Being a Mean, Angry Hulk in 2016!


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(One of the best scene from the Avengers – Hulk vs a God and guess who won. I watched this scene probably hundred times and I never got bored with it. Image source: http://reactiongifs.me)

It was “bang” leaving 2015 – we all watched the new Star Wars movie and we all loved it from the start to the end.

But ever since the start of a “new” year, hardly been a time when I was not in an “angry” mode. Don’t get me wrong – I am not angry with anyone in particular but now schools have started and parents rushing to send their kids to school and then rush to work, way too many idiots have sprout out and had made things worse.

Take this morning example, there was 2 incidents of close calls between my car and another. One is after I had dropped off my kid to her kiddies, I was driving on straight road until a junction. An idiot turned to join the main lane but despite the idiot driving a small car, his turning radius unfortunately cut into my lane and that was without any warning. I high-beamed him and press my horn as well and quickly checked on my right and managed to avoid an accident with this idiot. Now here’s why I call this idiot an idiot – he was not happy I high-beamed him and started to tail-gate me. I was in disbelief but I kept my cool – I know he is not the first moron I am going to encounter this morning. After all, they do come in all shapes and sizes.

The next one happened after I wriggled out from the massive traffic jam just after the toll plaza and this was another junction. The idiot did not put up any indicators to join the main lane but somehow I was casual about it. But then it was a mistake. Just as he cut in front of me, I then noticed that the idiot was actually busy with his phone (or tab – I could not see but he was playing something on his lap). He drove slower, occasionally looking up, leaving a big gap in front and when came to another junction, he suddenly slammed his brakes and decided to change lane (the idiot has missed his turn as he was too busy with phone). It was clear that he was not focusing on his driving and the heavy traffic around him and busy with his phone. I managed to pass him and I was so pissed off that I wound down the window and showed him the finger – something I have not done for years now.

The first week of 2016 have passed and I already have turned into a mean, angry Hulk and I am not going to turn back into Bruce Banner anytime soon.

We all have walked into 2016 and despite the promise of a fresh start for the year, don’t you think there is still a very bitter feeling that nothing have changed and if we don’t do something about it, it is going to get worse?

Just look at the bullshits that had been thrown to us last year and we need to be angry when goods and services that is provided to us is way below our minimum expectations. Don’t you feel like telling the Hulk in you – “Hulk, Smash!!”?

The year 2016 has to be an Angry Year for all Malaysians and this anger at the end of the day must translate into real action (another Bersih-like street protests perhaps, registering and more importantly voting in the next election definitely, writing to spread the facts and educating others maybe, etc).

Close your eyes and think about it – there are plenty of reasons for being Angry in 2016. Let’s take a few, shall we? I know it is the tip of the iceberg!

We need to be angry on 1MDB for accumulating billions of debts through their nose and at the end of the day, sells off national assets to foreign companies. The Prime Minister and his minions are celebrating that 1MDB is in it’s way to recovery but that is not the point. Who or what caused the huge debts in the first place and why they have not been booked for high treason? Why we have not seen the fat guy in the news?

Arul Kanda has done it again. This time all the so called ‘success’ in selling off the national assets just to pay off the billions of loans they could not repay was quickly negated by their Chinese buyer merely 4 days after the ‘big announcement’. Again and again, 1MDB is exposed as a dishonest company whose words cannot be trusted.

But in the case of 1MDB, they asked people to be with them and to support them as they sell off all the crown jewels just to keep afloat. We would have expected 1MDB to pay off their debts via their profits. But at the end of the day, they had mismanaged their debts, caught themselves in financial distress, unable to fulfil all their original objectives when they set up the company, forced to admit that the company is a failure with the business model being too idealistic but, eventually had shamelessly telling the public that the process of selling off national assets just to pay off their debts is a success!

(Source)

Aren’t you angry on the rising cost of living in Malaysia? Whilst I am understand that the Government at the end of day need to remove some of the subsidies to have a more resilient economy and I support the removal of subsidies, the rush to do something and then once the arse get kicked, come out with the hands up and say that there is nothing one can do to fix the situation is simply tragic.

Still remember a Minister who said after GST, the price of goods will go down and it is best for the economy? Last year, I bought fruit juice in those small containers for RM1.20 (after the introduction of GST. It was RM0.90 before that) and moving into 2016, the lady behind the counter charged me RM1.50 for same brand fruit juice. Which Einstein said price of goods will go down after GST again?

The simplistic notion that GST is better than Sales and Service Tax (SST), all because the tax rate is lower is simply wrong. At 6%, GST may seem lower than the 10% SST, but GST is a multi-level tax, that taxes the whole supply chain whereas SST taxes the end-consumer alone.

With GST, everything is taxed unless specifically mentioned as being exempted, while SST only allows tax for items that are stated as taxable. See the difference?

GST has a wider reach, allowing the government to draw in more income at all levels of society.
The notion that all products would be cheaper by 4% is false, because this line of thinking does not take into account the multilevel nature of the GST taxation structure.

(Source)

And as if nothing worse had not happened, I was reading this in 2016:-

Malaysians should stop whining about their living costs, Umno’s Datuk Ahmad Maslan said today, adding that there was no country in the world where it would decrease.

The deputy minister of international trade and industry said Malaysians should instead change their attitude and learn to supplement their income to deal with a costlier lifestyle.

(Source)

Seriously, Sherlock?

Then again, I was not surprised – this was the same guy who asked the country to take 2nd job to supplement their income and cook their own food to avoid GST. Great and we have him in a Ministerial post.

And still remember the “donation” that some sick Arab donated to our Prime Minister for…err…for what again? Have they solved the mystery by now? There was one reason given one after another but all that did not hold water. Yup, one time they even tied up the Jews with DAP. Remember that joke?

And then in December last year, WSJ (yes the same WSJ that the Prime Minister said is going to sue their pants off  – many moons have passed and he have yet to sue them) reported this:-

The funds, Mr. Najib said, weren’t used for his personal enrichment. Instead, they were channelled to politicians or into spending on projects aimed at helping the ruling party win elections in 2013, he said, according to a cabinet minister who was present.

“I took the money to spend for us,” the minister quoted Mr. Najib as saying.

It still isn’t clear where the $700 million came from or where it went. But a six-month Wall Street Journal examination revealed that public entities spent hundreds of millions of dollars on a massive patronage machine to help ensure Mr. Najib’s United Malays National Organization stayed in power. The payments, while legal, represented a new milestone in Malaysia’s freewheeling electoral system, according to ruling-party officials.

Mr. Najib declined multiple interview requests. He has denied wrongdoing or taking money for personal gain, while defending 1MDB spending as good for Malaysia. He hasn’t explained where the $700 million in his accounts came from or how it was used.

Senior UMNO politicians have said the money was a political donation from an unnamed Middle East donor. Malaysia’s anticorruption agency has defended Mr. Najib’s right to use personal accounts for political transfers, which isn’t illegal under Malaysian law.

(Source)

To be frank, the fact that the source of the money remains a mystery itself poses a great risk to the national security. If it is from a Middle East donor as what the politicians have been saying, what is the ulterior motive for this? The Middle East is not exactly a peaceful place to be in right now. So what we suppose to in return for the very generous favor? But then again, look at the other possible source – one from WSJ – that the money came from taxpayers via various organisations linked to 1MDB and it went into a politician’s personal accounts. Doesn’t that smacks the notion of corruption, misuse of money, mismanagement, blah, blah right in the face? And yet, there are people in this country who had accepted this and sleeping well at nights. Strange indeed.

So doesn’t make a lot of sense that Malaysians in general should be and remained angry at the nonsense that had been thrown at us last year? One idiotic statement from a politician – “Hulk! Smash!!”. One more lavish expenditure by the politicians and their wives – “Hulk! Smash!!”. Any attempt to sweep the fact of corruption under the carpet – “Hulk! Smash!!”. And this anger must persist until the next general elections.

After all, Malaysians are known to forget things after some time. Throw a silly bone like a cross on a roof of house and the whole country forgets the USD700 million that went into a politician’s pockets. Race and religion remains our Achilles’ heel, our curse, our fate and all you need for some moron to raise something racial or religions, the rest of the country drops their pants and runs in the wrong direction. Wake up people – there are issues bigger than a design that looks like a cross. So remain mean and angry and accept nothing less than high quality goods and services and strive to vote out the people who are running the show for their self benefit and not the country.

And remember – “Hulk! Smash!!”

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It’s the Jews, Damn It!!!


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(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.

Sarawak Report Expose on 1MDB


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(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.

Ending The Year 2014


najib golf

(Not everyone can be the PM – very, very hard at “work” overseas. Some had said that there is nothing wrong for a leader to take a break. Well, that is correct but not when the country is seeing one of the worst floods around. The big mamma still on holiday, its so seems – no one had seen her wading through the high water in downtown Kota Bahru. Image source)

Before I go further, my deepest condolences to the family and friends on those were abroad the Air Asia Flight QZ8501 – the 3rd tragedy in the year that involves a Malaysian linked airline. I don’t know why Malaysians had to face this – not once or twice but three times in the same year. MH370 is still missing and MH17 just had to be at the wrong place, wrong time and QZ8501 must have met mother of all storms. One just hope that there will be some kind of closure in 2015.

Heartfelt prayers also goes to the flood victims in the East Coast (and also in the West Coast now) that saw one of the worst flooding since 1971. Prepping is no longer a joke – with such flooding is due to be a yearly affair, we need to look at prepping in a wider scope. Management of the rivers and coastal areas would be critical aspect of prepping from the Government. Citizens on the other hand should look into making their homes to be flood-proof or have an alternative place to stay and of course with proper stockpile of food and water. Stories piling up on instances of people running out of food and water and the situation looks hopelessly lost. Nonetheless it is a grave reminder of things to come. The more we put off prepping for such instances in the coming years, the more painful it is going to be. It is a reminder to me too as I have been focusing less on prepping in 2014.

My own 3 weeks break came and went without a blink and I will be soon be traveling again on work assignment. My flight back to Malaysia was scheduled to take off at about 8 plus in the morning and knowing that I need to be in the airport at least 2 hours before boarding and it is about 1 hour plus from the apartment to the airport, I booked a taxi to fetch me from the apartment at about 4 in the morning (that taxi driver came and waited for me since 3.30 am!). With the taxi booked and all luggage packed for the trip back home by 9 pm, I contemplated of taking a short nap. The night was still early and I was sure that I could woke up at 3 am. Just when I was to jump on the bed, I had a dreadful vision – the alarm ringing but I casually switching it off and going to bed, only to wake up at 10 am in the morning. I did not want to miss my flight, so I made a big pot of coffee and watched movie on TV. Good thing I was not feeling that sleepy and hours went off fast. A good shower in the wee morning ensure I was awake as I took the luggage down to the awaiting taxi.

I must have dozed off in the taxi – there was a bump and when I opened my eyes, we were just arriving at the airport. Another long wait for the airport for the check-in and breakfast but at least I was at the airport.

wolf

(Although I was disappointed on missing some of the titles that I saw in the previous year, this should be enough to last me until the next Big Bad Wolf Book sale)

When I came back home, instead of the usual nap I often take whenever I come back from overseas, I had to go off and do some work for the house (haircut however came first before anything else). My kids were excited to see me back, so they hardly allowed me to catch up on my sleep. Then at night, we went to the Big Bad Wolf Book Sales and I spent almost RM300 on books (this time around, my choice of books was less compared to the stack that my son had). It was however worth the trip – RM300 bought us almost 3 boxes of new books.

We came back late and decided against driving off to north in the morning (you see, I had promised my son to take him to the water park in Ipoh for the holidays). We decided to go after lunch which was not so bad as the traffic by then was fine and we did not have to slow down in many areas. The only “funny” thing that happened was my car door automatically unlocks itself and locks again when I press the brakes. By the time, we reached the in-laws house to stay for the holidays, it was already evening and my relatives were coming back from work. We stayed up late again, chit-chatting and watching movie. I was already feeling like zombie when I finally went to the bed (I was given a room of my own) but had a very disruptive sleep because I had to wake up a few times at night going to the bathroom (had too much to drink).

In the morning, the weather was great but I had something to do first – go and fix my car central locking. Still remember when it unlocks and locks itself when I was driving? It became worse – I found the car unlock when I went to check on it in the morning. That means if I lock up the car, a few minutes later, it will unlock itself and that is all that was needed for a car jacker to have an easy access to my car. I called the service centre and good thing was they had few cars on service schedule in the morning. The mechanic “managed” to fix it within 30 minutes – loose wiring they said. Happily I took the car out and barely 100 meters from the service centre, the problem started again. I drove back and this time, the mechanic followed me in the car. It was apparent then, that he had not fixed the problem. He took it back to check and this time, it took him almost 2 hours (including replacing the whole central locking mechanism) to get it right. Almost half day had gone by then. I went back and seeing that it was too late to go to water park, I decided on something that I have been holding back for past few days – catching up on my sleep.

rain

(I think this is Kuala Kangsar after our lunch in Chemor – we made a pit stop here because there is a famous bakery here where we wanted to buy bread. Situation was not ideal to bring the kids out for the fun day at the water park)

The next day, when we suppose to go to the water park, it started to rain cats and dogs. The situation looked gloomy. Even my son did not want to go out as the weather was very bad. My father in law however decided that we go for a lunch at one place he knows in Chemor (very near to the water park that we wanted to go). It was raining when we left the house, it was raining when we were on the highway and it was getting even worse when we drove into Chemor town. After parking the car at the back of the a small restaurant (it looked quite old as well) and struggling with the umbrella in the heavy downpour, we managed to get the 2 car load of people in front of the restaurant. We walked in and the atmosphere immediately changed. Inside was very modern and roomier. Lunch was extraordinary with my son ordering spicy crab curry and a good load of crabs to go with it. It was still raining when we left the restaurant and decided to take the old road instead of the highway and drive through the places where my grandmother used to live.

The so-called break from work at my in-laws place ended up with a bang (literally). We head back home on a working day, hoping that the highway would be free (and it was indeed) and the ride would be more pleasant. Nearing KL, things started to slow as we caught with the on-going road works with 2 of the 3 lanes closed. The traffic started to move slower and at some places, it was almost bumper to bumper. It was just after lunch time too and things was getting were warm in the car (despite the air-cond high). That coupled with the crawling traffic started to show its ugly side – I was falling asleep.

Often there was enough space in between for me to recover and stop the car but this time, there was none. Just when I thought of stopping at the next R&R, I must have dozed off as the next thing I realised is that I have bumped into the car in front. For moment, I was blur on what had happened. The driver came out and started looking at his bumper. Fearing the worst, I came out from the car, expecting to confront an angry driver but instead the man looked at me and said that there was no damaged and extended his hands. I shook his hand, said sorry and went back to my car. Rest assured, I stayed wide awake the rest of the journey but I still stopped at the next R&R for a break (and also to check if there is any other hidden damage). Imagine if I had dozed off when the traffic was fast (and me traveling at 110 km/h) and rear-ended a truck instead. I must have done some good karma to walk away from this with nothing more than a word of “sorry” and an handshake.

2014 had not been a very good year but it has not been a very bad one too. I had good times catching up with my primary school mates – some not met for almost 30 plus years recently. Blogging had taken a very back seat this year with me hardly having the time (but not ideas – thanks to travels and good old Malaysian politicians) to blog. I traveled to a new country this year, met good friends there, enjoyed the food & culture and hope to go to another in 2015. Work compounded this year compared in 2013 but that was expected – when one moves up in the organization structure, there will be more responsibilities, tasks and plans.

Happy New Year everyone and I will see you next year!

Land of Dumb & Dumber


dumb

(Never mind the movie, it seems like there are way too many of dumb people in this country. Image source: The Net)

It was rather “funny” to hear the old man to say this:-

“Malaysians are stupid. They don’t know how to manage aviation,” Dr Mahathir was quoted by news portal Malaysiakini as saying in comments over Christoph Mueller’s appointment as chief executive officer-designate of Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAS NewCo).

Those responsible for the losses of the ailing national carrier were now trying to make things right, he said.

(Source)

Does that mean we are smarter in all other areas? If you think we do, you still have a long way to go.

Now read this – it’s a long read but enough to make any true blue Malaysian’s blood boil with rage:-

In 2008, a boisterous young man by the name of Jho Low Taek, a Penang-born Wharton grad with a taste for Cristal champagne and Broadway blondes, approached Malaysia’s Terengganu state government with a proposal to use the state’s authority to sell RM10 billion (US$2.87 billion) in bonds to start a state-backed investment fund.

That proposal has led to what Tony Pua, a Democratic Action Party lawmaker, has called “the mother of the mother of the mother of all scandals in the history of Malaysia.”

That might be one mother too many, but Pua is not alone, with critics of what is now called 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB, coming from outside the opposition as well. It is certain that the proposed Terengganu Investment Authority has metastasized into a mess that can properly be called huge and has put Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s tattered reputation on the line yet again. Much of the story has been detailed in two Malaysian publications, The Edge and the online news portal Malaysiakini’s business unit, Kinibiz.

Najib, the head of the 1MDB advisory board, has faced a barrage of questions from opposition lawmakers in Parliament for weeks and an attack on his own flank from former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and his allies, including former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin, over what can only be regarded as an astonishing level of mismanagement.

The question was why Malaysia needed another government-backed investment fund in the first place, especially one dreamed up by a young friend of the PM’s family. It has Khazanah Nasional Bhd., the 23-year-old investment holding arm that manages Malaysia’s assets and makes strategic investments, and the Employee Provident Fund, which also invests employee pension funds. Both are creatures of the Ministry of Finance.

The Terengganu Sultan, Mizan Zainal Abidin, had misgivings over the plan by Jho Low, as he calls himself, so the 27-year-old Low went to the parents of a friend he had made among Malaysia’s privileged elite in the UK. While anti-colonial rhetoric still spews at home, Malaysia’s wealthy have always known where to send their scions. Jho Low was at the exclusive 450-year-old Harrow, with his friend Riza Aziz at nearby 150-year-old Haileybury, which trained English youth for service in India. Riza’s mother is Rosmah Mansor, Najib’s second wife.

Thus the proposed Terengganu Investment Authority metamorphosed into 1Malaysia Development Bhd., also under the Ministry of Finance. Today 1MDB has accumulated debt of RM36.25 billion (US$10.4 billion) that is only covered by repeated accounting upgrading of the value of property handed to it at a knock-down price by the government to get it started – a 196-hectare former air force base near the center of Kuala Lumpur.

In recent months, the government, in an attempt to build up the fund so it can be listed, has strong-armed at least three no-bid contracts for 1MDB to build coal-fired and solar power plants. One of those power plants, in Port Dickson near Malacca, was awarded to 1MDB despite a lower bid from a joint venture of YTL International Bhd and SIPP, partly owned by the Sultan of Johor, who is said to have been enraged by the loss and is demanding privately that SIPP be given its own no-bid contract for another plant.

Although its dealings are opaque, sources in Kuala Lumpur believe it was Jho Low, previously regarded as a savvy investor despite his tender years, who drove 1MDB into disaster. Although the chairman of the Board of Directors is Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, who holds the high-ranking honorific of tan sri, he is regarded as a figurehead and many of 1MDB’s major decisions have Low’s fingerprints on them

Low, who has accompanied Rosmah on forays to New York to meet celebrities including Lionel Ritchie and Paris Hilton, landing in the pages of the New York Post, involved 1MDB in backing his failed 2011 bid to buy three prestigious London hotels – Claridge’s, the Connaught and The Berkeley, according to documents filed in the Chancery Division of the UK’s Royal Courts of Justice.

A Los Angeles law firm accused the government of Malaysia, without mentioning 1MDB, of racketeering in funding the phenomenally successful movie The Wolf of Wall Street, an Oscar-nominated picture starring Leonardo DeCaprio and co-produced by Riza Aziz, Rosmah’s son. How that might have been done is unclear. The lawyers for a Los Angeles plaintiff who sued over the rights to the movie refused to elaborate, citing lawyer-client privilege. But in the case of the Claridge’s campaign, 1MDB issued guarantee letters saying the fund would stand behind the purchase. Presumably that meant Malaysia’s sovereign fund would cover any losses accrued if the sale failed.

The fund loaned RM7.2 billion to finance oil exploration for another chum out of that rarefied London ex-colonial society – Tarek Essam Ahmad Obaid, a London playboy said to be a grandson of the Saudi Sheikh Obaid, one of the kingdom’s most senior grandees. Tarek met Jho Low a few months before the deal for the loan was consummated, according to Clare Rewcastle Brown, a former BBC reporter who has followed the 1MDB affair closely. Tarek is the founder and chief executive of PetroSaudi International, Ltd. Despite its pretentious website there is little information on PetroSaudi, which was only incorporated three years before the entry of 1MDB. The money, to be loaned at 8.75 percent, has disappeared.

What 1MDB has not done is make enough money to cover its huge debt, although determining anything is difficult because no up-to-date accounts have been filed.

“I was the finance head for oil companies before I entered politics,” Rafizi Ramli, strategic director and secretary-general of the opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat, told Asia Sentinel. “Nobody I knew had ever come across PetroSaudi before. We tried to check what it was. It was incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. While it is normal for financial investors to enter into ventures, how could a government commit such a huge sum of money with a greenhorn company with no known track record, incorporated in a haven for dodgy money, in an industry where capital risk is so huge?”

When the bid to explore for oil collapsed, the money appears to have been invested in speculative yen forex deals, insiders told Rafizi. Forex trading is not for amateurs. By early 2012, it began to appear that the money had altogether disappeared, according to Tony Pua. 1MDB was having trouble filing its financial reports, a signal that something was wrong. When 1MDB said the funds had been moved into a fund in the Cayman Islands, its managers refused to say who was managing the money.

Today, Pua said, the entire operation appears to be built on debt, although with audited financial reports delayed it is impossible to say for sure. Its managers are seeking to cover the losses through additional borrowings and money raisings, including a US$4.75 billion one engineered by Goldman Sachs, the international investment bank, that cost 1MDB 10 percent of the offering, a phenomenal amount for “commissions, fees and expenses” according to the prospectus. By comparison, Tenaga Nasional, the state-owned energy utility, paid a 2 percent fee on a US$300 million money raising. SMBC Aviation Capital, which leases jets to Malaysian Airlines, paid 0.5 percent on a US$1 billion capital raising. The fees paid to Goldman worked out at US$1.54 billion, Pua said.

The fund today is betting its future on becoming the country’s biggest power producer and a global energy player. It acquired a string of overpriced independent power producers from the Genting gambling interests and Ananda Khrishnan, the country’s richest businessman and an UMNO crony, for RM11 billion to generate cash flow, at what were astounding valuations. Indeed, within six months, the fund’s auditors wrote off RM1.2 billion of the valuation because they were so overpriced.

“Because they were desperate to borrow to cover the acquisitions, they had to pay higher interest rates,” Pua said. “And because they were desperate, they paid Goldman crazy fees to arrange the loans.”

On top of the enormous interest burden from the debt, it turns out that the cash flow from the IPPs is so small that it was barely enough to cover the interest, let alone pay back the RM15 billion principal.

With the hole from the initial failed loan to PetroSaudi, and the vast debt from the IPP purchases, 1MDB is now trying to list to raise US$10 billion from the market. But in order to write a credible prospectus for the listing, it requires strong financials. 1MDB’s financials do not come anywhere near credible enough to assure potential investors of future cash flow.

The government has stepped in to extend the contracts for the IPPs, which were supposed to end after their contract periods ended. That is still not enough. The government then tendered a contract to build the coal-fired plant in Port Dickson. Critics charge the contract was unnecessary, that Tenaga Nasional, the state-owned utility, had the experience and capital to build the plant itself. The tender turned out to be a fiasco, with the YTL-SIPP consortium coming in with a lower bid, only to be disqualified on what many critics have said was a technicality.

Since then, the government has awarded three contracts to 1MDB, the other two without the potential embarrassment of a tender process. But critics point out that 1MDB has never built anything and is mainly relying on the expertise of Tenaga Nasional. The bid for a 50 megawatt solar power plant project in Kedah in the north of the country is to be the largest solar plant in Malaysia despite the fact there is no guaranteed offtake, that prices for solar, even though they have fallen sharply, still exceed that of conventional plants, and that Malaysians are going to end up paying more for their electricity.

All of these moves are an attempt to rescue 1MDB and give it the potential to demonstrate income to investors. So on the advice of a 27-year-old neophyte and friend of the prime minister’s family, the country has created a state-backed investment fund, got itself involved in a series of businesses it knew nothing about, put the country’s sovereign backing behind a private hotel bid and a Hollywood movie, run up a vast amount of debt, and now is seeking to bail itself out via preferential contracts to build electrical plants with expertise so far it doesn’t have. The critics expect that this is going to cost Malaysia’s taxpayers and ratepayers a considerable amount of money.

(Source)

When we first heard that 1MDB had “parked” RM7 billion of our money in the Cayman Islands, that made many of us to question the reasons why a Government linked company have to invest in dubious ways. And when reports of losses started to trickle in, it seemed like our fears came true.

And now, it seemed that it has only gone downhill. So it is a wonder why major investigations have not been launched into 1MDB’s affairs and if mismanagement, scams and gross negligence  indeed exist, why we are not going after these guys and revoking their passport and bring them down to be answerable for their dubious ways of doing business and for the huge losses?

Instead we foolishly spending considerable time, money and resources to go after this joker:-

Alvin-Tan-featured

(The country’s no 1 enemy, so according to some stupid in this country. Image source: Cilisos)

Now you see why Dr M is calling Malaysians stupid?

Direction of a Nation 2


transforming-science-education_5162ed81afb47_w1500

(Here’s why we should go that extra mile to ensure science, technology and mathematics forms the bedrock of a nation instead of religion. Infographic source: http://visual.ly/transforming-science-education)

The week started on a rather sour note:-

Lebuhraya Mahameru will have its name changed to Lebuhraya Sultan Iskandar. The installation of new signboards is expected to begin today.

THE decision by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to rename eight major roads has not gone down well with city folk.

In a statement by DBKL, well-known roads such as Jalan Duta, Jalan Ipoh and Lebuhraya Mahameru will be changed to reflect the names of past Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The installation of new signboards is expected to begin today.

As the news broke early yesterday morning, city folk took to social media to vent their disbelief and frustration

(Source)

Didn’t I say that in this country, we are looking at far too trivial matters when there are far more important matters that we need to be concerned off?

For start, I still do not understand what is the benefit of changing these well-known and often used road names to past Kings’ names. If it is to promote the good name and respect for the monarchy, this is not the way to do it. Besides if the reason for changing the road names is indeed due to the respect for our Kings and not because someone had an itch somewhere on his body, what had happened to change the names rather urgently? Nothing at all. Further, there will always be a good opportunity to name something “new” with the Agong’s name – new roads, new buildings, new bridges, new submarines & ships, etc. Why go ahead and fix something that is not broken?

It is obvious that it was done without any much thought to the inconvenience and waste of time and money that the ordinary citizen will incur with these “clumsy” decisions. For start, the taxpayers is going to be burdened with additional cost of changing the sign boards and road users is going to be burdened with re-remembering the new names (and updating their GPS data mapping).

It is something that others are also asking:-

To further understand the reasons, I queried him: if that is the case then why are we changing street names that have already been changed – re: Jalan Duta which formerly known as Guillemard Road? What about the historical value of these streets? Was there any meeting with heritage agencies or bodies prior? Was there a public discussion that the public missed out?

How much cost incurred to change these signages? Ismail answered that the cost is between RM3,000 and RM5,000 per signage. In total, he would not how many signages to be changed. He can’t even estimate – it is just too technical for him.

(Source)

Ok never mind this decision by the authorities for now although I am going to miss names like “Jalan Duta” and “Lebuhraya Mahameru”. It has not been the first time we have watched a “do first, think later” in motion in this country. We had bigger circus in town that dwarfed this decision.

Ah yes, I am talking about the UMNO general assembly. As usual and nothing surprising, from the past years’ general assemblies, there was plenty of talks of survival & desperate fight for the community (somehow for a few days in a year, the community becomes an endangered species), the warnings of be careful of the non-Malays (despite the non Malays are not heading the government of the day), how if not united (yes, against the non Malays, again), the community will be left out in the country, blah, blah, blah was the high note of the general assembly this time as well. Somehow over the years, we have become immune to these seditious talks when the circus comes to the town.

But interestingly 2 items stood out that perhaps need a greater scrutiny. First was of course the reversal of the decision to scrap the Sedition Act.

To further justify it, Najib even said that it will be strengthen to protect Malaysians from, well, other Malaysian:-

The decision to retain the Sedition Act 1948 has nothing to do with keeping Barisan Nasional in power, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Sunday.

Najib, who is also Barisan chairman, said there was no ulterior motive in the move to retain the Act as it could not ensure the coalition would be re-elected in the coming or future general election.

Najib added that the Sedition Act was not just about the protection of Muslims and the Malays, but extends to all races.

“We will also ensure that the enforcement of the Sedition Act will be fair and according to the law,” he said.

(Source)

And mind you, this comes from the same man who just 2 years ago announced that he is going to repeal the dreaded Sedition Act as part of his visionary road map for a very transformed Malaysia. So, hearing the man to turn around and now say that there is no ulterior motive to retain the Act and the use of the Act would be fair and according to the law, one have to wonder and ask the question “would you believe him again?” And just to see how Najib’s administration has been “fair” in applying the law in the past, you don’t have to go far back in history.

Let’s take this for example:-

I am only going to refer now, in red, to the fifth “seditious tendency” referred to in Section 3 – “to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Malaysia”.

Can we think of any?

Calling Chinese ‘pendatang‘, perhaps?

Threatening to spill the blood of the Chinese with the keris, no?

So, if you utter words that might have the tendency to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Malaysia, you would have committed an offence under the Sedition Act, 1948.

Right?

Well, not if you are Ibrahim Ali, and not if you uttered such words that had the tendency to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between Muslims and Christians of Malaysia but your intentions were not to cause such hostility but to defend Islam.

In other words, under the Sedition Act, 1948, the intention of Ibrahim Ali, at the time he called for the burning of the Holy Bible, is irrelevant in considering if those words would have a seditious tendency.

(Source)

And even better is this:-

Umno delegate Datuk Mohd Zaidi Mohd Said should be investigated under the Sedition Act 1948 for claiming that the “Chinese are getting rich through illegal activities”, an MCA leader said today.

Penang MCA liaison committee secretary Dr Tan Chuan Hong said Zaidi should be probed and punished to ensure others do not make similar comments, The Star reported.

The Permatang Pauh Umno division chairman, told delegates at the Umno general assembly that the Chinese in Penang gained wealth and power by being involved in illicit economic activities, such as gambling, prostitution and entertainment outlets.

(Source)

One threatened to burn bibles whilst another said that another race got their wealth from illicit economic activities. Well, let’s see if Najib keeps his words this time. Will he be fair and apply the law as he had mentioned? He does not have to wait for new improved Sedition Act to be in place – the current Sedition Act should be more than enough to haul couple of trouble-makers to the court. That’s fair, right?

The next thing that stood out in the general assembly was this:-

He said some current component party leaders had dared to question Malay and Muslim issues, such as religious schools, covering of women’s aurat (modesty) and the Shariah Court. Khairul Anwar said he believed they did this to gain popularity in their own communities.

“So let them become the presidents of MCA, MIC, Gerakan and the rest, but when they want to sit in BN’s highest council, they should be voted in by the Malays of Umno. “We do not want them to be cheering for their own communities and questioning our race.”

(Source)

Should I comment further? Does that some how this nails the truth right on it’s head doesn’t it?

Although it has not happened and I don’t think Najib would be dumb enough to do so but perhaps it is just a matter of time before UMNO actually decides to hand pick the presidents of MCA, MIC, etc. And it’s funny for Khairul Anwar to say that he believed they did this to gain popularity in their own communities. Then what do you call the yearly bashing of the non Malays during the UMNO’s general assembly? Does that also qualifies “doing it to gain popularity on one’s own community”? A classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Let’s face reality – a race based society can never be good for any country that wants to move forward. The yearly race bashing should stop now and for those who bend the other way should be punished – no double standards applying, of course. There’s no two ways about it, if we want this country highly developed, resilient to external threats and economically robust. Let’s us focus on what is more critical and urgent.