Wednesday, July 30, 2008

'No sodomy-related examination conducted on Saiful'

'No sodomy-related examination conducted on Saiful'
'No sodomy-related examination conducted on Saiful'
Malaysia Star, Malaysia - 2 hours ago
KUALA LUMPUR: Hospital Pusrawi said that its medical officer Dr Muhamad Osman Abdul Hamid had not conducted a sodomy-related examination on Saiful Bukhari ...

Doctor examined Saiful Bukhari but not for sodomy, says Pusrawi
New Straits Times, Malaysia - 3 hours ago
Pusrawi Hospital said today its medical officer Dr Muhamad Osman Abdul Hamid had examined Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan but not for sodomy. ...

UMNO 2008: What a blogger think of Rembau and the head.

UMNO, a personal belonging

I have been receiving numerous calls from many leaders of branches in many UMNO divisions in Negeri Sembilan lately requesting me to meet them to discuss on current issues surrounding UMNO.

Many of those calls come from concerned grassroot leaders who are not pleased with the way UMNO is faring after the General Election on the 8th of March.

One of the calls came from Tampin division who was so crossed by the code of ethics that governs the coming party election which he considers a dreadful act of desperados.

Another call came from Rembau division who fiercely complained about the Division Head whom he thinks is not a material of a good political leader because he treats the party as his personal belonging.

Rembau UMNO Head of Division coincidentally is the Menteri Besar for the state and Khairy Jamaluddin is the Divisional Youth Head who also holds the position of National Youth Deputy Head.

I have been having the impression that Division is headed by an impregnable person whom I know very personal long before he ascended to the current position.

He is a person who is blessed by wealth and rubs shoulders only with the rich and famous and he used to impress upon me of his unassailable leadership strength in the state.

I was always a friend of his but only until he became the chief of the state after which I heard nothing about him until the recent dismal performance of BN in the state during the last General Elections when the state government he led was almost flattened by the opposition party.

Obviously he has to take accountability for the pitiable performance in the General Election as the issues surrounding his family’s interference in the state administration were widely gossiped by everybody in the state.

I was told that he is changed man. He does not conceal his ego and looks down on everybody except to the rich and famous and enjoys the benefit of being amused by the circle of weak and non-consequential political apple polishers around him.

Some sent me e-mails telling me that he respects nobody and suspects everybody, hence that explains why he chose to trust only his family members and in particular his eldest brother whom he appointed to be the Secretary of the State UMNO Liaison committee.

Parallel to this issue many UMNO members in the state are conclusively in the opinion that his inferior feeling is too obvious when he selected only weak and unviable individuals to be UMNO’s candidates in the last General Election.

Obviously, the choice of misfit candidates was one of the main contributing factors to the disparaging losses of BN candidates in the General Elections.

I took this discontentment with no revelation. The irritations of UMNO members are heard and found at every corner and the gossip about leaders is just like breakfast and soup of the day.

Quite frankly Mohammad is too little a politician but trying to be like one, and along the way he continuously fumbles himself with his sharp witty answers to problematic constituents and that was too hurting for anyone to bear.

His mannerism to the old has got to be improved instantaneously, never allow his wealth and richness drives his ego too far to the extent of rubbishing everyone else’s opinion.

He has to abide to the fact that he is not the first MB of the state and don’t allow people to compare his skill in managing human beings to his predecessors.

His promise to be an MB with unassailable and indisputable person in charge over his predecessors has not been seen to live and this made him very vulnerable to the eyes of the voting public.

He must stop being a proud man. In few of his speeches he courageously said that he chose to become an MB not for wealth, but he came in for this position purely to incessantly serving the people.

He told the audience that the wealth he personally has can last for more than 4 generations, and sincerely that was the first time in the whole of my life hearing a person claiming him with bundles of wealth and richness.

That kind of wordings in a speech at a formal function is too unbecoming and made the people listening it taken aback as they don’t expect that kind of cheap ‘self-promo’ to come from an MB.

That was too crude to come from the mouth of the chief executive of a state and I was so depressed when I heard it.

All these little things make vast differences between persons and individuals and it tells whether one has the basic finesse to become an impregnable leader.

Lastly, from what we see and hear, let us come to conclusive opinion that Mohammad is still way behind what he aspires to become.

I wish to talk to him hoping that he could lend his ears, but I was impressed by many that man like me is no more within his wavelength to make up a conversation.

However I believe he will be back to his real self once he starts believing that ‘God works mysteriously' on everyone and being.

That is all for the day.

Thanks…………………………………………………..Aspan Alias.

Full here: UMNO, a personal belonging
9 Jul 2008 by aspan_alias

UMNO 2008: Shaziman akan ditentang.

1. Shaziman faces contest

SEREMBAN: The Tampin Umno division post which is held by Energy, Water and Communications Minister, Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor for the last seven years is expected to see a three-cornered fight during the divisional elections in October. Shahziman, 44, who is also the Tampin member of parliament is expected to defend his post. He will be challenged by Datuk Mohd Kamil Abdul Aziz, who is Gemenceh state assemblyman and Tampin Bandar Umno branch treasurer, Fadzil A. Bakar.

The New Straits Times - Jul 18

2. Shaziman and Norza lost at Branch level

The more interesting development is UMNO Supreme Council (MT UMNO) members failing to get a position in their own Branches. Multimedia and Communications Minister Dato’ Shahziman Abu Mansor and former Finance Minister II Political Secretary Dato’ Mohd.

Norza Zakaria failed to be voted as Branch Head in their own turf, Tampin and Wangsa Maju respectively. Both also so far to get nominations for the post of Head at their respective Divisions. Norza is the UMNO Youth Head for Wilayah Persekutuan and 2004 party elections, his withdrawal made way for Khairy Jamaluddin to ascend as UMNO Youth Vice Head uncontested.
Shahziman and Norza lost at Branch level Bigdog

25 Jul 2008 by COWENG ANAK PILAH
Dato’ Shaziman, jangan dipandang ringan cabaran ini, jangan menganggap Dato’ Kamil mungkin kecundang sudah menyakinkan untuk beliau terus menerajui kepimpinan UMNO di Bahagian Tampin. Ambil cabaran itu dari sudut positif sebagai ...


Monday, July 28, 2008

Bergurau dengan Husin Lempoyang: Isu Mercedes Compressor

Blogger Berita dari gunung said...

Sdr Husin Lempoyang,

Apa salahnya Ahmad Said dan exco Terengganu pakai compressor. Ramai lagi orang lain pakai. Di lebuhraya bersusun kereta mewah.

Hidup manusia memang berkasta-kasta. Orang berbelanja ikut kemampuan. Yang mampu motosikal, puas berjalan tanpa tol. Yang lebih sikit akan berkereta dan merungut dengan tol dan harga petrol. Ada juga ada private jet kesana kemari, dan mereka tak peduli berapa harga minyak.

Terengganu lebih kaya dari kebanyakan negeri lain. Tidak salah untuk mereka bermewah sikit. Compressor bukanlah terlalu mahal pun. Kalaupun ada peraturan kerajaan menghadkan pembelian kepada Perdana saja, itupun boleh diubah dan disisip pengecualian.

Bukankah kita sudah biasa dengan keputusan yang berubah-ubah dalam era Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Kalaupun compressor Terengganu kelihatan pelik dan mewah, tetapi ianya kecil berbanding dengan isu ECM-Libra, isu lelong Augusta, isu Serambi Hadhari dan isu Monsoon Cup.

Sekali kita bermewah, biarlah kita bersedia juga membenarkan orang lain bermewah. Sekurang-kurangnya Ahmad Said telah meletakkan justifikasi. Beliau melihat kos beli dan senggara sekaligus. Nah, itu justifikasi hebat!

Apa justifikasi ECM-Libra tempuh hari?. Shahrir Samad yang terkenal sangat "terbuka", tiba-tiba "menutup" kes ECM-Libra dengan senyum kelat dan Shahrir enggan membuka mulut luasnya.

Ahmad Said hanya gunakan apa yang sering disebut oleh Perdana Menteri "thinking out of the box". Ahmad Said melihat kesan jangka panjang.

Kalau kerajaan bersedia mengheret poket negara berpuluh tahun kedepan dengan komitmen beratus billion ringgit untuk meneroka Koridor, izinkan Ahmad Said bergerak seiring.

Terima kasih.

11:22 PM

Read Husin Lempoyang: Polisi Main Suka Mercedes Compressor The Antics of Husin Lempoyang , Saturday, July 26, 2008.

Anwar likely to stand in Kedah, KULIM?

07-28 18:54)

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim will probably contest a parliamentary seat in the northern state of Kedah, his first attempt to run for public office since being freed from prison in 2004.

In a late-night speech on Sunday, Anwar, 60, said he will probably contest the Kulim Bandar Baharu seat in the state that's home to former premier Mahathir Mohamad. Ginie Lim, a spokeswoman for his party, confirmed his comments.

A victory would allow Anwar to re-enter Parliament, a decade after he was fired from government, as he seeks to encourage lawmakers to switch to his opposition alliance. Anwar needs a legislator from his own party to step down and trigger a by- election to contest a seat, following the March 8 general elections.


Malaysian government persists with bogus charges against Anwar

By John Roberts
28 July 2008

Political tensions remain high in Malaysia following the arrest and release of de facto opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on trumped-up charges of sodomy. The police, backed by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government, are pressing ahead with the so-called investigation, while Anwar has launched a political counteroffensive with the declared aim of forming a new government in September.

In scenes reminiscent of his 1998 arrest, Anwar was dragged away by masked police commandos from outside his home on July 16. He was questioned by police and held overnight, then bailed the following day as a suspect until August 18. The police are acting on allegations made by a former aide, Saiful Bukhari Azian, who claims that Anwar sexually assaulted him. If convicted, the opposition leader faces up to 20 years in jail and an automatic ban on political activity.

Anwar has vehemently denied the charge and accused the government of involvement in a frame-up. He and his lawyers are adamant that during his police interrogation Anwar provided an airtight alibi for the day on which Saiful alleged the assault took place. Anwar told the BBC: “We are clear, absolutely clear on the alibi, every single minute of the day.”

Anwar’s lawyer Sivarasa Rasiah told the media that the police have refused to make available the report containing the details of Saiful’s allegations, saying it “remains shrouded in secrecy”. The obvious implication is that the police may modify the details to get around Anwar’s alibi or other evidence as it emerges.

It would not be the first time. In 1998, in the midst of a deep political crisis provoked by his expulsion from the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Anwar was arrested and eventually convicted on two bogus charges—corruption and sodomy. He was finally released in 2004 after the Federal Court overturned the sodomy charge, ruling that the original conviction had been based on “unreliable” evidence.

In fact, the original conviction was riddled with holes. The prosecution had to change the date of the alleged offence several times after Anwar’s lawyers demonstrated conclusively that he could not have been at the place at the date nominated. So crude was the frame-up that in one case the building in which the offence was alleged to have occurred, had not even been constructed.

In the end, the court took the extraordinary step of allowing the prosecution to nominate 7.45 p.m. somewhere between January and March 1993. Even though the defence produced documents to account for Anwar’s movements for every day over that period, the trial judge ignored the evidence and found Anwar guilty. In both the sodomy and corruption cases, no jury was involved.

Last week, the pro-government press tried to raise suspicions of Anwar’s guilt over his refusal to provide saliva samples for DNA testing while in custody. As Anwar’s lawyer noted, the police already have his client’s DNA profile from the previous cases. Nevertheless, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, echoing other ministers, made the absurd claim that the DNA evidence from the previous cases was “too old so they [the police] need a new sample. What is wrong with that?”

Anwar is justifiably concerned that the police want samples, not to establish his DNA profile, but to incriminate him. In 2000, once the prosecution finally established a date and place for the alleged offence, a mattress was paraded through the court from which Anwar’s DNA had purportedly been extracted. Lurid accounts of what had taken place appeared in the media. Anwar’s legal team claimed at the time that the evidence must have been planted.

New evidence has emerged connecting Saiful to senior government officials. From the outset, Anwar’s wife Wan Seri Azzizah Wan, the parliamentary leader of the Peoples Justice Party (Keadilan), and other party officials have claimed that Saiful was an UMNO stooge and produced photos of him with UMNO officials. Anwar directly accused Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak of being involved in the frame-up.

Najib denied ever having met Saiful but had to change his story when it emerged that he had met Saiful just before he went to the police with his allegations. Najib claimed that Saiful, who had dropped out of university, had simply come to discuss scholarships. It is hardly credible that the deputy prime minister would simply grant an audience to the young man over a relatively trivial matter.

Political crisis

In this regard too, there are echoes of the past. Anwar’s accuser in 1998 was a rather vulnerable Azizan Abu Bahar, Anwar’s driver. If one took the prosecution case on face value, it took Azizan more than four years before he finally made his allegations in 1997. He only came forward after being pressured to do so by businesswoman Ummi Halfilda Ali, who had close connections with Anwar’s rivals in UMNO.

The allegations coincided with a bitter political conflict inside the UMNO leadership over the direction of economic policy during the Asian financial crisis. Anwar, who was finance minister and deputy foreign minister, advocated the free market prescriptions proposed by the IMF and World Bank, which threatened layers of Malay businessmen closely connected to UMNO. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad sacked Anwar from his posts, imposed currency and capital controls and expelled his former deputy and supporters from the party. When Anwar organised anti-government protests, he was arrested and beaten.

The new accusations against Anwar have emerged as Prime Minister Abdullah and his UMNO-led coalition government struggle to hold onto power. National elections in March produced the worst electoral result for the ruling parties in their five decades of rule. The government won only 140 seats in the 222-seat parliament and has lost their crucial two-thirds majority needed to amend the country’s constitution.

The opposition Peoples Front (PKR) increased its seats from 19 to 82. Anwar claims to have enough support among UMNO dissidents, particularly in East Malaysia, to bring down the government and has set mid-September to form his own administration. The parties of the opposition coalition hold power in five of the 13 states, including several of the most economically important. Anwar was not able to stand in the March election as a ban on political activity was still in place, but he is expected to enter parliament via a by-election.

Since his release on July 17, Anwar has intensified his political campaign, holding meetings in the states of Malacca, Pahang and Johor. He told a crowd of 5,000 at Jasin near Malacca that he would soon be contesting a by-election. During his tour, Anwar told crowds that he would shortly name four government MPs who would cross over to join the opposition.

For its part, UMNO is engaged in a rearguard action. It has recently become public that UMNO has been engaged in secret talks since March with a section of the leadership of the Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS)—one of the three main opposition parties. PAS is an Islamist party based among Malay voters in the more economically backward north-eastern states. The talks have reportedly involved the prime minister and PAS deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa. One PAS leader Khalid Samad disingenuously claimed that despite the “political overtones,” the discussions were just about “current Islamic issues, the Malays and national unity”.

The meetings indicate that some PAS leaders are disturbed by Anwar’s opposition to the government’s long-standing New Economic Policy (NEP), which discriminates against the country’s ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities in business, education and government jobs. PAS leaders have never been comfortable with the inclusion of the Chinese-based Democratic Action Party (DAP) in the opposition alliance. DAP is strongly opposed to PAS’s agenda of extending the application of Islamic law in civil society. In the mid-1970s, PAS, under the leadership of the Malay communalist Asri Muda, was in coalition with UMNO.

Behind the political feuding are the same deep divisions in Malaysian ruling elite over economic policy that fueled the conflict in 1998. A decade later, however, sections of business are clearly worried that the NEP and other forms of national economic regulation are acting as a barrier to the integration of Malaysia into the global economy. Fearing that the country will fall behind China, India and other regional competitors, they are backing Anwar as the means for opening up the economy.

Representatives of international finance capital have also supported Anwar. Ex-World Bank chief James Wolfensohn, former IMF head Michel Camdessus and former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin issued a joint statement last week expressing their “full confidence in his [Anwar’s] moral integrity” and calling for the dropping of charges. Last Thursday US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on Malaysia to ensure a “transparent” investigation into the charges against Anwar.

In response, Malaysian Foreign Minister Rais Yatim demanded that the US stop “interfering” in the case. Desperate to cling onto power, the government is determined to exploit the allegations to the full to smear Anwar and undermine the opposition.

Malaysian government persists with bogus charges against Anwar
World Socialist Web Site, MI

Najib’s ready to bide his time


Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who turned 55 on Wednesday, has had a challenging year. He is still under pressure to change his mind about Umno's 2010 leadership transition plan but he has made it clear that he would not change his stand in not going for the Umno presidency in December.

IT was supposed to be a low-key gathering to mark Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's 55th birthday.

The original plan was tahlil prayers followed by dinner for about 500 of Najib's long-time friends both inside and outside politics.

But a real politician's house has no gates, and by the end of the evening there were some 1,200 people at Najib's Putrajaya residence. Many of them go back all the way to the days when Najib was Umno Youth leader.

They have all come a long way. A large number are now division chiefs, powerful warlords who call the shots on the ground, while the “birthday boy” is, of course, the Deputy Prime Minister. And if all goes well, he will be Prime Minister by mid-2010.

There were a total of eight cakes and a two-tier pulut kuning from well-wishers.

Under pressure: Najib's view is that a contest for the Umno presidency would not be a mere battle but a war that party members can ill afford; he is seen here at a briefing for Kedah Umno grassroots leaders last week.

Najib, as one of those present quipped, does not look his age but looks older than 55. His hair started turning silver when he was in his forties and he is now what one would term a “platinum blonde”.

The crowd that evening was a reminder of just how long Najib has been in politics and of the political bonds of loyalty and friendship he has established over the last 30 years.

Among the guests were a number who are still fretting over the 2010 transition plan. The political future of these people hinges on Najib's ascension and they would, naturally, have preferred it to be sooner than later.

Generally, the rank and file have not rejected the plan but neither have they accepted it wholeheartedly. They are relieved there is now a set date but they still think the timeframe is too long.

Since the transition plan was announced last month, a string of the party's state chiefs as well as division chiefs have come out to endorse Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib for the two top posts.

But it is no secret that there are still Umno politicians who are planning to nominate Najib and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for the two top posts. This is most apparent in urban spots like the Federal Territory where Malay professionals rule the Umno roost.

“It's a more cynical and sophisticated membership in the city and they have minds of their own. The leaders tell us everyone has accepted the transition plan but wherever I go, people are simply not impressed. You cannot force an idea on the urban crowd and we are expecting some surprises,” said Khairun Aseh, an Umno Youth politician from the Putrajaya division.

Meanwhile, individuals and delegations have approached Najib to ask him about the transition plan. Some tried to persuade him to change his mind while others wanted a more in-depth explanation from him.

Najib has told such visitors that his utmost priority is a cohesive party that can lead the Barisan Nasional into the next general election. He said a contest would not be in the best interest of the party and a fight at such a high level would not be a mere battle but a war that Umno members could ill afford.

He made it clear that he would not entertain any pressure to challenge Abdullah.

“It is natural that there will be divisions which disagree with the handover date but the most important thing is that the DPM is committed to the transition plan,” said Najib's press secretary Tengku Datuk Sharifuddin Tengku Ahmad.

Or as some put it, you can lead a horse to water but you cannot force it to drink. In other words, no one can stop the divisions from nominating Najib for president but they cannot force him to accept it.

“He knows people find the transition too long. But we realise now he will not change his stand about not challenging Pak Lah,” said Kapar Umno Youth head Faisal Abdullah.

This came out very clearly when he squeezed in a briefing for Kedah divisional level leaders after receiving an award from the Kedah Sultan on the latter's golden jubilee celebrations last week.

“There has been so much doubt about whether we can win back Kedah or even to hold onto the federal government,” said Suraya Yaakob, the assemblywoman for Sungai Tiang, Kedah.

Transition plan in place

But Najib assured his Kedah audience that he and Abdullah had a genuine relationship and that he was comfortable with the time frame. He explained how the transition had already begun with a transfer of certain duties.

“He told us he trusts Pak Lah, so we will have to accept that and support him. We truly want him (Najib) to have the power to win back the states we lost,” said Suraya.

It is possible Najib also sees the longer transition as a blessing in disguise because there are a couple of hurdles he has to cross in the next one year.

A major obstacle is the Altantuya case. Najib's former ties with Razak Baginda, one of the accused persons in the murder trial, has been exploited by his political opponents and he and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor have had to battle all sorts of aspersions and accusations.

The problem is that some of these allegations may have rubbed off on Umno members. Najib has said many times that his hands are clean. He has even sworn in the name of God that he has never met the dead Mongolian lover of Razak Baginda or that he had anything to do with her death. He knows he has to fight public perception about the Altantuya case and clear his name.

The other complication is the storm whipped up by the sodomy allegations against Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Najib knows he has the undivided support of Umno in this issue and he is confident he can defend himself against accusations that he is part of a conspiracy to derail Anwar's political ambitions.

Underlying the concern of many of Najib's supporters are doubts whether Abdullah, now 68, would actually hand over power to Najib when the time comes.

They argue there is nothing to stop Abdullah from staying on a full term once he is returned unopposed as Umno president at the party general assembly in December.

Just as there are Najib supporters who are impatient for him to take over, Abdullah also has supporters and dependents who wish he would stay on and boost their respective prospects. The two groups, fuelled on by rivalry and suspicions, are the ones putting pressure on Abdullah and Najib.

Fallen deputies

It also does not help that the party's history is strewn with deputy prime ministers who fell on the wayside.

Former Premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad alone had four deputies. One has died, another has moved on to become a statesman-like figure, while yet another is still on the warpath with him.

Only Abdullah survived to become Prime Minister but even he and Dr Mahathir are no longer on speaking terms.

Basically, Umno members have yet to come to terms with the fact that Abdullah is a totally different political personality from Dr Mahathir.

Unlike Dr Mahathir who never quite treated any of his deputies as a successor, Abdullah has from the start declared Najib as his successor. He regards Najib's father, Tun Razak Hussein, as his political mentor and has often described himself as Razak's political son.

Abdullah has been a truly magnanimous No 1 and that is probably why it is so difficult for Najib to even think of going against him in the party elections. How could Najib possibly go against his own father's political son?

Although the transition is in place, no one, least of all Najib, is taking anything for granted because politics in this country has been anything but predictable of late.

“People say two years is too long. But if you are sincere and God is with you, two years will go by very quickly,” said Abdullah's political secretary Datuk Alwi Che Ahmad.

Under pressure: Najib's view is that a contest for the Umno presidency would not be a mere battle but a war that party members can ill afford; he is seen here at a briefing for Kedah Umno grassroots leaders last week.Khairun: ‘The urban Umno membership is still sceptical about the transition plan.’


WILL Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi stay on as he promised or will his deputy Datuk Najib Razak be able to win the president's post at the next Umno party elections?

Click to see larger image
Keeping mum: Mr Muhyiddin Yassin has not openly expressed any interest in the top post of Umno. Picture: Reuters

These are questions that many watching the Malaysian political scene keep wondering about.

But what many have not been noticing is the slow gains being made by the dark horse in the race for the top post.

Umno vice-president and International Trade Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is one who has kept his cards close to his chest.

Even though he has not openly expressed any interest in the top post of the party, he is one of those likely to throw his hat into the ring once the battle begins.

Yesterday, the first signs of his move for the big day became clear when the Desa Jaya branch of Umno wanted him to contest for the party president's post.

'The time has come for someone from Johor to be party president. Muhyiddin Yassin is the person fit for the post.


'He has shown that he has the capabilities to perform his duties entrusted upon him thus far,' Mr Abdul Muhamad Talib Ngah, the Desa Jaya Umno branch head told Malaysiakini.

Such duties include those within the party and the government, he said.

Mr Muhamad Talib said that his branch has unanimously passed a motion recommending Mr Muhyiddin as the party president on 19Jul. It was unanimously carried by the 81 members present.

He stressed that the motion was tabled without any 'influence' from any groups.

The Desa Jaya branch is the only branch to nominate Mr Muhyiddin thus far.

The branch is part of the Johor Bahru Umno division which is headed by Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Shahrir Samad.

Mr Muhamad Talib said his branch wants genuine democracy to be practised within the party.

'We want to be free to voice out and we do not intend to overthrow anyone. We are merely seeking change,' he said, adding that he did not agree that politics should be based on personalities.

Meanwhile, writing in his blog, former Malaysian PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad urged Umno members not to repeat his 'mistake' in backing Mr Abdullah to be prime minister.

'I admit I wronged in choosing Abdullah as my successor. Now I regret because I didn't think that 'Mr Clean' would not be that clean.'

He has previously backed Mr Najib for the post of Umno president and recently hinted that Mr Muhyiddin was a better candidate.

Electric New Paper, Singapore

Ungku Aziz Calls For Changes To Bahasa Melayu System

Ungku Aziz Calls For Changes To Bahasa Melayu System
Bernama, Malaysia - 5 hours ago
Bahasa Melayu is important to create unity while English is used to develop the country's economy," Ungku Aziz said in his keynote address at a seminar ...

Venezuela agrees to sell Spain oil at $100 a barrel

LONDON (Thomson Financial) - OPEC member Venezuela agreed Friday to sell Spain 10,000 barrels of oil per day at $100 a barrel in exchange for medicine and other goods, a Spanish government source told AFP.

The agreement was reached during a meeting between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in Madrid, the source said.

Oil prices hovered around $125 a barrel on Friday after reaching a record high of over $147 on July 11.

Spain would make up the difference between the market price for oil and the price charged by Venezuela, a former Spanish colony, by providing the country with building material, new technologies and medicine, the source said.

No date for the start of the sales of Venezuelan oil at reduced prices was announced.

Venezuela already provides oil at reduced prices to several Latin American countries including Cuba.

Earlier on Friday Chavez said the price of oil should stabilise at around $100 per barrel.

'The price according to our interpretation should be lower and stabilize at around $100 per barrel,' he told a joint news conference with Zapatero.

Chavez's visit to Spain was the last stop of a tour of Europe that has already taken in Russia, Belarus and Portugal.

Venezuela agrees to sell Spain oil at $100 a barrel
Forbes, NY

John Piccolo: U.S. needs to get more oil out of ground

Sen. Barack Obama is correct when criticizing Sen. John McCain for demanding immediate drilling for oil off our shores. He declared that new drilling will not lower the price of gas today. That is correct.

However, neither will any of the ideas Obama has brought forth. The truth is new drilling started today would lower gas prices 10 years in the future from what they would be since it takes 10 years from start of drilling, building the infrastructure to collect and refine the crude, and delivering it to your local gas station.

The United States has one of the largest coal and gas reserves in the world. We can now burn coal as cleanly as oil and gas. Start burning coal in power plants. Start burning natural gas. Start building nuclear plants. Start drilling!

Gasoline conservation is a fraud relative to reducing oil requirements. Current estimates are that oil demand is estimated to grow 83 percent by 2020. No amount of gasoline conservation will prevent that.

More oil must be brought out of the ground. That is until coal, natural gas and atomic energy are used in place of oil, thus mitigating demand. Stop shipping our Alaskan oil to Asia and other countries. No oil from any United States property or possession should ship anywhere but here.

Let the other countries get caught up in the commodities speculation.

John Piccolo: US needs to get more oil out of ground
The News-Press, FL

Tuanku Jaafar: Reminiscing royal

Life has been good to the Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan Tuanku Ja’afar Tuanku Abdul Rahman who celebrated his 86th birthday last Saturday.

I am told to be on time for my appointment with Negri Sembilan’s Yang di-Pertuan Besar Tuanku Ja’afar Tuanku Abdul Rahman because apparently His Royal Highness is a stickler for punctuality.

And sure enough, HRH arrives on time at 11am, the appointed hour.

Istana Hinggap, in the centre of Seremban, is an elegant colonial building, but Tuanku Ja’afar’s office is surprisingly compact, with a large desk, small sitting area, cabinet and TV. The interview takes place in the grand Dewan Mengadap (Reception Hall) but I take the liberty to comment on his relatively modest office.

“It is a working office, not a showpiece,” Tuanku Ja’afar says.

“I have an average of three functions (to perform) each day, including weekends, which can be even more hectic. I tend to be more busy on weekends when most people are relaxing. I work non-stop and then take a long break of one or two months.

“I usually go to Europe with the family; lately it’s been England. I have not been to the US since Bush became president,” he sighs.

I congratulate Tuanku Ja’afar on being Malaysia’s oldest ruler at 86 and what it feels like being on the throne for 41 years.

“It is difficult to say how I feel nowadays. Having reigned for so long, I think of my birthday as just another day. It’s the same thing year after year. I just carry on. There are many events, both official and private. I blow the candles on many birthday cakes and have a private party with my family, which numbers over 40 members now.”

Tuanku Ja’afar looks the picture of health despite his years. His voice is a tad softer now, but his figure remains trim and his mind alert. He has a sense of humour, too. When asked how he keeps hale and hearty, he quips, “Exercise and looking at young girls.”

“In life, you cannot expect things to go your way all the time. If something goes wrong, just accept it as ‘one of those things’! What cannot be cured must be endured.”

Tuanku Jaa’far, an Arsenal fan, is pleased when I note that his family is referred to as the Royal Family of Sports.

“I played all sorts of sports in school and was captain of the squash, cricket and tennis teams. I also played hockey, football and badminton. I excelled in games, not studies,” the law graduate and Chancellor of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia for 31 years notes wryly, adding that the sporting trait has been passed on to his children.

Malaysia’s 10th king

Tuanku Ja’afar was the 10th King of Malaysia, reigning as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong from 1994 to 1999, thereby completing the first cycle of Malaysia’s unique system of rotating monarchs which begun with his father.

Tuanku Abdul Rahman Tuanku Muhammad was Malaysia’s first King from 1957 to 1960 when he passed away while in office. The title Yang di-Pertuan Agong was inspired by Negri Sembilan’s royal title of Yang di-Pertuan Besar.

“My father Tuanku Abdul Rahman and our first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman were great friends. Tunku discussed with my father what title to use for the King of Malaysia. As we already had Sultan, Raja and Yang di-Pertuan Besar titles, none of these could be used.

“There could not be a Sultan of Malaysia, for instance, so my father suggested something similar to his title of Yang di-Pertuan Besar, which means ‘Supreme Ruler’. Tunku Abdul Rahman liked the idea, so another word similar to Besar had to be found and, of course, it was Agong, which means ‘paramount’ so the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is ‘Paramount Ruler’.”

Tuanku Ja’afar said he was involved in the discussions over Merdeka (independence) in London.

“Tunku Abdul Rahman was demanding Malaysia’s independence and there were five Malayan representatives, including Temenggong Jugah from Sarawak. The British were dilly-dallying but Tunku insisted on a date. Many wondered why August 31 was selected but there was no particular reason.”

The fact that both the King and Prime Minister were named Abdul Rahman led to much confusion and letters were often misdirected, Tuanku Ja’afar recalled.

“It was to overcome this problem that Ayah (our name for our first Prime Minister) added Putra (‘Prince’) to his name so that he became known as Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, as though to emphasise that he was a prince, not a king.”

I ask Tuanku Ja’afar if 10 was a significant number for him since he is the 10th Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan and was also the 10th King of Malaysia, after having been deputy King for 10 years.

“I don’t put anything in this number. It’s just a nice coincidence!” he smiles.

Tuanku Ja’afar has fond memories from his time as King.

“As King, my state visits were most memorable. I visited Argentina, Chile and Uruguay in South America, and in Europe I visited Poland, Russia and met the Queen of England privately. In South-East Asia, I visited Cambodia, Vietnam, Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines but not Singapore.

“I must have met over 100 dignitaries and VIPs. The president of Germany told me, ‘Tuanku, you must come to Germany, not to see me, but the captain of our football team Beckenbauer!

“Once I attended a Commonwealth meeting in South Africa with Tunku Abdul Rahman, and the President of South Africa was also there. South Africa was then under Apartheid rule, and Tunku Abdul Rahman was all for dismantling it. In fact, he proposed that South Africa be kicked out of the Commonwealth.

“The South African president explained, ‘Our policy is not perfect but it makes for good neighbours’, to which Nehru of India retorted, ‘I won’t be your good neighbour because I have to go in separate buses and live in separate housing’. When we went to visit a waterfall, Prince Alexander of Ethiopia was not allowed to step down from the bus!

“He had to wait for us inside the bus because the police stopped him.”

Topical topics

“Things are getting expensive now. My suggestion is to create more land development so farmers can make money. Some Felda settlers now earn RM2,000 to RM6,000 a month. Sabah and Sarawak are doing it also on a big scale.

“People should cultivate the land and grow vegetables, fruit and flowers. Animal rearing, fish farms and raising chickens and cows are also good. In my day, people were much poorer and worked the land. Now all the smartly dressed young men prefer to work indoors in air-conditioned comfort as officers and administrators.”

He points to an astonished servant who has just entered carrying a tray of tea and cakes.

“He earns RM1,600 a month just carrying things and all that. Pay is lacking in some private sectors compared to government posts.”

Tuanku Ja’afar is against the idea of minimum wage.

“Malaysia is not ready for it yet. We are still not as rich as the western countries. Some people really work but others don’t want to work hard as they know they will still get the same pay, so it is not fair. Those who work hard and have the entrepreneurial spirit should be rewarded, not the lazy ones.”

He says corruption is a concern.

“Corruption is getting rife as some elements from the police and government servants could be involved. The Government is taking action, and it must be drastic. They must be seen to be taking action. Likewise, justice must be done and seen to be done!”

Birthday wish

Surveying the current political scene, Tuanku Ja’afar sighs, “One is ambitious to be Prime Minister, one wishes to retain the post. This political game is very complex and difficult to forecast.

“We may have Tengku Razaleigh (Hamzah) and (Tan Sri) Muhyiddin (Yassin) in the Umno presidential race. In the papers, I read that Tun Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) has said (Datuk Seri) Najib (Tun Razak) will not be PM. The Malays are not united, and Umno needs to be resuscitated.

“My advice is to unite if possible. But one must lose, either Pak Lah (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) or (Datuk Seri) Anwar (Ibrahim). We may have to choose between Umno and PKR while Pas is getting stronger. I would also advise Negri Sembilan people not to attend demonstrations as these things should be settled in Parliament.”

Meanwhile, we all wish Tuanku Ja’afar many more birthdays to come!

Saturday July 26, 2008

Reminiscing royal


Combating An Ideology

On Friday at the New America Foundation, the Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, James Glassman, spoke about America’s strategy in the so called ‘war of ideas’. The speech outlined a process of gentle encouragement and openness. As Glassman was keen to note, when it comes to radical fundamentalism based on Islam, “we [Americans] are not the credible voices”. Instead, Glassman says that the battle against radicalism must be conducted by those who are well respected within the Muslim world.

Glassman’s vision for US public diplomacy in the current era is “focused not on making people like us more, but rather on defeating an ideology.” We are attempting to influence the outcome of a battle for power within Muslim society, and the only way that Glassman sees us being effective is by taking on an enabling role. For the Undersecretary, the objective is to make sure that the many voices of reason within the Islamic world get heard.

Glassman’s speech took on an amused tone when he mentioned that he himself disliked the name ‘war of ideas’, despite his unofficial title as its ‘commander in chief’. He insisted that the name has connotations that imply a simple, two sided ‘us vs. them’ struggle. Instead, Glassman was adamant that the objective is not to get anyone to accept our own ideologies, but rather simply to have them reject ideologies that promote unprovoked violence.

All in all, Glassman’s speech was a breath of fresh air in a climate where enemies, friends, and bystanders are often confused with one another. Terrorism cannot be stopped by force of arms. The ‘war of ideas’ is perhaps the most crucial initiative to our longterm security, and it’s nice to see that the man in charge recognizes the complexities and understands the indirect approach that we must adopt.

Combating An Ideology

by Jeffrey Asjes | July 27th, 2008

war: He escaped Vietnam, but not his demons

Arthur Torgesen "had been in pain for years"

Last update: July 27, 2008 - 9:10 PM

Stationed in Vietnam in an area known as "The Devil's Back Yard," Arthur Torgesen twice eluded death while nearly everyone else in his unit perished. People close to him say Torgesen was awarded two Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and a Bronze Star. But for all his great escapes, he could not outrun his demons.

Torgesen fled a bunker in Cu Chi before explosives wiped out more than two dozen other members of the 25th Infantry Division, said Dennis Olson, a fellow Vietnam veteran. But when Torgesen talked about cheating death before an ambush that killed 150 others, he told Olson he felt guilty and wondered if he could have "prevented the whole thing" by firing a warning shot.

"My father suffers from a rare post-traumatic stress," Michael Torgesen said last week while his father sat in the Anoka County jail, charged with second-degree murder after allegedly stabbing his wife to death and setting their Columbia Heights house on fire.

"He was in a lot of pain," Michael Torgesen said of his dad, "and had been in pain for years."

Artie Torgesen, 63, was recently diagnosed with cancer, his son said. He carried a limp and a cane to go with his memories of being shot in Vietnam. He had chronic pain in his arms and his hands, possibly from a fall in which he broke his collarbone after losing a wrestling match with a bottle of vodka, Olson and Torgesen's son said.

"The vodka took the edge off," Michael Torgesen said.

Cell phone message

But it was Artie's bride, Sherrill Harnden, 59, who gave him reason to go on. Just two days before Torgesen allegedly kissed his sleeping wife and then stabbed her repeatedly with a kitchen knife with a 6 1/2-inch blade, Harnden left a message for her husband on his cell phone:

"Thanks for being the greatest husband you've been."

"They loved each other," said Michael Torgesen, 30. "There's no doubt about that."

Artie Torgesen's plan was to die together with his wife, according to court records. The gasoline and lacquer that he told detectives that he poured on his wife as she lay in their bedroom July 18, he also poured on himself -- and he had burns on his chest, arms and, most severe, on his back to prove it.

Ultimately, though, he said he didn't have the nerve. He left the room, naked, and went to the living room.

Things had gotten too hot.

A history of problems

He began to feel the heat the day he returned home from Vietnam four decades ago. A tough Long Islander who never lost his New York accent, Torgesen had just gotten off the plane when a guy spit at him, Olson said. Torgesen broke the man's jaw.

"His first night home and he spent it in jail," his son said.

There were other incidents -- like the time New York-area authorities questioned Torgesen about possible mob connections. Years later, Torgesen told Olson that he was beaten so badly by police officers that his parents hardly recognized him.

Torgesen married a woman from Minnesota, moved to his bride's home state, and started a flooring company in downtown Minneapolis in the late 1970s. But alcohol took its toll on a marriage that produced one son -- Michael -- before ending in divorce.

Twenty-five years ago, Sherry Harnden entered Artie's life. He told Olson he met her at a party. The man who Olson says won a Silver Star by jumping into a bunker in the jungle with an M-16 and firing away found somebody with whom he could exchange love letters. A box of them was kept 'til the end, Michael Torgesen said.

"Sherry was like my second mom for 25 years," he said. "My dad had such a rough past. He was a grunt in Vietnam. She was someone who could take him off the front line."

Simply 'the best'

Their Columbia Heights neighbors admit they knew little about Torgesen and Harnden -- other than that police occasionally visited their home and he was heard screaming at her during his binges. Torgesen was arrested at least 13 times for driving under the influence, according to the Anoka County Sheriff's Office.

But Olson knew the couple differently. Artie adored Sherry, who went to the health club, worried about her weight, and cared about her looks, said Olson. As he once said to Olson after Olson's wife, Scharline, dropped by, "Our old ladies are the best."

"She was just a very caring, warm person," said Ann Harnden, Sherry's heartbroken mother. "She loved her family, Artie and Michael. If you were her friend, you were her friend forever."

Dennis Olson, 57, who lives in the village of St. Anthony, said he first met Torgesen about 15 years ago when Torgesen noticed a POW-MIA flag in Olson's garage. Torgesen introduced himself and the two exchanged Vietnam stories.

Talk occasionally led to Torgesen's medals. The Star Tribune could not verify those medals, but Michael Torgesen said he saw them while he was growing up and Ann Harnden said she, too, knew of them.

Torgesen had been drinking vodka the day he and Olson first met, Olson recalled. But his stories often had to do with morphine and the pain he felt in his knee, which had to be reconstructed after his discharge.

Last calls

It wasn't until around the time that Torgesen learned he had cancer, several months ago, that he and Harnden finally married. In February, Torgesen had cancer between his heart and lungs surgically removed, Olson said. But the cancer returned.

So did the financial woes and depression that plagued Torgesen for decades.

On Wednesday, July 16 -- the day Harnden left her verbal love letter on Torgesen's voice mail -- Torgesen called Olson. Olson's son, Zak, 15, died of leukemia four years ago, and now Torgesen was telling Olson "that he wanted to visit Zak."

"He said he was sick and tired of living with cancer, couldn't live this way anymore," Olson said. "He's talked this stuff to me in the past.

"He was a Vietnam war hero. He wasn't the type of person to kick back and die of old age."

On Friday morning, July 18, Torgesen called his son, Michael, leaving this message: "Everything is over for me." He called Harnden's mother to tell her Sherry loved her. And he called the Olsons.

"He was living with a lot of demons from Vietnam and drowning them out with vodka," Olson recalled Torgesen once saying. "He'd been off the bottle for a while and got into the vodka again at the tail end of his radiation regimen. He said it wasn't any fun anymore.

"He had to do something to stop it all."

Paul Levy • 612-673-4419

The new Cold War

Is the "tired of the life, spy in semi-retirement dragged out for one more mission" genre, well, tired? Judging by Daniel Silva's latest entry into the life of Israeli superspy Gabriel Allon, his eighth in this particular series, the answer according to at least one author is no. Not surprisingly perhaps given that the post-September 11 era has revitalized the genre; instead of the Soviet Bloc, the west's undercover heroes can grapple enemies from other of the globe's hotspots.

Except that Moscow Rules brings us back to the future with a villain no stranger to those who grew up with Cold War era spy novels. Allon's mission, which he has little choice but to accept, is to investigate Ivan Kharkov, a former KGB colonel who has built a fortune thanks to his connections. While Kharkov's public face is that of a billionaire built on crafty, if somewhat shady, investments, those in the know are aware that much of that fortune is actually the result of selling weapons to whoever is willing to pay.

Kharkov's latest venture is what has prompted the un-retirement of the newly married Allon. Dragged from an Italian estate where he was restoring art for the Vatican, Allon is told that the Russian plans to sell a sophisticated weapons system – codenamed Igla, Russian for "needle" – to al-Qaida. He must determine when and where the deal will take place in order to foil what will be future global attacks even more deadly than what took place on September 11, 2001.

With the stakes as high as they are, it's not surprise that Kharkov's network will do whatever it takes to protect the deal. Journalists who discover the truth are murdered and Allon himself finds out that elements of the Russian establishment are willing to do what it takes to protect one of their own, which includes a stay in the Lubyanka prison. Fortunately, Allon discovers a way to penetrate Kharkov's circle, through his art-collecting wife Elena.

From there the story rarely lets off the throttle. Aided not only by the Israeli secret service, but also those of the U.S., Britain and France, Allon travels across Europe in his effort to discover the details of the weapons deal. With money no object and abilities that, thanks to friends in the Russian government and intelligence services, are nearly as formidable as the ones Allon's allies bring to bear, the Russian mafia and Kharkov stop at nothing in their attempts to end his mission.

While Moscow Rules is engaging, it is somewhat hobbled by a deus ex machina twist in the later third of the book that stretches the credibility of even the spy genre. While it doesn't take the reader completely out of the story – at least not for long – it is an event which isn't foreshadowed before it occurs and only seems to do so in order to rescue Allon from the predicament he finds himself in. It is a plot twist, though relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, which detracts from what Silva was able to create with his latest effort.

That said, Moscow Rules is an imminently engaging read which is firmly grounded in today's political events. Though it is escapist fiction, it will also hopefully inform the reader about the reality of the flow of arms and expertise from Russia to the Middle East. Perceived American weakness and a torrent of oil money have revitalized a Russia apparently determined to revisit its past and while Moscow Rules is the latest in the series of spies coming out of retirement, it is hardly a tired or irrelevant effort. ESR

Steven Martinovich is a freelance writer in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

By Steven Martinovich
web posted July 28, 2008

crude oil price: worldwide.

Oil prices decline to USD 123.26, India - 30 minutes ago
Crude oil prices declined to lowest point in weeks on Friday (July 25) on speculation that the prices will fall more showing how badly demand has declined ...

Transparency Sought as Speculators' Activity in Oil Market Grows
Washington Post, United States - 25 minutes ago
... have already opined in recent weeks and months that speculators are not having an impact on the record rise in crude oil prices," Chilton said in an ...

Saudi Aramco to sell 41 pct more crude oil to Sinopec this year
Trading Markets (press release), CA - 14 minutes ago
BEIJING, Jul 28, 2008 (XFN-ASIA via COMTEX) -- SNP | Quote | Chart | News | PowerRating -- Saudi Aramco is expected to sell 41 pct more crude oil to China

Russian oil deliveries to China down 19.5 pct in H1 - Russian ...
Interfax China, China - 14 minutes ago
INTERFAX - Deliveries of Russian crude oil and oil product to China declined 19.5 percent in natural terms in the first half of 2008, Sergei Tsyplakov,

Earnings: ExxonMobil, Starbucks, and More
BusinessWeek - 12 minutes ago
Crude oil hit a record above $147 per barrel in early July, but oil now trades above $123, a 16% decline. Georges Yared, president of Yared Investment

Oil rises towards $124
Reuters UK, UK - 11 minutes ago
But analysts said worries of slowing fuel demand, which have dragged crude prices down from their record peak of over $147 a barrel on July 11, continued to ...

Shares higher in mid-trade on positive overseas leads, Philippines - 8 minutes ago
A barrel of light sweet crude fell $2.23 to settle at $123.26 on the New York Mercantile Exchange last Friday. Oil prices have fallen more than $20 in ...


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Proton suspends Terengganu dealer (updated)

PETALING JAYA: Proton has suspended one of its dealers in Terengganu for allegedly using non-genuine spare parts, overcharging and repairing cars without recording it in the carmaker's online warranty system.

Proton Holdings Bhd managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed told reporters at a press conference on Sunday that the company would also be cooperating with the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) while conducting its own investigations into the matter.

"If the dealer is implicated in any wrongdoing, we will not hesitate to terminate the dealer's services," he said, adding that the dealer worked under EON (Edaran Otomobil Nasional) - one of Proton's super-dealers.

The national carmaker began its own investigation into the state government's claims on the high cost of maintaining the 16 Proton Perdana V6 Executive cars previously used by Terengganu executive councillors.

Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said had earlier said that the state had purchased 14 Mercedes E200 Kompressor cars at RM3.43mil to replace its Proton Perdana V6 Executive fleet in a move to "cut cost."

He said apart from the dealer being suspended, Proton also found that only 35 of the 67 Proton Perdanas bought by the state government were being sent to authorised workshops. It was found that 93% of the RM1,071,669 (cost that was reported in the media) was spent outside of the Proton service system.

"If a car is taken to an unauthorised workshop and non-genuine parts are used, there are bound to be problems. Putting in non-genuine parts only compounds the problem.

"Furthermore, if repairs to a car are done outside the Proton warranty system, there is no way the company would be able to know what is going on."

Syed Zainal Abidin said preliminary investigations into the matter found that there was overcharging and second hand-parts being sold as genuine parts.

"In some instances there was also 'over-servicing' of the car," he said, adding that the average maintenance cost of a Proton Perdana was RM2,373 per year.

Moving forward, Syed Zainal Abidin said the company would be offering all state governments a free audit of their fleet of Proton cars to determine if they were being properly maintained.

"We may also suggest to the state governments which service branches, and not dealers, they should send their car to for maintenance so this kind of problem can be avoided."

When asked if other states could be having the same problems, he said it could not be discounted.

Still using Mercs
Meanwhile, Terengganu state executive council members and senior state government officers would continue using the Mercedes cars pending completion of the ACA investigation, Ahmad Said said.

The ACA had taken the Proton Perdana cars that were used by the state executive councillors and officers, he was quoted by Bernama.

"So the executive council members and officers will have to use the Mercedes ... the prime minister had also said that (we) can use the Mercedes cars once in a while," he told reporters at a dinner with state Umno leaders here on Saturday night.

State Tourism and Culture, Arts and Heritage Committee chairman Datuk Za'abar Mohd Adib arrived at the Malaysia Flora Fest 2008 in Johor Baru on Saturday in one of the new Mercedes cars, Bernama said.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had earlier said that the Terengganu government could keep the Mercedes Benzes, but only for use by its guests and not for the state exco members and its senior officers.

Sunday July 27, 2008 MYT 3:28:13 PM

BERITADARIGUNUNG: The check can also be extended to other states, Pahang, Johor, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, and Perlis. Of course, cars provided to Ministers and Government Officers, all of them must go through the screen by BPR and Proton. Who knows, few more will "sangkut"!! Shahrir, you have Proton Perdana too? (Nobody ask about your Merc etc etc)

Quotes by Anwar Ibrahim

In his statement early Sunday, Mr. Anwar said, "I believe we are witnessing a repeat of the methods used against me in 1998, when false allegations were made under duress."

Jun 30, 2008 Wall Street Journal (475 occurrences)
"I have been told that my assassination has not been ruled out as a means to subvert the people's will and bring an end to the transformational changes taking place in Malaysia," he added in the statement.

Jun 29, 2008 Reuters India (168 occurrences)
"The National Front is in turmoil, with enemies from within and attacks from outside," Anwar said.

Jul 2, 2008 The Associated Press (102 occurrences)
"I have been told that my assassination has not been ruled out as means ...... to bring an end to the transformation of Malaysia," he said.

Jun 29, 2008 Dispatch Online

"The nature of my unwarranted arrest, my overnight incarceration," Anwar said, "was an act of personal vengeance against me in retaliation to the report I launched against him."

"It's still early days ...... but Anwar may gain more out of this because of the credibility issues that the government needs to face," Ibrahim told The Associated Press.

Jul 2, 2008

Anwar said his interrogators were polite, but that they forced him to sleep "on a cold cement floor," which aggravated his back injury.

Jul 17, 2008 The Associated Press

"This is clearly a desperate attempt by the Barisan Nasional regime to arrest the movement of the Malaysian people towards freedom, democracy and justice," he said in a statement.

Jun 28, 2008 AFP

"I have been told that my assassination has not been ruled out as a means to subvert the people's will," AFP cited Anwar as saying in a statement late yesterday.

Jun 29, 2008 Bloomberg

"There is no basis for this whole fabrication and malicious attacks. It is just a repeat of the 1998 script. You can see the pattern," Anwar said in Putrajaya.

Jul 19, 2008 Prince George Citizen

Review only when oil price drops further or stabilises, says Shahrir

KUALA LUMPUR: Oil prices must stabilise or drop further before the Government can consider reducing pump prices, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said.

Shahrir said a review of domestic fuel prices depended on how consistent the price reduction remained despite the global crude oil price falling from a high of US$147 (RM470.40) to below US$125 (RM400) per barrel.

The dipping price was welcome news for the Government because it could save on fuel subsidy if the price fell further, he said.

“When the latest fuel price rise was announced in June, the market price of oil was at US$125 per barrel. The Cabinet is waiting to see whether the level can be maintained for long or even better, go down further,” he told reporters yesterday after launching the Consumers Day 2008 at the Putra World Trade Centre.

On whether Malaysia would allow the domestic fuel prices to float according to market prices, he said the Government was against this because a rapid upward trend of the global crude oil price would see a drastic increase of fuel sold at the pumps.

Shahrir added the Government’s early decision was to review fuel prices at year-end but this would again depend on the situation.

On the inflation rate, which more than doubled to 7.7% in June, Shahrir said the Government had expected this to occur due to the rising cost of two important components in the consumer price index – food and transport.

He said inflation was expected to increase for this month but would decrease after that.

He added that the rate was still under control because of subsidies and price control.

“Otherwise, it could go as much as two digits like in some countries,” he said.

On his meeting with petrol station operators on the two-tier pricing system for petrol at border towns, he said technical problems needed to be ironed out.

He also said petrol station owners were only allowed to take in more workers if the workers were local.

He added that the limit on two foreign workers working at the pump area remained.

Sunday July 27, 2008. The Star online.

BERITADARIGUNUNG: Shahrir is so concerned with government coffer. People do have coffers too, small but meaningful. Can he be more people sensitive? But he has drawn a line. "I am the government, you are the people or the rakyat". Huh? Shahrir looks at drop of crude oil price as saving to government He could have send the same message with more rakyat friendly. He must have forgotten for being much older albeit w.......r.

Shahrir turning into an Old Man?.. Creativity diminishing...

Be moderate in spending, consumption: Shahrir

KUALA LUMPUR: The Consumer Day celebration this year was a scaled down affair in keeping with the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry's message to the people to be moderate in their spending and consumption in bracing for the higher cost of living.

Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said the theme Moderation for a Better Life (Kesederhanaan Menjamin Kesejahteraan) with the tagline Practice Sustainable Consumption (Amalkan Penggunaan Lestari) was timely and he wanted Malaysians to adopt moderation in their lifestyle.

To lead the way, he chose to scale down the event including reducing the number of exhibition booths instead of having sales carnivals and exhibitions. Emphasis was given to seminar and forums participated by consumer advocates.

The launch of the two-day celebration was also kept simple with an address by the minister.

"We should be moderate not only because of higher expenses but to me it is not the appearance and style that matter but the message we want to send at the events," he said.

The message was that moderation in spending, consumption and production was based on needs and was related to sustainable consumption and production.

Shahrir said he wanted the celebration's theme maintained for the whole of his tenure, saying that the message was good enough. "We only need to change the way we celebrate the event," he said.

With that he called on consumer groups and school consumer clubs to give inputs on how they want the celebrated to be held next time.

He also presented the Sustainable Consumer Award to social and environment activist Gurmit Singh, the Sustainable NGO Award to the Consumer Association of Malaysia and Sustainable School Consumer Club Award to SMK Sultan Abdul Jalil in Johor.

By JANE RITIKOS, Saturday July 26, 2008 MYT 8:12:51 PM.

BERITADARIGUNUNG: Of course, be moderate has been peoples choice. No doubt, otherwise everyone will live in deficit. Now Shahrir is becoming an old man, talking to sons and daughters and granchildren too. I dearly miss the sit-com when he poke fun at everything except ECM-Libra thing ...... But of course, politics is a career, therefore one must toe the line. Now it is too late to pick "kunci" or "kepala lembu" for a little by election in Johor Baru. Yea, everyone is getting older but not necessarily wiser.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


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New Straits Times, Malaysia - Jul 24, 2008
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh said according to the procedure, the release papers had to be signed by the home minister. ...
FROM THE PARLIAMENT: Financial assistance for families of 11 ISA ...
New Straits Times, Malaysia - Jul 24, 2008
Wan Ahmad Farid said four applications for financial assistance were being considered by the Welfare Department while noting that aid included educational ...
Power to Disclose With Police, OR - Jul 23, 2008
... the power to not disclose the status of an investigation under the Criminal Procedure Code, said Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh. ...
127 youths locked up in prisons
Malaysia Star, Malaysia - Jul 23, 2008
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh said that according to statistics from the Prisons Department, 93 were remanded pending trial while 34 ...
22-07-2008: Shake-up in T’ganu listed firms
The Edge Daily, Malaysia - Jul 22, 2008
Incidentally, Wan Hisham is the brother of Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid, who was formerly the political secretary to Prime Minister Datuk Seri ...

Mukhriz wants all Umno branches to pick leaders

ALOR STAR: Jerlun MP Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir has called on all 22,000 Umno branch chiefs in the country to nominate candidates for the top five posts in the party and send him the list of nominees by facsimile.

He also asked the branches to nominate candidates for the supreme council posts.

He said he had sent letters to branch chiefs nationwide, requesting them to exercise their right to pick and choose top leaders in the party.

“I have requested that they nominate candidates for the president, deputy and three vice-president's posts.

“If possible, I would appreciate if the branches could send me copies of the list of nominees via facsimile (03-64118002),” he said, adding that he had sent the letters in stages since July 15.

Mukhriz, who is an Umno Youth executive council member and Kubang Pasu division committee member, said he was speaking in his capacity as Jerlun MP.

He said it was high time the power to choose top leaders was returned to the grassroots.

“The votes cast by 2,500 delegates at the Umno general assembly should reflect the desire of the majority of the three million party members.

“The delegates play a crucial role as they are also representing 27 million Malaysians to choose the Prime Minister.

“I think it is only proper that all members play their part in this Umno election. Grassroots members are in better position to gauge public sentiments as to who should lead the country,” Mukhriz told newsmen after meeting constituents at the Batu 7 community hall in Sanglang near here yesterday.

He said that when the power to choose was returned to grassroots, it would also help keep political corruption at bay “as it would not be easy to use money to influence the results all the way down to the branch level.”

more on UMNO:

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Musa Aman Yet To Decide On UMNO Vice Presidency
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Najib hopes for support of all when he takes over as premier
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Bursa Malaysia Likely To See Volatile Trading Next Week

KUALA LUMPUR, July 26 (Bernama) -- Bursa Malaysia is expected to be rangebound next week as investors are likely to remain cautious in the earlier part of the week on concern of crude oil prices regaining strength, analysts said.

Phua Kwee Hock, technical analyst at SJ Scurities, said oil prices are likely to rebound up to US$140 per barrel in about two weeks' time, as the market has corrected a large part of it.

"The downside of oil should be limited as market has corrected a large part of it," Phua said, adding that it would lead to a rise in crude palm oil (CPO) related stocks.

"CPO futures for September is hovering around RM3,000. I think it is due for a rebound as well, maybe up to RM3,500," he said.

Phua said the benchmark Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) is set to move between 1,120 and 1,154 points next week unless new leads emerged.

Bursa Malaysia Likely To See Volatile Trading Next Week
Bernama, Malaysia -

On Friday, share prices on Bursa Malaysia closed firmer on last-minute buying of select heavyweights, with the benchmark KLCI edging up 0.16 of a point to 1,141.75.

Throughout the week, the market rejoiced over falling crude oil prices. However, this led to a decline in CPO prices which affected the plantation stocks.

The market also saw investors took profit and remained on the sidelines ahead of the central bank's monetary policy committee meeting to look into interest rates as the inflation rate for June peaked at 7.7 percent, doubled May's 3.8 percent and above most expectations.

However, Bank Negara Malaysia announced on Friday that it would not be revising the overnight policy rate, even after inflation rates touched a 27-year high.

"They will probably have to increase interest rates at the next meeting," Phua said.

According to him, Malaysia's economy is in a slowing phase and sectors like construction may be hit by rising prices of raw materials.

On a Friday-to-Friday basis, the KLCI gained 36.71 points to 1,141.75 from 1,105.4 last Friday.

The Industrial Index rose 86.81 points to 2,431.89 from 2,345.08 and the Finance Index increased 389.27 points to 8,822.25 from 8,432.98 while the Plantation Index lost 133.91 points to 6,222.0 from 6,355.91.

In the Financial Times Stock Exchange-Bursa Malaysia (FTSE-BM) Index series, the FBMEmas went up 220.16 points to 7,566.77 from 7,346.61, the FBM30 advanced 237.31 points to 7,354.1 from 7,116.79, the FBM2BRD gained 120.75 points to 5,387.26 from 5,266.51 and the FBMMdq added 76.93 points to 4,230.42 from 4,153.49.

Turnover rose to 2.228 billion shares valued at RM4.937 billion from 1.631 billion shares valued at RM4.138 billion last week.

The Main Board volume increased to 1.972 billion units worth RM4.858 billion from 1.361 billion units worth RM3.491 billion previously.

Volume on the Second Board was higher at 117.767 million shares worth RM67.97 million from 92.315 million shares worth RM67.278 million last Friday.

On the Mesdaq Market, volume went up to 111.686 million units valued at RM20.957 million from 18.785 million units valued at RM18.419 million previously.

Call warrants rose to 126.393 million shares worth RM28.585 million from 97.195 million shares worth RM2.51 million previously.

Direct business deals increased to 284.158 million units valued at RM677.029 million from 161.691 million units valued at RM175.78 million last Friday.


Malaysia's central bank raises 2008 inflation forecast but keeps interest rates steady

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Malaysia's central bank hiked its annual inflation forecast to at least 5.5 percent for this year, but it held back on raising interest rates amid worries about shrinking financial growth.

Bank Negara Malaysia said the country's economy performed well in the first half of 2008 but faces sterner challenges in the next 12 months because "both the risks to higher inflation and slower growth have increased tremendously."

Average inflation is projected to range between 5.5 percent and 6 percent for this year, the bank said in a statement late Friday after a monetary policy meeting. Its previous prediction was 4.2 percent.

The new forecast came two days after the government announced consumer prices spiked by 7.7 percent in June compared with the same month last year. It was the steepest climb in 27 years, spurred by the government's move to increase retail gasoline prices by 41 percent in June.

The central bank noted that higher fuel prices have pushed up costs of food and transport, but it stressed that its immediate concern "is to avoid a fundamental economic slowdown that would involve higher unemployment."

for full, click here: Malaysia's central bank raises 2008 inflation forecast but keeps ...
International Herald Tribune, France

Monday, July 21, 2008

For Cow it is dung, for Bull it is shit!!

Same thing, dung or shit. It is just a by product of consumption.

A book was named as "shit". What the heck, a shit is a shit even if it is a dung.
But plants thrive on shits.
Many bought the book "shit", but few read past page 10.

Some do thrive on shits ..... and why not.

You may find these interesting too:

1 The internet is shit

2 Shit happens

3 Menarik : Novel ‘Shit’ Shahnon akhirnya dijulang di Dewan Bahasa ...-

4 Ahmad Shahnon

5 Turkey to ask Anwar to leave embassy - Malaysia

6 ‘Anwar putting on a show’

7 more by Shahrir Abdul Samad »