Monday, September 29, 2008

BALIK KAMPUNG

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
Balik kampung is a great tradition. It helps renew our ties and relationship with other members of our parent’s family and relatives. And if we really come from the kampungs, it would remind us of our past, our bucolic antecedents and the simple life that we lead.

Malays and Chinese alike religiously practise this great tradition. The cities and towns would become very quiet, the streets almost empty and the air free of smoke and dust.

My regret is that many who take to the roads to balik kampung will never reach home. They would die in unfortunate road accidents. Instead of their relatives welcoming them with joy and love, their Hari Raya or Chinese New Year would be a sad one as they mourn their bereavements.

Then there is the return to Kuala Lumpur and again quite a few will not make it.

Lots of things have been tried by the Government of Malaysia to reduce fatal road accidents. But the figures keep on increasing.

Malaysians generally drive very fast. They get very impatient if the car ahead of them is slow. They would overtake, sometimes weaving in between the streams of cars ahead of them.

Sometimes the drivers may be careful. But other drivers may not be so careful and might crash into them with fatal consequences.

I think it is important for everyone from private car drivers to truck and bus drivers to drive slowly and really carefully. It is better to reach your destination slightly late but alive than to arrive in a body bag at the hospital morgue.

I suppose we all have heard of this advice. We think death on the roads only happen to other people. But you are the “other people” to other people. Death may come to you, probably together with your loved ones.

I pray to Allah that you will heed the advice given to you. It doesn’t cost you anything to be careful when driving.

Remember you may be the “other people” to die in a road accident reported this year.

Please be careful. Please drive slowly and carefully. Think of your relatives waiting for you. Think of how sad and miserable they will be when their anticipated joy turns to misery.

I and my wife wish all drivers a safe journey home. We want to read your comment on the blog. May Allah s.w.t. be with you.

Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir Batin.

Mahathir and Hasmah



*****


BALIK KAMPUNG

Balik kampung adalah satu tradisi yang amat baik. Ianya dapat menolong mengekalkan pertalian dan hubungan kita dengan ahli keluarga ibu bapa kita dan saudara mara kita. Dan jika kita benar-benar datang dari kampung, ianya akan ingatkan kita kembali tentang asal-usul kita, kenangan manis masa lampau dan kehidupan kita yang serba sederhana dahulu.

Kaum Melayu dan Cina amat menghormati tradisi ini. Kota dan bandar-bandar akan menjadi sunyi sepi dengan jalanraya yang hampir kosong dan udara yang bebas habuk dan asap.

Namun saya kesal kerana antara mereka yang pulang ke kampung akan ada yang tidak akan sampai ke rumah. Mereka akan terkorban di dalam kemalangan jalanraya. Hari Raya, mahupun Tahun Baru Cina yang sepatutnya disambut dengan kegembiraan dan kasih sayang keluarga yang menanti kepulangan kita ke kampung sebaliknya bertukar kepada kesedihan meratap akan yang telah pergi.

Selepas itu pula tiba masanya untuk pulang ke Kuala Lumpur dan sekali lagi akan ada yang tidak akan sampai balik.

Banyak usaha yang telah dilakukan Kerajaan Malaysia untuk merendahkan kadar kemalangan maut. Tetapi angka tersebut masih tetap meningkat.

Rakyat Malaysia pada umumnya memandu dengan laju. Mereka akan hilang sabar jika kenderaan di hadapan mereka berjalan dengan perlahan. Mereka akan memintas, dan kadang-kadang memotong beberapa kenderaan di hadapan mereka sekaligus.

Ada kalanya kita berhati-hati. Tetapi pemandu lain pula kurang cermat dan akan berlanggar dengan kita dan mengakibatkan kematian.

Saya rasa amat penting bagi semua pemandu-pemandu kenderaan persendirian, lori dan bas untuk memandu dengan perlahan dan cermat. Lebih baik tiba ke destinasi lewat sedikit tetapi selamat daripada dihantar ke rumah mayat hospital.

Saya kira kita semua biasa dengar nasihat ini. Kita fikir kematian di jalan raya hanya terjadi kepada “orang lain”. Tetapi kita adalah “orang lain” kepada orang lain. Kematian mungkin akan datang kepada kita, mungkin bersama orang yang kita sayang.

Saya berdoa kepada Allah s.w.t. agar kita beringat tentang pesanan yang diberi ini. Memandu dengan cermat dan berhati-hati tidak akan merugikan kita.

Ingatlah yang kita mungkin jadi “orang lain” yang terkorban di dalam kemalangan yang dilapor tahun ini.

Tolonglah berhati-hati. Pandulah dengan cermat dan jangan memecut. Ingatlah keluarga yang sedang menunggu. Fikirkanlah betapa sedih dan pilunya hati mereka apabila kegembiraan yang dinanti bertukar menjadi kesedihan.

Saya dan isteri saya mengucapkan selamat pulang ke kampung kepada semua. Kami ingin terus membaca komen anda semua di dalam blog ini. Semoga Allah s.w.t. sentiasa bersama-sama kita semua.

Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir Batin.

Mahathir dan Hasmah

Saturday, September 27, 2008

SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDILFITRI

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
Saya dan isteri saya mengucapkan Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri kepada semua rakyat Malaysia yang beragama Islam, khususnya kepada pelayar laman blog chedet.

Alhamdulillah, sekali lagi dapat kita bersama-sama meraikan hari kebesaran ini setelah sebulan menjalankan ibadah puasa.

Disamping bergembira bersama keluarga, saya harap kita akan teruskan tradisi kunjung mengunjung ke rumah-rumah terbuka untuk mengeratkan lagi silaturrahim di antara kita, terutama sekali dengan rakan-rakan kita yang bukan beragama Islam.

Semoga di hari yang gembira ini hubungan kita sebagai rakyat yang berbilang kaum dan agama di negara yang tercinta ini akan bertambah erat.

Saya akan mengadakan majlis rumah terbuka bersempena dengan sambutan Hari Raya Aidilfitri seperti berikut;

Tarikh : Oktober 5, 2008
Tempat : 58, Jalan Kuda Emas, The Mines Resort City, Seri Kembangan,
Selangor
Masa : 10:00 pg – 1.00 tgh dan 2.30 ptg – 5.00 ptg


Kepada yang akan menyambut Aidilfitri di kampung, berhati-hatilah ketika memandu dan kami mendoakan perjalanan pulang yang selamat.

Sekali lagi saya dan isteri saya ucapkan Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Maaf Zahir Batin.

Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad

Dr Siti Hasmah bt Mohd Ali

1 Syawal 1429 Hijrah

Friday, September 26, 2008

THE UNITED STATES

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
1. I wonder what is happening to the United States of America. It used to lay down the laws and rules which the whole world must abide. If any country refuses then blacklisting, sanctions and even invasions by the US forces might ensue.

2. It set the forms and standards for everything; systems of Government, human rights, economic transparency etc etc. Now it seems to be breaking or ignoring its own rules, regulations and laws.

3. It had condemned the Internal Security Act as unjust and a violation of human rights. Following the shock and awe invasion of Iraq, it has detained alleged terrorists without trial and without rights and habeas corpus proceeings. Some detainees have been there for five years.

4. Then in Abu Ghraib detention camp detainees have been tortured and humiliated. They were treated like animals. If it had happened in some weak Asian country, the US would demand for all kinds of punishment which the US is ever ready to inflict. But no one can drag Americans to court and punish them. If at all American courts would try these miscreants and the punishment would be very light.

5. Because of the extraordinary greed of American financiers and businessmen, they invent all kinds of ways to make huge sums of money. We cannot forget how in 1997-98 American hedge funds destroyed the economies of poor countries by manipulating their national currencies.

6. When as a result of the so-called trade in currencies the companies in the poor countries faced bankruptcy, the Governments were told not to bail out any company or bank which was in deep trouble. The Americans claimed that these companies or banks were inefficient and they should be allowed to go bankrupt and perish. Better still they should be sold at fire-sale price to American investors.

7. Yet today we see the US Government readying US700 billion to brazenly bail out banks, mortgage companies and insurance companies.

8. Where does the money come from? From thin air as no real money in cash or bullion or anything tangible are moved into the bankrupt banks. The money is just in the form of loan papers and entries in the books of the banks or companies.

9. The US 700 billion has no backing whatsoever. No gold reserves, no foreign currency reserves as required for other countries. Without such backing the US Dollar is actually useless. Only the military power of the US is forcing the world to give value to the US Dollar.

10. Desperate to avoid a serious recession the US has abandoned all its principles. It has now banned short selling, limited currency trading and insist that the accounts of hedge funds and currency traders to be open for inspection and be published.

11. In the final spasm of fear, the Government has given itself the right to resolve the problem of bankrupt banks and companies by the Government taking over i.e. the great capitalist country has accepted what is nothing more than nationalisation which it had condemned so much before.

12. The US now owes the world US 14 trillion. There is no way it can ever settle this debt. If other countries fail to repay or service their debts, the US would demand that they be made bankrupt. Now the US is literally bankrupt but it still insists that the pieces of paper, the famous or infamous greenbacks have some value. It actually has no value. Certainly it cannot be used to finance wars of aggression against Iraq and Afghanistan, to finance the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) activities in undermining Governments and countries. But still the US’ ability to threaten countries is undiminished.

13. An attempt is being made even in Malaysia to achieve a regime change. Money has been funnelled to certain individuals and parties to ensure that a well-known candidate with extensive connection to the US Jewish lobby would somehow become the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

14. US intervention in the politics of Malaysia is clear. I may not agree with the leadership of the present Government but I resent and object to US manipulations to make a satellite of this nation.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

PEGGING

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
1. I am not in the business of advising the Government. When I mentioned the advisability of pegging the Ringgit, it was in answer to a question posed by a reporter. If the Government noticed the report I would feel flattered.

2. Pegging currencies is not as easy as it sounds. The whole thing must be studied very carefully. Even getting agreement by a select panel is not easy. A decision made on the spur of the moment that pegging is not possible cannot really reflect the assessment made together with experts in consultation.

3. Pegging need not be always with the US Dollar. But the fact that the US Dollar is currently not stable is no reason why the idea should be summarily dismissed.

4. There can be other options. Other more stable currencies can be used or a basket of currencies may be used to reduce extreme volatility.

5. The US Dollar is backed by nothing, not even reserves in foreign currencies and gold which other countries hold in order to back their own currencies. The US is a bankrupt nation which means it is not in a position to provide foreign currency backing for its money.

6. The gold in Fort Knox has been depleted long ago and the pegging to gold of a certain amount as agreed to at the Bretton Woods has been done away with by President Nixon. No more gold standards. Yet the US Dollar still commands a certain value in the market. It is still being used for trade payments. This in fact gives the US Dollar a certain value even though the value, in exchange rate terms may change.

7. If the US Dollar is not used in international trading, it will have no value at all. This will of course hurt a lot of countries including Malaysia which carry substantial sums of US Dollar as reserves. Countries like China, Saudi Arabia and tiny Singapore would want to support trade payments made in US Dollar. They do not want their huge reserves of US Dollar to become worthless.

8. What we see here is the importance of international trade payments in sustaining the value of a currency.

9. Long, long ago I suggested the use of a special currency for trade. The currency should be equal in value to a fixed amount of gold. It should not be used domestically as each country would have its own currency pegged to the special trading currency.

10. The price of gold may go up and down but we know that the price of gold today is more than, say, 30 years ago. If we keep gold long enough we will eventually see it appreciating. It is not as volatile as currency notes.

11. So gold is an ideal standard for a trade currency. Effectively we would be going back to the Gold Standard, both for the trading currency and the domestic currency. For the domestic currency the rate against gold can change in keeping with inflation.

12. It was suggested that we call this trading currency the “dinar”. Transactions would of course not be in solid gold dinars but with equivalent papers. It is not practical to carry around so much gold dinars but this will not be necessary if a country’s export to another country and its import from that country is fairly balanced and only the difference need to be paid.

13. I am not an expert in this area but we can get experts to study whether pegging or the gold dinar are feasible. I would not dismiss the eficacy of these so easily.

14. Perhaps I can make a ridiculous suggestion. Why not make all Malaysian trade payments in Malaysian Ringgit?

15. We are a big trading nation. We export more than 200 billion Ringgit worth of raw material and manufactured goods and we import slightly less than that. Traders cannot just ignore us or boycott us. They need our exports and they need to sell their products to us.

16. All we need to do is to demand payment in Malaysian Ringgit for our exports. We can require payment for our imports in Ringgit according to the current value in an international trading currency or gold.

17. If we do this there will be a constant demand for Ringgit and this will keep the value of the Ringgit at a certain level which we can fix, taking into consideration factors which influence its value.

18. This may sound like a ridiculous suggestion. But not being a trained economist or financier I can allow myself the privilege of unorthodox thinking.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Snippets

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
SHAHIDAN PENASIHAT NCER

Laporan Utusan Malaysia semalam (Sept 23, 2008) amat menggembirakan saya. Sahabat saya Dato Seri Shahidan Kassim, Menteri Besar Perlis yang gagal menjadi Menteri Besar walaupun Perlis di antara negeri yang menang dalam pilihanraya 2008 telah dilantik oleh YAB Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Perdana Menteri Malaysia untuk menjadi penasihat dan pembantu beliau dalam mencapai visi serta misi Wilayah Ekonomi Koridor Utara.

Orang yang busuk hati mungkin menyangka perlantikan ini adalah sebagai cara untuk Abdullah mendapat sokongan ahli Majlis Tertinggi ini supaya dia tidak sokong tuntutan beberapa ahli lain supaya Abdullah berhenti sebelum mesyuarat bahagian.

Kalau saya tidak salah apabila sahaja tokoh tertinggi parti UMNO ternampak mungkin akan menimbul masalah kepada Abdullah, tokoh berkenaan akan dilantik ke jawatan tertentu atau jika tidak ada jawatan dilantik sebagai penasihat kepada YAB Perdana Menteri. Yang bernasib baik akan diberi taraf Menteri. Selepas itu senyap sunyi.

Apakah ini satu jenis rasuah, wallahua’lam.

Dengan begitu banyak penasihat amat menghairankan kenapa tidakan Perdana Menteri Abdullah tidak begitu bijak. Mungkinkah ini disebabkan adanya penasihat bertaraf Menteri pun tetapi tidak ada suara. Ikatan kekeluargaan antara penasihat dan yang dinasihati mungkin lebih utama daripada yang tidak ada ikatan kekeluargaan, wallahua’lam.

p/s Saya juga ucapkan tahniah kepada Ahli Parlimen Pasir Salak, Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman yang dilantik sebagai Pengerusi Felcra.

Adalah dijangka ramai lagi yang akan dilantik ke jawatan-jawatan tertentu atau jawatan yang diwujudkan khusus.

Yang belum sokong sila percepatkan sokongan. Masih banyak jawatan yang kosong atau dicipta khusus.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

SUPREME COUNCIL

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
(Versi Bahasa Malaysia di akhir artikel ini)

1. The goings on in the UMNO Supreme Council are supposed to be secret. So it was quite a surprise when the press reported some important details regarding the Supreme Council’s meeting on Thursday, September 18. What is even more surprising is that the reports expose the attacks against Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi by several members of the council and their demand that the transfer of power should take place before the divisional meetings which would nominate the candidates for President.

2. It appears that the words used by some of the members were very strong. Dato Seri Rafidah Aziz even attacked the roles played by Abdullah’s son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin and the PM’s son, Kamaluddin.

3. So harsh were the words used that Abdullah’s face changed and he was reeling from the onslaught when Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak, ever the protector of Abdullah, stopped the proceedings. Najib promised he would speak on the matter with Abdullah.

4. It seems that the other Supreme Council members were not happy as once again controversial council matters were made into private deals between Abdullah and Najib. It is the kind of negation of council rights that both Abdullah and Najib had frequently resorted to. The two would later come out with decisions which were unsatisfactory to the council members. Najib would then stress on the need to be united and loyal to the President.

5. This time around it is not going to be any different. When faced with a tricky problem Abdullah would consult his family members, usually his son and son-in-law but now also his wife.

6. It is well known that the family is enjoying the power and freedom to shape Abdullah’s decisions based on their own personal interest i.e., to accumulate as much wealth as possible and to ensure Khairy’s political ambitions, including to become the country’s youngest Prime Minister.

7. By the time Abdullah meets Najib he would have been briefed by his family on what to say. And Najib being Najib would then accept Abdullah’s solution to the problem. In this case he would want to insist on staying until June 2010 or maybe a short while before. Najib would then have the task of selling this solution to the Supreme Council. By doing so Najib would go down further in the estimation of the members and of the public when Najib’s behaviour is leaked to the public.

8. When UMNO was formed the founders wanted to ensure that no decisions which seem to contradict the basis of the party’s struggle would get through without the Supreme Council approving them. What happened to Dato Onn Jaafar, the first President (Yang di-Pertua) of UMNO is an excellent example. The President was not obeyed blindly. Instead because he proposed something contrary to the basis of the party’s struggle, it was rejected and as a man of honour he resigned.

9. For almost 50 years the Supreme Council played this role. Thus when (Tun) Musa Hitam resigned as Deputy President of the party, the Supreme Council did not just agree with the President but sat until the early hours of the morning and then decided, the President’s views notwithstanding, to send a delegation of senior members to London to persuade Musa to reassume his post of Deputy President of the party and Deputy Prime Minister. Musa agreed to return as Deputy President, though not as Deputy Prime Minister. And so he was well positioned to bring me down by persuading Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to contest for president against me. Incidentally during his campaign to become UMNO Deputy President he claimed that I backed him.

10. But after Abdullah took over party Presidency and became Prime Minister the character of the Supreme Council changed completely. It became the personal instrument of Abdullah for approving and legitimising all and everything he did.

11. I believe on Thursday the worm turned partially. A few members found courage to demand the early resignation of Abdullah. Of course the “Yes-men” did not turn. The worm became so twisted that there is real danger it would break into two.

12. I suppose this would worry Najib who wanted a peaceful transfer of power in order to keep the party intact. So he is likely to accept any scheme which would allow Abdullah to relinquish his post in a blaze of glory.

13. Unfortunately Najib will not get his wish. There has never been a President of UMNO who is as much disliked and even hated by the people as Abdullah. Malays, Chinese and Indians, whether members of the Government component parties or mere supporters or ordinary people all want Abdullah to go, the sooner the better.

14. The only people who want him to stay are those who owe their positions to him, or who benefited from contracts and other largesse distributed by him. For some, including civil servants there is just fear of him which keeps them silent but sullen.

15. Strangely the true supporters of Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as Prime Minister and UMNO President are members of the opposition. Karpal Singh, Anwar Ibrahim and Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat want him to stay, at least till the next election.

16. However it is not for love of him but because they believe that with him leading the Barisan Nasional the opposition stands a better chance of winning the 13th General Election and forming a Government. They feel they are within reach of their objective and did not want to see the renegades of UMNO, MCA, MIC, Gerakan and PPP returning to the fold and make defeating the BN probably an impossible task.

17. So much for the Supreme Council which is no longer Supreme.


******

MAJLIS TERTINGGI

1. Perbincangan di dalam Majlis Tertinggi UMNO sepatutnya rahsia. Jadi amat memeranjatkan apabila akhbar melaporkan beberapa butiran penting berkenaan mesyuarat Majlis Tertinggi yang diadakan pada hari Khamis, 18hb September. Apa yang lebih mengejutkan lagi ialah laporan tersebut mendedahkan tentangan terhadap Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi oleh beberapa ahli majlis dan desakan oleh mereka agar peralihan kuasa diadakan sebelum mesyuarat Bahagian-bahagian yang akan menamakan calon Presiden.

2. Difahamkan bahasa yang digunakan sesetengah ahli agak keras. Dato Seri Rafidah Aziz turut membangkitkan peranan yang dimainkan menantu Abdullah, Khairy Jamaluddin dan anak beliau, Kamaluddin.

3. Begitu keras bahasa yang digunakan hinggakan muka Abdullah berubah. Beliau nampak tertekan dengan desakan ahli majlis apabila Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak, yang sentiasa menjadi penyelamat Abdullah, menghentikan mesyuarat. Najib berjanji untuk bercakap dengan Abdullah berkenaan hal ini.

4. Difahamkan ahli Majlis Tertinggi yang lain merasa tidak puas hati kerana sekali lagi perkara kontroversi yang melibatkan majlis dijadikan bahan perbincangan tertutup antara Abdullah dan Najib. Menidakkan hak majlis adalah sesuatu yang sering dilakukan Abdullah dan Najib. Mereka berdua akan membuat keputusan yang tidak pun memuaskan hati ahli majlis. Najib kemudian akan tekankan betapa pentingnya untuk bersatu dan setia kepada Presiden.

5. Keadaan kali ini juga sama seperti sebelumnya. Apabila berhadapan dengan sesuatu masalah rumit, Abdullah akan meminta nasihat keluarganya, terutama anak dan menantunya termasuk sekarang ini isterinya.

6. Umum mengetahui keluarganya mempunyai kuasa dan kebebasan untuk mempengaruhi segala keputusan-keputusan Abdullah berdasarkan kepentingan diri mereka iaitu untuk mengaut sebanyak mana kekayaan yang mungkin dan untuk mempastikan cita-cita politik Khairi termasuk untuk menjadi Perdana Menteri termuda.

7. Apabila tiba masanya untuk bertemu Najib, Abdullah sudahpun diberi taklimat oleh keluarganya tentang apa yang harus diperkatakan. Dan Najib akan terima apa sahaja keputusan Abdullah untuk meleraikan masalah yang timbul. Di dalam kes ini, Abdullah akan tetap dengan pendiriannya untuk kekal hingga Jun 2010 atau mungkin awal sedikit sebelumnya. Najib kemudian akan ditugaskan untuk “menjual” keputusan ini kepada Majlis Tertinggi. Dengan ini Najib akan lebih dipandang rendah oleh ahli majlis dan rakyat apabila sikapnya ini didedahkan kepada umum.

8. Apabila UMNO ditubuhkan, pemimpin terdahulu memastikan yang tidak akan ada keputusan-keputusan yang bercanggah dengan asas perjuangan parti dibuat tanpa terlebih dahulu mendapat kelulusan Majlis Tertinggi. Apa yang terjadi kepada Dato Onn, Yang di-Pertua UMNO yang pertama merupakan contoh terbaik. Presiden tidak diturut secara buta-tuli. Sebaliknya apabila beliau mencadang sesuatu yang bercanggah dengan perjuangan parti, cadangan beliau ditolak dan sebagai seseorang yang mempunyai maruah, beliau telah mengundur diri.

9. Selama lebih kurang 50 tahun, Majlis Tertinggi memain peranan ini. Demikian apabila (Tun) Musa Hitam meletak jawatan sebagai Timbalan Presiden parti, Majlis Tertinggi yang bersidang tidak bersetuju bulat-bulat dengan Presiden, sebaliknya bermesyuarat hingga ke awal pagi dan membuat keputusan, walau apa juga pendapat Presiden, untuk menghantar satu delegasi yang terdiri daripada ahli-ahli kanan majlis ke London untuk memujuk Musa menerima kembali jawatan Timbalan Presiden parti dan Timbalan Perdana Menteri. Musa bersetuju kembali sebagai Timbalan Presiden tetapi tidak sebagai Timbalan Perdana Menteri. Dengan itu beliau berada di landasan yang baik untuk cuba menjatuhkan saya dengan mempengaruhi Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah bertanding jawatan presiden menentang saya. Secara kebetulan semasa berkempen untuk bertanding jawatan Timbalan Presiden UMNO, beliau mendakwa mendapat sokongan saya.

10. Tetapi apabila Abdullah mengambil alih Presiden parti merangkap Perdana Menteri, perwatakan Majlis Tertinggi bertukar. Ianya menjadi alat peribadi Abdullah untuk melulus dan menghalalkan apa sahaja yang beliau buat.

11. Saya percaya pada hari Khamis keadaan ini telah berubah sedikit. Beberapa orang ahli telah berani meyuarakan desakan supaya Abdullah melepas jawatan awal. Sudah tentulah penyokongnya tidak beralih arah. Demikian ada kemungkinan majlis pecah dua.

12. Saya rasa ini merisaukan Najib yang hendakkan peralihan kuasa secara aman supaya parti tidak pecah-belah. Oleh itu dia akan terima apa sahaja cadangan yang membenarkan Abdullah lepaskan jawatan dengan penuh kegemilangan.

13. Malangnya Najib tidak akan capai impiannya. Tidak pernah ada Presiden UMNO yang begitu sekali dibenci rakyat seperti Abdullah. Melayu, Cina dan India, samada ahli parti komponen Kerajaan mahupun penyokongnya atau rakyat kebanyakan kesemuanya mahukan Abdullah mengundur diri. Lagi cepat lagi baik.

14. Yang mahukan beliau terus pegang jawatan adalah mereka yang kedudukan mereka bergantung kepadanya, atau mereka yang mendapt untung daripada pemberian kontrak dan sebagainya oleh beliau. Bagi sesetengah yang lain, termasuk kakitangan awam, hanya ketakutan terhadapnya yang menyebabkan mereka tidak mahu bersuara tetapi mereka tetap marah.

15. Yang peliknya ialah yang benar-benar menyokong Abdullah sebagai Perdana Menteri dan Presiden UMNO adalah pembangkang. Karpal Singh, Anwar Ibrahim dan Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat hendakkan beliau (Abdullah) kekal sekurang-kurangnya hingga pilihanraya akan datang.

16. Tetapi ini bukanlah kerana mereka sayang kepadanya tetapi kerana mereka percaya dengan beliau mengepalai Barisan Nasional, pembangkang mempunyai peluang yang lebih cerah memenangi pilihanraya umum ke-13 dan mendirikan Kerajaan. Mereka rasakan yang mereka hampir mencapai matlamat mereka dan tidak mahu golongan yang memberontak di dalam UMNO, MCA, MIC, Gerakan dan PPP kembali kepada parti dan menyukarkan usaha mereka untuk kalahkan BN.

17. Begitulah Majlis Tertinggi yang tidakpun lagi tinggi.

Monday, September 22, 2008

THE BARISAN NASIONAL II

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
1. When the Barisan Nasional did very badly in the March 2008 general elections, all the component parties except those in Sabah and Sarawak experienced losses as they had never done before.

2. In the aftermath of the elections, the component parties pointed accusing fingers at each other. Very quickly they were at each other’s throats.

3. There were talks about leaving the BN. And now we are seeing the first party to do so and to become an independent party.

4. Where before all parties avoided raising sensitive issues in public, now in the name of democracy and liberalism sensitive issues are brought up in which the component parties of the BN make known the differences in their view. The result is to widen the divide separating the BN component parties.

5. When Ahmad Ismail made unpalatable remarks about the Chinese, it was made out that it was the view of UMNO itself. Far from denying it, the UMNO leadership accepted the blame and apologised. This solved nothing as the Chinese parties refused to accept the apology but demanded the culprit himself should apologise.

6. He refused and UMNO whose president heads the Government suspended Ahmad for three years. This may satisfy some Chinese but almost immediately the Government arrested a Chinese MP under ISA. The effects of Ahmad’s suspension have been nullified.

7. Now the Malays are angry with the Chinese and the Chinese are angry with the Malays. Party-wise UMNO is angry with Gerakan and MCA and Gerakan/MCA are angry with UMNO.

8. Threats to leave the BN are made by the Chinese parties, not just because of Ahmad’s refusal to apologise but also because of the impression that they are subservient to UMNO. They believe that the failure of Chinese voters to vote for them was due to this junior position they hold in BN. To correct this impression they found it necessary to take pot shots at UMNO and defy the BN leadership.

9. Privately UMNO, MCA Gerakan and MIC express their dislike of Dato Seri Abdullah and his Premiership. But none seem willing to acknowledge that it was dislike for Abdullah which caused the BN to lose the support of the people. Instead they picked on the parties and blame each other.

10. At the rate things are going the BN might split asunder. If each party go their separate ways, none would become a force in Malaysian politics and certainly none, not even UMNO, can aspire to form the Government of Malaysia. Of course they can all join the Opposition under Anwar, but they would still play a subservient role in the Opposition. In any case the Opposition withi its ideological incompatibility would not make a good Government, capable of handling Malaysia’s multi-racial population. It is difficult to think that the hodge-podge collection of incompatible parties can handle oncoming economic and financial problems that are inevitable.

11. The stability of this country has been undermined by the weakness and incompetence of the current Government and the harsh bickering between the Government parties. A Government by the Opposition is not going to be any better and probably would be worse.

12. Currently we are seeing the loss of confidence in the ability of the Government to deal with economic problems. Foreign investors are not coming and together with locals are pulling out their investments in the stock market. From a high of almost 1500 the index is now below 1000. God knows how much market capital has been wiped out.

13. The Ringgit is depreciating and may shrink further. The cost of living has shot up. Businesses are having a hard time already. The recent decision to tax excess profits of the Independent Power Producers has caused foreign investors and locals too to lose confidence. The tax has now been withdrawn but not for the first year. This alone would put the IPPs in trouble with their banks.

14. In at least one case a foreign investor has been given back his deposit of almost 100 million Ringgit because allegedly there was some technical error.

15. I once said Malaysia as a multi-racial country needs a strong government. Multi-racial countries have to face race relation problems. With the need to handle racial problems, the managment of the economy becomes extremely difficult.

16. I cannot see the Opposition with its loose organisation being able to handle Malaysia’s racial and economic problems.

17. In the past, the BN Government had managed to keep Malaysia stable and to develop the country as well. If it seems not to be able to do so now it is not because the BN as a party is no longer suitable for this country. It is simply due to very poor and incompetent leadership.

18. The component parties of the BN should not think that their best hope is to see the demise of the BN. Rather they should all come together to resuscitate it. If it is necessary to dump the leader than they should do so. But destroying the BN will neither be good for the component parties nor for the nation.

19. I am not an UMNO member even but I would like to suggest the component parties should stop blaming each other, stop taking pot-shots at each other. Instead they should all come together and review the structure of BN. They should try for a win-win or lose-lose solution in dealing with inter-party relations. They should listen to the people and to their own members and find ways to satisfy their needs; to overcome their dissatisfaction.

20. There must be some new thinking on the BN concept. But the basic premises about close collaboration between the parties, about the need to help each other, to accommodate and deal with grouses together should be maintained.

21. I believe that for this multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural country with extreme economic disparities, the BN is still the best political solution provider. It is still the best way for the different races to cooperate to govern this country.

22. As the Malays say “Because of one drop of indigo, a whole pot of milk is spoilt.”

23. We must not throw out the baby with the bath water.

24. The BN is still relevant. It is still the ideal coalition for Malaysia’s multi-racial population.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Snippets

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
LOSS OF CONFIDENCE 

1. I was reading the comments on my blog on ‘Mengingati Pejuang-Pejuang’, when I came across a comment which respectfully disagreed with me that the defeat of BN in the General Election was not due to support for the opposition but disaffection with BN.

2. He said if that was the case they could have voted for the third candidate who actually lost his deposit.

3. I had lost in the Election of 1969 in a constituency with 35,000 voters of whom 30,000 were Malays. I had won in this constituency in 1964 with more than 4,000 votes majority. I figured that in 1969 that even if the non-Malay voters did not vote for me I would still win because support for me amongst the Malays had increased by almost 3,000.

4. But what happened shocked me because Chinese voters not only refused to vote for me, which meant a loss of 3,000 votes but they voted for PAS. I needed 6,000 more votes to replace 3,000 voters who did not vote for me and another 3,000 because they voted for PAS.

5. I lost by 900 votes. If the voters who were dissatisfied with UMNO and BN voted for a third party or refuse to vote, the BN would lose these votes but may still win if the margin previously was big and the opposition did not get additional votes. But when votes were taken away from BN there would be a decrease in BN votes. Then when the votes are given to the opposition there would be an increase in votes for the opposition and so the gap is widened and the opposition would win.

6. Experience has shown that independent third parties hardly ever win. Supporting them would reduce BN votes but that would not be enough to ensure the opposition wins.

7. The rakyat are right in being fed-up with corruption by UMNO “plutocrats”. But that had not always been so. It is the corrupt practises of UMNO leaders of today, especially the topmost leader, which has caused deep anger against the party.

8. Actually the present leader’s involvement with graft, his support for his son’s business, the power he gives to his son-in-law, his well-known sleeping habits, indecision, lack of ability to handle problems, sudden withdrawal of oil subsidy, cancellation of the bridge to Singapore, wasting money on the unused RM800 million (Johor Baru) Customs, Immigration and Quarantine building, cancellation of the railway double tracking and electrification project, the monsoon cup and lots more are what turned the voters against BN.

9. The kampung folks and the ordinary Chinese by and large are not too concerned about human rights or more liberal Government. Even the ISA did not bother them as shown by their strong backing for the Government party, before.

10. The talks in the kampungs and the ordinary Chinese and Indians were about the increase in cost of living, few business opportunities and of course the behaviour of the PM’s family.

11. In 2004 they gave wholehearted support for the BN so that the party won 90% of the seats in parliament and recaptured Terengganu. Could it be possible that the voters who were so greatly enchanted with the BN in 2004 but in a space of just four years have changed their collective minds so radically?

12. As for rejection of race based politics, why did the voters vote for PAS, a 100 percent Malay party and DAP, a predominantly Chinese party.

13. I know many who admire the West tend to support their values. They would like to interpret the disastrous performance of the BN based on Western thinking. But we are Asians and in Malaysia our basic racial differences are extreme. All we can do to avoid confrontation between the races is to allow them to form race based parties and to have them cooperate with each other. This was the BN policy and practise. And it worked for almost half a century.

14. We cannot fault the BN concept and governance. We have to look elsewhere for the loss of confidence in the party.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

FINANCIAL TURMOIL

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
1. The world is going through financial turmoil but most Malaysian politicians especially those in the Government seem blissfully unaware or unconcerned. Already 10 major banks in America have collapsed. The almighty US Dollar has depreciated. Now the huge insurance corporation, the American International Group is on the verge of bankruptcy.

2. In the last three quarters AIG lost US$18.5 billion dollars (68 billion Ringgit). AIG is struggling to raise funds to overcome its difficulties. If it fails it may have to opt for bankruptcy. But AIG is going to lose even more.

3. The failures are all due to playing with money, selling mortgages, selling papers and all kinds of financial dealings which have been invented by the finance houses in order to make huge sums of money out of nothing. Currency trading is one of them.

4. I am not a financial expert but I see trouble coming our way. Our currency should be appreciating against the cheaper US Dollar. But instead it is depreciating. This must be caused by weaknesses in our economy.

5. Despite Government propaganda through the controlled media that we are doing well, the reality is otherwise. The foreign investors, including Arabs came, and the reports claim that hundreds of millions of Ringgit in investment would be coming in, but there is no sign that the investors are actually investing. In fact I hear in the IT sector a proposed 600 million Ringgit investment has been withdrawn.

6. Apart from Arabs buying up new skyscrapers there is no sign that investments are really coming in.

7. I talked to potential investors and they told me they would not be investing and they are pulling out from the Malaysian stock market. The KLSE figures show how much market capital has disappeared. I am told that it is more than 100 billion Ringgit.

8. In the meantime the prices of oil and foodstuff are high and may go higher. But incomes are not increasing. In other words we are experiencing inflation. When the American financial crisis really hits us we may not be able to handle it.

9. Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak’s appointment as Minister of Finance has come at a crucial time. I pray and hope he will be able to handle the impending crisis. If he fails then he will have to take the blame. Dato Seri Abdullah is now only involved in social issues, reform (of what?) and Islam Hadari. Appropriately he has taken over the Ministry of Defence.

10. We are in for a very interesting time. The PM should read carefully SAPP President Yong Teck Lee’s press statement. But I don’t think he would. He is reputed to have told Malaysian diplomats undergoing training that if they are asked critical questions they should “buat bodoh” i.e. pretend to be stupid. I believe that is precisely what Abdullah would do to Yong’s statement.


PS

1. I read this morning that the Federal Reserve Bank will loan to AIG US$85 billion to prevent it from going into bankruptcy.

2. I remember well how we were told never to bail out failing companies. But in the last one year the Fed has bailed out dozens of failing banks, mortgage corporations and other businesses. Altogether the bail out has cost the Fed almost US$500 billion dollars.

3. I just wonder where the money comes from. Does the Fed hold hundreds of billions of dollars in readiness to rescue failed banks? I don’t think so.

4. The money used is “created” through entries in account books. No cash or dollar notes are issued or even printed. Like a magician, the Fed make money from invisible sources.

5. Whatever, the USD will continue to fall.

6. Malaysia would be wise to get rid of dollar holdings. This goes for Bank Negara too. It must have lost quite a bit because of the depreciation of the USD.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Snippets

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
A STUDY IN SPINNING

1. Spinning is a method of making thread from cotton wool. But today, spinning has an entirely different meaning.

2. I was told about the spin doctors used by Tony Blair very soon after he became Prime Minister. I did not know what spin doctors do. And so I rejected the suggestion that I should employ spin doctors for press relations.

3. Now we all know all about spin doctors, the chief of whom is Kalimullah. He decides how to spin any report on Abdullah. Reporters often apologise to me because their reports on what I said at press conferences are quite different from what they wrote. But they claim they have no say on what appears in print from their reports.

4. Spinning is the art of making all reports, especially the bad ones, look good for the subject concerned and vice versa. Even the picture can be spun by choosing the ones that will make the subject appear masterly and talking down to his companion. In the case of the Prime Minister the pictures chosen would show him to be dominant in relation to whoever he is talking to, other Prime Ministers, or even Presidents. Never mind if he is junior to his partner but well chosen pictures will make out that he is more senior. Don’t publish a picture of him falling asleep or with a vacant look in his eyes.

5. Readers would be taken in by the spin. If on the other hand, the subject is not liked by the spin doctors, then publish his picture scowling or cringing before whoever was talking to him.

6. Spinning may include misreporting, or excluding certain parts or twisting the sentences to convey another meaning.

7. Once I was asked about the reduction in petroleum price. I said “It is good for the people. We should have more by-elections (the Permatang Pauh by-election was on at that time), then the Government would reduce the price of petrol some more”.

8. What appeared in the press was “Dr Mahathir says the reduction in the price of petrol is good for the people”.

9. I cannot say I did not say it. But the newspaper publisher, by omitting the rest of my statement made it sound as if I was praising the Government for reducing oil price.

10. Sometimes the spinners do not coordinate with each other. The result is to make their reports negate each other.

11. On 15th September, The Star reported with the headline “Muhyiddin wrong to seek PM’s resignation”. The report stated that Dato Seri Rais Yatim, Foreign Minister said that UMNO Vice President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin should not have asked the PM to step down as Malaysia practised democracy.

12. According to the report Rais said, “In a democratic country such action should not take place because we need to respect each other’s views”.

13. The next sentence seemed a bit confused as Rais was reported to have said (sic) urged Abdullah to act against Muhyiddin who had said that Abdullah should rethink his transition plan to step down by 2010 as the time frame was too long.

14. “If the PM thinks the minister (Muhyiddin) is not qualified or clashing with him and that action should be taken against him, then he should do it”, he (Rais) said.

15. For a Foreign Minister I thought this stand taken by him is odd, to say the least. Only recently, Blair the war criminal, PM of Britain was forced by Gordon Brown to resign, which he did. And Britain is an older democracy than Malaysia.

16. Then I read the Utusan Malaysia. I was startled by this paper’s report on Rais under the heading “Tidak wajar gesa Muhyiddin letak jawatan – Rais” (Not right to urge Muhyiddin to resign – Rais).

17. It reports Rais, member of the Supreme Council of UMNO as saying “finger pointing at other people and demanding the individual concerned to step down should not be done.”

18. Rais then said “Jadi tidak wajar anggota Kabinet lain menggesa rakannya supaya berhenti atau diambil tindakan. Itu satu gesaan yang tidak harus dilayan atau dilaksanakan kerana kuasa itu hanya ada pada Perdana Menteri.” (Thus it is not right for other members of the Cabinet to urge his colleague to step down or for action to be taken (against him). That is a demand that should not be entertained or implemented because the power rests only with the Prime Minister).

19. Clearly the two reports are about the same incident but the difference is remarkable. One chastises Muhyiddin and the other defends Muhyiddin.

20. Which report is right? I am inclined to think The Star has spun the report so as to look bad for Muhyiddin. Why the spin? Is it because of a desire to please the powers that be? It does seem likely because today everyone seems anxious to please Dato Seri Abdullah. Or is it because the reporter did not understand what Rais was saying? I wonder.

21. The Utusan report seems to be more in keeping with the attitude of Rais. He had always been outspoken and never hesitates to criticise even Government action, or Dato Seri Abdullah himself. Anyway, I hope the Utusan report is the more correct one.

22. In my time the papers did self-censor themselves. But they did not spin. Now spinning is blatant.

23. The bloggers have attracted a huge number of supporters with Rocky Bru having more than six million hits. The popularity of the blogs is obvious. It must be because people no longer believe or even read certain papers nor watch the Government controlled TV stations.
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