Saturday, February 6, 2010

Two good reads from Free Malaysia Today...

BN shows how bankrupt it is of strategies

The lacklustre Hobson’s choice premier Mohammed Najib Tun Abdul Razak, who has been struggling to be taken seriously and continues to struggle mostly, in vain, to try and restore the dwindling fortunes of his party, is behaving like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a fast approaching vehicle.

[Read the rest here.]

Bad omens and political quakes

The year of the Tiger, according to Chinese soothsayers, does not augur well for the premier, who was born on July 23, 1953, the year of the snake. Astrologers say the Snake and the Tiger aren’t pals. For the snake the “DNA for 2010 is poor people relations, poor health and poor luck.” The Tiger of 2010 is “the year to trigger any possible unfortunate event.”

[Read the rest here.]

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Haunted by the specter of Teoh Beng Hock?

SHAH ALAM, Feb 4 — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) moved its Selangor head office from Plaza Masalam to Wisma PKPS last month, but officials said it had nothing to do with the death of Selangor government political aide Teoh Beng Hock.

View from 14th floor window at the former MACC office in Plaza Masalam
A top MACC official said the move was to serve the public better as advised by one of its advisory panels.

“The new office is more accessible than the one in Plaza Masalam,” the official told The Malaysian Insider.

Last month MACC Selangor quietly moved to new premises on the 7th floor of Wisma PKPS

The 30-year-old Teoh was found dead on the 5th floor of Plaza Masalam last July 16 after he was interrogated overnight in connection with suspected abuse of state funds by lawmakers from the Pakatan Rakyat state government. An inquest into his death will resume on February 19th.
MACC was quick to label Teoh's death a "suicide." They also hinted that hired thugs may have killed him.
The MACC Selangor headquarters was located on the 14th floor of Plaza Masalam. The new office is on the 7th floor of Wisma PKPS which is opposite the Blue Wave Hotel in Shah Alam town centre.

[Source: The Malaysian Insider]

Teoh haunts Plaza Masalam… literally

Retribution for the murderers of TBH and all those who blatantly try to cover it up, is at hand.

The tragic case of Teoh Beng Hock has taken a supernatural twist, with three individuals reportedly having seen his spirit roaming in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s Selangor headquarters in Shah Alam.

According to China Press, his apparition was spotted on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam, where his remains were found, and on the 14th floor, where the MACC office is located.

The report said a security guard and two MACC officers had bumped into the spectre.

The sightings took place sometime in October, more than two months after the 30-year-old’s death. The security guard, who wished to remain anonymous, said he did not see Teoh’s face, but the apparition was clad in the same clothes which the deceased had worn when he came to the MACC office.

“I saw his dead body after the fall. I am sure that it was Teoh even though I could only see him from the back,” he said, adding that the incident happened around 6.30pm.
Recalling the spine tingling encounter, the security guard said he went to the washroom located on the fifth floor where he suddenly heard footsteps. The other officers were not on duty at the time.

“I had a strange feeling. Usually at that time, nobody would be around. So I walked out of the toilet… then I saw a man in front of the lift, he was wearing a black coat and white pants,” he said.
At that point, it did not strike the security guard that this could be Teoh’s spirit.

“I asked where he was going as no one was upstairs. He just answered ‘I am going upstairs’, the lift door opened and he went in.

“That was when I thought it could be Teoh, so I rushed to the security room to check the CCTV and saw there was nobody in the lift,” he said.

Another encounter
The security guard also related the experience of a MACC officer.

“He was sitting on the sofa watching TV when he suddenly felt something biting his neck, and when he checked, he found a red mark on his neck.

“When he was sitting in the reception area, he saw Teoh walk out from the office.

“Then the officer felt as if someone was pulling his leg. He got scared and rushed out,” he said.

Following this, the security guard said the officer requested for a transfer to the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya and “never came back.”

Teoh, who was the former aide to Selangor exco Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead after a marathon questioning session by MACC officers which dragged into the wee hours of the morning.

Although the official version is that Teoh had committed suicide, his family refused to believe that the father-to-be, who was slated to get married the next day, would take his own life.

Following a massive public outcry, the government ordered for an inquest to be held to determine the cause of death.

Teoh’s remains were exhumed for a second post-mortem after renowned Thai pathologist Porntip Rojasunand made the startling revelation that there is an 80 percent probability of homicide.

The inquest continues on December 9th.

A Comment on Malaysia Today:
Unfinished business could make a soul remain on Earth instead of progressing to where it should go. Obviously Teoh’s soul is crying out for Justice and he wants his name cleared of all alleged wrong-doings. Probably he is also worried about his wife and child she is expecting. May his soul rest in peace. A win in the next GE13 will set his soul free!

“The Chinese believe that if you die unjustly and violently (yuen wong) the soul/spirit of the deceased would not leave this earthly place and would haunt and linger around the place where her/his death occurs eternally until justice is done or his/her spirit is appeased. Now you know why the spirit of TBH is haunting Plaza Masalam. There will be more sightings and uneasy feelings experienced by people who are extra sensitive to such phenomenon. It is a way of the deceased’s spirit telling the us that she/he is yearning for justice and to set his/her spirit free.”

[Source: Anak Bangsa Malaysia]



Hmmm... you DO have a nice plump rump!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Meanwhile... back on the Flat Earth...


As Malaysia moves into the last stretch of an inevitable political transformation, the risks of civil unrest and emergency rule have increased, and neither appearances nor declarations made by its ruling elite - whether verbal or written - can be taken at face value or for granted anymore.

By Wong Choon Mei | Harakahdaily

So when Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin (right) urged his party to return to the middle ground, warning that its current hard line approach over the Allah issue may spell political doom, quite a few pundits were surprised by his courage and questioned his motives.

KJ – as the son-in-law of former premier Abdullah Badawi is also known – was stating what was obvious to most Malaysians and issuing a most needed wake-up call to his party, which has ruled Malaysia since independence in 1957. However, his remarks came at a time when his bosses, including Prime Minister Najib Razak and Deputy PM Muhyiddin Yassin, have chosen to bury their heads in the denial mode perfected decades ago by leaders such as former premier Mahathir Mohamad.

Unlikely therefore that KJ’s comments will bear any fruit for moderate Malaysia, which is trying to fend off yet another attack from a bullying Umno against its constitutional rights - this time, the religious freedom guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.

So whatever Khairy’s motive was – whether to pose as a moderating light amidst the groundswell of Umno belligerence or to signal to these hawks (some say on behalf of Najib) that it is time to cool down – is immaterial. Because above him, a bigger game with higher stakes is being played, and unfolding much quicker than anticipated.

Hard-nosed Malaysia

Weeks before the December 31 High Court ruling allowing non-Muslims to use the word Allah, rumblings were already growing in Umno that a power tussle at the very top - between Najib and Muhyiddin - may finally be breaking into the open.Two incidents fired the rumours. One was the sudden call by Defence Minister Zahid Hamidi - previously regarded as a Najib loyalist but lately believed to have switched over to Muhyiddin - for Gerakan to surrender the Penang BN chair to Umno. The other was the messy way in which Zahid chose to expose the theft of two jet engines from a military base.

Both incidents embarrassed Najib. The Umno president is really not sitting as pretty as his minders have tried to make it appear. No doubt there have been gushing news reports and ‘independent’ polls that try to portray growing popularity, but the reality is that hard-nosed Malaysians have already had a whiff of the future and they don’t like what they smell..

In 2009, along with Umno cronies and several Government-Linked-Companies, Malaysians shifted billions out of the country – about 50 percent of its GDP, which in 2008 was some RM739 billion. In its latest report, UBS Securities Asia wrote: “Question: which Asian country had the biggest FX reserve losses in 2009? The answer is Malaysia, and by a very wide margin; we estimate that official reserves fell by well more than one-quarter on a valuation-adjusted basis.”

“Why is this bizarre? Well, in the first place because Malaysia runs a current account surplus – and not just a mild surplus but rather the largest in Asia, around 17% of GDP. Other structural surplus neighbors like China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand have all seen sizeable increases in FX reserves over the past 12 months and yet Malaysian reserves nearly collapsed. How did this happen? In short, Malaysia must have seen massive foreign capital outflows – and sure enough, when we measure implied net flows, the numbers are simply stunning: peak outflows of nearly 50% of GDP, i.e., more than twice as large.”

Indeed, it would appear that hard-nosed Malaysia is not at all convinced that Najib can hold the fort. Neither is it willing to bet that Muhyiddin can do better. And judging from the massive outflows recorded, it would seem that neither the cronies nor the GLCs have faith either.

Will Umno be matured and civilized?

The future may be more complex than we can imagine. Even if Pakatan Rakyat fails to sweep to federal power in the next general election, it can still win further ground.

Can Umno accept this, when already it has shown itself prepared to push to the limit its war to regain Selangor, as witness the Teoh Beng Hock catastrophe? When it has shown itself ready to turn upside-down the judiciary and the Federal Constitution just to grab and cling to power in Perak?

Should the Pakatan win decisively - and this is looking more and more probable - will Umno be matured and civilized enough to accept such an outcome? Seriously, what are the odds that Umno can rise above brute force and intimidation? Small and as of now, it would be fairer to say that civil unrest and emergency rule are the more likely scenarios to follow a Pakatan victory at the next general election.

Indeed, these are the eventualities that Malaysians must confront and prepare themselves for. They must overcome their fear of trouble and think of the type of future they want for the children.

Otherwise Malaysia will become whatever the hawks in Umno say it is supposed to be, and this will be whatever they believe is to their advantage and not the nation's – both politically and financially.

The new Pak Lah vs the new Mahathir

Already, the country's largest political party is being overtaken by opportunists who see nothing wrong in using strong-arm tactics to maintain their positions and benefits. Former premier Mahathir, who still wields considerable influence, is also plotting his next move. In his corner is Muhyiddin, who has been alarming moderate Malaysians with a rash of hawkish statements. He has made it clear that he is DPM for the Malays first, and only then the other races. Will this be palatable to the non-Malays, should they accept him as the next Prime Minister?

As for Najib, it is obvious that he has been playing a double game, but can he hold out against their onslaught? Born into a privileged background, Malaysia’s sixth PM is - at the personal level – liberal and progressive. But he also believes that he has to show that he is willing to play hardball to keep his party in power. Or be ousted like his indecisive predecessor Pak Lah, who won himself the nickname Sleeping Beauty during his four years in office.

So for Najib, it has been a case of trying to do both. Win the hearts and minds of Umno and also the rest of the country. Unfortunately, the two prongs cannot meet or be reconciled, simply because the Umno of today has more political thugs than talent on its membership lists. The Umno president may have found out the hard way that when you give an inch, they want a yard! This has left the PM's 1Malaysia, People First, Performance Now stuck and unable to get off the ground.

Just as Najib is now increasingly seen as another Pak Lah, Muhyiddin is regarded as a new Mahathir. But neither men are the solutions that Malaysia needs. Neither men can take the country forward.

For now, only one thing is clear - Malaysians need to be brave if the current tailspin into backwardness and poverty is to be arrested and reversed. Otherwise, from becoming a developed country by 2020, we may well slip further in the ranks of the third world, economically overtaken by Vietnam and politically comparable to Myanmar.

[Wong Choon Mei is a consultant editor for Harakahdaily]