Would You Believe It?


spoon-boy

(Still remember the “no spoon” scene in The Matrix? You understand the meaning of the scene? I had always thought of it as something not real and yet you see it with your own eyes. Image source: Matrix Fans)

I was reading this one morning last week:-

A consultant for a township in Kuala Nerus, Terengganu under fire for planting a RM180,000 tree has explained that the cost had also included its transportation from Brazil. Zaini Ibrahim, director of Perunding Irzi Sdn Bhd that is the lead consultant for the project, also said that the second Ceiba chodatii tree also known as silk floss tree, will be planted at another entry point to Bandar Baru Kuala Nerus.

“There is no mention of the tree in the contract. What was made known were two iconic landmarks,” Zaini was quoted saying by The Star daily in a report today.

The contractor thought the tree would be a great landmark and he went out of his way to choose the type of the tree.” Zaini said the rest of the 100-hectare land would be planted with local trees and plants.

(Source)

I think they spent almost half a million ringgit for the “iconic landmark”

The State Government said that they did not use the taxpayers money and so also the Public Works Department. Both had denied use of taxpayers money since the news went viral.

But if you think about it and ask yourself this question – does it make sense that a contractor who is doing a commercial business would spend half a million ringgit (mind you, not a small quantum) and bring trees all the way from Brazil and does not get paid anything for the expenses?

Perhaps they have factored that in the overall cost – which means the contract had been inflated to include the expensive trees. Perhaps they had managed to save enough in the contract and instead of returning the saving back to the taxpayers, they decided to spend it on expensive trees. Or maybe they had misinterpreted the requirements but had screwed the execution – then it is too bad, they should not be paid anything.

Anyway, if you ask me, the whole story does not add up – just the story of an elusive Arab prince giving away billions of ringgit to some politician as a donation. That’s bending the spoon a bit too far.

Then we have this “hey look, it is cheaper compared to XYZ country!” statement from one honorable Minister:-

The recent increase in petrol price should not be made an excuse for traders to increase prices of their goods, Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism (MDTCC) Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said today.

He said that despite the increase, the fuel price in Malaysia is still the lowest in Southeast Asia, with the exception of Brunei.

Malaysia is among 15 countries with the cheapest fuel price among 180 countries in the world, he said in his speech at a Chinese New Year dinner organised by Giant Supermarket for the less affordable Chinese community here tonight

(Source)

Reduction of subsidies is good in the long run and there are other things that we need to focus on – read here for details

However to say that despite the increase in the petrol price, there should not be any increase of price of goods is ridiculous. Wasn’t the honorable Minister aware of the past incidents of goods price hike because the price of raw materials like petrol, sugar, flour, etc had gone up? Of course, it is now made worst with the introduction of GST and even the smallest of the small traders started to sell things at an insane price.

The comparing of “price” with other countries should stop – there are some who will simply compare the price as if it is an apple to apple comparison but easily ignores all other factors such as availability of raw material, location, currency foreign exchange, population demand, level of income & living standards, etc. And oh yes, how educated and informed politicians in managing the affairs of the country..

Rest assured that with the increase of petrol price, some of the traders either having no other choice (due to increase of transportation cost) or on purpose (using high petrol price as an excuse) will increase prices of their goods. There is no escape about this. And if the Government keep reducing the petrol subsidies, the petrol price will keep increasing and so does the price of goods (and even services).

So what the Government intends to do about it? Instead of just saying that the traders should not raise prices, can the Government be more proactive with increased actions and change of policies such as these?

1. Stricter enforcement against unscrupulous price increase?
2. Setting aside the key goods as controlled item?
3. Reduction of direct and indirect taxes (GST is one) to offset the increase in price?

But please never say because the price of petrol goes up, it will not have a cascading effect on other items that dependent on the price of petrol. The cost transportation is not going to remain the same with high petrol price. It is akin to sweeping the problem under the carpet – you don’t see it any more but the problem remains unresolved.

Expensive trees but no taxpayers involved?

Increase in petrol price but no increase in price of goods?

Sometimes don’t you feel like you are living a Matrix, right?

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In the Year of the Monkey


Frankly speaking, I had Part 2 in mind (had half way drafted the content) but over time, the passion for one subject fades away and another subject grabs of one’s attention.

Read these first:-

 

(One good way to damage the sidewalls but modern tires is designed to absorb such sudden shocks)

Last month – on the month of the CNY – had proved to be a rather very expensive month for me as an owner of a car.

Firstly I accidentally scrapped my left back tire against the kerb and caused a small portion of the tire sidewall to be sliced off. I know for fact that whilst you can abuse the main tread and still drive safely, the same cannot be said for the sidewall. And it was painful because the tire was still new – barely a year since I last changed it. I took it to 2 different tire shops – the first one looked at it and said it was nothing to worry. The mechanic went back into the shop, brought back a bottle of super-glue and simply glued the sliced piece of the sidewall back into the tire. Feeling unconvinced, I went back to the shop where I first changed the tires a year ago. Unfortunately there were too many cars at the tire shop and the mechanics were busy. I managed to convince one of the them to check the tires. He came over and very lazily said it was nothing to worry as well.

But deep down, I was not happy or feeling safe, driving around with a sliced sidewall. As far I can remember, I never had damaged sidewalls before this and this was the first time I encountered this. It was time to do some goggling on the net and find out from the experts out there if I am feeling worried for nothing. Unfortunately for me, it looked like I had a very unique situation and generally most experts do not suggest driving around with a damaged sidewall (mine was not damaged but sliced). A few days had passed and for a moment I had forgotten that I was driving around with a sliced + patched up sidewall but that notion of not feeling safe kept bugging me, more so when I have my kids in the car. And one day, somewhere in a motoring forum, I finally read what I was looking for – someone had commented that no amount of money saved can come close to the safety of the people in the car.

That caused my mind to be made up but I had to wait for few more days as most of the shops were closed for CNY. But once the shops were opened, I headed to the nearest shop and talked to the owner. He too said that the tire were still driveable but the point is, the sidewall strength is compromised. So one need to be very careful when driving. I pondered on his statement – I do drive fast in the morning and I am the one who send my youngest to school in the morning. I could not imagine the carnage if the tire decides to blow out.

I decided to change the tires and considering the old tires were still new, the owner decided to give good discount for my new tires. But lesson well learned and I have now become more careful and patience when I am driving – another sidewall damage is the last thing I want.

It was not the only problem I had with the car and interestingly I only discovered this second problem by chance. My wife wanted me to check her car engine bay and to check the water level. Since I was doing that, I decided to check my car as well. When I opened the engine bay, I noticed that black oil splashed all over the place. I have seen this before – the engine gasket worn out and the engine oil was leaking. I had the same problem once with my old car. That probably explains the loss of power when I am driving to work in the morning.

Good thing was my car’s scheduled service was coming up and despite a last minute call to the service centre, I managed to get an early appointment at about 8.30 am. I don’t want the leak to continue and damage other components. At the service centre, despite making appointment at 8.30 am, I had to wait for other cars (from previous days) to be done first and only at 10.30 am, the car was brought into the service bay. I knew the mechanic from previous visits, so standing next to him whilst he worked on my car was not a problem and he was also explaining on what he was doing. The engine oil was indeed leaking and it was time to replace the sealants and cleanup of the leaked oil.

Another cost to the car so soon after I had changed the tires. It was another costly affair but once again, it was necessary. The service took almost 3 hours to complete (partly because they had to order some of the parts) and as I chatting away with the mechanic, he asked me if I had changed the timing belt. It was time to change based on the mileage but as I checked my car service records, I don’t see any indication of the manufacturer had changed the timing belt but I can guarantee that I have adhered to the service schedule to the dot.

And I was very tempted to allow the mechanic to proceed to change the timing belt. I decided to call the other service centre to check their records and was relieved when they confirmed that the timing belt had been changed and I had nothing else to worry. The car is back to it’s perfect state and it is great to be driving again, feeling safe and confident and with a set of good music in the background, the morning traffic was not so bad and somehow and surprisingly I can find a sense of calmness to allow the morning queue jumpers, road hoggers and other morons on the road to do what they do and don’t get angry so easily (unlike the previous time).

Two incidents involving the car and it burned my pockets very badly but the fact is that no amount of money can replace one’s life and that should be the case all the time.

It’s the Jews, Damn It!!!


11834808_500311580147364_4479942025667390252_o

(Bullshit!!!! The Old Man’s reaction when he heard that some mysterious donors from the Middle East had donated some USD700 million (RM2.6 billion ringgit) into Najib’s  personal account and the reason for the donation had been spiraling down into realms of stupidity and absurd. Poster source: Suara Rakyat)

One way or another, I was expecting someone to pull in the Jews into the picture. Doesn’t it been the case whenever things gets screwed big time. I was right and this time they included DAP for the ride as well.

Seriously I am not sure what is more pathetic in this country – a minister making dumb statements or a dumb politician appointed as a minister. The second pathetic thing is there is equally dumb crowd listening to the dumb statements and agreeing with it. Seriously, just how low and dumb you can be was the question that I had in my mind when I read this:-

Online catcalls and jeers erupted today after Umno members in Johor were given the latest reason for a RM2.6 billion “donation” to Najib Razak’s personal bank accounts. It was to fight the DAP, “which is funded by Jews”, at the 2013 elections, they were told.

The new explanation came soon after Umno vice-president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had told members of Sri Gading Umno that the Middle Eastern donor had wanted to ensure Malaysia remained a Sunni country through an election victory for the Barisan Nasional and Umno in 2013.

After Zahid’s speech, division leader Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said the donor had feared that Jewish influences would permeate the country through the DAP and destroy the “Islamic government” led by Barisan Nasional and because Najib was seen to be a great Muslim leader in the region.

“If we had lost, DAP would be in power. DAP with its Jewish funding would control this country. Based on that, our Muslim friends in the Middle East could see the Jewish threat through DAP,” said Aziz, who is deputy transport minister in Najib’s cabinet.

“The Islamic government would be overthrown, and that would harm the struggle to promote Islam throughout the world,” Aziz said, according to Malaysian Insider.

Aziz said he was confused why Malays had questioned the donation. “Haven’t you ever given donations? It is encouraged in Islam. The more you donate, the more rewards (pahala) you get,” he said.

He said Umno was the only party that could stop the Jews from taking over the country through the DAP. “Believe me, if the foreigners succeed in splitting us apart, there will be no more Malay party strong enough to fight DAP, which is based on and funded by the Jews,” Aziz was quoted as saying.

(Source)

The whole country is now seeing stupidity on the grandest scale – just to cover up the corruption, abuse of power and total ignorant of rule of law. And of course, to ensure uneducated and die-hard party workers from questioning the party leaders on their acts, their loyalty is now questioned. And if that fails, the usual mantra of threats to the Malay dominance and the official religion of Islam is brought into the picture to divert the attention of the nation. What does RM2.6 billion into a politician’s personal account and hiding the reason & the source got to do with upholding Islam?

First there was allegation that some of the 1MDB’s money went into Najib’s personal account (let’s not even venture to the mismanagement and high debts of 1MDB)

At first they denied it, they said it is a fake and Najib is not an idiot to put the money in his personal account.

Then it was found to be true and Najib remained silent despite the speculations on the money were flying left, right and centre

It is a donation, said the MACC but no explanation was given why the money was donated in the first place and why it has to go went into someone personal account

Then an idiot came up with the reason that it was donated by the Saudis for Malaysia’s fight against ISIS. Then this was proven to be wrong when it was shown that the money went into the personal account before ISIS became a threat.

Then someone mentioned that the money came from UMNO‘s supporters (in the Middle East?) for the party’s funding for the general election. Once again, there were doubts because the Deputy Prime Minister had no knowledge of this donation and why it had to go into the personal account and not to the party’s account. And even so, this is a serious breach of the election laws

And now comes another idiotic reason for the donation – it is to fight DAP who is funded by the Jews

Noticed how the reason for the RM2.6 billion “donation” keeps changing on a daily basis and yet the real reason for the donation remain illusive? As at now, no one had even sued WSJ or Sarawak Report or even The Edge for the allegations – if true the allegations are false and fake? They banned The Edge for no good reason and tried to block the access to Sarawak Report. They hardly caused a ripple with WSJ on the proposed legal suits. And at one point, these jokers even wanted to form a task force to investigate the funding for political parties but it seemed to be focused on the funding for the opposition parties and not themselves. They acted as if they did not do anything wrong and innocent to the core.

Now they are saying that the RM2.6 billion is to fight the DAP who are funded by the Jews. Why does the Jews are targeting the Sunnis and not the Shiahs – you all know how tense things are between the Jews and the Iranians? And why it has to be limited to general elections and why DAP is not under police investigations IF DAP is indeed being funded by the Jews? And what does Middle Eastern donor intend to gain from ensuring Malaysia remained a Sunni country? And how DAP is now linked to the Jews when in the past, they were heavily promoted by the establishment as being closely linked to the communist?

Ok never mind, for argument sake, let’s assume that DAP indeed being funded by the Jews, does it really need RM2.6 billion to counter and fight them?

“I don’t care if Umno leaders want to show their stupidity but do not fool the rakyat and think that Malaysians have no brains to think,” he added.

He said if what Aziz had said was true, the matter would have been exposed during the GE13 campaign period by Umno propagandists to “destroy” DAP and not revealed some 27 months later.

“For the record, DAP only faced Umno in two parliamentary seats –Gelang Patah in Johor and Sepanggar in Sabah in GE13.

“Did Umno need RM2.6 billion to fight DAP in those two parliamentary seats?

Altogether, DAP had contested in 51 out of 222 seats. Even if DAP had won all 51, there was no way we could have formed the government on our own,” Loke said.

(Source)

The ringgit have been taking heavy beating in the past few months and impact on this on the national economy is not going to be easy. Imports are going to be too expensive and don’t be surprised if soon Malaysian are going to pay through their noses for basic goods.

Some civil servants investigating the dubious transactions have been terminated, transferred and have been investigated themselves. Where is the independence of the enforcement agencies and their rightful powers under the law? The rule of law have indeed been turned upside down.

The proposed vote of no confidence and the up-coming Bersih 4 is now seemed to be a threat to the whole process of democracy when it is absolute legal and permitted under the law. Malaysians who simply want the truthful answer and accountability are simply looked upon as the enemy of the state. Didn’t the same thing happened in Perak?

And the fact that money have been received from some donors from the Middle East (a fact that has not been denied, yet) and that was used in the last general elections (to fight the DAP or to ensure BN stays in power) sound so incorrect. It clearly means that a foreign country is meddling and influencing the outcome of the election. This is a real threat to the democracy process in this country.

And the last thing that is making things worse are statements justifying the RM2.6 billion that is getting dumber and dumber by the days.

Please stop taking Malaysians for a ride and tell us the truth.

Yup, It’s Getting Weirder


Parking

(Some things are not weird like the way people like to park their cars, it is just a result of people not taking the time and care to do the right things)

It must be the insane weather, I am very sure – it has been raining cats & dogs for past weeks and yet it feels like one is sitting in a sauna at night. My daughter fared worse, despite having 2 fans and occasionally the air-conditioner switched on, she was sweating like she had just done a 10 km marathon.

Or perhaps it is something we have been drinking (or sniffing), I don’t know. Perhaps it was due to our overzealous with being the righteous one that some of us can see the end is near. Whatever the reason maybe, things are just getting weirder in this country.

Just the other day, I was at Tesco and I decided to go the customer service counter as I wanted to load up. I saw a foreigner at the counter topping up his prepaid and he was paying the RM10 top up with shillings, mostly with 10 & 20 cents. As if the rest of us have plenty of time to spare, I waited for the guy behind the counter to take his time to count the money. Then I noticed an African lady standing next to me and then jumping queue, she asked the staff at the counter on how to apply for a Tesco loyalty card.

It was weird when the staff asked this lady (who was obviously a foreigner) in Bahasa Malaysia on what she wanted. The lady was confused and did not understand the question (for obvious reason, duh). She explained in English and yet the staff at the counter keep talking back to her in Bahasa Malaysia. Of course, watching this from the side, I was wondering myself what the fuck is happening. That was very weird indeed. One should be color blind to race but one cannot be that blind.

Things were getting weird indeed. So, it was not a big surprise when earlier, the whole nation was reading this nonsense in the headlines:-

A group of about 50 residents staged a peaceful protest against a new church in Taman Medan fearing proselytization after the church’s congregation had put up a cross on the building.

The Star Online reported that the group had gathered at the church at about 10am earlier today while Sunday mass was going on, claiming that putting up a cross in a Malay-majority area challenged Islam and could influence young Muslims

(Source)

And soon after this incident, there was plenty of hoo-haa and blah-blah and by now, this has become an old trivial story. Of course something like this bound to happen when you mix religion, politics and a good dose of stupidity into the grinder and end up with a messy outcome.

Think of the 2 main arguments put forward by the mob?

One that the church has a cross on its wall and the other is that it will “easily” influence young Muslims. I dare not venture into further latter argument that one can easily be influenced by either the other religions / beliefs / arguments making more sense OR their understanding, embrace and thoughts of their own present religion is so bloody shaky that seeing an image on a wall will change your belief in seconds. Pick a reason and go back to your corner. I mean no one stopping you from being outraged if others challenged you in your beliefs but come on, you need to be fair and reasonable too.

unity-pendant-3

(Symbols are nothing new in religion – each of them have its own meaning, history and place. Image source: http://www.stevemcswain.com)

Let’s relook into the former – that a church has a cross on its wall and that is so wrong. Well, that must have been one of the many dumbest statements that politicians that had made so far this year. What is a church without its cross? What is a Hindu temple without the notable OM symbol? Or a Buddhist temple without the famed Swastika? And of course, what is a mosque without the moon & the star? Interestingly we had walked on this very same path almost 10 years ago when some group contented that a cross on cookies a threat to Islam. It looks like we did not matured enough after all these years.

And whilst it has generated quite amount of comments on this issue, one that stood out with the right strike on the nail has to be this from Fake Malaysia News:-

“I think Christians are well aware it is forbidden to go around proselytizing to Muslims,” said an onlooker, “but they need to take more responsibility for their activities and ensure their churches are clearly marked.”

“If only there was some kind of Christian symbol they could display on the Church to warn Muslims so that they stay away!”

(Source)

Then we had more weird things happening at the famed tourist spot in the city. We had a rather unexpected public strip tease over a meal:-

The Sabah woman who stripped to avoid paying for her meal in Petaling Street on Thursday was high on syabu and had no recollection of what she did. The 32-year-old woman has since been identified as a model and beauty pageant contestant who had appeared on TV reality programmes.

The woman claimed she did not remember her strip tease at the restaurant and strutting down belligerently along Petaling Street, said Dang Wangi OCPD Assistant Commissioner Zainol Samah said yesterday.

(Source)

At first, I was thinking it was a foreigner who may not feel shame going topless in public (maybe she was feeling hot under the weather) but interestingly with the power of the internet at one’s finger tips, it was not long before someone sent me the woman’s school days and past modelling photos. A good looking lady who could have held the world in her hands but some how ended on the wrong side of the law and high on drugs. It’s a pity indeed and perhaps one of the many tragic stories in this country .

Of course nothing beats the scale of weirdness that surrounds the political world in this country. Never mind the on-going spate between Dr M and Najib which has been rather one sided – Dr M shooting off all the valid questions but only to get the minions responding back with bizarre responses. There has been only been too many implication of misadventures under Najib’s administrations from the over paid consultants, too frequent overseas trips, rather over lavish lifestyle and expenditures and the list seems to be continuing. And the silence by the PM remains an indication that not all things are going all too well.

And now it is getting worse with the latest expose from Sarawak Report (the localised wikileaks and one that have been digging up a lot of information):-

Investigators into the Malaysian development fund 1MDB’s 2009 joint venture with the company PetroSaudi International have concluded that the partnership lied to its banks and Bank Negara Malaysia.

The papers in Sarawak Report’s possession show that the investigators have identified at least three separate occasions on which these and other transgressions were made, which appear worthy of prosecution.

(Source)

If these news are false, it is strange why 1MDB have not sued Sarawak Report for the matter and put a lid on all these uneasiness for once and for all? If we have been living in another country, well, never mind let’s not go there. For now, let’s just blame the weather for all things going weird in this country.

Sarawak Report Expose on 1MDB


1mdb-01

(A 42 billion time bomb that had already exploded on everyone’s face but a lot of people in this country are not aware of the blast – no thanks to a sneaky fat guy and a clueless PM. Until today, I am lost why they put billions of taxpayers money in Cayman Island unless it is meant for some shady deal. Infographic source: http://poskod.my/cheat-sheets/10-things-know-1mdb/)

In a country where the police chief can take action based on tweets and Facebook postings, there is only eerie silence by the police, MACC, Bank Negara and the pro-Government politicians on the largest scandal expose by Sarawak Report on the 1MDB

And if you have missed the story, the crux of the expose has been this:-

Together with London’s Sunday Times newspaper, Sarawak Report has completed an in-depth investigation into the trail of the missing billions at the heart of Malaysia’s 1MDB (One Malaysia Development Berhad) financial scandal.

We have obtained access to thousands of documents and emails relating to transactions by 1MDB, including its initial joint venture with the little known oil company PetroSaudi International from 2009.

What the documents establish is that, in spite of copious official denials, the entire joint venture project was conceived, managed and driven through by the Prime Minister’s associate and family friend the party-loving billionaire tycoon, Jho Low.

The documents also prove that the USD$700 million so-called “loan” that was supposedly repaid to PetroSaudi as part of the joint venture agreement, was in fact directed into the Swiss bank account of a company called Good Star, which is controlled by Jho Low.

That money was then partly used to buy out Taib Mahmud’s UBG bank in Sarawak at a very advantageous price for the chief minister and his family, who had been failing to get a deal on the open market.

PetroSaudi had agreed to act as “a front” for Jho Low on such deals, according to the documents, and it was a subsidiary of PetroSaudi International registered in the Seychelles, which bought UBG, using money siphoned from 1MDB.

(Source)

USD700 million of taxpayers went to someone’s personal pockets and 1MDB continues to bleed. And it did not stop there. Then almost on the same day, The Edge had this story on 1MDB:-

From 2009 to 2014, 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) initial US$1 billion was shuffled and swapped around, in an apparent bid to avoid scrutiny by its string of external auditors, The Edge Malaysia reported.

In its March 2-8 issue, the business weekly provides a timeline of how the government-owned strategic investment fund disguised the money trail of its initial US$1 billion for five years, raising the question of whether 1MDB is as profitable as it claims to be, or is merely rich on paper

By August 1, the money in the Caymans had grown to US$2.33 billion, and in November and December, 1MDB announced it had redeemed the entire amount.

However, instead of repatriating the money home, 1MDB president Arul Kanda Kandasamy said the December redemption of US$1.11 billion would be kept offshore as a currency hedge, while the first redemption would be “substantially utilised” for a separate settlement agreement on a different project.

“What can be surmised from the events of the last five years is that 1MDB kept entering into deftly structured transactions timed to avoid vigorous scrutiny by its external auditors about the money,” The Edge said.

(Source)

Whether it was a case of sheer recklessness or blatant corruption and fraud or simply a case of bad business decision, one thing that is clear – the allegations and evidence that has been presented by Sarawak Report cannot be taken lightly. There is overwhelming notion of fraud, corruption and mismanagement of public funds written all over it.

And already search for scapegoats have started:-

It appears that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has begun the process of trying to wash PM Najib’s hands clean of what may turn out to be the biggest political and financial scandal in recent Malaysian history, according to analyst Shahbudin Husin.

Tied to that process may be a search for a scapegoat, he writes in a blog entry that indicates his belief that the 1MDB controversy is close to reaching a climax.

(Source)

Given the kind of damage that has made by Sarawak Report’s expose, it is apparent that Najib and his Government cannot remain silent. The more they remained silent, the more crystallize the allegations will be. And finally, probably given the pressure within his Government and outside, the PM has now directed the Auditor-General to vet the 1MDB’s accounts. He even goes on to say something interesting (and probably a concept that is rather alien in this country) – “If any wrongdoing is proven, the law will be enforced without exception”.

Let’s talk on Auditor-General’s reporting in the past. How effective it has been to 1. curtail and avoid similar incidents of wastage & abuse in future and 2. in booking the culprits of wastage and abuses? Since the PM is asking the AG to check 1MDB’s account, we also want to know if the Government would be serious in taking actions if there are some findings by the AG?

Back in 2014, Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam wrote this:-

Unfortunately these management weaknesses and the consequent wastage of public funds continue to stubbornly persist. This is happening despite the Auditor General’s previous exhortations, to improve our standards of good governance.

In this first installment of the Report for 2013, it appears that 283 spending related issues were raised as for the first 4 months, which is well over the 256 spending issues raised by the AG, for the whole of 2012!

This trend is alarming and must be dealt with very seriously!

The Auditor General has to his credit now made 109 new recommendations for improvement in financial management. But the rakyat will ask what will be done with them? Will these recommendations be ignored and will mismanagement and financial wastage continue regardless?

Hence should not the PAC recommend tougher action and even name and shame these recalcitrant Ministries which are responsible for the loss of hard earned public funds?

(Source)

Transparency International Malaysia in 2013 said “It will also make a mockery of the Government, when the Auditor-General’s reports are not being taken seriously after it has identified the shortcomings within the administration” (Source)

And Tony Pua from Pakatan echoes the same:-

“While welcoming the investigation on 1MDB’s financials, Pua said the report should also include, but not be limited to the following:

• Auditing and identifying the redemption trail of the investments in Cayman Islands and the whereabout of its proceeds;

• Auditing and identifying the exact investment holding, true value and whereabouts of RM13.39 billion of “Level 3 Assets” identified in the March 2014 Financial Report;

• Confirming if 1MDB had attempted to borrow RM2 billion from local tycoon Ananda Krishnan to repay its debt and determine 1MDB’s cashflow shortage to meet its RM42 billion debt obligations as well as contract commitments which is likely to require a government bailout;

• Confirming if all historical emails in the 1MDB mail server were “wiped out” in December last year, as claimed by the Sarawak Report.

Pua said the Auditor-General should also conduct a forensic audit of 1MDB with the assistance of professional forensic auditors “to uncover any financial shenanigans in the company particularly in the light of (the) expose by the Sarawak Report and the mind-boggling PetroSaudi transactions from 2009 to 2012” and explained the same had been done in the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal in 2009.

(Source)

And thanks to the good people in Sarawak report, things have started to pick up pace despite it is not a new issue and the troubled 1MDB & the dubious way of handling the matter by people linked with 1MDB has been in the mainstream news for some time now.

And with the expose, the calls for accountability and transparency have not been louder, clearer and more direct to Najib:-

He notes that there have been reports that 1MDB will be wound up. “Oh, my God! For six years we’ve been told that everything was safe and fine. And now, suddenly, there’ll be a winding up?”

But Ariff says he figures it’ll take months before the Auditor-General can complete his task because of the mountains of documents involved. “What’s worse, much computer data have been destroyed.”

He notes that another Umno leader has alleged that there’s a political conspiracy behind the attacks on 1MDB and he discloses that the allegation came even as he was writing his article.

“If it were true that there’s a political agenda, it would be justifiable because the objective would be to expose a government that has made it possible for abuse and corruption to happen, in fact given a licence for them to happen.”

“In all these six years, it’s not public funds that the government has been protecting, but thieves and robbers.”

(Source)

Now there are talks of dismantling 1MDB and dissolve it thereafter. It may depends on the outcome of the AG report. The question is whether we will be calling the fat guy in for questioning and squeeze the truth from him on the shady USD700 million transfer? And since the PM is also the Finance Minister and this owns 1MDB, accountability and thereafter his resignation if wrongdoings are proven? Sarawak Report claims that all historical emails have been wiped out – so what is left to investigate if more evidence have been tampered with?

We do not want another PKFZ fiasco where the biggest losers at the end of the day is the taxpayers.

Snippets 07 March 2014


Perhaps I should reword the title as “Random Ramblings 07 March 2014”.

J2BRj

(Well the “baby” do not sleep with us but it does not matter since she keeps us awake the same and causes us to have shorter and shorter time to get a good night sleep. Image source: http://blogs.babycenter.com/)

I had a great idea for a post for this week. In fact I had more than one great idea for the week. So I want you to believe so but it was not the case. The truth is I was so caught up with work that I have not given a thought for a theme for the post for this week. But I had plenty of random ramblings of the things that I have seen and done in the past one week and things I will be seeing and doing in the coming weeks.

Here’s some of it:-

1. It has been some weeks since I (and my wife) had a real good night sleep. Forget the weekdays – we are getting less than 5 hours of sleep on daily basis. Still remember this? And it is scientifically proven too.

Well, our daughter is back to her routine of actively playing until is way after midnight and only calm down to sleep when the clock hits one in the morning. We have tried to tune her routines to a more normal hours but we failed miserably. That leaves me especially rather burned down when I am in the office and had to face serious decision making. I would just look a bit zombie by then. On the weekends, the agenda is pre-set with so many activities which leaves us little time to sleep (but we still manages to steal time for short naps but it is not enough to pay back proper the lost sleep). And this week we are traveling and there is a big function set for the weekend (read on below). So it will be another week without an opportunity to catch up on sleep.

2. Speaking of traveling and having a function for the weekend, it is actually for the other Big Boss. Similar to this. Frankly speaking I hate elaborate temple functions and if possible I rather give this function a slip (of course it won’t be me alone but the whole family. I know my son hates it too) but since it is tradition and something that is spearheaded by my wife and her parents, that is not possible.

On the good side is we will be staying in a proper hotel (with secured parking, thank God and air-conditioner) this time around and not as usual cramped up spot in my in-law’s house and thus it should not be so taxing as compared to last time we travel up north and there were not enough space to accommodate us all (me and my son had to sleep in another house) and mosquitoes had good time making kamikaze attacks on us.

3. Speaking about kamikaze, encountering with pesky motorcyclists who cut in and out of traffic without any indicators (in fact I curse all morons who cut in and out of the traffic without any indicators), riding without any lights & helmet and ride on the wrong side of the road and endangering other road users is nothing new. Often missing close calls, I often hope that couple meters upfront, they are lying under the huge tires of a big truck and one less idiot would be on the road.

But last night, the motorcyclist that I saw probably took the center stage of the morons on the road. I was driving on the slower lane of the highway when this idiot cut in from the left (without any indicators whatsoever) and I immediately saw that his back lights were not working and he had a dark jacket on. So much so of presenting himself to be more visible on the road. As I tailing him from the back and getting ready to over take him, I noticed something rather disturbing. his back wheel was actually wobbling and this idiot was not even riding slow and he did not stick to the slow lane. Obviously keeping his bike in top shape was the last thing in his must do list. He was still cutting in and out of the lanes. I just wonder how stupid some people can be when it comes to them using their vehicles.

4. Due to the call to conserve water and water rations in some parts of the city, we have made a point to make sure all of our water containers & pots & bottles are full all the time. I have also decided not to do my weekly washing of the car. And even the last time I did it, I used the least water possible – I just wet the towel and cleaned the layer of the dust on the car body. But then again, even if I do my usual washing, I am dead sure that I use far less water than those guys at the “snow” car wash (and the car would be cleaner too). I wonder if things get from bad to worse, will the Government ban these road side car wash centers? They do use plenty of the treated water for the car wash – water that can be used for drinking. I just wonder about it.

5. Remember when I said that Symbian is finally dead? My “old” Nokia N8 was passed on to my wife and her experience with a smartphone has been a good one. Now as she is familiar with ins and outs of using a smartphone, she want to move on with Phase 2 of using a smartphone. If budget forbids, we might be shopping for the replacement phone soon. Yes, it will be another Android 4.2 powered smartphone (mine already moved to Android 4.3) but since it is for my wife who does not need much “computing power”, with a lower specifications for a low cost. That is if we have leftovers after we have spent on the kitchen cabinet.

6. Yes, the once I was “proud of” kitchen cabinet is long overdue for a replacement – no thanks to the termites and a bit of misuse. It’s time to hunt for fresh quotations and visit forums and gauge which one will be affordable and which contractor to engage. There is of course the issue of budget and sticking to them even though there will be plenty of temptations to add things here and there. Hopefully we can get this done in the next 1-2 months.

P.s. Anwar Ibrahim have been found guilty of sodomy and be rest assured that it will change the landscape of the politics in this country. After all, he was the one who brought PAS & DAP into a stronger alliance. But who knows, on the other hand, it could be a blessing in disguise – BN have been using Anwar as an excuse to demonize Pakatan and with Anwar out of the picture (either in prison for the next 5 years or busy with his appeals), BN will less things to demonize them. Further with Anwar not in the running for the MB seat, Khalid will be able to be in a stronger position to hold on to his MB seat and keep up his good work. His work and lack of corruption in his administration has been a plus factor in the voters electing Pakatan to run the state again. We don’t see a reason for change now.

Have a good weekend…