Sunday, December 31, 2017

Mahathir Mohamad To Contest in GE14

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My best guess is that the 14th General Election is likely to be held in March-April. Or if I am wrong, July-August. 

Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad announced on Saturday that he will contest. And reportedly, in one of these three constituencies: Langkawi, Kubang Pasu and/or Putrajaya. 

“So, be ready for that, because I will be”, Mahathir said during a press conference at the end of Bersatu’s inaugural annual general meeting in Shah Alam, Selangor. 

Of course, he will be contesting – after all, he is being touted as Pakatan Harapan’s interim prime minister. Should the opposition win enough seats in the next election to form the government, that is. 

It seems that PKR have already set three conditions that must be met for Anwar Ibrahim’s party to consent to this game plan. 

First, de facto PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim is to be immediately released from jail and installed as the prime minister within a year of the opposition coming into power. 

Second, PKR are allocated the most federal seats to contest in GE14. Sixty seats in Peninsular Malaysia was the figure bandied about. 

Third, Mahathir agrees to reform key institutions in the country. 

Fair, I say. Although I have my reservations.

Anyway, let’s see whether Mahathir and Bersatu will play this game out.

Mahathir Mohamad Says Sorry

Since Mahathir Mohamad’s return to active politics last year, his critics (including me) continue to question his track record as prime minister. 

He is now the Bersatu chairperson and at his party’s inaugural annual general meeting – he finally did the right thing. It’s a start, at least. 

The former prime minister said sorry for his past misdeeds. 

“I, like other human beings, am not alone from saying and doing wrong. Not just today but for all the time that I have been involved in politics”, conceded the 93-year-old. 

“I apologize for all the wrongs that I have done”, admitted Mahathir in the final part of his policy speech he delivered in Shah Alam, Selangor yesterday. 

I think it is a herculean task for him to say sorry. Even if he did say sorry, I cannot ascertain if he is indeed sorry. And I know there will still be the cynics who don’t buy his apology. 

I have been mulling over it for more than 30 hours now. It is also not easy for me to accept his apology. But I believe it is a very good first step for Mahathir to take. 

It’s better late than never anyway. More importantly – at least, to me – it signals a break with his yesteryears. 

Lest we forget, Mahathir now works with some of the people he had once put in jail as prime minister. If they – including Anwar Ibrahim – can put the past behind them, why can’t the rest of us? 

I should. And I could too, I think. 

I know Mahathir's transgressions cannot be forgiven nor forgotten.  

But the task at hand is even bigger and more urgent – getting rid of Najib Razak is the #1 priority. 

Otherwise, I fear for this country – we are, most definitely, doomed!

It is time we move on. We have to. We must.

Unplugged Music: Datuk Yusni Hamid

On Friday, I was an accidental emcee for an Unplugged Music event that featured Yusni Hamid @ THE POD in Sunway Putra Mall, Kuala Lumpur. 

I had to do it in Malay and I can tell you I was nervy and on edge! Still, what a relief because I acquitted myself well enough. 

Indeed, Yusni sang very well – she has this talent to coax one enticing melody after another! 

Oh, it was a full house, by the way! 

If I have to choose one song as my favorite, it has to be this  yup, Kasih:

Here are some of the photos I captured that evening:

Najib Razak Thinks Malays are Stupid

Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said it out loud. That Najib Razak thinks Malays are stupid and are easily fooled. 

The former based his observation on the Election Commission’s proposed new electoral boundaries to carve out more Malay-majority seats from ethnically-mixed constituencies. 

The proposed re-delineation is supposedly for UMNO to contest more Malay-majority seats and make the party even more dominant. 

Mahathir even suggested that there are those who believe the act of separating (Malay and non-Malay voters) is because he loves Malays. 

“In reality, Najib thinks Malays are easily fooled. He thinks Malays are stupid”. 

He explained further: "(Najib thinks that if) You steal RM100, they will understand. You steal chickens, they understand. But if you steal billions of ringgit, Malays don’t understand”. 

[Note: Mahathir has repeatedly accused Najib and his associates of stealing billions from 1MDB]. 

And yesterday, he also accused Najib of rigging the electoral roll because he has become too reliant on the Malays for votes. 

But then again, Najib may be right too. I know he knows UMNO Malays belong to this class!.

My big regret is that UMNO Malays agree with Najib and they have allowed their stupidity to be misused!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

No More Virgins in Paradise

I missed this piece of news when I took a leave of absence from my blog. 

But this person deserves more than just a mention in my website because he was extraordinary – he had revved up the sexual revolution in the 1950s. And not just that, but he gets to spend an eternity in the company of America's most celebrated sex symbol. Sigh.

A headstone memorializing Hugh Hefner is pictured alongside Marilyn Monroe's grave marker at a Los Angeles cemetery. 

His muse: The first issue of Playboy, published in December 1953, featured Marilyn Monroe on the cover in a black silk dress with a plunging neckline 

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner died aged 91 on September 27, 2017. And he was laid to rest at a coveted spot in Los Angeles, California, USA – next to Marilyn Monroe. He had paid $75,000 in 1992 to reserve the plot at the celebrity-packed Westwood Village Memorial Park, according to The Hollywood Reporter

Monroe was Playboy's inaugural cover girl in December 1953 and she would become one of Hollywood's biggest stars and an American sex symbol for a generation. She passed away in 1962 at the age of 36, caused by a drug overdose. 

I have no doubt Hefner is having a ball of a time up there! And so, here is an important announcement for all wannabe jihadists:

Friday, December 29, 2017

UMNO and Allah

A screen grab showing UMNO information chief Annuar Musa in the described incident – from a video posted on Mahathir Mohamad's blogpost. 

Mahathir Mohamad had taken UMNO information chief Annuar Musa to task for invoking the name of God and associating Him with UMNO during a speech the latter made in Kelantan. 

The former prime minister asked if all of UMNO’s misdeeds were being done “for the sake of God” – since Annuar had urged his audience to shout aloud that they supported the party “for Allah”. 

“I want to ask, if UMNO steals, cheats and takes bribes, it’s because of Allah?” Mahathir had questioned. 

“Does Umno move voters, change voting stations and alter voting boundaries to steal Malay voters or divert postal voters, because of Allah?” Mahathir added. 

“Annuar should hold the Quran and tell the whole world (that) what is done by UMNO is done for Allah”, Mahathir had written in his blog on Wednesday. 

His post was accompanied by a 44-second video clip of Annuar – who was at the launch of the Pangkal Kalong election machinery in Kelantan – urging party supporters to shout “Lillahi ta’ala" (for Allah) whenever he said “UMNO”. 

Pangkal Kalong is one of the 31 polling stations for the Ketereh parliamentary constituency in Kelantan where Annuar has been MP since 2013. 

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I can see flashes of lightning and hear thunder claps! I am sure God is mighty displeased!

On Thursday, I was at the Ireka Toastmasters meeting as the General Evaluator thanks to Ela Yiek's invitation. It has been quite a long while I have not been to this club – and it is nice to be back. 

It is noteworthy to mention that I am already reducing my presence at Toastmasters meetings. And I am even considering leaving Toastmasters after the D51 Annual Conference 2018. Only time will tell.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

1MDB Settle with IPIC

1MDB are in the news again.

This time 1MDB are obliged to reveal how they raised the money to pay Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund “the equivalent of $350 million” (RM1.5 billion) on Thursday. 

DAP’s Tony Pua highlighted that the phrase “equivalent of $350 million” in 1MDB’s announcement of the payment to International Petroleum Investment Co cast serious doubt that the payment was in US dollars. 

What does “equivalent” imply? I take it to mean that the payment was not made in US Dollars – if it was not, can I assume it was made in ringgit Malaysia? 

Pua explained that US dollar transactions would require re-routing via US banks, and if 1MDB’s remittance was in ringgit, then it lent credence to the suspicion that international banks avoided 1MDB transactions for fear of participating in money laundering. 

In fact, he drew attention to a report by The Malaysian Insight that quoted an unnamed source as saying that the bank transfer was done by Maybank. 

This suggests the money must surely come from internal sources – does it not? 

This begs another question. Where then did the money come from? 

1MDB have, after all, sold or transferred all of their assets – both energy and real estate, and have already used their proceeds to pare down their massive debts and interest payments. 

Next year, 1MDB have another $300 million and $603 million to pay by August 31 and December 31 respectively. 

Malaysians are asking again and again for Najib Razak to stop evading the issue and come clean on the matter. The buck stops with the Prime Minister. 

Also on Tuesday, Celtic moved 11 points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership with a 2-0 win over Dundee. 

The first goal came when James Forrest converted Kieran Tierney's low cross in the eighth minute. And then Leigh Griffiths fired the second goal in the forty-third minute. 

It looks like Celtic are going to continue their reign in the Scottish Premiership.

[Note: Three days earlier, Celtic whipped Aberdeen 3-0 in a Scottish Premiership match].

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Invoke Poll Brings Hope, Gives Optimism

An Invoke survey carried out to ascertain voter sentiments nationwide and involving 5,000 registered voters chosen randomly by a computer system showed Malay support slipping for UMNO and PAS. More so for PAS. In fact, there is a good chance PAS can even be wiped out.

PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli said on December 19, 2017, only 41% of Malay voters nationwide would vote for UMNO if elections were called and three-cornered fights occurred. 

Rafizi said the poll found that voter support for PAS too dropped drastically in 12 months, with only 14% of Malay voters saying they would vote for the Islamist party in a three-cornered fight. This is an 11% drop compared to 25% of Malay voters who said they would vote for PAS in a similar survey carried out in January. 

The level of Malay voter support for PAS can be expected to plunge further in the months to come. From the 14% Malay voters who said they would support PAS, only 21% said they would not go out to vote if PAS did not contest. 

Rafizi also noted that the level of Chinese support for PH had returned to 2013 levels, surpassing 80% this month. Similarly, the level of Indian voter support returned to 2013 levels, with 60% towards BN and 40% towards PH. 

In the event of three-cornered fights, Invoke projects that BN will win 107 parliamentary seats, PH will win 115 and PAS will be looking at zero seats. 

In Peninsular Malaysia alone, PH is projected to win 102 out of 165 parliamentary seats, while BN is projected to take 63 seats. In Sabah and Sarawak, PH is expected to take eight and five parliamentary seats respectively, while BN will be left with 14 and 26 seats, respectively. 

Now I have hope and I can be optimistic. Change will come. Change must come. 

Jurgen Klopp described his team as "a joy to watch" when the Reds hammered Swansea City 5-0 on Tuesday. 

Thankfully, Liverpool did not disappoint. 

Two goals from Roberto Firmino (52, 66) and one each from Philippe Coutinho (6), Trent Alexander-Arnold (65) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (82) helped Liverpool to this emphatic win at Anfield. 

The victory ensured Liverpool remain in the thick of the battle for the Champions League places in fourth spot – five points behind second-placed Manchester United.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Abdul Hadi Awang: Bigoted and Blinkered

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s portrayal of himself as a bigoted and blinkered politician was spot-on because he had declared that under an Islamic regime, non-Malay-Muslims can be in the government but will be given limited authority. He had made this statement on Friday in the party’s official portal Harakahdaily. 

Quoting an eleventh century ulama, Al-Mawardi, Hadi said non-Muslims could still become cabinet members but confined to only management and not policy-making. 

Upon being on the receiving end of severe criticism, Hadi’s party was obliged to step forward and come up with a story to save his battered reputation. 

PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Man defended Hadi by insisting the latter’s “all-Malay cabinet” statement was a figment of the media’s imagination. The wicked media had malevolently twisted Hadi’s words and willfully misinterpreted them. 

Of course, he knew that Malaysians with even a modicum of intelligence would not believe him – but he had to say it anyway. He needed to show he is stupidly loyal to Hadi because he is the deputy president. 

So there you have it, Malaysians – under PAS, non-Malays and non-Muslims are second-class citizens. 

And UMNO have so far remained silent on the issue. 

No wonder PAS and UMNO are two peas in a pod.

Monday, December 25, 2017

24-hour Mamak Eateries May Soon Disappear

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To justify why mamak eateries should stay open round the clock – the Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress (Kimma) came up with two interesting explanations! 

Kimma's Syed Ibrahim Kader said 24-hour restaurants provide more than just food. In fact, they are safe spaces for young people to mingle and more so among Muslims, they help prevent acts of khalwat (close proximity). 

Then he voiced his concern that Malaysia’s attractiveness as a global food destination will likely suffer. Tourists come here and are amazed that food is available for 24 hours a day, seven days a week – and if this change, this would have an adverse impact on the tourism industry. 

The Kimma president was making these counter-arguments because Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam who is spearheading the campaign to promote healthy living among Malaysians had suggested eating places should close by midnight – implying that mamak food is either unhealthy or that Malaysians have bad eating habits – meaning they are unrestrained in their food intake, i.e. enjoying being on a food binge (Think obesity). 

Of course, mamak eateries are operated by Indian Muslims – so Kimma have an obligation to safeguard their interests. I suppose he does make sense.

Red Clementine

Kajang’s Red Clementine describes itself as offering modern Western cuisine. 

I was invited to its grand opening on Saturday and these photos show that this is the place to go to if you are in the neighborhood: 

Fellow Toastmasters from Speakers’ Dream were there too. 

The highlight, of course, was the food sampling! 

Smoked duck salad 

Chicken teriyaki  

Salmon don 

Beef satay RC style 

Pandan kaya matcha French toast 

Thank you, Vickey Chen!

I made a brief mention about a Philippine city under siege from IS militants in my blogpost “Intolerance Thrives in Malaysia” dated May 29, 2017. 

The story of Marawi – the capital and the only city in the province of Lanao del Sur on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines – is about the five-month-long armed conflict that started on May 23, 2017, between Philippine government security forces and militants.

Check out this video clip The Battle for Marawi:

Mindanao is so close to Malaysia. If we are not careful, this too can happen in our country.

A Christmas Medley

It’s Christmas! So please enjoy this Christmas car ride with Motoki: 

But since it is Christmas, I have just one wish!


Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

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Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year everybody! 

It’s no mean feat to sell 400 tickets for the District 51 Annual Conference 2018. And at escalating prices at that.

But that is what the Organizing Committee is determined to do. 

We embraced the challenge and we rolled up our sleeves and started selling.

I can understand the elation and excitement and euphoria building up within us as we inched closer to finish off ALL 400 tickets!

And when we did finally finish selling the 400 tickets – we had realized that we took just 151 days to achieve this target. 

Well done to the Organizing Committee of D51 AC2018! 

And thank you to all who registered for the Conference!