Friday, June 30, 2006

Mahathir vs Abdullah Badawi. Have a break. Have a Kit Kat.

Looks like there's going to be some respite from all the jibes and comebacks.

According to Leslie Lopez from The Straits Times, both the PM and former PM will be taking holidays away from each other. Datuk Seri Abdullah left with his family (including Khairy, I presume) for a three-week holiday in Australia on Wednesday, while Tun Dr Mahathir will head for Europe early next week.

I have no idea why both would suddenly walk away from their spat, and timing it such as if on cue. Maybe they really do need a break. Maybe foreign locations would provide more discrete venues for clandestine meetings to marshal their resources and supporters. We'll just have to wait and see.

The Sun has gone as far as quoting Information Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin that "someone dear to Tun M and respected by Pak Lah" will mediate between the two. Time will tell if this eventually comes to pass. But even if I were a betting man, I wouldn't place too much money on a truce resulting from it.

In the meantime, a lot's happened after Tun Mahathir's speech at the Malaysia Today sponsored event on Saturday last week which was attended by many from the opposition.

Many cabinet ministers have commenced barking. Sparking it all, like a bang from the starter's gun, was the outburst from Law Minister in the PM's Dept Nazri Aziz. Then came Entrepreneur Development Minister Khaled Nordin, Agriculture Minister Muyiddin Yassin, Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar and Education Minister Hishammudin Hussein. Pardon me if I left someone out. But all of them carried basically the same message, albeit at varying intensity. By speaking at a function attended by opposition representatives, Tun M is in bed with the opposition (and is therefore disloyal to UMNO). In addition, whatever he has to say to say to the govt, should be said behind closed doors... to preserve "party unity". Basically, retire already, don't rock the boat lah.

Doesn't sound like anything more than toeing the party line to me.

Now even former Deputy PM Anwar Ibrahim is getting plenty of coverage in the mainstream press. He has said that he's being considered to replace Kofi Annan as Secretary General of the United Nations. Well... that's what he says lah. We've yet to see Annan or US State Secretary Condoleeza Rice pay him a visit at his house.

He's also had some comments on the Tun M - Pak Lah situation. He said Tun M should be allowed to ask questions and the govt should respond as those are relevant questions. He also agrees that Tun M, like him, has been largely ignored by mainstream media. And he says that this feud has the potential to destabilise UMNO. He goes on to say that Tun M's motives are personal.

Err... right. Tell us something we don't know, why don'tcha? That was nothing more than simple regurgitation of what bloggers, letters to the editor, coffeshop commentators have been saying for weeks.

And this last one is more interesting. P Gunasegaram, who's some don't-know-what executive editor at The Edge had an article published in the same. He's gone and listed 22 questions directed at Tun M, seeking answers to some big questions that were the result of Tun M's 22 year administration. They range from perceived bad economic decisions like using EPF money to support failing GLCs, to megaprojects like KLIA and Putrajaya, to Anwar's imprisonment and to the Islamisation of what used to be Constitutionally secular Malaysia.

He asks some relevant questions, but I would dispute the purpose of asking them now. Why now? Why now when Tun M is no longer in power and when getting answers to those questions about a malfunctioning previous administration will do nothing more (or nothing less) than help the current malfunctioning administration get the monkey off its back?

Is that really what the Malaysian public needs? Divert attention away from the current administration's problems by focusing on the past? Aren't we better served by having Tun M stick a hot iron into the arse of the current govt - with the hope that some improvement might actually result from this? Notwithstanding whether Tun M has any ulterior motives or not.

Like it or not, there is nobody else capable of forcing the govt to explain itself. And from everything that has transpired since the last general election, there is a lot to explain, don't you agree?

Late breaking news (added on 1 July 2006):

Title : Malaysia's ex-premier agrees to mediator in PM spat
By :
Date : 01 July 2006 1920 hrs (SST)

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's former premier Mahathir Mohamad has agreed to let a mediator try and salvage his crumbling relationship with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, state media said Saturday.

Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin, known to be close to Mahathir, said the former leader had agreed late Friday to meet with a mediator to discuss Abdullah, the target of caustic criticism from his predecessor.

"I told Dr Mahathir it is difficult for (Abdullah) to meet him privately because (Mahathir) has shown his unhappiness with the prime minister," he told the Bernama news agency Saturday.

"Dr Mahathir agreed to accept the mediator," he added.

The name of the mystery mediator was not known but was thought to be a mutual friend of the two prime ministers.

Mahathir has bitterly criticised Abdullah and his administration in recent weeks over their handling of the economy, and key national issues.

The ruling United Malays National Organisation has become increasingly worried by the public dispute, which has sparked speculation of a party rift and fears of political instability.

Mahathir's office, when contacted, declined to comment on the use of a mediator to resolve the spat, but said the former leader was leaving Sunday to holiday in Europe, and would return to Malaysia on July 20.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Mahathir vs Abdullah Badawi. Where is Anwar Ibrahim in all this?

I have to admit, there's one factor in this whole Tun M - Pak Lah feud that I haven't considered much. And that's Anwar Ibrahim.

Articles from Raja Petra Kamarudin have alluded slightly to the Anwar factor, and so too, have many of the commentators on Malaysia Today. But nobody is exactly sure what role Anwar plays in all this.

But there are a few pieces of information that links everything together.

1. Tun M is pissed. And nobody is sure exactly why he's so pissed. It can't be for the simple things like a discontinued bridge or a sacked Proton CEO. As important as these things may seem, they're actually quite trivial in the overall scheme of things. But good as smokescreens to keep everyone busy.

2. The PM's son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin is central to all this. The recent speeches by Tun M, press conferences by Nazri are testament to that. But initially, I was under the impression that Tun M was angry at Khairy for his ties with Singapore (and the apparently increasing loss of Malaysia's national interests to Singapore). I thought that formed the basis of Tun M's allegation that Malaysia was losing her sovereignty.

3. But the freeing of Anwar Ibrahim soon after Pak Lah comes into power, and the recent mistrial judgement regarding Sukma Dermawan's conviction - lends to the notion that Anwar Ibrahim is a player or a pawn in all this intrigue and the govt of Pak Lah is somehow un-encumbering him for some reason.

4. Raja Petra Kamrudin has alleged that Khairy (soon after Pak Lah was installed), boasted that he will put Daim Zainuddin and Tun M in jail. Moves have already been made against Daim. The ongoing Metramac case where the presiding judge, Gopal Sri Ram in his preliminary judgement - implicated former Finance Minister Daim, as having his finger in the pie. Only time will tell if this will snowball against Daim.

Could the reversal of Anwar Ibrahim's legal fortunes, then be construed as a move against Tun M? Anwar already has a civil suit pending against Tun M. Will the govt do all in its power to let that carry through in court and put Tun M in real legal trouble? Possibly facing jail time? The recent poison pen letter against the judiciary under Tun M's time and the revelation of former TNB boss, Ani Arope, targetted at exposing Tun M's alleged misdeeds - are also of impeccable timing.

So, therefore and to summarise,

- is Tun M making a ruckus because he is angry that Pak Lah / Khairy are undermining the country's sovereignty


- is he angry that Pak Lah / Khairy are not doing enough to protect him from the past or indeed have actually masterminded & initiated the increasing legal momentum against him by freeing Anwar Ibrahim and allowing old skeletons to surface?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Abdullah Badawi's administration finally declares war on Tun Mahathir

In a long press conference after Parliament, Minister in Prime Minister's department, Nazri Aziz, made the first formal challenge of the administration to Tun Mahathir.

His main point was that Mahathir is the former PM and still a member of UMNO. But he is being a more effective opposition that the opposition ever was.

By Nazri's logic, Mahathir should be a man ("jantan") and resign from UMNO. Then Nazri will take him on 'fair and square'.

What's UMNO membership got to do with it? And don't you think the whole country already knows that the UMNO Supreme Council already considered sacking Tun M from UMNO but decided against it? Apparently, this occurred during the Supreme Council meeting last week and they decided that the possibility of a backlash from Tun M's supporters in UMNO was too real and possibly too powerful to be discounted. A move to sack Tun M from UMNO could be counter productive in that it will split UMNO if the motion was defeated.

What I find most telling is Nazri's assertion that Tun M shouldn't criticise the PM's son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin. Nazri's asserts that an elder statesman like Tun M shouldn't concern himself with a young and inexperienced child like Khairy.

More wool over the public's eyes? If Raja Petra Kamarudin and the Khairy Chronicles are to be believed (and I'm finding myself believing it more after 3 sources have been making references to Khairy being the central figure in all this.

1. Matthias Chang,
2. Tun M - although in the form of veiled references to Oxbridge educated advisors to the PM on Lvl 4 of Putrajaya having more power than the person on Lvl 5 ie. the PM, and now
3. Nazri.

Well, a couple of things are becoing clear to me.

1. Khairy Jamaluddin is definitely the point. The increasingly frequent references to him and his mates in the govt and Malaysian media apparatus says as much.

2. The "elegant silence" is not working. It hasn't convinced the public that there is nothing that the govt needs to answer for. And it certainly hasn't silenced Tun M. Hence, the barking of the Abdullah administration mouthpiece.

Tun Dr M's speech & dialog event organised by Malaysia Today

On Saturday, Tun Dr M gave a speech at a venue in Kuala Lumpur. The event was organised by Malaysia Today.Net. Below are excerpts of some of the topics Tun M spoke on.


Crooked bridge was a loss of sovereignty to Sgp. Why did we have to ask permission from Singapore to do something on our own land? The Govt says Malaysians did not want a bridge. But Tun M says that it's not the bridge they don't want. But it's Johor that doesn't want to sell sand to Sgp. And Johor doesn't want foreign military aircraft over its airspace.

Tun M says that sand and air was offered by Malaysia. Not a demand from Singapore.

Tun M's "suspicious mind" suspects that the bridge was scuttled because "someone" was not able to sell sand to Singapore. Someone would not be able to profit from the sale of sand even if the bridge went ahead because Johor would not agree to sell sand. Since there was no money to make from the bridge, cancel it.

seantang says: "While I agree that Malaysia need not get Singapore's agreement for the crooked bridge, I disagree with the project itself. It was a useless project that would not address any of the existing causeway's shortcomings, and it will cost hundreds of millions of ringgits. The causeway is a bottleneck. Building a crooked bridge over halkf of it simply makes the bottleneck more acute. It, in no way, alleviates the problem. If it doesn't solve the problem, why do it?"


Throughout the speech, the Tun had some choice barbs aimed at Khairy and his corp of Oxbridge flyboys.

"Sikit, sikit pi Singapura main golf. Anak menantu pun pi." - at every excuse, they play golf in Singapore. Even the son-in-law goes.


All the cabinet ministers and all the UMNO section heads support the PM. They support because he is the PM. It doesn't matter what's the issue, they will support. Tun M mentioned when he was PM, mereka selalu cium tangan. Sekarang tangan bau busuk (they always kissed his hand, but now his hand stinks).


Who's the buyer ie. Gevi SPA? Tun M's "suspicious mind again" is asking who's behind Gevi SPA? It apparently was incorporated specifically to buy MV Augusta. Who profits from it?

Q&A session.


Tun M said he gave him the PM's power, but he neglected to put in a condition that he couldn't give his power to his son-in-law. Right now, Tun M doesn't know who's in power.

seantang says: This is yet another reference to Khairy being the power behind the throne.


Najib has his own problems too.


No need for it. Basic Islam is sufficient. We only need to make sure we interpret it correctly.

The organisers, Malaysia Today is hosting the videos here.

Note that the speech is mainly in Bahasa Malaysia. A transcript of the ensuing press conference is also available in the same page.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Hong Kong Bus Uncle throws a fit!

This is the video from HK that made headlines and new channels worldwide.

The incident occurred on the top deck of a Number 68X Kowloon bus on April 29. A young man observed that the middle-aged person in front of him was talking too loud on the mobile telephone. So he tapped the man's shoulder and asked him to keep it down. This led to a vigorous response, including a string of obscenities. The entire proceedings were recorded by another passenger. Cantonese video with English Subtitles.

Here's an interview with the passenger who took the video on this camera phone. Cantonese audio only.

A spoof of the incident use to promote World Cup 2006 betting. Cantonese video.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

(Is This The Way) To The World Cup - Tony Christie

This must one of the best feel-good world cup songs ever. ENGLAND... 40 years, who gives a... Oi!

When will Malaysia ever come up with something even close to this? It'll go a long way to bring our people together with sports and music - and for 30 days every 4 years, forget about race and religion which are forever driving us apart.

For the time being, I guess we'll be stuck with the ridiculously archaic and old fashioned Jabatan Penerangan & Kombo RTM national day parade renditions of "Negara kita sudah Merdeka"...

The lyrics here.

More Pictures of Police FRU vs KLCC Price Hike Protestors

More pictures of "rowdy" protestors attacking fully body-armoured Police FRU with manila cards and plastic bags filled with sandwiches.

Under the threat of such serious bodily harm and the probable use of small children as projectiles (why else would violence prone demonstrators bring their offspring) - no wonder the FRU had to beat the snot out of them.

The pictures are here and here.

Also refer to previous blogs, here and here.

An open letter to the PM Abdullah Badawi

An open letter to the PM
Jacqueline Ann Surin

Dear Prime Minister Abdullah, When you first came into power after the 2004 general election, you promised us that you would be prime minister for all Malaysians.

In fact, I still have the letter you sent out to voters before the elections that promised you would fulfill your duties with sincerity, integrity, efficiency and fairness.

It was a letter that moved people, including staunch Opposition supporters.

There was hope that a new leadership which was more conciliatory, more willing to listen to differing views and more just was in store for the country.

And people invested in that hope by voting the Barisan Nasional back into power with a clear majority.

But recent events, including your administration's reactions to these events, have been deeply troubling.

The most recent has been the disruption of a peaceful and legitimate public forum in Penang organised by a group of non-governmental organisations that wanted to help people reclaim their rights under the Federal Constitution.

It was unfortunate, but really no longer inconceivable, that those who opposed such a civil discussion should frame their opposition in ways that incite hostility, threaten violence and make false accusations in the name of Islam, a religion that in fact promotes peace and justice.

What is actually more troubling is that as prime minister, you have also publicly announced that these issues of Constitutional rights are "sensitive" and the organisers of such events must be careful not to tread on "dangerous ground", lest the government has to use the Sedition Act against them.

Why would you lend legitimacy to the argument that Malaysians should steer clear of discussing issues which affect us all as citizens, whether Muslim or non-Muslim?

By continuously telling Malaysians these issues are "sensitive" and "dangerous", isn't your administration really creating a self-fulfilling prophecy? Aren't you in fact supporting the argument that these issues should not be discussed?

Additionally, Malaysians have been reminded by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz that it's not for no reason that the word "amok" comes from the Malay community.

Non-Muslims - and that easily translates to non-Malays in this country - are told we cannot speak out about the way Islam is used to formulate laws and public policies in this country even though they affect all of us.

We are told that not just the Sedition Act can be used, so can the Internal Security Act which allows for detention without trial.

In fact, I found it deeply paradoxical that Nazri could repeat the threat of the ISA at an international meeting of experts on Islam and human rights last month.

How can an unjust law be Islamic? We know it cannot, and yet, it would seem your administration is wielding it as a way to silence citizens in a democracy.

The way I see it, naming something "sensitive" and "dangerous" is just a disingenuous way of saying, "This is not open for dialogue and discussion. We might tolerate your views but only to a certain extent."

What that extent is, is left to be seen. We hope your election promises will be kept for all Malaysians, but really, many of us are more fearful than reassured.

From a non-Muslim perspective, the events leading up to the need for public discussions such as the Article 11 forum in Penang, have been disconcerting and troubling.

The painful injustice suffered by S. Shamala who found that her estranged husband could unilaterally convert their children to Islam, and the widow of M. Moorthy who discovered she could not bury her husband according to Hindu rights, are real and frightening.

But those instances of injustice are not being framed as "sensitive" by non-Muslims. They are not being used to threaten violence or incite hostility in order to silence discussion of the issues at hand.

Additionally, when you upheld the decision for the tudung to be used in police parades, did you consider how it would make non-Muslims feel? How can it still be a surprise then that most non-Malays will not join the police force?

Really, I don't need to be a Muslim or a Malay to have a stake in this country. But even that might be delegitimised because in more ways than one, I'm a minority.

And I'm constantly reminded that my views and concerns must give way to the privileges and rights of the dominant race, and a specific interpretation of the faith they profess.

But really what I want to ask you is this: Why do I have to constantly feel afraid in my own country? Why am I continuously told I have less rights to discuss important issues affecting my community?

You promised to be prime minister for all Malaysians. We hope you will remember that promise.

A Malaysian citizen.

Jacqueline Ann Surin believes that you cannot be neutral on a moving train. She is an assistant news editor at theSun.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Konsortium Wawasan Klasik Sdn Bhd (KWK) company to monopolise RTD transactions

Sounds like somebody's been 'granted' a monopoly to charge for RTD transactions.

How was this company selected? Was there a tender? Who helms it? Does the company have a good track record? And if the company is newly formed, why give such a large concession to an untested company?

Would it have been better to open up this "business" to a several companies competiting against each other?

Exactly how will this monopoly reduce the rampant corruption in the RTD? Will the company have the freedom to increase prices etc? Will RTD "make life difficult" for people do not use this new "service" and carry out their transactions personally

PETALING JAYA: Motorists will now have an option to carry out road transport transactions through a company endorsed by the Transport Ministry. The company aims to provide a more professional alternative to traditional runners, including charging lower fees that are standardised throughout the country.

Through a tripartite arrangement with the Road Transport Department (RTD) and financial institutions, the company, Konsortium Wawasan Klasik Sdn Bhd (KWK), will act as the agent for the financial institutions in their dealings with the RTD on matters such as:

» registration of new/imported vehicles;
» transfer of ownership of used motor vehicles; and
» road tax renewal.

KWK managing director and chief executive officer Rafi Khan Shahzada, who was a traditional runner 20 years ago, said the company will coordinate all runners and give them a new image as customer service coordinators or Cusco.

He said the company has 150 operators in the country dealing with state RTD offices and branches as well as financial institutions' branches and dealers.

KWK executive chairman Mohd Salahuddin Abdul Rahman, said: "Our system will enable the customers to check the service status through the website ( besides helping to reduce the congestion and waiting time at the RTD offices."

The system will also help the RTD eliminate unethical practices and give the customer coordinators a new professional outlook, he told reporters yesterday.

RTD director-general Datuk Emran Kadir said about 30 million road transport transactions are conducted yearly, which include about 13 million road tax renewals, 10 million licence renewals, 1.2 million transfer of vehicle ownership, 1.02 million new car registrations, and 800,000 driving tests.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

National Fatwa Committee: Kongsi Raya leads to Blasphemy!

Ulamas attending the Ulama Conference 2006 have decided that "kongsi raya" celebrations and "open houses" need to be reviewed because these practices can be blasphemous and erode the faith of Muslims. This is according to working committee chairman, Datuk Seri Harussani Zakaria.

For the uninitiated to Malaysian celebrations of traditional festivals such as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya and Deepavali - "open houses" are large parties open to the public (sometimes guests number in the thousands) commonly organised by govt agencies, political parties and individuals of high status. Kongsi Raya are simply the celebrations like open houses which are to celebrate more than one festival. For example, there is Kong Xi Raya (Chinese New Year + Hari Raya) and DeepaRaya (Deepavali/Divali + Hari Raya) when the dates of these festivals are in close proximity to each other. There's yet to be a "DeepaKong" though.

Now, for my take. Just how does getting together with your friends and neighbours of other races and religions, for a good hearty FREE meal, cause the erosion of faith amongst Muslims?

Is it an issue of getting together with non-Muslim people?

Is it an issue of sharing a meal with non-Muslim people?

Or is it an issue of eating a FREE meal? I don't think so as the Ulamas don't seem to have a problem with NEP (New Economic Policy).

On one hand, the PM is promising the Malaysian people Islam Hadhari and Muhibbah, and on the other hand, we have these Ulamas (whose salaries are paid with our tax money, Muslim and non-Muslim taxpayers, btw) who proclaim innane and ridiculous statements like this. And these are the people who are supposed to guide the religious and moral well-being of our Muslim countrymen!

PM Abdullah Badawi has another opportunity to clamp down on these deviationists and obstacles to Muhibbah. But judging from Pak Lah's previous inaction on Article 121 of the Constitution (Syariah Courts have jurisdiction over all Muslim matters even if it impinges on the rights of non-Muslims) and the surrender of the entire Malaysian police force to a violent mob (supposedly championing Muslim rights) who were protesting an inter faith forum in Penang etc., I have little expectation that he will even utter a word against the National Fatwa Committee.

For the PM with the strongest religious credentials, Pak Lah seems to me to be the most timid PM yet in living history when it comes to confronting religious issues faced by multi-faith Malaysia.

But then again, he's got bigger worries on his mind, like Tun Mahathir.

The original reference article can be found in The Star.

There are some sane voices in the govt who have spoken out against the National Fatwa Committee. But these people are few & far between, and seem to be extremely cautious with their comments. It feels true to me that even the strongest politicians in Malaysia tremble at the prospect of being perceived as "not Islamic enough" by the Malay heartland and as a consequence treat all these issues with kidgloves.

Perhaps getting tough with religious zealots is another thing that the current administration can learn from Tun Mahathir.

Rais' comments about all this can be found in The Sun.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

‘Touch ’n Go’ girls. Teenagers let young men fondle them for a fee.

The Star has a rather interesting revelation about the goings-on in Sungai Petani, of all god forsaken places. Seems like Sg Petani is a really happening place ;p

Touch ’n Go’ girls. Teenagers let young men fondle them for a fee.

THERE is a new term in Sungai Petani – “Touch n' Go Girls”. This is not because the girls, some of whom are as young as 12, work at tollbooths but because of the illicit services they offer.

A source from the Kuala Muda District Religious Office told Kosmo! that the girls would let men touch their breasts and private parts for a fee. Because of this, the girls are known as “Touch n' Go Girls”.

The daily said the girls were runaways and their modus operandi was to hang out at a shopping mall in town to offer their services. Their clients are mostly young men who hang out at the mall.

The source also revealed that the religious authority was monitoring the girls' activities. “Their behaviour is simply outrageous,” said the source.

Mahathir vs Abdullah Badawi. Matthias Chang speaks!... Errr... Matthias who?

Matthias Chang was a former aide of Tun Mahathir. He now speaks in defence of the Tun. Whether he's speaking of his own accord, without direction from Mahathir is debatable.

Notably, Matthias makes the first mention of Khairy in this whole affair. Is it the Tun's way of starting the ball rolling on Khairy?

Does it lend credence to the notion that Khairy is target all along, behind all the smoke and noise created by the Tun's repetitive mentioning of sovereignty, the crooked bridge, sand, airspace, Petronas, EFP, Proton, APs... yadda, yadda, yadda.

Or is Matthias Chang simply regurgitating what he read on Raja Petra Kamarudin's Khairy Chronicles?

Here's the article in the link below. This Matthias seems like a lively character. Just seems crazy enough to blurt out hitherto unmentionable matters, with uncanny timing.

PM's son-in-law and NST deputy chairman corrupt, Matthias Chang charges.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Mahathir vs Abdullah Badawi. What Singaporeans are reading about it.

Click on the pictures below to read the articles from Singapore's TODAY newspaper:

Friday 30 June 2006.

Thursday 29 June 2006.

Wednesday 14 June 2006.

Tuesday 13 June 2006.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Mahathir vs Abdullah Badawi. According to the Khairy Chronicles

Raja Petra Kamarudin has published the 33rd instalment of The Khairy Chronicles.

The Battle Begins: The Mahathir attack - Caesar becomes Brutus

Again, part 33 is hearsay just like parts 1-32. But I have to say - based solely on the fact that there has to be some sort of ulterior motive why Tun M would launch such a scathing attack on Pak Lah's administration - that the Khairy Chronicles helped me connect the dotted lines (and this shouldn't preclude the fact that there's still a fair chance that the dotted lines are completely wrong!).

The Khairy Chronicles pt 33 has made one prediction that it can't back out though. That there will be a state Menteri Besar (MB) that will spearhead Tun M's charge against Pak Lah's administration. I will consider the Khairy Chronicles reliable and dependable if this prediction becomes fact in the near future. In the meantime, my bets are on Khir Toyo in Selangor.

I've posted this today in the comments of the previous Mahathir vs Abdullah Badawi posting. I'll post it again here:

At 6/12/2006 2:23 PM, seantang said...

Today in the Star online: Dr M: I want wrongs set right.

There's a raft of quotes from Dr M in this article. He rehashes all the statements he has made since his tirade began. From APs and MV Augusta to the Crooked Bridge... it is my opinion that all these are just pieces of his elaborate smokescreen.

The wily Tun does however, subtly reveal another part of his root concern.

This excerpt from the aricle is what I'm referring to:

“But something has gone very wrong, and I hope Abdullah will do something about it,” he said, implying that there were elements of external control in the administration of the Government.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Mahathir vs Abdullah Badawi. Is there more than meets the eye?

The dam finally burst. Mahathir has been indirectly criticising the decisions made by Abdullah Badawi's administration since the sacking of Proton's former CEO some month's ago. But until just now, he has been mindful to criticise the decisions of the government, and not the PM himself. Now, it's all changed. In press reports, Mahathir has been quoted as saying:

1. Najib, not Badawi, was his first choice.
2. He (Mahathir) has some bruises, ostensibly from being back-stabbed
3. Badawi has broken the trust he (Mahathir) had placed on him, esp considering Mahathir expected some gratitude
4. He (Mahathir) has a habit of choosing the wrong people
5. The govt has more money now than it ever did. The means to develop the country is there, but is being manipulated by people with their own agendas.

What prompted Tun Mahathir to make such direct & abrasive comments?

Many people attribute the Tun's comments to his being disappointed and annoyed that the govt is slowly but surely dismantling his legacy. By actions such as the reduction of protection for Proton, the cancellation of the crooked bridge, stopping the development of Putrajaya etc.

But do I think that it's as simple as that? Come on, we all know how calculated the Tun is. IMHO, he will never make such a public criticism if he didn't have a specific end in mind. I think it's part of a larger scheme that has been put in motion. Remember this is Malaysia. Politics is never exactly as reported by the press.

I remember one thing the Tun said, when he criticised the cancellation of the crooked bridge. When the crooked bridge was cancelled and Malaysia supposedly refused Singapore's demand to sell sand and airspace to Singapore - the Tun said that Malaysia was losing her sovereignty.

Huh???? According to the official press, we refused to sell our sand, we refused to provide access to our airspace and we unilaterally decided to cancel the bridge. How did that result in a loss of sovereignty? In the eyes of the Malaysian public, we actually exercised and reinforced our sovereignty.

But the Tun insisted that we lost sovereignty. How? If we remember how Malaysian politics work, things are NEVER as they seem. And if we remember how the Tun works, he never tells the whole story at once. Sometimes, he even tells a story unrelated to his comments or assertions.

So, I've been trying to figure out what the Tun meant by the loss of our sovereignty. Then I came across this series of articles by Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK; most probably a pen name) called "The Khairy Chronicles" published on Malaysia-Today.
RPK makes some pretty serious assertions about current political landscape in Malaysia. The name of the articles - "The Khairy Chronicles" - provides some clues as to the main thrust of the writing. The first time I read these articles, I dismissed them as fanciful and fictional. Good reading, good entertainment but just a figment of his overactive imagination.

But since the Tun's comment about national sovereignty, I began to notice more closely the editorials in the NST, the news regarding companies related to Badawi, his son-in-law Khairy, the rest of their family and closest associates, and not in the least, the recent actions, statements and posture of Abdullah Badawi and his administration (all detailed and analysed in "The Khairy Chronicles"). The more I register as events unfold, the more I think that RPK and "The Khairy Chronicles" might have got it going on!

I was on the fence regarding the veracity of "The Khairy Chronicles", but the Tun's outburst a couple of days ago (especially his comment that "some people have personal agendas") has convinced me that something's definitely afoot, and "The Khairy Chronicles" might be more fact than fiction.

Click on the banner above for the latest edition of "The Khairy Chronicles" and on this link for links to the whole series of articles.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Costs Of Nationhood. Timor Leste.

The newpapers and cable news are packed with scenes and reports from Timor Leste. But I'm not going to talk about Timor Leste. I'm going to talk about the concept that Timor Leste has the misfortune of being the latest poster child for.

That's the concept of nationhood in "countries" that shouldn't be countries at all.


Timor Leste was a poor, sparsely populated country with no economy to speak of. Throughout the Indonesian occupation, it's economy was essentially imported and propped up. After an extended period of revolt against the Indonesia, Timor Leste gained independence in 1999. It was nowhere near a prosperous place to begin with, and that period of fighting left it even poorer, fully dependent on foreign aid. How many schools did they have? How many people were literate and employed? What kind of social and economic infrastructure did they have?

Nonetheless, the native and foreign power brokers saw it fit to proclaim a new country. Without working out the day-to-day bread and butter issues, the Timorese were left to their own devices.


I don't believe that Timor Leste possesses a population that can fully grasp the concept of nationhood and the accompanying complications - much less produce outstanding individuals and bodies that can run a country. What do they know of government, elections, democracy, self determination, minority rights etc? What kind of political infrastructure did they have? Did they have the bureaucratic and public service delivery systems in place? A system of political representation? A system of basic education?

Without political and social maturity, the infrastructure of good government and the resources of a viable economy - such an immature population succumbs easily to the natural instinct to divide themselves along racial, religious or socio-economic lines. Even in the most homogenous of populations, some sort of "us & them" division will develop between the different sections of the population. The differences can be real or imagined or fostered by those who are greedy for influence. And in all cases, this primitive need for division leads to instability and a struggle of influence.

What was different when the Indonesians were there? The citizens of Timor Leste were just as immature then, if not more so.

True. But the difference was that the Indonesia represented a MOTHER ENTITY that forcibly suppressed these differences and in effect, focused the population's attention on the Indonesian occupation rather than on division amongst themselves. In a sense, Indonesian occupation united them, overwhelming their instinct to fight amongst themselves. This was also true of the former Soviet Union and its numerous breakaway republics. The huge problems that they faced (and are still facing in some parts) after achieving nationhood are reminiscent of what's happening now in Timor Leste.

I have no idea how to fix Timor Leste's problems, so but I do know that a politically immature population such as theirs will only recognise the persuasion of raw power. They need guns pointing at their slingshots and only then, will they comply. So, will we see a long term Australian occupying force? Back to square one?

There is also trouble brewing on other fronts that might lead to the same consequences if these separatist movements ever gain independence. Let's see:

- Acheh province in Indonesia's North Sumatera
- The northern part of Sri Lanka occupied by the Tamil Tigers
- The majority Muslim Mindanao, in mainly Catholic Philippines
- The majority Muslim south of mainly Buddhist Thailand
- The many ethnically and culturally disparate regions of China if the communists ever lose power

Saturday, June 03, 2006

How to Modify an Automatic Car?

Back to my roots a bit. Below is a post I made today in It's about modifying a Proton Waja automatic for better driving, but the general points relate to any car with automatic transmission.

posted on 3-Jun-06 21:24 [edited 0 times] [edit] [delete]
>So, any advice on how we should 'improve' our Waja Auto to make it more
>exciting, in terms of acceleration (from standstill and on the move). My
>Waja EV seems to lack any form of pull, which I think it's because of the
>205/55/R16 wheels.

>Will a budget of RM 3k be sufficient? or should i just keep the money
>until I can fit in a larger cc engine?

If you want my honest opinion, think about doing a manual conversion. I spent a lot of money to get my ex GSR auto to 260+hp because I wanted to keep the autobox and still have 200hp at wheel. Looking back, I'm not sure it was the best thing to do. Doing a manual conversion gets you 10-15% more wheel hp immediately with no engine mods.

IMHO, if you want a fast automatic, you need horsepower. And you'd want lots of it at mid range.

There are only 2 ways to do that. More displacement and turbo. That's it.

Nothing else works as well, not cams, not intakes and exhausts, not ECUs etc. Why? Because these things give power at high end. The only way to get more power from a small capacity engine is to multiply that capacity with more rpm ie. work the engine harder. It's that simple. Besides, for a small and low performance engine like the 4G18, whatever gains made are so small that the autobox's transmission loss will swallow it up.

But, there are a few things that will allow you to get better 'feel' from your autobox. Minimise transmission loss rather than add power.

1. Lose the 16 inch wheels. Unless they are superlight magnesium wheels, dump them. Get a set of light 14" or 15" rims like Volks TE37 or SSR Type C etc. This will make a huge difference in the sluggishness you feel.

Then get some good tyres. Do a brake upgrade like good high temp pads or a twin pot caliper replacement. Why? It allows you to brake later and left foot brake through turns. What this means is that you'll carry more speed through the corner and have high engine rpms at the corner's exit. Don't look down on the effectiveness of this. On my dad's old 1.5A, using left foot braking, I can pull away from Putras going around a roundabout. But after the roundabout, dielah of course.

2. Use synthetic ATF like Redline Oils and make sure you use the correct grade eg. SP or Dexron III or IV. And put in a small ATF cooler. Use a small but high power fan to pull maximum airflow through it to compensate for the small size. Look at an Eterna Twin Turbo V6 and copy the ATF cooler setup. This should overcome that wall you hit near top speed in 4th gear. And gives your autobox some protection from that left foot braking also.

3. The following will improve low-mid response but for a 4G18, I don't think the gains are worth the money. Get a good tuner to screw around with your ignition timing and fuel injection for better low rev response. I used SAFC/SITC so that I can max the low-mid rev settings without jeopardising high rev. These days you can use Greddy Emanage etc as well. A bit of cam timing tuning using an adjustable cam pulley or even a cam change might help low-mid, but only with a master tuner. Lesser tuners might fark up the low-mid & high end balance. For the least expense, instead of fooling with electronics and cams, I would simply change the stock crank pulley or main pulley to a light aluminium one. On a GSR, this takes away almost 2 kgs of rotating mass and makes the engine much lighter or free revving at low to mid. If you want, you can also consider lightening or underdriving the aircond and power steering pulleys.

Oops, Wrong Movie. Confused Superheros!

Some comic relief after a series of current affairs postings. This one's damn klasik.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

IGP explains why Force was Necessary: Police vs Price Hike Protesters

From the Star: IGP: Cops used minimal force

KUALA LUMPUR: Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Omar has defended the action of his men against demonstrators at the KLCC on Sunday, saying they had used minimal force to disperse the protesters.
Refer to previous blogs, here and here.
"Every time our men told them to bersurai (disperse), instead of retreating, they moved forward. They became very abusive and confrontational," he said. He added that the police had a job to do and if they did not do it there would be chaos. He said the on-the-scene commander had allowed the demonstrators some 20 minutes to say their piece and disperse. "When they refused to disperse, it was then that the FRU Troop Commander decided to spray the water.

"While running away, one of the demonstrators fell because the ground was slippery.
Only one? Was it the big dude with the cracked head? So you're saying he did a Humpty Dumpty, slipped and fell on his head?!
The decision to spray water was reasonable to break up the unlawful assembly. "It is very unfortunate that in the course of dispersing these people, several of them were hurt. My men never intended to use any force at all," he said. "But what do you expect my men to do when confronted by these people? We have the right to defend ourselves when confronted."

He said allowing a demonstration without a permit could threaten the peace and security of the area concerned. "Businesses could be affected and people would not want to go there any more for fear of their safety and we will be blamed," he added.
It all sounds so rational. Force was necessary because the crowd...

- refused to disperse. Instead of retreating, they moved forward.
- was abusive and confrontational.
- a demonstration without a permit threatens peace and security.
- business affected, people fear for their safety and the police will be blamed.

But WAIT!..... Is it just me or does this scenario sound familiar? Weren't the protestors outside the Cititel Hotel on just 2 weeks ago (14 May 2006), protesting against the forum entitled "Federal Constitution: Protecting All", doing the very same thing? Reports were that they were much more belligerent.

Previous blog here.

Did the police raise their batons against this illegal demonstration? No, they decided to placate them and instead told the forum to pack it up and go home.

Why the double standards? Why the inconsistency of action? What were the decision points?

What are the latent reasons that the police decided to appease a violent, racist and constitutionally ignorant gang of ruffians, but on the other hand cut down using their batons and water cannons - what looked to me like a bunch of picnic-going families with an idealistic streak?
Is it because the latter played the religious and racial card, therefore the police absconded from their professional duty, just like the High Court?

Or... are the police taking sides? Well, they did say as much when they 'mistakenly' published a report rejecting the IPCMC. Previous blog here.

Disneyland Malaysia... Disney Spokesperson Denies It!

Singapore's Today newpaper reports that a Disney spokesperson has denied all rumours and says that Disney has no Malaysian intentions whatsoever.

And while the report seems to be simply reporting the facts, there is no denying the malice in its tone. You can practically feel the writer rubbing her hands in glee while writing the piece. Add some warts and a crooked sneer, and there you have it - a jealous step sister.

If you want to read the earlier press releases, have a look at the previous blog.