Thursday, November 28, 2013

Crying Wolf Over Spying

A Kadir Jasin

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HAVING been born at the beginning of the Cold War and raised on the diet of ideological warfare and entertained by the “Black and White Spies” comic strip, I am not going insane over the allegation that Singapore spied on us.

During the Cold War, spying and counter spying were as familiar and as certain as the orbit of sun and the moon. So I am not terribly excited by the Assange and Snowden revelations either.

Nations, big and small, spy on each other all the time. Espionage is big business and it makes governments felt important. At the very least they gather information about each other. Information and intelligence gathering is part and parcel of effective government.

Black and White Spies. Remembering Mad Magazine

A few weeks after Anwar Ibrahim was released from prison in 2004, an elderly American professor came to Kuala Lumpur “to update” the psychological profile of the opposition leader for the US government. I was among the many people he met because he was told that I knew Anwar well. I can’t claim to know Anwar well although I “worked” with him from the time he joined Umno in 1982 until he was sacked from the party in 1998.

What the professor did was intelligence gathering. I was done in the open. Very much like diplomats, including ours, who hold cocktail parties for journalists and others who are deemed to have information.

Every leader and every strategic agency should know and be forewarned that they could be spied upon.

I did not choke upon reading news that Singapore spied on us. Naughty, naughty Singapore! But I would choke if I am told that we do not spy on anybody. What’s the use of having so many political officers at our embassies, high commissions and missions abroad if not for information and intelligence gathering?

Spying on Friends and Allies

WHAT the world leaders are today up in arms against is being told that they are being spied upon, not by enemies like during the Cold War, but by friends and allies, and the methods these sly friends and allies use.

The US, perhaps the number one rouge and the biggest peeping Tom of all, spied on European leaders. Australia spied on Indonesia and Singapore spied on us. So what?

In fact, we are a fool if we don’t do the same. Every nation spies on its neighbour. The difference is a good spy does not get caught. Or in the present case we did not know we were being spied on until tipped off by Snowden and foreign newspapers.

In the case of Singapore, its biggest intelligence gathering mission in Malaysia took place openly in 2009 when its supreme leader, Lee Kuan Yew, travelled the whole length of the Peninsula to meet leaders on both sides of the political chasm - with the Prime Minister’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, thrown in for good measure.

LKY was impressed with Rosmah

Soon after (Tun) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi became Prime Minister in 2003, I told him about the need for Malaysia to have world-class intelligence gathering mechanism, including in the economic area.

But both Abdullah and his successor, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, are great admirers of Singapore and are golfing buddies of Singapore leaders. Officially and privately they visited Singapore regularly. Only a foolish government leader would believe that he or she is free from being spied upon.

Golfing buddies don't spy on each other

Bear in mind that on the darker side of diplomacy, blackmail is a very useful tool. The juicier the stuff the better!

I have written volumes over the years about Singapore’s reliance of intelligence - be it political, military or economic – for its survival and for jingoistic reasons. I wrote about its defence doctrine and military strategy that mimicked the Israelis defence doctrine and of its purchases of sophisticated defence systems from the US and Israel.

I had written volumes about Singapore being the listening post for the US and Israel in this corner of the globe.

So don’t blame Singapore if we let ourselves be caught off guard or, worse still, caught with our pants down, which in some cases could be literal.

The Wisma Putra had summoned the Singapore High Commissioner, Ong Keng Yong. Now what? Are we not going to recall our High Commission to Singapore? We should if we are serious and have testicular gumption.

Or our top leaders do not want to be mired in this controversy because they are too close to Singapore leaders and are relying on the republic to prop up the IDR.

The Spectre of Pulau Batu Putih

INSTEAD of going crazy over the alleged spying by Singapore, we should do likewise or even more. Apparently we did not or we did, we were so good that neither Snowden nor Assange knew about it.

Still remember we lost Pulau Batu Puteh to Singapore in the International Court of Justice arbitration in 2008? 

Who Lost Pulau Batu Puteh? So near yet so far

We lost the island either because we failed in our information and intelligence gathering or, as being alleged by some quarters, because some of our own people had sold us out - a very serious allegation indeed.

We are facing Singapore again. This time not in The Hague but in Singapore and in accordance with Singapore laws over the huge development charges the Singapore government is demanding for the development of land given to us in lieu of the Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) land that we returned to the republic.

If the same team that lost the Pulau Batu Puteh is assigned to represent us at the arbitration, we could end up losing more than our temper over the spying allegation. Khazanah may end up paying a huge amount of fee to the Singapore government to develop our land.

This is as good as Khazanah funding or subsidizing the 40% stake that its Singapore counterpart, Temasek Holdings, holds in the development.

So, Singapore lovers beware. No point crying wolf when our flock of sheep had been eaten and our chicken coop may soon be raided.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Traitors and Betrayers According to PM

A Kadir Jasin

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INITIALLY I had not wanted to write anything more concerning the Prime Minister, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, for a while.

I had been told by one of my mentors (henceforth is referred to as THE MAN) that the PM found my writings on him too critical.

He had apparently sought the help of THE MAN to inform me of his feelings. So out of respect for THE MAN, I decided to layoff the PM for as long as I see fit.

Unfortunately that was fated to be brief. Almost as soon as THE MAN informed me of the so-called message, the PM unilaterally redefined a very import bit of the law. He labelled tax evaders as unpatriotic and likened them to traitors.

The National News Agency, Bernama on Nov 24 ran a headline “Tax evaders are traitors, says Najib”. It quoted Mohd Najib as saying that those who avoided paying tax could be regarded as having betrayed the country.(Read Here).

This, he said, was because the responsibility to pay tax was one of the pillars of patriotism.

"The definition of patriotism in our country is that we must discharge our responsibility to the country for the good of the people and the nation.

"When we pay tax, we are helping the people. We instil this spirit, and with this our country will be more successful," he said when opening the National Economic Empowerment (Pena) Conference at the Federal Territory Mosque auditorium in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 24. (Also Read Here).

This is a very serious insinuation. A person who betrays his or her country is a traitor. By legal definition ond convention, he or she is a very evil person. In some instances, the penalty is death.

Not everybody who does not pay tax on his or her taxable income is a tax evader. Many have mitigating reasons.

I used to take pride in paying income tax. I still pay it although the amount is small since I am way past retirement age and my income is not much. But I am less proud doing that duty.

I don’t think I am alone feeling that way. More and more people, I believe, are reluctant and unhappy to pay taxes because they hold the view that the government is lavish and corrupt.

Why the Desperation?

THE PM sounded desperate. Untypical. All this while we have been told and assured repeatedly that everything is OK - the government has money, the Treasury is filled, revenue collection is good and billions of ringgit of foreign investments are flowing in.

As a further proof, civil servants are paid bonuses. The poor are being promised higher BR1M. The government is spending billions engaging consultants. Ministers and their spouses are jetting around the world, purportedly promoting diplomacy and attracting investments.

So why should the PM, who is also the Finance Minister, sounded so desperate?

If things are as rosy as he and his propaganda agents are portraying in the mainstream media, he should not sound desperate.

But if there is something amiss about government finances, Mohd Najib has only himself to blame.

He is the PM and the Finance Minister, and he has at his disposal those billion ringgit-consultants and a spouse that goes around the world promoting investment!

The last bit is from “Parliament Minister” Shahidan Kassim. (Read last posting).


Thursday, November 21, 2013

YB Shahidan, Siapa Labur Siapa Lebur?

A Kadir Jasin

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Maria Sharapova di Tenis Terbuka Qatar. Terima kasih Sdr Lembah Tasnim

KALAU laporan media atas talian (online) tepat, maka bolehlah saya membuat kesimpulan iaitu Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Shahidan Kassim telah mencabar wartawan agar menjadi agen penggalak pelaburan.

Saya rasa, wartawan dan media massa sudah pun memainkan peranan itu. Bukankah laporan positif media massa tempatan selama ini telah membantu meyakinkan pelabur dalam dan luar untuk menanam modal di negara kita?

Itulah peranan wartawan – menulis berita dan bukan menjadi wakil negara untuk menarik masuk modal asing.

Lagipun, mana ada wartawan yang ada jet peribadi atau boleh guna jet eksekutif milik negara untuk ke sana sini menggalakkan pelaburan?

Tumpang sekali sekala tu ada lah. Itu pun kalau Perdana Menteri atau menteri ajak.


Rakyat Susah Nak Percaya. Tahun 2007 Pak Lah nafi beli pesawat ini dengan harga AS$55 juta. Sekarang terpampang depan mata.

Shahidan yang jaga hal ehwal Parlimen, antara lain, telah dipetik sebagai berkata kepada wartawan: “Jika kamu seorang yang baik, kamu akan membawa pelabur ke sini. Kamu telah mencipta banyak kebencian terhadapnya.”

Terhadapnya dalam konteks kenyataan Shahidan itu merujuk kepada isteri Perdana Menteri, Rosmah Mansor.

Rosmah sekali lagi bermandi cahaya lampu limpah apabila beliau menggunakan jet eksekutif kerajaan untuk menghadiri persidangan tidak rasmi di Qatar baru-baru ini.

Label tidak rasmi itu datangnya daripada MP Pengerang, Azalina Othman, yang khabarnya turut sama dalam rombongan isteri PM itu.

Kontroversi jet eksekutif itu berlaku hanya beberapa hari setelah Parlimen dimaklumkan yang penggunaan pesawat milik negara oleh pemimpin politik dan pembesar tahun lalu menelan RM182 juta duit negara tahun lalu.

Pada mulanya Shahidan memberitahu Parlimen yang Kabinet membenarkan Rosmah menggunakan pesawat itu.

Kemudian semalam dia berkata pula bahawa mesyuarat Kabinet yang memberi izin kepada Rosmah menggunakan pesawat itu dipengerusikan oleh Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin.

Shahidan dilaporkan sebagai berkata bahawa penampilan negatif media baru terhadap Rosmah boleh menyebabkan pelabur tidak mahu datang ke negara kita.

Katanya: “Maafkan saya, awak tidak berlaku adil kepadanya. Jika kamu seorang yang baik, kamu akan membawa pelabur ke sini. Kamu telah mencipta banyak kebencian terhadapnya. Pelabur akan takut untuk datang ke sini.”

Beliau menambah: “Beliau (Rosmah) telah membina negara ini.”

Kita boleh bahas hal ini sebab itulah demokrasi, ketelusan, keterangkuman dan rakyat didahulukan.

Shahidan boleh mempertahankan Rosmah dan pembangkang boleh mempertikaikannya atas prinsip sekatan dan imbangan (check and balance).

Dengan perwakilan yang lebih besar dalam Dewan Rakyat, pembangkang akan dikutuk dan dianggap gagal sekiranya tidak bersuara.

Kita rakyat jelata pun boleh berbahas, membuat andaian dan kesimpulan. Kita wajib bersuara kerana ini negara kita dan duit yang kerajaan belanjakan adalah duit kita.

Janganlah terlalu gundah gulana. Tidak sampai lima tahun dari sekarang kita boleh pangkah semula, insya-Allah. Cuma yang kita takut adalah dalam jangka masa itu banyak yang dipelekuh. Wallahualam.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

"Apes" And The Billion-Ringgit Consultants

A Kadir Jasin

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FOR what others are saying about big spending, please read here for one of them.

Oh, by the way, it was predicted at that "depressing" roti canai breakfast that that the BN would lose the next GE if everything remains constant.

I do not consider it depressing. The breakfast pow-wow I mean. Exciting and enlightening, more like it. Our political "soothsayer" has been right on many occasions.


ON last June 27, I published in this blog a posting entitled Malaysian Parliament vs Animal Planet. Can read here.

On Nov 14, judging from media reports, the Dewan Rakyat was transformed from the more respectable Animal Planet into a mere zoo.

It was the climax of yet another uncivilized behaviour of our elected representatives, when the opposition PKR member from Padang Serai, N. Surendran was suspended for six months for allegedly insulting Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia outside the House on Nov 12.

How I wish the government of Prime Minister Mohd Najib Abdul Razak acts equally swiftly and decisively on the plights of the rakyat, like the plan by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall to hike assessment rates by as much as 200% or the spike in deadly shootings around the country.

It is interesting that the National News Agency, Bernama should use the term “allegedly” to describe the circumstance surrounding the Surendran’s suspension.

Does this mean that the charges against the PKR member were never conclusively proven?

According to Bernama, the suspension motion, which was tabled by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri amid protest by members of the opposition, was passed via block voting.

The opposition questioned the legitimacy of the motion, triggering a heated argument, which lasted almost 90 minutes.

When the division was called by Deputy Speaker, Datuk Ronald Kiandee, 92 BN parliamentarians voted for the motion while the opposition representatives abstained. 

On Tuesday, Surendran was given a marching order by Pandikar Amin for challenging his decision to reject an emergency motion he proposed over the alleged demolition of the extension to Sri Maneswarar Kaliyaman Temple extension in Jalan P. Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur.

The dissatisfied Surendran told a press conference outside the chamber that Pandikar Amin was bias and likened the Dewan Rakyat to the Zimbabwean Parliament. 

They Deserve No Honour

I have no intention of honouring the bravado of these people, be they on the government or opposition bench.

These people are not fit to be elected “wakil rakyat”. Sadly, over the years, we see more and more of these characters being elected to the august house.

I miss the gentler and more decorous days of the Parliament when members were more civilised, tolerant and more gentlemanly in their verbal exchanges.

As one former members of Parliament noted, those were the “jahiliah” days when liquor was served in the Parliament and some members took time off to play a round of poker.

Has the current breed of politicians lost the ability to debate with civility, flair and candour using powerful yet inoffensive terms and expressions?

Or does this mean that the standard of the Malay language and the intellect of today’s YBs are so inadequate that they have resort to uncouth language and vulgarities when making their points?

Somebody should broadcast parliamentary debate in totality for the entire period of sitting so that the rakyat can judge for themselves who are humans and who are apes among the YBs. Maybe live telecast will force them to be more civilized and thoughtful.

It is puzzling that a temple issue should lead to expulsion. I am not saying that it was not an important issue, but no less important were debates on top government leaders and important people spending RM182 million last year alone on private jet travels.

Or more shocking is the revelation by the Finance Ministry that the federal government had spent RM7.2 billion since 2009 to hire private consultants for national projects.

It is clear that Mohd Najib as PM and Finance Minister loves private consultants despite the government having a whopping 1.4 million staff. This is not counting his special envoys and special advisers with ministerial status.

In response to question by the PKR MP for Kelana Jaya, Wong Chen (corrected), the ministry revealed a gradual rise in the bills for private consultancy firms from RM1.3 billion in 2009 — the year Moh Najib became PM — to RM1.63 billion in 2010, RM1.8 billion in 2011, RM1.82 billion in 2012 and RM722 million from January to October this year.

In a damning indictment of the civil servants, the Finance Ministry said: “The capabilities of government researchers are limited in terms of their competency and human resources.”

If they are not good, sack them or train them. What's the point of having a million over civil servants and paying them better salaries if Mohd Najib has to rely on outsiders and foreigners? Actually we can get free consultancy from such multilateral organisation as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank if we want to. 

As a footnote, I congratulate a former BN MP, who now chairs a statutory body, for telling two Ministers –Mustapha Mohamed and Idris Jala – in a meeting with journalists a few days ago to stop hiring foreign consultants. I would not ask if he dares saying that if he is still an MP. Wallahualam.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Abdul Gani Patail: Kemelut Penjawat "Personal-to-Holder"

A Kadir Jasin

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NAMPAKNYA satu demi satu masalah, kontroversi dan tanda tanya timbul mengenai pentadbiran negara kita.

Saya teringat kepada kata dua saya kepada seorang bekas pemimpin Pemuda Umno Perak. Ketika itu negara mula kacau-bilau di bawah pentadbiran (Tun) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Saya katakan kepada beliau, kalau atau apabila Allah Taala turunkan bala ke atas seseorang pemimpin, semua rakyat jelata akan menerima akibatnya.

Nampaknya bala itu berterusan. Bunuh, rompak, ragut, rogol, rasuah dan salah guna kuasa, masalah ekonomi, pengangguran dan bencana alam terus berlaku atau mungkin lebih buruk daripada zaman Abdullah.

Terbaru, pegawai undang-undang nombor satu negara iaitu Peguam Negara (AG), Abdul Gani Patail, kembali menjadi bahan kontroversi apabila beliau didakwa melakukan “misconduct” (salah laku) yang merugikan negara, termasuk kehilangan Pulau Batu Putih kepada Singapura pada tahun 2008. Abdul Gani menjadi AG sejak 2002.

Pada 6 November, sekonyong-konyong, portal berita Malaysiakini menyiarkan berita sensasi berdasarkan satu pertemuan yang dikatakan mengambil tempat di kediaman bekas Perdana Menteri, (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad, kira-kira tiga bulan lalu. Kalauberminat, boleh baca lanjut di sini.

Pertemuan itu dikatakan membabitkan Dr Mahathir, peguam kanan Mohd Shafee Abdullah, bekas Pengarah Siasatan Jenayah (CID) Kuala Lumpur, Mat Zain Ibrahim, bekas setiausaha politik Dr Mahathir, Matthias Chang, dan bekas Pengarah Siasatan Jenayah Perdagangan, Ramli Yusuff.

Dalam laporannya, Malaysiakini mendakwa selain kekalahan Malaysia dalam timbang cara Mahkamah Pengadilan Antarabangsa di Hague, Belanda mengenai Pulau Batu Putih, “misconduct” beliau yang lain termasuklah kes mata lebam Anwar Ibrahim pada tahun 1999. Abdul Gani adalah ketua pendakwa kes liwat pertama Anwar tahun 1998.

Dalam kes mata lebam Anwar itu, pegawai penyiasatnya adalah Mat Zain. Akibatnya, bekas Ketua Polis Negara, Abdul Rahim Noor, didakwa mencederakan Anwar, sabit kesalahan dan dipenjarakan.

Walaupun media arus perdana pro-kerajaan mungkin tidak menyiarkan kontroversi terbaru mengenai Abdul Gani itu, tetapi ia sudah tersebar luas dan dibahaskan dengan hangat dalam media baru. Hari ini lebih banyak orang membaca dan percaya media baru.

AG Kalah Banyak Kes

Abdul Gani Menjadi AG sejak tahun 2002

Setelah gagal dalam beberapa kes besar seperti liwat kedua Anwar, kes rasuah Zon Bebas Pelabuhan Klang (PKFZ) membabitkan bekas Menteri Pengangkutan (Tun) Ling Liong Sik, dan kes rasuah bekas Menteri Tanah dan Pembangunan Koperasi, Kasitah Gaddam, dakwaan terbaru terhadap Abdul Gani mempunyai implikasi yang menarik.

Lebih-lebih lagi ia muncul di saat-saat beliau sedang merayu kepada Mahkamah Rayuan terhadap pembuangan kes liwat kedua Anwar.
Tetapi dakwaan dan tuduhan media sahaja tidak bermakna. Seperti ditegaskan oleh bekas AG, Abu Talib Othman, kepada Malaysian Insider, pihak-pihak yang mempunyai bukti perbuatan jenayah Abdul Gani “mesti bersikap bertanggungjawab dengan membuat laporan polis dan berpegang kepada tuduhan mereka.”

Kata beliau, tidak ada gunanya berhimpun di rumah seseorang dan mencaci orang lain tanpa mengambil tindakan susulan.

"Kita bercakap mengenai seorang yang memegang jawatan awam yang berpengaruh dan besar kuasanya.

“Beliau adalah ketua penasihat undang-undang kepada kerajaan dan dilantik mengikut perlembagaan oleh Yang di-Pertuan Agong atas nasihat Perdana Menteri," tegas Abu Talib.

Hari ini, Malaysian Insider mengubah nada ceritanya dengan menyiarkan berita yang memetik Mat Zain sebagai berkata beliau membuat tuduhan salah laku ke atas Abdul Gani selepas kerajaan gagal bertindak terhadap akuan bersumpah (SD) beliau. SD itu mengandungi sejumlah aduan terhadap AG.

Menurut Malaysian Insider, pendedahan awal Mat Zain ketika perjumpaan di kediaman Dr Mahathir berhubung salah laku Abul Gani hanyalah dua muka surat sahaja daripada 31 muka surat dalam akuan bersumpahnya.

Mat Zain berjanji akan melakukan lebih banyak pendedahan dan tidak menolak kemungkinan mengemukakan SD itu kepada mahkamah.

“SD saya dibuat mengikut Akta Akuan Bersumpah 1960 dan ia boleh digunakan dalam mana-mana prosiding kehakiman, sama ada sivil atau jenayah. Dalam urusan itu, SD akan dikira sebagai dokumen awam.

“Kerajaan sudah menerima SD saya lebih sebulan lalu,tetapi mereka tidak bertindak terhadapnya. Mereka memilih untuk terus senyap,” katanya kepada Malaysian Insider. (Baca di sini).

Salinan SD yang difailkan pada 7 Oktober itu dihantar kepada Perdana Menteri, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, Ketua Setiausaha Negara, Dr Ali Hamsa, Peguam Cara Negara, Idris Harun dan Ketua Polis Negara, Abdul Khalid Abu Bakar.

“Dalam surat iringan, saya memberitahu mereka saya mempunyai hak untuk mengambil apa sahaja tindakan yang sesuai dengan undang-undang tanpa perlu memberitahu sesiapa.

“Saya juga memberitahu yang saya ada hak untuk mendedahkan SD kepada umum melalui mana-mana ahli Parlimen.

“Tidak terdapat tindakan daripada mana-mana pihak dan sebab itu saya dedahkan sebahagian daripada SD itu,” katanya.

Wibawa Penjawat Tertinggi Dipertikai

Episod baru membabitkan Abdul Gani ini adalah antara kemelut yang dihadapi oleh kerajaan amnya dan Mohd Najib khususnya bersabit pelantikan pegawai-pegawai teratas atau penyambungan kontrak mereka yang berulang kali setelah tempuh mereka bersara lama berlalu.

Amalan menjadikan beberapa jawatan teratas dalam Perkhidmatan Awam dan badan separa kerajaan, seperti Bank Negara, sebagai “personel-to-holder” (khas untuk penyandang) telah membawa kepada kealpaan, kelekaan dan persekongkolan di mana mereka saling lindung-melindungi.

Ada pesara yang diberi lanjutan jawatan hingga lima tahun yang tidak pernah diamalkan sebelum ini.

Turut dikhuatiri ialah penjawat seperti itu menggunakan maklumat dan rahsia kerajaan sebagai senjata, penawar dan pendinding bagi memanjangkan usia kerjaya dan melindungi mereka daripada tindakan tata-tertib dan undang-undang.

Sementara itu, akibat monopoli jawatan oleh penyandang tertentu menyebabkan proses pewarisan jawatan terbantut atau terhenti terus.

Banyak pegawai yang layak dan sampai waktu mengambil alih tidak dinaikkan pangkat atau dipindahkan ke tempat lain. Ada yang pencen tanpa sampai ke jawatan dan gred yang menjadi hak mereka. Ini adalah antara punca banyak kakitangan awam tidak puas hati terhadap kerajaan.


Friday, November 08, 2013

The Lighter Side of "Fat Leonard" and US Spying

A Kadir Jasin

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NOW we know why the US National Security Agency (NSA) spied on the German Chancellor (Prime Minister) Angela Merkel and a host of other world leaders.

First of all, the US never trusted its allies. But in this latest case of snooping, it is a ruse. The Americans were never interested in Merkel and still less in what our leaders are chattering about.

They are either uninterested in our pillow talk or have heard and known enough about our exploits to hold us by our testicles.

When they spy on us, we cannot even accuse them of being a rogue, though if we ask Afghan and Pakistani civilians of the US drone attack, they would say that the US is not only a rogue but also a coward.

The trigger-happy Obama drone operators bombed, killed and maimed thousands of civilians around the world from the safety of their bunkers at Creech air force base near Las Vegas, the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia and Camp Chapman in Afghanistan.

So who were really spying on? The answer is “Fat Leornard”.

According to an Associated Press (AP) report from San Diego, California, the gregarious Malaysian businessman nicknamed “Fat Leonard” is well known by US Navy commanders in the Pacific.

It adds: “But prosecutors in court papers say Leonard Francis worked his connections to obtain military secrets by arranging prostitutes, Lady Gaga tickets and other bribes for a US commander, in a scandal reverberating across the Navy.

“The accusations unfolding in a federal court case signal serious national security breaches and corruption, with the threat that more people, including those of higher ranks, could be swept up as the investigation continues. A hearing Nov. 8 could set a trial date.

"Fat Leonard" aka Leonard Glenn Francis of Penang

“Navy commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz passed confidential information on ship routes to Francis’ Singapore-based company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd., or GDMA, according to the court documents.”

So who says we Malaysians could not be a threat to the US if we put our mind to it. At least that’s what the airport police at Des Moines, Iowa, could be thinking when they detained me for three hours in 2002.

But fortunately for me, they could not pin anything on me. How could they? I was there just to visit my son who was studying aerospace engineering at the Iowa State University of Science and Technology in Ames. Unfortunately for “Fat Leonard” he got caught. He was arrested in the US on last Sept 16.

Given my less than healthy feeling towards the US (as a country) and my love for Malaysia, I am not sure whether to salute Mr Francis for poking the US in the eye or to damn him for brining bad name to the country.

Or maybe I should blame Singapore for misguiding Mr Francis since his business is based in the republic. I would not dare speculate that this is Singapore’s conspiracy to tarnish our image.

But according to The Star page one report today (Nov 8), “Fat Leonard” aka Leonard Glenn Francis had a run in with the law, when in 1986 at the age of 24, he was jailed for gun possession in his home state Penang.

With that knowledge, world leaders can now speak and text peacefully using smart phones and computers. Uncle Sam is not after them after all. Phew.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Pemilihan PAS: Ulama Lwn Bukan Ulama

A Kadir Jasin

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MUTAKHIR, 4 Nov - PAS berjaya mengekalkan kerusi Dewan Undangan Negeri Sungai Limau, Kedah dengan majoriti kira-kira 1,084 undi atau kemerosotan sebanyak 1,690 undi berbanding Pilihan Raya Umum 5 Mei lalu.

Calon PAS, Mohd Azam Abd Samat memperolehi 12,069 undi manakala calon BN, Dr Ahmad Sohaimi Lazim, memungut 10,985 undi.

Posting Asal

PEMILIHAN kepemimpinan Umno pasca-Pilihan Raya Umum 2013 telah berlalu. Hasilnya bolehlah disimpulkan sebagai pengekalan pasukan Presiden.

Ia baik bagi Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, konco-konco dan pemuja beliau. Sama ada ia baik bagi Umno, hanya masa akan menentukan.

Yang pasti, cakap-cakap akan mengubah atau menyingkirkan Mohd Najib dari dalam sudah terkubur. Sekali lagi, juara main selamat politik Umno selamat dan sejahtera.

Kini tiba pula giliran PAS memilih kepemimpinan baru. Dari awal lagi jelas bahawa demokrasi lebih menyerlah dalam parti itu berbanding Umno.

Presiden dan Timbalan Presiden Umno tidak dipilih oleh akar umbi. Mereka sekadar disahkan oleh Majlis Tertinggi. Jadi legitimasi atau kesahan mereka terhad kepada “endorsement” MT sahaja.

Abdul Hadi Kekal Presiden Tanpa Bertanding

Bagi PAS, hanya jawatan Presiden tidak dicabar. Abdul Hadi Awang kekal sebagai Presiden. Jawatan Timbalan Presiden yang kini disandang oleh Mohamad bin Sabu mungkin menyaksikan pertandingan.

Menurut laporan, selain Mohamad, empat orang lain telah dicalonkan dan layak bertanding. Mereka adalah dua Naib Presiden, iaitu Husam Musa dan Salahudin Ayub, Ketua Penerangan Pusat Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man dan Ahli Jawatankuasa Kerja Pusat Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah.

Mohamad dilaporkan telah mengesahkan akan mempertahankan jawatan. Salahudin pula dilaporkan akan bertanding mempertahankan kerusi Naib Presiden saja. Setakat ini, Husam, Tuan Ibrahim dan Mohd Amar belum memberi kata putus.

Ramalan media menjurus ke arah pertembungan dua Mohamad – Mohamad Sabu dan Mohd Amar yang juga Timbalan Menteri Besar Kelantan, walaupun yang mendapat paling banyak pencalonan ialah Tuan Ibrahim.

Timbalan Presiden Mohamad Sabu

Mohd Amar Bakal Pencabar

Kalau berlaku pertembungan antara Mohamad dengan Mohd Amar pada Muktamar 22-24 November ini maka ia akan menyaksikan perlawanan antara kumpulan ulama dan bukan ulama. Mohamad mewakili bukan ulama manakala Mohd Amar mewakili kelompok ulama.
Pertandingan Mohamad lawan Mohd Amar, sekiranya berlaku, sangat menarik. Ia akan merupakan ulang tayang pemilihan 2011, tetapi dengan satu perbezaan.

Pada tahun 2011, Mohamad mencabar penyandang, Nasharuddin Md Isa yang berupa ulama pelapis PAS. Mohamad menang. Dua faktor membawa tuah kepada Mohamad. Pertama, perebutan pengaruh di kalangan kepemimpinan ulama dan kedua, kemunculan golongan bukan ulama yang diberi gelaran “Erdogan”.

Saya menulis sebuah rencana dalam blog ini pada 5 Jun, 2011 bertajuk “Implikasi Pemilihan Golongan Liberal Terhadap Pas”. (Baca di sini)

Apakah kali ini giliran golongan ulama pula menguasai kepemimpinan dan agenda parti setelah kepemimpinan bukan ulama yang dikepalai oleh Mohamad gagal membawa kecemerlangan kepada PAS dalam PRU lalu?

Lebih-lebih lagilah apabila Mohamad sendiri gagal mempertahankan kerusi Dewan Rakyat Pendang yang berupa kubu PAS di Kedah.

Dolak-dalik Yang Merugikan

Dolak-dalik kepemimpinan PAS ketika PRU mengenai ideologi dan agenda pokok parti itu seperti negara Islam, hukum hudud dan kalimah Allah bukan sekadar memberi peluru kepada Umno membelasahnya, malah menyebabkan ramai ahli dan penyokong PAS tawar hati.

Realiti paling getir yang terpaksa dihadapi dan diakui oleh kepemimpinan PAS dalam muktamar mereka adalah prestasi buruk parti itu dalam PRU 5 Mei.

Berbeza dengan Umno yang menang lebih banyak kerusi dan kekal sebagai parti induk BN, PAS muncul sebagai komponen Pakatan Rakyat paling lemah. Tsunami Cina yang melanda BN tidak pula membantu melonjakkan PAS.

Jadi, tidaklah menghairankan kalau PAS mahu mengkaji semula peranannya dalam PR. Tetapi sekiranya Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat masih berpengaruh seperti dahulu, kajian itu tidak akan membawa kepada PAS meninggalkan PR.
Mursyidul Am PAS itu dilaporkan sebagai berkata bahawa beliau amat bersetuju kajian dibuat untuk penambahbaikan penyertaan PAS dalam PR dan bukan untuk mengundur ke belakang.

Di pihak yang lain pula, PAS tidak boleh menolak bulat-bulat cakap-cakap mengenai perpaduan Melayu-Islam, khususnya yang membabitkan Umno. Sebagai dua parti Melayu-Islam, Umno dan PAS terpaksa mengakui bahawa perpaduan dan persaudaraan Islam adalah tuntutan agama.

Cabaran Kepada Melayu-Islam

Kesimpulannya, muktamar dan pemilihan kepemimpinan PAS kali ini menentukan bentuk kepemimpinan, dasar dan rancangan PAS dalam jangka masa sederhana dan panjang, terutama dalam usaha menebus kekalahannya pada PRU 5 Mei lalu.

Tempoh antara sekarang hingga PRU ke-14 sangat kritikal bagi  parti-parti Melayu-Islam menyegarkan semula kepemimpinan, dasar dan perjuangan mereka kerana demografi negara kini didominasi oleh generasi muda.

Generasi muda, tidak kira bangsa dan kaum, mempunyai selera dan aspirasi yang berbeza walaupun apa yang mereka idamkan itu tidak semestinya jelas dan koheren (teratur dan tersusun).

Keadaan ini ditambah burukkan oleh perubahan sikap dan ideologi parti-parti bukan Melayu selepas PRU lalu. Sama ada mereka menang besar atau kalah teruk, parti-parti itu nampaknya menjadi semakin perkauman dan cauvinis.

Ini tentunya menyukarkan usaha PAS dan Umno bekerjasama dengan mereka secara produktif dan lancar dalam apa-apa bentuk pakatan pilihan raya sekali pun.


About Me

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I was born in 1947 in Kedah. I came from a rice farming family. I have been a journalist since 1969. I am the Editor-in-Chief of magazine publishing company, Berita Publishing Sdn Bhd. I was Group Editor NST Sdn Bhd and Group Editor-in-Chief of NSTP Bhd between 1988 and 2000. I write fortnightly column “Other Thots” in the Malaysian Business magazine, Kunta Kinte Original in Berita Harian and A Kadir Jasin Bercerita in Dewan Masyarakat. Books: Biar Putih Tulang (1998), Other Thots – Opinions & Observations 1992-2001 (2001), The Wings of an Eagle (2003), Mencari Dugalia Huso (2006), Damned That Thots (2006), Blogger (2006), PRU 2008-Rakyat Sahut Cabaran (2008), Komedi & Tragedi-Latest in Contemporary Malaysian Politics (2009) and Membangun Bangsa dengan Pena (2009).