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In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God


Which must always come to pass

Photobucket
He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?


Have you always turned the other cheek?


To My Church have you been true?"


"No, Lord, I guess I ain't


Because those of us who carry guns


Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around


Except to calm their fears.


If you've a place for me here,


Lord, It needn't be so grand,


I never expected or had too much,


But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Are we going down the road of Sri Lanka? By P Gunasegaram
Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Malaysiakini : Their debts are 101 percent of gross domestic product or GDP, the sum of goods and services produced in a year, ours 68 percent. Importantly, they don’t have enough foreign exchange to service their foreign debts, we have more than enough.

People stand in line to buy domestic gas tanks near a distributor, amid the country's economic crisis, in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka also made the really bad move of banning fertiliser imports and relying instead on organic fertilisers which resulted in a major shortage of food production locally. This is an example of what bad decision-making by incompetents can do.

Moody’s rating is Ca for Lanka - that means highly speculative and likely in, or very near default, with some or little prospect of recovery in principal and interest.

Malaysia’s is A3 - it signifies that the issuer has financial backing and some cash reserves with a low risk of default. A-/A3 is the seventh-highest rating a debt issuer can receive and is four rankings above the cut-off for junk bonds - not great but not bad either. 

In short, we are not anywhere near what Sri Lanka is now, make no mistake about that.

Are we vulnerable? Yes, if we go on like this for a long time - it may take a decade of massive mismanagement and corruption to get there and it would need successive bad governments. Our quality of government right now is the poorest it has ever been, so yes, we could be headed that way if we continue like this.

Subsidies

Sri Lanka defeated the separatist, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009, giving rise to major optimism about the future. But a series of poor governments, including several involving the Rajapaksa family, brought the government to its knees this year amidst widespread public demonstrations.

Often people highlight Sri Lanka’s wasteful spending on food, fuel, and electricity subsidies to appease voters as one of the factors that caused this crisis, pointing to Malaysia’s government also spending a large amount on subsidies.

But our situation is considerably different. We are net exporters of energy, so we can afford to subsidise energy. The problem is who are we subsidising - high-energy consumers who tend to be rich. That’s the wrong thing to do.

For food, we were about to do the wrong thing by removing subsidies and lifting ceiling prices on chicken, eggs and cooking oil. But the government did a U-turn and instead now says a new ceiling price will be fixed. If that wrong decision was carried through, it would have caused major problems for the poor.

Chicken and eggs are the mainstay proteins for many Malaysians. Government figures indicate the subsidy on them is less than RM1 billion per year. Guess what the subsidy on fuel is - RM30 billion - cut that subsidy by just 3 percent and we easily cover the food subsidy for those three essentials.

So really the food subsidies don’t do much damage and help to feed the poor - give them nutrition. It’s the fuel subsidy that we need to watch because much of it goes to the rich who can afford to pay more.

In the longer term, we need to gradually decrease subsidies and give targeted help to the poor. As well, we need to be more self-sufficient in food to insulate ourselves from supply disruptions. I dealt with this issue here.

I further explained we are not feeding our children properly. Unicef figures indicate that in Malaysia, 20.7 percent of children under five suffer from stunting and 11.5 percent from wasting, 12.7 percent of children (5–19-year-olds) are obese.

That’s not flattering at all and extremely worrisome. We are far away from being developed in the full sense of the word. That’s why food subsidies are essential for now.

Nepotism and corruption

Commentators draw parallels between Sri Lanka’s nepotism caused by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his family who held key positions in government. But again, the situation is different in Malaysia.

We don’t have nearly as much nepotism here as in Sri Lanka where at one time the Rajapaksa family controlled most key ministries. But what is worrisome is the increasing corruption and patronage at all levels of society.

It has reached such levels that it is no longer a shame to be corrupt - for example ‘Malu Apa Bosku’. When criminals and to-be criminals are glorified and given a high place and respect within the ruling party we have to be really, really worried - that indicates the leadership and the party itself is rotten. That trend is nothing less than dangerous. We have to nip that in the bud.

The clear lesson from Sri Lanka is watch who you vote into power or pay the price. If you vote the incompetent and the corrupt in, that’s a sure recipe for disaster. It combines robbing with wrong decisions which have no professional insight and no intention to improve the welfare of the people, the worst possible combination of all.

A woman prepares vegetables for lunch during a power cut as currency shortage makes fuel scarce, in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Malaysia now would have been well on the way to reform if Dr Mahathir Mohamad had honestly wanted reform. But he returned to his old ways instead and chose a former discredited finance minister and buddy Daim Zainuddin to initiate change. It was no surprise that he eventually lost control.

The only way for Malaysians is to vote for the party which will be the best for the country. Choose wrongly and you will pay the price. Malaysians voted correctly in the last elections but the politicians, led by Mahathir and ably aided and abetted by Muhyiddin Yassin and Mohamed Azmin Ali betrayed them.

To vote back this bunch which betrayed us and who now rule through the back door and who have nothing but their own self-interests at heart is the most foolhardy thing we can do.

To return the country to some semblance of normality, the structural changes needed are known to all - crush corruption, pro-growth policies which are equitable to all, an excellent education system, a trained workforce, build national unity etc, etc.

We need honest, competent politicians for that and most of all, political will. Again, exercising our vote carefully and sending the right messages to all the political parties will be crucial.

As much as that power of choice remains in our collective hands, we must exercise it with caution and discretion. Sri Lanka’s lesson is this: Put power in the hands of the wrong people and they will destroy the country - eventually.

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 10:12 AM   0 comments
What is Umno's Plan B? By Wong Chin Huat
Monday, June 27, 2022

Malaysiakini : If the constitutional amendment seems like Umno's master stroke to check on Ismail Sabri, it is less so in reality, even if Hamzah allows for the approval of Umno's constitutional change. Why?

If Ismail Sabri is convinced, or fears, that he would lose his prime minister job after winning GE15, either within months (ala ex-PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) or immediately (Johor’s former menteri besar Hasni Mohammad), then it is in his best interest to stay on as long as possible. 

After all, if Ismail Sabri steps down before Feb 10, 2023, he would have been PM for less than 539 days, making him the PM with the shortest tenure.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob

Muhyiddin Yassin would be very happy for Ismail Sabri to beat his own record of 539 days, counting from March 1, 2020, till when his caretaker PM’s role ended on Aug 21, 2021.

And the removal of Pasir Salak MP Tajuddin Abdul Rahman from his appointed position in the Umno supreme council perhaps only strengthens Ismail Sabri’s resolve to stay on longer. 

Now that Umno president Zahid has made clear who is the boss in Umno, Ismail Sabri has a new fear. If he is to call an election, say on the second day after the tabling of the 2022 budget in October, he would look like a lame duck in his last months.

Purging of Umno top gun

So, what's Umno's Plan B if Ismail Sabri continues to delay his move to seek an early dissolution of Parliament, which is his sole prerogative? And to give or withhold the royal assent to such request from the PM is the king’s absolute discretion. 

The rising prices (until Russian President Vladimir Putin stops the war or is stopped) and any resurgence of Covid-19 cases would make good grounds for either PM to not seek or the king to not approve an early dissolution. 

The nuclear option speculated by some is for the supreme council to sack Ismail Sabri. This will not happen because it would be the “fallen durian” for the opposition. 

The magic ingredient for an opposition’s united front is always the purging of Umno top gun – former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah in 1988 (effectively done when Umno was deregistered), former DPM Anwar Ibrahim in 1999, and former DPM Muhyiddin in 2016. 

If a sitting Umno PM is sacked, immediately Pakatan Harapan would be back on the government’s bench, and a big tent of Harapan, PN and Ismail Sabri loyalists would become a reality.

The default option would be for Umno-in-WTC and Umno-in-Putrajaya to continue their cold war until one side concedes. And the GE15 guessing game would go on, from September to November, and possibly to next January, March, June and August. 

After every missed window, Umno would try to look for the next best time to push Ismail Sabri’s hand, but the opportune time may well be dictated by Putin, virus or floods.

And this would not make Umno look good for winning GE15 as a force of stability. 

First, it only confirms the fear that some investors and analysts already see: a big win for Umno would be followed by a royal battle between the big boys.

Second, a never-ending guessing game kills off certainty – even just for months – for both businesses and ordinary people. Extremely short-term policies aiming to win or survive elections cannot build investors’ and consumers’ confidence at a time of unprecedented multiple crises.

It’s time for Umno to think hard not on the surety of its Plan A, but on the increasingly inevitable need for a Plan B.

And this requires Umno facing the elephant room: the post-GE15 leadership contest in Umno.

Most major parties in Malaysia cannot deal with leadership contests, and they split after every contested party election. This is certainly the case for Umno since Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and of course, Umno’s political crises become Malaysia’s.

Can Umno’s next presidential contest be different from in that the party stays intact, with the losing faction living in peace with the winning faction, without purging or marginalisation?

Instead of pretending that Ismail Sabri can keep his job after GE15 and trying to get him to call an early election, it may be more rational for both sides to contemplate the opposite: a full term for Ismail Sabri, a stronger Umno’s control on the government, and a fair leadership contest after GE15.

That would keep Umno united and well-placed for GE15. Even if the opposition is more prepared and coordinated by mid-2023, even if turnout goes much higher than 55 percent in Johor, Umno may still win the largest number of seats to dominate the next government, if it can use the coming year to lead Malaysia through the multiple crises of economic hardship, healthcare threat and environmental backlash, with solid policies and real reforms.

Is Umno ready to go out of the old game? That’s the question.

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 12:52 PM   0 comments
France: 1,098 people nationwide attacked with tainted syringes, several Muslims arrested

Clubbing

Robert Spencer : INFO LE FIGARO – According to an internal document brought to the attention of Le Figaro, 808 complaints were filed with the police and the gendarmerie

The wave of syringe “attacks” perpetrated in bars, nightclubs and festivals is turning into a headache for the police. Enigmatic, it has claimed victims across the country without any solid leads yet emerging.

A final report from the Directorate General of the National Police (DGPN), brought to the attention of Le Figaro on Thursday, lists no less than 1,098 victims in total throughout the country. That is exponential growth, knowing that 808 complaints have already been filed with the police and the gendarmerie. According to our information, the scourge has grown to such an extent that the Anti-Narcotics Office (Ofast) has been put on alert, in case investigations reveal organized trafficking.

In terms of the operating mode, the police summary reports “immediate effects” of the sting, but also “delayed effects,” with “marks of bruises.” “The most common symptoms are hot flashes, dizziness, loss of sensitivity, even loss…

“Six-Fours: Two Individuals Incarcerated After Syringe Pricks In a Bar,” translated from “Six-Fours: Deux Individus Incarcérés Après des Piqûres à la Seringue dans un Bar,” by Laury Holste, BFM TV, June 20, 2022:

Two individuals suspected of having needle-sticked a young woman in a bar in Six-Fours were arrested and then imprisoned.

Two individuals, of Turkish nationality and aged 31 and 33, were arrested on Saturday and placed in pre-trial detention as part of a complaint after injections in a bar six-fournais, indicates a police source to BFM Toulon Var.

Two suspects arrested
A 25-year-old woman filed a complaint the previous week after being stung at around 1 a.m. while at Eden Bar. In the middle of the hearing, the victim, feeling unwell, was evacuated to the hospital to carry out examinations, in particular blood and urine.

“The establishment’s video surveillance made it possible to identify two suspects, also recognized by the young woman and a witness, who were near the victim and who were hiding something,” said a source familiar with the matter.

According to Samuel Finielz, prosecutor of Toulon, the victim saw the “two individuals gravitating around her. One of them made a sign to the other before stinging the young woman in the elbow.” It was finally during the night of Friday to Saturday that one of the suspects was arrested by the police at the scene in collaboration with the establishment. Placed in police custody, the individual denied the facts.

Syringes found in the home of one of the suspects
Still according to our information, the search of the telephone records of the thirty-something made it possible to identify the second suspect, aged 31, placed in turn in police custody. The individual also denied the facts.

“During the search of the latter’s home, syringes, needles and drugs in vials were seized on the premises,” said the prosecutor.

Referred this Sunday, the two individuals were indicted for “aggravated violence” by three circumstances: “weapon”, “premeditation” and “in a meeting” resulting in an ITT of less than 8 days. The two individuals were imprisoned in La Farlède prison….

As a reminder, since the beginning of June, three people have been imprisoned for injections in the Var. The first, a 20-year-old Tunisian, had been imprisoned following an indictment arising from facts produced during “The Song of the Year”, on the beaches of Mourillon.

“Versailles: a man of Yemeni nationality arrested after several cases of injections during the music festival,” translated from “Versailles : un homme de nationalité yéménite interpellé après plusieurs cas de piqûres lors de la fête de la musique,” Fdesouche, June 22, 2022:

France celebrated music everywhere in the country on Tuesday evening. In Versailles, the party did not go as planned. According to information from Europe 1, shortly before 11 p.m., at the level of the electro scene, avenue de l’Europe, several victims reported cases of needle sticks on the public highway.

The suspect is in custody

The police managed to arrest a suspect thanks to video surveillance and the testimonies of the alleged victims. At least four cases of bites have been identified. Witnesses formally recognized him as he tried to blend in with the crowd again. During his examination, the syringe was not found. The suspect, of Yemeni nationality, 37 years old, is from Elancourt in Yvelines (78). He is still in custody at this time.

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 11:34 AM   0 comments
Privilege: Somali Cop Who Shot Unarmed Woman in Minneapolis to be Released Less Than Five Years Later

Mohamed Noor

Robert Spencer : Damond’s father, John Ruszczyk, was appalled by the fact that Noor would soon be out on the street: “His release after a trivial sentence shows great disrespect to the wishes of the jury who represented the communities of Minneapolis and their wish to make a statement about the communities’ expectations of police behavior and actions.” Noor was initially convicted of murder, but the Minnesota Supreme Court threw out the murder conviction and resentenced him to four years and nine months on a charge of manslaughter.

Damond’s stepmother, Maryan Heffernan, made some telling observations: “We’re very disappointed. But we’re not surprised. We’ve been watching events in Minneapolis from miles away and we’re still bewildered about the charge being dropped and we’re still bewildered about the culture of the Minneapolis Police Department.”

Heffernan’s bewilderment is understandable, but the culture of the Minneapolis Police Department is readily explicable. Mohamed Noor was the first Somali Muslim on the Minneapolis police force, and the force couldn’t have been prouder of this visible manifestation of its commitment to “diversity.” In 2016, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges expressed her excitement about that fact: “I want to take a moment to recognize Officer Mohamed Noor, the newest Somali officer in the Minneapolis Police Department. Officer Noor has been assigned to the 5th Precinct, where his arrival has been highly celebrated, particularly by the Somali community in and around Karmel Mall.”

It’s important to note that Hodges wasn’t excited because Mohamed Noor was a first-class police recruit who had demonstrated that he had the skills necessary to become a fine police officer. It’s didn’t matter at all how he performed during officer training; the Minneapolis Police Department and city officials were determined that Mohamed Noor would succeed no matter what.

There is more. Read the rest here.

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 11:06 AM   0 comments
Tuanku, not all public protests can be equated with riot


Malaysiakini : Vijay47: Riot? What is a riot?

I wonder whether it is a riot when the citizens of a country gather peacefully in accordance with what the law allows and the Constitution provides for when the people come together to plead for justice, a fairer and better life and an end to the corruption and abuses by the forces in power.

If that is to riot, we must ask what the appropriate description should be when the government prevents the people from assembling legally and hurling tear gas canisters at them just for being there.

The Bersih rallies had their share of violence - when the Federal Reserve Units (FRU) attacked those who chose to march. I should know, I was there, 65 years old and I was one of the innocent victims.

An incident I experienced was an apt reflection of the reality and symbolism of what Bersih’s call represented. When the gathering had ended, after then Bersih chairperson S Ambiga had made a brief speech, we were returning home.

Let me repeat that, we were walking along the embankment away from the epicentre of the walk near Bank Negara. Suddenly a troop of FRU men appeared in front and fired tear gas at us. For what? We were tired, we were quietly going home and we get attacked by the police?

An elderly Chinese gentleman was on the verge of collapsing, overcome by the fumes and a Malay lady was supporting him from his back, holding him up. An Indian youth was in front of the gentleman, using a handkerchief to fan the old man’s face.

To me, that scene was the soul and spirit of Bersih. I will never forget it. I wish I had the guts to say more, but my little wisdom demands I hold my tongue and curb my fingers.

6th Generation Immigrant: Protests, when they do occur after all other avenues have been exhausted, are usually the last resort remaining for citizens to collectively sound out their dissent. This is a democratic principle which must always be allowed and maintained.

Antagonists, on the other hand, do also exploit protests to serve personal, selfish and unuseful means. These forms of protest should cease and desist.

This is why permits are issued by authorities to allow peaceful assemblies. The problem with protests in Malaysia is that they are always controlled by biased enforcing authorities, which are nonetheless always aligned with the political masters who put them there.

MVA: Ultimately, all power comes from the people. Good leaders can sense the people’s wishes and act accordingly, but others need to face protests before they change course.

Unfortunately, there are those who would only accept reality after much destruction and even bloodshed.

Darmakochi: Looking at the recent regressive trend of the political situation in our beloved nation, peaceful rallies by bodies like Bersih are extremely important. There is no proper and functional check and balance system in our nation.

Tuanku, the average Malaysian is suffering to get a decent three meals a day. I am sure Tuanku had read about the fat salaries and allowances of ministers and appointees to head government-linked companies (GLCs) such as FGV.

We have the most bloated cabinet in the world with clueless ministers. A number of these ministries are completely irrelevant and can be merged. These peaceful rallies are the only alternative left for us to channel our frustration.

Vgeorgemy: Our politics divide the communities along racial and religious lines and encourage feudalistic tendencies.

The majority population went along happily, thinking it was the minorities who are causing divisions until the economy collapsed under the weight of incompetency, cronyism and looting of public funds.

UB40: Thank you, Bersih, for your enlightening reply. Note that all of the protests organised by Bersih were peaceful and not one life was lost.

This is democracy and the sultan needs to respect the rights of the rakyat. It is not fair that people cannot protest if the government of the day fails to fulfil its obligations.

PinkCougar9549: Who on earth would welcome a chaotic situation? If Tuanku can correct the wrongdoings of the governing body, by all means, do it. Then we don't need to think about going to the streets.

Let's start with Johor and let it serve as an example of a clean, effective and progressive government.

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 10:37 AM   0 comments
Putrajaya, don’t ‘play play’ with Sarawak on English By Francis Paul Siah

Malaysiakini : I don’t know about you but what struck me the moment I read about it is to ask (in a state of disbelief) whether Zuki’s statement is real or has been misquoted. If not, what a regressive policy that is. It’s very sad when we have the top civil servant in the country involved in such a backward flip.

I’m glad Sarawak minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah did not mince his words when he called the proposal “silly and stupid”.

“English is our second official language and it’s widely used by civil servants and in the state assembly,” he told Free Malaysia Today.

The Sarawak tourism, creative industry and performing arts minister said that civil servants should be encouraged to use “good English” instead of being penalised for it.

“Being proficient in English does not make one less Malaysian or less Malay,” he said.

And what did we hear last Friday? Another ludicrous statement by the chairperson of the Board of Governors of the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP), Awang Sariyan, saying that those who disrespect the national language can be fined up to RM50,000 or sentenced to imprisonment through amendments to the DBP Act 1959.

Hello, what else will they think of next?

Sarawakians’ right

I must first ask those in DBP which connotation in English do they mean by “disrespect” or “disrespectful”? The word “disrespect” is open to a wide range of interpretations, and it becomes highly subjective whether a particular action or utterance is disrespectful.

As a Sarawakian, I wish to add: Malaya can do whatever they want to give prominence to BM and lower the importance of English, but we, Sarawakians, have the right to continue with our emphasis on the language as we think fit.

Encouraging Sarawakians to master English does not mean that we are disrespecting BM. Some people in DBP can say and formulate stupid and silly policies as they wish but do not bother us in Sarawak with them.

I also have this message to our federal leaders, especially Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and his acolytes (which are only a handful, as we are aware.)

Hear it from a Sarawakian - after the brouhaha over English and their condescending manner in pushing the Malay language down our throats, let me say this: Perhaps, non-English speaking lawmakers should not be appointed ministers. They are a distinct disgrace to our nation and Malaysians are ashamed of them, especially when they represent us abroad.

Malaysians could only gripe in embarrassment every time a non-English speaking Malaysian minister attempted to use the language in an international setting. What the heck! Is this the best we have to parade as our representatives abroad?

Gladly, all our seven prime ministers speak good English. The current PM has a problem. Probably, because of his own inadequacies with the language, he is now pushing BM around as if it is the only language for all of mankind.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob

Seriously, Ismail Sabri also wanted our representatives abroad to speak BM at international forums, stating that would help to promote the language to the world.

I say, good luck, Mr Prime Minister. I think that brushing up on your English would be the next best thing you have carried during your temporary sojourn as the prime minister.

In Sarawak, all our ministers, deputy ministers and state assembly members and MPs too are all English speakers or at least, they are able to handle the language.

None of our Sarawak ministers or legislators has ever been known to embarrass us Sarawakians when they represent us abroad at international forums. Unlike some of our Malayan federal ministers.

On the English language, no shame to learn from Sarawak, really!

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 10:03 AM   0 comments
Grandson of disgraced ex-S'gor MB Harun wants to clear his name by Martin Vengadesan

Malaysiakini : “In it, he wrote that he hopes one day his descendants would act to clear his name.

“I’m not sure if that will be possible but I can only try and trust in God and His wisdom,” Ashaari told Malaysiakini in an interview.

He believes that some truths about his grandfather have been suppressed.

“If you speak to people who knew him well they mainly have good things to say about him. One particular quote I like was that he was ‘too far sighted’.

“He was highly intelligent, a visionary, very competent administrator but also extremely warm, kind and approachable.

“He may not have left tall skyscrapers that loom large over Kuala Lumpur but I think his legacy is captured perfectly by PKNS, which helped develop affordable housing (still does so till today), and Yayasan Selangor, which presently accounts for 20,000 alumni.

“Through PKNS, Shah Alam was developed alongside green belting of a number of areas, many of which have sadly been developed after he was deposed as MB and therefore affecting things like flooding in KL and Selangor now,” said Ashaari.

He said that Harun was widely regarded as the most influential Umno Youth leader who would often be very critical of government policies back in the day and he was even called out for creating “a party within a party”.

“If you add that to the fact that he was Malaysia and Selangor’s best-ever football manager, also involved in cycling, golf and brought Muhammad Ali to fight in KL in 1975, then it makes him at least a compelling figure in Malaysian history.

“Sadly, much of his story has been lost. My personal opinion is that it was intentionally suppressed due to internal Umno politics between Harun and (second prime minister) Abdul Razak (Hussein),” he claimed.

Ashaari noted that many of the good things Harun did have been brushed off.

“Just look at his Olympic football team of 1972, which seems to be ignored, while instead, they made a movie ‘Ola Bola’ about the 1980 team which didn’t even go to the Olympics,” he said.

A grandson’s passion

Ashaari is the son of Harun’s youngest son, Azman Shah Harun, and trained as a medical doctor in rural Malaysia. He pointed out that he himself is half-Chinese.

“I did my housemanship in Hospital Ampang from 2014-2016, then was posted to Klinik Kesihatan Kemayan in Bera, Pahang, where I was the medical officer in charge there for about 1.5 years.

“I was then transferred to KK Tg Karang (by coincidence there is an SMK Dato Harun opposite) but then decided to apply to work and train in England,” he explained.

He is currently in training to be a family medicine specialist and is on a Public Health rotation working on projects related to non-communicable diseases and public mental health.

Nonetheless, Ashaari remains a keen student of history and has undertaken more than 30 interviews in the course of his research.

Among those he spoke to were former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, former deputy prime minister Musa Hitam, ex-IGP Hanif Omar and others such as Daim Zainuddin and Lim Kit Siang.

He also talked to veterans in the legal field, such as VC George, Mahadev Shankar and Gopal Sri Ram, journalists like R Nadeswaran and footballers Soh Chin Aun and Santokh Singh to build up a better picture of Harun.

May 13 race riots

Many of the dignitaries did speak highly of Harun’s positive side, but despite these efforts, it’s very hard to run away from the black marks of May 13 and the twin corruption cases.

“On May 13th - there is no doubt at all that the Malays gathered at his official MB residence and there were a significant number of them that came armed.

“Whether he was the instigator or ‘tip of the spear’ is another question. For me, I don’t think it would be in keeping with his multi-racial character as his peers tell me that most of his friends growing up were actually non-Malay and I would argue that you have to be of a certain personality to commit such a deeply violent act,” said Ashaari.

The results of the 1969 election had taken the Umno/Alliance by surprise and Selangor was one of the states in the balance.

Following a victory parade by the opposition, which then included Gerakan as well as DAP, Umno’s retaliation was the trigger for widespread violence and murder.

“There is a variety of views which exonerate him from May 13th,” claimed Ashaari.

“One is a recent interview I did with Hanif, there is also an article written by then opposition leader Tan Chee Khoon in The Star newspaper called ‘Datuk Harun and the May 13th tragedy’ and also (former deputy prime minister) Dr Ismail (Abdul Rahman) who originally wanted to have him charged for murder, and in the end, changed his mind,” he said.

Ashaari also claimed that two ministers who headed the National Operations Council that followed the suspension of Parliament were convinced of Harun’s guilt, but in the end, couldn’t pin the blame on him based on evidence.

“I also wrote to Mahathir to ask him if he, Razak and my grandfather engineered May 13th to replace Tunku as the PM - he replied in the negative.

I agree with Lim that perhaps there should be a Royal Commission of Inquiry - or at least declassify the documents to do with the riots - as suggested by Kua Kia Soong. Let people look at all the evidence and decide. It’s hard to be sure of any version of events with so much ambiguity and uncertainty,” he added.

Corruption cases

Between 1975 and 1977, Harun was found guilty of various charges of corruption, including forging minutes of a meeting for the purpose of cheating the bank by pledging its stocks to the First National City Bank (now Citibank) to get letters of credit for Tinju Dunia Sdn Bhd to stage the Muhammad Ali vs Joe Bugner fight.

This action caused Bank Rakyat to lose RM7.9 million and Harun was sentenced to six years' imprisonment, although he received a pardon from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong after serving three years of his sentence.

There was also the Hong Kong Shanghai bank case for which he was convicted for accepting a bribe of RM250,000 to facilitate the acquisition of a piece of land.

“Regarding the Bank Rakyat case and Hong Kong Shanghai Bank cases… certainly I share my grandfather’s view in his diaries that it was politically motivated. A view also shared by Mahathir as he wrote in his memoirs that he went to see Hussein Onn about it - remarking that ‘the truth was it was purely political’.

“With regard to the mechanics of the case, the details of why guilty verdicts were bad were explained to me by Suhaimi Kamaruddin and Sri Ram, who were on his defence team helping out RR Chelliah.

“My grandfather himself was formerly DPP and state legal advisor before entering politics and therefore had a good grasp of the law,” said Ashaari who added that his grandfather’s confidence in the court’s independence was shaken.

Kind words but no evidence

One of Ashaari’s key refutations is that many had kind words to say about Harun.

Hanif, for example, told him: “Harun had a very good reputation as Selangor MB. He was the people’s man and easy-going – no airs about him. He mixed very well with all communities and was helpful and attentive to their problems.

“He had built up the Selangor and national football teams into formidable and multi-racial ones – and this was in the days when Malaysians were football crazy.

“He was a favourite manager with the players, to many of whom he had allocated special and endearing nicknames, like ‘towkay’ for Soh, the capable captain and ‘spider-man’ for R Arumugam, the almost invincible goal-keeper,” Hanif told Ashaari.

Hanif also attributes Harun’s downfall to political infighting.

“The Ali–Bugner fight in 1975 in Kuala Lumpur was also rumoured to assist in the building up of Harun’s war chest. Unfortunately, the sponsorship of the fight involved Bank Rakyat, which lost several million ringgit in the venture.

“There were of course rumours of corruption and demands for an investigation. These demands were also made again and again by the opposition in Parliament and they set the anti-corruption agency moving.

“Razak tried to save Harun by recommending him to accept a posting to the UN. At first, he agreed, then asked for time to do an umrah. On his return, I was told (that) Harun’s relatives and political aides strongly advised him against accepting the UN appointment which they were sure would end his political career.

“As a result, Harun went to see Razak again to tell him he was not leaving the country to which Razak sadly said that he would have no option but to let the action run its course,” Hanif reportedly said.

Such words, while offering a distinct insight into Harun’s personality, do not really seem to clear him of any wrongdoing.

Further projects

Ashaari does not intend to stop with videos, podcasts and interviews on the matter.

“I have started writing a book and I pray I am able to do justice to his story. Perhaps even a movie about the standoff at his house between Umno Youth and the police before he surrendered himself to the authorities in 1978.

“I hope that my book will be able to show that my grandfather did have that multiracial vision, just listen to what his football players had to say about him (Malaysians from all races).

“Malaysia has never had a problem with battling about ideas, the problem has always been implementing them,” said Ashaari who is generally interested in local and world history but has given most of his spare time in recent years to this project.

He added that, as a young Malaysian, he finds the current political situation very confusing - like having to choose between nasi lemak basi or soggy roti canai.

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 9:40 AM   0 comments
Vilifying Bersih will not put food on table - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy

Malaysiakini : Other black marks include Umno Youth rioting and disrupting the Apcet II civil society gathering, Zulkifli Noordin and cohorts threatening violence against the Bar Council regarding a religious forum, and, of course, who could forget the Low Yat riots.

The riot in Low Yat Plaza in 2015

Who can forget when Umno Youth threatened to burn down PKR’s headquarters because they wanted PKR to withdraw from the Bersih 2 protests, or when Umno Youth threatened to burn down the DAP headquarters?

Or how about when Jaringan Melayu Malaysia president Azwanddin Hamzah threatened to attack a Klang police station?

"My warning to them, immediately arrest the developer, arrest the lawyers. If not, ladies and gentlemen, we will attack the Klang police station," Azwanddin had said.

What Bersih has been about

Riots are about violence. Whenever right-wing supremacists hold gatherings and threaten violence, they are coddled by the state.

Remember the infamous cow head protest? This was surely a black mark on the nation's history made blacker because then home minister Hishammuddin Hussein sat down with the protesters and claimed they were not to be blamed.

“All they wanted to do was to voice their unhappiness and the unwillingness of the state government to consider their request,” Hishammuddin said.

Funny, this is exactly what every Bersih has been about. People voiced their discontent towards the state and with Bersih protests, no animal heads were used.

Demonstrations can lead to violence and most often it is the agent of the state that disrupts peaceful protests and brings violence to the demonstrations.

At its best, what Bersih does is remind Malaysians that we are all in this together. This of course is what hegemonic regimes fear the most.

This is why anyone calling for violence at a Bersih rally should be vilified like I publicly did here when some folks actually thought that it was a good idea to storm Dataran Merdeka.

Reckoning is coming

I wrote in 2012 that Bersih was indeed our answer to the Rio carnival. It was our carnival of people of different races and creeds marching together under a common banner for the betterment of all, instead of slavish devotees to political parties which make compromises on our behalf which usually benefits only them.

It was a multiracial, multireligious street party which is what this type of regime fears the most. They fear people of all races and religions coming under a common cause, and even worse, a non-partisan cause of their own free will.

It is not only important that people do not publicly voice their dissent, it is vitally important that diverse groups of people do not come together to voice their dissent.

The reason for this is simple. It dispels the illusion that racial and religious preoccupations divide us when what really divides us are the instruments of the states, including compromised and unjust laws and policy decisions.

The dangerous idea of the Bersih rallies is that each time it is held, more diversity is introduced into our public spaces. The dangerous idea is that large groups of people of different races, and political and racial ideologies are congregating with a specific goal of demonstrating their discontent against the government of the day.

All Malaysians do is engage in rhetoric and mostly online. When they stop and engage in action, change is possible. What the huge number of people gathering and demanding reform does is that it reminds the powers that be that people are holding them accountable.

But this is not really about Bersih.

Why is it that the hegemonic forces in control of this country are afraid of people protesting over price hikes? It’s because this is about the most primal of issues.

This affects people who have very little, to begin with. This affects people who for years were told that they were looked after by virtue of their race and their religious beliefs.

A reckoning is coming, brought upon by incompetent management, decades of corruption and civil spaces being conceded to religious extremists and racial supremacists. All this privilege means nothing when the food on your table grows scarcer.

So, what do you do? You vilify public protest and scapegoat Bersih.

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 9:06 AM   0 comments
Najib and 1MDB: Know the past to understand the present By R Nadeswaran
Sunday, June 26, 2022

Malaysiakini : After reading and digesting excerpts, the reader will have a clearer view of the events and the issues which will enable them to separate the wheat from the chaff.

In July, 2018, Malaysiakini reported the following in an exclusive interview: “Former premier Najib Abdul Razak continues to insist that the US$681 million (commonly referred to as RM2.6 billion) in his bank accounts prior to the 2013 general election was a donation from a member of the Saudi royal family.

“This is despite the US Department of Justice, in its civil forfeiture suits, and his critics alleging that the colossal sum was siphoned from 1MDB.

“Noting that US$620 million of the US$681 million was returned to the “donor” in the same year, Najib said the donation came about following his meeting with the late Saudi ruler King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Saud.

“The genesis was when I met with King Abdullah. I asked him to support the (Malaysian) government because I thought their government has a record of supporting governments which are somewhat friendly with them.”

Former premier Najib Abdul Razak

Two months later, on July 20, Najib posted on Facebook several documents which he claimed would clear his name amid allegations against him.

He posted a copy of a letter that purportedly came from Prince Saud Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia on his Facebook account, along with several messages between banks.

Other documents posted were four Swift messages, each detailing transactions to Najib’s AmPrivate Banking account in 2011, totalling almost US$100 million.

Two of the documents named “Prince Faisal bin Turkey Bandar Alsaud” as the remitter of the funds, totalling US$20 million. These transactions were made on Feb 23, 2011, and June 10, 2011, for US$10 million each.

Malaysiakini reported: “Najib said the late Saudi King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al-Saud had provided him and Malaysia with various assistance, including financial donations, but had asked for the matter to be kept under wraps.

“Since I am no longer prime minister and King Abdullah is dead, I feel it is fitting that I reveal the following documents to clear my name of various accusations and slander.

“I, with my lawyers, have taken some time to get these documents from banks, but we have succeeded in getting most of them. The documents are for contributions in 2011 only. The authorities and banks have the same documents,” he wrote.

“Pakatan Harapan tells the people that I took ‘RM2.6 billion’, but they never tell that the money was also returned by me to the same source. That is not fair.

“Does it smack of somebody who was trying to cheat or steal? If the intention was to steal, why would I use a local bank account in my own name?

“I used the money for the election (GE13) and after the election, the (balance) money was returned. As far as I was concerned, that was the responsible thing to do,” he added.

But the letter was similar in style and wording to the letter revealed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in 2016, but the ABC letter was dated Nov 1, 2011, instead and pledged US$375 million.

Long before that, on Jan 20, 2016, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who was then deputy prime minister, said he had met the wealthy Arab family who had donated the US$700 million that was channelled into Najib’s personal account.

He was quoted as saying that the “king and prince”, whom he did not name, had donated the money because of Malaysia’s commitment to fighting terrorism and being a moderate Muslim country with a plural society.

The family, he said, was impressed by how Malaysia, with its plural society, still managed to remain moderate without side-lining any other religions.

On Jan 26, 2016, CNBC reported: “Saudi Arabia’s royal family gave Najib Razak a US$681 million, Malaysia’s attorney general has revealed, ending months of speculation about the source of the huge personal donation.”

It said: “Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali told an unscheduled press conference that he was satisfied that the funds in Najib’s account were ‘not a form of graft or bribery’ and that ‘no criminal offence’ had been committed in relation to the funds, according to Reuters reports.”

“There was no reason given as to why the donation was made to PM Najib, that is between him and the Saudi family,” Reuters quoted the attorney general as saying.

Readers may recall, the MACC sent a team to seek confirmation of the donation.

Testifying in Najib’s SRC trial on Feb 27, 2020, MACC investigating officer Mohd Nasharudin Amir confirmed the authenticity of four letters linked to an alleged donation that the Saudi Arabia royals had given Najib.

The officer also testified that the admission did not come from the Saudi royal but his legal representative.

Nasharuddin testified that the MACC had, on Nov 29, 2015, gone to record a statement from Prince Saud Abdul Aziz Malik Abdul Aziz al-Saud at the palace of the then Saudi ruler King Abdullah in Riyadh.

But instead of meeting the prince, a legal representative whose name was Abdullah Al Koman had shown up on the prince’s behalf. Nasharuddin also testified that Al Koman had signed the statement that he had given the MACC on behalf of the prince.

The issues and quotations were retrieved from the public domain and have never been embellished. Why such a delve into the past, you may ask.

The answer is simple. The public has a right to know what has been said and done in the past so that they are informed of the events leading to the current state of affairs. Nothing more, nothing less.

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 1:05 PM   0 comments
India: Muslim renounces Islam, accepts Hinduism, is threatened with hellfire and told ‘You will be killed’

Shaikh Jafar Qureshi

Robert Spencer : Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar has obtained a recording of a phone conversation wherein a woman is heard persuading Shaikh Jafar Qureshi, an ex-Muslim to turn back to Islam. The 46-year-old Qureshi renounced Islam and accepted Hinduism in the Mandasaur district of Madhya Pradesh on May 27, 2022.

Qureshi was given the initiation to Hinduism by performing ritual worship by Mahamandaleshwar Swami Chidambaranand Saraswati at the Pashupatinath temple. From May 28 Shaikh Jafar Qureshi was known by his new name Chetan Singh Rajput.

In the telephonic conversation, the girl attempted to convince Qureshi to reaffirm his commitment to Islam. She rebuked Shaikh Jafar Qureshi aka Chetan Singh Rajput for allying with the ‘Kafirs'(non-Muslims). She claimed that Qureshi was convinced to convert to Hinduism with the sole intention of demeaning Muslims. She kept asking Qureshi to swear in the name of Allah and his parents that he would get back to Islam.

According to the reports, the ritual worship for Qureshi to adopt the Sanatan Dharma was organized by Mahamandaleshwar Swami Chidambaranand Saraswati of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad Mahanirvani Sangh on May 27. Swami who gave Qureshi his new name asked to him clean his body with the cow dung and the holy gau mutra. Mahamandaleshwar Swami Chidambaranand Saraswati said that the religious ritual was not conducted for conversion, but ‘gharvapsi’ (homecoming). 

It is notable here that in the Hindu faith, there is no concept of ‘conversion’, but those who had strayed away from the Sanatana Dharma can ‘come back’, by performing certain rituals. This process is popular as ‘Ghar Waspsi’ (coming back home) in Hindi-speaking areas.

Qureshi had also termed the process as ‘gharvapsi’. He said that he has been following the Hindu religion since his childhood and that he never liked the Islamist people who possess fanatical thinking.

A Dainik Bhaskar team, meanwhile, went to Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh to meet Chetan Singh Rajput, who told the Hindi daily that he has been receiving numerous calls since May 27 asking him to rejoin Islam. Chetan claimed that he has also informed the cops about this. However, when the Dainik Bhaskar team reached out to Anurag Sujania, the Mandsaur SP, he said that the police had not received any complaints regarding the same….

Qureshi further stated the woman tried to continuously convince him to renounce Hinduism and accept Islam by and scaring him with the concept of Jahannam (hell) in Islam. Qureshi recalled the woman telling him, “Brother, you will certainly burn in the ever-flaming pit of fire in Jahannam (hell). I asked her whether she has experienced Jahannam (hell). She called me up multiple times and each time I tried to give her a patient hearing, but eventually, I stopped picking up her call,” said Qureshi.

He went on to say that the woman had warned him that if he didn’t change his religion from Hinduism to Islam again he would not be spared. “After a while, these individuals who are presently willing to support you won’t care as much. I am aware of how dangerous they are. You won’t be spared by them. You will be killed,“ Qureshi remembered her admonishing him….

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 9:43 AM   0 comments
Rising cost: Perhaps Umno will set up a board for every animal - Rafizi
Saturday, June 25, 2022

Malaysiakini : Stockpile strategy

He said during the food crisis in the 1970s, the concept of a national stockpile proved to be effective and its mechanism has been used to this day.

“A stockpile policy provides the government with the power and allocation to purchase and stock food supplies and other necessities, including petrol and diesel, in bulk.

“The stockpile is injected into the market when there is a supply disruption that would cause prices to spike,” he said, adding that it can help stabilise prices of necessities.

He said there were various means of financial instruments that can be used to build a national stockpile, including through hedging and future contracts.

Therefore, he said the government should emulate the United State’s National Commission on Supplies and Shortages, which is an independent body tasked with building stockpiles to manage the risk of food supply disruption.

“This commission must be placed under Parliament with stringent oversight to avoid its allocation intended for building stockpiles to be abused by corrupt elements,” he said.

Aside from that, he said several ministries needed to be restructured and streamlined.

“By right, the power and responsibility to formulate, implement, supervise and enforce policies and laws relating to the food supply chain, from production to distribution and determining prices, should be centralised under one ministry.

“This will allow holistic planning for the entire supply chain to be done more effectively without overlapping authorities,” he said.

Fragmented supply-chain authority

At present, he said authorities involved in the food supply chain are divided into four ministries, namely the Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry, Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry, Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Ministry, and International Trade and Industry Ministry.

“This does not include tens of agencies under these ministries. That is why any action takes a long time without a minister being responsible.

“In the end, matters of governance are mostly spent on meetings after meetings and take months (to implement) because there are many ministers who need to make the decision,” he said, adding that this is aggravated when many of the ministers are busy politicking.

Rafizi said if these measures were taken earlier, the cabinet would not need to be flip-flopping on how to cope with the rising price of chicken.

On June 21, the government announced that it will remove subsidies for bottled cooking oil and lift the ceiling price for chicken and eggs. Cooking oil in 1kg polybags will continue to be subsidised.

However, three days later, the government made a U-turn, stating that it will not allow the free float of chicken prices but will instead set a new ceiling price.

The prices of eggs are still expected to be floated while the subsidy for bottled cooking oil was removed.

Amid the rising cost of food, the existing ceiling prices had led to a shortage in supply.

The rising cost is fueled by soaring global inflation as supply chains attempt to catch up with surging demand coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the Ukraine war, which has caused a shortage in grains used as chicken feed.

Ukraine is the world’s second-biggest grain exporter in the world.

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 5:15 PM   0 comments
When a GLC chief gets RM480k in allowances
Friday, June 24, 2022


Malaysiakini : Mosquitobrain: The present sky-high palm oil prices is not to the credit of board members. The credit should go to those Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) settlers who toiled day and night.

Let's wait and see what will become of FGV when palm oil prices fall below RM300 per ton. Will the board members quit or continue to stay and draw fat salaries with handsome allowances?

Max Fury: It’s unbelievable! At a time when inflation is hitting all of us and the poor are having such a hard time, these "jokers" want to increase their allowances by a disgusting amount.

If the shareholders of FGV Holding Berhad approve this, then I think they are the silliest shareholders around.

The money is better used to reinvest in Felda to bring in higher income to derive taxes for the people. This is very disgusting.

Kilimanjaro: Why has no minister opposed this? A former prime minister pays RM30,000 (to a civil servant) to do nothing, while he (the former PM) is now talking about the welfare of the common man.

There is nothing much one can expect from Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob. He appears to be lost in the "wilderness".

Not only this is regretful, this notion of caring for the poor and the concept of "Keluarga Malaysia" (Malaysia Family) is just talk only.

YellowKancil0051: As we've seen in the 1MDB trial, GLC board positions are just to reward the cronies of those in power. They get paid huge sums without even attending board meetings.

If our GLCs discard all the political appointees, they might just be profitable again.

Mr Wilson: The increment of RM180,000 in allowance alone is enough to support additional 1,800 families with RM100 each.

What kind of car will need an allowance of RM18,000 per month? A Proton is good enough to visit Felda areas.

It looks like the board of directors are there not to help the Felda folks but just to enrich themselves with their positions.

After all, most of them are previously senior government servants with fat pensions. Are their pensions not enough?

YellowCougar3555: I am sure that there are many HODs (heads of department) in the civil service who would jump at the opportunity to head FGV with such disparate remuneration.

PurpleMoose5046: Ismail Sabri, see what your PN administration has done?

You have happily announced a RM100 allowance for the B40 income group but here your GLC chairperson (Dzulkifli Abd Wahab) has been given an increase of allowance to RM480,000.

The destruction has already started 60 years ago under the administration of Umno and BN.

HMS: The rot started with the trio of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim and former finance minister Daim Zainuddin, who were helped by the enablers like MCA, MIC and other BN parties which ruled from the 1980s.

Successive political leadership either did nothing or worsened the investment climate and the country. Pakatan Harapan was not much better. The question is: Is there a solution to our woes in the near future?

It’s going to be a long road to recovery. But in my view, the road to total destruction like Sri Lanka is far, far shorter.

Cyclonus: They have to increase their allowances because prices of chicken, eggs and cooking oil have gone up. The board of directors need sufficient sustenance because they work so hard.

We don't want them to fall asleep or faint while meeting in air-conditioned rooms wearing suits.

Traveloka Winning: That's only because being the chairperson of FGV is tough and therefore needs to be compensated accordingly.

It will be very embarrassing if GLC chairperson is being paid like a pauper. Malaysia needs to pay talents if we want to hold our heads high when talking to Mat Sallehs (Westerners).

Kudos to our winning government for raising the allowance for FGV chairperson; you put us on the map and make us the source of envy around the world.

Mano: Do not blame the politicians and the government we voted in or rather in this case, the government that "sneaked" in.

Until the voters wake up and overwhelmingly, with a loud strong voice, vote out these rogues - and we do not get hoodwinked by traitors as we did in G$14 - we will continue reading such shameless stunts of the rich elites making money out of the poor, often the Malay B40 group.

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 9:34 AM   0 comments
Guan Eng received RM100k bribe with a smile, claims company exec
Thursday, June 23, 2022

Malaysiakini : The witness claimed that after getting a date for the meeting between 11am and 12am (date not specified) he prepared RM100,000 in an A4-size envelope inside his computer bag.

‘This is for you, sir’

As Lim looked on from the dock, Zarul claimed that after a discussion with the accused on floor 28 of the Komtar building, the witness took out the envelope and personally handed it to the accused.

“I did not inform how much money was given and I merely said ‘This is for you, sir’. He (Lim) received the envelope that he was certain contained the money.

“I then left from his office. He merely smiled upon receiving the envelope,” Zarul claimed.

Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (ZCSB) senior executive director Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli

He alleged that the 2013 money was a milestone payment that originated from his company ZCSB.

In relation to the purported 2014 bribery incident, Zarul claimed that he took RM100,000 out of his other company Vista Lestari Development Sdn Bhd in the form of a payment voucher (PV).

The witness claimed that in the run-up to Chinese New Year festivities in January that year, he again went to Lim’s office at Komtar by himself around 5pm.

Zarul alleged that in the meetup with Lim, where no other officers were present, the witness claimed he handed RM100,000 enclosed in a white envelope to the island state’s then top executive.

The witness claimed that before the bribe was given, he and the accused were discussing the progress of the feasibility study of the project.

Zarul alleged that Lim did not refuse to receive the envelope and that the latter purportedly did not ask what was inside the envelope.

‘I am indebted to YB’

“I was inside YB (The Honourable) Lim Guan Eng’s room for only a brief moment. YB appeared happy after receiving the envelope from me,” the witness claimed.

“I have no malicious motive against YB Lim Guan Eng and at no time wish for them to talk and make false statement about my statement.

“In fact, I am indebted to YB Lim Guan Eng for awarding the mega project to my company, whereby I was not someone known (by the accused) to that of a major businessperson.

“The award of the project by the Penang state government headed by its then chief minister YB Lim Guan Eng had elevated (me) as a successful bumiputera businessperson.

“Yes, I know that the act of promising percentage of the profit from the project is an offence but I was confident that anybody else in my shoes would feel indebted and wish to reciprocate those who gave help.

“I also know that the act of asking for any payback and giving payment in relation to the project is also an offence.

“All of these matters are corruption and an offence under the law,” Zarul testified.

RM6.3 billion project

Proceedings before Azura will resume tomorrow for the witness to continue reading from his written witness statement.

The ongoing trial concerns four graft charges against Lim, who is also the Bagan MP and Air Putih assemblyperson.

One charge, framed under Section 16(A)(a) and Section 23 of the MACC Act, accuses him of using his position as then Penang chief minister for the gratification of RM3.3 million as inducement for helping a company belonging to Zarul to secure the island state's RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel project.

The offence was allegedly perpetrated at the Penang Chief Minister's Office, 28th Floor at Komtar in George Town, Penang, between January 2011 and August 2017.

Under Section 23(1) of the MACC Act, the offence is punishable with imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the value of the gratification, or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

The second charge, also under Section 16(A)(a), states that Lim, in his capacity as the then Penang chief minister, solicited from Zarul bribes amounting to 10 percent of the profits to be earned by the company as gratification for helping the company secure the project.

The offence was allegedly committed near The Gardens Hotel, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur, between 12.30am and 2am in March 2011.

The charge, framed under Section 16 of the MACC Act, provides for imprisonment for up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the value of the gratification, or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

Lim also faces two counts of causing two plots of land, worth RM208.8 million and belonging to the Penang government, to be disposed to two companies allegedly linked to the undersea tunnel project.

The two charges, framed under Section 403 of the Penal Code, carry imprisonment of up to five years, whipping, and a fine.

The offences were allegedly committed at the Penang Land and Mines Office, Level 21, Komtar, between Feb 17, 2015, and March 22, 2017.

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 3:15 PM   0 comments
Why not jail or fine anyone who doesn't speak BM? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy

Malaysiakini : I say “our language” not as some sort of Bangsa Malaysia kool-aid platitude. I say our language because, like it or not, believe it or not, all Malaysians communicate in this language every single day.

We communicate in Bahasa Malaysia not as some sort of patriotic impulse but rather because this is the language that cuts through class and race.

Indeed non-Malays use the language among themselves more often than they use English, especially when interacting with people from different backgrounds and educational levels where mother tongues and English are just not utilitarian.

Indeed, it is the default language among non-Malays for mundane everyday activities and this myth that English is used by the non-Malays as some sort of lingua franca is complete horse manure.

And let us not forget that when it comes to interactions with the bureaucracy, non-Malays of course have to use Bahasa Malaysia.

This is actually strange because the upper echelons of civil service are dominated by people who determinedly expose their offspring to English-medium educational establishments and live lives far removed from the hoi polloi who they defend race, religion, and language for.

Moreover, like the Malays with their regional patois, this pidgin Malay is not a perfect articulation of the language but, so what?

Even native speakers do not have a perfect mastery of the language although we will often get racial and religious supremacists who mock those who supposedly have a poor command of the language.

Indeed, influential preacher Zakir Naik speaks in English and we have crowds hanging on to his every word. When he is asked questions, it is asked in English or through a translator, so this should tell us something about how these language supremacists operate.

Real reason for enforcing BM

Racists and bigots do not really want to evoke love and patriotism for the country. What they want is to evoke obedience and subservience to their ideology. What they want is for the “pak turuts” (yes men) to bend the knee while serving the economic interests of the political elites.

As reported in the press, “DBP also proposed that the National Language Act be amended in line with the amendments to the DBP Act so that it can carry out its duties as a language enforcer more effectively.”

What this merely means is the state has another set of enforcers, in this case, language enforcers, to enforce hegemony on anyone they think is disrespecting the language and what this does is create another level of laws that would restrict freedom of speech and expression.

What these enforcers will do is define the context when the use of BM is disrespectful and you can bet your last ringgit that disrespect means the use of BM while dissenting against unjust and unfair policies.

Now, you may say this is an overaction, but how else could fascists make the case that the use of the language is disrespectful, except when the language is used to mock fascist policies?

Look, this weaponising of our language is merely an extension of the agendas of extremists who make up the political mainstream.

Remember when that PAS operative said all top positions in government should only be for Malays in the 2019 Malay Dignity Congress? At the same event, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (Upsi) graduate Nurul Fatin Aqilah Rahim said this:

“Vernacular schools must be abolished in stages because education is key to unity. There should be a single medium language and curriculum in all schools.”

You know how the racists and the crypto-racists (hidden racists) always go on about vernacular schools?

They advocate that all children regardless of race and religion should be mixed together but they conveniently forget national schools are cesspools of racial and religious indoctrination.

The main reason why parents send their children to vernacular schools is because of the oppressive shadow of race and religion in public schools.

If you take out race and religion in public schools you can bet your last ringgit that vernacular schools will slowly disappear from the education landscape and the pedagogy from those schools will be absorbed into national schools.

To answer the question in the title, they probably won’t find anyone in this country who does not use some form of Bahasa Malaysia, but what they will find are people who will resist their fascist agenda in any language.

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 2:41 PM   0 comments
Don’t beg, Willie, don’t beg By Francis Paul Siah
Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Willie Mongin, frog face

Malaysiakini : Okay, Willie said he hoped PBB would give his application due consideration, adding that if chosen, he would appreciate the opportunity to carry the party’s flag and represent the people of Puncak Borneo. He also explained that he did not join any party after February 2020 but “they” just parked him in Bersatu.

I must ask Willie. Who are “they”? You mean to say you just allow others to make use of you and park you here and there. Like a vehicle looking for a parking space! That is likened to a jellyfish with no backbone, not a respected people’s representative and a MP. Where is your own stand, as an MP and as an elected rep for the Puncak Borneo electorate, eh Willie?

This was my immediate response when the news came in one of my chat groups on Monday, June 20: “So, our friend, Willie, has now confirmed that he is a beggar with a capital ‘B’. He is now begging to join PBB.

“I can only say that he is demeaning himself and all those who voted for him in 2018. I am thinking of penning an article in Willie’s honour to be titled, ‘Don’t beg, Willie, don’t beg’.”

Here it is.

A likeable guy but…

I consider Willie an old friend and I must say that he is actually a very likeable guy, always smiling and very friendly. But this is a serious matter and I have to tell him off now that he is deemed a turncoat and a traitor.

And as a friend, I will fill Willie in on the reactions I received on the report of his application to join PBB. I can tell Willie that these came from our mutual friends and some who responded were from PBB.

Here we go: “No dignity at all, this guy. He wants to join the party he fought against for many years. Make sure he is retired politically for good!”

“A lowlife, the kind that makes politics depressing. Sadly there are many of them, we can only hope they vanish quickly.”

“No dignity at all, this guy. Don’t pity him, ***k him. Jangan bagi muka.”

“During campaigning when with PKR, he said he would be cursed for seven generations if he jumps. Has he forgotten that?”

“Joining PBB is all for himself. He wants to continue as a minister.”

“Sign of Azmin's trademark all over. Self-serving till the end.”

“If I were PBB, I will tell him win first, than we talk. See whether he can win on his own, without PKR or PBB.”

“I'm just wondering if you have any other term worse than beggar.”

“Honestly, I don't trust WM. When I followed his postings in Facebook, I knew I could not trust this person. A genuine public servant will not brag about his work or what he has done because that's his moral and contractual duty, but this man brags about everything - about himself and what he has done for the public."

“A proven political parasite.”

“Who is going to buy his bullsh*t? He is doing it for himself! Not for the rakyat or his constituents. I loathe such a shameless politician.”

“As a PBB member, I will not be happy if Willie is admitted into the party. He is a frog and PBB does not wish to be tainted with political frogs. I believe our party leaders know best how to handle this case.”

There we go. Samples of the responses from those in my chat group. Willie must be quite familiar by now with the brickbats and criticisms against him since he became one of the notorious traitors of the Sheraton putsch.

No honour among thieves

Let me add what’s on my mind. I doubt Willie will be admitted into PBB before GE15 and given a GPS ticket to defend Puncak Borneo. The odds are heavily stacked against Willie.

Senior PBB leaders had already made it clear that the party has many capable leaders to contest Puncak Borneo and they do not require Willie’s services.

This is very true. Puncak Borneo is a Bidayuh-majority seat just outside Kuching and there are so many qualified Bidayuh professionals in PBB.

There is nothing special about Willie. He is not considered a political heavyweight. He stood on a PKR ticket in 2018 and just got lucky as the tide then was against BN. Even the DAP won the neighbouring Bidayuh seat of Mas Gading in GE14.

Seriously, if I were Willie, I would just stay on in Bersatu and fight it out, even if it is a losing battle. He had betrayed PKR and to stab Bersatu in the back now is a little too much, isn’t it?

Already, Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin has said that Willie was well looked after by Bersatu.

"We have given him support, position, I don't understand if there are any other reasons," Muhyiddin said, adding that “I believe if Willie were to meet with Azmin and myself, we will be able to resolve any matters arising.”

Of course, there is no honour among thieves.

But surely, Willie should stand up like a man now even if he has only several more months left as a MP and YB.

Do not stoop so low like a little frightened mouse in the presence of PBB leaders. And don’t beg, Willie, please don’t beg.

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 1:27 PM   0 comments
Chinese nationals reveal 'skin-crawling ordeal' in M'sian detention centre By Ng Xiang Yi

Malaysiakini : However, what they faced upon taking their jobs were long working hours, low pay and a dangerous working environment. After several months, the five decided to return home.

The factory dormitory where Wei and his colleagues lived was poorly maintained.

This, however, proved to be a problem because their employer had their passports. So out of desperation, the five contacted a local “snakehead” (smuggler), who was fluent in Chinese.

The “snakehead” convinced them the risks were minimal and the five could secure legal travel documents in Malaysia as long as they were willing to fork out some cash.

Wei said after fleeing from their factory, they boarded a flight from Kendari in Southeast Sulawesi to Jakarta and then made their way to Batam Island, some 15 nautical miles from Singapore. After a few days, they moved to another island nearby.

“The process (in Indonesia) is that as long as you have money, anything can be done. When we took the flight, we did not have to queue or go through security checks and Covid-19 tests,” he claimed.

Due to this, the five were convinced that things would proceed smoothly until they reached China.

“But when the Malaysian authorities spotted us, I thought I was going to die. The episode still sends a shiver when I think about it,” Wei said, recalling the 3,000km journey.

After being detained at the Setia Tropika Immigration Office for more than 20 days, the five were transferred to the Pekan Nanas Immigration Depot.

Severe skin infections

Speaking about the conditions at the detention centre, Wei said he suffered from itchiness and pustules. He claimed that it was difficult to get medication from the officers.

It has been five months since Wei returned to China but his body remains covered in red marks, an unsightly reminder of his ordeal in Malaysia.

Despite having recovered from the skin infection, the dark marks on Wei were still obvious.

Guo, who was the last among the five to be repatriated, suffered the most serious skin infection.

“Sometimes our bodies cannot adapt to a new environment... those little white pustules or eczema that developed were torturous and unbearable. The body was always itchy. The biggest problem is getting medicine,” he said.

Small pustules and scratch marks on Guo’s hands and feet.

Guo said when he scratched the infected areas in the absence of medication to subdue the itch, the condition worsened.

He was also afraid to bathe, fearing he would contract some other illness. So he used what little drinking water he could spare to cleanse himself.

“Only two or three ladles were provided to scoop the water but there were 20 to 30 people bathing at the same time. So we could only use our hands to scoop the water.

“I was shocked when I saw their bodies, there were boils and skin ulcers all over, including on their private parts and they were also using their hands to scoop the water,” he added.

'I was fortunate'

During his last few months in detention, Guo was transferred to a smaller cell where he had access to tap water. However, the skin infection persisted due to unsanitary conditions.

According to him, the inmates slept on the concrete floor because the wooden beds were infested with insects. Even on the floor, they were not spared.

During his eight-month detention, Guo claimed he was only taken for treatment twice.

An Immigration Dept detention depot in Beranang, Kuantan District

Despite this, the Chinese national considered himself “fortunate” because the skin infections of other inmates were worse and there was no chance for them to see a doctor.

“Our lawyer brought medication but the medical assistant and officers didn't let me have them until the infection became serious. Sometimes, they used this medication for the others as well,” he claimed.

Lawyer Lau Yi Leong had acted for the five on a pro-bono basis. The men were sent back to China in batches since last December, with Guo being the last to return in May this year.

During their detention, Lau told Malaysiakini that he only met the five, in person, once due to not having access. They often communicated through the telephone.

“The men could not speak any other language. So it was up to me to convey their situation, including about their skin infections, to the Immigration Department,” he added.

Lau lamented that lawyers and human rights groups had no knowledge about what was happening within the detention centre as the place was "under the radar".

“Fortunately, the Immigration official who handled the case was professional and patient. Despite the restrictions and red tapes, we were able to send them back in such a short period,” he said.

Lawyers Lau Yi Leong (left) and Tan Wye Nye (right) with Guo at the KLIA last month.

Scabies outbreak menace

In a statement last February, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) stated that scabies was a major health problem in detention centres across the world, including Malaysia.

The ICRC and the Immigration Department have teamed up for a scabies mitigation campaign covering all immigration detention centres and temporary detention centres nationwide.

Meanwhile, a report released by the Sovereign Migrant Workers Coalition (Koalisi Buruh Migran Berdaulat) in October 2020 revealed that Indonesian migrants detained at temporary detention centres in Sabah endured cruel and inhumane conditions.

At the same time, Suhakam repeatedly highlighted the scabies outbreak in detention centres in its annual reports.

In its 2019 annual report, the commission said there was a severe problem of scabies at the Machap Umboo Immigration Depot and medicines were inadequate.

The report also stated that bath soap, laundry detergent and toothpaste were only provided once to detainees. This was also a contributory factor to skin diseases such as scabies.

Wei and Guo also experienced the same predicament. The pair had to later pay for other necessities.

Former Suhakam commissioner Jerald Joseph

Former Suhakam commissioner Jerald Joseph said the commission previously had set up an interagency committee that included the Health Ministry and ICRC to tackle the scabies outbreak in detention settings.

“In previous meetings, I think everyone acknowledged the health issues and they agreed to look for solutions like better medicine and clean mattresses,” Jerald recalled.

Commenting on Wei and Guo being allegedly ignored over their requests for medication, he said: “If true, this is serious. I must ask them to submit a complaint to Suhakam or other agencies in order to start an investigation.

“Every prison and Immigration Depot has a doctor or medical assistant. Treatment is a basic right,” Jerald added.

Malaysiakini has contacted the Immigration Department for comment.

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 11:35 AM   0 comments
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