Thursday, July 31, 2008

Double blows to BN

More political dramas in the city. PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has quit as Permatang Pauh MP to make way for her husband, Anwar Ibrahim, to contest in a by-election. Wan Azizah, who is remaining as PKR president, handed her resignation letter to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker today. The press conference at the PKR office in PJ is still on-going but in KL, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang has announced that PAS would not have any form of cooperation with Umno including forming coalition governments at state or federal levels. And this morning, the Prime Minister warned Anwar not to bribe MPs in his attempt to topple the government. Anwar has up the ante now but with talk of an imminent arrest for sodomy charges, it will be interesting how his plans to contest in a by-election would be affected. He is practically a shoo-in at Permatang Pauh if there is a by-election. If a by-election has to take place, the campaign may just take place during the fasting period! It would be interesting how the BN intends to handle Anwar's political move, and attempt to get into Parliament. If he gets himself elected, which is almost certain if the by-election takes place, the political scenario would be altered in many ways. He has insisted that his Sept 16 plan to topple the government is on track. But the BN won't be sitting down and doing nothing, that's certain. Let's see how the BN would hit back.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sodomy - the plot thickens

The sodomy story is becoming more dramatic. First, we are told that the doctor who examined Mohd Saiful had found no evidence of sodomy and now, the Pusrawi Hospital is saying Dr Muhamed Osman Abdul Hamid did not conduct a sodomy-related examination on Anwar Ibrahim. The hospital is saying the Myanmar doctor is a general practitioner and not a specialist. Rocky Bru, meanwhile, has posted a blogger's comment who has dropped insinuations that Dr Muhamed and Anwar may have known each other. But it is best that Dr Muhamed comes out in the open to give his side of the story. He has to explain whether his written document was a doctor's record for Saiful or an examination. Stephen Doss also has an opinion here. All these speculations are taking place because the Attorney-General's Office seems to be taking its time. Anwar, meanwhile, has said that his arrest is imminent. In fact, reporters have been camping outside his house since 5 this morning following talk that the arrest would take place soon.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sodomy: More updates and opinions

Anwar Ibrahim has called for a stop to the police investigation, saying the case should be dropped. He has pointed out that the doctor from Pusrawi has said in his report that there was no act of sodomy. The report had said that there was no indication of sodomy as alleged by complainant Mohd Saiful. Anwar wants the Attorney-General to call off the probe. Meanwhile, senior lawyer Tommy Thomas has written an interesting piece for the Malaysian Bar website questioning whether the country can afford another sodomy trial. He also asked whether public interest would be served. His perspective is thought provoking and certainly deserves to be heard. Public opinion is certainly not with the government. Should the AG decide to go ahead, the political backlash would be strong. The AG's Office has to announce soon whether there is any case. If there isn't, it should just say so. The perception is that it is dragging its feet. If the AG's Office wants to go ahead with the case, Malaysians should also be told. At the same time, a new perspective has emerged, with a doctor asking whether RPK has erred while Uncle Pet has thrown a challenge against RPK. The Health Ministry said today that it would stand by the findings of the doctors at KL Hospital. When will all this end?

Bad times for budget hotels

Business stories may not be headline grabbers for most of us. But the business pages of most newspapers reported today that a crisis is possibly looming in the food and beverage industry. When times are bad, it is natural for consumers to eat at home. Coffee house buffet is certainly not a priority. F & B, unfortunately, accounts for 30% of a hotel's overall revenue. When companies go on cost-cutting exercise, they would be reluctant to hold workshops outside their offices. Family camps would also be taken away from company budget and even government departments would be more prudent. But if this continues, the industry is worried that some 2,000 hotel staff could be laid off in the next two months and some 10,000 by year-end. The Malaysian Budget Hotels Association has predicted that the problems of budget hotels were compounded by a RM28mil drop in sales this month due to the cancellation of bookings by government agencies, presumably the result of an austerity drive. But if Malaysians decide to holiday domestically, it would help these hotels, and hopefully the marketing side of these hotels can generate sales during the fasting month. Jobs are at stake here and certainly the industry deserves our support.

New Man in Utusan Malaysia

Datuk Khalid Mohd (left) and Aziz Ishak - Utusan Online pictures

Aziz Ishak has been named the Acting Group Chief Editor of Utusan Malaysia effective today. The 45-year-old newsman replaces Datuk Khalid Mohd, 55, who is now on leave prior to his retirement. Click here for the report in Utusan. Khalid has worked in Utusan for 32 years including 10 years as the chief editor. Aziz, who has served in various editorial positions, is a rank and file journalist. He was also the deputy to Khalid. Well regarded and well-liked, Aziz is a true professional. He is certainly the right man to head the most influential Bahasa Malaysia newspaper. Congrats!

Sodomy or no sodomy

It's certainly a dynamite. A doctor working at a hospital - who first examined Mohd Saiful - has purportedly concluded in a medical report that there was no evidence of sodomy. The said medical report has now been posted on at least two Internet websites. The dramatic event was revealed today by Raja Petra Kamaruddin. In a more dramatic twist of event, RPK has alleged that the doctor has gone into hiding. But the police has claimed otherwise, saying the doctor was never arrested. We can be sure there would be more rebuttals from both sides. Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid has rightly called on the police to wrap up the case. If there is no case against Anwar, the police should just say there is no case. What is the decision of the Attorney General's report on the allegations? Would foreign experts be brought in to assist the case to ensure transparency? But what's certain is that Malaysians are further confused with the latest episode, who are we to believe or not to believe?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Exciting weeks ahead

An exciting week awaits Malaysians. DSAI has served notice that he would be announcing plans for a by-election and has again said that Sabah and Sarawak MPs from the Barisan Nasional would be defecting to the Pakatan Rakyat. In short - there would be a by-election, widely speculated to be Bandar Baru Kulim, which is located next to Permatang Pauh - and possible defections. Anwar is saying his Sept 16 plan to form a new federal government is on track. So far, the police and the Attorney General's Office have kept mum on the sodomy allegations against Anwar. Will there be more fresh details from the investigations? If there are new developments, how would that affect his by-election campaign plans? For the next one week or two, it look set to be turbulent.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Video of Anwar Ibrahim in lock up?

According to the Malaysian Insider, the police are considering releasing a CCTV footage of DSAI when he was detained in a lock-up at the KL police headquarters. The move is said to be an effort by the police to refute charges by Anwar that he was treated badly while in detention. He had reportedly claimed that he had to sleep on the cement floor without a blanket. Yesterday, when Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar met foreign diplomats, he revealed to the envoys the existence of such a CCTV footage but did not say if it would be released. Malaysians would certainly want to see if such a footage exist, as reported by Malaysian Insider, and if yes, it could shed some light to the allegations. Anwar must also be allowed to respond to the CCTV footage, once released.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Highest-level Umno-PAS talks

Click on visual for video clip

Finally it's confirmed. Both Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Abdul Hadi Awang have revealed that the two parties are talking. Today, the Umno president said he has met PAS at the "highest level" three times with the issues centred on Islam, Muslim unity and other issues.
The PAS president himself had admitted in an interview with Harakah recently that he was talking to Umno leaders. In the case of Hadi, he was more specific, Hadi said he was not comfortable with the increased number of non-Muslim lawmakers. He questioned why should there be more parliamentary seats in Sabah and Sarawak, at the expense of Muslim representatives, and why shouldn't there be more seats in Kelantan and Terengganu.
The two parties were said to have started talking after the March 8 elections where the political landscape has altered dramatically. So far, Nik Aziz has stayed away from these talks, as Pak Lah revealed, with reports that he was not in favour of such efforts.While no political alliance is expected immediately from these talks, certainly it would have an impact on DAP and PKR.

Palm oil stocks take a bashing too

Our palm oil has always been regarded as a saviour but rising costs, increased regulatory risks and a slowdown in earnings momentum have suddenly contributed to a decline. Last week, the biggest losers were Kuala Lumpur Kepong, IOI Corp, Kulim and Asiatic Development, with CPO prices falling to a two-month low of RM3,388 a tonne, last Friday, from some RM4,300 in March. As The Edge correctly reported, the plantation sector has always been a cushion for the economy at a time when manufacturing sector has been hit by a weak global demand. Analysts are still optimistic, particularly with strong demand from China but there is a lesson to learn here - we cannot just depend on palm oil and crude oil in the long run. Over the past decades, these two sectors have helped Malaysia ride through through the toughest economic period. But the dip in the performance of these palm oil stocks should jolt us out of our comfort zone. With the world heading towards a recession, if not depression, we have reason to be very concerned. Let's hope there is a rebound soon. But the reality is that we have to find new sources of income for Malaysia.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Read the business section, please!

Click on visual above to track Bursa stock price

We all know there would be bad news coming up but the latest figures are much worse than anticipated. The stock index may not be an indicator of the economy but certainy it has serious impact. Bursa Malaysia Bhd has reported that its second quarter net profit fell 56% due to the weak stock market and warned that it would be almost impossible to meet some of its targets for the full year. The figures was its worst quarterly showing since 2005. The reasons - slowing US and global economy, rising crude oil, commodities and food prices. But unlike other countries, we have another problem - domestic uncertainties.
The Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (Mier) reported that consumer sentiment sunk to an all-time low cost concerns, saying the economy was slowing down considerably. Mier has revised downwards its gross domestic product growth forecast for this year from 5.4% to 4.6% which is below the government's target of 5% to 6%.
But this is what executive director Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Ariff Abdul Kareem has to said - the Malaysian situation has been further compounded by predicament created by local politicians.
"This is affecting short term investors who would be deterred by the political situation now. Politicians need to be aware that what they do could cause a knee-jerk reaction and give investors wrong signals."
For the past one month, businessmen travelling to major cities have been asked by investors and fund managers one question - is it safe to put money in Malaysia? They hear and read stories that are disturbing to them and they questioned, rightly too, why they should not be looking elsewhere. They hear of street protests, government conspiracies, murders, sodomy, police cover-ups, statutory declarations and a possibe change of govt by Sept 16. It's all very confusing to them - to us too for that matter - and they have two options. KIV the investment or just go elsewhere. The real impact of the global slowdown has yet to be felt by most Malaysians. Yes, the ringgit has shrunk, daily expenses such as food and petrol, have shot up but generally most Malaysians have not fully understood what's coming. There has been a slight drop in the price of crude oil but unless it hovers around US$100 per barrel, which is not imminent, the situation would not improve. The govt seems to be looking for various sectors to increase revenue. The independent power producers have been slapped with windfall taxes, that could generate RM2bil a year for the govt, and now research analysts think that gaming tax may be raised, the NST reported. The question is are the politicians merely leaving this to the Finance Ministry, the bankers and experts while they indulge in their daily political accusations and counter accusations? Please, read the business section of the newspapers.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Anwar Ibrahim back home in Segambut

Anwar Ibrahim has been freed and is now at home. A press conference is scheduled at 2pm, where he is expected to give his views on the events of the 24 hours.
A day after his arrest, the public is still talking about the manner the police nabbed him outside his Segambut house. For supporters and lawyers of DSAI, it was unnecessary, a display of high-handedness and a display of over-eagerness to arrest him. After all, the appointment was 2pm and he still had at least a good 30 minutes to do his own things like refreshing himself.
There was no shortage of abusive language for bloggers who merely reported the event, including this blogger. Reports were mistaken, or interpreted as views, as emotions ran high yesterday. For the police, their version is that they had to act because they feared a possible confrontation with his supporters if they had to arrest him at home. The ski masks? Their claim is that these officers were often involved in high-risked security missions and that their identities must be protected at all times. They justified that DSAI was not man handled. This is what THEY said. Not all of us would agree, of course.
Whatever the reasons, the bottom line is that plenty of goodwill has been lost. Public opinion is not with the police and government. Most Malaysians had expected DSAI to show up at the police station at 2pm, and if he failed to do so, then arrest him by all means. But let him keep his appointment.
The manner of Anwar arrest will not serve the cause of the BN. In fact, there will be more sympathies for Anwar. Politically, it wasn't a very clever move and counter productive to BN.
The statement has been taken, questions asked and DSAI has refused a DNA test, for fear of fabrication of evidence, his lawyers said. He has still not being charged for sodomy. According to the police, Anwar will have to report to the police headquarters again tomorrow. The investigations will continue, and if he is charged, Anwar deserves a fair and proper trial. It would be better if reputable international observers are invited to follow the proceedings.
Obviously, it doesn't look like it would be the end of the matter. But for KL folks going to work, they have had enough of the road blocks that have been set up for purported security reasons. Again, the police may have their reasons but this is working against the government. At a time, when Malaysians need to focus their attention on more pressing issues, the country is bogged down with more political controversies. Malaysians need to be productive, turn up for work on time, not get bogged down by jams. Worse, this political issue it has divided the nation. The general election is long over but our energy is still sapped up by fractious politics. Politicians are spending time speculating about whether Anwar is guilty or it is a government conspiracy instead of talking about how to provide food on our tables.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

RPK to be charged tomorrow

Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin is expected to be charged tomorrow for criminal defamation in relation to his statutory declaration on Mongolian Altantuya. He has been ordered to turn up at the KL police headquarters tomorrow and then to the KL Court Complex in Jalan Duta. RPK, when contacted today, said he is prepared for the case and ready to defend himself.

Anwar Ibrahim arrested. It's all over again.

Updates: 11pm - Anwar completes check up, back to city police hq
- Anwar to go to KL Hospital for medical check-up
- Candle vigil to protest arrest of Anwar
- Jln Hang Tuah closed to traffic as protestors gather
- Syed Husin Ali slams the arrest, says its a conspiracy
- Wan Azizah: Anwar wanted to go home to change his clothes
- Anwar still at the IPK in KL, crowd gathered to protest against arrest
- Sankaran Nair raps police for not waiting till 2pm

Anwar Ibrahim has been arrested. The PKR adviser was picked up outside his house in Bukit Segambut by the police at around 1pm. Anwar was supposed to head towards the KL police headquarters from the ACA office in Putrajaya. But when he headed towards a different direction, the police is said to have stopped him. He is supposed to be at the police station at 2pm to have his statement recorded relating to the sodomy allegations. The word is that the police have wrapped up their investigations. It looks like Malaysians would be going for another political roller coaster ride. Let's fasten our seat belts.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

And the winner is.....Malaysia!

Squaring off: Anwar (left) and Shabery

Everyone who watched the historic Anwar-Shabery Chik debate just now will have their own conclusion. The politically partisan ones would have decided on the winner even before the debate started. I personally thought the Information Minister handled the debate well. Remember, he is just a minnow compared to Anwar. He had the facts but some would said he was a little academic and a little stiff. He also delivered some personal blows, which may turn off some people but his fans would say this was necessary to remind the viewers of Anwar's true colours. Anwar was eloquent and persuasive. He was the better orator, no doubt, and had the experience behind him. But others found him evasive and tried too hard to be a populist without answering the questions posed by Shabeery. He appeared to be hit on the IMF issue but was more focused on the debate. In the end, the two were everywhere. The real winner - Malaysians. It wasn't quite like the American presidential debates but this was the first real debate that has been televised. Malaysians want to see more of such telecasts, involving other personalities and issues, to show we have matured. We want to decide for ourselves. Ahmad Shabery must be credited for allowing the parliamentary proceedings and now this debate. The quality of such debates would improve if there are more of such debates. Even the questions asked from the panel could be better. The representatives of the two speakers did not perform up to mark. Finally, congratulations to Agenda Daily for pulling it off, you guys are also the winners!

Monday, July 14, 2008

KL comes to a standstill

Traffic at a crawl at the Federal Highway this morning. - Starpix

Updates: 5.20pm - It's an anti-climax after all. The no faith motion was rejected, there was no demo and Anwar refused to show up at the police station. Habis cerita.

KL has come to a standstill. The traffic and politics literally. The police have set up roadblocks at major roads leading to Parliament causing a massive traffic jam in the city. The spillover effects of the gridlock can be felt as far as Shah Alam and Petaling Jaya. Traffic is almost at a standstill as the cops prepare for the demonstration by supporters of Anwar Ibrahim. Anwar is expected to turn up at the KL police headquarters at 2pm to have his statement recorded over the sodomy allegations. But conflicting reports have surfaced over the last one hour. Negotiations are said to be taking place between lawyers of Anwar and the police now. But now, PKR officials are saying Anwar will not turn up. At Parliament, the Pakatan Rakyat MPs are tabling a motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

More Immigration top guns to be nabbed

Updates: 3.30pm - Another big fish caught, see The Star for full story.

The word is that the Anti Corruption Agency is on the rampage. More immigration officers are expected to be picked up following the arrest of the department's director-general Datuk Wahid Md Don. Watch this space for more.

Friday, July 11, 2008

PAS-UMNO in negotiations?

PAS president Hadi Awang has admitted that the two parties have met, saying the Islamist party had the right to do so. Saying PAS was the biggest party in the Pakatan Rakyat, Hadi said the party should not be marginalised. There been long been talk that the two parties have been talking although some leaders have denied. Speculations about the two parties began after the March 8 elections. The discussions were said to centre around Muslim unity. This is the first time a top PAS leader has admitted. Hadi has been quoted as saying that while DAP won in Chinese areas, the MCA and MIC candidates won in Malay areas, thus eroding Muslim representation, see Mstar for the rest of story, which it picked from Harakah today.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

PM to step down in 2010?

Confirmed: Succession plan.

Updates: 3.10pm - Opposition to table vote of no confidence against PM

The word is that the Prime Minister is making a major announcement today. According to the Malaysian Insider, Pak Lah is expected to announce his succession plan. The report said that he would relinquish his posts as Prime Minister and Umno president in 2010 - two years from now. Quoting sources, it said Pak Lah is expected to talk about his plans when he meets over 900 Umno division leaders at the PWTC this afternoon. The Star also has a report on the leadership transition issue at the meeting.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The start of a global depression?

Economists are painting a grim picture of what's coming. It is the most complex and difficult economic crisis the world has seen in decades and possibly since the Great Depression, according to analysts. Financial turmoil, the onset of recession and decline in stock markets have hit major countries. For wage earners , it's the rising cost of food, petrol and transportation that hurt them the most. Last week, in the US, 80,000 people lost their jobs, with wages stagnating. The hardest hit sectors have been in the hospitality, construction and propery sectors. The latest news is that Siemens, the German technology group, will axe over 16,000 jobs worldwide. No matter how well our commodity stocks perform, we will not escape from this global problem. The question is how are Malaysians preparing themselves for the global effect. Can we get our act together to save jobs to continue putting food on our tables or are we going to continue with our kind of politics? We are running out of time.

Balasubramaniam - alive and kicking

The Star has an exclusive story today. Flip flop private investigator P. Balasubramaniam is alive and kicking. It did not take too much detective work to find out where he has been holed up, presumably with his family. A simple check with the immigration was enough to locate him, with a little help from the Interpol. We can guess which Asean country he is in. Surely not tiny Brunei or Singapore. Contrary to all the rumours of his life being in danger, imaginary or cooked up for political reasons, the former Special Branch officer is reportedly in good health. He certainly has plenty to explain. The two Commissioners of Oath who put their signatures on the statutory declaration would probably have to be hauled up - was he under duress? Surely, Bala has to appear before them or are they saying they simply signed the SD without his presence? What happened before and after his famous curry fish head meal at Brickfields? We can't wait for him to come back to tell us his story. That is - if we still want to believe him or he won't be so fickle minded or we still want to have more of this crap. Most of us are just disgusted by the excessive politicking.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Political uncertainties bad for business

The Straits Times' issue on July 2 had a screaming headline "Turmoil in KL" - the kind of story that was enough to scare powerful investors who are parked in Singapore. It's the kind of story that will see Malaysia lose more investments. For us in Malaysia, it's another day in Malaysian politics, as much as businessmen detest it. Still, this is the kind of stories that's hitting the headlines all over. We blame no one except ourselves. The Business Times, in the NST today, carried a story quoting the CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets as saying that it has cut its year end target for the KLSE by 15% to 980 points, believed to be the lowest estimate in the market. The foreign research house also downgraded its rating on the Malaysian market to "underweight" from "neutral" citing political uncertainties, inflationary pressures and an economic slowdown. It said "investors have always viewed Malaysia as a politically stable country and a defensive market. However, the current political bickering potrays a negative perception to foreigners that will cause further de-rating," it said. We need to get our act together. Quickly too.

Monday, July 7, 2008

PAS upset with "butt" incident

Now everyone knows about Carburettor Dung thanks to the antics of its lead singer.

The holier than thou PAS members are angry and pissed off with the antics of the Carburettor Dung lead singer, who pulled down his trousers to show his boxer shorts during a concert at the anti-fuel rally on Sunday. His antics saw the audience hurling abuses and throwing bottles at him. Poor chap almost got beaten up if he wasn't taken out of the stadium. The Pahang PAS Youth chief Suhaimi Md Saad is also furious that the protest turned into a "fun fair" and that its members were tricked into attending the gathering. Suhaimi is demanding the entire committee of PROTES to resign and take responsibility. The "jilat, jilat, jilat" song must have sent the PAS members into a frenzy. But Elizabeth Wong of PKR has rightly questioned what the fuss is all about. Guess folksy ala Woodstock style protest doesn't work for PAS members.

SAPP calls off no faith motion

The SAPP is calling off the vote of no confidence motion against the PM. The decision was conveyed to reporters at Parliament House by SAPP vice-president Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui after meeting Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz. The excuse given was that SAPP did not want to be a scapegoat in the current political climate. No one is sure what she really means as the Tawau MP also put in a caveat, saying no one know what the future political climate would be like. But that's how politicians talk. In short, she is saying the no faith motion is off, for the moment, but non committal over what SAPP would do in future. SAPP president Datuk Yong Teck Lee has not responded to calls from reporters who wanted to know more. Yong has found that his plans to make Sabah an issue has been hijacked by the sodomy allegation. Overnight, Yong is no longer news. Talk of BN MPs defecting also disappeared, which some say was the reasons for the re-think in strategy. But SAPP still has a show cause letter to reply to the BN. SAPP deputy president Raymond Tan is still a Deputy Chief Minister. So, is SAPP hoping that the whole incident is just a nightmare or is it waiting for the next move?

Swearing on the Quran - who to believe now?

The controversy over the sodomy allegation has taken a new twist. Saiful Bukhari, the complainant, is said to have told the authorities that he is willing to swear on the Quran. The suggestion, according to Mstar, the Bahasa Malaysian news portal, is that Saiful has agreed to the suggestion of Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin. The word is that Saiful has also informed the police of his readiness. It appears that this is next development in the sodomy controversy. DSAI is also reportedly prepared to swear on the Quran too if the Ulama advised him to, saying the ulama must be credible. So should Saiful and Anwar both swear on the Quran, who are Malaysians to believe? This looks like another step that will make Malaysians more confused.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Malaysians have said it. We have had enough. We are sinply fed up. For the next 24 hours, bloggers are still on strike. There will be no sodomy, no anal sex, no power grab, no clinging on to power, no lies, no statutory declaration, no P. Balasubramaniam, no Anwar Ibrahim, no Najib Tun Razak, no Saiful and nothing to do so with the issue. Let's do something useful with our family and loved ones. At least, for another 24 hours, let's get away from this madness of Malaysian politics.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Sick, tired and fed up

I think the majority of us are pretty sick and tired over the events of the past few days. There is only so much lies one can take. We should not let ourselves to be used, or led to believe to anything, by these power crazy politicians. It doesn't matter whether they want to grab power or stay in power, the bottom line is that we all have lives to lead. Not lies to lead. There are more urgent matters that require our attention. At least for the next 24 hours, let's spend our day well without any discussion about anal sex and that unbelievable P.Balasubramaniam, forget the politicians who only use us to fulfill their selfish ambitions. We have been taken in by all these allegations and counter allegations of sodomy, I think we have lost sight of what we are as Malaysians. Marina Mahathir share the same thoughts. Ong Hock Chuan and Khoo Kay Peng also want bloggers to make some loud noise! Even blogger-politician Jeff Ooi is pissed off. Rocky Bru is also on strike! Fellow bloggers are marking the 100th day of the March 8 elections with a gathering. I urge them to post their disgust at our politicians and ignore all these press statements, press conferences and their lies, excuses and explanations for the next 24 hours. Readers, share your feelings at the state of our politics in solidarity.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Malaysia, Truly Amazing!

We are truly amazing. What an about turn by P. Balasubramaniam (pic, left). We have become a basket case as far as Malaysian politics are concerned. We have been taken in by ambitious politicians and their operatives, who will resort to any means to stay in power or grab power. Meanwhile, we are beginning to look more like a cirucs with each passing day. Statutory declarations, with little serious substance or just merely hearsay, are made. In this case, to be retracted the next day. Politicians claimed they are being pressured, under duress and even assasinated. As all these silliness take place, the Bursa Malaysia - which claims to be world class - takes a beating with a total blackout for a day. The disaster recovery plan wasn't working yesterday and until now, no heads have roll. As of 2.55pm, the market is 32 points down. But what is certain is that the price of crude oil has now hit USS146 and still going up. America Airlines has announced that 2,000 jobs would be lost. The rakyat are sick and tired of this political crap. Politcians claim they are fighting for our interest - never their selfish interest - but are we seeing real work being done?

Balasubramaniam retracts SD against Najib

More drama! More stunning events! Barely 24 hours after making some serious allegations against the DPM, ranging from anal sex to corruption, the same complainant - private investigator P. Balasubramaniam - has decided to withdraw the charges he had made in the statutory declaration. The PI is said to have turned up at the Prince Hotel at 10.30am in a hurriedly called press conference. He distributed his six-page press statement and quickly made his exit before even the press could talk to him. He has denied Razak Baginda informing him that he was introduced to Altantuya by a VIP, denied being told that Najib Tun Razak had a sexual relationship with Altantuya, denied Baginda telling him that Najib had met Altantuya at a dinner in Paris. Bala is also denying now that US$500,000 was paid as commission to the Mongolian. It is a complete turn around which has left Malaysians wondering who is telling the truth now. And of course, what the hell is happening.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Sodomy and more sodomy

It's a stunning revelation. Call it explosive. Private investigator P. Balasubramaniam - who was engaged by Abdul Razak Baginda - has made some very serious allegations in a statutory declaration implicating the DPM and Mongolian translator Altantuya. Balasubramaniam is claiming his allegations - which he told the cops when he was detained for seven days - were omitted from the statement he signed. The former SB officer has made very incredulous claims ranging from a US$500,000 commission for a submarine purchase deal to anal sex in his 16-page statutory declaration. Even though it is a statutory declaration, bloggers and the media have to consider the legal implications of the content. Everyone is now waiting for a reaction from the DPM office. The latest salvo from Anwar looks like retaliation following last week's sodomy allegation. Malaysians cannot be blamed if we do not know what to believe anymore. Separating fiction, allegations and facts have become impossible in Malaysian politics as the crisis deepens. But as of now, the Bursa Malaysia still cannot resume trading because of a computer glitch. The back-up system isn't even working, traders are told. Even the computer system has been screwed, or is it sodomised?

Watch the danger signs!

Crude oil has risen to a record above US$144 per barrel. That means US$150 is imminent. There are some who even say US$200 is not impossible. You don't need to be an economist to predict that a recession, even depression, is looming if the price of crude oil does not stabilise or moderate at some point. (Click here to keep track of the price of oil)

We are not talking about Malaysia but the world. Malaysia is just a pimple on the world map but we will be hit hard. Just hours ago, General Motors shares fell 15% to US$9.98, the lowest since 1954 as it faces possible bankruptcy. Investors are staying away from companies making cars and planes, it's simple. Many airline companies are already up for sale.

Malaysia has always been spared from such crisis with its oil and commodities. If crude oil goes up, our palm oil also goes up. There will be a cushion but we will still be hit with higher bills for production and food. But what Malaysia can do is to be competitive - that will mean investors must find it cheaper to put money in Malaysia.

If you have corruption, that adds to the cost of doing business, you drive away foreign direct investments. Delays from either the federal or state governments will be the fastest way to drive away money. Also cut down all this stupid talk about Singapore taking away Malaysian assets. Singapore has plenty of cash and it is normal for businesses to have foreign equities. Nothing sinister about it. The Arabs are also the ones with plenty of cash now.

But more importantly, what's our priority? Our politicians need to get the act together. The whole nation needs to focus on facing a looming recession, we need to save jobs so workers can feed their families. What the hell are the politicians doing? Instead of demonstrations, ceramahs and party election campaigns, why are the BN or PR not holding talks to brace Malaysians for what's coming? Or to tell us their grand plans? We want to hear plans and ideas, not conspiracies!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The real issue - tough times ahead

The real issue is this - Malaysia's economy is heading towards turbulent times. With the fuel prices continuing to go up and slower external economic activities, our inflation is likely to hit 6% to 7% in June. Our banks, which sailed through the subprime problem unscathed, are expecting slower loans growth. That means banks would see less businesses. At Bursa Malaysia, most of the initial public offerings that debuted in the first half of this year have fallen below their offer price. Investors are nervous, staying away despite the cheap bargains available. According to the latest SMS alert from The Star, the KLCI has fallen below the March 10 level, down 17.84 points to 1,156 at 11.30am. Already businessmen are complaining about a slowdown, struggling with higher production cost while workers expect more to tie over the bad times. Freight charges and airline travelling have all shot up, with many airlines already going bust, jobs lost and travel agencies badly hit. Our politicians - whether in the BN or PR - should be finding solutions on how to get Malaysians out of this troubled waters. Malaysia, which used to be on the radar screen of investors because of its political stability, has become a joke in the region. The Umno politicians are too busy fighting themselves in the Umno elections and PR politicians obsessed with gaining power, we are in a mess. Worse, we are now caught in a sodomy allegation controversy. Sequel, as movie goers, will tell you are bad. The general election is over - let's get on with the task of grappling with the real issues at hand. That should be the BN's main concern while for the PR, it should focus on running the states it controlled, show Malaysians it can do the job and take on the BN in the next round. The jobs of ordinary Malaysians are more important.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Sodomy: Turkey, US and now what country?

The sodomy issue is becoming complicated. First, the Turkey Embassy allowed DSAI to seek refuge at its premises on humanitarian ground. The envoy was summoned to Wisma Putra but a diplomatic row was averted when Anwar left the embassy yesterday. Today, the United States has got into the act with a warning to Malaysia not to carry out any politically motivated investigation or prosecution against Anwar. The caution came from a spokesman of the State Department, according to a wire report. Now, Rocky Bru has alerted us with a blog posting quoting a PKR MP that the party had received information from various sources including from an intelligence unit of a neighbouring country that there was a plot to kill Anwar. Is it Singapore, Thailand or Brunei? There's more - Wan Azizah Ismail is meeting the PM at 5pm at the Parliament building. The press is already gearing for the meeting. Details to follow.

Sodomy: Medical report completed

Doctors at the KL Hospital have completed their medical report on Saiful Bukhari who claimed he was sodomised by DSAI. Utusan Malaysia quoted hospital director Dr Zaininah Mohd Zain as saying that the report has been sent to the relevant authorities. There is no hint or any leak so far on the contents of the report. The next step would be for the police to question Anwar and possibly to get a DNA test. PKR deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali said Anwar was prepared to cooperate with the police following the assurances given but said Anwar would want to see if they live up to their promise. Syed Husin was asked by the media if Anwar was prepared to have the DNA test. Anwar is scheduled to give a press conference at around 3pm at the PKR headquarters. Anwar is also filing a report against the IGP and AG for allegedly fabricating evidence against him in his previous sodomy case.Meanwhile, Saiful's family members have said he is not being used as a tool of the government or being paid. They claimed the cops and government didn't want to buy his story. The drama has become even more intriguing following the claim that Saiful is engaged - presumably to a television newscaster and this is supposed to be her blog, claiming she stands by her man, according to Rocky Bru. Again, we have to wait for verification. She has not picked up phone calls from reporters after her pictures were posted on some blogs. But she could be talking today, stay tune for the excitement of the day!