Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Life like football

Malaysian life's a lot like football

By Syed Nadzri

OH, how we love the jargon and football-speak during this Fifa World Cup, especially from the TV commentators.

They are quite a delight to listen to, like the one the other day: "What a scorcher! What a cracker! The blazing piledriver really rocked the crossbar!" To the uninitiated, and in isolation, the words could easily be taken to have either fire-fighting or construction-site relevance.

If we let our mischievous minds run wild a little, there's a long list of football cliches and parlance during this exciting season that could be gleefully applied to local situations and circumstances off the football pitch.

There is, for instance, "stoppage time" -- the additional minutes before the final whistle to make up for interruptions during normal play. Well, it looks like Malaysians are in stoppage time right now, as far as subsidies and current toll rates are concerned. Talk is that government subsidies will be gradually removed soon, and this could mean paying more for fuel and road tolls.

The soccer glossary has much more of such jargon:

- Dead Ball Situation: A penalty, free kick or corner. Some teams spend a lot of time planning and practising these situations, and the worst part for the opposing side is you don't know which way the ball is going. It is very much like the mood over licensed sports betting before the final decision (a rejection) was made on Friday -- to give or not to give?

Dead ball situation has, since last week, taken on an even more wicked variance in dead footballers situation and this would apply perfectly to World Cup players from Italy, the defending champions, and France, the runners-up, when they get home after the humiliation of an early exit. Oh yes, the North Koreans, too, after being ripped apart 7-0 by Portugal last week and 3-0 by Ivory Coast on Friday. We have dead footballers situation in Pyongyang, too.

- Set Piece: Similar to the above. Refers mainly to free kicks deep in the opponent's territory. In the Malaysian political context, was it a set piece when one Parti Keadilan Rakyat elected representative after another defected?

- Group of Death: It means to be drawn in a tough group in the World Cup. Closer to home, doomsayers predict the defectors mentioned above (now without a party) could find themselves thrown out in the next general election. Hence, the Independent Consensus they have set up in Parliament is a group of death of sorts.

- Jabulani: The official World Cup ball is getting blamed from all sides. Goalkeepers have been making blunders, strikers are ballooning their shots into orbit, and they all blame it on the ball. Jabulani is much like the mainstream media in Malaysia, everybody's favourite whipping boy, this newspaper included.

- Vuvuzela: The deafening and most irritating sounds coming incessantly from the fugal horns blown by spectators. For TV viewers, the buzzing sticks in your ears and lingers long after you retire to bed. You could get nightmares after that. This is very much like the motorcycle din and racket from the Mat Rempit gang in your area. We all hope there is an end to both the vuvuzela and the Mat Rempit soon.

- Man-to-Man: A type of defensive tactic where each defender is assigned to mark a specific player from the opposing team. This term has a familiar ring to it and could be used to refer to sexual preference.

- Soak up the Pressure: Switzerland did this splendidly in their opening match against Spain more than a week ago. They soaked up the pressure and launched counter-attacks. It paid off and they won 1-0. Correspondingly, Perak Barisan Nasional soaked up all the pressure in the shocking aftermath of the 2008 general election. Their counter-offensive bore fruit as they managed to take over the state government last year.

- Play the Advantage: A judgment made by the referee to allow play to continue rather than call a foul if he thinks the foul did not put the offended team at a disadvantage. The term alone, though not its meaning, somehow suits Perkasa perfectly.

- Messi: Fans chant "Messi, Messi, Messi" every time Argentina play because Lionel Messi, their Fifa world player of the year, is on song. But we can change it to "messy, messy, messy" here in reference to the PKFZ scandal. Or "mercy, mercy, mercy" (at least in my case), when Lady Gaga comes on the radio.

- Handball: A foul when a player touches the ball with his hand. Sometimes, the handball goes undetected and if it results in a goal it becomes Hand of God. The DAP described the recent defection of Keshvinder Singh, its Malim Nawar state assemblyman, as a "handball" and cried foul. Handball? More like an own goal.

- The Ball is Round: This is one of the most annoying cliches and it is often used as a pre-match consolation by underdogs. The same tune -- or its equivalent of "it can go either way" -- is becoming more common in elections or political contests. Most irritating. And so is the "form a royal commission" demand at the slightest hint of controversy.

- Portugal: A fancied team.

Showed their stuff in the 7-0 demolition of North Korea. Some people here have declared that they are members of "Kelab Portugal" -- not exactly a fan club of the Portuguese football team, but rather the Portugal that is the acronym for Persatuan Orang Tua Gatal (the Dirty Old Men's Club)

My Say: The writer Datuk Syed Nadzri Syed Harun is New Straits Times (NST) group editor. I had the opportunities to work under him qhile I was NST 's news editor for Sabah and Sarawak as well as at Balai Berita (NST HQ, Bangsar Kuala Lumpur).

Monday, 28 June 2010

Have Poewer to Putrajaya

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional craving for Putrajaya,at whose expense?

By Ronnie Klassen at http://advocateviews.blogspot.com

On one hand UMNO/BN will do anything to stay in power, while Pakatan Rakyat is working towards replacing them in Putrajaya. This is neither a celebrity contest nor another American idol search. This is seizing the opportunity to be the next government at any cost, but at whose expense?

Has it occurred to these two political parties that they are gambling with the lives of the very people who voted them into office? Who cares two hoods how they win, as long as they get to Putrajaya? Well, the people do care, and if anyone feels otherwise, perhaps migration would be the best option.

Let us examine Sabah, which should be one of the richest "states" in Malaysia but now is the second poorest "state" in Malaysia. How did this happen to a "state" rich in natural resources? Sabah is still till this day rich in oil. Who in their sane mind would think this is possible? And UMNO/BN and Pakatan Rakyat are only keen in racing for their jewel prize... PUTRAJAYA.

If Putrajaya is ultimately the place to govern Malaysia for Malaysians, then UMNO/BN has miserably failed in governing the country, because Sabah is still the second poorest state in Malaysia.

Of late, UMNO/BN Sabah leaders have been at each others’ throats, to see who should be rightfully given a specific seat in a constituency with strong words such as "stop bullying fellow Barisan Nasional component parties”. In retaliation, UMNO says "this is a Muslim seat and was only given to you on loan".

In my last posting, I stated that Sabahans are Beggars in their own land; soon Sabahans will be fugitives in their own land. The root of the matter is, this is all about UMNO … UMNO and only UMNO? Barisan Nasional component members have now become pariah's in the eyes of UMNO.

Recently the UMNO Supreme Council convened a meeting to deliberate the Sports Betting issue on a license that was purportedly issued to Vincent Tan, and chaired by non other then the Prime Minister himself, Najib Razak.

At the press conference immediately after the meeting, Najib blatantly said "the government has decided not to issue the license to Vincent Tan”. In a nutshell it was UMNO that decided and not the Federal Government. This is arrogance of the highest order, there again tell me what else is new.

Pakatan Rakyat in Sabah on the other hand is another sob story. Parti Keadilan Rakyat(PKR) has not shown anything concrete either, to say the least. DAP on the other hand has been rather active of late with the numerous visit by the 'Father of Opposition" Lim Kit Siang. I had the opportunity to have had breakfast with him recently, and in his twitter he labeled me as "an interesting fella".

Some have called me worst like "shit stirrer".

Recently I accompanied 5 Sarawakians to the MACC office at Shah Alam, Selangor, where a report was lodged against Taib Mahmud, Chief Minister of Sarawak on his wealth beyond comprehension. The Deputy Director, Yip Pit Wong later however REFUSED to provide a copy of the report. What bullshit. The photo shows me wondering ….. Who’s next to be thrown out the window at MACC?

Another interesting event that took place recently as well was, a Police report that was lodged against me by the President of MAJAP, Datuk Clarence Bongkus Malakun over the Allah issue. This is the very man that asked the Christian community in Sabah to abandon the word Allah. The charge was framed under the Multi-Media Act section 223, under which if found guilty one is liable to a fine of RM50,000 or a year's jail or both.

Clarence B.Malakun must have gone "Bonkers" to have thought that intimidation would tickle me. I will fight to the very end to ensure that the people will not be hoodwinked by government stooges out to con the people, for their own personal agenda?

To my recollection the Holy Father is Pope Benedict and not POPE CLARENCE?

I call upon Sabahans and Sarawakians to rise and seize what rightfully belongs to them. The 13th General Elections is fast approaching and UMNO/BN must be shown the exit door.

We must now strengthen Pakatan Rakyat and if need be take control of change, for the current "leaders"don't appear to understand or seen as wanting to CHANGE or bring about CHANGE.

Friday, 18 June 2010

The Woes of being a journalist

Columnists :: Citizen Nades (R. Nadeswaran ) of The Sun http://www.sun2surf.com/
The woes of being a journo

LABELLING of scribes is a common pastime in the Malaysian context, especially when it comes to creating affiliations with politicians and political parties. "Don't waste your time talking to him, he's a diehard so-and-so man," they would say. "He's a good friend of the boss. He won't buy your side of the story," is another often-used description. When a scribe writes something favourable about someone or some party, he or she is labelled as "returning the favour for putting him there".

When this scribe wrote about the wrongs of the previous Selangor administration, the labelling was that "he is anti-government". Even two no-holds barred meetings with the then mentri besar, Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, did not change the perception. Accusations were that I had been pursuing an agenda. "What agenda?" was the question. There was silence. "I did not ask you for land; I did not ask you for licences, so what agenda are you talking about?"

"No, the way you write your stories, you give the impression that you have an agenda against us," came the reply. Doesn't anyone see the need for the media to be the eyes and ears of the people and highlight issues that affect the community? Doesn't anyone accept the fact that some issues are addressed only after the media publicise them? Doesn't anyone understand the role of the media in the democratic system?

For the past two weeks, I have been receiving email and calls from friends on the reports and commentaries on the abuses of the low-cost housing system. Yes, I make no bones about having taken a strong stand that these houses should only be sold to those who deserve them – not council staff, not cronies and hangers-on, not politically-connected people. This view has been the stand from Day One when theSun broke the story on how the director of planning in the Petaling Jaya City Council acquired a unit.

Since then, this story has been under our radar, and at every possible instance, we have pushed for full disclosure, including making public the list of recipients of low-cost housing. So, when questions like "Why are you going after the mentri besar (Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim)" are asked, I can only be amazed. Is it my fault that he shot himself in the foot by saying it "is legally not wrong but morally not right"?

"They have only ruled the state for slightly over two years. You must give them a chance," they would say. Isn't that implying that they have yet to learn how to administer and rule? Even if granted, why make such statements which only reflect the state's stand on issues affecting the rakyat without getting more information on the matter.

I take the view that a wrong is wrong and it does not matter whether it was perpetuated by the past administration or condoned by the present one. There's no place for sentiments when it comes to issues affecting the people, their money and their livelihood. There will be no compromise when it comes to wrongdoers and their fallacies like being able to deduct household expenses to reach the threshold of RM2,500 to qualify for low-cost houses.

Therefore, many (falsely) assume that I am anti-this or anti-that, which is merely a figment of imagination of those who choose to affix such labels. I admit there are shortcomings in some of the issues that are addressed because of the information in hand or the lack of it.

Last week I received a letter (by registered mail) from a reader who was not happy with his investment in shares. The letter was a litany of claims and accusations. He called the following day to ask if I am "working on his letter". The reply was woefully blunt. "I have no clue as to what you are talking and I don't write business," he was told.

"Why can't you write about it? You are supposed to know about it," he said. Patience wore out and I had to scream that I am not the answer to all ills.

I have to admit that I pick and choose my battles. I only take on issues in which I have knowledge or where possible, I am able to get additional information to write an authoritative report.

So, dear readers, please bear with me. I am not the answer to all the ills that afflict this country and its citizens. I am just another voice presenting my thoughts, views and sometimes suggestions on issues that can help create a better quality of life for all Malaysians.
The writer is willing to accept criticism based on facts, not assumptions. Comments: citizen-nades@thesundaily.com

My Say: I had the golden opportunity to work under Mr Nades in the New Straits Times, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. Whern he left NST to read law in London, I was also in London being NST correspondent for UK. He always visited me and my family at Chapelside, Bayswater, London.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Sacked for doing his job asa Ketua Kampung!

Village Chief sacked over Dam project protest

SINGKUI TINGGI (pix showing the termination letter) thought he was only doing his job as a village head when he appealed to the State Government to reconsider the proposed Sungai Kadamaian dam project in the interest of more than 800 villagers in Kampung Tambatuon, Kota Belud Sabah.

But, his bravery to speak up instead saw him getting a one-month service termination notice for the post that he had been holding for the past 28 years from the Local Government and Housing Ministry last month.

Singkui, 78, said they were really hoping that proposed dam construction would be deferred in order to save their homes and properties in the village that had been in existence for the past three centuries from ending up being submerged in water.

In his statement in March, Singkui had said that as voters and staunch supporters of the government the people in Kampung Tambatuon had high confidence on the government's leadership to protect their welfare and future.

He said that even though they were paid compensation for the loss of their properties and land, it would not be able to guarantee the future of their generation.

The letter dated April 16, 2010 and signed by Datuk Haji Awang Sharin Alimin on behalf of the Ministry's Permanent Secretary, however, did not state the reason for Singkui's service termination.

On June 6, 2010, Singkui received a pleasant surprise when almost the entire top leadership of Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) led by President Datuk Seri Panglima Yong Teck Lee came to the village to personally view the affected village and listen to the villagers.

Together with SAPP advisor, Datuk Paul Wong and veteran politician, Datuk Mohd Noor Mansor as well as Deputy Presidents Datuk Eric Majimbun and Datuk Liew Teck Chan, Wanita Chief, Melanie Chia, Youth Chief, Edward Dagul and Information Chief, Chong Pit Fah, SAPP Kota Belud CLC Chief, Agnes Liew, Yong went to Singkui's house for a brief dialogue with the locals.

Earlier, Yong and the other SAPP leaders met with the people as they walked around the village and then to see the Tambatuon bombon at the nearby Sungai Kadamaian.

In responding to the villagers questions not only on the proposed dam project but also on the shrinking land for them to develop, Yong first said that he was proud to note that a man like Singkui who dare to speak up to tell the government that something was not right even if it may cost him his job.

"This is the weaknesses of Sabah people they will back out the moment they are threatened," he said.

Even the people elected representatives or ministers from Sabah are afraid to open up their mouth to voice out issues of the people as they scared losing their positions, he said.

Towards this end, Yong who is a former Chief Minister said the spirit shown by Singkui in fighting for their rights was commendable and should be emulated by the people of Sabah.

"To me you are still the Ketua Kampung (village head)," he told Singkui.

He also concurred with Singkui that SAPP never made a pack with him in calling for the government to defer the project to somewhere else.

"We are here because of the failure of the Kota Belud MP and Kadamaian Assemblyman. If they had listened to what the Ketua Kampung had to say it (the issue) would already have been resolved," said Yong.

He also questioned the reason that the government was willing to see the picturesque Kampung Tambatuon to be destroyed.

"To us from KK this place is like a paradise," he said.

The proposed project, Yong said involved constructing a 340m high dam, which is already considered as a mega project that cost billions of Ringgit.

Since it would be a mega project, he said it should require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report and in order for the report to be approved, it must comply with many requirements among them listening to the views of the local people.

"And if the procedures have been complied the EIA would have failed because there are school, church and many people living in the area," he said.

"But what we are seeing here today is the style of the government which will simply take out those who disagree with them," he said.

Yong promised that this would not happen when SAPP forms the government.

"This is not an election promise but this is our stand because SAPP is a people's party," he said, adding that it was unnecessary for SAPP to come to Tambatuon, which is nearly 30km from the township along the Kota Belud-Ranau by-pass, if the present elected representatives here had done their work.

Singkui asserted that the relevant quarters were as though trying to keep the project a secret from the villagers who were never informed about it and even the people doing the soil test in the village came so discreetly.

"I urge YB Datuk Herbert Timbun Lagadan to stop trying to persuade the villagers by taking them in a fully-sponsored trip to Batang Ai (Sarawak) to purportedly show the way the people there lives after relocation.

"In fact, if he have the money to pay for the villagers to Batang Ai, it would be better if he donate it for the construction of the Pastor's house in the village," said SIngkui.

On the shrinking land for the villagers to develop as they were told that it is bordering the National Parks as well as within a water catchment area, Yong said the laws for National Parks are tighter than the laws on Forest Reserves.

He said villages are allowed within the forest reserves like in the Sabah Forest Industry concession area and in Tongod since these villages had been there before the area was gazetted as a Forest Reserve.

However, Yong said in the past five years there had been cases where houses of kampong people being burnt down and chased out (of the forest reserves).

Like Mt Pock, Semporna, where villagers were chased out of the 2,000 hectares area in the forest reserve then the government tabled a Bill in the State Legislative Assembly to alienate these areas and given to a company for plantation development, he said.

"What is this? If it is water catchment area then just let it be a water catchment area. This is the priority of the SAPP Land Reformation Committee that is to return the land to the kampong people," he said, adding the committee would also be looking at all pending land applications before 1990s.

"If the dam is built this will surely lead to the downfall of the BN not only in Tambatuon but in Kota Belud and whole of Sabah," he said.

On another note, Yong said SAPP is proposing small-hydro power plants as an alternative for generating renewable energy and it would be adopted as a party policy.

Instead of building one large hydro power plant, he said several small-hydro power plants with a generating capacity of up to 10MW could be installed along the rivers.

The advantage of these small-hydro power plants, he said it does not result to significant environmental impacts such as no submergence of forests, no siltation of reservoirs, no rehabilitation and relocation as well as no seismological threats.

At the same time, he said the small dam built would served as a flood-control mechanism as well as could be integrated into existing irrigation structures apart from being a fuel-free green source of power.

Such concept had already been implemented successfully throughout the world in countries like China, Guyana, India and South Africa, he said, adding that in Sabah context small-hydro plant is an ideal source of clean energy as many villages are located next to or nearby river

Sunday, 6 June 2010

A review timely

Yong: A Review of State-Federal Relations is timely

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President, Datuk Yong Teck Lee says that the debate whether Sabah is one of three equal partners or one of thirteen states in Malaysia shows that a review of the State and Federal relationship is relevant and timely.

"SAPP will push for a review in line with SAPP's 8-Points struggle for autonomy and the return of Labuan .

"The review may propose that the High Court in Borneo be uplifted in authority and status. The granting of federal citizenship in Sabah must require State consent. Schedule 9 (Legislative Lists) of the Federal Constitution can be amended to give more jurisdiction to Sabah and Sarawak .

"Examples, foreign labour, labour laws, shipping, road transport, trade and industry and energy can be transferred to the State List. Schedule 10 Part V (Additional Sources of Revenues Assigned to Borneo States) can be expanded to include oil and gas, customs duties and revenues originating from Sabah and Sarawak .

"This review can include Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan's idea of a two-tier federation. A two-tier system will allow the Conference of Rulers to continue as it is but that the Chief Ministers and Menteri Besar Conference can be reviewed to enhance the participation of Sabah and Sarawak .

"Is Sabah one of three equal partners in Malaysia consisting of Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya?

"Malaysia was formed pursuant to the Malaysia Agreement of 9 July 1963 signed in London . The signatories were led by the then Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom , Malaya, Singapore and the leaders of North Borneo (now Sabah) and Sarawak. ( Singapore left Malaysia on 9 August 1965.)

"The agreement was signed not with the other 11 existing states in the Federation of Malaya but with Malaya as an entity. (Indeed, Kelantan had objected to the inclusion of Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore in Malaysia and had disputed the Malayan federal government's power to admit new states. But Kelantan lost its legal challenge on 14 September 1963).

"Irrespective of the wordings of the Malaysia Agreement and the Malaysia Proclamation 1963, Sabahans' understanding and consciousness is that Sabah had formed Malaysia with three other partners - Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore .

"Hence, many Sabahans consider Sabah as 'one of three' and not 'one of thirteen' partners in Malaysia . This the collective memory of the Sabah people does not go away. People still talk about it. From 1963 to 1971, Sabah and Sarawak were known as East Malaysia .

"Malaya became known as West Malaysia .

"But after the break up of West and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1971, the term West and East Malaysia was replaced with "Peninsula Malaysia" and 'Sabah and Sarawak' for obvious reasons.

"But the federal government will not concede that Sabah is an equal partner to Malaya because our national leaders cannot imagine Sabah as an equal to Malaya (now Peninsula Malaysia ).

"Although Malaysia Day on September 16 is a historical fact, it still took the BN federal government 47 years to declare September 16 as a national holiday.

"However, we will still be celebrating Hari Kebangsaan Malaysia 53 Years (from 1957) instead of Malaysia National Day 47 Years (from 1963).

"Thus, when Prof. Dr. Ranjit Singh, an academic, said that Malaysia is not an equal partnership of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak , his view reflects that of the national mainstream.

"To them, we are the late comers to Malaysia . We need their help because we are more backward. In the 1970s, our new friends in KL asked whether we live on tree tops and if we have television.

"To say they are equal to Sabah would be too much for them to bear.

"They say we need their civil servants because we have no qualified Sabahans. We win hardly any national sports tournaments. Economically, we are weak. Politically, we are "the wild East".

"Our tourism icon is the orang utan, our main national news are pirates. None of the national newspapers saw the need to report the Sabah debate on the loss of oil blocks L and M or the piping of natural gas to Bintulu and the controversy over the coal power plant. Sabah's losses are of little concern to them.

"After the March 2008 political tsunami in Peninsula Malaysia , our friends over there commented that "Sabah and Sarawak are behind time" and slow in following the national trend.

"We cannot blame them for thinking so because that is their perspective of Sabah and Sarawak . But, we could remind them that when Sabah took the lead to change the BN federal government in 1990, all the Peninsula states, except Kelantan, re-elected BN.

"Some leaders in KL have a mindset that Malaysia is the father and Sabah is the child.

"At times, this mindset is reflected in the civil service, private companies and associations. Their KL head offices make all the important decisions and treat their offices in Sabah like any other branch in the Peninsula .

"This 'superior mindset' partly is due to our Sabahans' docile approach. For instance, some local politicians are so lacking in self-confidence that they ask their federal leaders to come regularly to Sabah to help them. UMNO Sabah receives "Bapa Angkat" in all the constituencies.

"When some UMNO MPs were speculated to defect in 2008, their party HQ sent spies after them. MCA claims that their four federal ministers can do wonders for Sabah 's Chinese.

"UPKO has made itself a mirror image of peninsula racial parties like MIC, MCA and UMNO. At the same time, leaders of PBS, PBRS and LDP have all become subservient to KL in the hope of some favours, the most glaring example being LDP lobbying for a federal minister post. To be 'equal' is not in their minds.

"The internal bickering within Sabah UMNO and BN has also entrenched the 'divide and rule' tactic of KL. These BN leaders have not learned from history. As a result, the people in Sabah lose out.