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 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 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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Monday, February 19, 2024

From Board room to bedroom ....

The current Edge Weekly issue wrote in the Frankly Speaking column below:

CEO appointments require more care

Last week, the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) won a civil suit against Datuk Aminuddin Md Desa, former CEO of the Perak State Development Corporation (PKNP) and CEO of its publicly traded unit, Perak Corp Bhd, for insider trading violations.

Aminuddin is required to pay the SC RM2.46 million, which is three times the profits gained as a result of the insider trading breach and a penalty of RM1 million with costs of RM100,000.

The SC said Aminuddin had breached Section 188(2)(a) of the Capital Markets and Services Act 2007 (CMSA) by acquiring 1.4 million Perak Corp shares between October 2013 and January 2014, when PKNP was proposing the privatisation of Perak Corp.

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Friday, February 16, 2024

Cleaning up police of petty corruption

Early in the month, media reported police officers - ASP rank and Sargeant - suspected of involvement in a burglary. We texted the concerned state CPO, who happen to be an old friend for more than 20 years, to express curiosity. 

In the past, there were unfair bust-up on the lower ranks for corruption. Knowing there were bigger sharks higher up the ranks and raking millions as protectors of illegal gambling untouched, thought it is unfair to parade the few bad apples in the media. Public tend to brush the whole police force with the same brush.  

The Datok expressed disappointment and felt bad karma beseiging  the police force. He reassured PDRM would do everything needed to address the situation. 

We pray they do because not all cases the cases reported by media is as bad as it seemed.  

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Wednesday, February 14, 2024

FRCS Medical Specialist training scam?

The Star Online yesterday reported Minister of Health, Dato Seri Dr  Dzulkefly Ahmad gave commitment to solve the FRCS International qualification from UK under the name Patallel Pathway Training program.

He said any solution must take into consideration the local law, qualification and standards. It seemed a normal politician and government leader statement till Code Blue portal highlighted the program was rejected and not accredited by the Malaysian Medical Council.

Code Blue and the Malaysian Association for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery (MATCVS) via an NST article dated February 6th seemed to be lobbying and pressuring the Minister for presumably sub-standard medical training to be accredited under the emotional plea to solve shortages of medical specialist.

This is the usual modus operandi for political and policy making lobbyist, but not for professional accreditation similar to IEM or or MACPA etc. It reminded of degree issuing scam but this would the highest level involving medical specialists and medical NGOs.

NGOs or self-interest groups or the Health Ministry are supposedly not authorised to carryout educational and training programs. It is the purview of the Higher Education Ministry. 

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Monday, February 12, 2024

Perfect storm or Inflationary worry for Year of Dragon

Looking at the myriad of economic challenges the present Madani government led by Anwar Ibrahim and economic management under Rafizi Ramli has to deal with, it is heart thumping.  

The challenges comes in the form of long term structural problems either KIV-ed or swept dust under the carpet piled up into a protruding molehill in the middle of the living room. Then, there is the present challenges posed by the unconvincing post-Covid recovery, and on-going and potentially new clashes at several hotspots in the world. 

With the politically sensitive Malaysian environment, and Rafizi accused on social media for undelivered campaign, its tempting to anticipare the making of a perfect storm in the horizon. Currently he is being criticised for giving  wrong message to the market in his remark on the weakening ringgit.

Is there really a widespread economic turmoil in the making? Or it is just public jitters over the consumer level inflation, uncertain job security, and economy wide adjustment in tax and subsidies structure? 

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Friday, February 9, 2024

Gong Xi Fa Cai, Xien Nin Kwai Ler

To readers and Malaysians out there, we like to wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year. Gong Xi Fa Cai and Xin Nien Kwai Ler. 

This is the year of the wood dragon. Traditional Chinese believe each year has a character of its own and has influence on one's fortune and action to be taken according to a pre-determined horoscope. 

Ultimately it is god's will to determines the outcome. There are those who believe it. To each his own. For the fun of it, we taken an extract of the prediction of a Master Steven Chen in his website here of what could be in-store for us. 

It can be an indication for the non-believer of a possible self-fulling prophesy.    

Year of the Dragon 2024 Predictions: Chinese Horoscope Explained

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Wednesday, February 7, 2024

A rice crisis coming

The local drought in the northern rice growing states in May last year affected thousands of acres of farm and lowered padi yield. At the same time, drought hit elsewhere in Asia too resulting in rice production plummet, ban in export by India, and rice prices rose sharply in the international market

BERNAS was supposed to maintain a rice stockpile of 3 months for Peninsular and 6 months for Sabah & Sarawak. Unfortunately they never did and sources claim they were reluctant to sink-in RM1 billion for it. 

It is widely believed they were up to their neck to pay RM300 million (RM195 is a case in court against Muhyiddin) to fund PPBM's state and general election campaigns in exchange for 10 years concession extension.

The export ban by India and rise in international prices was the opportunity for MOA to float the market price for imported rice.  Suddenly rice was readily available for the stockpile and it probably came from foreign registered companies owned by Malaysians. And conveniently no more local grown rice at control price were available. 

The rice industry structure was already screwed up. Matter got worse with the incompetence of Kawal Selia Padi Unit (KSP) at MOA. They insisted seed cost kept at unrealistically lower than rice prices. At the new and higher price, farmers sold all their rice crop and kept none as seed for next planting seasons. A rice shortage is expected for March and April harvesting

Murphy's law was still at work. Media reported farmers complaining of padi kosong and the El Nino phenomena already taken its toll on this season's planting. Forget about achieving 7 to 10 or even 15 tonne per hectare. Its tough to achieve 1 tonne per hectare. 

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Monday, February 5, 2024

Any hope left for Najib?

The reaction to last Friday's announcement by Pardon Board on the decision by the YDPA on Dato Seri Najib's appeal for pardon is divided along partisan line. UMNO was obviously disappointed. They pinned their hope to regain lost ground on Najib's release. 

Meanwhile, the leaders of PH kept mum but relieved with reaction to UMNO's displeasure from their grassroot. There were voices demanding explanation for the decision including the opportunistic PAS ready to blame at government. At one politically convenient time in the past, they were sympathetic to Najib. 

C4, was quiet on Lim Guan Eng case and DNAA cases other than Zahid's, but unreservedly expressed opposition against mercy for Najib and suggested for reform of the pardon process. The process involves Pardon Board, but it is the prerogative of YDPA. 

Section 42 of the Federal Constitution is clear on this. 

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