Thursday, October 30, 2008

Najib, look into the economy first! PM post later, you're uncontested anyway

During the March general election campaign, the opposition's message was simple: Barisan Nasional (BN), they told voters, stood for "Barang Naik," which translates to rising prices.

Then, the oil price hikes, and their consequential effect on inflation, were used to amplify everything that could be wrong with the administration of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Now, as Datuk Seri Najib Razak prepares to take over the helm, the economy is even more dire straits.

He is already being judged on his handling of the economy even though he has barely learned the geography of his new office at the Finance Ministry.

Any follies and poor handling of the economy will surely open the door to a parliamentary opposition stronger than any BN government has ever faced.

Malaysians are far less forgiving today.

The opposition Pakatan Rakyat will pounce on any opening to put pressure on the government and any misstep could even result in the government falling before completing even half its term in office.

So far, the prognosis is not good for the Malaysian economy.

And Najib's first prescription — a RM5 billion injection of borrowed EPF money into the stock market — is not being well received.

The aim is to prop up Malaysia's stock market.

But it is already being criticised as throwing good money after bad.

The government should realise that Malaysia's market is very small and will follow global trends.

There is very little confidence now globally in the markets, banks or even the capitalist financial system.

Najib, as the Finance Minister, needs to show more leadership.

He cannot afford to say he will only wait until Nov 4, when he winds up the debate on the Budget in Parliament, to offer details on what the government plans to do.

The market will not wait. It is an unforgiving animal.

There are genuine worries that the future is not bright for Malaysia because the country's trading partners are all going into recession, which means the market for Malaysian products and services is not strong.

This means Malaysian businesses will need more liquidity.

Perhaps Najib and the rest of Malaysia's senior government leaders should try to learn a lesson from what is happening in the US presidential election campaign.

The two candidates almost trip over each other in trying to offer an economic plan and to support the proposed bailout when the economy started to turn.

Politics had to be thrown out the window, they both said, as they tried to appeal to voters who were only looking at pocketbook issues.

In Malaysia, Umno is in the middle of an intriguing race for top party posts.

Najib looks a clear certainty in winning the Umno presidency unopposed.

He will have to now concentrate more on providing the kind of leadership needed to manage the economy in what is uncharted territory.

He will not need to be mired in a controversy over the proposed acquisition of 12 Eurocopters.
He will not need to be mired in controversies surrounding race relations.

He will certainly not need to be mired in the politics surrounding his own party or that of the Barisan Nasional.

What he will have to focus on right now is the economy.

If he does not manage the economy well, it could be the end of the road for him and the BN.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Effie Awards, Malaysia 2008

MAGGI wins gold in the inaugural Malaysian Effie Awards, 2008!

Malaysia’s key sectors show signs of slowdown

At the numerous condominium projects around the Mont Kiara suburb of Kuala Lumpur, construction workers plod round the clock to complete multi-storey apartment blocks. Property developers in this popular neighbourhood are worried, though, that sales are starting to slow.

“Units that were previously sold are now coming back onto the market,” says a project manager of one unfinished condominium complex.

Shockwaves from the global financial meltdown are starting to pound on Malaysian shores and signs of a wider slowdown are already emerging in key props of the Malaysian economy, private economists say. That's spreading caution across the board, from potential homeowners to buyers of new cars.

Last week, the central bank kept the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 3.5per cent, but indicated it was ready to act swiftly if called upon.

“In the face of diminishing inflationary pressures, and in the event of heightened downside risks to growth, the bank will take swift monetary policy action to provide support to the economy,” Bank Negara Malaysia said in a statement.

Bank Negara's concerns are rising as the country's robust manufacturing sector is being hit by weaker export growth, while the softening in commodity prices has crimped incomes and resulted in less spending among consumers. On Nov 4, the government is expected to make an announcement lowering its growth forecast for next year from the 5.4 per cent currently projected.

Economists say the full brunt of the expected slowing down in economic activity is expected to be felt next year.

Deyi Tan of Morgan Stanley expects gross domestic product to grow by 3.3 per cent next year, down sharply from the 5.6 per cent expansion projected for this year.

Australia-based Macquarie is more bearish. In a recent advisory to clients, the securities firm said that it expects that the sharp drop in exports, coupled with falling commodity prices, will see GDP growth slow to 1 per cent next year.

The Malaysian government insists that the country is well-placed to weather the storm.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the Deputy Prime Minister and newly-appointed Finance Minister, said this week that the government will soon announce a slew of measures, including more liberal investment rules, to attract foreign funds and more government spending.

“The economic management is stable and our fundamentals are strong, so Malaysia is not in a crisis,” he told reporters last week.

But not all Malaysians are as sanguine.

In a posting last week on his widely followed blog, former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he had a “sneaking feeling that all is not well”. Trade-dependent Malaysia, he pointed out, relies heavily on the United States and European markets, both of which are slowing.

Dr Mahathir argued that the weakening exports to these market will hurt the country's manufacturers and, in turn, put pressure on Malaysia's financial system, which is exposed at home to the property sector and private lending in the form of credit cards, which he estimated amounted to RM20 billion owed to the banks.

To be sure, Malaysia is entering the global recession in a much better position compared with the regional crisis in 1998, when the economy went into a tailspin as a result of excessive lending to the property sector and the stock market.

That is because private and public debt levels are far lower than they were 10 years ago.
Economists say the country's foreign debt and public debt now stand at manageable levels of 33 per cent and 40 per cent of GDP respectively.

But many economists note that public confidence, already shaky because of spikes in inflation since early this year, is being hit by a slumping stock market and fear that a slowing economy could result in job losses.

The benchmark composite index for the Malaysian stock exchange has fallen by 37 per cent since the beginning of the year, and analysts say the government's plan to buy stocks of sharply undervalued blue-chip companies will only lead to more selling among foreign investors eager to exit the local bourse.

According to the financial weekly, The Edge, the country's top 30 tycoons have suffered paper losses in access of RM75 billion since January.

Robert Kuok, the country's richest man, is said to have lost billions in his corporate holdings in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia as a result of the collapse in financial markets, the weakening of the China property sector and falling commodity prices.

Malaysia's bleak economic scenario is particularly worrisome because of the country's unsettled politics, which, since the general election in early March, has stumbled from crisis to crisis.
The chief bugbear is the unease sweeping through the country's ruling Umno that dominates the Barisan Nasional coalition government.

“The patronage style of management can work only in an expanding economy. When the pie is shrinking, like it is now, ethnic tensions are never far behind,” cautions a chief economist of a Western brokerage in Kuala Lumpur, who requested that he not be identified

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Guan Eng: Leave EPF money alone. Cut taxes, pay oil bonus instead

The DAP is urging the government to put together a RM48 billion stimulus package instead of using RM5 billion from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to address the economic situation.
In a statement released from its headquarters, it further condemned the government for only proposing RM364 million in income tax cuts in its 2009 Budget.

"Why did the government only give RM364.2 million in tax cuts to 10 million workers or a mere RM36 each when it is willing to put workers' funds at risk by using RM5 billion from EPF to bail out selected companies?" secretary-general Lim Guan Eng asked.

According to him, the drop in the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) to 859 points, its lowest close in four years, is a clear indication of the failure of Barisan Nasional's move to inject RM5 billion into Valuecap Sdn Bhd, a company set up by the government to invest in undervalued companies.

"What is RM5 billion to buy shares in a few counters compared to the Bursa Malaysia's capitalisation of around RM700 billion?" the Penang Chief Minister remarked.
"Risking RM5 billion to buy shares in companies belonging to BN cronies only helps the few at the expense of money belonging to all Malaysians."

As an alternative, he suggested a four-prong RM48 billion package:
* An annual oil bonus of RM6,000 to all families earning less than RM6,000 a month, or RM3,000 annual bonus to bachelors earning less than RM3,000 a month, will cost RM35 billion - a mere one-third of Petronas' gross profits of RM107 billion in 2007.

* A progressive reduction of the corporate tax rate from the present 25 to 17 per cent which will cost RM13 billion.

* A daily revision of petrol prices to take into account changes in the international price of oil.

* An immediate reduction in electricity tariffs which was increased by 26 per cent due to escalating oil prices which has since been reversed.

"Cutting costs and putting money into people's pockets will help generate both jobs and businesses. The RM48 billion will be shared by ordinary Malaysians who will put the money into the local economy.

"This will drive the economy and the multiplier effect will help grow and contribute to the GDP and maintain the quality of life of working Malaysians," the Bagan MP said.

He also condemned EPF for agreeing to the measure without calling for a full Board meeting to discuss the issue thoroughly, resulting in representatives from the workers not having a say on how the funds are putat risk "to save those few companies who never remember to give back to workers when they reap huge profits."

"This is another classic case of BN's unique public-private partnership where profits are privatised to individuals but losses are socialised and borne by the public. Such a policy is discriminatory against workers as their funds in EPF should be used to help workers and not employers."

The Malaysian Insider

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Heineken Green Room is back!

Well done!

The media launch for Heineken Green Room was recently conducted in Cloth & Cleth, Changkat Bukit Bintang and as the first liner suggests, a media launch well done.

We decided to get there half an hour later from the official launch time to find ourselves half an hour early. But no worries, the beers are always a good compensation for the late arrival of the media, which is totally not surprising at all. For those in the media who are reading, we actually do not appreciate that.

While waiting, we also decided to take some pictures or what the new generation of bloggers call - Cam Whore. Btw, these pictures are stolen from Audrey's blog .. wtf wtf.

Since the pictures are stolen, ive also decided to steal some lines.. wtf wtf.

And quite differentiated from the typical media launches, where they pay a few whores to do a stage act or dance, swing their asses in front of the cameras and try to feel proud of their skin gripping outfits, Heineken launched their party by unveiling some manequins fitted in green statues. Classic aint it.

Through the manequins, you get to see artwork designed by some key opinion leaders like lap sap (which means rubbish), sex pistols (a sex toy), van she (no comments) & joyce aka kinkybluefairy (who's got an Afro now.. she was a complete stranger to me till i recognized her eyes)

This was a look through Heineken Green Room's state of mind.

Quite coincidentally, Cloth & Cleth is also situated right beside The Magnificent Fish & Chips shop owned by my CEO, Paul Corrigan which Audrey refers to as George. Because I introduced him as George to Audrey.. wtf

It's also right opposite Frangipani, where they organized the media launch for Tiger's 75th Anniversary. If you've never experienced guys poll dancing in their skin tight boxers, and nipple-poking-out outfits, here's where you go for some male bonding. Just please dont do it in front of other guys who are not of the same kind. I'll start throwing things at yoU!

Btw, im hidden in the frame on the left. Next to me, Cynthia Chung of Mindshare, someone, Ann Lim ex-MindShare, Sara from Star who appears in all media events that if you dont see her in one, it will feel like its incomplete.
wtf wtf

Abdullah's outburst - Too little, too late

Too little too late – this sums up Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s outburst of anger at Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for trying to assume the mantle of kingmaker in the ongoing Umno elections.

“Who is he? He has left Umno but he still issues orders to members of Umno. The party does not need to take orders from anyone who is no longer a member of the party. He is trying to create a rift and incite anger and hatred. What is wrong with people who work with me? He is trying to teach people to hate one another, ‘’ said Abdullah in Kota Kinabalu last night.

He was referring to a recent posting by Dr Mahathir on his blog, where the former prime minister called on Umno members to reject its politicians who had supported Abdullah, describing them as toadies.

This was not the first time that Dr Mahathir has trained his guns on ministers or other Umno politicians who have stood by Abdullah, but this was the first time that he is doing so from a position of strength.

When he began attacking Abdullah, his advisors and supporters in the Cabinet such as Datuk Nazri Aziz, Datuk Azalina Othman Said, Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in 2006 the PM was firmly entrenched in power and Dr Mahathir was the political has been.

But since October 8 – the day Abdullah announced his decision not to contest the party presidency their roles have been reversed. He may have left Umno, but within the ruling party Dr Mahathir is viewed as the strongman; the kingmaker, the soon-to-installed power behind the throne.

This party only understands power and the scent of power is leading them to Dr Mahathir.
Once again, he is getting more space in newspaper and Umno politicians – who treated him like a political leper before – are scrambling to kiss his hand.

In contrast, Abdullah sealed his fate and that of his supporters in the party the day he told the world that he was retiring in March. The swing away from those associated with him has been tremendous, forcing a few of them to borrow a play from the book of Judas just to stay alive.

Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin has been huffing and puffing to secure enough nominations to contest the top position in the youth wing.

He needs eight more nominations to sneak past the 39 mark but his nemesis Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir is in a different league, having already obtained 60 nominations.

Datuk Ahmad Zaki Zahid, Abdullah’s special officer, retained his position as the head of Umno Youth in Putrajaya by an eyelash, a far cry from the party election in 2004.

A member of the infamous Fourth Floor, he faced the difficult task of convincing division members that the retirement of his boss would not impact on his effectiveness.

His challenger mounted a strong campaign anchored on the simple but unmistakable fact that with the umbrella of support from the Prime Minister’s Office, Ahmad Zaki was yesterday’s news.

In a deeper hole is Tourism Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said. Dr Mahathir has singled her out for special mention, labeling her as one of Abdullah’s staunch defenders, a kiss of death in these times.

The former prime minister in his blog predicted that Azalina would be rejected by party members in her bid to climb up the political ladder in Umno, noting that the current mood in the party was to reward those who were strident in their criticism of Abdullah.

That was why Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Datuk Rafidah Aziz and Datuk Shafie Apdal were snaring nominations easily, he explained. He is only partially correct.

There is little doubt that Muhyiddin – a certainty for the deputy president’s position – is benefitting from the perception that he forced Abdullah out of office.

Rafidah will be unchallenged as Wanita Umno chief as part of a transition plan with Datuk Shahrizat Jalil while Shafie is securing nominations for one of the three vice-president’s slots because of the perception that he has been endorsed by his close friend, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Having said that, anecdotal evidence shows that the tide is moving strongly against Abdullah’s supporters in the party.

The PM’s last night attempted to hold the line against this sentiment.

He also attacked Muhyiddin for calling for party elections to be held earlier than March 2009. “Is he so impatient to become the deputy prime minister? That is, if he gets the support. What is the meaning of all of this? I am not happy with this, ‘’ he said, adding that he was troubled by attempts to get Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Ali Rustam to withdraw from contesting the deputy president’s position.

Abdullah said that he would not be pushed out of office before his completed his reforms.
“I will be ready to go when my work is done, ‘’ he said.

Brave words but one can’t help feeling that the last word on this episode will still go to Dr Mahathir.

- The Malaysian Insider

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Najib Tun Razak & Altantuya Shariibuu

Raja Petra Kamarudin is still under detention but his campaign to link Najib to Altantuya's murder has just intensified today.

Malaysia Today has reported an exchange of text messages / SMS between Najib and Shafee Abdullah, the prominent lawyer who represented Abdul Razak Baginda before he was charged with abetting two police officers in the murder of the model.

The SMS exchange (according to Malaysia Today), that went on from Nov 8 to Dec 2, 2006 included some of these conversations:

Shafee to Najib Date: 10/11/2006 15:19:40
--> Dato Seri, Negotiating for conditional release.If not police need 2 or 3 more days extention.I suspect its an exercise in public relation as they do not want public to think a VIP was given an easier time.Being a vip under these conditions is a liability.Otherwise we are on track according to plan. Salam, Shafee

Najib to Shafee Date: 10/11/2006 15:27:01
--> Thanks, he is very stressful according to his wife n would be a huge help if he could get a conditional release latest by sun.

- - - - -

Shafee to Najib Date: 16/11/2006 10:52:43
--> Anything Dato Seri? I am already in Court.

Najib to Sshafee Date: 16/11/2006 10:53:50
--> Pls do not say anything to the press today. i will explain later. RB will have to face a tentative charge but all is not lost.

Read on:

Friday, October 10, 2008

Battle for top job expected to intensify

The decision by Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to cut short his leadership is unlikely to end the larger political battle between a resurgent opposition led by former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and a considerably weakened Barisan Nasional ruling coalition.

Political analysts say the tussle would worsen because Abdullah's choice, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and Anwar are arch-rivals and see each other as standing in the way of their ambitions.

"The rise of Najib would also see the return of (former prime minister) Dr Mahathir Mohamad to Umno and possibly to the political centre stage. He would probably be the biggest influence on Najib," said political commentator James Wong.

Abdullah rose up the ranks of Umno, was well liked and in the shadows during the 22 years when Dr Mahathir held sway. Dr Mahathir had said last year he picked Abdullah as a "temporary substitute" to hold the seat for Najib.

"Abdullah would be remembered as a pleasant man who simply did not have the skills or the gumption to rule," said a Chinese newspaper editor who declined to be identified. "He tried to please everybody and in the endfailed to please anybody."

Najib, an economist by training, has more than two decades of political and government experience.

He was only 22 when he entered politics after the death of his father, revered second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak, in 1976. He became the country's youngest minister two years later.

But his standing has been damaged by links to the 2006 murder of a Mongolian woman with whom he allegedly had an affair. Anwar also accused him of receiving kickbacks on defence deals he had handled. Najib denied the allegations and swore on the Quran he had never met Altantuya Shaariibuu, who was blown up with C4 explosives.

Anwar said it would be an "unmitigated disaster" for Malaysia if Najib became prime minister.
"He takes over at a very difficult time for Malaysia, with political and economic turmoil on the rise and with all previously accepted norms now under attack," said Ramon Navaratnam, a former senior finance ministryofficial who is now the president of Transparency International, Malaysia.

"He has the experience and Umno backing, but he is under a cloud over the Mongolian affair. His performance as national leader would be affected unless the controversy is cleared up."

Abdullah succeeded Dr Mahathir as the country's fifth prime minister in November 2003, but he immediately got into trouble for cancelling several large public projects. He also reversed Dr Mahathir's economic focus from manufacturing to agriculture, ostensibly to benefit rural Malays.

Under fierce criticism, he reversed the policies and in the past four years kept changing decisions, earning the nickname "Mr Flip Flop".

But critics of Najib say he is a "carbon copy" of his mentor Dr Mahathir and is likely to use harsh measures, including security laws that allow for detention without trial, to curtail the resurgent opposition.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I no longer hold respect for Mahathir

It is announced today that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will not defend his Umno presidency in the party polls next March, paving the way for his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Najib when interviewed, said:

Mahathir when asked what he thought Abdullah should do between now and March next year, said: "Shut up."

- - - - -

Najib's position is very well understood so no questions. But Mahathir's?

Because he wants Badawi to have no influence in the contention for UMNO Youth chief so Muhkriz can eventually win?

Whatever the result is from this political extravaganza, we're still fucked.

This is what I think Badawi should do between now and March. Lim Kit Siang has laid it out very clearly

1) Reform the Judiciary which also mean NO APPOINTMENT OF AN UMNO CHIEF JUDGE

2) Total revamp of the Anti Corruption Agency. Current one is a joke, like Mahathir

3) Repeal Printing Presses and Publications Act and enact Freedom of Information Act. Alternatively - Utusan Malaysia, NSTP & Star will report to me, Desmond Kiu

4) Establish an independent police complaints and misconducts commission

5) Raja Petra Kamarudin is to be released unconditionally. Subsequently, ISA is abolished and goes down to the history books

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dr M says Khairy will beat Mukhriz

Father and son VS Father and son-in-law. Whoever wins, we're still fucked.
Oh we forgot about Najib. Nevermind, we're still fucked...

Back to the topic, isnt it obvious that Mahatir is playimng some reverse psychology trick, in hope that UMNO youth would give their sympathy votes to his son?

Cheap publicity and low level canvassing for his son.

There is a story about a fox which was eyeing the food a bird was holding in its mouth! So, he praised the bird and said that she could sing very well. As you know, even birds like praises; and she opened her mouth! Down fell the food; and the cunning fox happily ate it. A good synopsis to the following story from The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 7 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today hinted that Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin would employ undemocratic methods to ensure his victory for the highest position in the Youth wing in March.

Dr Mahathir, in his latest blog posting, was commenting on the complaint by Khairy that he was prevented from meeting Umno Youth members while campaigning.

"I don't know whether people have heard about the thief who cried 'thief!'. Well the thief got away because people who are not very intelligent went chasing in the opposite direction. The highly educated thief then walked away with his booty," said Dr Mahathir.

"I would advise him not to be disheartened. There are so many other ways of influencing Pemuda than meeting them. I will not enumerate them as he will know how to use these other ways," said the former Prime Minister.

He added that Khairy, who became Umno Youth deputy chief in 2004 when he won uncontested, would easily defeat Jerlun MP Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir during the party election.
Dr Mahathir blamed Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein for Khairy's victory four years ago.

"Apart from Umno Youth chief Hishammuddin Hussein who gave other possible candidates a tongue lashing, telling them in no uncertain terms that they must not contest the position because it was reserved for the Prime Minister's son-in-law, others suspected of having ambitions to contest for the post received phone calls from family members of the PM and other influential supporters not to do anything to spoil the ambition of this first-time Umno member with absolutely no track record from winning uncontested," he added.

On Sunday, Khairy told reporters that he is contesting on his own merit and hoped that Umno Youth delegates would evaluate him based on his personal credibility and strength.

"I got down to the ground, I became director of the by-election machinery... I conducted programmes and various others things on my own initiative and this will not change whether Pak Lah or Datuk Seri Najib is the president. I will continue with my work as a leader of the young generation in Umno," said Khairy.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Chandra, RPK's lead counsel did brilliant

Picture or Raja Petra Kamarudin (with wife Marina Lee) before ISA detention

Picture or RPK today at the start of his sedition trial, charged with posting a 'seditious' article on his blog entitled "Let's Send the Altantuya Murderers to Hell"

He looks gaunt and seems to have lost some weight

Picture or RPK in court (taken from Malaysia Today). Still looks calm & combative.. look at those eyes!
J. Chandra, his lead counsel did absolutely brilliant today.

When. Harme Mohamed, who is deputy director of international affairs department-cum-director of security, trust and governance department, Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) was called, the following was part of the proceeding, from what i gathered from other online sources:

Chandra: Since this is a popular website and can be viewed 24 hours (a day) and seven days a week, do you agree that the author or the owner is not there physically all the time to monitor it?

Harme: Yes.

Chandra: Are you aware that Raja Petra has been under remand since Sept 12?

Harme: Yes.

Chandra: Are you aware that since Sept 12, there have been several other postings on the website?

Harme: I have read one but cannot recall whether it was posted by Raja Petra.

Chandra: So anybody can put up a post under the name of Raja Petra. You agree.

Harme: Yes.

White Rabbit, melamine positive

Im sure this candy will ring a bell in everyone's mind, if not being the favourite chewy when you were attending kindy or pre-high school.
What's most memorable about the White Rabbit is how you can chew it with the wrapper still intact. How it melts in your mouth before you taste the creamy, milky taste of the candy.
When it started to flood the news portals / papers with its high melamine content, my initial assumptions were that it only applies to the product sold in China.
Apparently, not.
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 - The Health Ministry has directed that White Rabbit Creamer Candy and Ego White Rabbit Creamy Candy be removed from the shelf and destroyed after tests found that they are melamine positive.

Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said laboratory tests showed that the candies contained melamine above the standard or 135 parts per million (ppm).

"Supermarkets have been directed to remove the products from the market. State Health Departments have been directed to destroy them to safeguard consumers.

"Offenders can be prosecuted under the Food Act 1983," he told reporters after visiting the Sungai Buluh public health laboratory here today.

Liow said laboratories would take two days to analyse each product sent for melamine tests.
Sixty-four food samples had been taken and analysed by laboratories for melamine since Sept 15. A total of 2,719 food items comprising 775 products had been seized.

The samples were analysed by laboratories at the Chmistry Department, Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry and the Health Ministry.

The health ministry had also seek help from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Universiti Malaya (UM) and laboratories in Johor Baharu and Kota Kinabalu aimed at speeding up tests.

Liow said tests on 'Cheese Packets' made from creamer and cheese powder imported from New Zealand found that it was free from melamine.

"The creamer used in making 3 in 1 instant coffee and instant cereal had been reported tainted by several websites after Pizza Hut Taiwan found melamine at 70 ppm in 'Cheese Packets."

On media reports from South Korea that vegetables from China could be tainted with melamine, Liow said the health ministry was monitoring agricultureproduce from China.

Among the 64 food products analysed and found to comply with melamine standard are Chocolate Coated Wafer (Passion), Oreo White Chocolate Wafer Stick (Kraft), Mini Cornetto Chocomint and Tiramisu Flavoured (Wall'S), Moo Soft Cookie Sandwich (Wall's), 123 Honey Powder Milk (Dutch Lady), Strawberry Flavoured Milk (Dutch Lady).

Baby Bites Carrot (Take One), Mini Poppers Strawberry and Vanilla Flavoured (Wall's), Full Cream Powder Milk (Dailylac), Yogurt Jelly (Strong), MilkChocolate (M&M), Candy (Kong Chui), Menthos Yogurt and Chocolate Eggs Rolls. - Bernama

Sunday, October 5, 2008

More melamine found in chocolate bars

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- South Korea's food watchdog has ordered four more Chinese-made food products to be destroyed after they were found to contain the industrial chemical melamine.

Melamine was found in Snickers Peanut Funsize and M&Ms chocolate milk made by Mars, as well as KitKat wafers made by Nestle and a biscuit manufactured by Lotte Confectionery Co., the Food and Drug Administration said in a statement Saturday.

The test results raise the number of known melamine-tainted food products imported to South Korea from China to 10.

About 430 Chinese-made products using dairy ingredients have already been pulled from store shelves and put into storage pending tests.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said small amounts of melamine -- less than 2.5 parts per million -- are not harmful in most foods, except baby formula.

The South Korean tests found 1.78 parts per million of melamine in Snickers bars, 2.38 parts per million in M&Ms, 2.89 parts per million for KitKats, and up to 3.36 parts per million in the Lotte biscuits.

Lotte and Mars Korea said they were withdrawing their products. Comments from Nestle Korea were not immediately available.

Last week, Seoul suspended imports of all Chinese-made foods using dairy ingredients.

In China, melamine-tainted milk formula has sickened more than 54,000 children, mainly with kidney problems, and is blamed for the deaths of at least four infants.

Melamine is believed to have been added to Chinese milk to artificially boost its apparent protein level.

United too strong for Rovers

Manchester United secured a comfortable 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers at a rain-soaked Ewood Park on Saturday evening thanks to a second half strike from Wayne Rooney and a controversial Wes Brown opener.
"That was his (Wayne Rooney's) best performance of the season for us,'' said Ferguson.
Wayne Rooney will now be asked to ensure England gain World Cup victories over Kazakhstan and Belarus in World Cup combat over the next fortnight.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Zaid Ibrahim - The MAN!

Malaysia has came along way in nation building, especially in the aspect of ensuring the harmony between the different races so we can progress as a nation, as one people.

Through that vision, certain policies have been put in place in protection of the bumiputeras, which makes up the majority of the Malaysian population today, so we can move parralel to each other in the process of development.

Fair enough, im in full support of that.

However, we need to be mindful that when these "certain policies" are put in place for too long, they tend to be exploited for the wrong reasons. For this, no one is to be blamed because it is human nature that if you grow up spoon fed with a silver spoon, you will not settle for a copper spoon when you grow up and neither would you want to hold the spoon by yourself. But if you lose that someone who's always been feeding you, you will need to learn (by hooks or by crooks) to hold that spoon by yourself (silver or copper), otherwise you will starve.

Sometimes, it takes a fall before you learn how to stand.

We also need to be mindful that certain quarters of the nation have made immense sacrifices to ensure that they will continue to progress even without these privelages (the silver spoon). And with that forced persistency, they have made it in the Malaysia of today.

Today, i was reading Malaysia today and came across an interview with Zaid Ibrahim and i was very impressed with how he articulated the required changes of mindset & mentality to ensure further growth in this country.

Sometimes, the spoon needs to be taken away so the one's who've been used to be spoon-fed can learn from those who've never been fed before, thus knows how to hold the spoon properly.

Zaid: Chinese Malaysians Have Made Great Sacrifices

KUALA LUMPUR: Former minister in the prime minister's department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said true Malays need not be afraid, or feel lack of a sense of security.

"Take myself as an example. I'm a pure Malay, but I have a sense of security. I feel proud of my own race and culture."

However he said, the problem is that many people do not understand or respect history. Indians, Chinese and Malays have been participating in the nation-building process since a few centuries ago. The Indians used to work in the estates, while the Chinese and Indonesians have all made valuable contributions and sacrifices for the nation too. But we have all forgotten this.

Zaid Ibrahim quit his Cabinet post because he did not agree to the government's decision of detaining civilians under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

He said during an exclusive interview with Sin Chew Daily that the Chinese used to work here as miners, and they made great sacrifices during the confrontation with the communists, adding that we must understand history and what they have done for the nation.

"We are only talking about Malaysia as the 19th largest export country in the world, and that we have the twin towers and are a developed country... Do you think we have done all this ourselves? You're wrong. This achievement has been made after so many people from different ethnic groups have sacrificed for the nation.

"We are not talking about the positive things, but instead discussing how we should get worried because the Chinese have opened how many more new stores here.

"As a matter of fact, the first feeling we should have is not about worry. We should work harder to keep up with them instead.

"I've never been worried about the Chinese. In my legal firm, my partner is a Chinese, and we trust each other. Do you think I have built up my success all on my own?

"I'm not scared that the Chinese are smart, for I'm also very smart. I'm not scared that the Chinese are hard working, for I'm also very hard working. We have bad guys in every ethnic group, and you're cheated simply because you're not smart enough. We must educate young Malaysians to look at things from a positive perspective."

Zaid said certain people have kept on mentioning May 13 to blackmail the people. However he felt that given our current situation, this thing would never happen again.

"I am thinking, for a better future, all Malaysians should stand up and speak out bravely. The Chinese must defend the rights of the Malays, and the Malays must also defend the rights of the Chinese. Everyone must be properly taken care of here."

He felt that we should not rely on a single political party to take care of a particular community. It should be that the rights of every individual must be respected and taken care of by everyone else.

(By HOU YALUN/Translated by DOMINIC LOH/Sin Chew Daily)

Sammy, 'the racist blogger'

From what i've just read, this blogger Sammy went ballistic when two alleged Indian youths snatched her mobile phone while she was having lunch. Consequently, she unleashed some unecessary racist remarks on her blog.

As a result, The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) has called on the police to take action against her for posting inflammatory racist remarks against the Indian Malaysian community.

Sammy, then realizing that things got out of hand, posted an official appology on her blog. Yet, there were screams from the minority to use ISA on her, aside from the many unwilling-to-forgive comments left on her blog from the overly sensitive chaps.

I cant believe that this is happening! What utter nonsense!

Why scrutinize on the words of a 22 year old girl who's no-doubt naive, obviously non-influential and not representing a people's party, when there are bigger issues we're facing that needs attention. Like the victimization of Teresa kok (by certain publications) as a villain of peace and the unlawful detention of RPK under the draconian ISA just to state 2 cases. What about Ahmad Ismail's remarks on Chinese being "squatters" ?

Why are we so stupid to suddenly have our attention diverted to such a trivial matter??? Im not citing that Sammy was innocent, but she's made an unreserved public appology. She's also been hit hard by some mainstream online publications so im sure she's learnt her lesson - the hard way of course.

I think Hindraf should back of this case because its not worth an argument or a case. They should continue to fight for the release of their leaders under ISA, which im in full support of. And not taint their image by raising such unecessary attention which contradicts their own fight for the freedom of expression.

Friday, October 3, 2008

'Space elevator' to take mankind into orbit

LONDON, England (CNN) -- A new space race is officially underway, and this one should have the sci-fi geeks salivating.

The project is a "space elevator," and some experts now believe the concept is well within the bounds of possibility -- maybe even within our lifetimes.

A conference discussing developments in space elevator concepts is being held in Japan in November and hundreds of engineers and scientists from Asia, Europe and the Americas are working to design the only lift that will take you directly to the one hundred-thousandth floor.

Despite these developments, you could be excused for thinking it all sounds a little far-fetched.

Indeed, if successfully built, the space elevator would be an unprecedented feat of human engineering.
A cable anchored to the Earth's surface, reaching tens of thousands of kilometers into space balanced with a counterweight attached at the other end is the basic design for the elevator.

It is thought inertia (the physics theory stating that matter retains its velocity along a straight line so long as it is not acted upon by an external force) will cause the cable to stay stretched taut, allowing the elevator to sit in geostationary orbit.
The cable would extend into the sky eventually reaching a satellite docking station orbiting in space.

It is hoped the elevator will transport people and objects into space, and there have even been suggestions that it could be used to dispose of nuclear waste. Another proposed idea is to use the elevator to place solar panels in space to provide power for homes on Earth.
If it sounds like the stuff of fiction, maybe that's because it once was.

In 1979, Arthur C. Clarke's novel "The Fountains of Paradise" first brought the idea of a space elevator to a mass audience. Charles Sheffield's "The Web Between the Worlds" also featured the building of a space elevator.

But, jump out of the story books, fast-forward nearly three decades and Japanese scientists at the Japan Space Elevator Association (JSEA) are working seriously on the space elevator project.

JSEA spokesman Akira Tsuchida told CNN his organization was working with U.S.-based Spaceward Foundation and a European organization based in Luxembourg, to develop an elevator design.
The Liftport Group in the U.S. is also working on developing a design, and in total it's believed over 300 scientists and engineers are engaged in such work around the globe.

NASA is also holding a $4 million Space Elevator Challenge, to encourage designs for a space elevator than can work.

Tsuchida said the technology driving the race to build the first space elevator is the quickly developing material carbon nanotube.
It is lightweight and has a tensile strength 180 times stronger than steel cable. Currently, it is the only material with the potential to be strong enough to use to manufacture elevator cable, according to Tsuchida.

"At present we have a tether which is made of carbon nanotube, and has one third or one quarter of the strength required to make a space elevator. We expect that we will have strong enough cable in the 2020s or 2030s," Tsuchida said.

He said the most likely method of powering the elevator would be through the carbon nanotube cable.
So, what are the major logistical issues keeping the space elevator from being anything more than a dream at present?

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Aeronautics and Astronautics Professor, Jeff Hoffman, said designing the carbon nanotube appeared to be the biggest obstacle.

"We are now on the verge of having material that has the strength to span the 30,000 km ... but we don't have the ability to make long cable out of the carbon nanotubes at the moment.

"Although, I'm confident that within a reasonable amount of time we will be able to do this," he said. Do you believe mankind could become a space faring species in your lifetime?
Tsuchida said one of the biggest issues is acquiring funding to move the projects forward. At present there is no financial backing for the space elevator project and all of JSEA's 100-plus members maintain other jobs to earn a living.

"Because we don't have a material which has enough strength to construct space elevator yet, it is difficult to change people's mind so they believe that it can be real."

Hoffman feels international dialogue needs to be encouaraged on the issue. He said there would be a number of legal considerations that would have to be taken into account.

"This is not something one nation or one company can do. There needs to be a worldwide approach."

Other difficulties for space elevator projects include how to build the base for the elevator, how to design it, and where to set up the operation.

Tsuchida said some possible locations for an elevator include the South China Sea, western Australia, and the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean. He said all of those locations usually avoided typhoons, which could pose a threat to the safety of an elevator.

"As the base of space elevator will be located on geosynchronous orbit, space elevator ground (earth port) station should be located near the Equator," he said.

While JSEA has set a time frame of the 2030s to get a space elevator under construction -- and developments are moving quickly -- Hoffman acknowledges it could be a little further away than that.

"I don't know if it's going to be in our lifetime or if it's 100 or 200 years away, but it's near enough that we can contemplate how it will work."

But, the space elevator is a matter of when not if, and will herald a major new period in human history, says Hoffman.

"It will be revolutionary for human technology, and not just for space travel. That's why so many people are pursuing it. This is what it will take to turn humans into a space bearing species."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Where have all your monies gone?

Why do dogs have a better sex drive than ISA detainees?

Why do Malaysians work like dogs and get paid cat wages?

All the answers can be found on...

Teresa Kok and the supremacist minority

Commentary by Wan Hamidi Hamid

OCT 2 — Teresa Kok must be wondering why some Malays are adamant in portraying her as a Chinese chauvinist, villain of peace and enemy of Islam. With her impeccable record as the most hardworking wakil rakyat and the Member of Parliament with the highest majority votes in the country, she must be at a loss to fathom the attempts to assassinate her character.

From the blatant lies that she had opposed the azan (the Islamic call to prayer), to her wearing a skirt inside a mosque, the Seputeh MP has to live through the nightmare of racial politics almost on a daily basis.

Despite repeated denials of the azan issue — for which she was detained under the draconian Internal Security Act for seven days — Kok is still being chastised by some quarters linked to Umno, including the Malay daily Utusan Malaysia.

For the three-term MP, who is known among her close friends as a devout Catholic and a staunch believer in multiracialism, the detention without trial-ISA was not enough for her detractors. After her release, some extremist elements threw a Molotov cocktail into her parents' house.

To make matters worse, a whole lot of text messages were sent around justifying the violent act. The saddest part of the story is that some Malays actually believe that Kok is guilty of insulting Islam — which she is not.

The problem is those who believe the lies probably read one particular newspaper that is prone to promote racial supremacy. There are other Malay-language newspapers with higher circulation than the one espousing racist tendencies, yet they are not keen on resorting to false news. They seem to know the danger of playing up baseless racial accusations.

So what gives? Despite the many possible answers, it is likely that Umno, particularly in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, which suffered one of its worst election defeats, is venting anger in the only way some of its leaders know — racism.

Already many Barisan Nasional component parties are unhappy with recent racial episodes.
Now that the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) has left BN and Gerakan is mulling a similar move, the situation is critical for Umno-led BN. The fact that Umno is more concerned with its leadership transition, thus ignoring its partners, is likely to be a push factor for component members in the federal ruling coalition.

The tussle for the top leadership in Umno is expected to bring out the nastiest and dirtiest of tactics, especially when the party divisional meetings – the real backbone of Umno – begin next week.

As reflected during the branch meetings of the last three months, Ketuanan Melayu, or Malay supremacy, was the keyword among the grassroots leaders and members. Although top leaders have defined it as the struggle for the betterment of the Malays, others took it literally to mean the superiority of the Malays over other Malaysians.

This is especially true in the case of Teresa Kok when attempts to demonise her, despite being based on slander, continue to spread among the racist political element of the usually moderate and fair-minded Malays.

To this racist minority, Umno hegemony is their game, never mind that the basis of BN is racial harmony. They couldn't care less about muhibbah so long as their supremacist definition of the Malay is accepted by all.

Their only problem is that they are in the minority. Even Kok acknowledges it. She knows many more Malays accept her, not only as an MP or a Selangor state executive councillor, but also as a fellow Malaysian.

But spending a stint under the ISA and suffering the trauma of her parents' home being fire-bombed is not an easy experience to live with. She is hoping that more Malaysians, especially the Malays, speak up against racism and those who perpetuate the dangerous trend.

Even in high places she has good Malay friends. Former de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim quit the government in protest against Kok's arrest under the ISA and has even written an open letter to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to abolish the cruel law.

Kok has always been a popular figure with the Malay grassroots in the Klang Valley.
Immediately after she was released from the ISA, she attended a number of breaking-of-fast ceremonies, including at the Cheras Baru mosque, the one which she was accused of going into wearing a skirt.

The truth of the matter is the event was organised outside the mosque and Kok was wearing a long skirt covering her knees, similar to skirts she wears in Parliament, the Selangor state assembly and her state government office. She did not even enter the mosque.

But racists with agendas do not let facts get in the way of a good distortion in their favour. It's never too late, however, for some of these people to reflect on the good month of Syawal to ask for forgiveness from those who have been wrongly accused.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Malaysia has joined the ranks of China, Vietnam and Burma as a leading violator of online freedom. Blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, also known as RPK, has been detained in Kuala Lumpur since 12 September because of the articles posted on his website.

He is the 70th cyber-dissident to be imprisoned, according to the tally kept by Reporters Without Borders, an international organisation that defends press freedom.

BUT he is the first cyber-dissident to be sentenced without trial to a long prison term.

For those of you who are still ignorant, RPK is godsend to all Malaysians who are unable to articulate and put their thoughts into paper. For this the ruling coalition has incarcerated him under the draconian ISA.

RPK is the conscience off all Malaysians has been made a PRISONER OF WAR.

Malaysian bloggers and independent media have a crucial role to play in this transition to democracy. The RPK case is one that concerns everyone because silencing a Malaysian citizen on account of his political or religious beliefs, whatever they are, means gagging an entire people. The ISA is a retrograde law, one worthy of an all-out dictatorship. Freeing Raja Petra means freeing the entire Malaysian people.

Despite all the cruelty & unjust, RPK remains spiritually strong and is still blogging from prison and for that he deserves all the medals of honour that mankind can ever think of and for you, at least a read of his message from Kamunting ....


By Raja Petra Kamarudin

I was perturbed when I read YB Teresa Kok’s statement that the food under ISA detention is equivalent or slightly better than dog food. It costs RM8 to feed a dog, according to the Malay Mail survey and only RM4.50 to feed on ISA detainees.

I feed my cats and fish premium food such as science diet and would never dream of feeding my pets the food that we are fed here. I actually stopped eating the food here after the first couple of days because it gave me diarrhea.

A couple of nights ago I vomited after eating the food and now I cannot even stand the sight or smell of the trays that they send to our cell twice a day.

I now survive on dates and plain water and I suppose if that is good enough for camels to survive in the Arabian Desert, it should be good enough for me.

I was told camels have a healthy sex drive and I would like to believe it because of the date that is my staple food. Of cause, there is no way I can test this theory until I come safely out of this place.

Actually, food is the least of my worries at this point of time. I am presently in three months solitary confinement and the only pussy I get to see is this mangy cat that somehow has found its way into my cellblock to sleep outside my locked door.

It has not rained since I arrived here a week ago and I was told Kamunting has not seen any rain for the last few weeks.

The heat in the cell is unbearable and the air is very stuffy.

The uncomfortable environment does help to put your mind off your growling stomach.
I am what they call under orientation. This three months’ orientation I suppose is to get me used to the 2 years I am going to spend here.

One of my favorite classics that I used to read in Standard 1 is the Tale of Two Cities, which is about the French Revolution. I can now better appreciate the battle cry “give me liberty or give me death”. They say you appreciate something only after it has been taken away from you.

Today, my liberty is at the top of my priority list. But I know it shall not come soon and it shall not come easy and it shall only come if there is a change of government and if the new government fulfills its promise to abolish the