Talkback

Complaining Is Easier Than Making Progress - So Stop Throwing Stones?

The “PM-indeterminate” Anwar Ibrahim seems to have picked the wrong example to try to be on the right side of the ever-determined prime minister.

He has lambasted one of Malaysia’s more honest academics, Lim Teck Ghee, for apparently “keeping quiet during the era of corruption and theft under the BN government” just because Lim called the Pakatan Harapan (PH) record since the 2018 general election “an unmitigated disaster”.

Anwar should be more cautious when picking quarrels with Malaysian human rights defenders who have been exposing corruption, injustice and inequality since at least the 1970s. Does Anwar himself have the credentials for being consistent in exposing corruption in this country?

Was Anwar himself corruption-free when he was deputy prime minister in Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s first term as PM? He should examine his own record before casting the first stone at Lim.

[Kua Kia Soong is the adviser to Suaram]

 

Our comment

For the record it was Lim who cast the first stone in this matter, lambasting the PH government as “an unmitigated disaster” and thereby sparking indignation from its leader designate.

The world certainly looks different from the pensioned armchairs of academia than the bare floor of a prison cell where Anwar languished for 10 years for his cause.

From Professor Lim’s perspective what would really be an unmitigated disaster would be the sort of government that chucks feisty outspoken fellows like himself into just such a cell and slams it shut (or worse).

That was just the sort of government Malaysia avoided by the skin of its teeth on May 9th 2018 and could fall back into were fractious quarrelling and stone throwing of this kind to become the norm.

Whilst Professor Lim is clearly a significant individual who provokes valued critique and criticism, he should remember that despite his many years of vocalising and the complaints of NGOs (such as Suaram who has leapt so aggressively to his defence) it was the foot on ground courage of the likes of Anwar Ibrahim and Dr Mahathir, along with the hard graft accumulation of solid evidence on corruption that ultimately brought the opportunity for progress to Malaysia.

Therefore, in the light of the likely alternatives to PH (a PAS/UMNO/Crook’s alliance being the most obvious) such critics should perhaps platform less on hyperbole and unsubstantiated serious allegations and provide a more nuanced, evidence based and thougthful critique of this challenged administration of the sort that one might expect from a respected academic and NGO, which both most clearly are.

Malaysia's Propaganda Priestess Ploughs Public Money To Promote The Palm Oil Billionaires

The Ministry of Primary Industries will capitalise on the RM27 million allocation proposed in the 2020 Budget to intensify the ‘Love My Palm Oil’ campaign to address the negative perception of the country’s oil palm industry.

Its minister, Teresa Kok said the effort needed to be intensified to stabilise palm oil prices and further expand the palm oil market domestically and abroad.

“The RM27 million allocation is dedicated for publicity and campaigns to promote Malaysian palm oil.

“We will use this allocation to promote our palm oil, as well as fight the anti-palm oil campaign organised by NGOs (non-governmental organisations) overseas,” she told reporters after launching the Palm Oil Experience Centre (POEC) at the Sime Darby Plantation Bhd’s estate in Carey Island near here today.

Our comment

Flouting all good advice the Minister for Primary Industries is continuing to throw good money after bad as she follows her predecessors from BN in insisting there is nothing that is not perfect about Malaysia’s mass monoculture oil palm plantation business.

Unlike those BN predecessors, Ms Kok has no vested interest in continuing with such nonsense (or we sincerely hope not), yet tragically she has turned herself into a banner waving junior cheerleader for a rich and powerful set of businessmen, who don’t need her to wage their battles but are only too relieved not to be dealing with a real minister in charge.

They send her lists of events to chant at and keep her busy.

In fact, this minister’s actual job is to regulate powerful lobbies such as these and to look out for the wider public interest of all Malaysia’s people, including those vulnerable native communities whose lands were stolen by these conniving billion dollar companies.

Yet, just like her BN predecessors, instead of standing up for the wider public, particularly in Sarawak, this minister has chosen to become a puppet to the powerful and a lobbyists’ lackey. Like an obedient lamb she is now pouring yet further public money into more pointless propaganda of the sort long ignored by all sensible observers, who have just suffered months of toxic haze – just one of the by-products of this industry’s greedy, careless practices.

Thanks to this RM27 million dedicated to fighting NGOs”, campaigners who highight the dangers of eco-destruction and stand up for communities who lost their lands (and would really benefit from the careful distribution of RM27 million) can expect more of the treatment they became used to for years under BN.

Greenwash galore and villification by low-life PR companies, paid to smear, lie, hack and disinform are the stock in trade of such propaganda campaigns. Such attacks on those who speak the truth about this business do nothing to change minds and waste money that could be spent improving lives.

Malaysians need policies to combat haze, combat corruption, combat environmental devastation and deforestation by this rampant cash crop.

Malaysians need a minister who works with Malaysians in mind and not the next likely employer in the private sector.

Crowing Nonsense For Dedak - TALKBACK

In a lengthy column posted on Harakah Daily, Hadi went on to say that it was forbidden for people of Islamic faith to surrender power to other races who are not Muslim.

Haram bagi umat Islam menyerah kuasa kepada bangsa lain yang bukan Islam, sehingga menjadi hina laksana menyerah rumah kepada penumpang, kemudian melarikan diri tanpa bumi tanah air tempat berpijak,” he wrote.

(It’s forbidden for Muslims to surrender power to other races who are not Muslims until they are disgraced, akin to surrendering your home to a guest, and then fleeing without a homeland to stand on.)

 

Our comment

Hadi is like a bald old cockerel in the farmyard, crowing loudly on the same old tune whilst UMNO warlords throw him their remaining stolen dedak.  Others will be happy to flap around him for as long as the dedak keeps coming.

His sort of boastful ‘learning’ ignores the fact that he flies in airplanes, travels in cars, enjoys aircon and had his heart fixed thanks to international science and cooperation, none of which he has a clue about.

He is ‘superior’ because he says so, but must forgive the rest of the world for having a bit of a laugh about it.

Meanwhile, the great religions of the Middle East (Judaism, Christianity and Muslim in chronological order) share fundamental principals along with their joint heritage. They encourage civilised and humble decency towards fellow beings, not the crowing boastful supremacist nonsense of the kind he specialises in.

Hadi should probably spend less time strutting about and more time re-reading his religious books as his years advance.

Now Let's Hear about MALAYSIAN Unity? - TALKBACK

Among the demands from the congress is for main positions within the government to only be filled by Malay-Muslims, such as the prime minister, deputy prime minister, menteri besar and chief ministers as well as important ministries such as finance, education, defence and home affairs.

They also want the government to only appoint Malay-Muslims to top positions within the government such as the chief justice, attorney-general, secretary-general to the government, inspector-general of police, chief of defence forces and others…

The congress also wants the government to pressure Suhakam, Malaysian Bar, liberal NGOs and other such bodies from intervening in Islamic affairs under the guise of human rights, he said…

Any “outside influences” which spreads deviant ideologies or lifestyles against Islam should be barred from entering the country, he [Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) counsellor Muhammad Za’im Rosli] added…

Meanwhile, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) student Muhammad Syafiq Jebat who presented the economic cluster, urged for various policies prioritising the Malays.

This is to narrow the economic gap between the Malay and other races, he said.

Our comment

It was sad to see a supposed cultural celebration for Malays hijacked by a bunch of political humbugs seeking to disguise a record of theft and abuse of power.

If these issuers of demands for superior status abided by just a few of their own proclaimed principles then there would be no problems of poverty in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, for the sake of the country’s independent future the next efforts should be for all sides to work to celebrate Malaysian Unity – a unity that seeks to respect and uplift all Malaysians, including the most impoverished, who are mostly the indigenous peoples and East Malaysian peoples whose resources have contributed so much to the prosperity of the nation and the lives of urban dwellers.

Bigotted and divisive politics will weaken, corrupt and endanger the country once again. In 2018 it escaped by a whisker total economic catastrophe and resulting subjugation to a nearby super-power with strategic ambitions trampling on its independence, thanks to just such humbug thievery.

Nothing dignified about that.

Lies, Damned Lies And Statistics

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia takes its commitment to conservation seriously and is proud to be a signatory to an extensive list of global treaties on conservation, wildlife, forestry and the environment…

He pointed out that Malaysia also had kept to it environmental promises, including the one made at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 where it committed to maintaining at least 50% of its land mass under forest cover.

“Today, almost three decades later, I am proud to announce that we have not reneged on that pledge. Malaysia’s forest cover is currently at 55.3% or 18.3 million hectares of our total land area, exceeding Malaysia’s initial commitment at the Rio Earth Summit.

“This represents the nation’s will and commitment to conserve and sustainably manage our forest, its flora and fauna,“ he said at Thursday’s ‘Environmental Stewardship in Addressing Poverty to Achieve Sustainable Development for All’, a side event of the United Nations General Assembly here.

Members of Malaysia's PEKA environmental group showed solidarity with London marchers against climate change

Members of Malaysia’s PEKA environmental group showed solidarity with London marchers against climate change

Uniting for the future, not arguing over blame

Uniting for the future, not arguing over blame

Our comment

Dr Mahathir is to be commended for articulating aspirations to conserve Malaysisa’s forests, which most Malaysians also hold in deep affection. That provides great hope of good intentions that might just rescue the handful of renaining Malaysian tigers and the habitat they depend on, along with the tattered remnants of the East Malaysian Borneo Jungle.

However, an in-built refusal to accept any form of criticism direct or indirect is part of his powerful character it would appear and there seems to be a willingness on his part (encouraged by those with vested interests around his government) to conclude that the chorus of ecologically concerned people and global scientists who are raising concerns about the deforestation of Malaysia’s precious landscape are doing so just for the sake of it – or to be mean to Malaysians or competitive on behalf of industries they have no connection to.

Either Mahathir is right, together with Teresa Kok in claiming that somehow the world’s most massive palm oil plantations have been created without destroying vast tracks of jungle (in defiance of all logic and evidence) or the mass of contrary statistics available from all the world’s scientific organisations are correct instead. Take these as a small example:

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So, who is telling the truth? The fact is that solid statistics are simply not being produced by the Malaysian federal government to substantiate its claims, which are based on feedback from state governments that are not revealing proper data:

Where is the data coming for forest cover of over 50%? There is no distinction between virgin forest and scrub. When we ask for it there is no proper data available. We should be able to have the raw data and verify it – we go out to the field in any state and walk the with Orang Asli and we know what is going on and it is not true”, says Saha Deva A Arunasalam, Vice President of the Malaysian environment group PEKA who joined colleagues in showing solidarity for the climate march in London last week.

The complaint is justified. Just because an area is green on the map, even green from the sky or not officially designated as ‘urbanised’ or ‘agricultural’ does not mean that it has not been logged for all its worth and destroyed both as a habitat and as a living carbon-extracting proper forest. It could just as well be scrub, as much of Malaysia now is.

That such remarks from the PM have come after weeks in which Malaysians have suffered choking toxic fumes created from the now routine burning of these ‘forested areas’ has pitched practical experience as well as logic against a bunch of vague statistics that are completely unverified and unscrutinised.

So, let’s get the data properly nailed down, checked and placed transparently in federal hands. Next, let’s all work together to help Dr Mahathir and Malaysians fulfil their aspirations to revitalise their hugely valuable jungle zones and prevent a handful of greedy and rapacious loggers (with the local politicians in their pockets) from cleaning out the fragments left of what was – just 50 years ago – the world’s most bio-diverse region of the planet.

The CEO Of Sarawak Would Not Last A Week Elsewhere

Loss-making Sarawak Cable Bhd (SCable) says it has received approval from the Corporate Debt Restructuring Committee (CDRC) to help the company and certain of its subsidiaries resolve debt issues with their respective lenders…

In a bourse filing today, SCable said it had received a letter on Aug 7 from CDRC, approving the company’s application for assistance to mediate with its creditors.

“This is part of the company’s proactive effort in managing its debt exposure to safeguard (the company and certain of its subsidiaries), whose core businesses are still viable.

“Further announcements will be made in due course, as and when appropriate,”

Our comment

When the Taib family muscled in on the cable business to set up this enterprise back in 2009, the game plan was to scoop up all the profits transporting vast quantities of hydro-power commissioned by the Chief Minister out of the public purse.

Taib’s son Abu Bekir was covertly sitting on no less than 42% of the shares (illegal in the case of a publicly listed company) when we exposed the fact back in 2010.

No surprise that Taib as Chief Minister then proceeded to push all the contracts he could the way of the company, fawning in the flattery of courtiers who knew he liked to be called CEO of the state.

In fact, the Taib’s are magnificent thieves, but have shown absolutely zero skill when it comes to productively managing commercial enterprises. Take one look at the awful record of another of Abu Bekir’s companies, Titanium Management over its failure to complete the huge bridge building contract handed him by his Dad at around the same time.

Of course, he was paid off handsomely for his failure – Daddy made sure of that. However, there is no reason whatsoever for Bank Negara Malaysia to step in to help this other predictably failing venture. If the Taib’s have discovered their dams have few customers and Sarawak Cable can’t make money then they have plenty of their own looted cash to bail out the company and it is this that should be used.

No more public money federal or state should be channelled into this greedy family. It is time for the forces of law and order to reverse the entire process and get all this stolen money back.

Abang Jo Is No Greta Garbo

Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) is comfortable and prefers to move on its own rather than joining any political party from Peninsular Malaysia, its chairperson Abang Johari Tun Openg said.

Abang Johari, who is Sarawak chief minister, said that they are now focusing on the development of the state and wanted to give back to the people.

“We prefer to be on our own. If we take good care of our ‘home’, then many people will come to invest,” he told reporters after officiating the Centexs-SMA Safari 2019 in Kuching today.

Abang Johari said this in response to Umno and PAS’s collaboration which saw the two Malay-based parties signing a political cooperation memorandum charter known as the “National Consensus Charter” today.

Our comment

Nice try Abang Jo.

Whilst UMNO and PAS continue to splash stolen cash stoking divisive bigotry in their gambit to entice people to forget theft and betrayal in favour of hateful racism, he is trying a different version of the same game in Sarawak.

He is seeking to portray GPS as ‘independent’ and rubbish parties that seek to enhance equality, bring social justice as being ‘outsiders’.

The present toxic nature of UMNO/PAS can never appeal to East Malaysia, however Sarawak’s current rulers cannot disguise their own past actions.

The leaders of GPS jumped to KLs tune for decades (they still do) and handed away virtually all Sarawak’s oil revenues in a dark pact that gave them free rein to rape the state of its timber and native lands and hand out contracts to themselves.

It was Abang Jo’s party that changed the state land codes time and again so politicians and their cronies could seize Native Customary Lands and it still is his party that is continuing to refuse to reform those land grab laws.

Now they have run out of revenues from timber, plantations, botched industrialisation and all the rest, these same Jackanapes are now finally playing catch up by asking for more oil revenues.

Where do Sarawakians think that money would go were these scoundrels from GPS to get their hands on it?

To ordinary Sarawakians? To improve services?

It is time Sarawak showed these thieves who is boss and voted them out – and the next lot too if they don’t immediately carry out their promises to undo the greed and corruption of 50 years of Taib Mahmud and his grasping family and hangers on in GPS.

Sarawak has reduced absolute poverty says CM - [Bernama]

Sarawak has reduced the rate of absolute poverty among its people, including those who live in the rural areas, said Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg.

Touching on a United Nations report which said the percentage of low-income earners in Sarawak is higher than the national-level figure, he said the methodology to measure the poverty rate should be checked…

Our comment

Sarawakians Are Poor Because Of Exploitation By PBB & Partners

Abang Jo opines that the cashless Sarawakian poor should not be described as being in poverty by the UN because ‘they have land’ and they just need ‘education’ on how to ‘monetise’ it.

This from the leader of a government that has spent the past five decades stripping that land of timber, destroying it for farming and hunting and passing laws to remove ownership from the native people and place it in the hands of their own family members and crony businessmen.

Have no fear, the BN plunderers have been monetising the stolen land for all its worth, they just haven’t passed any of that cash on to those rightful owners and nor have they been ‘educating’ them on how to get a fairer deal.

On this subject of ignorance and education, Governor Taib Mahmud’s lawyer Alvin Chong was caught on camera sneering at native collaborators in this theft, calling them “one-eyed men in the land of the blind” for signing away land on behalf of their villages for a few thousand ringgit or agreeing to act as proxies for thief politicians and business cronies.

At the same time Taib’s neices claimed the land belonged to the state and the natives were squatters.

The reason Sarawakians are poor is down to the greed of Abang Johari’s boss Taib Mahmud and the whole edifice of rent seekers and thief businessmen (including the present chief minister) whom he has allowed to leech off the people of the state and their battered lands.

He has deliberately kept them ignorant of their opportunities to sustainably manage their lands to produce cash for families, preferring to steal from them instead.