Hornbill Unleashed

May 6, 2015

Can a family survive on RM800 in Sarawak and Sabah?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

Since Jan 1, 2014 when the Malaysian Minimum Wages Order 2012 took effect, the lowest wage for all workers in Sabah, Sarawak and the Federal Territory of Labuan was fixed at RM800 per month while in Malaya it is at RM900 per month.

This in East Malaysia comes up to an hourly rate of RM3.85, or if converted to US dollar is just slightly over US$1 at the current exchange rate.

A quick comparison with our neighbours in the order of from the lowest to highest, as per hourly rates as quoted on Wikipedia (all in US$): India – US$0.25; Vietnam – 0.29; Indonesia – 0.50; Philippines – 0.72; China – 1.21; Thailand – 1.22 Singapore – 3.80. (more…)

Adenan welcomes gate-crashing activists during dinner in London

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem shows his friendly nature by agreeing to meet overseas-based environment and social activists during a dinner function at the Malaysian High Commission in London yesterday. – The Malaysian Insider pic, May 5, 2015.

Some of the most controversial names linked to Sarawak and Sabah – environmental activists, political activists and even an alleged secessionist – “gate-crashed” a dinner the Malaysian high commissioner to Britain threw for visiting Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem in London yesterday.

Instead of being chased out of the high commission premises, the activists were welcomed by ever-reconciliatory Adenan for an impromptu talk on a wide variety of issues.

“We heard he (Adenan) was at the Malaysian High Commission. So we dropped by for a talk,” Lukas Straumann, the executive director of the Swiss forest NGO, the Bruno Manser Fund, said via telephone today. (more…)

In defence of big hydro-electricity power

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

A recent report of three Sarawak activists making rep­resentations to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Manila against its loan facility to build an electrical transmission line from Sarawak to West Kalimantan highlights how destructively myopic some lone-wolf, single-issue activists can be.

The representation comes a little too late, given the con­struction of the transmission line is progressing apace and is fast nearing completion. It also totally ignores what a boon the transmission line will be for the long-suffering citizens and busi­ness people in the Indonesian province bordering Sarawak. They have long endured inter­mittent power which requires businesses to run their own expensive and highly polluting diesel-powered generators to avoid intolerable and frequent disruptions to power from the local grid. (more…)

Adenan meets Taib’s major critic abroad

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem has raised eyebrows after he met with Swiss-based NGO Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), which has been a fierce critic of his predecessor Abdul Taib Mahmud.

In a special session with the chief minister at the Malaysian High Commission in London yesterday, Adenan also met with fugitive Sabahan Doris Jones.

BMF in a statement today said it was surprised by Adenan’s stance which was a break from Taib’s leadership style. (more…)

Hisham: Consider Rompin’s message

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Were Rompin voters trying to send Putrajaya and BN a message? Possibly, said Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Husein.

“Like what Pahang menteri besar Adnan Yakoob said earlier, the results that we see here, maybe there are some things the government needs to take into consideration.

“But what is important is that we won,” he told reporters after the Rompin by-election results were announced.

He was responding to a question on whether issues raised by PAS, particularly the implementation of the unpopular goods and services tax (GST), had an effect on the polls. (more…)

EC must explain what are threats and bribery during elections

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

The Election Commission (EC) is apparently adopting a “see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil” stand when alleged bribery and threats are committed during election campaigns.

In the on-going by-elections, many are of the view that two BN ministers had already been guilty of the offence but the EC chose to “see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil”.

One of them had announced that some RM200,000 worth of uniforms would be given out to Rela if BN wins Rompin on May 5. Is this bribery or not?

One wonders if Pakatan leaders said something similar, would the EC still see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil? (more…)

May 5, 2015

PKR Sarawak chides EC for considering SPM Bahasa Malaysia credit suggestion

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

PKR Sarawak vice-chairman See Chee How seen here speaking to an Election Commission (EC) official involved in the Sarawak constituency delineation exercise in February, wants the EC to ignore suggestions from people like Ridhuan Tee who is banned from entering the state. – The Malaysian Insider pic, May 4, 2015.A Sarawak lawmaker today slammed the Election Commission (EC) for considering the suggestion that academic proficiency in Bahasa Malaysia be a pre-condition for someone who wants to be an MP or lawmaker.

PKR Sarawak vice-chairman See Chee How said if the EC goes ahead with the suggestion, it would not only make Malaysia the first practising parliamentary democracy to do so, it would also disqualify the majority of lawmakers in the Sarawak state assembly.

The Sarawak state assembly remains the only legislature in the country where English language is largely used. (more…)

The Iban longhouse that stood up to BN and prospered

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

Two of the Unjie brothers (from right) Lungan and Adam, who helped their community to become self-sufficient, with another resident Emparang Gling, at the Pelepok longhouse, near Betong, Sarawak. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Kamal Ariffin, May 4, 2015.Deep in the forests of central Sarawak is a remote Iban longhouse that is a bogeyman for Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN), but a beacon of hope for the PKR as it works to win more ground in state elections due next year.

The people of the Pelepok longhouse have thrived despite rejecting BN in the past two state elections, in 2006 and 2011, which is rare in Sarawak.

To hear Pakatan Rakyat (PR) politicians put it, Sarawak BN has long cultivated a dependency mentality among the indigenous peoples in the state. (more…)

A tale of two brothers

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

Two sets of brothers made headlines recently, for completely different reasons, but both exhibited the art of saving face. One unashamedly defended his brother’s actions in a potentially violent public demonstration. The other was more circumspect in criticising the role played by his brother in an important public issue.

First. We will never find out if inspector-general of police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar was aware of the role played by his brother, Abdullah, during the church cross demonstration in Taman Medan. Was Abdullah the leader of the protesters, or was he the mediatorbetween the Malay demonstrators and the church representatives?

Abdullah, whose business is the supply of firearms and security services, was said to have known about the Malay protest and claimed that as a responsible leader of the Taman Lindungan Jaya Umno Baru branch, he soothed tensions, as he feared the protest would spiral out of control. (more…)

PM’s aide: Kadir seems alien to Malay culture

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Malay culture dictates that the groom will bear the cost of the wedding for the bride’s family as well, said an aide to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

“Thus if the kenduri is being held on the groom’s side, obviously it is the groom’s side that will bear the cost.

“Even if it means bearing the cost of the bride’s entourage, it shows that the groom is responsible and shows efforts to accommodate the bride’s family,” the premier’s aide Rizal Mansor told Malaysiakini. (more…)

Ambiga flays ‘faceless cowards’ of Bukit Aman

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Recalling her experience of being detained overnight, former Bar Council chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan says she does not harbour a grudge against police personnel on the ground who were just following instructions.

However, Ambiga has a bone to pick with their superiors on the hill in Bukit Aman.

“For me, these faceless and nameless people giving the orders are the real cowards. Their action is based on a set agenda and this is not professional policing.

“The police personnel on the ground treated us reasonably well and kept telling us they were following orders. My quarrel is not with them,” she told Malaysiakini. (more…)

Silence not an option for us

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

The sight of the youngsters in handcuffs and chains had a profound effect on many of us who saw them. I remember trying to make them feel better by saying that I too had been arrested. But it sounded hollow.

I had a battery of lawyers and friends by my side. I was not handcuffed and chained. They were alone, and I will never forget the fear in their eyes. The lawyers there then jumped in to help them. But what if we had not been there?

And what was their offence? Maybe some of them took part in the same rally – but so had 10,000 others. Some of them said they were sitting and having  a drink at a time after the rally had ended when they were set upon by the police. (more…)

Mobile prepaid cards may revert to pre-GST prices, says Shabery

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Multimedia and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek says he will accept the people's wish not to be charged GST on their purchase of mobile prepaid cards and negotiate with telcos on removing the tax that is currently imposed. – The Malaysian Insider pic, May 4, 2015.

Multimedia and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said tonight that he has decided mobile prepaid cards should revert to the old, pre-goods and services tax (GST) prices as soon as possible.

He said Malaysians had informed him they wanted to pay RM10 for mobile prepaid cards and receive RM10 worth of mobile services value, so he would ensure that this would become a reality.

“The rakyat want to purchase RM10 worth of prepaid credit, and they want to get airtime worth RM10. That’s what the people want. (more…)

Go all black today, urges Bersih

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Election watchdog Bersih wants Malaysians to wear black tomorrow to protest against the recent crackdown against May Day rally participants.

The protest, dubbed ‘Ops Hitam 505′ (Operation Black 505) will coincide with the second anniversary of BN’s slim victory in the 13th general elections.

“We appeal to all Malaysians to wear black or to put on black ribbons or cloths on their vehicles, buildings or personal belongings on May 5, 2015.

“(This is) a sign of rejection of the arrogant provocation by the ‘Najib Minority Government’ in the arrest, detention and harassment of the leaders and participants of the May Day rallies in Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu,” Bersih said in a statement yesterday. (more…)

May 4, 2015

Arrest of rally youths a mere show, says PKR

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Under-age detainees released at midnight at the Dang Wangi police station, Kuala Lumpur, May 2,2015. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Seth Akmal, May 3, 2015.

A lawyer and PKR lawmaker has described the arrest of 29 youths and minors after the May Day rally against the goods and services tax in Kuala Lumpur as a ‘wayang’ (show).

Subang MP R. Sivarasa today accused the police of “simply picking up” the people after the rally had ended when they could had been arrested on the spot if the police had seen them committing vandalism and lighting fire crackers.

“At the earlier stages (of the rally), there were already firecrackers making bomb-like sounds. My question to the police is why did they not step in to detain the culprits immediately. (more…)

Students selling nasi lemak in school. Should they be punished?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

This story reminds me of a time when my schoolmates engaged in little trades at school. Nasi lemak, snacks and even decorative accessories were among the more popular items that were sold. But in general, we students knew that it was an offence and action would be taken if these sales were done within school premises without authorisation.

Yet this did not deter some students as they were driven by the need to make some money to elevate the financial burden faced by their families. This convinced me that such sales by students should not be stopped through harsh punishments, but should be encouraged in an organised and thoughtful manner.

In fact, this entrepreneurial talent can be developed through business and entrepreneur programmes among students. (more…)

Amid support for Najib, Umno leaders starting to question, says former minister

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Former information minister Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin says in his blog that Umno division chiefs are beginning to realise the public's unhappiness with Datuk Seri Najib Razak's leadership. – The Malaysian Insider filepic, May 3, 2015.

Umno division chiefs are beginning to realise that people are not happy with Datuk Seri Najib Razak, even as the party leaders continue to express their strong support for his leadership, former information minister Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin said.

He said that it was wrong to assume that Ummo division leaders were mere yes-men who “swallowed” the country’s leaders’ every word.

“There are Umno division chiefs who realise that the support of the ‘red shirts’ to the top leadership can no longer represent the rakyat’s support,” wrote Zainuddin on his blog today. (more…)

Jho Low only the ‘errant boy’ and fall guy in 1MDB saga

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Despite accusations against him and calls even from Umno diehards for authorities to haul him up, the reality remains that Penang rich kid Low Taek Jho is just an errant boy in the 1MDB saga.

While he was allegedly named as the middleman, facilitator and wheeler and dealer who was supposedly instrumental in the movements of billions in public monies, he is not the real criminal behind the supposed shady deals.

Blaming Low for the entire saga is indeed similar to saying that ex-police commandos Sirul Azhar and Azilah Hadri murdered Mongolian national Altantuya Shaaribuu of their own reasons and volition.

Indeed like them, it seems Low may be made the convenient scapegoat. (more…)

Najib dancing gets social tongues wagging

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

A video of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak showing off his dancing skills at his daughter Nooryana Najwa’s wedding do in Kazakhstan has set off a buzz on social media.

However, for conservatives back home in Malaysia where religious authorities impose strict controls on entertainment activities for Muslims, Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor gyrating to the tune of “Pretty Woman” may not receive a stamp of approval.

Nevertheless, the prime minister’s special officer, Rizal Mansor, insisted there was no wrong in it, particularly as Najib and his wife were caught by surprise. (more…)

For Malaysia and Malaysians’ sake, heed us PM Najib

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

moneyTaxes, in whatever form, are never welcome.

Any law that affects the masses should be prudently introduced and implemented with great care and caution through the widest of publicity given to educate the masses in appreciating it.

The GST introduction had been delayed already with “excuses” being that we were not ready then, but ready now with its lackadaisical passage through Parliament.

Seriously and surely, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should have been fully aware of the consequences of the GST introduction and its implementation, that he should have endeavoured to garner the unanimous support of Parliament first. (more…)

Don’t arrest critics but answer them, Najib urged

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak should stop the harassment of those demonstrating on issues in public places, the Centre to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4) urged today.

Instead, Najib should immediately answer the people’s questions on the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) controversy and come clean on his personal wealth, including declaring his assets and sources of income.

“C4 reminds the government that Malaysians have every right to express opinions and get answers to the ongoing controversies involving losses of public funds. (more…)

Don’t pass buck on telco GST, Najib told

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Finance Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s order to Communications and Multimedia Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek to take charge of the goods and services tax (GST) for prepaid mobile phone services has brought PKR Youth to question Najib’s role in implementing the tax.

“Isn’t GST enforced under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance?

“Why did Najib pass the buck to the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, which only deals with telecommunications companies and has no power on taxation?” PKR Youth chief Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad asked in a statement today. (more…)

Press freedom – find our voice and make it heard loud and clear

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

With every passing year, there seems to be fewer reasons for the media in Malaysia to ‘celebrate’ World Press Freedom day, marked annually on May 3.

Overall, our global rankings on press freedom and freedom of expression continue to slide as restrictions not only come in the form of archaic laws, but often unwritten ‘considerations’ that set aside public interests for interests of other concerned parties.

Overzealous authorities, media owners, easily offended people, people who are scared to offend people – the list of people who can influence (if not dictate) daily editorial decisions seems to grow longer by the day.

Financial constraints on media operations are also a recurring problem this year – particularly in the broadcasting sector. (more…)

Detentions a ‘new found weapon’ of the police

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Several individuals questioned by police for taking part in the May 1 Bantah GST rally today decried the long wait before a police officer recorded their statements.

One of them, Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, said this appeared to be the newfound weapon of the police against activists – “to bore us to death”.

Khalid was released on police bail, together with Batu MP Tian Chua and Jingga 13 coordinator Fariz Musa, at 9.30pm today. (more…)

Good bye democracy! Farewell human rights!

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Malaysia is receding into the past with the passing of the new anti-terrorism law, bringing it back to the time when restrictions were imposed to thwart the development of true democracy in the country. The Internal Security Act was very liberally used in the past to control dissent. Several operations were carried out to detain opposition leaders and activists under various guises, including the infamous Operation Lalang.

During Ops Lalang in 1987, 106 persons consisting of NGO activists, opposition leaders, students, artists, scientists and intellectuals were arrested under the ISA. This was done under the pretext of averting racial riots.

The ISA was a colonial legacy promulgated by the British to fight the so-called communist insurgency and much more likely to prolong their rule in the country. This enactment was conveniently used by the Umno Baru government to control the Opposition and other groups threatening the position of the party in power. (more…)

May 3, 2015

Police must respect constitutional rights

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (the commission) expresses its support for The Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham)’s press release entitled “Royal Police Commission Findings: Ten Years On (April 29-2005 & 2015)” and calls on the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) to strive to act with courage, composure, tolerance, impartiality and with respect for the constitutional rights of all at all times.

The Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysian Police (Royal Commission) was established in 2004 in response to “widespread concerns regarding the high incidence of crime, perception of corruption in the PDRM, general dissatisfaction with the conduct and performance of police personnel, and a desire to see improvements in the service provided by the police”. (more…)

Where IRB’s income tax return e-filing system sucks

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

 It’s the time of the year again, when we file our income taxes.

And like the many Malaysians who constantly throng the Inland Revenue Board’s (IRB) offices nationwide at the eleventh hour, I too am prone to doing it at the last-minute.

This year however, I tried to file my taxes on April 30 via e-filing.

The deadline for manual filing, that is, for submitting the hard copy tax return form is April 30 2015 but to encourage more to e-file, the IRB extended the deadline for e-filing to May 15.

But on the morning of April 30, I could not seem to be able to file my taxes via e-filing. (more…)

Absorbing GST may be illegal, says minister over mobile prepaid cards fiasco

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek speaks to press members during a press conference at Permatang Pauh today. Shabery says the ministry will have to check the law before forcing telecommunications companies to absorb the 6% goods and service tax (GST) as they did with the sales and services tax (SST). – The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Hussain, May 2 2015.

The communications and multimedia ministry will have to check the law before forcing telecommunications companies (telcos) to absorb the 6% goods and service tax (GST) as they did with the sales and services tax (SST) previously, minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said today.

This is because absorbing the consumption tax introduced a month ago can be considered illegal, as the law on the GST requires businesses with a taxable turnover of RM500,000 to register as tax collectors for the government.

A closer look at the law was one of the options being studied before coming to an agreement with the telcos and announcing a solution on the issue, Shabery told reporters at the Seberang Jaya community college media centre Permatang Pauh today. (more…)

Discard the protocol; call me Adenan, or just CM

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

It’s like a breath of fresh air – or in this case a pretty strong wind of change, which one would normally expect to come from across the government aisles at an official State Legislative Assembly sitting – but no, this time round it was the Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem, who had uttered these words:

“Just call me CM, cukuplah. So please call me CM or Adenan, though the protocol people may not like that! It is very tedious for a speaker after another to address me Yang Amat Berhormat Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr Haji Adenan Satem at official functions.”

There in a nutshell is precisely how the 14-month in seat as chief minister of Malaysia’s largest state wants to be addressed in future. (more…)

Workers Day arrests show Najib’s lack of legitimacy, says electoral watchdog

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Several supporters drawing up posters demanding the release of those detained at Jinjang after the Workers Day rally yesterday. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufari, May 2, 2015.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration will only face greater public wrath over the arrests of Workers Day rally protesters, which include a prominent lawyer, opposition lawmakers and 29 youths, election reform group Bersih 2.0 said today.

The arrests also showed that Najib was a leader who lacked “legitimacy” as the rally yesterday was for Malaysians to voice their protest against the goods and services tax (GST), it said.

In a strongly worded statement condemning the arrests, the electoral reform group said the detainees should be released immediately. (more…)

The noose tightens around 1MDB 

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Yesterday, the Umno Cheras division chief made a very telling change of mind.

Writing in the Umno Cheras portal and later through an interview with Malaysiakini, he called for the police and the authorities to speed up the investigation into the 1MDB scandal and to haul up controversial businessman Taek Jho Low for questioning.

This change of tone is very telling. Over the past several days, new revelations about 1MDB has hit the market and further eroded support for the prime minister over his handling of the 1MDB issue. Even worse, the issue is now no longer confined to Malaysia but is involving Singapore as well. (more…)

To GST or not to GST, that’s the question

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

The past few days have been very confusing especially for those who provide and those that use prepaid reload cards. The government can’t seem to decide whether to levy or not to levy the Goods and Service Tax (GST). But from what we know, based on the most recent announcement, GST will be applied to them.

The reasoning behind not to withdraw the tax on prepaid reload cards is very revealing of the state of mind the government, and in particular the Customs Department, had when it came to the issue of prepaid reload cards.

From the very onset of GST on April 1, prepaid reload cards were meant to be taxed. There was no question on the intention of the government as to why they wanted to tax prepaid reload cards – it’s the goose that lays the golden egg. (more…)

EC must listen: No polling on working days, please

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

State governments declaring public holidays for by-elections are not to blame.

In fact, it is the Election Commission (EC) of Malaysia who is responsible for such inconvenience and waste of working hours.

It is the EC that fixes the nomination and polling dates. But seriously, what’s so difficult about fixing polling on non-working days?

There will then not be any need to declare public holidays to enable voters to exercise their rights and responsibility as citizens if the EC did just that. Indeed, it is mind boggling that the EC sees it fit to hold polling on working days. (more…)

Anti-GST rally won’t change a thing but anger palpable, say analysts

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Zaiton Anuar has to pay GST for her husband’s cancer drugs, prompting the housewife to turn up at a Workers Day rally against the consumption tax yesterday. – The Malaysian Insider pic, May 2, 2015.

Zaiton Anuar has a bedridden husband she has to take care of, but the housewife of five felt that she had to take to the streets of Kuala Lumpur to protest against the goods and services tax (GST).

The 52-year-old joined thousands of others in yesterday’s rally which observers said surpassed expectations even though it did not hit the target of one million people.

Although the rally is unlikely to change Putrajaya’s mind about the tax now, anger over rising inflation could snowball and threaten the ruling Barisan Nasional in the next general election.

Zaiton’s case reflects the gap between Putrajaya’s message about GST and how the tax hits the ordinary Malaysian. (more…)

No one wants to be lonely

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 6:42 AM

A language is rich when it can distinguish two words that are always taken to mean the other.

Try hit the Shift F7 keys for “loneliness” and “solitude” on the keyboard. That is easy to find the answers.

But, loneliness and solitude, though both are used to mean “being alone”, one is agonizing, the other is glorious.

“I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude”, said Henry David Thoreau, the famous 19th century author and philosopher who advocated and exercised civil disobedience to an unjust state, influencing many notable figures such as Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. (more…)

May 2, 2015

Umno warlord wants Jho Low’s head

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

He said Low’s name “keeps popping up” when it comes to allegations of misappropriation of funds yet there has been little news on the progress of investigations and whether Low is under the microscope.

“We (have been) waiting from early March, and there is not even a whimper on the investigations by the task force, which was set up to investigate 1MDB,” he said on the division’s official blog.

“The task force, which is trailing at a snail’s pace, has not called (Low) in for questioning. And we are clueless as to whether they ever will,” he vented. (more…)

Has public accountability lost its rightful place in Malaysia?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

The on-going challenges and counter rebuttals between Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Najib Razak brings to the surface a harsh truth – accountability has eroded and is being deemed as a meaningless pursuit in this nation.

The barrage of pro-Najib supporters and key Umno spokesmen and leaders who rush to tick off Dr Mahathir for raising several important concerns further confirm this fact that public accountability is not the preferred dictum of the day.

Someone even went the distance to say that Malaysians (Dr Mahathir included) should “forgive” and let Najib continue to do his work. So, it also seems that accountability is not the way forward but being able to forgive and forget counts in our nation’s development. (more…)

Why are we back to being ethnically and religiously divided?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

We are moving backwards. Instead of proclaiming being Malaysians, we are now calling ourselves, Malays, Chinese, Indians etc. This was more like the time when the British colonial power re-established itself after the Pacific War in 1945.

Ethnic consciousness was very high at that point in time. And when the British wanted to establish the Malayan Union, the Malays suddenly woke up and were against it but not against the British but against the Malayan Union concept. They were against citizenships being given to the non-Malays.

The non-Malays felt left out by the British and hence they came together to form their own ethnic organisations. The British were merely interested in preserving their interests in the country. They were happy to deal with the Malay elites and they knew that the Malay elites needed them. (more…)

Prepaid reload flip-flop: Please make up your mind

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

And here we have it again.

The flip-flop policies on the mobile prepaid top-ups continue and this time it looks like it’s back to the status quo prior to the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Oh wait, it’s not.

The Customs Department and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) don’t seem to be seeing eye-to-eye and have come up with differing statements on the same day.

On April 29, The Star quoted Customs director-general Khazali Ahmad as saying the telcos had been informed to revert to the rates before the GST came into effect on April 1. (more…)

59 anti-GST protesters arrested after Friday’s rally

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

A total of 59 anti-GST protesters have been arrested at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre as the May 1 rally was drawing to a close, Friday evening.

Police have now reportedly summoned Opposition leaders and social activists to turn themselves in at the Dang Wangi police headquarters tonight.

Among them are Negara-ku patron Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke and Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S. Arutchelvan.

Ambiga told The Star that she had been called to have her statement recorded in Dang Wangi and was told she would be spending the night at the station. (more…)

Najib booed after mentioning GST at Kuching Labour Day celebration

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak says the financial burdens currently experienced by the people are due to profiteering activities, not the goods and services tax (GST). – The Malaysian Insider file pic, May 1, 2015.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak received a wave of boos at the national-level Labour Day celebration at the Borneo Convention Centre in Kuching, Sarawak today after saying that the goods and services tax (GST) was not designed to burden the people.

The noise came from some of the workers who were at the back of the hall. They were believed to be unhappy over Putrajaya’s introduction of the 6% consumption tax.

Earlier, the prime minister said that the government could consider using some of the revenue from GST to increase the salaries of the public sector. (more…)

Ambiga arrested, to be detained overnight

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

The police have arrested former Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan in connection with the anti-GST rally.

In a Twitter post, lawyer Latheefa Koya said Seremban MP Anthony Loke and PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan were also detained.

The trio would be held overnight and a remand order would be sought tomorrow.

Earlier, Ambiga told Malaysiakini that a police officer had informed her lawyer about the possibility of being detained overnight. (more…)

Home Ministry seizes books at fair, including expose on Taib

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Money Logging: On the Trail of the Asian Timber Mafia by Lukas Straumann details Sarawak’s timber trade and how state governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud amassed huge profits with the complicity of global financial institutions. – Pic courtesy of Bruno Manser Fund, May 1, 2015.

The Home Ministry seized seven titles from a publisher at the Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, including one on Sarawak’s timber trade which details how state governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud allegedly amassed huge profits with the complicity of global financial institutions.

Coordinator for publisher GerakBudaya, Ng Yap Hwa, said that a total of 30 books were taken away by the officers on grounds of investigating if they violated the Printing Presses and Publications Act.

The titles of the books taken were: Money Logging: On the Trail of the Asian Timber Mafia; Shi’ite Islam; Hinduisme Agama Tauhid Terawal (Hinduism, The Earliest Religion); Mengenali Allah Melalui Agama Purba (Getting to Know Allah Through Ancient Religions); Marx, Sang Pendidik Revolusioner (Marx, The Revolutionary Educator); Hidup Bagaikan Sungai Mengalir (Life Like A Flowing River); and copies of the Quran. (more…)

PKR holds ‘lobster’ party to prove point on GST

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

nO gstPKR threw a “lobster” barbeque party at Kampung Jalan Baru in Permatang Pauh this afternoon, to make a point about the goods and services tax (GST).

As the expensive seafood were put over the grill, campaigners stood by the busy Jalan Baru and held up anti-GST posters.

One campaigner shouted into a hailer, saying “tolak GST” (reject GST) and “hidup rakyat” (long live the people), as hundreds of passing motorists honked in support.

Lobsters and shellfish are not subjected to the GST when Putrajaya introduced the consumption tax on April 1, but other items such as household goods and food stuff are. (more…)

‘Neglected’ Umno branch dissolves in protest

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

The Guar Jering Jaya Umno branch in Penang has been dissolved today in protest over the BN leadership, which it referred to as GST.

However, this did not stand for goods and services tax but rather “geng suka tipu” (a deceitful lot).

Division chief Asri Ahamad, 44, announced this at the PKR operations centre.

Accompanying him was Seberang Jaya state assemblyperson and PKR national deputy chief Dr Afif Bahadin (left). (more…)

PM’s aide: Groom’s side paid for KLCC bash

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

The social media has been abuzz about how millions were allegedly spent for the lavish wedding of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s daughter, which was held at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC).

The March 28 do was one of five ceremonies to mark the wedding of Nooryana Najwa and her Kazakh husband Daniyar Kessibayev. It was a closed-door event and guests were requested not to snap photographs and post them on the Internet.

Even former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad noted how rumours were circulating that the flower decoration alone cost a whopping RM3 million. (more…)

May 1, 2015

Najib more like emperor than PM, says former minister

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Datuk Seri Najib Razak is acting more like an emperor than a prime minister, says former Umno minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim. – The Malaysian Insider pic, April 30, 2015.Datuk Seri Najib Razak is acting more like an emperor than a prime minister, says a former Umno minister, adding to the chorus of voices urging him to step down.

Writing in his blog, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said like an emperor Najib was rich and did not feel the need to account for his actions or explain anything to anyone despite intense criticism levelled at his governance and some of his government’s policies.”Datuk Seri Najib Razak thinks he is Louis XIV. That infamous French King proudly declared that he was literally the state of France (L’etat cest moi), which meant that whatever he said was the law and no other authority mattered.

“No one could or had the right to question him. He spent the state’s money as he liked and accounted to no one, not even to the papal authority. His commands were followed and his coterie of loyal servants prospered,” he wrote. (more…)

Sarawak DAP rep left in a bind over push for Umno ban

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Seri Adenan Satem says he will stop extremists, bigots and troublemakers from entering the state. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, April 30, 2015.

DAP Sarawak chief Chong Chieng Jen was left in a bind yesterday over his continued insistence that the barring of Umno from Sarawak be put on record.

Chief Minister Tan Seri Adenan Satem told the leader of the opposition in the state legislative assembly and Kota Sentosa assemblyman, that he and the state Barisan Nasional (BN) would support Chong when he retables a motion to bar the lead party in the ruling coalition from the state, but on condition that the motion also include barring other national-based parties like his party DAP, PKR and PAS.

“I remember at one time, Member of Kota Sentosa (Chong) challenged Housing Minister (Datuk Amar) Abang Johari (Tun Openg) to move a motion in this House to ban Umno from coming into Sarawak,” Adenan told the assembly of the challenge last year which in part led to his suspension from the assembly. (more…)

Be smart and support Mahathir, says Zaid

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim has called on those who have reservations about Dr Mahathir Mohamad or dislike him to be “smart”.

He cited Malaysiakini, saying the news portal’s readers may not like the former premier.

“But he is 100 percent correct on (Prime Minister) Najib (Abdul Razak). So start being smart and support him all the way,” he tweeted.

He said Najib, on the other hand, was behaving more like an emperor than a prime minister.

“PM must feel he is accountable to the rakyat. A PM does not wage war against those who have questions for him. An emperor doesn’t care. (more…)

Shakespearean trices, M’sian ailments

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM

As a lifelong student of Humanities and Philosophy, I reflected upon the great bard of the English Renaissance period, William Shakespeare, whose birthday was on April 23 (1564), a day after what is now Earth Day. Remembering the many famous quotes by the most influential writer of the English Language, I cannot help but inwardly lamenting upon the word we live in today – one which is increasingly violent and dehumanising.

On power and in ‘Julius Caesar’, Shakespeare wrote about loving Rome more than Caesar, and the ides of March, on wealth and honesty his entire message immortalised in the play ‘The Merchant of Venice’, and in the plays such as ‘King Lear’, ‘Macbeth’, and in comedies such as ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, the sage-playwright-poet wrote about the complexities of human nature as an interplay between power and love. (more…)

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