Sunday, June 20, 2010

RBT: Knowing what the right hand does

Rocky's Bru on THURSDAY: Knowing what the right hand does


Thursday, June 17th, 2010 12:38:00
Rocky Bru
WHEN the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing, the result can be quite hilarious.

As in the case of the DAP losing yet another assemblyman or Adun in Perak two days ago, the same day its Pakatan Rakyat (PR) partner Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) was boasting about three Umno assemblymen quitting Barisan Nasional.

Keswinder Singh

KESHVINDER: Now BN-friendly

The DAP Adun for Malim Nawar, Keshvinder Singh Kashmir Singh, announced quitting his party to become an independent Adun at 1pm on Tuesday in Kuala Lumpur.

The DAP obviously knew about Keshvinder's intention to quit and was trying to block it, which was why Keshvinder had to change the venue for his Press conference three times that day!

PKR, who is DAP's partner in PR in Perak, was oblivious to all this. That very morning, it was still teasing the Press and taunting the BN about three assemblymen from Umno jumping over to Pakatan. That would have tipped the power balance in the State in PR's favour.

If PKR had known what DAP was doing, it wouldn't have been a laughing stock that day.

Still, at least we had a good laugh there.

But not so in the case of Nazri Aziz, whose right hand quite obviously didn't know what the left hand was doing.

Within the same week, this flamboyant Minister in the Prime Minister's Department announced, firstly, a decision to scrap scholarships to send Malaysians to study abroad ("It's a question of affordability," he was quoted as saying) and, secondly, a proposal to build a new Parliament house in Putrajaya for a whopping RM800 million — and refurbishment of the current Parliament for RM150 million to turn it into a heritage building.

(With regards to scrapping the scholarships, Nazri had told a news website that the government's plans to redeploy bright students to study locally instead of overseas would help prevent a further braindrain of talent. "Sending students overseas causes brain-drain where some of them won't want to come back after studying there for a few years," he had said. But that's another story.)


NAZRI, SYED HAMID: Is the government's messaging system collapsing?

Back to the proposed new Parliament house: That's nearly RM1 billion to be spent. A question of affordability?

More like a case of communications breakdown. Or in the words of a young BN MP I met over lunch yesterday, "a collapse in the messaging system".

The right hand has forgotten what the left had done. Tan Sri Vincent Tan said he has been re-issued the licence that will legalise sports betting.

The Prime Minister said the government was still considering it, but this after Penang, Selangor and Sarawak said they would not allow legalised sports betting.

And why does the authorities use the term "legalised sports betting". Isn't the correct term "regulated sports betting"?

Similarly, why go with bankruptby-2019 scare tactic when the real message that Idris Jala, another Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, wanted to convey is that when the government cuts subsidies it would make sure that the poor will continue to get assistance.

As it was, Idris said late last month that if Malaysia didn't stop giving out subsidies — which amounted to RM74 billion a year — it would go broke in nine years!

And so, the whole first half of this month has seen Idris Jala's colleagues in the government disputing his assumptions in an attempt to salvage the situation.

Finally even the Treasury, which usually exaggerates numbers to make a picture look rosy, came out to shoot down Idris Jala's subsidy figures, the base for his bankrupt theory. It's RM18 million, and not RM74 billion!

So whose message do you believe — the Treasury or the PM's Department?

Back to Nazri, he was quoted on May 10 saying the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak wanted him to head the Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat or Spad, a new commission to look into the business of improving road public transport. Nazri also added that the PM had conveyed the appointment to him last year.

Many were wondering if Nazri wasn't pre-empting his boss with this statement.

Then last week, the government formally announced the appointment of Syed Hamid Albar as chairman of Spad effective June 3.

Is there a message here for Nazri Aziz?

*Ahirudin Attan is group editorial adviser for The Malay Mail, Bernama TV and The Malaysian Reserve. He blogs at

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rocky's Bru on Thursday, 10 June 2010, Malay Mail

Dinosaurs, 160x6 English teachers and 'Rachel Corrie'

Thursday, June 10th, 2010 12:42:00

RECYCLED materials are fine but not in the context of Malaysian politics and politicians. The other day, we heard a chorus from the Pakatan Rakyat choir chiding the Prime Minister for using "the same dogeared pack of cards" in his so-called "minor" Cabinet reshuffle and for bringing back former minister Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, 67, to head the government's latest vehicle to help overcome the country's land public transport woes.

But that's the pot calling the kettle black. The Opposition hasn't fared any better and so, soon after their ruckus, we heard from the BN's choir about Pakatan Rakyat's own reshuffling using "recycled" leaders such as Datuk Zaid Ibrahim and Datuk Seri Chua Jui Meng.

In this case, both were ex-BN leaders who joined the Opposition after the last general election!

Surprisingly, there is a point here: Where, indeed, are the young Turks of Malaysia's politics? Are the below-40 not good enough to lead or is their rise being suppressed by their seniors?

This is not a BN or PR phenomenon. DAP's Lim Kit Siang, 70 next year, and Karpal Singh, 70 this month, and Pas' Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat, 79, are in the company of MIC's Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, 75, and Sarawak's Pehin Seri Abdul Taib Mahmud, also 75, in the rise and rise of Malaysia's political dinosaurs.



FREE GAZA ICON: The ship funded by Dr M who has fought long and hard for the Palestinians

THERE was mention of dinosaurs at the Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (Melta) International Conference in KL on Monday. Raja Zarith Idris, the Sultanah of Johor and Melta patron, lamented the fact that "most Malaysians cannot speak or write well in English, compared to the ability and ease with which older Malaysians dinosaurs like us speak and write it".

Raja Zarith's crusade to stop the decline in the standard of English in Malaysian schools is well-known and her concern understandable.

"My youngest son goes to a local government school in Johor Baru, so whatever decisions and whatever innovations have been made, regarding the education of our children is of interest and much anxiety to me, as a parent."

One such "innovation" must be the decision to stop teaching Maths and Science in English, a matter that Raja Zarith didn't touch in her speech but which the conference participants talked about, nonetheless, among themselves and to anyone who'd listen. No doubt with the hope that somehow the government would do a U-turn, which is very unlikely.

There is talk, in fact, that the government is about to award contracts for the import of 960 native speakers of English under the ministry's plan to give equal emphasis on BM and English (MBMMBI or Memartabatkan Bahasa Malaysia dan Memperkukuhkan Bahasa Inggeris).

Under this policy to improve the standard of English teachers in our schools (some see it as an attempt to appease those who were in favour of teaching Maths and Science in English), 160 English native speakers will be made trainer-teachers spread out over six regions throughout the country (hence, the 160 x 6 formula) and act as "mentors" or "consultants".

The idea, perhaps, is to bring back the days when English in our schools was taught by the "mat sallehs" themselves. One may argue, however, that English native speakers during the colonial era had lived among the locals and understood not just their language, but also their culture, history and traditions.

Will the imported teacher-trainers under the MBM-MBI scheme be as good?

Raja Zarith did ask the question. "Which would be better? To have our local teachers teach it as they have done so for the past 50 years? Or to bring in native English speakers as teachers?"

If we do bring in the native English speakers to teach our children, the authorities must mind the gap that it will inevitably create between the foreign and local teaching staff. The 960 native English speakers, according to proposals, will be paid between RM8,000 and RM15,000 a month, besides the usual perks that has made Malaysia a haven for expatriates.

Convert the amount to euro, sterling or dollar and it won't be excessive, but with an experienced local English teacher getting RM3,000 to RM4,000 a month, we have a disparity in hand that will lead to resentment and discontent.

Unhappy teachers are the last thing this country needs.

JOURNALIST-ACTIVIST Shamsul Akmar, 46, who was part of the now historic MV Rachel Corrie voyage, was quite touched by the renewed and sudden interest shown by Malaysians, especially the politicians, dinosaurs et al, towards the plight of Palestinians and Gaza.

His wish is that people will remember how hard the former PM, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, was pushing to

get the Palestinians and Gaza their place in the world's and Malaysians' collective conscience.

After the Israelis hijacked Rachel Corrie in international waters just an hour away from Gaza, Shamsul and the others on-board the Malaysian vessel, including UN's former assistant secretary-general Dennis Halliday and Nobel Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire, were brought to Israel for questioning.

Even his interrogators, Shamsul said, were passionate about Dr Mahathir. The ex-PM's name was mentioned several times during his Q & A session.

"Your former Prime Minister, the man you work for, hates Israel, yes?!"

Press Freedom in America, ask Helen Thomas!

The "sacking" of America's iconic journalist

Read Mana-Mana's Waa, So Powerful!
This again illustrates that although they are separate entities, only a thin line separates the hardline Jews and the Israel state. An so powerful is the Jewish lobby in the west, especially in America, that anyone who says something seemingly unkind about Israel is bound to ultimately left with no choice but to apologise to the Jewish community, not Israel.

Same with those who questioned the holocaust and there have been quite a few.

The irony is that you can say something nasty about the mainly Muslim Middle-east and many things Islam, tear Iran, Iraq, al-Qaeda and the Talban to pieces and the western world doesn't think this is offensive but just one word against the Jews or Israel and they are up in arms.

Israel kills the innocent, imposes a blockade, ignores United Nations' resolutions, keeps nuclear weapons and god knows what else and that is A-ok but Iran has a nuclear programme and a fourth round of sanctions looks to be underway.

Taken from Tok Mummy

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Veteran Amerian journalist Helen Thomas quits over remarks on Israel

Reporter quits over Israel remark- Aljazeera

Thomas, centre, has covered every US president
since John F Kennedy [AP]

Veteran White House journalist Helen Thomas, who has covered every US president since John F Kennedy, has abruptly retired amid a storm of criticism over her controversial remarks about Israel.

Her retirement on Monday as a Hearst Newspapers columnist came after she was captured on video saying Israelis should "get the hell out of Palestine" and that they should go "home" to Germany, Poland or the United States.

The comments drew widespread condemnation with Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, describing her comments as “offencive and reprehensible”.

Thomas, 89, long considered the dean of the White House press correspondents, apologised for the statements she made on May 27.

In a statement issued over the weekend she said: "I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognise the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon."


In depth
A tough questioner and pioneer female journalist

The controversy prompted Thomas to be dropped by her public speaking agency and also led to the cancellation of her plans to deliver a high school commencement address in suburban Washington.

"Helen Thomas announced Monday that she is retiring, effective immediately," Hearst News Service reported. "Her decision came after her controversial comments about Israel and the Palestinians were captured on videotape and widely disseminated on the Internet."

Thomas was absent from Monday's White House briefing, where she has a reserved seat in the centre of the front row.

The White House Correspondents Association called her remarks "indefensible" and, before the announcement of her retirement, scheduled a meeting on whether an opinion columnist should have a front-row seat in the West Wing briefing room.

"Many in our profession who have known Helen for years were saddened by the comments, which were especially unfortunate in light of her role as a trail blazer on the White House beat," the association's board said in a statement.

Thomas became a columnist for the Hearst newspaper chain in recent years after working for decades as a White House correspondent for United Press International.

Read here: Helen Tells Jews to go back.