Archive for April, 2009

Through the barricades of insecurity in Ipoh

Tight security is expected to be thrown around the Perak State Secretariat where the controversial state assembly meeting is scheduled to be held from May 7 onwards.

Apart from members of the general public predictably being disallowed from entering this area, the number of journalists covering the sitting would also be restricted and reduced. Not only that, online news portals, such as Malaysiakini, are said to have been banned from covering the function.

This approach obviously doesn’t sound people-friendly despite the fact that it was the ordinary rakyat who voted the Perak politicians in.

Alienating the rakyat this way would only reinforce the suspicion that the assemblypersons, or at least some of them, are not willing to be made accountable to the ordinary Perakians in particular and Malaysians in general.

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Johan leads media giant

As anticipated for some time now, former Utusan Malaysia editor-in-chief Johan Jaafar has been made the new chairperson of media giant Media Prima effective tomorrow.

This change, which came about with the new Najib administration, makes one wonder whether all the media outlets under the Media Prima group are expected to be still ‘BN-friendly’ (i.e. uncritical or less critical of the BN) despite the premier’s clarion call for ‘vibrant, free and informed’ media.

This from a Malaysiakini report:

Former Utusan Malaysia editor-in-chief Johan Jaafar has been named as the new chairperson of the country’s leading media conglomerate Media Prima Sdn Bhd effective this Thursday.

He will be replacing Abdul Mutalib Mohamed Razak who resigned from the board today after completing his contract…

… His appointment to helm Media Prima was highly speculated by the industry people for some time now. He is expected to be the key personality to drive new Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s media agenda.

At Media Prima, he will be in charge with a wide range of media outlets, all of which are familiar and popular names.

The company has a total control over terrestrial television stations in the country with all TV3, NTV7, Channel 8 and TV9 under its banner.

The company also boasts radio stations such as FlyFm, HotFM and OneFM, apart from the daily newspapers under the New Straits Times group of companies.

No clowns please, we’re Malaysians

BN Menteri Besar Zambry Abd Kadir reportedly expressed hope that Perak politicians would not turn the planned state assembly sitting on May 7 into a circus, with some of them clowning around and getting into ‘seat-grabbing antics’.

Actually, he shouldn’t worry at all because, as he rightly put it, “we are all civilised people”.

Indeed, events in the past few months in the country, particularly in the state of Perak, suggest that Malaysian politicians concerned were, and still are, in their best behaviour and absolutely were not bent on behaving like a clown.

Why, these very politicians would not even think of stooping so low as to monkey around with the system, let alone turn democracy on its head.

Besides, they are cocksure that nothing could go politically wrong as they firmly believe that democracy is just a hop, skip and a jump away.

Play it again, Samy

MIC supremo Samy Vellu, who has led the party for about 30 years, insisted that he’s ready to step down as party president — only after he’s ‘trained’ his deputy.

Looks like the deputy president would be at a loss if Samy simply ‘walks away’ without the latter passing on his immense experience of taking control of the party to the former.

So, in other words, you’d have to wait for a while until Samy says he is indeed ready to let go.

A report from the Sunday Star today:

 

KUALA LUMPUR: MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu will stay a year-and-half at the most, as he wants time to “train” his deputy, who will be elected in September.

He said he would announce when he would step down during the party elections.

“The new leader will need time to be trained. I can’t just walk away.

“The new man will not be in a position to do what needs to be done. In September, I will announce that I will get out of the party at which particular time,” he said in an interview at the MIC headquarters.

Samy Vellu, 73, who has led the MIC since 1979, was returned unopposed for an unprecedented 11th term in March when his challenger’s nomination papers were rejected.

The president, who failed to retain his Sungei Siput parliamentary seat in the last general election, said he expected a four-cornered contest for the deputy presidency.

Yes, Shaheen’s got talent

This 12-year-old Shaheen Jafargholi of Wales demonstrates that singing can be a breeze.

Light at the end of the tunnel?

 light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel

(Photo credit: www.pbase.com/camera0bug/image/13107594)

In an interview with The Malaysian Insider, Selangor Opposition leader Khir Toyo expressed sentiments that seemed to have run counter to what he believed in all this while — to the point of looking like a resplendent reformist. Or, if you like, appearing like someone who has just acquired a political facelift.

But the following statement of his in the said interview should make you sit up:  

He pointed out that the Indian community was especially in need of help.

“I realised this a bit too late, and only during my fifth year as mentri besar, because I was not told about how bad things were for them.”

He said he only knew something was seriously wrong when informed by the police that 40 per cent of crimes committed involved the Indian community.

He said he was shocked to learn that some estate workers earned between RM400 and RM500 a month only when he visited an estate in Kuala Selangor.

He claimed that he then set aside RM3 million annually for them.

 

He realised about the plight of the Indian community only in the fifth year of his tenure as menteri besar? Where had he been during all those years in office?

Was he trying to say that he was ill-informed or poorly advised by those who were supposed to serve him effectively and professionally? Weren’t they shortlisted for his infamous ‘broom award’?

Or had he been reading (and trusting) too much the reportage coming from the mainstream purveyors of Truth? It must have been quite difficult to extract Truth from the mass of words.

Come together, bloggers

Information, Communication, Arts and Culture Minister Rais Yatim reportedly threw a party on Wednesday in an apparent endeavour to get to know Malaysian bloggers.

But alas, as it turned out, not all bloggers were invited, particularly those who were perceived to be ‘critical’ of the BN government. So much for engaging bloggers.

This was also the occasion, according to the Malaysiakini report, where the minister warned bloggers that laws that were meant to regulate the media and communications would not be used against them as long as “they were serious and ethical in their writing”.

So ‘serious’ bloggers, take note.