Archive for the ‘Malaysia Today’ Category

The real reason Shafie Apdal resigned


This is what politicians like Shafie do. When they know they are going to die they announce that they are too principled to stay in such an unprincipled party and try to exit looking like a hero and then seek greener pastures elsewhere.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

“Justice is not being done. There is no justice in the way UMNO is being run,” said Shafie Apdal on resigning from Umno yesterday. And the media made it look like Shafie resigned over the 1MDB issue.

That is actually not so. The deal is Umno would support one Vice President from East Malaysia and since there is no Umno in Sarawak and there is only Umno in Sabah then a leader from Sabah would be given one of the three Umno Vice Presidents’ seats.

So the Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman made sure that all 25 Umno divisions in the state supported Shafie. And many of the other 165 Umno divisions in West Malaysia also supported Shafie in solidarity with Umno Sabah. And that was how Shafie managed to win one of the three Umno Vice Presidents’ posts even though he is not really that popular in Sabah.

In short, Musa gave Shafie that post. And that was why Shafie won that post. But now Musa has withdrawn his support. So in the next party election two years from now Shafie will not be able to win even a supreme council member seat let alone retain his Vice President’s post.

Shafie knows his days are numbered. Even if Umno does not sack him from the party he will no longer be able to hold any position of importance in the party. He is finished.

So, before he gets sacked, or worse, before he loses his Vice President’s post and does not even win a supreme council member seat, he might as well save some face and resign.

It is better that he pretends he is a person of integrity and principles by announcing he is resigning for the sake of truth and justice rather than he gets pushed into retirement because he lost his Vice President’s post or gets sacked from the party.

This is what politicians like Shafie do. When they know they are going to die they announce that they are too principled to stay in such an unprincipled party and try to exit looking like a hero and then seek greener pastures elsewhere.

No, I will not give Shafie too much credit by writing my normal long article about him. It would be a waste of time and time better spent playing with my granddaughter, Lily. By the way, that is Lily in the photo below.


See here

Musa Aman become Chief Minister in March 2003 on the plank of development. At that time the Sabah government inherited empty coffers; and an inertia prevailed in almost every sector of development. The government had its tasks cut out for it- giving Sabah the development path, it was craving desperately, while putting the state’s economy back on the tracks. The state has an irony since its very inception. The irony is that it has been endowed with rich natural wealth yet it miserably failed to leverage upon this wealth due, mainly, to lack of requisite infrastructure and bad governance.

True to its promise with the people the Musa government made successful efforts to set things right in priority sectors including roads, irrigation, electricity, water supply, agriculture, tourism, employment etc while at the same time improving the fiscal health of the state. A special feature of this endeavour has been that in last 13 years with Musa as chief minister development did not suffer slackness at any point of time; and there has been a continuity in development process.

Musa Aman had a job to do, and he did it as well as he could by presenting a RM 3.49 billion budget for 2016.

In his State Budget 2016 proposals Musa Aman has proposed a RM3.49 billion budget which comes with a surplus of RM29.9 million.The budget comes with an estimated revenue collection amounting to RM3.520 billion.

I was full of trepidation because of the huge expectations from the Budget. This was clearly a make or break Budget for the Musa government as it would have lost the benefit of the doubt, which it has enjoyed until now, as last year Sabah tabled a surplus budget of RM3.812 billion with a surplus of RM49.2 million. Moreover, the fear was that with the Malaysia’s ringgit currency slid past 4.0 to the US dollar for the first time in 17 years, pounded by concerns over Malaysia’s economic growth and political uncertainty stemming from 1MDB, heightened by Malaysia’s deteriorating terms of trade, high debt, and a fragile fiscal position highly dependent on oil-related revenue, the Sabah government could get scared and veer away from the path of developments. It is indeed to the credit of the Sabah government that they have proven our fears to be unfounded with another surplus budget for 2016.

Themed “Prudent Budget, The People at Heart”, Musa’s budget proposal emphasised on the need to consolidate existing state resources with a demand for effective and efficient management. It makes sense when Musa said the government formulated the 2016 budget by taking into account the global economic environment. “Even though the rate of economic growth is somewhat slowing down in Asia and globally, the state’s economic fundamentals still remain strong, due to our wealth of natural resources such as crude oil, palm oil and forest products that are still in great demand in the world market. “However, it cannot be denied that as an economy dominated by the production of major commodities such as crude oil and palm oil, the state revenue collection could be affected due to fluctuation in commodity prices and foreign exchange rates, Musa said in the State Assembly.

The Budget is replete with forward looking whose cumulative positive impact will be significant in the coming years. For me the five most important features of the Budget are:

First, its emphasis on infrastructure development by proposing an allocation of RM1.373 billion. Of these RM441 million will be allocated for economic development, RM212.7 million for social development and RM44.56 million for administration. This is buttressed by allocating RM1.5 billion for special expenditure. Infrastructural development is given the attention it deserved.

Second, agriculture sector which is Sabah’s main economic strength will be given top priority with an allocation of RM456.9 million. Out of which RM169.85 million will be allocated to carry out various agricultural development projects including the Permanent Food Production Park project, Agriculture Research Programme, Paddy Planting Development Project, Rubber Replanting Programme and Palm Oil Downstream Industry Development. Even fisheries sector will be allocated RM47.76 million to increase fish production and fishery products to 423,360 metric tons per year.

In addition the Chief Minister announced that the livestock sub-sector was allocated RM122.8 million. Livestock sub-sector recorded a gross production valued RM1.106 billion last year and expected to increase this year hence reducing the State’s food bill from year to year.

Third, the Budget’s focus on improving the business environment especially for the micro, small and medium enterprises is laudable. This includes providing infrastructure amenities and creating a conducive environment to all investors in the existing industrial parks such as Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP), Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) in Lahad Datu and Sandakan as well as Sipitang Oil and Gas Industrial Park (Sogip).

In fact in the industrial and manufacturing sector, the state registered a total investment of RM572 million in manufacturing this year of which RM92 million represents foreign investment involving 28 companies and generating 1129 job opportunity. Since 2011, total investment in manufacturing and industry sector had achieved a total value of RM13.9 billion, generating 11,115 job opportunities.

Fourth, the Chief Minister cum Finance Minister has shown that he is not beholden to any fiscal dogma and has his attention focused sharply on the need to raise investment. He has demonstrated this by opting for a more moderate glide path even though the States’s economy growth is expected to register a moderate growth of around 3.5 to 4.5 per cent.

Fifth, the chief minister has allocated a total sum of RM290.08 million for the implementation of programmes in eradicating poverty and improving the peoples well being. More than 20 villages under Program Kampung Sejahtera (PKS) are being planned to be developed for 2016. This shows the government is always sensitive to the people’s plights and taking steps and measures necessary to ensure the welfare and prosperity of the people are safeguarded.

That the Budget has not disappointed, despite the high expectations, is in itself creditable. More creditable is that it has not succumbed to populism despite ringgit sliding, low oil prices, 1MDB fiasco, Ranau earthquake and the Abu Sayaff kidnapping. The Musa team has done well to make this a growth and investment oriented Budget while at the same time retaining and indeed increasing outlays on social welfare measures.

Several unique characteristics go along with the name of Musa Aman. In him, Sabah has had a three-dimensional leader: a statesman par excellence, an astute businessman banker and a thinker with the courage of conviction.

Musa was a successful businessman/banker long before he entered politics but all his life he had strived to make everything he touched more value oriented. He had an inimitable style of winning hearts. He has several friends with views diametrically opposite his, but that has never come between him and them when it comes to frank sharing of ideas and feelings. Rarely does one find a leader with such a fine blend of toughness and tenderness.

Musa has contributed to Sabah polity in multiple ways. He remains the epitome of alternate political thought and functionality. He personifies patriotism. If attributes such as informality in interpersonal relationships, spirit of accommodation, respect for the opposite viewpoint, a complete non-compromising approach towards politics of hate and injustice, etc. are still to be found in present day politics, Musa – among others – deserves credit. His most important contribution is strengthening Sabah democracy. When power politics sounded extremely monopolistic and people wondered if the element of choice had completely vanished from Sabah polity, he didn’t need words to send the message “Boleh Bah Kalau Sabah” to the people with all the strength at his command.

He remains the first genuine leader, the first truly Sabah chief minister who managed to convince Putrajaya to have a Royal Commission of Inquiry on Illegal Immigrants and address Sabah’s Mother of All Problems – “Illegal Immigrants”. He also remains one of the first politician from East Malaysia who is working quietly with the Prime Minister to get an equity in Petronas for Sabah state apart from the oil and gas royalty of five per cent. And for his effort so far Sabah has gotten a 10 per cent stake in Petronas LNG Train 9 Sdn Bhd in Bintulu, Sarawak, which would generate additional revenue to the state and its people. Speaking at the investiture ceremony in conjunction with the 61st birthday of Head of State Tun Juhar recently, Musa Aman said ” Our commitments does not end here. Instead we will continue to double our efforts by working together with the Federal Government to mobilise various programmes to further raise the social status of the people and life quality.”

When Musa took over as chief minister, Sabah was literally on the threshold of the 21st century. And it was a new, young and assertive Sabah with surging aspirations, contrary to the old status quo-ist elements who were in denial. Musa recognised these burgeoning aspirations, and successfully struck a balance without compromising on Sabah’s fundamental values. His regime witnessed the stabilisation of the new economy, and he created an appetite for development-oriented governance.

In ensuring the success and excellence of the public delivery system, Musa pledged to provide good governance. He said, “Our first commitment to the people is to give a stable, honest, transparent and efficient government capable of accomplishing all-round development. For this, the government shall introduce time-bound program of needed administrative reforms, including those for the civil services”. Musa not only strengthened old bridges, he also tried to create new ones to overcome the distances between different social groups, districts and economic strata. His Midas touch impacted every sector of governance. His programmes and policies demonstrated his commitment to a strong and self-reliant Sabah, prepared to meet the challenges of the coming decade.

To make Sabah an economic power in the 21st century, he transformed the economic policy framework. Sectors like public sector enterprises, agricultural produce marketing, small-scale industries, urban land ceilings, highways, rural roads, elementary education, ports, electricity, communal land titles, oil and gas were all subject to far-reaching reforms and raised Sabah’s power graph in Malaysia. Sabah continue to be sought after by foreign investors, especially in the manufacturing sector. Last year Sabah received RM2.4 billion from local investors and RM1 billion was injected by foreign investors. Since the launch of the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) in 2008 until August 2014, RM135 billion worth of cumulative investments have been planned and committed, out of which, RM45 billion have been realised.

The State Government has even implemented various programmes for the development of the people such as the Prosperous Mini Estates (Mesej), 1Azam, Local Economy Enhancement, Agropolitan Project and Housing Aid Programme as well as the Prosperous Village Programme. These programs aim to transform selected villages holistically by involving three main aspects, namely the development of human capital, economic progress and improvement in the quality of life.

On the forest front, Musa’s commitment to increase the Sabah’s total protected area must be appreciated as his role for making things happen, without whose support, the translation of policies into actions would not have come about. Today Sabah’s Total Protected Areas (TPAs) of 1,553,262 hectares or about 21 per cent of the State’s total land area is arguably the largest in Malaysia. This percentage has exceeded the original IUCN (International Union of The Convention of Nature) target of 10 per cent and even CBD’s (Convention on Biological Diversity) 17 per cent of various types of ecosystems. What is more important is that, TPAs of Sabah cover a wide range of ecosystems including : pristine lowland forests, pristine highland forests, montane forests, freshwater wet lands, mangrove swamps, peat lands, regenerating lowland Dipterocarp forests and Heath (Kerangas) forests, amongst others. Danum Valley, Maliau Basin and Imbak Canyon, have additional buffers for reinforced protection and dedicated wildlife corridors to address connectivity and fragmentation. All these possible because of Musa Aman.

Musa has launched to date many ambitious projects: highways to connect to Sarawak, Kalimantan and Brunei along with other towns like Tenom to Sipitang, and to every kampong by road. These projects also revolutionised the real estate sector, commerce and the rural economy. The improved road connectivity further integrated the state through a network of world-class highways, which puts Sabah on the fast lane to socio-economic development. This is indeed, the highway to prosperity!

Musa as the Sabah Security Chief encompassing governance doctrine is also seen in his strategic vision in regards to Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom), a security area that stretches 1,733.7km along the east coast of Sabah, from Kudat to Tawau. Esscom was established on April 1, 2013, following the Sulu intrusion in Tanduo, Lahad Datu. With the setting up of Esscom and its restructuring last July 17, cases of cross border crimes in the Esszone have become less rampant. Efficient and effective mechanisms have been introduced such as curfew, and integrated operations which are ongoing. The establishment of the Esscom, re-evaluation of Sabah’s decades old illegal immigrants problem, economic diplomacy, and engagement with the Manila has re-written Sabah’s strategic governance system.

Under Musa Aman, Sabah has become a powerhouse of growth and had emerged as an important contributor to Malaysia’s development journey. Under his able leadership Sabah became known for its quality infrastructure and excellent financial management. Musa Aman’s governance in Sabah saw a government that listened to the people and one that built its success through equal economic growth in all sectors. Through innovation and emphasis on detail he brought in record investment that benefited people of Sabah and drew people from all over Malaysia to work in Sabah and make a living.

The astounding results of the one-sided Sabah elections in March 2008 has established that if someone governs, stokes hopes and improves the socio-politico-economic quotient, he and the party he leads gets a massive dividend. However, it needs to be noted that the victory of Musa Aman was not based on majoritiranism, fundamentalism or extreme populism. The election revolved around an iconic image and the mandate was an acceptance that he was rebuilding Sabah, socially and economically, and people wanted him to continue.

This is what Musa Aman has achieved for the State, which since taking over the helm in 2003, symbolised the worst developmental paradigm. Importantly, the dividend is just not for his political alliance Barisan National, but for the people of the State, whose aspirations certainly has grown manifold as the State has achieved the highest — higher than the national — GDP growth of over 5 to 6 per cent during the last two years.

The 2008 Sabah elections proves that political forces are extremely crucial to economic growth. This governance syndrome certainly does not require an economist to suggest what the people want. The politician rooted to the ground has only to give vent to the aspirations. Musa Aman started giving a turn to the affairs after a state of morass began in the 1990’s. Hence the question being, is Sabah setting a new development benchmark? Musa may just have set the tone for national aspirations and might change the dynamics of national politics. The “Mahathirised” social engineering was based on exclusion of many social groups. It also led to vengeance, vandalisation, poverty and poor law and order situation.

Musa Aman reversed this by an inclusive system and taking care of the most deprived, the less empowered among the Natives.

The people’s aspirations brought the Sabahan pride back. Many Sabahan workers have left their work places outside the State and come back. Peace and aspiration are seen as the greatest gift. Women have voiced that. More women turned out to vote. Symbolising the functioning of the State structure, which benefits women even more than men. This ensures better security and also better facilities for health and school enrollment.

Significantly, the women were religion neutral. Is the authority of the man dwindling? Particularly, as a large number of women turned out to vote in districts with high indigenous concentrations. The highest turn out of women at the hustings were 55.66 per cent in 1985 and 54.49 per cent in 2004. It touched 64.85 per cent in 2008, much more than the men’s 60.77 per cent.

This has not happened just like that. The State has given opportunities to grow with a larger road network, it has 17,000 kilometers of road now but only 35% or 5,000 kilometers have been sealed till today from 1415 kilometers in 2005 to 2417 kilometers in 2010, to tar the remaining 12,000 gravel roads in order to attain the national average of 80 per cent sealed roads and 20 per cent gravel roads, Sabah needs RM10 billion and in the new budget for 2013 Sabah is getting 2.2 billion ringgit of road projects from the Federal government. In 2011, The mortality rate for children under five years of age in Sabah was 8.6 per 1,000 live births, or 425 deaths last year. 1% lower than 2010.This is still higher than the national average of 6.2 per cent per 1,000 live births in 2008 but there is an improvement in reduced infant mortality rate from 61 per 1000 to 56, maternal mortality from 371 to 312 per 1000. Sabah will be more self-sufficient in rice production following a boost in funding of RM5.8bil for the agricultural sector in Budget 2013.

To add to this, the State has also seen a phenomenal rise in Plan expenditure from a mere RM 2 billion in 2005-06 to RM 4 billion plus in 2012-13. In crude economic terms many of these in-State expenditures would be considered as subsidies though in real terms these are investments without which no society can grow. What Sabah is doing is symbolised by UN’s Development Programme concepts rather than the World Bank-IMF corporate economics. Whereby, the State’s dynamics have increased corporate confidence. Industries which have been moving out of the State for decades now see a gleam of hope for revival.

The Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Bumiputra Chambers of Commerce say that they are expecting closer ties with the Musa Government. The Joint Chambers in Peninsular avers that so far only 2.5 per cent of corporate investment has gone to Sabah. It might increase if Musa’s Government improves power generation and so the Kimanis RM1.5bil, 300MW gas-powered plant would take care of at least short term electricity demands in Sabah. Investments in hotels and restaurants have grown by 80 to 85 per cent in 2008-12. This is an indicator that investors have at least started visiting and exploring Sabah. The Musa Government has many challenges and has to meet higher expectations, hence the next five years would be very crucial for many sectors — agriculture, power, ensuring food to the deprived, building a chain of cold storages are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of areas up for improvement.

The Government would have to build heavily on agriculture given that the State has fertile land. It has the capacity to produce and become Malaysia’s rice bowl and Malaysia’s Number 1 state in all agricultural produces. Sabah requires an agricultural policy that could break away from the feudal set up that has consolidated since the British introduced the Sabah Land Ordinance which was legislated on Dec 13, 1930. It is not an easy task. It would hurt interests and the social pride of many groups. It would require treading cautiously.Top priority must be given in tackling the right of ownership on Native Customary Rights (NCR) land and to find the best solutions to problems to protect the interest of the natives. As Musa says every NCR claim received by the government would be studied as deeply as possible to confirm its legitimacy.

In the State Assembly recently Musa said “I will ensure priority will be given to looking after, preserving and protecting the interest of the natives.”
In fact 890,626.47 hectares or 45 per cent of the total government land has been given ownership in Sabah through five methods, including Native Title (NT), equity and gazetting. The state government is also planning to issue communal grants in Kota Marudu (17,000 acres), Pitas (10,000 acres), Tongod (15,000 acres) and Semporna (5,117.12 acres). Undoubtedly, the Chief Minister’s efforts would be seen more critically now and the NCR issues would be manipulated because it touched on the interest on the natives. In his coming third term, the State structure has to be strengthened further. From having become functional, it has to become more pro-active. Social sector development along-with economic and industrial growth has to be woven into the State policy.

With growing activities he also has to keep a check on the unscrupulous corrupt elements. The benchmark of the State has to be increased. Musa needs to take steps towards continuing at least 10 per cent growth annually to meet the people’s aspirations. It is truly a daunting task. That is the expectation of the enhanced political capital the people have bestowed on Musa Aman. Undeniably, the progress of Sabah might tell on some other States which thrived on cheap Sabah labour. Be it Selangor, Johore, Penang or even national Capital Kuala Lumpur, Sabah’s changing social dynamics is certain to help the labour force getting better treatment and wages elsewhere. Thus, the coming GE13 election results need to re-focus on labour policies at the Central level particularly by those who are demanding relaxation in labour laws. The Sabah syndrome might call for stringent implementation of whatever rudimentary labour welfare laws there are.

There’s something obscene about the opposition commentariat’s obsession with the Chief Minister of Sabah, Musa Aman. That obsession has nothing to do with the awe-inspiring work he has done over the past decade, converting Sabah into the most developed State of Malaysia with spectacular achievements in many fields. Sabah today is a model economy that generates both envy and aspiration among the people of other States. Rare, if any, is the State Government that does not ask itself: If Sabah can achieve the seemingly impossible, why can’t we?

True, Sabah’s amazing success story has been made possible, in large measure, by hardworking Sabahans. What stifled it was bad governance, absence of leadership and rampant corruption, which has proved to be the undoing of the best of intentions of many a Government, both at the Centre and in the States. This is where Musa Aman’s contribution has made a qualitative difference, recasting the role of Government: He has demonstrated that maximum governance is possible with minimum Government.

To achieve that goal, he adopted a policy of zero tolerance towards corruption, reduced the role of the Government to that of a facilitator and placed a premium on the hallmark of quality in everything that was done to create the right conditions. Hence, roads and highways were built conforming to global standards, emphasis was laid on creating infrastructure that would cater not only to current and emerging demands but also needs of the future, and social development was given its due prominence on the Government’s ‘To Do’ list.

Meanwhile, Musa Aman did what any visionary leaders are supposed to do: He kept on coming up with ideas that were at once big and creative. He placed the people at the centre of his projects, making them the ultimate beneficiaries. If investors were encouraged to invest their money in Sabah, it was not merely to enable them to reap profits but also create wealth through income for the everyday Sabahan.

But there’s more to the Sabah story than just securing investments. Just as Musa Aman has encouraged investors to look at Sabah as their preferred destination, he has also encouraged the people of Sabah to make the maximum use of the opportunities created by such investment. He has constantly played up Sabah’s ‘pride’, which in turn has instilled a tremendous sense of self-confidence in all Sabahans. Barack Hussein Obama’s winning slogan, “Yes, we can”, could well have been Sabah’s contribution to the 2008 US presidential campaign.

Yet, none of this and more has ever found mention in the non-stop outpouring of criticism and rebuke directed at Musa Aman by the opposition commentariat which just can’t see anything right, leave alone good, about the Government he heads and its enviable governance record. The criticism and rebuke could have been ignored but for the fact that electronic media is controlled by those who love to hate Musa Aman and a sustained campaign of calumny does tend to influence opinion, especially among those who have little or no knowledge of what transpired back in the 80’s and 90’s, in which they were still in infancy I’m sure.

As Musa Aman said during the State Legislative Assembly sitting in response to Luyang assemblywoman Melania Chia’s queries regarding the alleged hundreds of million of ringgits in his Swiss bank accounts, ” You can ask me… you can even repeat it outside the house. I won’t sue you because I am not worried at all. To me there is no such thing. You think if I am wrong I would be standing here. I am open anytime to be investigated. I am ready to face it anytime.” They were indeed true. Any other Chief Minister would have broken-down, but not Musa Aman, who chose to tell the truth.

Then when the story about Micheal Chia got detained at the HK International Airport in August 2008 with S$16 million (RM40 million) in cash on him came out, many blogs played this to the maximum and said Micheal Chai was an ally of Musa Aman and that the money belonged to Musa Aman.


Musa Aman has got no time for a young punk like Micheal Chai, who doesn’t even have formal school education. Michael Chai is a drunkard, a gambler, a womaniser and the only thing he has is a rich father who happens to own a stevedoring company and a friend call Nazri Aziz. Besides, Micheal Chai was never caught in the Hong Kong International Airport over currency trafficking and laundering with S$16 million cash in Singapore currency in his luggage before boarding a flight to Kuala Lumpur as I have written in the past, see here. In fact the money was found in a hotel room in Hong Kong were Micheal Chai was staying.

Even the Prime Minister last month (Oct. 19) denied that there was any attempt to smuggle the RM40 million “donation for Sabah UMNO” into the country. It was Musa Aman’s foes, self-appointed, self-righteous activists, who instigated a slew of cases seeking to implicate him in some way or the other with Micheal Chia’s RM40 million scandal. With more than a little help from a conniving electronic media, they almost succeeded in their mission to tar him. But as the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz told Parliament last month that the cash Micheal Chia was carrying was not meant for Musa personally but was a donation to Sabah Umno. That statement in Parliament by the Minister last month shows, the truth does prevail over jaundiced lies.

I personally believe that there was huge propaganda against Musa Aman, and in a case where there is a criminal investigation, propaganda can never be hard evidence. I do believe that there wasn’t a shred of evidence against him. It was all propaganda, a fact which is now coming to be established even further.

The Leader of Party Bersatu Sabah outside the Sabah State Assembly recently, was eloquent in his response, describing Musa Aman’s ‘investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Hong Kong’ and trialed by the electronic media as a trial by fire, from which he had emerged unscathed. The PBS’s senior leader, reiterated the indisputable fact that “never in the history of this country has a leader been a victim of a sustained misinformation campaign”. Sadly, neither the MACC’s and ICAC’s verdict nor the elaboration by Najib Tun Razak what is known and established will serve to halt the ‘sustained misinformation campaign’, the peddling of ‘propaganda as evidence’ by those who are not impressed by the long and arduous investigation to which Musa Aman has been subjected. In fact in a recent statement that he released yesterday, Musa Aman expresses regret over the fact that the ” Opposition is not willing to accept the truth. What more do they want? They are trying again to use the same complaint to gain political mileage. They are rehashing the same old story.” Musa also says that he is “entitled to conclude that the Opposition is political bankrupt” and to “to treat their recent rehashed allegation with the contempt it so richly deserves”, an opinion that I stand behind.

Many Malaysians, do not necessarily subscribe to the constant barrage of accusations against Musa Aman by the raucous voices of those stuck in the past and for whom manufactured lies is a useful tool to mobilise rakyats opinion.

This is where Musa Aman’s innovation can make a difference. He has ensured, as he says, “peace, unity, social harmony and brotherhood”, which have collectively given “further impetus to the process of development”. That peace, unity, social harmony and brotherhood now need to be made into permanent features. It’s not easy for a person who has been vilified for so long to say this, but Musa Aman has, reaching out to all Malaysians: “No state, society or individual can claim to be perfect. I am grateful to all those who pointed out my genuine mistakes during last 10 years. I seek your blessings to serve the people of Sabah with devotion free from all human shortcomings.”

At present, I can say that no one could have been more honest, sincere and human about the State of Sabah. No one could have reflected courage and dedication in a more convincing manner. No one apart from Musa Aman.

Could not resist posting this article by Raja Petra. He talks quite a fair bit about “WEED” aka ganja during baby-boomer days, a favorite subject of mine. I was even taken a back by one of the commentators who even suggested that Pakatan Rakyat should legalise marijuana if it forms the next Federal Government, so funny!

In this piece “They are messing with our minds“, Raja Petra puts it so bluntly, “In our days, grass was not considered a drug and hence was not illegal. Even policeman would join us for a smoke,” and this is true, even “nasi kandar” tasted better then because of the ganja in it, ask any Penangite and they will vouch for this. But that was the good old days.

Anyway, Raja Petra should be back in Malaysia anytime soon, looking forward to spent some interesting times with him as Malaysia moves closer to GE13. Expect some real political fireworks to begin, on his arrival, to our shores.


Here goes Raja Petra’s piece….They are messing with our minds

One million people a year or one person every 40 seconds commits suicide all over the world. “Although suicide continues to remain a serious problem in high-income countries, it is the low- and middle-income countries that bear the larger part of the global suicide burden,” said the report.

“Globally, suicide is meanwhile the second cause of death worldwide among 15-19 year-olds, with at least 100,000 adolescents killing themselves each year, according to the study,” said the news report above, which represents 10% of those who commit suicide

So there you have it. These people are too young to have sex (they are not matured enough to make the decision whether to have sex of not) but they are not too young to commit suicide.

But why do people commit suicide, especially teenagers who have not even started their life yet? I suppose it is because they are not happy. And since they are not happy they no longer want to live.

Isn’t 15 or 16 a bit too young to not be happy? When I was that age I was happy like hell. Every day was party day, as far as I was concerned. And we lived for today. We did not care a damn about tomorrow. Why are the kids of today not like how we were when we were their age?

I suppose, in our days, we did not have any pressure. Everyone was a friend, not like today where you have Malay friends, Chinese friends, Indian friends, etc. You were just a friend, period, so there was not much pressure placed on us to compartmentalise ourselves into racial, religious or social blocks.

Then we never worried about our future. Every day is today. Tomorrow also becomes today when the sun rises the following morning. Hence who cares about tomorrow? Tomorrow never comes. Nowadays, there is no today. Everything is about tomorrow. We don’t live for today. We plan and prepare for tomorrow.

I suppose grass helped a lot as well. In our days, grass was not considered a drug and hence was not illegal. Even policeman would join us for a smoke. And sometimes the policemen would dip into their own pocket and pull out some grass for us to ‘roll’.

Man, in those days we kids did not have any problems with the policemen like the kids of nowadays. The policemen were our friends and our smoking ‘kakis’. Some of them even came around with their squad cars to join us in Benteng for Teh Tarik and a smoke.

Committing suicide was the last thing on our minds back then. Our minds were not messed up like the minds of today’s kids. Okay, maybe we were a bit messed up because we could not decide in what order of priority it was supposed to be — bikes, booze and broads or bikes, broads and booze. But we did not allow details to stand in the way of fun.

So what happened? What changed in those 45 years since we were kids who lived for today and did not care a damn about tomorrow? Why do kids today commit suicide when in our days a good ‘watermelon’ was to die for but only in a figure of speech sort of way?

(By the way, for those of you who do not know what ‘watermelon’ means, too bad. For those who do, maybe you can take a trip down memory lane with the video below).


(Picture taken from

Dear Editor,

Attached a COMMENT piece, Everyone has Right of Reply, no need to run amok!, for your kind attention.

Thanking you

Joe Fernandez

COMMENT It’s not the done thing for Jeffrey Kitingan’s State Reform Party (Star) to take a leaf from the mosquito political parties in Sabah and run amok, samseng-style, whenever they run into a spell of stormy weather in the media. The verdict from the Barisan Nasional (BN) is that the party (Star) needs a dose of its own medicine after running amok in recent weeks with numerous statements in the media.

Star’s inspiration stems from one particular mosquito party in the opposition – allegedly planning a reverse frogging after the 13th GE — in Sabah which has been known to avoid press interviews like the plague, preferring to hide behind public relations statements structured as “news stories” and written by journalists on the take – “ang pow journalism” — in the local media, and responding to criticisms with venomous personal and offensive attacks against journalists who incur its wrath.

Again, it seems that Star has now adopted the same approach as well.

If it’s a storm in a tea cup, no need to carry on as if one has been hit by a tsunami.

Not the end of the world

Criticisms in the media are not the end of the world. One must think of living to fight another day. There’s no need to get carried away in politics by one’s own bulls..t. We need to know where politics ends and good government begins. The people are watching!

Two recent articles in the alternative media, and they are self-explanatory, has Star up in arms:

The piece in selvarajasomiah was also carried in which is run by Dusuns including one who was formerly political secretary to Jeffrey when he was Deputy Federal Minister for Housing and Local Government post-1994.

Star can exercise Right of Reply.

It has waived this right.

Instead, the party’s cybertroopers are now out in full force running amok all over blogosphere and FaceBook, Twitter, Chat and emails, launching downright racist, personal and highly offensive attacks in spin on yours truly. One comment made an unflattering comparison between this writer’s tan and “another Keling but putih” who recently passed away after serving as a press secretary of sorts to former Sabah Chief Minister Harris Salleh.

It’s not known whether Jeffrey is behind these attacks which is very much unlike him but what’s certain is that he’s in the know and apparently making no attempts to stop these attacks.

“Nothing but spin and bullshit”

The cybertroopers attack has been set by the following article originally penned for, where it was not greeted enthusiastically, and therefore lifted by a mosquito political party-linked wikiSabah and for good measure posted in where it drew only criticisms against the cybertroopers, among others.

The article – “nothing but spin and bullshit” — is self-explanatory.,,,, have all been dragged into the debate without the slightest respect for even an ounce of the truth.

The fact is that malaysiakini is yet to settle its legal bill in Kota Kinabalu after being sued by a PKR division chief. The case was struck out by the High Court in the Sabah capital.

To add insult to injury, yours truly has been bombarded with text messages, however not all as virulent as those in blogosphere, and many long telephone calls, some threatening, to put it mildly.

Hit-men from the Philippines

One caller in particular in the dead of night, who sounded as if he had one too many for the road, said that he just has to give the word and his “boss” will finish off yours truly for good. Visions of hit-men from the nearby Philippines came to mind.

Another foul-mouthed caller, liberally spicing his call with various derogatory terms, swore he had a battery of lawyers ready to spring into action on behalf of Star.

The thrust of the matter is Jeffrey Kitingan who has the unenviable reputation of being the King of the Frogs in Sabah. His latest contribution to political theatre in Sabah has been to label all Sabah politicians, including his brother Joseph Pairin Kitingan, as frogs. The Jury is still out on this.

He has yet to convince the voters beyond a shadow of doubt that he has been truly rehabilitated since the dark days of 1994 and that he would not betray the people’s cause in the run-up to the 13th General Election.

Drums of war on Sabah, Sarawak rights

In recent months, the Star Chief has been beating the drums of war on Sabah and Sarawak rights in Malaysia but without producing any concrete evidence that he’s not all just hot air to get the votes.

Jeffrey was in fact accused of betraying Pairin in 1994, albeit through various media statements, and causing the downfall of the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Government. Many believe that then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad made many promises to Jeffrey, after allegedly seizing the latter’s international accounts, and which (promises) he had no intention of keeping. Jeffrey had then just been released from detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) after being incarcerated for two two-year terms.

Jeffrey, who has a PhD from Harvard University, has also yet to convince his former colleagues in PBS that he has fully recovered from the PhD – “permanent head damage” – which he reportedly suffered at the Kamunting Detention Centre. PBS loyalists believe that Jeffrey was subject to repeated attacks on the head with telephone directories to “damage his brains and thinking faculties”.

Exercise Right of Reply

The bottomline is that if Jeffrey is on the level, he will exercise his Right of Reply.

He will also say what he means and mean what he says and not go all over the place bogged down by ancient history.

As Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice president, his major complaint was that the party did not respect Sabahans and Sarawakians and did not subscribe to their rights in Malaysia.

So, he left in a huff to form his own political party instead of standing firm with the opposition alliance to bring about a much-needed change in Putrajaya.

Now that Jeffrey is on his own, there’s no indication either that he’s serious about Sabah and Sarawak rights beyond generating hot air to provide entertainment of sorts in the rural areas in particular.

Hindraf Makkal Sakthi was serious about assisting Jeffrey & Co to internationalize the plight of Borneo in Malaysia. The Star Chief appears to have spurned the offer, withdrawn on co-operating with the London-based NGO, and tried to squat on anyone in the party thinking of taking the UN route with or without Hindraf.

Meeting Najib the Mother of all Lies

Jeffrey and a girlfriend had all their bags ready to leave for London in early 2010 to address the House of Commons on Borneo. Suddenly, he had cold feet, and withdrew after telling his supporters that Prime Minister Mohd Najib Abdul Razak wanted to see him to discuss Borneo.

In fact, it turned out to be the Mother of All Lies and Hindraf chairman P. Waythamoorthy was shocked beyond belief.

As a cover-up Jeffrey claimed that it was de facto PKR Chief Anwar Ibrahim who suggested that he try to see Prime Minister on the plight of Borneo in Malaysia.

The latest is that Jeffrey has put the much awaited party manifesto and its vision, mission statement in cold storage although the drafts are ready.
The people are waiting with bated breaths to see how much of the content reflects the plight of Borneo in Malaysia.

Ominous sign

An ominous sign is that his aides have meanwhile dismissed the draft manifesto and the party’s vision, mission – reflecting the plight of Borneo in Malaysia and prepared by party seniors — as just spin and bullshit.

If Jeffrey doesn’t stick with the plight of Borneo in Malaysia, he would have betrayed the cause of the people and betrayed the opposition alliance as well after having found them more than wanting.

Can you win a general election without having a debate and winning it? Curiously, Najib Tun Razak and Barisan National seem to think so but the principal opposing alliance Pakatan Rakyat’s Anwar Ibrahim do not seem to think so. My take is, Najib Tun Razak and Anwar Ibrahim  should debate about “more food, less fear, for future Malaysia.” But this is not going to happen.

The government has a vested interest in fudge. After all, there can be no opposition if there is no position. Its best hope is to muddle through the 13th General Elections and return with roughly the same numbers through a strategy of least resistance. What is less comprehensible is the response of the Barisan National. It looks befuddled before fudge. Instead of raising issues, its spokespersons throw pebbles. If you cannot clear a haze, the haze has won the day. The Pakatan Rakyat has been more successful in creating the tension of a debate, but its resonance is limited to a couple of pockets, while the Third Front is too thin to be considered a net, let alone a magnet.

This is going to be a cold election. Neither candidate nor party will be able to waft on hot air. If the Barisan National wants to succeed, it has to remember a key fact: the young voter is outgrowing communal rhetoric. He wants more food and less fear. At the moment he is getting the reverse.

The UMNO has one advantage: Malays, its main vote bank, do not vote for something; they vote against someone. This suits the UMNO perfectly. It feeds fear to Malays, and offers development to other electorates.

Success breeds imitation, but change, the slogan which dazzled the US when Obama became President of America, will be insufficient in Malaysia. Frustration has stripped the Malaysian voter of illusions. Offer him change, and he will demand to know to what. Promise him a job and he will ask where, when, how and to whom. Americans gave Obama a pass on delivery systems and destination. The relevant slogan is not the one that ousted Pairin Kitingan’s  Sabah government in 1994 state election despite PBS securing a victory, but the one that laid out Pairin 18 years ago: It’s the economy!

Since no government in its senses would want to contest an election on the economy when jobs are disappearing in cities and farmers are finding hard to sell their produce because of the escalating prices on seeds, fertilizers and chemicals and even the rising animal and poultry feed prices is hitting poultry processors hard, the Barisan National/UMNO seems poised to offer a virtuous trinity of vitality (Khiry Jamaludin), morality (Najib Tun Razak) and nobility (Rosmah Mansur). The voter will, however, check for substance behind the advertising. The chief minister of the biggest Barisan National state, Sarawak, Taib Mahmud, has become synonymous with illegal land grab, a thousand plots of land acquired in recent years by the state, much of which have been passed on to Taib’s close relatives and cronies at dirt cheap premiums. Many of these plots of lands, which total more than 1.5 million hectares, were in fact NCR lands, secretively sequestered from the natives. Taib has lost the plot. Or, more accurately, he has sold the plot.

The arithmetic of a cold election will be determined by the sum total of regional numbers. The formation of the next government could depend on how well the allies, rather than the principals, do. The Pakatan’s partners seem more confident than the Barisan Nationals’ friends. But such is the perceived fluidity of options that Anwar Ibrahim, Tuan Guru Hadi Awang, Lim Kit Siang, see themselves as possible occupants of Putrajaya. They may not agree on anything else, but they believe that neither the Barisan National nor the Pakatan Rakyat will cross the 111-seat mark necessary to become the plank on which a government can rest. The politics of the 90’s and the 20’s has seen the rise of flexible morality leading to an explosion of opportunity in March 2008 GE12.

Will the politics of the 2010’s be different? Yes. There is likely to be fatigue in West Malaysia with the insular dynamics of regional parties in Sabah and Sarawak, trapped in concentric rings of family and state; and a yearning for political formations that offer more than stagnant regional horizons. The next government in Putrajaya, like this one, might be less than the sum of its parts, rather than more. There are no institutional methods of re-nourishment once the leaders of small parties in Sabah and Sarawak become vulnerable to age or accident.

You might then, with good reason, consider 2008 the semi-final election. The finals will take place in the elections after this, probably this year 2012, when the Barisan National and the Pakatan will square off in most parts of the country, sufficient to give one or the other over 111 seats. They will have younger, if not newer leaders, creating the base for Sabah and Sarawak to be the kingmakers in Putrajaya.

The debate will not change, because the problem will not have been resolved. Whoever wins the argument on food and fear in 2012 will control the decade.

The shadow boxing by certain UMNO politicians using Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) a Barisan National component in Sabah and the Kadazandusun Murut Association Malaysia (KDM Malaysia) may be a precursor to a battle for the gaddi in Kuala Lumpur.

Sabahans often accuse their politicians of being short-sighted. Judging by the rhetoric’s, lobbying, mudslinging, conniving and scheming by the principal parties, we are actually looking at least as far into the future as the 13th General Elections, parliamentary and state polls, which must be held before 2013.

If you ask me the most interesting part of this coming election is the shadow-boxing within the Barisan National in Sabah.

Some UMNO leaders in Sabah namely Shafie Apdal is vying for the chief minister’s chair– not for today but definitely for tomorrow.

It is a bit silly to accuse — as Senator Chin Su Phin the Deputy President of LDP who with his President VK Liew has done — Musa Aman for being ‘opportunistic’ about the alliance with the Gerakan Party and for appointing Dr Yee Moh Chai of PBS as the new Deputy Chief Minister. To set the record straight, Musa Aman a fair man, has always has been loyal to UMNO and the Barisan National.

Musa Aman has stayed loyal and calm despite being accused by all sorts of things by LDP, even the UMNO chaps associated with Shafie Apdal are doing the same, hitting him under the belt. In spite of all these never once has Musa Aman lost his cool.

That loyalty — or political necessity — was also strong enough to withstand the disappointments of being accused and attacked by the his own UMNO fellows like Shafie Apdal using proxies like Senator Chin and VK Liew and now even KDM Malaysia trying to undermine him. Of course now after the story about VK Liew’s shenanigans with his Rungus staff  and the police report in Kota Marudu which came out in Malaysia Today website, things have cool down and now VK Liew is throwing heaps of praises on Musa Aman. Whatever other adjective you may use of Musa Aman he has proved anything but ‘opportunistic’.

Given this 10-year history why is Shafie Apdal now eyeing Musa Aman so warily?

The simple answer is that Shafie Apdal believes that UMNO shall be a real contender for power come the 13th GE. Shafie also believes that, in the absence of a towering figure such as Musa Aman, the leadership of the Sabah BN may be up for grabs.

Finally, Shafie Apdal also knows that he is — again Musa Aman apart — probably the most visible face of  UMNO Sabah and he thinks and he gives the impression that he has got Najib Tun Razak’s  blessings to replace Musa Aman. I doubt this very much because Najib Tun Razak openly acknowledges that Musa Aman is doing a fantastic job in Sabah.

In the ordinary course of events Musa Aman would probably be the clear front-runner. He is by far the best chief minister Sabah has ever seen, articulate, workaholic and has propelled his state ahead of the rest when it comes to development, and has won every electoral challenge thrown at him — Parliament polls or state assembly polls since taking over in 2003.

Now lets look at KDM Malaysia and see how Shafie Apdal’s hidden tentacles has come into play.

Datuk John Ambrose is the founder and President of the newly registered KDM Malaysia (KDMM) and its number one purpose is to get Kadazan Dusun Murut (KDMs) to support Umno and its second most important intention is to break the KDMs away from PBS, Upko and the PBRS. In other words it is a tool to divide the KDMs.

Everyone knows that Musa Aman has got a perfect relationship with Pairin Kitingan and PBS, and PBS is the second most important party in the BN Sabah after UMNO.  So in order to weaken Musa Aman,  Pairin and the PBS must be weaken. And this can be done if a sizable number of KDMs are taken away from the PBS. Even Upko will be weaken in so doing.

After the failed Umno KDM Task Force, Shafie Apdal together with John Ambrose and one Peter Antony hatched this idea of KDM Malaysia. The objective was basically to weaken the PBS in order to weaken Musa Aman.

Ambrose says, KDM Malaysia is an NGO and it will undertake welfare programs and build houses for the KDMs poor. But, where will KDM Malaysia get the money to build thousands of houses for the poor KDMs? Ambrose says, KDM Malaysia will get funding from the government to built houses for the poor KDMs. Is this true? Is it true that the Ministry of Rural Development under Shafie Apdal will be the money man? Is it true that Ambrose got a yearly RM 40 million landscape project from University Malaysia Sabah to fund his KDM Malaysia? Is it true that Najib wrote a letter to the Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Malaysia Sabah, YBhg Prof Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Kamaruzaman Hj Ampon to give the yearly RM40 million landscaping contract to Ambrose’s company?

Little bird tells me Bernard Dompok is very sore with the whole game play in trying to divide the KDMs further.

Little bird also told me that Bernard Dompok has met Anwar Ibrahim recently with a view to pullout Upko from the Barisan National if there is no Royal Commission of Inquiry on the issuance of blue IC’s to illegals.

Little bird also told me that Jeffrey Kitingan has agreed to stand on  SAPP ticket for the coming 13th General Elections.

Little bird also told me it seems Pairin may also step down as the President of PBS in order not to face the dilemma and let the party decide to whether to side with UPKO in the worst case scenario. Pairin is really disappointed with “the plotters” trying to divide the KDMs further. According to Little Bird, Pairin did ask Najib Tun Razak about the KDM Malaysia and Najib just smiled and didn’t respond.

So, in the end, only PBS, PBRS and KDM Malaysia may represent the KDM’s in BN, it is feared.

If KDM Malaysia is not handled properly, this will put a severe dent in Musa Aman’s acceptability, particularly in those pockets of the KDM belt where KDMs constitute a major chunk of the electorate.

Looking to 2013 is all well and good but there is the small business of winning in 2013 that looms ahead just now.

The Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nastional, in an effort to target the youth and first time voters in the state, are leaving no stones unturned to outsmart each other in the usage of Information Technology tools.

Though, the Pakatan Rakyat clearly seems to have the edge right now, Barisan claims that it is fast catching up.

Malaysia has changed a lot since 2008 General Elections, and a lot of myths regarding ‘high-tech campaigns not translating into votes’ will be shattered this time around. This seems to be the mood in Pakatan Rakyat’s IT Cell in Kuala Lumpur, which is drawing its inspiration from Barack Obama’s heavily Internet-loaded Presidential campaign in November 2008.

The State IT Cell of Pakatan has a core team of 10 in Sabah, with 20 cyber teams spread across the state, to aid the core team. In addition, the party has notched up a database of one hundred thousand email ids for bulk-emailing; and about 125,000 mobile phone numbers for bulk messaging, caller tunes, ring tones and various other mobile services solutions.

The state unit also has links with websites namely, Malaysia Today, Malaysiakini,, Sabahkini, SAPP blog, Sabah DAP, Pakatan Rakyat Sabah and Anwar; with the help party workers and Pakatan sympathizers, videos containing speeches of Pakatan leaders will also be uploaded on video sharing sites like IT Cell In-charge Phua added,” Our presence is also significant in various social networking sites. For example, there are about 213 Facebook and hundreds of twitter users and communities on Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Kit Siang and even Tok Guru Nik Aziz and Sabah state leaders from Pakatan.

Pakatan Rakyat is also planning a public rally around the state, “which will be attended by Facebook users and communities, not necessarily party workers,” added Raymond Phua.

When Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak called on his party to close ranks and prepare to go for war ahead of next week’s Umno general assembly, widely expected to be the last before the next general election; it didnt surprise me because I know Najib is going on a all out cyber attack on the opposition. And UMNO leader even announced that Barisan would be setting up hundreds of Internet Kiosks across the country, to promote an online campaign for enrolling youth into the party as well as inform them about the Barisan’s achievement, it surprised many. But the ‘Najib’ factor has definitely lifted the spirits in Malaysia, at least in the IT initiatives.

In addition, UMNO has also tied up with a number of .com to publish poll related articles as well as carry out live opinion polls. And UMNO source informed,” We have tied-up with various Internet service providers to pitch UMNO and Barisan links as sponsored links in 100’s of websites that witness the maximum traffic over a period of time.”

The party is also targeting a large fraction of tele-density in the state for mobile service solutions like caller tunes, ring tones, screensavers etc. Other initiatives like bulk emailing and bulk-messaging are also in the pipeline.

Regarding social networking in the cyber world, UMNO also has many Facebook users and so is Najib Tun Razak. These are maintained by the younger lot.

And as far as Sabah is concern, Musa Aman’s government which has promoted good governance and development centric with impeccable credentials will be a selling point in the cyber front.