offered Justo one of his Monets as collateral – but Justo declined, and said “no, I trust you”. Rewcastle Brown finally had the documents she had been chasing for more than six months.

On 28 February 2015, Rewcastle Brown posted the first big story online – under a typically unrestrained headline: “HEIST OF THE CENTURY!” The article claimed to show how $700m had disappeared from the 1MDB joint venture and found its way into various offshore companies and Swiss bank accounts.

The impact of the article was felt around the world. In the US, law enforcement officials who had been alerted to reports that Low was spending huge amounts on New York apartments now had a fix on the possible source of his wealth.


For a thrilling mini-series-type read: 1MDB: The inside story of the world’s biggest financial scandal

Friday, 29 July 2016

Malaysia 2, Singapore 0

Some of you may accuse me of being a foam-in-the-mouth, rabid Malaysian nationalist. Not entirely true, but I do like being Malaysian, and sometimes we Malaysians have this rivalry thing going with the brethren across the causeway.

So I am going to bring up an issue that's pretty old; almost a month old now.


A nice Malay Singaporean stand-up comic who goes by the stage name Fakkah Fuzz (I think he just wants to be able to say the word 'F*cker' on a frequent basis) made a joke about thieves.

Fakkah said Singapore Malays call a thief “pencuri” while Malaysian Malays call a thief “perdana menteri” (prime minister).

I had to laugh. The joke is hysterical, in my opinion. It is still making the rounds on my Facebook feed, when I checked just yesterday.

Naturally, the UMNO idiots terasa lah. They got pissed off and had their rant. (Note aside, did you know that your IQ drops by 30 points when you're angry? It's probably explains why UMNO tends not to make much sense.)

Anyway, things were going well until the Fakkah decided to apologise:

“I would like to sincerely apologize if I unintentionally hurt my brothers and sisters across the causeway. It was not my intention to hurt or cause unhappiness among anyone. Nor was I accusing anyone of anything.

“It was simply a joke based on current events. The joke is basically ‘we say this, you say this’.

“I’m just saying what I hear. Not saying ‘This person is guilty of this!’ Not at all. Please don’t take what I said out of context as I’m not out to slander anyone.”

Laaa.

There really was no need to apologise. Malaysia is not Singapore, and we don't launch defamation suits against the opposition and bankrupt them to stay in power.

(Mohon terasa, ye.)

Actually we probably do even more stupid things, so I take that back.

However. I want to point out that we have two Malaysian heroes.

One is Adam Adli, who was criticised for lowering the Malaysian flag. When asked to apologise, he said:

I will never apologise (to the prime minister). Since the thing had happened till today, now I am asked to apologise. I will never do that. How about my friends and the struggle?

I do not want my friends to be demoralised if I apologise. It is not that I will never apologise at all, as maybe someday I may have to say sorry to some people for my actions.

Absolute hero.

The other is Fahmi Reza. He was charged for depicting an image of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in clown makeup. Did he apologise?

Hell, no! He went out and did it a second time! I tell you, sometimes I am very proud to be Malaysian.

Anyway, you're wondering what happened to the Fakkah.

Despite his apology, Selangor Umno Youth chief Zainuri Zainal said it was too little too late, because Fakkah’s joke had a “deep impact” on Malaysians.

“Fakkah should look in the mirror first before trying to meddle in the current affairs of Malaysia,” Zainuri was quoted as saying by Berita Harian.

Minta maaf, ye, but sometimes, you just can't win.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

We Need To Change

A Vietnamese co-worker, who, as a child had migrated to Australia, once said rather patronisingly, "It's always these silly little Asian countries that are corrupted." I must add that he did make an exception for Japan and Singapore.

This was at least a year ago. I said nothing in defence of Malaysia or any other Asian country. I merely pointed out that the United States is very corrupt as well.

For those of you who couldn't care less about the USA, it is currently election season, and the Republicans and Democrats have been slugging it out. They have had the primaries, which allows party members to elect the candidate of their choice.

Despite Bernie Sanders being the more popular candidate for the Democrats, Hillary Clinton was nominated.

A ridiculously high amount of money gets splashed around, and particularly flung at candidates, so that they would take up policies friendly to the donor. These donors are usually big corporations who want permits and tax reliefs.

I particularly find it offensive, because I volunteer with Homeless Shelters and I know how many poor, penurious people there are, who live in the same metropolitan area that I do.

The injustice makes me think about what the world has become and wonder how it is that a bigger number of people don't find it all as revolting as I do.

But I am not going to talk about the USA, despite the fact that the 1MDB fiasco has emerged again because of the actions by the US Department of Justice. Or that the Wall Street Journal was one of the first to report on the scandal.

The WSJ, despite its current ownership by News Corp (Rupert Murdoch, by any other name, is still as filthy), has always been reporting about Malaysian corruption, even back in 2012.

The point I am trying to make, my dear fellow Malaysians, is that we are not going to be able to rely on the US Department of Justice to deliver us from our evil, heartless, avaricious and profligate politicians. From what it sounds, they are going to confiscate the money and assets and then "return it to the rightful owners", the government of Malaysia.

Seriously? That's going back to square one. Besides, it would be like the blind leading the blind. The Americans need to sort out their problems and we need to sort out ours.

The Wall Street Journal, exposing our Prime Minister's embezzlement, isn't going to make everything alright.

It just exposes our politics for what it is, and brings shame to the nation.

It diminishes our reputation.

It does our world-class Malaysian professionals a disservice.

Our media is mostly owned by the government and it reports false news to us. They make us think that everything is fine and dandy when it is clearly not.

The irony of this situation at the moment, is that most nations have reported on Malaysia's 1MDB scandal, while it barely makes any news back home. This means that the masses who don't bother to read international news on the internet have no clue what is going on under their very noses.

No clue at all.

And then you wonder why BN keeps getting voted in time in and time out. Their list of sins are numerous, and not exhaustive. But people either don't know or don't care.

And that surprises me, because it's not like the average joe on the street isn't being affected by the government's overt and blatant embezzlement. I mentioned GST in a previous post, but I hadn't mentioned property taxes, especially in KL, where most urban citizens are well-read, and did NOT vote for BN.

How about the new two hour parking limit? The increase in public transportation costs?

We pay a lot less in income tax than the rest of the world does, but is it going to the right channels? Is it truly improving our lives, or just the lives of a select few?

Why are we putting up with that? Why would you think that these select few are entitled to a much better life than we are?

Why haven't things changed for so long? Back in 2007, I listed the top 3 on my Corruption Hall Of Fame. Some of those people have since died, but someone else just shows up and does exactly the same thing. In fact, Najib's scale of embezzlement has dwarfed all other attempts.

And no one objects. Not outwardly, at least.

People, we need to change.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Corruption, Embezzlement And Fear

If you haven't read Haris Ibrahim's piece on the deplorable waste of money via the massive 1MDB scam, I suggest you do now, because he puts things very succinctly.

Even the title was a punch in the gut for me. We pay so much toll, so much tax in way of GST, and so much in terms of effort to overcome the obstacles.


While the average joe is struggling to make ends meet, one elite group of people blow $41 million at the casino. It is sheer insanity.

Haris says:

Go to your houses of worship and pray for 3 revolutions.

First, that your heart be filled with so much love for our downtrodden, that your heart be filled with so much determination to ensure that this travesty never ever happens to our people again, and that, by this, we may overcome all fears that may come our way.

Second, that our minds be steeled enough to face whatever adversity may be thrown our way.

Third, that we will bring a tsunami of change to our land such as has never been seen before.

I couldn't agree more. On this blog alone, I have lost count of the number of protests/rallies I have covered. I have tag-teamed with fellow bloggers and reported from the ground while they uploaded photos and typed out my reports.

I have been tear-gassed. Sprayed with acid-laced water from intimidating water cannons. Pretty much done it all.

And yet, even I fear. I don't want to be arrested. But after having travelled around the world and lived in multiple countries, I see the flaws in them and grudgingly admit that I am best suited to living in Malaysia.

Barring the anathema that is BN politicians, this is the best country to live in. Do we want to sacrifice that just to live in some foreign country "for the sake of the children"?

The talented and courageous cartoonist, Zunar, says:

“We need to cross the line. This is the line of fear we call it. It is not a normal line. It is a line of fear. If you don’t cross it, we are trapped in there forever. The system will be very happy. The government will be very happy if you don’t want to cross the line.

"I hope more and more people will cross it (the line). We must break the system. If not, they (the government) will be very happy. Now Malaysia has been governed by the same party for more than 60 years. If we don’t cross the line, we will give mandate for another 60 years to them. I don’t know if I will win or lose, but if I don’t fight, I’ll definitely lose."

We need to wake up. There are so many injustices happening in our nation. Lim Guan Eng is facing legal action over something so trivial (and conjured), while Najib goes scot-free over such a ridiculously gargantuan embezzlement.

Our legal system is frayed. We have draconian laws in place, the worst of them being the National Security Act.

Sarawak Report says:

To give just a single example of the evil intent of this National Security Act, consider the clause that cancels the formal inquest into the death of anyone killed by army or police in any crackdown under its provisions.

Someone must have thought closely to insert such a sinister detail in advance. That someone must have decided that they are tired of being inconvenienced by all the paraphernalia of the law when it comes to murder cases. That person wants to be freed from questioning and investigation, when someone who gets in his way is ordered dead.

Does Malaysia want to place such a dangerous law in the hands of a desperate thief and liar like Najib, who is furthermore himself personally associated with a string of murky, half-solved murders?

And yet, the mainstream press in Malaysia has been almost as silent on this deadly law, as over the shocking revelations by America’s Department of Justice about their Prime Minister’s thefts from 1MDB. The story which has been headlines for the past two days in every other country in the world has remained virtually unreported where it is most relevant – Malaysia.

We need to lose this fear of the government. The fear of rocking the boat.

But there is also one more thing that we need. Co-operation from all facets of society. Most of the Malaysian minorities have some cohesive bond going for us. Especially those of us middle-class, educated ones. We need to rally the support of our Malay brethren.

They need to stand next to us as well, to say, "Enough is enough!"

I am not suggesting that you strike up some fake friendship with random Malay people just so that you can convert them to your cause.

I am saying that you need to find common ground, something that can overpower the indoctrination that our government has so successfully implemented. In the words borrowed from some book written a few thousand years ago, we all need to love our neighbours.

Other countries have, and are still making that same mistake. Brexit happened because poor people were sidelined, and they felt they had so little to lose, that they were willing to cut their nose to spite their face.

Donald Trump is making waves in the USA for the same reason. He talks so much crap; he contradicts himself on a regular basis, and in no way does he practise what he preaches.

But people deliberately refuse to see that.

Just like the racist and uneducated Malays will refuse to see that Riza, who is officially Muslim, should not have been gambling the money away because it is haram, to begin with.

The good news is, not all Malays are racist and uneducated. There are respectful, dignified ones out there who dislike the politics being played out, but who find no common ground with DAP stalwarts and gung-ho opposition die-hards.

We are too polarised. Really, we are.

What we need to do is come together and fight against common evil.

Come together and cast aside our fear.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Malaysia Mentioned Twice In 11th Issue Of IS Dabiq Mag

It's not good news when Malaysia gets mentioned twice in IS/Daesh's online magazine. We are getting the attention of the slime balls.

There's a decent article out in Thailand's Nation about the situation, and what needs to be done to protect ourselves.


One thing I want to highlight is this:

The good work of the Special Branch (Counter Terrorism Division, E8) needs to be commended, as they were able to quickly identify the suspected terrorists involved in the Puchong attack. The best way to curb terrorists in Malaysia is to pay attention to local followers.

Many years ago, I always thought that Malaysian Intelligence was substandard and nowhere as good as the Americans or British. Today, after living in both countries, I know that that's not true.

Malaysia sometimes, actually manages to operate without the bias displayed by our politicians, and gets the situation right: identifying the suspects by watching local followers.

Getting Away With It

So politically well-connected is Dato’ Lee Chee Kiang that it seems that no one has so far dared to name him in Malaysia.

However, we can reveal that he is squarely cited in the charge sheets against others arrested over the fatal shooting of the land rights hero Bill Kayong, where he is named for having abetted the murder.

Lee is believed to have fled Sarawak for Australia at about the time Kayong was shot dead in his car at a traffic light in Miri, yet there has been no public notification so far that a Red Notice Alert has been issued for his arrest and we ask if the Australian police are aware that a wanted Malaysian suspected killer is at large and believed to be in their territory?


Indeed, the criminal nexus between land grabbing timber/plantation companies and top politicians, who hold undue influence over the forces of the law, has been perfectly illustrated in the case of Tung Huat Plantation, where Lee Chee Kiang is a Director and key shareholder.

For years native landowners have been locked in legal battles against the company, supported by land rights lawyer Abun Sui and campaigner Bill Kayong, who are both linked to the opposition PKR party – Kayong was a candidate at the state election.

Lee Chee Kiang, on the other hand, is very closely linked to BN’s SUPP party, whose local election battles have been heavily financed by Najib personally (as million ringgit cheques signed by him at the general election bear testimony).

Lee’s father and fellow director, Lee Sie Tong, is none other than the present Temenggong of Miri, known to have close ties to the SUPP.

On June 1st that post was extended in a ceremony officiated by an SUPP Vice President, the Tourism Minister Lee Kim Shin, who openly congratulated Temenggong Lee for having “been instrumental in getting the community to support the Barisan Nasional (BN) government“.

Bill Kayong himself and other campaigners had received unrelenting verbal threats from Lee himself and gangsters allegedly paid by him for months, often receiving up to 20 phone calls a day, according to people close to the case.