Thursday, December 31, 2015

2016 ~ Extraordinary in every way!


Completing the Old for A New Beginning...

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Lost Words: Heavens to Murgatroyd! Anyone remember what this means?

We can have archaic and eat it, too.
By Richard Lederer

About a month ago, I illuminated some old expressions that have become obsolete because of the inexorable march of technology. These phrases included "Don't touch that dial," "Carbon copy," "You sound like a broken record" and "Hung out to dry." A bevy of readers have asked me to shine light on more faded words and expressions, and I am happy to oblige:

Back in the olden days we had a lot of moxie. We'd put on our best bib and tucker and straighten up and fly right. Hubba-hubba! We'd cut a rug in some juke joint and then go necking and petting and smooching and spooning and billing and cooing and pitching woo in hot rods and jalopies in some passion pit or lovers lane. Heavens to Betsy! Gee whillikers! Jumping Jehoshaphat! Holy moley! We were in like Flynn and living the life of Riley, and even a regular guy couldn't accuse us of being a knucklehead, a nincompoop or a pill. Not for all the tea in China!

Back in the olden days, life used to be swell, but when's the last time anything was swell? Swell has gone the way of beehives, pageboys and the D.A.; of spats, knickers, fedoras, poodle skirts, saddle shoes and pedal pushers. Oh, my aching back. Kilroy was here, but he isn't anymore.

Like Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle and Kurt Vonnegut's Billy Pilgrim, we have become unstuck in time. We wake up from what surely has been just a short nap, and before we can say, I'll be a monkey's uncle! or This is a fine kettle of fish! we discover that the words we grew up with, the words that seemed omnipresent as oxygen, have vanished with scarcely a notice from our tongues and our pens and our keyboards.

Poof, poof, poof go the words of our youth, the words we've left behind. We blink, and they're gone, evanesced from the landscape and wordscape of our perception, like Mickey Mouse wristwatches, hula hoops, skate keys, candy cigarettes, little wax bottles of colored sugar water and an organ grinders monkey.

Where have all those phrases gone? Long time passing. Where have all those phrases gone? Long time ago: Pshaw. The milkman did it. Think about the starving Armenians. Bigger than a bread box. Banned in Boston. The very idea! It's your nickel. Don't forget to pull the chain. Knee high to a grasshopper. Turn-of-the-century. Iron curtain. Domino theory. Fail safe. Civil defense. Fiddlesticks! You look like the wreck of the Hesperus. Cooties. Going like sixty. I'll see you in the funny papers. Don't take any wooden nickels. Heavens to Murgatroyd! And awa-a-ay we go! Oh, my stars and garters!

It turns out there are more of these lost words and expressions than Carter had liver pills. This can be disturbing stuff, this winking out of the words of our youth, these words that lodge in our heart's deep core. But just as one never steps into the same river twice, one cannot step into the same language twice. Even as one enters, words are swept downstream into the past, forever making a different river.

We of a certain age have been blessed to live in changeful times. For a child each new word is like a shiny toy, a toy that has no age. We at the other end of the chronological arc have the advantage of remembering there are words that once did not exist and there were words that once strutted their hour upon the earthly stage and now are heard no more, except in our collective memory. It's one of the greatest advantages of aging. We can have archaic and eat it, too.

See ya later, alligator!

Richard Lederer is an American author, speaker, and teacher. He is best known for his books on the English language and on word play such as puns, oxymorons, and anagrams. 

[With thanks to Judy Mezen]

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Rhythm of the Rainforest ~ Sarawak 2005

Published on 1 Oct 2015

The annual Rainforest World Music Festival that has put Sarawak on the world music map since its humble beginnings in August 1998 is now an established event in the international music festival calendar. In 2005 I was commissioned to produce a feature-length documentary capturing the essence and spirit of this joyful, exuberant and intoxicatingly colorful festival. An 80-minute version was released on DVD in 2006. This 45-minute cut intended for local TV never got aired but here it is now on YouTube!

Produced & Directed by Antares
Production Coordinator: Emanar Alaya
Cameras: Aaron Chung, Jon Yap, Tan Yu Ming, Antares
Editing & Effects: Daljit Singh/Daily Rushes
Executive Producers: Sarawak Tourism Board

Released on DVD in July 2006 as a 79-minute feature-length documentary.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


By Alyaa Azhar | Malaysiakini

It is important for everybody to remember what Anwar Ibrahim - incarcerated for the second time, this time on a second sodomy charge - has gone through in the last 17 years.

In her review of the book titled The Prosecution of Anwar Ibrahim: The Final Play, prominent lawyer-cum-activist Ambiga Sreenevasan read a passage, quoting the vivid moments when Anwar suffered severe beatings during the first sodomy charge against him.

"He was boxed on his temple, hit on his neck… He said he was handcuffed and blindfolded and savagely kicked and punched.

"Some junior police officers helped him. Anwar said without their help, he might have died.

"I read that passage; I hope it didn't upset you," Ambiga said, looking at Anwar's wife, parliamentary Opposition Leader Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who was in the audience at the launch of the new book by Australian criminal lawyer and Queen's Counsel Mark Trowell.

For the audience at the event held at the Royal Selangor Club last night, it was indeed a jolt back to a dark moment in Malaysia's 'Reformasi' period of 1998.

"We forget too quickly that he suffered in so many ways; and the manner in which he was treated would have cowed anyone else.

"He spent six years in prison on a corruption charge. Corruption, that's a joke, how small (in magnitude), considering the kind of corruption we are facing right now. How many years do they deserve? I don't know how many hundreds of years (to be proportional to the) RM2.6 billion," Ambiga said, in reference to the amount of money deposited into Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's personal bank accounts.

'He continues to fight the system'

And 17 years after the influential leader was sacked from his deputy premiership, he is still languishing in prison, Ambiga noted.

"He came out and for several years made a difference. He was responsible for bringing several disparate parties together and made them work together in a coalition, giving hope to the nation.

"And for that, I think we must never forget the sacrifices made by him and his family.

"I highlighted that passage because I feel we must never forget how the system turned on one man and how that one man fought back and continues to fight back," she added.

Reminding the audience again of the prosecution faced by Anwar back in 1998, Ambiga said she had never dreamed that the people would be treated to front pages of newspapers giving detailed descriptions of sodomy.

"That trial robbed the nation of its innocence. Nothing was sacred, the bounds of decency meant nothing.

"Can you imagine what this did to the psyche of our children; and what about the psyche of our nation?

"It destroyed something, this trial that took place. These prosecutions should never have been brought," Ambiga stressed.

Power abusers may one day be the victims

Ambiga also had a warning for those who condoned or perpetrated the abuse of any of the country's institutions or their powers.

"They will do well to remember that they, too, may one day become the victims. We have seen it happen.

"In other words, you create a monster, tomorrow it may gobble you up," she cautioned.

The 376-page book by Trowell recounts both Anwar's first sodomy case as well as his second. It also describes the acquittal of the second sodomy charge, as well as the sentence by the Court of Appeal which overturned that decision last year.

The guilty verdict was upheld on Feb 10 this year by the Federal Court and the PKR de facto leader is currently serving his five-year jail sentence at the Sungai Buloh Prison.

[Reproduced from Malaysiakini as a community service]

Saturday, September 12, 2015

101 EAST ~ Murder in Malaysia (a film by Mary Ann Jolley)

Published 10 Sep 2015

Shot, then blown to smithereens with military grade explosives, the 2006 killing of Altantuya Shaariibuu was one of Malaysia’s most sensational murder cases. Even though years have passed since the young Mongolian woman’s death, it is one case that has refused to disappear. If anything, the mystery has deepened.

101 East investigates those who were involved in the case and asks whether the two men convicted of her murder are “fall guys” for others who ordered the killing of Shaariibuu.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Drunvalo Melchizedek ~ Birth of a New Humanity 2015

Uploaded 6 January 2012

Drunvalo Melchizedek has been working on many levels to assist in the ascension process of humanity on this planet for many decades. I'm really happy that he's taken embodiment among us at this crucial juncture to anchor specific information without which the confusion and anxiety so many understandably feel would be far more devastating. 

Thanks, beautiful friend!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The elephant in the room ~ no unity without equality

Commentary by Gabriel Tarriba

As my Malaysian summer comes to an end, I decided to take stock of what I have learned during two eventful months of research, writing and travel in the country. I came to Malaysia knowing very little about the country: my original intention was to try to understand why this young multi-ethnic country has been so successful in developing economically over five decades.

Malaysia is today an example for many developing and emerging economies and I believe that all Malaysians should be proud of how much has been achieved in so little time. The country definitely offers many lessons for my own country, Mexico, which was spectacularly overtaken by Malaysia in economic and social development recently.

And yet, in spite of my admiration for the country’s economic trajectory, I must admit that on the political level there is something about Malaysia that I find frankly disturbing and incompatible with its image as a modern country.

It is the country’s original sin, a moral blemish so blatant and deep that even fifty years of sustained economic growth and a state machinery of censorship and intimidation have not been able to erase. It is the elephant in the room, the one element that sets Malaysia apart from the group of advanced countries that it wants to resemble.

It is also the source of national disunity and ethnic tensions, and it is intimately linked to the current political upheavals.

I am talking about the rejection of the principle of equality of all citizens contained in the Malaysian constitution. This legal anomaly underpins one of the largest systems of institutional racism of the modern world (if you prefer euphemisms you may call it ‘race-based affirmative action’. It is also the legal foundation of the New Economic Policy and all other policies that benefit one racial group over the others.

Like all forms of injustice, this inherently racist system is only viable if people are not able to discuss it; lacking any ethical and logical justification, the Malaysian original sin is underpinned by intimidation, censorship and repression. Racism stands no chance when reason is allowed to prevail.

Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman, president of the
fundamentalist Malaysian Muslim Solidarity NGO
In defence of the Malaysian racist regime, I must say that at least it is very blatant and visible. The Malaysian constitution contains its own version of the Orwellian dictum that ‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others’.

Article 8 of the Malaysian Constitution says that “all persons are equal before the law” but then the second point reads: Except as expressly authorized by this Constitution, there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent or place of birth in any law relating to the acquisition, holding or disposition of property or the establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession, vocation or employment.

The first seven words of the previous sentence open up the door to legal discrimination. Article 153 then clarifies what forms of discrimination are expressly authorised (hint: a lot) on the basis of the ‘special position’ of the Malays and natives of East Malaysia).

A peculiar ‘social contract’

How did this system come into being? The short answer is that the Malays managed to coerce the Chinese and Indian minorities to accept a peculiar ‘social contract’ at the time of independence, through which they would become citizens, but without the same right as the Malays. The latter never recognised the Chinese and Indian as legitimate migrants, because most of them had settled in the Malacca peninsula in British colonial times.

These migrants, or rather descendants of migrants, could either accept this raw deal or face deportation and possibly statelessness. This makes the validity of the Malaysian ‘social contract’ highly questionable, just like any contract or confession obtained through coercion is void in a court.

Leaving aside the circumstances under which the ‘social contract’ was crafted, it is worth pondering the logic for which it stands. In a nutshell, the idea is that ethnic Malays, plus the native populations of East Malaysia, are the rightful owners of Malaysia because their ancestors arrived there earlier.

It doesn’t take a genius to realise how arbitrary, unjust and impractical this reasoning is. The distribution of human groups on the territories of this planet is the result of tens of thousands of years of migrations, conquests, forced displacements and the subjugation of one group by another. There is nothing fair or civilised about it.

The ethnic Malay, Chinese, Indian, Orang Asli, and all other groups that live in modern-day Malaysia arrived on these lands at different points in time. It is absurd to qualify their right to be here on the basis of their belonging to a certain group that was politically and militarily dominant at a specific point in time.

That is why modern countries don’t try to make such distinctions: they have only one class of citizens and they all have the same rights and obligations, regardless of where their ancestors come from.

Equality is the only way to achieve national unity. You can’t tell people to unite and live in harmony when you are the first one to discriminate and divide people by race when it comes to rights and opportunities. You can’t tell people that there is ‘1Malaysia’, when all the time you promote racism, segregation, resentment and envy.

If you are serious about national unity, harmony and a constructing a common identity, you have to accept that all Malaysians have as much of a right to be here as you do, and that you are not entitled to more than anyone else.

History shows us that all systems based on racial discrimination are unsustainable in the long run, because they can only survive while reason, ethics and empathy are repressed. As Malaysia’s political system becomes more democratic and participative, the issue of equality will start to be discussed openly and without fear.

Eventually, the absurdity of the system of discrimination will become apparent to everyone and equality will be embraced as an ethical imperative but also as the missing element to propel the country into a prosperous, democratic future.

GABRIEL TARRIBA is a Master’s candidate in Public Policy at the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin. Published 2 September 2015 in Malaysiakini

Message to the corrupt from José Ugaz: "Your days of impunity are numbered!"

In the heart of the administrative capital, Transparency International chief Jose Ugaz zooms in on the RM2.6 billion controversy. Below is his full speech delivered at the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC).

Let me first thank the IACC for bringing so many people together as part of our great global movement to tackle corruption.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission for hosting the conference with the IACC.

And the Malaysian people for welcoming us to their beautiful country at these momentous time.

This week Malaysia celebrated Merdeka – its independence from colonial rule and freedom from oppression.

Independence and freedom. The building blocks of a fair and just society.

All countries face challenges, especially new countries, and I looked back at some of the statements from the founding father of the nation, (Tunku) Abdul Rahman, made at the time of independence in 1957.

There were two words that he used that stood out for me – honesty and integrity.

That is what brings us together in the fight against corruption. Honesty and integrity.

We have seen what this means to people all over the world in recent weeks.

In Brazil.

In Honduras.

In Guatemala.

In Iraq.

In Malaysia.

Hundreds of thousands of people are sending a message to the corrupt. Your days of impunity are numbered.

That is a reason why we are here. But we have a struggle in front of us.

In too many countries the basic rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association are being eroded or taken away. It is hard to fight corruption without those rights.

Most insidious of all is political corruption. The twisting and distorting of the law by governments plagued by cronyism and captured by special interests.

In Kuwait, our chapter was taken over by a government appointed board. In Tunisia, our activists were threatened with legal action for criticizing laws that would set the corrupt free. In Russia, civil society organisations are being placed on a register of Foreign Agents – the first moves that could attempt to close down the work of anti-corruption fighters in that country.

Those with integrity removed.

Secret deals.

Cronies appointed.

Violations of human rights

This feeds what we call grand corruption because it creates a climate where corruption flourishes and impunity protects the powerful.

We are in a global world and illicit money can be moved in a single keystroke. The oligarchs of corruption can also move freely without legal consequences, flaunting their five-star lifestyle, buying their properties in London, the south of France and Kenya.

That is what we mean by impunity.

Let me give you one example. The former president of Ukraine – Viktor Yanukovych. When he finally fled, the people of Ukraine discovered that their money had been spent on a mansion with a zoo and a full size Spanish galleon ship.

What was revealed was a chain of shell companies in Vienna, London and Liechtenstein that concealed the vast wealth he was stealing from the country. Ukraine’s chief prosecutor has said that there is evidence that at least US$350 million has been stolen…It could be much more.

He and too many corrupt politicians and business people use shell companies to conceal their money. That is why we will talk at length at this conference about the need for public registers of beneficial ownership.

It is collective action that can challenge impunity.

In France, after a campaign our chapter, 300 million Euros of assets stolen by the former President Obiang of Equatorial Guinea were frozen by the courts.

Now in Guatemala, after a mass campaign, the former vice-president is in jail awaiting trial accused of conspiracy and bribery and yesterday the immunity from prosecution of the president was removed and a judicial order was released so he cannot leave the country.

And in Brazil, where one million people took to the streets for the Petrobas scandal has seen five politicians arrested and criminal cases brought against 13 companies, including the head of the world’s largest construction company. And our movement is now working across seven South American countries to uncover how far the Petrobas scandal has spread, while politicians and heads of these companies have been arrested.

The web of corruption shows very clearly that this is not confined to developing countries. Many companies in Europe and the United States are being investigated for bribery.

Fighting against corruption takes courage.

We should pause at this moment and remember those who paid a terrible price for speaking out against corruption.

Danilo Lopez and Frederico Salazar, two courageous journalists were murdered in broad daylight in Guatemala. For more than a decade, Lopez had exposed corruption and the misuse of public funds by corrupt politicians. And a month and a half ago an anti-corruption activist was killed in Mexico.

This year, 24 journalists around the world who have exposed corruption and human rights abuses have been killed. 24.

In Azerbaijan, as we meet, investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova was sentenced yesterday to seven and half years for “economic crimes.” These are typical of the bogus charges brought by governments to shut down those who speak out against corruption.

Khadija exposed how the government awarded the rights to a lucrative gold field to the president’s family. In a statement she just said: “I might be in prison, but the work will continue.”

That is the work that everyone in this conference is dedicated to take forward.

Press freedom and freedom of expression are the pillars of democratic societies and journalists must be able to work without fear. We stand with them.

Our movement has shown that it can fight back.

In Cameroon, Paul Kingue was freed from prison after a sustained campaign by local and international groups.

His crime? Exposing a French-owned banana producer for tax fraud.

In Angola, the most serious charges against Rafael Marques de Morais were dropped after a sustained international campaign.

His crime? A book exposing corruption and torture in Angola. For that he could have faced nine years in prison. Just for writing a book.

There are many more activists around the world and many are here present in this conference. Let me pay tribute to you, for your courage, for your honesty, for your integrity.

Change can and does happen.

Why are we so passionate about the change we want to see?

We share many values. We want to see an end to poverty, we want all children to be able to go to school. We want people to have access to healthcare and live in decent homes.

That is why we are here and why we fight corruption.

The private jet that is paid for by the school that is not built. The luxury house that is paid for by those who cannot get the medicine they need. The yacht paid for by the homeless.

How do we change that? There is much we know, and much you will debate this week.

No one can be in Malaysia and not be aware of the corruption allegations of recent months and how damaging they are to the country. There is a corruption crisis here.

As a global anti-corruption movement it is our role to ask questions, to challenge those who abuse their power, to champion those who cannot speak and to engage with those who sincerely wish to change.

Let us recall those two words – honesty and integrity.

What does that mean for Malaysia? The government has taken measures and initiatives to tackle corruption. We will surely hear that from the minister.

We want to see more progress but that cannot happen while there are unanswered questions about the US$700 million that made its way into the prime minister’s personal bank account.

In recent weeks, we have seen the attorney-general who was critical of the government suddenly replaced, the 1MDB task force suspended, investigators at the anti-corruption commission arrested or transferred, and newspapers suspended for reporting on the matter.

These are not the actions of a government that is fighting corruption.

We may well hear promises of reform. That is not what is needed at this time. And promises alone will not restore confidence and trust.

There are two questions that need to be answered:

Who paid the money and why?

Where did it go?

One man could answer those questions.

If that does not happen then only a fully independent investigation, free from political interference, can uncover the truth.

Until that happens, no claim from the government on anti-corruption will be credible.

I stand here today with you and say this is what the people want from government – honesty and integrity.

Our movement does not stand alone. We have common cause with all who speak up against those that would seek to enrich themselves at the expense of the people.

We are global.

We have a powerful voice.

We are together against corruption.

This conference will last three days, but our work will continue each and every day both in Malaysia and throughout the world.

Transparency International president José Ugaz is a Peruvian jurist. He served as Ad-Hoc Attorney of Peru for the highest profile criminal cases in recent Peruvian history, involving the investigation of former President Fujimori and his chief of intelligence.

5:56PM Sept 2, 2015 | Malaysiakini

Friday, August 28, 2015

Come CLEAN, Pinky Poo! You can run but you can't hide...

[Source unknown]
"Pardon the intrusion, Your Majesty, but you're under arrest!" 

"I love the Malaysian sense of humour, it's so... English!"

I found the Queen in the Yellow Pages.

[First posted 15 July 2011]

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Internationally, it's game over for Najib ~ by John Mallot

COMMENT Ever since he became prime minister in 2009, Najib Razak cut a very impressive swath overseas.
Armed with his impeccable English, a product of his British education, and dressed immaculately in his elegant bespoke British suits, Najib talked a good game. He traveled the world and spoke of how he wanted to reform Malaysia's political and economic systems and transform his nation into a model for the world.
He spoke at the United Nations time and again of a Global Movement of Moderates, of which Malaysia would be the leader. He spoke of Malaysia as a tolerant nation that respected all religions and races.
In contrast to former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad, whose trips were primarily to Third World nations, Najib actively courted the United States and European nations - the lands of Mahathir's dreaded "orang putih."
Backing all of Najib's efforts was a multi-million dollar international PR operation, paid for by the taxpayers. It was aimed at swaying international opinion. It spent untold millions on PR firms Apco and FBC Media. Their job was to puff up Najib and tear down the political opposition, along with anyone who dared to tell the truth about what was really going on in Malaysia.
And most of the outside world believed what Najib and his PR machine had to say.
But for the past few years, there were a number of people outside Malaysia, myself included, who tried to tell the world what the truth was - what really was going on in Malaysia. That Malaysia was no longer the country they thought it was, and that they should not believe Najib's paid propaganda agents.
We wanted people to know that there were two Najibs. There was the fake Najib, the international Najib, the Najib who talked a good game overseas. That Najib was backed up by millions of dollars in PR fees. That man even fooled the President of the United States into a game of golf just last Christmas.
The real Najib
And then there is the other Najib, the real Najib.
He is the "domestic" Najib, the man who stifles freedom. The man whose police force tear-gassed people in the streets for demanding free and fair elections. The man who has arrested scores of opposition politicians and dissidents under the Sedition Act.
He is the corrupt Najib, the man who arranged the over-priced purchase of non-functioning Scorpene submarines, and most recently, the man behind 1MDB and its missing billions.
He is the Najib who received US$700 million into his personal bank account.
He is the Najib whose wife's many Birkin bags and multi-million dollar emerald necklaces were the subject of a three-page expose in The New York Times.
Today, thanks to the most prestigious newspapers and magazines in the world, the whole world knows who the real Najib is. Now the world understands that there is only one Najib.
And it is not the dapper, suave, reformist Najib that they believed in.
So, it is game over for Najib Razak internationally.
On Saturday, tens of thousands of Malaysians will march in Bersih 4 to protest Najib's authoritarian rule.
It is certain that Najib, the man who brazenly stood before international fora and proclaimed himself to be a reformer and a liberal, will send his police force in to break up the rally.
Najib will deploy tear gas, chemical-laced water, and police batons to ensure his rule.
The whole world will be watching - and finally will realise what kind of man he is.
It truly will be game over for Najib.

JOHN R MALOTT is former United States ambassador to Malaysia. Reproduced from Malaysiakini as a public service.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Michael's dream, Sunday, 19 January 2014...

Six of us, three women, three men, are standing in a circular enclosure. In the way that some very special places can, it is speaking to us – or rather, conveying its thoughts to us without sound. Gradually it reveals itself, and its purpose. It is a small spacecraft, forty feet in diameter, with a transparent shell, which means that wherever we go, we’ll be able to see in any and every direction.

And that’s not all: quite obviously this craft doesn’t have to be flown – it will go wherever we want it to, whenever we want it to. It is not just low-maintenance, it is no-maintenance.

And as if that weren’t enough, I get the distinct impression that it also has a character and personality of its own, and a sense of humor.

Finally it says: “Welcome aboard Flightship One. Use me and enjoy me.”

The man next to me, a tall Indian or Tibetan, smiles and nods. “This is the ship that is used by envoys of God the Father and God the Mother whenever they take human form and explore this Universe,” he says. “And now it is being offered to us.”

I wake, and reach for pen and paper...

I have already confessed that with me, it sometimes takes a while for the penny to drop. In this case, several weeks pass before I realize what the above dream means. What it isn’t about is six people being offered a special privilege - it is about all of us, and what we have at our disposal:

Flightship One turns out to be nothing more and nothing less than our non-physical selves - the craft in which each and every one of us can explore time and space. In other words, our dream bodies.

Merlin used to say to us: “We need you to dream.” By which I presume he meant, “We need you to travel beyond your own limited ideas about the world and the Universe, so that you can see things as they really are. Which isn’t easy, as the Earth is surrounded by a dense cloud of gunk, known by some as “the astral planes.”

“The astral planes are the thought and emotion factories of the human race,” was my first teacher’s way of describing them. “You often complain that nothing is coming through from ‘HQ,’ as you call it. It isn’t for want of trying, believe me - but nothing can get through this miasma containing all of human thought, desire, prejudice, fear, anger, ignorance and despair.”

Our belated apologies, then, to Supreme HQ. We never stop moaning about ‘radio silence’ from you, when all the time it’s the racket coming from us down here that is stopping your messages coming through loud and clear.

Michael Dean

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ambiga Sreenevasan's impassioned statement to all honest Malaysians

Ambiga: Why we need Bersih 4

COMMENT We have to fix this nation for the next generation. We cannot hand them a broken nation
There is no change in the usual anti-Bersih rhetoric. “It is anti-government, it will ruin businesses, it will cause chaos.”
Pictures of (Bersih chairperson) Maria (Chin Abdullah) are being defiled. They have simply run out of ideas, and no one is really listening to them.
Judging by the thousands of t-shirts being sold every day, Bersih 4 is set to see a massive turn out. Why? Because people are sick to death of the dishonest governance of our beautiful nation.
And it is time our leaders know they are not fooling us with their ridiculous responses.
It is time they know that they have crossed all bounds of decency and that they have hurt the nation and its people. It is also time they realise just how much we, the rakyat, love this country.
They have all the power, yes. They want to hang onto it, yes. But we have the power of truth.
We have to fix this nation for the next generation. We cannot hand them a broken nation with a debt that they have to pay for the rest of their lives. We need to hand them a nation that is built on the fundamentals of strong institutions, with honest leaders.
An empowerment
So I would say to the police and other enforcement officers - by all means do your duty, but be fair. We are the rakyat, not your enemies.
In fact, we are fighting for your children’s future too. Would you not want a Malaysia where our democracy is strong, and where there is a fair distribution of wealth?
We will gather peacefully on the 29th and 30th. That is our right. When you see us, remember that we are there because we love our country.
To our leaders I say, you have no idea what it is like to walk with the rakyat. It is empowering.
You should come, if only to reconnect with us and see how we feel. You may not agree with all our demands but you will show that you nevertheless respect our right to gather and speak.
To everyone else, see you at Bersih 4!
AMBIGA SREENEVASAN is the former co-chairperson of Bersih and former president of the Malaysian Bar. Reproduced wholesale from Malaysiakini as a public service.

Monday, August 3, 2015

These Gestapo Tactics By The New UMNO Triumvirate Only Spell Guilt

New Troika plus the unofficial boss (in green)
Sarawak Report | 2 August 2015

If the new UMNO leadership had nothing to hide would they be lashing out in the Gestapo fashion, witnessed by astonished Malaysians over the past few days?

And if the documents published by Sarawak Report were false or ‘doctored’, why have these desperadoes been ordering the ransacking of public offices and the arrest and interrogation of all the public investigators who have been looking into 1MDB on the grounds of “criminal leakages”?

How the headlines look these days in Malaysia
To the contrary, were Najib secure in the knowledge of his own innocence he and his remaining henchmen would be relaxed and aloof.

They would take a superior position, while of course issuing a vicious libel action through their lawyers to destroy and ruin the writer of Sarawak Report.

They have not.

Far from it, they are instead acting like desperate men determined to hide, bully and crush the truth by instilling fear of aggressive action against anyone who so much as mentions the issue that is exposing them so dangerously.

Don’t mention 1MDB!

Look how the Triumvirate have come out gnashing their teeth and brandishing their fists over the past few hours.

Familiar salute? Zahid boasts he is a "Muslim fundamentalist'
Zahid Hamidi, the new key linchpin in the Najib regime, as Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister rolled into one, has plunged into the role of bully boy and human rights abuser like a mad barking dog, ordering arrests and destroying in an instant the expensively crafted PR image of Najib in the West.

Calling himself an “Islamic fundamentalist” Zahid yesterday threatened the media that they should “expect no warning” of him “taking action” if he found them “spinning”.

By this Malaysia was left in no doubt that he was warning the press to halt any mention of the scandal surrounding 1MDB, which has embroiled his boss.

The world now realises that there is no real freedom of the press in Malaysia or genuine rule of law.

And while the world is looking on (slack jawed) perhaps we should recall some other recent revealing remarks by this bunch?

For example when Najib Razak rallied his party faithful earlier this year by telling them they should “act more like ISIL fighters” and be solidly obedient to him.

Yesterday Najib repeated that sentiment, whilst also condemning what he called interference by “white foreigners” (meaning journalists). Najib proceeded to then openly announce to his fellow Malaysians that he values loyalty to him over ability in those he appoints to government office.

Najib’s problem is exposure

All this is as revealing as it is brutal and vile.

Why has the man who has so long attempted to act the suave modern reformer suddenly started lashing out like a thug?

Yesterday, amidst all his tub thumping and foreigner bashing he told us in his own words exactly why. According to reports on one of his stirring speeches he complained:
“During Mahathir’s 22 years there were problems too but not like now. Everything is being exposed in the Sarawak Report as if foreigners are deciding how we should run the country.”

“What’s their right? Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot allow this to continue. I cannot allow the white people to determine our future.”[Free Malaysia Today]
Mr Najib Razak, it is our human right to report and you have just publicly acknowledged that you have been “exposed.” By those “problems” you mean plainly mean corruption.

The only way is down?

So what is the rest of the world to think and what are Malaysians to do with such an embarrassment for a leader?

Of course, the third member of the new ruling Triumvirate (the rest of the cabinet have been deafeningly silent the past few days) is the army minister, Najib’s cousin Hishamuddin Hussein.

Hate against the West the way forward for Malaysia?
This puts every lever of raw power in the hands of Najib, his deputy and his own cousin (overlooked by the unofficial “Big Boss”, Rosmah Mansor) for as long as he retains his UMNO party base.

UMNO has long adopted the same strategies as the old Soviet communist party and similar dictatorships, by assuming almost totalitarian control of Malaysia and its civil institutions – as everyone well knows.

But, is this latest brutal clamp down on all critics of the country’s now crippling corruption issues what UMNO and Malaysia really want?

With an already plummeting economy, not least because the cracks and BN’s false figures are now becoming ever more apparent to outsiders, Malaysia faces a very grim prospect if this Najib coup d’etat succeeds in bringing the country under his total, foreigner-hating dictatorship.

Malaysia, which was until so recently regarded as a possible ‘Asian Tiger’, rising into the category of leading, modern open economies like South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Singapore, will surely descend into the category of an ‘Asian basket-case’ – along with Burma, Vietnam and Cambodia.

It is those former South East Asian dictatorships, which have subsequently found their liberty, that are now being talked up by the world economists, including Indonesia and the Philippines, who were once thought of as servants by Malaysians.

Down but still not out (Malaysiakini)
If the Rosmah/Najib dictatorship slips now into full throttle – a corrupted establishment with a muzzled media and obedient civil service and judiciary – might Malaysians become the ones forced to send their daughters to earn money in better off countries, while the rest of the world ceases business with such a set up?

What a shame for Malaysia if such were to come to pass, but it appears to be the price that Najib is willing to exact, so that he can continue in power and remain protected from the consequences of his actions at 1MDB.

It is not at all in the capacity of Sarawak Report, a mere blog, to determine such events, as Najib is ridiculously attempting to bluff his audiences.

But, it is certainly our right and capacity to report on them.

[Reproduced from Sarawak Report as a public service to Malaysians unable to access the site, which has been "blocked."] 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Sarawak Report | 28 July 2015

Today, Tuesday, David Cameron attends a conference in Singapore condemning corruption.

The British Prime Minister has made the issue of rooting out global corruption one of his key platforms as a world leader. He is absolutely right to do so, which is why he should not then carry on to visit Malaysia on this occasion, just as Najib Razak has carried out a shocking strike against all those who have questioned his own corruption.

Sarawak Report wholeheartedly agrees with Mr Cameron that corruption is without question one of the most dangerous forces threatening liberty and prosperity in our modern world and it has been growing exponentially.

Corruption begins at the top and works downward through societies, making it extremely hard to counter before it has done immense damage to the rule of law and well being of the people.

It then spreads outwards to other countries.

Malaysia, for example, has become notorious as the nexus for world timber corruption, with Sarawak-based companies causing havoc across the world’s remaining forest regions with their well-established practice of finding who in power can be bribed into allowing the destruction of their own country’s natural resource.

Cameron will himself point out in today’s Singapore speech how corruption has caused problems for his native London, as dirty money from across the globe has poured into the city, pushing property prices skywards and making it virtually impossible for Britain’s own upstanding citizens to live in their capital city.

Sarawak Report has referred to the problem regularly and pointed out how one of the world’s biggest investors in London property are none other than Malaysians.

How come, we have asked, has this small country of little apparent wealth managed to top the league in recent years for property investment in London, followed by Singapore?

In 2013, Malaysia and Singapore were the top two investors in London property, spending more than UK citizens themselves. Did this, we asked, have anything to do with so-called ‘capital flight’ (siphoning of corrupt money) in advance of GE 2013, in case BN lost (which it nearly did)?

And yet, Mr Cameron was happy to pose that year outside Battersea Power Station, which had been bought and is now being developed by the Malaysian government-owned Sime Darby, which has been one of the biggest players in the criminal destruction of Sarawak’s native lands in the grab for timber and planting of oil palm.

Sime Darby has been moving into African timber areas latterly and has been condemned in those countries for similar criminal practices there.

Cameron is more than right to take his stand against corruption, but he needs to be extremely careful not to be caught out being hypocritical about it. That is the danger of pointing out sin in others, even if it needs to be done.


When Cameron’s plan to include Malaysia in this South East Asia visit was drawn up at the start of this month, Sarawak Report wrote to the UK Foreign Office and High Commission in Malaysia to warn against it.

We pointed out that Malaysia is currently undergoing a political crisis where the very integrity of the man in charge, the Prime Minister, is in question.

We pointed out that Najib Razak has found himself unable to answer basic questions about the theft of billions of dollars from the 1MDB development fund, which he is personally in charge of and that he had equally been unable to answer why USD700 million of 1MDB related money had been traced into his own bank account.

Sarawak Report explained in its letter that to visit Mr Najib Razak in such circumstances would be seen in the eyes of Malaysians as giving this tainted Prime Minister a vote of international confidence and support by a respected friendly nation, with close historical and cultural ties.

He should not do that at this critical time, when what has been left uncorrupted in the Malaysian leadership and institutions are struggling to deal with this massive problem of high level malfeasance.


Najib Razak, having failed to give a proper account over very many months of his actions over 1MDB has nevertheless indicated that the money that went into his account just before GE 2013 was “not for personal use”.

The acknowledgement has been widely understood to imply that this money was taken by him out of the public development fund in order to illegally bankroll BN’s election victory.

Staggeringly, such is the level of morality to which BN has sunk, that in the Prime Minister’s own eyes this apparently serves as an excuse.

Indeed, when Sarawak Report exposed similar looting by the Sabah State Minister, Musa Aman (who passed a hundred million dollars of timber kickbacks into his personal accounts) the Federal authorities likewise let him off, because of his assurance that he had only been using the money to illegally rig the local elections.

For what it’s worth, we had in fact shown that Musa had put a good deal of this cash to his personal use, like educating his sons in Australia. But, Najib took no action against him and clearly expects that he too should be let off on the same grounds.

However, Najib has been rightly condemned throughout Malaysia by upstanding people of all political persuasions, races, colours and religions for doing what each of us know to be very wrong.

Even the much revered former strongman of Malaysia, Dr Mahathir himself, of Najib’s own UMNO party has turned against his former protege over 1MDB and has condemned this open admission of illegal funding in 2013 – going so far as to rightly say that it de-legitimises the result of GE 2013, meaning that Najib’s government has no legal status!

We all know what Najib’s response to any such concerns has been. He has outrageously abused his judicial influence in order to drive the opposition leader (who got more votes than him at the election despite the rigging and gerrymandering) into jail.

Najib met the man who was to accuse Anwar the day before he made that accusation in his own house. Then, when the High Court threw out the case for lack of evidence it was Najib who astonishingly ordered an appeal against the acquittal!

So, is Cameron prepared to wade into this crisis at its very height and give an endorsement to this self-proclaimed ‘moderate Muslim democrat’ Najib Razak, just because he has some jets to sell? (we will come back to the matter of these jets).

If so, so much, the world will say, for Cameron’s words against corruption, because it is actions that count.


Consider the absolute gravity of the present moment of this crisis and the crucial aspect of the next 24 hours, during which Mr Cameron’s last minute, snap decision visit is to be made.

Sarawak Report has itself been accused of interfering in Malaysia’s internal affairs by Najib’s own supporters, merely by exercising the right of a free press. We have investigated 1MDB and exposed (along with other brave local journalists and also international papers) the shocking corruption that has outraged the Malaysian public and is now putting Najib under pressure.

In response, Najib has acted to shut us up, as well as Malaysia’s own most respected business paper The Edge, by illegally barring our site from the internet and illegally removing the printing licence of The Edge.

Today, in the face of an aghast public he has taken a further shocking step and sought to shut up his own internal party critics in the same manner.

In a desperate but ruthless attempt to save his own skin, he has conducted the first cabinet reshuffle of his entire career, purely with the objective of removing his critics over this matter of personal corruption and the stolen billions from 1MDB.

Najib has today booted out his own Deputy Prime Minister, who had taken on the role as the most senior member of his cabinet to speak out about Malaysia’s concerns at Najib’s apparent grand corruption.

Remember, Mr Cameron, that Najib has been clinging to his posts against Cabinet advice, instead of taking a holiday over the past few weeks, purely on the excuse that he needs to be there in KL to honour your state visit!

You will be arriving to meet a government where the Deputy PM and four of the cabinet’s other most upstanding senior members have just been sacked for expressing concern over corruption at 1MDB.

You will be greeted by a new Deputy PM, retaining a dual role as Home Minister, who has been publicly announcing that he is looking to have the UK citizen who writes Sarawak Report arrested and extradited by his “friends in Scotland Yard”, because he reckons she has “interfered” in the politics of Malaysia by exposing what everyone knows to be the truth about corruption.

By agreeing to publicly meet with these people you are going to be making a statement that everyone in Malaysia will register as an endorsement of the disgraceful actions that Najib has just taken to protect himself from criticism over corruption and equal endorsement of such threats against a British journalist going about an honest job.

Is that taking a stand against corruption? And is this not the ultimate form of political interference you could possibly make in the domestic affairs of Malaysia to visit it right now?


Consider the other illegal actions that the Malaysian Prime Minister has just taken in this past 24 hours of long knives preceding your visit.

Having spent months insisting that Malaysia waits and does nothing whilst the various ‘task forces’ investigate the allegations over 1MDB, the Prime Minister has now unconstitutionally sacked the key leaders of those task forces.

His announcement this morning that the Attorney General is to be dismissed owing to his “ill health” surprised the AG as much as anyone else, it has been confirmed. Gani Paital had been due to retire anyway in October, but told enquirers he is perfectly well.

It is unconstitutional under Malaysian law to sack the AG in this manner.

Likewise, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, which has been conducting enquiries into the 1MDB matter with sober diligence, constrained as they are by the secrecy demanded of the Prime Minister, Nur Jazlan, has today been sacked.

Jazlan has made clear in recent weeks that he has resisted offers of promotion from the Prime Minister in return for resigning from the PAC.

It is clear to all concerned that Najib wants a tame Chairman, who can then be used to dumb down the work of the PAC, stop asking for the relevant witnesses to appear (Jho Low and Nik Kamil and others having gone into hiding abroad and the two CEO’s having so far refused to turn up at their appointed hearings).

Najib patently wants the new Chairman to also sack the DAP member of the committee. Tony Pua, who is one of the brightest politicians in Malaysia and who commands a lethally forensic knowledge of the issues relating to 1MDB.

Najib’s men want Tony out before they start having to answer questions about what happened at 1MDB – and the PM is readily obliging them.

Does not this series of actions over the past 24 hours contrast mightily with Najib’s own words just yesterday when he told the Deputy Prime Minister:

“The investigation [into 1MDB] is ongoing and we should give those involved space to perform their duties. Therefore, all parties – especially those from the government, including Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin – should wait for the findings of the investigation to be released.”

So much for giving those investigators “space” – because he realised he could no longer control these investigators, Najib within hours has sacked them instead.

Who is next on the list the public are asking? The Head of the Central Bank Negara, who is also one of the leading members of the former Task Force set up by the Prime Minister himself?

Maybe also the IGP (Inspector General of Police) who has been a key defender of the PM/FM, but who on the other hand has been rather sitting on the fence, given the growing number of arrest warrants that have been issued against people related to 1MDB?

Power couple: One close former insider has called them “the Bonnie and Clyde” of Malaysia to Sarawak Report

Indeed, Sarawak Report has learnt from insiders that the anonymous ‘Dato’ arrested yesterday was none other than Abdul Azeez, Rosmah Mansor’s crony chairman of the Tabung Haji pilgrim fund, which was raided earlier this year in order to settle 1MDB’s debt repayments (through a ludicrously over-priced land deal).

With Dato Azeez being so close to Rosmah it is likely that his detention will have caused the eruption of a particular well known political volcano in Malaysia – that of the temper of the first lady.

These dramatic, ruthless, extreme and downright petulant measures against everybody and everything currently troubling the all powerful first couple has all the hallmarks of a Rosmah Mansor strike.

After all, it was Rosmah who was in communication with Azeez, guiding and controlling his statements and decisions, during the Tabung Haji crisis…. has she decided in blind rage that enough is enough and it is time for a total round-up?

Are all these senior leaders of Malaysia’s institutions to be thus sacked and replaced by yes men in order to protect the corruption at 1MDB and Najib?

In which case, the corruption and destruction of the rule of law in Malaysia will have been completed.

Is this worth endorsing by Britain just in the hope of selling some Typhoon Jets Mr Cameron?


Mr Cameron’s advisors should have told him how little prospect there really is for selling jets to bankrupt Malaysia right now.

Cameron has not been shy to acknowledge that trade is basically what this South East Asia trip has been all about. He wants to come back to Britain boasting of an order sheet and to thumb his nose at Europe, reminding it that Britain looks global not merely local when it comes to trade and contacts.

Good for him, but rightly he has also pointed out that trade should promote honesty, liberty and progress – not corruption.

Malaysia is facing a plunging ringgit and debts it can’t pay thanks to 1MDB and other rampant corruption in high places, which has pillaged the country’s institutions for years – till now much of the looting has been covered up, but now the unravelling has begun there is far worse to find out about.

Just yesterday, Sarawak Report exposed how the purchases of hundreds of millions of US dollars worth of diamonds and precious jewellery for Najib’s wife Rosmah have been financed by none other than the shady billionaire friend of Najib, Jho Low, the man behind all the dodgy dealings at 1MDB. How come?

What is clear is that all this has brought Malaysia economically to its knees.

So, unnecessary jets aren’t really on the agenda, although doubtless Najib will be keen to make polite promises, which he can’t keep on the matter.

Meanwhile, it is dishonest of Britain to make the argument that the combatting of Islamic extremism such as ISIS in the Middle East demands more fighter jets for places like Malaysia.

What will combat extremism is the investment that is needed in better infrastructure and civil projects.

What’s more, the force which has been most promoting extremism in Malaysia over the past several months and years has been Najib’s own secretive funding of ‘NGO’s” like ISMA and Perkasa, which have made it their business to stir up religious fundamentalism and hatred.

Najib’s reason? Pure political cynicism, since it has served his purpose to radicalise PAS thereby breaking up the opposition coalition. This move has succeeded, but at what a price to the peace of Malaysian society and at what risk as fundamentalism spreads its canker.

Britain should not turn a blind eye to Najib’s dangerous games with extremism any more than his corruption.

Malaysia’s defence procurement has been historically riddled with corruption from the Scorpene submarine deals to its aviation purchases and Britain’s embarrassing “arms for aid” brush over the Pergau Dam.

And guess who has been the Defence Minister concerned over most of the years concerned? None other than the current Prime Minister who is so busy sacking everyone right now for criticising corruption at 1MDB.

It was Najib who presided over the vast kickbacks over the French Scorpene deal, which went into an account beneficially owned by his personally appointed “negotiator” Razak Baginda.

And, as all Malaysia knows, it was Najib’s own personal bodyguards who so brutally murdered the girlfriend of Baginda, who was threatening to squeal on that deal if she didn’t get a cut.

Everyone in Malaysia knows about the shocking cover-ups surrounding the Altantuya case, a woman blown into smitherenes by weapons grade C4 explosive by Najib’s bodyguards who are currently facing a death sentence, after a court case where the motive was never explored or explained.

Does Britain want to get into another deal like that one to sell a few more Typhoon Jets, or should Mr Cameron discover pressing developments back home tomorrow and fly straight home instead?

[Reproduced from Sarawak Report for those unable to access the site.]

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Clare Rewcastle Brown: "Pissed off rich Malaysian politicians are ruthless"

Clare Rewcastle-Brown. This name ranks high on the Najib administration's list of most despised individuals, given the slew of damaging articles on 1MDB in her website Sarawak Report.

In an interview with Esquire magazine published yesterday, the sister-in-law of former British prime minister Gordon Brown shares what she has learned about Malaysian politicians.

"If you piss off rich Malaysians in positions of political power, they are ruthless and unscrupulous in what they are prepared to do to get their own back.

"I've had PR outfits, lawyers, computer hackers and radio-jamming professionals thrown at me, but they've shot themselves in the foot.

"They've made me into a character I wouldn't have been if they hadn't reacted so angrily and expensively. They created my Wikipedia site, for god's sake," she said.

The 56-year-old mother of two, who was born in Sarawak and spent her early childhood there, denies she is driven by a nefarious agenda, though her detractors appear to be hell-bent on creating such an impression.

"They're always trying to make one out about me, but actually, I'm just a dreadful old do-gooder who's got a bit between my teeth," added the London-based journalist.

Blatant corruption in Malaysia

Quizzed on the issue of corruption, Rewcastle-Brown said the practice is "blatant" in Malaysia.

"You don't have to do that much research to see it. They got lazy and weren't bothering to cover it up.

"They're trying harder now, but you know, there was 30 years of fairly blatant corruption that I just started covering, and I guess nobody else was," she added.

Touching on 1MDB and Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Rewcastle-Brown said the former prime minister is genuinely furious over what has happened.

"The 1MDB debacle is not only a fairly blatant heist on public funds, but also not very well done - and, you know, I think Mahathir is probably annoyed on both fronts," she added with laughter.

She also conceded that investigative journalists live in dread of committing errors with regard to their articles.

"You try to get it right on the big things, but you can often get it wrong on the little things. It's also easier to make mistakes in an environment like Malaysia, where there's so little transparency.

"You're often dealing with little bits of information that you're trying to piece together because you're not getting the information you should. But touch wood, I don't think I've made any clangers so far on the 1MDB story," she said.

No clangers on 1MDB

The key thing, she stressed, is to be honest and not publish something without evidence.

"I think if you've seen something that's a crime, you shouldn't just report it as if you have no opinion of it.

"Also, as an investigative journalist, you don't publish something unless you've caught somebody out doing something naughty; and once you do, you've got a certain amount of licence to give him a hard time.

"That's the job. I'm not trying to be objective, but I'm honest about what I say, and I'm critical where I think it's deserved," she said.

Rewcastle-Brown also spoke about her brother-in-law (right), saying he was one of the reasons she had kept her identity under wraps for a certain period.

"One of the reasons I kept my identity secret for as long as I could was because I didn't want to get him involved, particularly when he was still in office.

"But when he stepped down (as prime minister), I was bolder, and actually, he was really encouraging.

"When I started getting death threats, he said, 'Look, you should just say who you are and what you're doing because that's the best way to deal with them'," she added.
[Cloned from Malaysiakini as a public service.]