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Tuesday, 30 December 2008

FATHER & SON PRIESTS

ITS just two days before 2009. I just came down from a three-day trip to my sister Juvita in Keningau. The usually 2hour 30mins drive became a six-hour trip when the diesel filter of the vehicle I was using failed to function properly. Still, thank God, apart from the forced slow journey, everything else (including my hang over) went very well. Then I saw this article. Well, this would perhaps be among the things they call, ordinary miracle... meanwhile, I try to check list whether I have accomplished my 2008 resolution

FATHER AND SON BECOME PRIESTS
LONDON (The Deacons Bench) - Well, this made me put down my coffee cup and go "Wow." A father, a son, a conversion, and more... From the Times of London:

"In what is believed to be a first, a father and son, both former Anglican clergy, have been ordained as Catholic priests and are now working for the same archdiocese, Birmingham.Father Dominic Cosslett, 36, and his father, Father Ron Cosslett, 70, were both ordained by Archbishop Vincent Nichols. Nichols is the favourite to succeed Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor as Archbishop of Westminster when he steps down early next year and the latest ordination of Father Dominic on 20 December shows he is continuing in the tradition of true Catholicity to which the British church has so long been witness. MORE

Saturday, 27 December 2008

BN PKR POSITIONS

STILL on holiday mood? Sure we all are. Still, when going round, wishing relatives, friends and even total strangers a memorable festive season, I do get once in a while a question about the political situation in our country. The Malaysian Insider article here proposed its own insight. I may or may not agree. I rest my case...(and I cut and paste it here in full to save u the trouble to click on the link... see, am still in a very generous Santa Claus mood).

BN GETS ITS GROOVE BACK
DEC 27 — Slowly but surely, the Barisan Nasional government seems to be recovering its poise. Ruling coalition politicians do not tense up every time Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim prepares to make a statement; Umno politicians fret less about whether it is possible to govern this country of 26 million people without the two-thirds majority in Parliament; and foreign diplomats here have called time predicting the fall of the government.

This is not to say that BN is back to the days before March 8 when it had the swagger of invincibility. Far from it. Gerakan, without the anchor of Penang, is still seeking a role in Malaysian politics, the MIC is flirting with irrelevance and the smaller coalition parties are adrift.

But the senior partner in the coalition, Umno, has steadied itself; boosted by the smooth transition of power from Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the realisation that after the initial burst of euphoria, Pakatan Rakyat is struggling with the mundane day to day of governing.

There is a quiet confidence among Umno politicians these days. They believe that the worst days are behind them. They believe that the party election machinery in Kuala Terengganu will not stutter like it did in Permatang Pauh in August. The reason: the vexing issue of succession in the party has been settled and everyone seems to be falling in line behind Najib, partly out of respect for the individual and partly because Umno politicians are a pragmatic lot.

In coffee houses in five-star hotels in Kuala Lumpur, the talk among the party operatives has moved far beyond Abdullah, his weak leadership and the debacle on March 8. It is about the party elections in March and who will receive the all-important endorsement from Najib. Occasionally, conversation swings to Anwar but in less revered tones.

His gambit of predicting the fall of the BN government by Sept 16 has taken some gloss off his image which was burning bright after Pakatan Rakyat denied BN two-thirds majority in Parliament and took control of five states. More importantly, the man who could do no wrong after March 8 now appears to be strangely vulnerable.

He has his hands full keeping politicians from the PKR, Pas and DAP on the same page. PKR's MP for Kapar S. Manikavasagam is threatening to resign from the party, claiming that there is infighting among Selangor's PKR leaders while DAP's Klang MP Charles Santiago is involved in an ugly public spat with DAP central committee member Teng Chang Khim.

Also, Umno/BN politicians expected the former student leader and firebrand orator to give the government a much tougher time in Parliament than he has. Not surprisingly then that there is a spring in the step of ruling party politicians today.

Najib in an interview with the Edge said that there is less concern over the future of the government and the fact that it no longer has two-thirds majority in Parliament.

"We have shown with the passing of the two Bills a few days ago that it is a majority that can lead to a very, very functioning government, not a dysfunctional government,” he said, referring to the safe passage of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Bill and the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill.

He also said that foreign investors and Malaysians are not talking about a change in government. "I think we have passed that point, '' said Najib.

The Kuala Terengganu by-election could be the clearest sign yet that Umno/BN has recovered its poise. THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

RIGHT AND WRONG

I SAY yes, you say no. Black. White. Good. Bad. Remember the story of four blind men trying to figure out how an elephant looks like? This festive season, a lot of things could happen. May be it is good to be extra careful. But do good and things should end that way too....

GOOD SAMARITANS MISTAKEN FOR THIEVES
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 23 (Bernama) -- Bernama journalist Zulkiple Ibrahim was on his way to the office this morning when he stumbled upon two teenagers on a motorcycle acting suspiciously in Bandar Tasik Puteri, Rawang, near here.

Sensing something amiss upon seeing the pillion rider holding two traffic cones marked "POLIS", Zulfiple, 47, who is attached to the Features Desk, decided to follow the motorcycle which was moving against the traffic flow.

His suspicion was allayed when he saw the motorcycle heading towards a police patrol car which had come to a stop on a road divider in the township after ploughing into a lamp post.

As it turned out, the two youths were only trying to help the policemen who had come to grief.

They had rushed to the housing estate's police beat base to get the traffic cones to place along the road to warn motorists of the accident. -- BERNAMA

SOUL SEARCHING


TODAY is 23 Dec 2008
Tomorrow Christmas Eve
Then the day Christ Jesus is born
Five days later 2009
Have a blessed
Have a memorable
Have a wonderful Christmas to one and all

Monday, 15 December 2008

NOT FOR SABAH

WELL, the JAC being debated now in Parliament is creating lots of comments from various quarters. This is one of them. And yes, I label this under General Election. For want of a better heading? I rest my case.....

SABAH COUNCIL: JAC NOT FOR SABAH

(NST) - The Sabah Justice of Peace Council said that appointment procedure of judges in the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) Bill is contrary to the Federal Constitution.

Council honorary secretary Datuk Lawrence Thien Shin Hing said the new procedure would be a departure from the present model and in direct conflict with Article 122B of the Constitution.

Under Article 122B, a person is appointed judge by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, acting on the advice of the prime minister after consulting the Conference of Rulers.

Before tendering his advice as to the appointment of a judge to the High Court, the prime minister shall consult the chief judge of Malaya or the chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak.

Thien noted that the JAC was not a constitutional amendment but an ordinary federal law compared with the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the federation. MORE

Friday, 12 December 2008

REFORM?

THE MACC and JAC are now in Parliament. Read on. Just for information. For me, if it is good, accept it. If not, reject. If half-good? Is there such a thing as half-good?


DEC 11 - The thing about reforms is, it appeases no one.

And one is damned for doing it or not doing it at all, depending on the perspective of the critics. With that in mind and a diminished political majority and clout, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi went to Parliament yesterday to table his long-awaited reforms package against corruption and for judicial appointments.

Both bills - the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commision and Judicial Appointments Commission - were immediately buffeted by criticisms from all sides, reflecting the huge interest and need for reforms in fighting graft and putting in men of integrity to interpret and enforce the country's laws apart from defending the Federal Constitution. MORE

Monday, 8 December 2008

STRATEGY

THIS article from Malaysia Today could complement my earlier posting on PAK LAH POSER. Its the festive season. But who says we should set aside current development? May be this year end is a good time to do a soul searching, of sort. Me? An annual leave will sure refreshes my tired me....

WALKING ON THIN ICE
The non-Malays do not like to hear this. It sounds too much like racism. Many Malays do not like it as well. But this is the reality of Malaysian politics that continues to haunt us.
Politics, in Malaysia, is about race and religion. And no Malaysian can escape that. And this is why the 30 Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament should not cross over yet, not if it is going to be 30 non-Malay Members of Parliament.
It should only happen if the 30 are half Malay and half non-Malay.
Then Umno will be silenced. Umno can no longer claim that the Malays have lost political power. Umno can no longer suggest that we are now seeing a repeat of May 1969. And Umno can’t propose that they need a May 1969 ‘solution’ to solve the ‘problem’. MORE

PAK LAH POSER

HEY, the political game is still very much alive. This festive season, first today, being the Hari Raya Haji, then soon, Christmas, then the New Year 2009, then the Chinese New Year and the list goes on. A lot more could happen. This posting is but a food for thoughts for you and me.... Enjoy your holiday mood!

SO, IS HE GOING... OR STAYING?
DEC 8 — Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang says that Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should only step down as Prime Minister once he has fulfilled his slew of promises to Malaysians.

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah says that Abdullah can stay on as Prime Minister even if he is no longer the Umno president.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says that there is every possibility that Abdullah will go back on his word and remain in the top job after party elections in March.

What's happening? What is driving this sudden examination and speculation of Abdullah's options? Is Abdullah reconsidering his retirement plans?

The short answer to the last question appears to be NO. Sources told The Malaysian Insider that Abdullah has already made plans for his post-Prime Minister days. He will shift out of Seri Perdana and move into a kampung-style house in Sungai Penchala, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. As for filling up his retirement days, he has told his friends that he would like to spend time strengthening ties between Malaysia and the Middle East. MORE

Thursday, 4 December 2008

ZAID SAYS

WELL, this was a long awaited press conference. Zaid (my kind of guy) spells out quite a bit of his thoughts. Correct? Wrong? It depends which side you are on.

ZAID: Not joining opposition... yet?

"I am shocked at the way I was sacked as I was not asked to show cause. Obviously, in Umno the rules apply only to some and not to others.

"In Umno, some people have made fun of and ridiculed Pak Lah," he said, referring to party president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

"They even make racist remarks. But no action has been taken against them as they are very powerful people, so there are double standards."

Since his resignation from the Cabinet in September, speculation has been rife that he would be joining one of the PR parties.

Last weekend, he was seen attending a DAP dinner and the opening of the PKR annual congress.

These appearances led to his sacking from Umno on Tuesday night.

Zaid also claimed that he was sacked from Umno for his views, and not for attending opposition functions.

"They did not like me or my ideas. They resent my views and accommodating approach," he said. MORE

RUMOURS VS FACTS

THIS is self-explanatory. Happy reading

RPK: 99pc of rumours become fact in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 – Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin said tonight that 99% of the rumours he reports on his website eventually turn out to be true.

Defending himself from a caller on a special interview with Riz Khan on satellite television station Al Jazeera who asked why he persisted in writing about rumours, he said time and time again he had been proven right with his stories.

“I have always been told that two things sell and that is sex and politics. And sex involving politics sells even more,” he quipped.

He also denied the perception that Malaysia Today was an opposition mouthpiece, pointing out that he had been critical of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) as well.

Raja Petra added that he would also not consider playing a role in government if PR succeeded in toppling Barisan Nasional (BN).

“I do not wish to be in government. I wish to be in a pressure group. I have joked that if Pakatan forms the government I will then join Umno,” he said.

Besides Raja Petra, the other guests on the show were playwright Jo Kukathas and journalist Kee Thuan Chye.

All three guests offered their respective views on a gamut of issues from censorship and the media to the use of the Internal Security Act (ISA).

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar also joined the discussion by telephone and made a stout defence of the ISA.

Offering the government’s condolences to the people of India over the recent Mumbai attacks, he justified the continued existence of the ISA by saying the law was the reason why Malaysia had not suffered any major terrorist attacks.

He also contended that it was only what he described as a vocal minority of Malaysians who were against the ISA while the majority wanted safety and order in society.

Kukathas responded, however, to the minister’s arguments by pointing out that most of those who were ever arrested under the ISA were not terrorists. THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

OBAMA-CLINTON TEAM

YOU and I know how Obama and Clinton, Hillary that is, went for each others throat sort of, during the primaries. I remember posting, I like Obama but my gut feeling is Clinton will be the Democrat's presidential candidate. Am proven wrong. But, such the the maturity of their politics, Obama not only embrace Clinton but gave her a very powerful cabinet post, the Secretary of State. Malaysians and I can learn one or two from Obama. And Clinton....

Obama makes Clinton Secretary of State

"President Kennedy once said that engaging the world to meet the threats we face was the greatest adventure of our century," Clinton said during a news conference in Chicago, Illinois, when Obama unveiled his national security team.

"Well, Mr. President-elect, I am proud to join you on what will be a difficult and exciting adventure in this new century."

Clinton said she would work to restore America's position as "a force for positive change" in the world.

"America is a place founded on the idea that everyone should have the right to live up to his or her God-given potential. And it is that same ideal that must guide America's purpose in the world today," she said. MORE

Monday, 1 December 2008

ARE YOU WITH ME OR

I WAS a reporter for about ten years. I know how some people or even so-called leaders who speak without thinking thoroughly first the consequence of their statements or answers to the press fraternity. Whatever lah. You with me or against me... (was in church yesterday and I heard somebody said, we are all equals in the eyes of God. How about in human's eyes? Or better still, Melayu's eyes?)

Commenting on Chua’s call to drop the 'Ketuanan Melayu' concept, Hishammuddin said: “It is better for leaders of BN component parties to join the Opposition if they want to continue questioning historical facts.’’

He is not alone. Other Umno leaders also believe that their friends in BN have become too vocal and need to pipe down and accept the reality of politics in Malaysia. If this “I know best’ approach permeates through discussions at the BN convention in February, it could persuade a few BN leaders that their future may lie outside the coalition.

Worse yet, it could be the clearest sign yet for many Malaysians that the BN - the political behemoth - is on its last legs. MORE

ANWAR AT IT AGAIN

HAD we not heard it all? Some people are saying the PR people will wait until the cow comes home. Others give them the benefits of the doubt. Me? Yes. And No. I know, it is not saying much. But am saying something. So we will see.

ANWAR: WE WILL TAKE OVER PUTRAJAYA ASAP

(The Star) - Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has once again stressed that Pakatan Rakyat would form the Federal Government but would not say when.

Saying it would occur in “the shortest possible time,” the PKR adviser said it was not a question of “when” but that it involved the people.

“Insya Allah, we will certainly be in Putrajaya soon,” he said in his address yesterday at the close of the PKR national congress.

Anwar said there was no other option because the people would no longer support the current system which he said was corrupt and insulted their intelligence.

At the March 8 general election, Barisan Nasional won 140 parliamentary seats while the Opposition secured 82.

Anwar, however, said he was confident he could topple the Federal Government as there were more than enough Barisan MPs who wanted to cross over to their side.

He had earlier claimed that the Pakatan Rakyat would be able to form a new government by Sept 16.

When that failed to materialise, people began having doubts and some have even accused him of lying.

Anwar said the plans were still on track, adding that he believed in the power of prayer and the wisdom of the people. His wife, PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail rose to his defence and the takeover plan.

She reminded delegates they had already won by making a comeback in the recent elections after being nearly wiped out in 2004. On members who kept asking if the takeover would really happen, she advised them to be more patient.

Deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali and vice president Azmin Ali also told the delegates to have faith in Anwar’s takeover plans.

Dr Syed Husin said he had known Anwar for more than 40 years and was his lecturer at university.

“Some are cynical about the road to Putrajaya. But from my experience, I believe and trust in his confidence to get to Putrajaya. This is not empty talk,” he said in his winding-up speech.

Azmin, who said he had known Anwar for 25 years, said he was certain the takeover would happen soon. THE STAR