Friday, August 28, 2015

PM Is Reduced to Haranguing the Rakyat


A Kadir Jasin




AS his desperation and that of the people grows, the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri) Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, has been reduced to haranguing the rakyat.

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In doing so, it shows just how distant he is to the everyday people. Decades of being a Wakil Rakyat had not appeared to bring him any closer to the masses.

On the contrary it seems to reinforce the “orang besar” character in him – of demanding loyalty and freely exercising his prerogative.

Incidentally he is one of the four “Orang Besar Berempat” (The Four Chieftains) of Pahang, carrying the title “Yang Dihormat Orang Kaya Indera Shahbandar”. Little wonder, therefore, that he enjoys the singular support of the Sultan of Pahang.

Mohd Najib: Orang Besar Berempat Pahang
[In the imperial Malay nomenclature, shahdandar is the comptroller of port and, hence, the chief tax collector.]

So when Mohd Najib tries to sound like one of the rakyat, his “orang besar” character and his disconnect with the people become obvious.

First there was the infamous “bangang” label he bestowed upon his own Umno-sponsored bloggers during last year’s Umno General Assembly.

He accused them of being stupid (numskull, fat-headed, nincompoop) for allegedly attacking the party instead of the enemies. Bangang is worse than “bodoh” in the Malay language. In the proper Malay households, “bodoh” is a no-no word.

In substance, however, he was not altogether wrong. There are Umno-sponsored bloggers who deserve that label.

Bangang was followed by “jemuan” when opening the Kedah Umno Convention last March. In Kedah slang, jemuan refers to a very bad person. He said Umno should rid itself of jemuan, acknowledging that there are such people in his own party.

And most recently he warned the Malays that they would be “bangsat” if Umno loses power. Some English media had erroneously translated it as bastard.

Depending on geographical areas and usage, bangsat, according to Dewan Bahasa, can mean a type of foul-smelling bug (pepijat), a bad person, like a thief, or a very poor person. The Dewan gives it English synonyms as rascal, knave, ill-bred and despicable person.

Bangsat is hardly used these days. Like pariah it is considered offensive. In the old northern slang, a poor person who left his place of birth to seek fortune elsewhere was said to gone “membangsat”.

So in my village in Kedah back in the 1950’s and 60’s, many Kelantanese came “membangsat” during the rice harvesting season to work as farm hands and many local people left for the towns to earn a living.

But bangsat is already applicable to the Malays where it connotes poverty and destitution. And Mohd Najib should know because he is responsible for it!

Since he became Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Umno president in 2009, the lot of the Malays and other Bumiputeras had worsened compared to other Malaysians.

Never in the history of the country that income gap between the Malays and the Chinese widened so drastically than between 2009 and 2012. The last time this happened was in 1970.

There was no improvement whatsoever in the monthly income of the Malay households from time Mohd Najib became the PM in 2009 to last year compared to the Chinese.

In fact, the nominal income gap between the Malays and the Chinese had widened by as much as 53 per cent. So, economically the Malays are already “bangsat”.

Mohd Najib had also been reported to label Felda settlers who were not supportive of Umno as “haram jadah” which in English is something like bloody bastard.

Less frequently heard these days are the high-sounding words and phrases like “keterangkuman” (inclusiveness), “rakyat didahulukan” (people first), “Perdana Menteri untuk semua” (Prime Minister for all), “kesederhanaan” and “wasatiyyah” (moderate) that marked the early days of his rule.

Instead, in his desperation to be seen to be close to the people, Mohd Najib has become “celupar” (inappropriate) in his public utterances. He likes to harangue the people and launches tirades against his opponents.

So it wasn’t a big deal when a woman delegate to the recent Langkawi Umno annual general meeting accused the PM of having “kencing” the people. In the contemporary Malay street parlance, to “kencing” is to tell a lie.  

Wallahuaklam.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

1MDB: Pena Lawan Kerakusan Kuasa


A Kadir Jasin

BABAK 1. Warga emas Cina Malaysia dan seorang Eropah di sebuah restoran di Damansara Utama ketawa besar apabila saya bertanya, apakah mereka berkomplot dan berkonspirasi?

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BABAK 2. Seorang muda India Malaysia di Mid Valley Megamall berkata kepada saya pena lebih hebat daripada pedang (the pen is mightier than the sword).

BABAK 3. Netizen (warga Internet) membuat jenaka mengenai kejatuhan nilai ringgit dengan mewabakkan gambar isteri Perdana Menteri bersama isteri Presiden Obama.

Naik bukit mengait cempedak.....
Natijahnya, sama ada berkomplot, berkonspirasi, berartikulasi atau berjenaka di alam siber, pena mungkin tidak lebih hebat daripada pedang dalam zaman Sang Kelembai 1MDB ini. Segala-galanya telah menjadi silap mata dan klise.

Maksud dan semantiknya sudah rosak jahanam terkena sumpahan, sentuhan dan badi Sang Kelembai. Pertimbangkan fakta berikut:

1. Orang tua misteri yang berbahas mencari kebenaran demi menyelamatkan negara dituduh mahu menggulingkan kerajaan. Tetapi tidak ada kejantanan untuk mendedahkan siapa “orang tua” itu. Meminjam bahasa kontemporari generasi muda, Perdana Menteri, (Datuk Seri) Mohd Najib bin Abdul Razak mungkin telah “dikencingkan” oleh “orang tua” itu. Timbalan Perdana Menteri baru (Datuk Seri) Ahmad Zahid bin Hamidi berkata “orang tua” itu akan jumpa PM, tapi tidak jumpa. Jadi orang tua misteri itu telah “kencing” PM.

2. Kerajaan sudah jadi sinonim dengan Mohd Najib dan konco-konconya. Daripada Perdana Menteri untuk semua, keterangkuman (inclusiveness) dan rakyat didahulukan dia sudah menjadi Perdana Menteri untuk yang setia, eksklusif dan kelangsungan diri diutamakan.

"All the President's men"
3. Demokrasi, mandat dan ahli parti adalah klise yang tujuannya semata-mata untuk mempertahankan Perdana Menteri dan beberapa ratus orang pembesar Umno dan Barisan Nasional serta beberapa kerat pesuruh awam.

4. Ungkapan pena lebih berkuasa daripada pedang juga sudah menjadi sebuah klise kerana pena kini bukan berlawan dengan pedang. Ia bukan pertarungan antara kebijaksanaan (pena) dan kekerasan (pedang).

5. Pena mungkin tetap pena, tetapi lawannya bukan pedang. Musuh pena dalam era Sang Kelembai 1MDB adalah wang dan kuasa!

6. Dalam keadaan di mana pena berlawan dengan wang dan kuasa, pena berkemungkinan kalah. Apatah lagi apabila ada pena yang tintanya sudah diwarnai wang dan kuasa.

7. Pena berfikir dan bertindak berdasarkan kebijaksanaan harian (conventional wisdom). Tindak-tanduk PM serta konco-konconya tidak berpaksikan kebijaksanaan konvensional separti kita fahami dan amali. Tindak-tanduk mereka berpaksikan dolak-dalik, putar-belit, pemesongan maklumat dan pendustaan.

Apa Kesudahannya?

1. Rakyat jelata terpaksa menggunakan kaedah-kaedah konvensional lain yang dibenarkan oleh perlembagaan dan demokrasi seperti berhimpun secara aman untuk menunjuk perasaan.

Perlembagaan benarkan perhimpunan aman
2. Ahli-ahli politik yang pedulikan kelangsungan negara serta kesejahteraan rakyat jelata perlu memikirkan kaedah konvensional yang digunakan oleh rakan-rakan mereka di banyak negara, iaitu menggulingkan kerajaan melalui undi tidak percaya dan menubuhkan kerajaan perpaduan nasional (national unity government).

3. Kalau tidak berlaku perubahan segera, rakyat jelata akan terus menderita sambil menunggu kedatangan pilihan raya umum (PRU) dua atau tiga tahun lagi untuk memilih perwakilan baru memerintah negara.

4. Sementara itu, kerajaan yang terdesak dan menderita defisit kepercayaan (trust deficit) yang teruk tidak lagi mampu menangani pelbagai isu ekonomi yang datang bertimpa-timpa.

5. Nilai ringgit terus menjunam setelah jatuh ke bawah paras psikologi RM4, mata wang asing Bank Negara merudum ke bawah AS$100 bilion buat pertama kali dalam masa lima tahun, pelabur asing dan tempatan membawa keluar modal, orang kaya menukar ringgit kepada mata wang asing untuk melindungi nilai (hedging), pengguna takut berbelanja dan harga barang-barang import naik kerana nilai ringgit jatuh.

Maka jadilah kita rakyat jelata seperti dalam cerita Sang Kelembai. Yang mati dihempap pokok adalah anak Sang Kelembai dan yang menjadi batu terkena sumpahan Sang Kelembai adalah gajah.

Bersolek berdandan menjaga keterampilan
Saya akhiri dengan sebuah pantun dari buku “Bila Terkenang Zaman Dahulu- Pantun Pulau Pinang” suntingan cendekiawan Muhammad Haji Salleh:

Naik bukit mengait cempedak
Cempedak duduk di seberang sana
Muka putih berlumur bedak
Tapi perangai pula tak guna.

Wallahuaklam.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Sang Kelembai Is Threatening Systemic Failure


A Kadir Jasin 


UPDATE, Aug 24 – Mohd Najib's Sang Kelembai aka 1MDB is now threatening Switzerland and the country is fighting back.

Firstly, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) said on August 19 that it would check with some of the country’s banks on whether they carried out any business with 1MDB and whether fishy transactions were involved.

Secondly, the Swiss Attorney General’s Office confirmed on August 22 that it had opened criminal proceedings against two entities of 1MDB as well as against an unknown person and would investigate Swiss banks and businesses over their role in the scandal. (Details here)
 

ORIGINAL POST

THE SangKelembai effects of 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s affair continue to claim victims.

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1. The task force investigating 1MDB had been effectively disbanded. The three main agencies - the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency, the Bank Negara and the police - appear to be working separately.

2. The second high-ranking executive of Aabar,  Mohamed Badawy al-Husseiny, is exiting the company. Aabar is the subsidiary of Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC). Al-Husseiny will leave the company on Aug 24. He is the second most important person at the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund to leave. Media reports say his departure is another strong signal that there are major concerns in the Gulf state over being drawn into Malaysia’s escalating financial and political scandals. Al-Husseiny’s departure followed that of Aabar Chairman, Khadem al Qubassi in April.

3. Over in Thailand, Swiss national Xavier Andre Justo was sentenced to a three-year imprisonment on Aug 17 for blackmailing his former employer, PSI over information linking the company to a joint venture with 1MDB.

4. While the Arabs and the Thais had taken actions against their people allegedly involved in the 1MDB scandal – directly and indirectly - here in Malaysia government servants who are tasked with investigating the affair are being harassed, punished, transferred, cold-stored and prematurely retired. The institutions they work for are being undermined.

Towards A Failed State?

So it is hard, in this situation, to believe the Prime Minister, (Datuk Seri) Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, when he recently said that Malaysia is not a failed state.

Maybe not yet but it could happen if the escalating political and economic crises are not quickly and amicably addressed.

But can Mohd Najib do this when he is the cause of the problem?

Malaysia is among the most successful post-colonial nations in the world. That cannot be denied. But what the people are saying lately is, at the rate we are going we could end up being a failed state.

The signs are already there for everybody to see, provided they understand economy.

Economic growth has tapered off. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by an average of 5.7% between 2009 and last year – the period that Mohd Najib is the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance. This was only a shade better than the post-Asian Financial Crisis (1997/98) average of 5.5% and way off the 8.7-per cent average between 1990 and 1997.

Yes a maturing economy grows at a slower rate but it is evident that Mohd Najib’s transformational, expansionary economic policy has yet to show results apart from ballooning government debt and budget deficit.

Instead, in more recent times many key economic indicators suggest that we are doing a lot worse. Consider the following:

1. The ringgit has fallen below the 1998 peg of RM3.80 and had breached the RM4 of the psychological barrier. Today the ringgit is among the weakest Asian currencies.

2. Bank Negara external reserves, which help provide strength to the ringgit, have fallen to below US100 billion, the lowest in almost five years.

3. Government debt is at an all time high - about 54% of the GDP. When government-backed loans or contingent liabilities – including those it gave to 1MDB - are taken into account, the total debt exposure rose to about 65 per cent of GDP last year.

4. Stagnating income and rising cost of living are forcing the people to borrow thus worsening the household debt. It touched a new record of 86.8% of GDP at end-2013. This worrisome development incidentally started in 2009 when Mohd Najib became Prime Minister and Finance Minister. Malaysia today has the household-debt-to-income levels greater than the U.S. had before its recent financial crisis.

5. While the GDP is stagnating, wealth distribution is becoming worse. The income gap between the rich and the poor is widening past the pre-NEP level. In recent years, as a result of falling profits and low share prices, even the rich are getting poorer.

Addressing Trust Deficit

So unless we do something to regain the confidence of investors and consumers, and to overcome trust deficit that the Mohd Najib is suffering, we could end up, as Idris Jala said in 2010, like Greece.

He then said, unless the government reduced subsidy substantially, the country could go bankrupt. Since then Mohd Najib had removed or reduced many types of subsidies and raised taxation by introducing GST. But the economy gets progressively worse instead of better.

Greece is the latest example of a failed state. If that happens to us, it would be worse. At least Greece has a big brother to bail her out - Germany. Who is going to bail us – China, Singapore?

Mohd Najib’s record as Prime Minister and Finance Minister is dismal. Since he took over the two top jobs in 2009, the country’s economy and government finances have worsened.

The country's sovereign ratings had either been downgraded or had not enjoyed major improvements. And in more recent times, capital - local and foreign - had taken flight.

MIDF Equities Research estimated that cumulative net foreign outflow from Malaysian equities rose to RM11.7 billion in the first seven months of this year, surpassing the RM6.9b outflow for the whole of last year. That’s one of the reasons for the massive fall in value of the ringgit.

Yes, we are not a failed state. But is there a guarantee that we will not be going down that path given the present political and economic quagmire?

The above question is not addressed to Mohd Najib or the “budak cerdik” Ahmad Maslan but to all concerned Malaysians.

Wallahuaklam.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Puisi Perjuangan Buat Anina


A Kadir Jasin
Anina Saaduddin Berpidato

 

MARAH mu dapat ku rasa
Kerana seperti mu juga
Aku pernah muda
Jiwa ku juga pernah gelora
Marah terbakar panas membara.

Pernah ku tuliskan puisi
Dalamnya menyala api
Mengutuk memarahi
Ayah ku sendiri
Kerana orang tua ku itu
Setianya kepada Umno melulu.

Aku sayang dia
Aku kasih dia
Dialah wira ku
Dialah idola ku.

Tapi aku tidak setuju
Setianya kepada ketua terlalu
Seolah-olah mereka itu tuhan
Harus dipuja tanpa batasan.

Maka ku kata kepadanya
Apakah kita anjing-anjing mereka?

Ayah tidak memarahi ku
Kerana pendirian ku itu
Cuma katanya
Kasar bahasa ku
Bukan cerminan
Bangsa Melayu.

Dan kalau hari ini
Di sini aku berdiri
Tidak takut bara dan api
Meluahkan rasa hati
Itu semua kerana ayah ku
Yang menyemai semangat jitu
Agar aku tidak takut bayang-bayang
Tidak gentar hantu dan jembalang.

Maka aku boleh merasa marah mu
Panas membara jiwa mu
Melihat bangsa ini dipersenda
Dibuaikan dengan nyanyian dusta.

Orang Muda Yang Berani

[Kononnya ada raja yang sangat kaya
Harta banyak tidak terkira
Sangat mulai hati budinya
Memberi sadaqah dan derma.]

Alhamdulillah, dalam generasi mu
Masih ada anak muda seperti mu
Yang tidak mudah diperdaya ditipu
Dengan cerita karut merapu
Dan diayah palsu.

Ayuh, gerakkan generasi mu
Agar tidak longlai dan layu
Kerana bumi ibunda ini milik mu
Engkaulah penyambung hayat bangsa
Srikandi pengarak panji-panji negara
Kerana untuk mu lah Malaysia
Untuk pemudi dan pemuda
Yang masih segar jiwanya
Belum kotor dinodai kuasa
Belum korup disuap harta
Belum buta kerana wang berjuta
Belum bisu takutkan ketua
Belum tertipu dengan kata dusta.

Buat mu anak ku
Doa dan pesan ku
Hidup ini tiada makna
Kalau sekadar tidur lena
Dibuai mimpi-mimpi palsu
Sedangkan bangsa mu
Makin pudar dan layu
Dicemuh dan dicerca
Dihina sepanjang masa.

Perjuangan mu baru bermula
Perjuangan ku belum selesai
Ayuh, mari kita bersama-sama
Menongkah arus melawan badai
Melayarkan bahtera merdeka
Agar tidak patah kemudinya
Tidak tumbang tiang layarnya
Demi Malaysia negara kita
Bumi tercinta
Anugerah Tuhan Yang Esa.

Wallahuaklam.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Who Would It Be: Zahid, Muhyiddin or Ku Li?


A Kadir Jasin

 
UPDATE, Aug. 17 – Gerik: Umno presidency must be defended at all times if the party is to overcome crises, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said defending the presidency was not about protecting the individual who is the president but more about looking after the sanctity of the institution. – The Star.

Footnote from history: 1951 the presidency of (Datuk) Onn Jaafar was rejected for wanting to open Umno to all races. 1969 the presidency of Tunku Abdul Rahman was usurped by (Tun) Abdul Razak and 2009 the presidency of (Tun) Abdullah was challenged by (Tun) Mahathir and Muhyiddin. Did Mohd Najib defend him? No, he played safe and finally played Abdullah out.

ORIGINAL POST
 

ONE thing is sure - the country needs a change of Leader.

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What is less sure is who will it be. Three possibilities are being mentioned: the sacked former Deputy Prime Minister  (Tan Sri) Muhyiddin Yassin, his replacement (Datuk Seri) Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and the former Finance Minister, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah aka Ku Li.

Depending on which source you get your information and who is making the analysis, the front-runner keeps changing.

According to Pak Belalang (the protagonist in the P. Ramlee movie “Nujum Pak Belalang”), if the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri) Mohd Najib Abdul Razak has his way, he would want Ahmad Zahid to be his successor.

Having sacked Muhyiddin for criticising him and for supporting the investigations into the 1MDB affairs, surely the Prime Minister would not want Muhyiddin to succeed him. Allowing Muhyiddin to become PM is as good as signing his own death warrant.

Ahmad Zahid looks like a safer bet. He has been Mohd Najib’s ally for a long time and is the strongest and the most popular of the three elected Umno vice-presidents.

The second elected VP, (Datuk Seri) Shafie Apdal of Sabah had been done away with. He was dropped from the Cabinet together with Muhyiddin. The third VP is Mohd Najib’s own cousin, (Datuk Seri) Hishammuddin Hussien, who was the front-runner before the 1MDB scandal surfaced.

In recent months, Hishammudin has adopted a more neutral stance towards his cousin by urging for an open and transparent investigation into the 1MDB affairs. That automatically makes him a less reliable. Still he is being touted as the DPM candidate should Ahmad Zahid gets promoted.

The problem is how would Ahmad Zahid overcome the question of having Muhyiddin at the top of him in the Umno hierarchy? Muhyiddin is Deputy President and his image as the defender of the party and the voice of the ordinary rakyat has catapulted following his July 28 sacking. He now enjoys considerable sympathy from Umno members and Malaysians in general.

Picture tells a thousand words: Sultan Ibrahim Johor, Johor MB, Zahid and Muhyiddin

For Ahmad Zahid, Muhyiddin is a necessary ally. Little wonder that when the two of them were photographed laughing away in the presence of the Sultan of Johor on Aug 11 the rumour mill went into overdrive.

No less significant is the emergence of the Johor Sultanate as a critic of the PM and the royal champion of the rakyat, which gives rise to yet another set of analyses. They concern the behind-the-scene involvement of some Malay rulers in seeking solution to the country’s deepening problems.

The Ku Li Solution

Then there is what could be described as the Ku Li’s solution. The veteran Umno leader and the MP for Gua Musang could very well be ahead in race to replace Mohd Najib.

Ku Li and Najib: Not a handover letter yet

The 78-year old former Finance Minister and Umno VP, who, ironically, is also Mohd Najib’s earliest mentor (in Petronas), has been actively putting together a coalition of MPs from both sides of House with the hope of democratically ousting him.

If he succeeds, he stands out as the most likely successor to Mohd Najib and, would introduce a whole new equation to contemporary Malaysian politics i.e the formation of a national unity government in which Umno could be in the minority.

However, in spite of widespread rumours that Ku Li has received the blessing of the former PM (and his nemesis) (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he faces an uphill task to coax at least half of the 222 members of the Dewan Rakyat (the House of Representatives) to join him.

The opposition is badly fractured following the ouster of the non-religious faction from PAS. The clerical PAS may not be inclined to join Ku Li. But the PAS professionals who now called themselves Gerakan Harapan Baru (New Hope Movement) may break rank and side with the Kelantan prince. The DAP and PKR are likely to be amenable to the idea of a unity government under Ku Li provided one of their members is made the DPM.

Still Ku Li would not have enough members to topple the PM unless he is able to get the support of upward of 45 BN members. If PAS members are not with him, he would need more BN defectors. And could not rely on mere promises. He has to get a legally valid assurance from each of them.

From the governing point of view, Ku Li is perhaps the best candidate to rescue the economy because, despite his shortcomings and missteps in the past, he is highly experienced and knowledgeable in economic matters. More than anything else it is the economy that needs mending and Ku Li beats all other contenders in that aspect.

In recent months, Dr Mahathir, Ku Li and another former Finance Minister, (Tun) Daim Zainuddin, appeared to have set aside their differences and are having regular conversations about politics and the economy.

FOOTNOTE: Met (Tun) Musa Hitam again on Friday (at Sime Darby’s open house). He told me (in front of one or two staunchest supporters of the PM) that plot has changed yet again. Now the old fox is having the upper hand over the chicken.

Wallahuaklam.

About Me

My Photo
I was born in 1947 in Kedah. I came from a rice farming family. I have been a journalist since 1969. I am the Editor-in-Chief of magazine publishing company, Berita Publishing Sdn Bhd. I was Group Editor NST Sdn Bhd and Group Editor-in-Chief of NSTP Bhd between 1988 and 2000. I write fortnightly column “Other Thots” in the Malaysian Business magazine, Kunta Kinte Original in Berita Harian and A Kadir Jasin Bercerita in Dewan Masyarakat. Books: Biar Putih Tulang (1998), Other Thots – Opinions & Observations 1992-2001 (2001), The Wings of an Eagle (2003), Mencari Dugalia Huso (2006), Damned That Thots (2006), Blogger (2006), PRU 2008-Rakyat Sahut Cabaran (2008), Komedi & Tragedi-Latest in Contemporary Malaysian Politics (2009) and Membangun Bangsa dengan Pena (2009).