Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Ghost from political past

Joceline Tan's Saturday column reminded of the first spirit to visit Ebenezer Scrouge in Charles Dicken's novel, Christmas Carol. The ghost from Christmas past gave him a glimpse of the future from his action and indifference. The vision was to save him from his past. 

The current Madani government is facing public backlash for raising SST from 6% to 8% and expanded scope to other services. Whether the GST remain in operation or its the current SST, the public has to face up to the new reality of fiscal reform to salvage the country's finances from deteriorating further.

There was no ghost to warn PH of their impact of their action to take up GST as a cause celebre together with 1MDB to topple BN in 2018. Teething problem in the implementation of a new tax policy was blamed for price hike, and made into Boston Tea party-like uproar that started the American revolution for independence from the Brit. 

However, the table has turned and tax-on-tax of their preferred SST system will accelerate price hike and cause public dissatisfaction, but not expected to significantly add to the tax revenue.

There are still other unimplementable promises to bring petrol prices down, hudud law, free education, abolish PTPTN, judicial independence, law and order, long list of freebies and the long list promised by PH and former PR.    

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Friday, March 1, 2024

May it be the last ever Bumiputera Economic Congress

Having attended many such Bumiputra-themed discourses that the current on-going Kongres Ekonomi Bumiputera did not motivate yours truly to attend. Judging from the attendance yesterday, UMNO Youth Chief looked juvenile for misunderstanding Ti Lian Ker's critique.  

The intention of KEB is towards a forward moving transformation, an economically independent Bumiputera, and not to replace NEP, which was soiled by Mahathir's greed and self serving motivation. The gut feel there will be the repeatedly disappointing same ole, same ole tune of "desak kerajaan", "minta kerajaan", and "kerajaan patut" this and that in the moulding of another Ibrahim Ali.  

KEB is supposed to be a discussion to bring forth issues and proposal from the participants. It will end up being the platform for EPU or certain government agencies to shove their plan and get the discourse to rubber stamp. 

What was discussed and proposed will be lost in the piles of papers and diverted to serve non-economic and sometimes self serving interest. 

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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Towards an economically non-Government dependent Bumiputera

Experts pin hope on coming bumi congress to drive effective change



The Star Wednesday, 28 Feb 2024

PETALING JAYA: For three days starting tomorrow, ministers, civil servants, business and NGO leaders will convene in Putrajaya to forge a new bumiputra economic agenda that, according to one of its participants, “will hopefully be the last of its kind”.

This is because this year’s Bumiputra Economic Congress (BEC2024) is the eighth since the first in 1965, with each one having had the same aims – to end poverty among Malays and bumiputra and to increase their incomes so that they are on par with other communities.

But after 59 years of continued bumi-centric policies, government statistics still show that those aims have not been met despite significant leaps in reducing poverty.

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Monday, February 26, 2024

Post-Taib Sarawak

Post-Mahathir Malaysia has not been a smooth transition. Two of his predecessors from UMNO were toppled by the strong man leader for not succumbing to his wishes. He came back as the seventh PM and the country went into a tailspin. 

The subsequent eight and nineth PM was beseiged with a global crisis that could not stabilise the disaster of Mahathir's return in 2018. 

The news and social media reported the strong man was admitted into IJN but talk is there were political meetings held in the hospital to plot the downfall of PM X in retaliation to the corruption investigation against his children and henchman the former Finance Minister. 

Ringgit touched its 26 year low against US dollar and the lowest ever against Singapore. The planned fiscal reform that had to be instituted is causing public anxiety to increase taxation and rising prices of goods in the midst of a softening growth. All is in place for a challenging Year of the Wooden Dragon as predicted by the zodiac

It only proves Malaysia cannot settle in after Mahathir left in 2003. The prolong state of transition has languished to a state of decline. Will the same phenomenon occur in Sarawak after two Chief Ministers since Taib Mahmud?  

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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Gratification to Nor Hisham for alleged illegal FRCS?

The first posting entitled "FRCS medical training scam?" dated February 14th attracted cynical and criticism comments. 

Most important, more feedback came this way. One is this Facebook status dated February 3, 2018 in which former Director General of the Ministry of Health, Tan Sri Noor Hisham Abdullah received Fellowship Ad Homimem from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd). However, that status is no where to be seen and was removed from his Facebook. 

Apparently a month earlier on January 17th, 2018, there was a launching ceremony for the RCSEd International Office at UKM for the FRCS International program allegedly referred as "scam" program not accredited by the Malaysian Medical Council but pressure is being applied to accredit the inadequate surgery training program. 

When asked by a commentator whether FRCS can now be done in Malaysia, Noor Hisham proudly gave the affirmative and claimed it has been going on since 2016. 

On May 29th 2022, he jubilantly published the successful 8 trainees that passed the Joint Specialty Fellowship Program for Cardiothoracic Surgery. An effort from the Edinburgh accredition visit on June 27th 2015.  To the horror of the trainees, the program was inadequate and rejected by MMC. 

It explains the frantic pressure applied on Minister for MOH by The Malaysian Association for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery (MATCVS), Malaysian Urological Association, Academy of Medicine, and other NGOs. All seemed many but are the same group of people with personal vested interest.  

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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Verily, we belong to Allah, and verily, to Him we return - Al Quran 2:156

Former Sarawak governor Taib Mahmud passes away


Star Online

Wednesday, 21 Feb 2024 7:30 AM MYT

SIBU: Former Sarawak governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud has passed away.

In a Facebook post, his daughter Datuk Hanifar Taib said the 87-year-old breathed his last at a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur at 4.40am on Wednesday (Feb 21).

She said his remains will be at the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur before being brought back to Kuching.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

The mystery of Taib Mahmud's alleged abduction

The last day of Tun Pehin Seri Abdul Taib Mahmud's second term as Yang DiPertua Negeri Sarawak will be this Sunday February 26, 2024. 

Taib will be replaced by former police officer, lawyer, Federal Minister and President of Dewan Negara, Tun Wan Junaidi Wan Jaafar. He has taken his oath on January 29th, 2024

At about the time media began reporting on the change over, Sarawak Report was in their elements over Rahad, the wife of Taib Mahmud. Then came the viral article, "Is Ragad on the way out of town?" dated February 2nd. 

Clare Rewcasrle speculated Ragad is moving everything lock, stock and barrel out to live in Turkey. It would have been another of her typically twisted reporting and prejudice against the state she was born. 

However two days later, Clare had the newsbreaker Taib was allegedly "absconded" out of hospital late at night. A police report by a medical staff and message pleading MACC to step-in and prevent Taib's young wife from leaving Sarawak went viral. 

Apparently it was too late. Two container load of cargoes were already shipped out to Kuala Lumpur. Taib was flown out by private jet late at night.

Before this incident, the writing was on the wall from late last year following two sons of Taib filing a civil lawsuit against Ragad over a RM500 million worth of Cahaya Mata Sarawak shares. 

Market was aware of the lawsuit. Upon Taib stepping down, Edge wrote an analysis on the impact to his family's expansive business [read here].       

There is more gossip or speculation and even claimed insider story related to the incident including on Taib's Syrian born young wife's  Kurdistan ethnicity, Lebanese link and Lebanese notoriety as fraudster, scammers and their own Lebanese Mafia

For the time being, lets put it aside and stick with Joceline Tan's "safe" official version in her Saturday Star Online column, below:

Drama behind former strongman's decline



Saturday, 17 Feb 2024

THE sun has long set on the political career of Tun Taib Mahmud but who could have imagined that the final stage of the former Sarawak governor and chief minister's life journey would be playing out publicly in such a dramatic fashion?

Once the most powerful man in Sarawak – and arguably the richest too – Taib, 87, is lying helpless in a hospital bed, being treated for undisclosed ailments as rumours swirl about the feud between his biological children and his glamorous Syrian-born wife Toh Puan Raghad Kurdi Taib, 44.

Taib's situation made the headlines, sparking accusations of an "abduction" when Raghad suddenly transferred him from a private hospital in Kuching in the middle of the night to their private residence on the outskirts of Kuching.

Taib, who was then in the intensive care unit, was apparently taken out against the advice of doctors and members of his family immediately lodged police reports, saying it was done without their knowledge and could harm his health.

Taib Mahmud taken out of hospital, cops probing case under negligence

NST Feb 5th, 2024

Raghad reacted by urging people not to believe rumours about her and said she had her husband's health and interest at heart.

Raghad lodges police report over claims she kidnapped Taib Mahmud from hospital, considers legal action

NST Feb 18, 2024 

It was all quite sensational, almost like a K-drama unfolding in Kuching.

For several days, no one could figure out what was going on until Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Razarudin Ismail stepped in to dismiss claims of an abduction and clarified that Taib was being treated at a hospital in Kuala Lumpur.

Taib being treated at a private hospital in KL, IGP confirms

The Star Feb 10, 2024

The Sarawak elite, especially those close to Taib, are saddened that it has come to this. They are appalled that the man's personal troubles have become the subject of gossip.

"It's an unfortunate end to an era," said a Sarawak politician whose career began at the same time as Taib's.

Unfortunately, there is quite little sympathy among ordinary people.

"People say it is karma. It is pitiful this is happening in his twilight years," said political analyst Dato Dr Jeniri Amir, the only academic who dared to criticise Taib at the height of his power.

Taib's 33 years as chief minister were controversial, marked by his imperious political style and marred by allegations of cronyism, land grabs and wealth accumulation.

At the same time, he changed Sarawak and stood his ground on multi-cultural tolerance which is today the pride of all Sarawakians and which his successor Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg intends to continue.

"We are thankful he never allowed Umno to come in or else we would have problems like you all over there. Stories of his wealth are a matter of speculation but the more crazy the story, the more people seem to believe it," said lawyer and Chinese community leader Datuk Jonathan Chai.

Both Taib and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad rose to power at about the same time in the early 1980s. A politician-cum-close friend of Taib was at a meeting during which Taib told the then-prime minister that Barisan Nasional would have his full support if Umno stayed out of Sarawak. Both men kept their word.

Speculation about Taib's declining health began not long after he became governor.

Those who met him in recent years found him to be forgetful, often appearing confused and asking the same question again and again. He once told a state exco member whom he was rather fond of and whose parents had passed on, to send them his regards.

In 2022, Jeniri was among a group of people conferred state awards by Taib, after which all of them posed for the camera. Midway through the photography session, Taib suddenly left to use the toilet and never returned.

As governor, Taib was entitled to a month of leave a year but he and his wife spent quite a bit of time in Istanbul. They only returned to Kuching late last year, around the time when talk of appointing a new governor started.

Taib back in Sarawak after recuperating in Turkiye

Borneo Post Online Sept 16 2023

Taib was unable to carry out his duties in the past one year and a top Sarawak leader who flew to Istanbul to see him went away in tears on seeing his condition.

Sarawak politicians are generally thankful that as governor, Taib did not give Abang Johari any problems.

But many Sarawakians are outraged that Raghad and her two sons from her previous marriages were granted native status, which gave them access to native land.

Malaysian citizenship, native status for Taib's Syrian-born wife, step-sons questioned

Daily Express June 21, 2023

Public opinion turned against Raghad in a horrible way. It was seen as an abuse of the law, an insult to the natives and locals began calling her "that foreigner", the point being they do not see how a foreigner can be deemed a Sarawak native.

Videos of a handsome young man wiping his mouth with Euro notes while having a burger also went viral. Allegations that it is one of her sons have yet to be denied.

Did Taib's stepson wipe his mouth with Euronotes? Sarawakians angry and upset

theVibes.com Feb 8th, 2024

However, accounts that Taib's children and siblings are prevented from seeing him in hospital are untrue. A close relative confirmed they have access to him in the hospital while his daughter and son who reside overseas have returned to be with their father.

IGP rubishes Taib's abduction claims, says family free to visit him

Malaysiakini Feb 7th, 2024 

Relations between Taib's biological children and their stepmother crumbled years ago and they are suing Raghad over the ownership of RM500mil in shares of the family-held development conglomerate Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd.

Taib's son Sulaiman sues step-mom Raghad

theVibes.com 16 June 2023

Sulaiman Taib challenges authencity of father's signature on shares transfer document to Raghad

Borneo Post Online Oct 6 2023

Taib Mahmud's sons apply for father to be a defendent in civil suit against stepmother, bank 

Malay Mail Nov 29th 2023  

Politician and lawyer Robert Lau, who had just left to study abroad when Taib came to power, said Taib came from an era of strongman politics.

"He had his own brand of development which, mixed with our rich natural resources, became quite toxic. History will judge him in a mixed way. But the loss of privacy at his most vulnerable moment is such an inglorious thing to happen," said Lau.

The above close friend of Taib has this to say: "I only wish he will be comfortable and at peace."

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