Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Salam Aidil Fitri

Salam Aidil Fitri. Maaf zahir dan batin.

Praise be to Allah for His blessing and kindness which enables us to celebrate the conclusion of Ramadhan. May Allah accept our deeds during the holy month of Ramadhan and may we be blessed again to celebrate the next coming Ramadhan, God willing.

Praise be to Allah for the successful release of the hostages on board of MISC's Melati 2 and Melati 5. Kudos to the MISC team of negotiators, with the strong support from our very own Malaysian Royal Navy.

My condolence to the family of Raja Petra Kamaruddin for being set apart and not able to celebrate Syawal together as a family. Although I don't like Petra's writings (and being barred from writing commentaries in MalaysiaToday.net), I think being set apart from one's love ones on this joyous day is indeed painful and heartbreaking. Petra must be cursing Anwar like hell for failing to take over the Federal Government on Anwar's own self-imposed deadline of 16 September 2008. Before his detention, Petra did mention that he hoped to be set free when Anwar become Prime Minister on 916. Of course, apart from Petra, so many other people out there believed in Anwar's own greed and fantasy.

I hope that we Malaysians will continue to celebrate Hari Raya in unity. But I think Anwar and his greed gang will use this occasion to continue their attacks against the weak government of Pak Lah, particularly in the wake of the impending transition of power. Our period of political uncertainty and disunity will continue. And no thanks to the global financial turmoil, things will definitely not be getting better anytime soon.

We can only pray to Allah to provide us with strong guidance and strength to go through this troubling time.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The food we consumed during Ramadhan

As I said before, what we do during the month of Ramadhan truly reflect our own desires, without the negative urges from Satan. However, habitual sinners will continue to commit sins. That is why I believe that people who commit serious crimes during the month of Ramadhan should be brought to justice and be severely punished as they would commit more harmful crimes and act more aggressively in the other months.

Our deed of fasting will not be rewarded by Allah if we continuously commit sins whilst fasting. Our act of fasting will only be physically strenuous and left us feeling hungry and thirsty if we failed to perform other religious obligations during this holy month.

It is appalling to know that (based on Harian Metro report today), some people broke fast (Iftar) by drinking beer, which is clearly forbidden (Haram) in Islam. In actual fact, this holy month of Ramadhan would be the best period to be steadfast and refrain from consuming forbidden food or performing undesirable habits (such as drinking beer or smoking). Some people might say that at least these people (who drank beer for Iftar) were good enough people because they actually observe the act of fasting. On the contrary, I believe that they did not have the spirit of fasting, lest they only physically abstain from drinking and eating during the day time. Their deed of fasting will only come to nought and will not be rewarded by Allah All Mighty.

Forbidden food is not only confined to the nature of the food or drink that is being consumed (e.g. pork, beer, wine and other intoxicated beverages, animal not slaughtered based on Muslim rites etc). A food is forbidden from being consumed by Muslims if they are purchased from forbidden sources, such as through stolen money or corruption. That is why some of the more pious among the Muslims would also refrain from consuming food presented to them by corrupt people.

Not many among us ordinary Muslims really adhere to the concept of Halal food i.e. food which can be consumed. Halal food should also be purchased from Halal sources of income. For instance, normal bread will become Haram and forbidden from being consumed if it is purchased from lottery winnings.

When the pirates from Somalia hijacked MISC tankers (Bunga Melati 2 and 5) in the Gulf of Aden, we were told that the Muslim hijackers prefer to hijack Malaysian vessels because the MISC vessels have plenty of Halal food rations. Didn’t the hijackers realise that even the Halal food rations would become Haram to them? Isn’t it actually as good as them consuming beef from any other non-Muslim vessels? And why did they continue their act of hijacking during Ramadhan? Aren’t they not real sinners? How can they claim to support a Muslim state in Somalia if they source their wealth through such illegal means?

I pray for the save release of our fellow Malaysians on board of Melati 2, and their save journey back (together with the released crew members of Melati 5) in time for Aidil Fitri.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Crafting a Dignified Exit for Pak lah

Flashback Mahathir: Mahathir cried when he made a shock announcement of his intention to retire from all government and political posts. He was eventually persuaded to stay on as UMNO President and Prime Minister until the conclusion of the OIC summit. The infamous cry-at-the-rostrum event marked the commencement of Mahathir long farewell party.

Fast forward Pak Lah: People are still waiting when to cry because Pak Lah has yet to make clear of his intention to quit. He has been persuaded to consider relinquishing both his posts as UMNO President and Prime Minister as soon as possible. But in reality, Pak Lah wanted a long farewell party for him too, just like Mahathir’s.

Really, Pak Lah wanted to quit with dignity. He thinks that he deserved a dignified exit. He loves UMNO, even when times were bad. He never quit UMNO (i.e. unlike Mahathir/Ku Li). He never joined Semangat 46 (i.e. unlike Ku Li). He never joined any other party, and never spoke at the same platform as the opposition to speak against UMNO (i.e. unlike Mahathir). He has no record of going against the party at any point of time.

However, being a loyal UMNO member is not a good enough criterion to be a good leader of UMNO. You need to be able to command respect, and unite the members. You need to also command respect from the other members of the component parties, and unite them. You need to command respect from the people, and unite all Malaysians.

Unfortunately, under Pak Lah, UMNO has become disunited, the component parties have become disunited, and Malaysians has become disunited. Pak Lah tried, but is still unable to command respect from people at all levels: in UMNO, in Barisan, and other Malaysians.

Pak Lah’s latest move to persuade UMNO Supreme Council to agree on the postponement of UMNO elections will add further discontent among the UMNO grassroots.

If Pak Lah decides not to contest the UMNO Presidency post, then why should there be further delay until March to decide on the successor? What further wonders can Pak Lah do during the short transition period, other than going from a farewell party to another?

On the other hand, what good can Pak Lah do if he decides to contest the UMNO Presidency post? If another contender managed to secure enough nominations to go against him, it is already a sign of gross protests from the ground. It will be even more humiliating if Pak Lah is unable or barely secure enough nominations for the UMNO President post. This will of course be an undignified exit for Pak Lah.

So, Jurublog reckons that Pak Lah will use the Hari Raya festivities to greet people and make him feel good and dignified. The papers will portray Pak Lah as a much loved PM, and people want him to continue serving as PM and undertake the necessary reforms. But despite the “overwhelming” show of support, Pak Lah will then make a tearful announcement not to contest in the UMNO elections to enable UMNO move on and select his successor through the party democratic process. Again, Pak Lah will be praise for his courage and dignity.

Even Khairy has been crafting a possible exit. Khairy has complained that he was being sabotaged and barred from meeting some of his supporters, the same allegations that Mukhriz has earlier made. Khairy has also lambasted the UMNO Supreme Council decision to delay the party elections as complicating matters. In any case, should Khairy eventually lost the UMNO Youth Chief contest, he already has a few reasons to explain for the lost. Of course, Khairy can still win the post, as he should be contestant with the deepest pocket of them all.

Let us wait for Pak Lah’s announcement during the Hari Raya festivities on his future undertakings.

But beware, there is Brother Anwar Bin Ibrahim, who always wants to be in the limelight and steal the show. I am sure that Anwar will announce the submission of notice to the Speaker for a vote of no confidence against the PM on the very day Pak Lah makes his announcement.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Subprime Crisis and Malaysia's Supreme Crisis

Subprime [pronounced as suhb-prahym] means being less than top quality. It should not be mistaken with Supreme [pronounced as suh-preem], which means the highest rank or the greatest.

The current world economic crisis essentially started with the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States. During the period of property boom in the US, there was a tendency to give (subprime) loans to borrowers with poor credit ratings (i.e. due to low income, no credit history, employment status etc), with the hope that the loans will eventually worked out as the loans were backed by appreciating value of the properties. Well, it did not eventually worked out as the US property market went bust and house sales continued to decline. Borrowers who are not well off (some unemployed) cannot repay their loans and eventually defaulted.

That was only part of the story. Concurrent with having given out the subprime mortgages, the financial experts performed their magic by bundling (i.e. putting together) these low quality mortgages with some other higher grade investment papers to create various forms of asset backed securities of investment grade, with insurance backing. Hence, when the subprime mortgages became bad due to high level defaults, these investments in the so-called investment grade asset backed securities became near worthless. So, the institutional investors who invested in the financial instruments linked to the subprime mortgages suffered severe losses.

Bear Sterns hedge funds were among the initial casualties, back in June 2007. The extend of losses resulting from the subprime crisis were somehow suppressed by the Americans until the second major wave of failures surfaced last week. Lehman Brothers collapsed and Merill Lynch has to be sold to Bank of America. We may be going into a long and deep economic turmoil.

Talking about the subprime crisis, I wish to relate a story told by a friend of mine sometime after March 2008 General Election. Pak Lah (as the then Finance Minister), at an international conference on investment in Malaysia, spoke about the subprime [suhb-prahym] crisis. True to Pak Lah’s ingenuity, he pronounced the crisis as supreme [suh-preem] crisis (and that too, in front of so many international institutional investors).

I guess Pak Lah had the foresight then that the subprime crisis will eventually turn out to be a supreme crisis.

However the joke was that Pak Lah must have been mistaken the word subprime with supreme and vice versa. It continued that UMNO Supreme Council was actually functioning as a Subprime Council, endorsing whatever was being dictated by the present UMNO leadership. In addition, we still have Pak Lah as the SubPrime Minister.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Of the General and his Major

If I recall correctly, a few years ago, Najib had a lavish wedding reception for one of his children (whom he had from his first marriage). True to Rosmah’s reputation, she (and not the boy’s actual mother) was at the helm of the organising committee for the reception. Without doubt, Rosmah was quite a good organiser.

During the reception speech, Najib delivered quite an amusing anecdote about an army General and his Major. As the Defence Minister then, Najib liken himself as the General in his household. On the other hand, Rosmah is the Major. Of course, by seniority, General ranked much higher than the Major. Najib continued to say that as a General, he will make the general decisions, and likewise, Rosmah will be the one who make the major decisions. The crowd burst into spontaneous laughter upon hearing the joke.

The joke actually continued beyond the wedding reception. Rosmah was alleged to be the real “power” behind the Ministry of Defence. At one instance, she was alleged to have chaired a procurement meeting at the MOD, with Najib being in attendance! There are many other stories circulating regarding her lavish spending spree everytime she’s overseas together with Najib who’s on official trip.

With the recent swap in portfolio, Pak Lah is now the Minister of Defence. Rumour has it that the new General (Pak Lah) has quite a few people with the rank of Major in his “Kitchen Cabinet” (as opposed to the formal Malaysian Cabinet). And this rank and file has always existed since Pak Lah became the Prime Minister. So, as the story unfolds, Pak Lah will continue to make general decisions regarding the well being of us Malaysians, and his other household henchmen will be the ones who will continue to dictate the major decision making exercises.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

916 came and went - But Anwar's still at it

My Ustadz told me that in the holy month of Ramadhan, the Satans are curtailed and would not have as much influence in the activities of mankind. Pious people will be at ease in performing religious rituals. That is one of the reasons why it is relatively easier to fast and perform good deeds during the month of Ramadhan as compared to other months of the year.

However, it does not mean that everything will be all good for everybody. Habitual sinners will continue to commit sin. Compulsive liars will continue to lie. Politicians will remain politicians.

I am not at all surprised when Anwar kept to his script of taking over the federal government yesterday, 16 September 2008. When I posted a comment on anwaribrahimblog.com, I was promptly scoffed by other commentators that 916 is “just” a vision/target, and not the actual date of Pakatan taking over the federal government. Now, they are saying that it is not a matter of IF but rather a matter of WHEN.

Anwar likes to be in the limelight. In any event that he went to, he will ensure that there was a sizeable crowd before he made his entrance. On 15 September night, he publicised that apart from Lim Kit Siang (DAP), Hadi Awang (PAS) will also be present at the Malaysia Day celebration, just to attract more crowd (especially the PAS supporters). Hadi Awang was not present. Anwar was also supposed to line up the BN defectors and proudly announce his elevation to Prime-Ministership on that very night. That too did not happen.

Yesterday, Anwar had the cheek to ask Pak Lah for a smooth transition of power to Pakatan. We were lucky that Pak Lah (at least yesterday) had been properly briefed by his troop of advisers on how to react to such nonsense.

What will Anwar do now, assuming he actually has the number? What good can he do if he starts marching to Istana Negara? Can the Agong accept his assertion of parliamentary majority based merely on letters signed by the alleged defectors? Even statutory declarations are of no value now, thanks to Petra and other Pakatan goons.

I admire HRH Sultan of Selangor for his wisdom to initially reject the appointment of Khalid Ibrahim as Selangor Menteri Besar when Khalid came to seek audience alone. The esteemed Sultan actually wanted all heads of the respective coalition parties in Pakatan to have an audience with him together, in order to ensure proper majority support is present before Royal consent is given. I trust the Agong has been properly briefed on the same subject matter.

Anwar honourable option would be to get Parliament to convene and face all the MPs heads on. But initially, he would have to file a motion of no confidence against Pak Lah. Should that succeed, I am sure that Barisan will appoint Najib as a nominee PM. What then? Another few rounds of no confidence vote, until Anwar is elected?

But one thing for sure is that Anwar has managed to ensure that Malaysia remains under great political uncertainty. And the political uncertainty has adversely affected the Malaysian economy and the FDIs. The blame for worsening economic conditions should not only be shouldered by the present federal government. Worse than usual relationships between the Pakatan-led state governments and the federal government is a negative factor, affecting business activities. Anwar’s continuing politic of deceptions will remain a major factor leading to economic uncertainty in Malaysia.

Remember, compulsive liars will continue to lie. And politicians will remain acting like typical politicians.

If Anwar really have the number, why did SAPP opted to be independent, and not joining Pakatan right away?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A face-saving exit maneuvre by Zaid Ibrahim?

Zaid Ibrahim was once found guilty by UMNO disciplinary council and suspended from UMNO due to alleged money politics (read “corruption”) in his quest to become Kota Bharu UMNO division chief. Pak Lah saved him and selected him to contest the Kota Bharu seat in 2004 general election.

Zaid Ibrahim was not selected to defend the Kota Bharu Parliamentary seat in 8 March 2008 general election. He would surely have lost, should he be selected to defend the seat. Again, Pak Lah (probably upon advice by Khairy) saved Zaid, and appointed him as Senator and the de facto Law Minister. As I said before, one of Pak Lah’s mistakes was to appoint people who stayed at home during the battle (or rather, in the case of Zaid, he was allegedly abroad during the general election), and left the battling soldiers without meaningful portfolios in the cabinet.

As payback, Zaid has been defending Pak Lah at every opportunity, and he has also been vocal in attacking Pak Lah’s detractors. He suggested to Pak Lah to openly apologise for the government’s handling of 1988 Judicial Crisis; aimed at faulting Mahathir.

Zaid was also quick in asking for disciplinary actions to be taken against other UMNO politicians who attacked Pah Lah’s leadership. When Mukhriz rebuked Zaid in Parliament a few months ago, Zaid promptly asked for disciplinary action to be taken against Mukhriz. Nothing happened. When Muhyiddin called for a quicker transition plan, Zaid was even quicker in asking for Muhyiddin to quit or be sacked from the cabinet.

Zaid has gone relatively quite since the Bar Council’s forum on conversion to Islam. May be he is one of the “liberal” Muslims who supported the forum. Never mind that the forum served to undermine the position of Islam and Muslims, and the words uttered during the forum really tested the patience of the Muslims.

Zaid’s position in the government largely depended on Pak Lah’s support. His own UMNO division in Kota Bharu look set to snub him from the division chief post. Sadly, he cannot even secure the post without resorting to money politics.

On the other hand, Pak Lah's position as PM also looks untenable. He is facing growing calls from senior ranking party officials for him to quit earlier. Now, a few ministers have been questioning various government's decisions. Pak Lah is unable to control his own party. He is also not able to control his own cabinet members. He cannot stop his cabinet members from criticising each other's decisions, because Pak Lah himself is not able to articulate and defend the decisions.

Knowing that his position is rather perilous, I think Zaid will start to engineer his own exit. Today, he openly criticised the goverment's decision to invoke ISA on Raja Petra, Teresa Kok and Tan Hoon Cheng.

Will Pak Lah take Zaid out of his cabinet (together with Muhyiddin)? Or will Zaid quit cabinet on his own accord?

But I do not think that Zaid would want to follow the footsteps of Tunku Aziz, by defecting to DAP. Perhaps he can go up the DAP rank much faster, and still remains a minister should Pakatan rule Malaysia.

[Post-script 17 September 2008: Zaid has quit cabinet citing disagreement on the usage of ISA, and by doing so, left smelling like roses. Next step: Wait for Anwar to woo him. After all, Anwar needs the number, and Zaid is still a Senator]

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pak Lah surprised by Muhyiddin's call to quit earlier


Pak Lah still cannot properly answer impromptu questions. Yesterday, in response to another impromptu question, Pak Lah said that he was surprised with Muhyiddin’s call to hasten the power transition.

I was not surprised.

May be Pak Lah can never cleverly interpret the subtle hints given by his fellow party members since the dismal election results. (Note: Pak Lah may maintain that it was not a DISMAL result, as he was quoted as saying that, in other countries, such results would be termed as a landslide victory).

Firstly, Pak Lah ignored the calls for a thorough post-mortem on the election results. Should not he be surprised that a lot of people were unhappy with the election results?

Pak Lah’s supporters have also been vocal in criticising those people who asked the PM to take responsibility in respect the dismal results. Mahathir, Ku Li and Mukhriz were vocal in asking Pak Lah to take responsibility. Pak Lah again ignored these calls. Instead, he engineered a pact with Najib for power transition in 2010. Should not he be surprised that his fellow party members were taken aback with the rather long transition plan?

Ghafur and Anifah were among those who declined to be appointed as Pak Lah’s cabinet members. Should not he be surprised that these people were unhappy with his leadership?

Anwar made a successful comeback with a convincing win in Permatang Pauh, just nearby Pak Lah’s constituency of Kepala Batas in Penang. Should not he be surprised that even his fellow state brethrens rejected his leadership?

Ahmad Ismail made a well publicised remark on the Chinese during the by-election. As a result, MCA severed their ties with Bukit Bendera’s UMNO. Gerakan, on the other hand, severed their ties with Penang UMNO. Penang UMNO is headed by Pak Lah. Should he be surprised that even other BN component parties reject his leadership?

One thing that I noticed is that Pak Lah will not react immediately on critical matters unless it has something to do with him. You can criticise UMNO. You can criticise BN. You can criticise other leaders in UMNO or BN. You can criticise and undermine the Malays. You can talk big and create rumours of new government. You can threaten to quit BN. You can do all these things, but never mention Pak Lah or PM as part of your statement. If you do, then you will get immediate reaction from him. If not, Pak Lah will take a while (and wait for input from his troop of advisers) to comment on the matter.

I bet that Pak Lah will say that he is surprised when some BN parliamentarians start to defect before the end of this month. But I will not be surprised if Pak Lah insisted on clinging to power, even with the defections.

Now, to avoid any more surprises on him, Pak Lah wants all talks in respect of the power transition be stopped. Expect his clowns to support the call and start demonising Muhyiddin.

What a solution. Neither clever nor wise.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Being Clever but Not Wise

No. I am not referring to Pak Lah. Rather, I am referring to Pak Lah’s troop of advisers.

Probably Pak Lah needs a troop of advisers because he is neither. He is naïve. You would notice that Pak Lah found it difficult to answer impromptu questions from the press. If he did, he would fumble.

On the 8 March 2008 election night, when asked about the defeat of Samy Vellu, Shahrizat and other senior BN politicians, he said, “Dah kalah, kalah lah”. (Translated: “Let it be that they are defeated”). A wise leader would look in retrospect, followed by a forward looking statement. Mahathir, for example would have said, “These are good leaders who had served their constituency well, and have served in my cabinet. I would like to thank them for their contributions, and hope that they will continue to serve the people, albeit in different capacity. We will look into the reasons for the defeat, and take appropriate corrective action to garner back support to Barisan.”

Pak Lah and his troop of advisers also failed to understand the sentiments from the ground. When a lot of your top ranking people became war casualties, a general should act to maintain and garner support from the loyal soldiers who have fought the battle. In Pak Lah case, noting that UMNO lost quite a few top ranking leaders during the election, Pak Lah happily appointed those people who did not even contest the election as his cabinet members. If those non-contestants are worthy leaders, it should be okay. The problem was that those elected as senators to then become ministers/deputy ministers were perceived as the very people that would lost the contest should they become candidates in the election.

And Pak Lah always acted indecisively or way too late. When Ahmad Ismail’s racial remark case came into fore, he should have put a lit into it. Ahmad Ismail was actually talking about the Chinese community during the Permatang Pauh by-election. Pak Lah should have said to Ahmad Ismail, “In the by-election, we were contesting against a Malay candidate from an opposition party. Apart from trying to win the Malay votes, we are also trying to woo the Chinese to vote for Barisan. It is therefore inappropriate for Ahmad Ismail to even talk about pre-Merdeka Chinese during the by-election speech. I would recommend that UMNO Supreme Council take stern action to put this to a stop.”

I do not like people who try to stoke racial tensions. I deplore the way Sin Chew Jit Poh has been playing up the matter. I also noticed that apart from NST, all other English newspapers have been attacking the Malay leaders who tried to defend the Malay rights. May be they are preparing for any eventuality for a Pakatan-led government. Tun Mahathir has not been spared by a barrage of criticisms when he questioned the need for an apology by Najib, even from The Star newspaper.

I would predict that this trend of undermining the Malay and their rights and privileges would continue as long as we continue to have a weak leader like Pak Lah. On the other hand, we may loose it all together should we have somebody like Anwar as a leader. We cannot afford to have somebody who owes a lot to other people for support, and end up sacrificing the interests of his own community.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Universiti Sains Malaysia is a worthy APEX University

I wish to congratulate USM for being chosen by the government as the sole APEX (Accelerated Programme for Excellence) University. Kudos to USM’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Tan Sri Dato’ Dzulkifli Abd Razak and his team.

I am not a local graduate. But I have dealt with a few universities and institutes of higher learning in Malaysia over the course of my professional life. I would rank UIA, UM and UKM, as among the other top universities in Malaysia. I noted that the people from University of Malaya behaved like elitist, though I think they are far from it. I used to admire UM when Prof DiRaja Ungku Aziz was the Vice Chancellor.

I think USM differentiated themselves from the other universities in terms of their approach towards preparing their graduates for the real world. The lecturers are largely made aware of the real working conditions outside the university, and some having been seconded to relevant industry to share their expertise.

I also like USM’s approach towards commercialisation of their in-house research and development activities. Under their own strategy of R-D-C-E (Research, Development, Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship), researchers are encouraged to develop their innovation into viable business concepts and aim towards commercialising the product. The researchers themselves will then partly own certain equity interest in the commercial entity set-up to sell and further develop the product (i.e. the researcher may become entrepreneur).

Usains Holdings was set up for that very purpose, as an investment holding vehicle for USM. I think Mlabs (a company listed on the MESDAQ Market) benefited from such programme. A few more should be in the pipeline.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof Asma Ismail is a researcher-entrepreneur in her own right. She undertook research on detection of typhoid and developed a gadget for that. A company was established to commercialise the typhoid detection gadget. She strongly encouraged her students to think R-D-C-E when she was the Founding Director of Institute for Research in Molecular Medicine (INFORMM), a unit under USM. I bet that she will be a the next VC of USM (see Prescene 5)

With the APEX University status, USM can grow tremendously higher. They should be able to obtain higher amount of funding from the government. They have been practising meritocracy for a long time, and have succeeded in doing so. I hope there will be more researchers-entrepreneurs being created by USM in the future. It will augur well for a knowledge-based society that we Malaysian should aim forward.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Is Pak Lah only good at doing nothing?

I was so alarmed when Armed Forces chief, General Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Zainal actually told the Government to take stern action against those who stoke racial sentiments as it could create chaos and disorder.

Such statement from the highest ranking military man indicates the alarming inaction by the present leadership on the very issue.

Pak Lah, it seems, is good at doing nothing. On the other hand, he is also not good in doing anything. As the PM, it is not good for him to do nothing. But he is definitely not a good man who did nothing. (Am I making sense here?)

Universiti Tun Hussein Onn's advertorial - The Malay Version

Please see my original posting here.

As promised, I append herewith the Malay version of the advertorial by UTHM dated 23 August 2008, which appeared in Berita Harian. The English version was published in The New Straits Times on the same date.

The Malaysian education system is really bad. The Education Minister, Hishamuddin Hussein should really re-look at the system and implement urgent corrective measures. He shouldn't sit still. Not when a university named after his father produced such a horrendous advertorial.

I have taken the liberty to re-type both versions of the advertorial for ease of reading. You may notice that even the Malay version contains typographical and grammatical errors. And yes, the English version may really be a direct translation of the Malay advertorial.

D.K.II, S.P.M.J., S.P.C.M.

D.K., S.P.M.J., S.P.C.M.]

Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah binti Almarhum Sultan Idris Al-Mutawakil Alallahi Shah has born on 14th of August 1959 in Hospital Batu Gajah, Perak. Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith is a third son to Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Sultan Perak Darul Ridzwan and Duli Yang Maha Mulia Raja Mazuwin binti almarhum Raja Arif Shah.

[Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah Binti Almarhum Sultan Idris Al-Mutawakil Alallahi Shah telah diputerikan pada 14 Ogos 1959 di Hospital Batu Gajah, Perak. Raja Zarith Sofiah merupakan anakanda ketiga kepada Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Sultan Perak Darul Ridzwan dan Duli Yang Maha Mulia Raja Mazuwin binti almarhum Raja Arif Shah.]

Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah get early education in Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan Datin Khadijah Kuala Kangsar in the state his birthplace namely in Perak. After end of the education in primary school, Yang Amat Mulia continue the education to form one at Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Raja Perempuan Kalsom Kuala Kangsar, Perak.
[Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah mendapat pendidikan awal di Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan Datin Khadijah Kuala Kangsar di negeri tempat kelahirannya iaitu di Perak. Setelah tamat pengajian di sekolah rendah, beliau meneruskan pelajaran ke tingkatan satu di Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Raja Perempuan Kalsom Kuala Kangsar, Perak.]

In the month of September 1972, Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah have set forth to England for further education in Chaltenham Ladies College, Gloucestershire to form six. Then, Yang Amat Mulia continue learning it in Davies College London in September 1977 and his following year in receive enter to Somerville College, London after having passed Oxford Entrance Examination.

[Pada bulan September 1972, Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah telah berangkat ke England bagi melanjutkan pelajaran di Chaltenham Ladies College, Gloucestershire hingga tingkatan enam. Kemudian, Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah meneruskan pengajiannya di Davies College London pada September 1977 dan tahun berikutnya di terima masuk ke Somerville College, London setelah lulus peperiksaan Oxford Entrance Examination.]

After graduated at Oxford University with Bachelor of Art in June 1983 and follow the traditional University of Oxford, Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith will receive Master of Art after three years in 1986. Yang Amat Mulia also is a linguist follow several courses including language Mandarin at the tertiary level, French and Italy language.

[Setelah menamatkan pengajian di Universiti Oxford dengan mendapat Ijazah Bachelor of Art pada bulan Jun 1983 dan mengikut tradisi Universiti Oxford, Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah akan menerima Ijazah Master of Art selepas tiga tahun iaitu pada tahun 1986. Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah juga merupakan seorang ahli bahasa yang mengikuti beberapa kursus termasuk bahasa Mandarin di peringkat tinggi, bahasa Perancis dan bahasa Itali.]

As his father, Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah is a person that talented in picture arts. Refinement of soul, Yang Amat Mulia always watching natural beauty environment immortalize in the form photograph and painting to make look and reference. Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith performance become guide to deliver the message education to general public. Yang Amat Mulia concern on women and natural world and it custody aspect in become deep theme in painting.
[Seperti ayahdanya, Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah adalah seorang yang berbakat dalam seni lukisan. Kehalusan jiwa Tunku dalam memerhatikan keindahan alam persekitaran diabadikan dalam bentuk foto dan lukisan untuk dijadikan tatapan dan rujukan. Hasil karya Tunku menjadi wadah dalam menyampaikan mesej pendidikan kepada khalayak umum. Keprihatinan Tunku pada wanita dan alam semulajadi serta aspek penjagaannya di angkat menjadi tema dalam lukisan Tunku.]

Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah comply have interest profoundest field documentation. Apart from producing book, Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith doubled up guest writer in the The New Straits Times newspapers and in personal column it “Mind Matters” in The Star newspaper. Besides writing, Yang Amat Mulia comply active presenting a working paper at the conference national level and international.

[Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah turut mempunyai minat yang mendalam dibidang penulisan. Selain menghasilkan buku, Tunku turut menjadi penulis tamu di akhbar The New Straits Times newspapers dan dalam ruangan peribadinya “Mind Matters” dalam akhbar The Star. Selain menulis, Tunku turut aktif membentangkan kertas kerja di persidangan peringkat kebangsaan dan antarabangsa.]

Education from her father and mother over concern to the people, make Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah likes engaged in voluntary activities about as Deputy President of Majlis Wanita Johor (ROSE), Chief of Persatuan Pandu Puteri Malaysia Johor branch, Chairman of Nationalistic Community Service Red Crescent Malaysia, Patron of Spastic Children School in Johor Bahru, Patron Rotary Club of Tebrau Foundation, Advisor of Traditional Arts School International in London and become Pro Chancellor University Technology Malaysia (UTM) and becomen Royal Felllow Faculty of Language and Linguistic University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).

[Didikan ayahanda dan bonda tercinta mengenai keprihatinan kepada rakyat, membuatkan Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah gemar melibatkan diri dalam aktiviti-aktiviti sukarela antaranya sebagai Timbalan Presiden Majlis Wanita Johor (MAWAR), Yang Dipertua Persatuan Pandu Puteri Malaysia Cawangan Johor, Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Khidmat Masyarakat Kebangsaan Bulan Sabit Merah Malaysia, Penaung Sekolah Kanak-Kanak Spastik Johor Bahru, Penaung Rotary Club of Tebrau Foundation, Penasihat Sekolah Kesenian Tradisional Antarabangsa di London dan menjadi Pro Canselor Universiti Technologi Malaysia (UTM) serta menjadi Felllow Diraja Fakulti Bahasa dan Linguistik Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM).]

As the appreciation towards her contributions of ideas and efforts in the development of education in Malaysia, Chancellor of University Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, Duli Yang Amat Mulia Tunku lbrahim lsmail lbni Sultan lskandar, Tunku Mahkota Johor, has approbation to presented the awards to Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah binti Almarhum Sultan Idris Al-Mutawakil Alallahi Shah the Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy in Education at 7th Convocation Ceremony of University Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia in this year. Congratulation from us, University Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia members.
[Sebagai tanda penghargaan terhadap sumbangan idea dan tenaga dalam dunia pendidikan di Malaysia, Duli Yang Amat Mulia Tunku lbrahim lsmail lbni Sultan lskandar, Tunku Mahkota Johor, Canselor UTHM telah perkenan untuk menyampaikan anugerah kepada Yang Amat Mulia Raja Zarith Sofiah binti Almarhum Sultan Idris Al-Mutawakil Alallahi Shah selaku penerima Ijazah Kehormat Doktor Falsafah (Pendidikan) pada Majlis Konvokesyen Ketujuh Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia pada tahun ini. Tahniah di ucapkan dari warga Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia.]

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Revisiting Pulau Batu Puteh

I am a Johorean, and I am proud to be one.

So when we lost Pulau Batu Puteh so Singapore, I was so angry. We should not have proceeded with the ICJ if we have yet to find the crucial letter stating that Johor only allowed Singapore to build and manage the lighthouse. I believe that that letter may still be in Singapore, and the Singaporeans, with their own interests at hand, will not admit to the existence of the letter.

Another factor that tilted the scale towards Singapore was the fact that they controlled, through their military, the waters surrounding Pulau Batu Puteh. And, we, the Malaysians, being a considerate neighbour, would never want to create unnecessary military tensions by using our own military strength to control the same territorial waters. Unfortunately, the ICJ ruled that such control by Singapore showed evidence of ownership of the island.

Singapore is now taking steps to extend their territorial claims over the waters surrounding Pulau Batu Puteh.

My beloved Sultan of Johor has vowed to reclaim Pulau Batu Puteh. I think, and rightly so, His Royal Highness was equally dissatisfied with the ICJ’s decision, or rather, the way the Malaysian government handled the issue through ICJ. Knowing my Sultan, he must have been angry with Pak Lah and Syed Hamid, our then Foreign Minister.

When it was disclosed that Tengku Razaleigh had written a letter to Rais Yatim to freeze technical discussion with Singapore in respect of Pulau Batu Puteh, I cannot but stop thinking that the Sultan of Johor may have consulted Ku Li on the matter. Ku Li, being a royalty in his own right, would be the best proxy to “deliver” messages from the Sultan to the government. And the government should consider the content of Ku Li’s letter with upmost respect and importance.

Pak Lah, at this crucial time, should take heed of the views from the Malay Rulers. Any complications arising from potential defections from the ruling party may require possible consultations with the King, and other Malay Rulers.

On the other hand, both Pak Lah and Anwar, the current PM and Opposition Leader respectively, are from Penang, a state without a Malay Ruler. Both may have very different attitude towards the Malay Rulers compared to people like me.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Mob rule under Anwar-led PKR

We all know that the just concluded Permatang Pauh by-election has been dubbed as the most intimidating and violent election ever in Malaysia. A lot of opposition supporters from outside Permatang Pauh camped there to overwhelm the BN election machinery. UMNO supporters have been particularly subjected to intimidations and abuses by PKR supporters. A few senior UMNO officials were also targeted.

Such level of intimidation and abuses never happen before the formation of PKR. PKR introduced the culture since it was formed in late 1990s. It follows closely with Anwar’s student-day tactics in the early 1970s.

Groups of guards were formed by PKR to citizen-control the crowd on election day, since their leader/ candidate has formally told them that the police cannot be trusted. The guards were supposed to weed out potential phantom voters. But with 81% voters turnout and 31,000 votes for Anwar, I wonder whether PKR themselves managed to slip in their own phantom voters to ensure Anwar’s win. After all, Anwar and the gang know very well how phantom voters work.

Psych-war and forward attack are both very evident in Anwar-led PKR. Intimidating and speculation-laden SMSes swirled around as part of their tactical strategy. For example, SMS were sent out to ask certain people to collect money from the UMNO candidate. That, they hope, would be a basis to proof vote buying on UMNO’s part. Anwar forward attack strategy was initiated against IGP Tan Sri Musa and AG Gani Patail by reporting them for alleged abuse of power during Anwar’s 1998 case, and thus disqualifying both of them from taking any role in Saiful-Sodomy II investigation.

There are a lot of PKR-initiated SMSes swirling around the nation before, during and after the election. A lot of SMSes claiming Anwar arrest under ISA spread before the by-election. Now, leading to 16 September 2008, the SMSes include chronology of events that were supposed to occur prior to the D-Day.

One of the SMSes also claimed that IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan was paralysed and in critical condition following his heart by-pass surgery. I think that has gone too far. I personally admire Tan Sri Musa, since his days as CID director. He is a good cop, and I never doubted his strict sense of rule.

I also deplore PKR’s doa against Tan Sri Musa. May Allah give His divine retribution during the holy month of Ramadhan to those spreading malicious lies on Tan Sri Musa and to those who perform such doa.

I am very unnerved with the mob tactics by PKR under Anwar’s leadership. These people have a lot of vengeance in them. Their emotions are being played up, particularly by Anwar, with his rhetoric.

We do not want to end up with mob rule under Anwar-led PKR.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Lim Kit Siang to become DPM, and later, PM?

According to news report here, if Anwar were successful in forming the new federal government, DAP will propose Lim Kit Siang to play a “frontline” role. Does this mean that Anwar will appoint LKS as his DPM?

We all know that DAP is banking on Anwar to gather forces and wrest control of the federal government. They can’t rely on PAS to do that. They can’t even rely on Wan Azizah or other PKR top guns to do that. DAP simply will not trust other people in PKR to proceed with their grand plan for Malaysian Malaysia. Anwar is their one and only hope.

However, I think the appointment by Anwar of LKS as DPM will not happen. The Malays will not let it happen. The Sultans will not let it happen. The King will not let it happen.

DAP is banking on Anwar because of his political skills and mastery. They also know that Anwar carries with him cans of worms. Karpal, for one, has been actively quite lately. I have not seen him praising Anwar for his Permatang Pauh win or for Anwar’s election as the Opposition Leader. Karpal is the one person who asked PM Mahathir to take action against Anwar for the Sodomy 1998 case when Anwar was the DPM. And Karpal knows a lot more dark secrets about Anwar.

Should Anwar become PM, with LKS as DPM, DAP will start manoeuvring actions to blackmail Anwar. If the PM is under investigation for gross scandal, DPM will have to take over, and assume leadership role of the federal government. And LKS will become PM of Malaysia. With only 25% Chinese population in Malaysia, LKS will become leader and in control of Malays, Indians and others.

I hope that would not happen. At least not during my lifetime.

What may happen is that, if Pakatan takes control of the federal government, the Chinese will take control of major decision making process. Anwar owes that to them, and he has to. DAP will play a major role in Pakatan. There is no credible Malay in PKR who can assume senior posts in Pakatan-led government. Most Malay-PKR members are disgruntled ex-UMNO members who, among others, despised Khairy and the fourth floor boys. They have similar UMNO mentalities, and they will never bring better changes to Malaysia. The changes that Anwar proposes may already be part of the present government to-do lists. Anwar may have access to some of the future government plans and packaged it as his own.

PAS will not get prominent senior posts too. Anwar’s overseas backers would not like that to happen. Anwar will only become a pawn in DAP’s political game.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Atrocious advertorial by Universiti Tun Hussein Onn

This advertorial was published on 23 August 2008 in New Straits Times. It was in honour of Raja Zarith Sofia Sofiah, a linguist and prolific writer. She does not deserve this kind of salutation.

I think KUiTTHO (Kolej Universiti Teknologi Tun Hussein Onn) does not deserve the university status.

Monday, September 1, 2008

My Ramadhan Hypothesis

As a Muslim, I truly believe that the temptations from Satan are greatly curb during the month of Ramadhan.

Those who still commit sin would usually be habitual sinner and those who refuse to repent. Non-Muslims would still continue with their own lifestyles. Crimes would still be committed, either by Muslims or Non-Muslims.

But I believe that crimes committed during the month of Ramadhan would be committed by true criminal (Muslim or otherwise), who act based on their inner desire and lust. They should not blame outside influence for the crimes that they commit during Ramadhan. And that should apply to the killer(s) of Altantuya and the mastermind behind the crime.

If I were to prepare a thesis on criminology, I would like to statistically proof that on average, crime rate would be lowest during the month of Ramadhan. I would gather data from various cities in USA (New York, Los Angeles, Miami, etc), United Kingdom (London, Manchester etc), Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth etc), France (Paris) and others (including in Muslim countries).

Since Muslim calendar is lunar-based, Ramadhan would cover all seasons over a period of 30 years. Thus the statistics would not be season-biased (in any case, we would be able to compare against crime rate in Australia, which has opposite seasonal period compared to USA and UK).

In summary, Jurublog’s Ramadhan hypothesis states that: “On average, crime rate would be lowest during the month of Ramadhan compared to other months of the year”.

Any takers to proof the hypothesis?

Ramadhan al-Mubarak

Selamat menyambut bulan Ramadhan al-Mubarak.

I am actually so glad that Ramadhan has finally arrived again. It is usually the month in which I can easily ensure that all my compulsory religious obligations are observed. I somehow found it more difficult to do that in other months, especially in observing Solat on a timely manner. Somehow, I usually leave it to the last minute to perform my Subuh, Zohor or Maghrib.

One of my teachers reminded me that during the month of Ramadhan, Allah will instruct the Angels to open all the gates of Heavens and the gates will remain opened during the whole month of Ramadhan; Allah will instruct the Angels to close the gates of Hells and the gates will remain closed during the whole month of Ramadhan; and Allah will instruct that the Satans be tied-up during the whole month of Ramadhan.

The ustadz also reminded me that the Satans will be tie-up at various places e.g. places of sins (nightclubs, casinos, brothels etc), poles (e.g. telephone poles, electrical poles, even poles inside the Masjids), and onto people who refused to repent.

So, it is not so true that you will not be tempted by the Satans at all during the month of Ramadhan. Apart from having to curb your inner desire and lust, you may still to cope with the whispers from Satans, if you happen to be near them. My take: avoid such places above and avoid the people whom you know are habitual gross sinner.

Politicians who are habitual liar will still say things which they knew are not truthful. (So, expect Anwar to continue with his quest to persuade the defectors to join him). Habitual sinners will continue with their quests, and those near to them may fall into the same temptations. Non-Muslims will still do whatever they see fit to do. (I am not suggesting that Muslims should stay away from non-Muslims, but rather, Muslims should be more aware that temptations may come from these people).

I pray for a blissful Ramadhan ahead, and may Allah forgive all of our sins and provide us with abundance of compassion and gratitude.