Friday, August 29, 2008

Experts Say Budget 2008 to Deflect Anwar's Popularity (Malaysiakini)

I am somehow very much interested on the budget myself for some personal reasons. We hope for a better Malaysia but our hope is not on the current government though and there is always blessing in disguise.
After watching Obama's fiery acceptance speech, we need another brand new leader with fresh hope for the nation.
Forty-five years ago Thursday, Martin Luther King spoke these words: "This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy."
Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.
"Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children."
"I have a dream!"
It's a speech that gave hope to a nation and strengthened a movement of change.
"My for little children, one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream!"
His speech predicted a world that we are now much closer to entering than we were in 1963. Barack Obama, the son of a black man and white woman, gave a speech that many say has the potential to achieve the same level of gravity, ascendant courage and timeless charisma contained in King's speech.

We, Malaysians, have the same dream.
Yes, I have a dream!

Budget 2009: What the experts say
Aug 29, 08 8:25pm
Several experts share their views with Malaysiakini regarding the Budget 2009 unveiled by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

David Cohen, director of Action Economics, Singapore:
It is a populist budget to deflect the growing popularity of Anwar (Ibrahim). (Prime Minister) Abdullah (Ahmad Badawi) is obviously under pressure as witnessed by the rollback in fuel prices last week.

Lee Heng Guie, chief economist at CIMB Bank:
I think most people already expected a budget that won’t have many negative points. So this is one factor that helped the market to rise and also because overseas markets were good last night. But the overall mood is still cautious because there is still uncertainty.

Given the tough macro situation, they may have little choice but to spend more now. Whether it’s the right choice depends on how they fine-tune the deficit going forward.

Khoo Kay Peng, political and economics analyst:
Anwar can, if he wishes, make any amendments he thinks are necessary. We don’t know what alterations he will make, but for example he has mentioned before the RM10 billion extra allocation for the growth corridor projects - which Abdullah asked for in the mid-term review.
And Anwar has said that we do not need any new mega-projects at this point in time.
Whatever it is, there is uncertainty and this will keep the markets quiet. Even when Anwar comes into power as he says, investors will want to see how he performs, what sort of plan he’ll raise then.
For Abdullah, he needs to have a yardstick, a performance yardstick instead of just voicing hot air bubbles. He needs to stimulate local consumer demand, find concrete measures to increase wage-earners’ pockets, and look at transportation as he has promised. There must be more buses and other forms of public transportation put on the roads.
Also, on whether the government has enough money, nobody really knows because there is a lack of transparency.
Abdullah must find concrete ways to cut down public administration, reduce bureaucracy, for example shift us more to e-government. We have one of the biggest bureaucracy in the region, we are too labour-centric and this is why we have the image of being not efficient. Yes, in the past the public administration is used as a political tool, a vote bank. But we must take politics out of the equation. Anyway, it hasn’t help them (Abdullah and his Umno party) in the elections anymore.

Dr Ramon Navaratnam, prominent economist and president of Transparency International :
On thee one percent reduction of income tax for the highest bracket, the rich can take care of themselves very well - therefore the tax cut was unnecessary.
The middle and lower income groups are the mainstay of Malaysia and the groups which will agitate for change. It would have been better to address their needs. The poor should always be the priority.
There seems to be a shift in budget strategy whereby it attempts to address basic needs and not on unnecessary mega projects.
However attempts to share wealth when inflation is not controlled, will still see the erosion of income for the low and middle income groups.

Tricia Yeoh, director Centre of Public Policy Research:
Such a record expansionary budget with huge funds is theoretically a good thing, given the urgent need to generate growth in the face of economic slowdown. However, it can only be considered a thoroughly good thing if we can be assured that the money will be channelled in the right direction, without any unnecessary leakages.
Unfortunately, the past track record of government has been poor in this respect. With a rampant culture of corruption and weak institutional structures, this may lead to continued wastage and abuse. I would therefore emphasise strengthening the institutions of governance, so that the funds are actually optimised and maximised.

TRIVIA Merdeka

  1. Siapakah yang menamakan 'MALAYSIA' untuk sebuah negara baru merdeka?
  2. Siapakah yang memberi tarikh 31 Ogos sebagai Hari Merdeka?
  3. Siapakah yang mempopularkan perkataan 'Merdeka'?
  4. Siapakah lagi pejuang kemerdekaan selain pemimpin Perikatan?
  5. Berapakah usia Tunku Abdul Rahman sewaktu melaungkan 'Merdeka'?
  6. Bilakah dan di manakah Tunku Abdul Rahman melaungkan 'Merdeka' sebaik pulang dari London?
  7. Siapakah yang menyertai rombongan 'Merdeka' ke London dengan Tunku?
  8. Pukul berapakah Tunku melaungkan 'Merdeka' di stadium Merdeka?
  9. Bilakah lagu 'Negaraku' dipilih untuk menyambut merdeka?
  10. Apakah lagu asal 'Negaraku'?
  11. Kenapa bendera Malaysia menyerupai bendera Amerika Syarikat?
  12. Berapakah jalur dalam bendera Malaysia yang asal?
  13. Berapakah jumlah penduduk Malaysia sewaktu merdeka di laungkan?
  14. Apakah warna baju Tunku Abdul Rahman sewaktu melaungkan merdeka?
  15. Siapakah Perdana Menteri yang paling tinggi pencapaian akademik?
  16. Siapakah Perdana Menteri yang paling rendah pencapaian akademik?
  17. Siapakah Perdana Menteri yang paling rendah?
  18. Siapakah Perdana Menteri yang paling tinggi?
  19. Siapakah Perdana Menteri paling banyak tidur?
  20. Siapakah Perdana Menteri paling sedikit tidur?
  21. Siapakah Perdana Menteri paling muda?
  22. Siapakah Perdana Menteri paling tua?
  23. Berapakah jumlah Timbalan Perdana Menteri semenjak merdeka dan namakan mereka?
  24. Siapakah Timbalan Perdana Menteri paling popular dalam sejarah?
  25. Siapakah Perdana Menteri paling lama berkuasa?
  26. Siapakah Perdana Menteri paling pendek berkuasa?
  27. Tunku Abdul Rahman adalah Bapa Kemerdekaan, apakah gelaran untuk Perdana Menteri berikutnya?
  28. Perdana Menteri manakah yang mempunyai paling ramai anak?
  29. Apakah nama-nama kediaman rasmi Perdana Menteri semenjak merdeka?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Will BN Release ISA detainees?

It has been a custom here to release prisoners on certain celebration like holy month of ramadan, eid (raya), prophet's birthday, national day or the emir (raja) birthdays.

We have draconian acts like ISA which gives the power to the government of the day to detain anyone without trial up to 2 years with renewal of every two years.

BN is in no mood to release these detainees or charge them in open court of course....

700 prisoners win Ramadan pardon

RAMADAN PARDONS: granted by UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. (Getty Images)
Seven hundred Emirati and expat prisoners will be released and granted executive pardon from prisons across the UAE to mark the holy month of Ramadan, it was reported on Wednesday. President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has also instructed the settlement of the prisoners’ debts, according to state news agency, Wam.

Muslim countries around the world pardon thousands of prisoners jailed for minor crimes during the holy month.

It is not yet known if the British DJ, Grooverider, was one of the pardoned prisoners.

The DJ, who was sentenced to four years in prison after he was caught at Dubai International Airport with a small amount of cannabis, was hoping to be released after it was revealed his name was on a list of possible pardons to be dealt with during Ramadan.

Pardons during the holy month are granted on humanitarian reasons. Other factors taken into consideration include the nature of the crime, the length of sentence, good behaviour and how much of the jail term has been served.

Last year Sheikh Khalifa granted an executive pardon to 808 prisoners and settled prisoners’ debts worth $930,000.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Career Opportunities in the UAE

I have received so many emails regarding job opportunities in the UAE. I apologize if I have not replied to most of you, however, I have set-up Kerjadubai for latest available vacancies and other info including job sites.
There are many already here in the UAE through Kerjadubai. Please keep coming to Kerjadubai for your future career and join other Malaysian expatriates here.
I can only assist that far!
Happy hunting!

Malaysia Today IS BLOCKED by BN Govt

Controversial online portal Malaysia Today had its access blocked by the country’s largest internet service provider (ISP) TMnet.

Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chief operating officer Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi confirmed that the block was ordered by the commission. "It is being blocked because we found that some of the comments on the website were insensitive, bordering on incitement," he told Malaysiakini.


UMNO is BURIED - Tengku Razaleigh

Statement on the Result of the Permatang Pauh By-Election26 August 26, 2008

YBM Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah
Member of Parliament, Gua Musang
31 Jalan Langgak Golf
55000 Kuala Lumpur

Today, five months after we met with the biggest General Election loss in our history, UMNO has suffered a landslide loss at Permatang Pauh. This despite the mobilization of the entire leadership and resources of a party that has held the machinery of government without pause for fifty years. This despite a campaign that embarrassed and divided the nation with its ugliness. It is time to face the music: it is we who have been buried:

-Our leadership is rejected by the rakyat and, moreover, is rejected by our own members. BN’s vote count was less than the number of UMNO members in the constituency.
- Within and among our component parties we ran a poorly coordinated and listless campaign against a motivated Opposition.
- What scraps of credibility the Prime Minister and his Deputy had left after March 8 are gone.

Today’s report card, delivered to a Prime Minister who is accountable also as Liaison Chief of UMNO Penang and Chairman of BN, is impossible to hide: he does not have the minimal credibility needed to run the country day by day, let alone to take it in the new directions we need to go in a complex world. He may not have the credibility needed to keep the country together. This dangerous situation cannot continue, and it will not.

I appeal to the members of UMNO and of BN’s component parties to stand by UMNO in our hour of crisis, and to take a sober historical perspective. The people of Malaysia and along with them, Umno’s ordinary members, have found their democratic voice. They demand leadership that can be trusted to unite our people, to restore confidence in our institutions, and forge a clear national direction. Today is proof that this wave cannot be held back. UMNO must change. We must begin by renewing our Party leadership. I am confident that by December, we shall.

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Baca Semula Akhbar Perdana Semalam (25 Ogos), bukan Malaysiakini

Saingan bertukar rentak * Semakin ramai pengundi atas pagar memihak kepada BN
BUKIT MERTAJAM 24 Ogos – Selepas sembilan hari berkempen, pilihan raya kecil Parlimen Permatang Pauh yang awalnya dipandang mudah oleh pakatan pembangkang bertukar rentak setelah jentera Barisan Nasional (BN) memberi tentangan sengit menjelang hari pengundian Selasa ini.

Khairy: We've come to 'bury' Anwar
Beh Lih Yi Aug 21, 08 1:25pm
Barisan Nasional will not only defeat Anwar Ibrahim in the Aug 26 Permatang Pauh by-election, the ruling coalition will also bury his political career.

This bold prognosis came from Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin.
Speaking at a ceramah in Seberang Jaya last night, he riled up the audience by characterising the upcoming contest as one that would decide the fate of the nation.
During a fiery 30-minute speech, Khairy said BN candidate Arif Shah Omar Shah's true challenge was to end the career of the ‘power crazy’ opposition leader.

Pembangkang kian terdesak

Sanggup lakukan apa saja takutkan penyokong, jentera kempen BN: Najib

BUKIT MERTAJAM: Datuk Seri Najib Razak berkata, parti pembangkang yang semakin terdesak untuk menghadapi pilihan raya kecil Parlimen Permatang Pauh esok, sanggup melakukan apa saja bagi menakut-nakutkan penyokong dan jentera kempen Barisan Nasional (BN).

'Cakap tak serupa bikin'

Anwar tidak layak memimpin

BUKIT MERTAJAM: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim tidak layak menjadi pemimpin kerana 'bercakap tidak serupa bikin' dan tidak konsisten dalam banyak isu diperkatakannya. Ketua Pemuda Umno, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, berkata pendirian Anwar berubah mengikut kepentingan politik, bukan ikhlas memperjuangkan nasib rakyat.

'Penasihat PKR bersikap gergaji dua mata'

BUKIT MERTAJAM: Datuk Seri Najib Razak menyifatkan Penasihat Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim sebagai gergaji dua mata.

Timbalan Perdana Menteri berkata, bagi mendapatkan sokongan pengundi, Anwar menabur fitnah yang kononnya Barisan Nasional (BN) tidak menjaga kebajikan rakyat dengan menaikkan harga minyak.

Sebaliknya, beliau berkata, apabila kerajaan menurunkan harga minyak, Anwar mendakwa kerajaan berbuat demikian kerana perlu menyaingi pengaruhnya yang mahu menurunkan harga minyak apabila menjadi Perdana Menteri.

Dissatisfaction with Anwar, so 200 quit PKR

SUNGAI PETANI: Frustrated with the leadership of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, some 200 Parti Keadilan Rakyat members left the party.

Led by Zamil Ibrahim, who is former secretary to Merbok member of parliament Datuk Roshid Din, the group included members from Jerlun, Merbok, Sik, Baling, Padang Serai, Alor Star, Pokok Sena, Pendang and Ipoh Barat in Ipoh.

Anwar gets BIGGER majority in Permatang Pauh

9.50pm: Final official EC tally - Anwar got 31,195 votes, Arif Shah, 15,524, Hanafi, 92. Anwar won with a majority of 15,671. Anwar's wife, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, won the seat with a 13,388 majority at the March 8 general elections.
9.12pm: Official EC result: With 11 more boxes to go, Anwar has won the by-election with a 14,551 majority. He garnered 27,977 votes while BN's Arif Shah obtained 13,426 while Akim's Hanafi Hamat got 85.

8pm: Unofficial results: Anwar Ibrahim wins with a majority of 16,210 votes. He garnered 26,646 votes while Arif Shah Omar Shah got 10,436.

Hantu-Hantu Di Permatang Pauh

Cerita Hantu terus menghantui pilihanraya kecil.
Saya belum melihat hantu, sama ada hantu yang betul-betul hantu atau pengundi hantu.

Begitupun, para hantu elit yang berkuasa dan terus mahu berkuasa dulu, kini dan selamanya memang sudah benci untuk melihat mereka.

Calon PKR Anwar Ibrahim bersama dengan penyokongnya telah menangkap "hantu".
Kejadian berlaku di Mengkuang Titi.Keadaan agak tegang di sana.
PEKIDA a.k.a geng adik beradik juga berada di sana untuk memanaskan keadaan.

Tempat persembunyian hantu-hantu pilihanraya telah dikesan.UiTM Seberang Jaya telah menjadi lokasi persembunyian hantu-hantu.Sila perhatikan individu dan kenderaan yang keluar masuk.

Beberapa kenderaan pengundi hantu telah dikesan;

Siapakah tuan punya kereta dan siapakah penumpangnya?

Lagi di Tukartiub

Urgent - DNA Bill

Well, this is another co-incidence during this merdeka month.

It is an urgency now to table DNA bill for a secong reading....whatever it means to the nation of ours.

DNA Bill tabled for second reading
Aug 26, 08 1:35pm
Despite protest from the opposition claiming that the DNA Bill, tabled for its first reading last week, was politically motivated, it is currently being read for a second time, allowing it to be debated today.
However, the bill was not supposed to be tabled for a second reading until the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) Bill is tabled for its second reading, on a date yet to be fixed. Last week, Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar insisted that the long-overdue bill had to be tabled at the ongoing Parliament sitting to help the police solve crimes.
He said the bill was all encompassing for cases under the Penal Code and anyone arrested or charged under the code would be subjected to DNA testing.
Besides the provision of mandatory DNA testing for suspects, the bill will also allow the setting up of a national DNA database, forensic DNA analysis and the use of DNA profiles. The opposition, however, had a different take, claiming that the government was pushing through the bill at the present parliamentary sitting to bolster the sodomy charge against Pakatan de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.
So far Anwar has refused to give the police a DNA swab in their probe into the sodomy claim made by a former aide, fearing they might tamper with the sample to implicate him.
Anwar was charged with sodomy early this month and his case will be up for mention on Sept 10. The opposition stalwart faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Anwar is currently contesting in the Permatang Pauh by-election. Should he win, he would make a comeback to the August House after a 10-year absence.

Utusan Retracts Karpal is anti-Islam...(Malaysiakini)

What I would say to this UMNO's mouthpiece? PADAN MUKA. The paper has been deliberately publishing rubbish reports based on UMNO's agenda. It is no more a paper for the masses. The paper is also focusing more on entertainment and sensation news.

Then again, that's our Melayu newspaper standard anyway.

Utusan says sorry to Karpal
Aug 26, 08 12:13pm
Leading Malay daily Utusan Malaysia has apologised to opposition leader Karpal Singh for publishing an article which portrayed the DAP national chairperson as anti-Islam.

In a small box titled 'Ralat' (correction) on its front-page, the Umno-linked newspaper said: "The report on page two Utusan Malaysia yesterday 'DAP diingat jangan bakar perasaan Melayu' (which stated) that DAP chairperson Karpal Singh rejects Islam as the official religion of the country is wrong."

"Utusan Malaysia withdraws (the statement) and apologises for the mistake," it added.Yesterday, the veteran politician issued the daily with an ultimatum of either publicly apologising to him on its front-page or face legal action."Legal proceedings will definitely be initiated against the paper if it refuses to retract its misleading story on me and offer a public apology," he added.

More in Malaysiakini here

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dr. Haron Din's Statement on Sodomy Allegation - Malaysiakini


We managed to meet Dr. Haron Din when he was here in the UAE for two weeks about two months ago. Her eldest daughter was admitted into the hospital for some heart complications.

During the heights of UMNO-PAS Muzakarah, his name was mentioned as one of main supporters of this deal of the century.

However, I have been waiting for his statement on Sodomy II and that guy's sumpah-sumpah. He was silence on this matter, unlike on Sodomy I. Somebody said that was due to Anwar's reluctance to 'bersumpah' even alone in front of him....this could be a rumour only.

I admire Dr. Haron Din as an ulamak. His political career has not taken off in his own state, it could be blessing in disguise. Dr. Haron is one of few scholars that we can be proud of and perhaps, better stay that way.

His was in Permatang Pauh and made a crucial statement by defending Anwar. This rebuttal will have greater impact on those who still have doubts when UMNO keeps playing that guy's sumpah-sumpah to the maximum. UMNO machinery has to depend on other dirty tactics now during the last hours of campaign period.

If our pevious elections were really fair, open and clean, UMNO had been buried long time ago. Then again, do not underestimate desperate people with power still in their hands.

Dr. Haron Din is right when he says, 'These people (read: UMNO) are using Islam when it suits them.' Because if the UMNO goons really practice Islam, none of their current leaders can be regarded as 'bersih, cekap, amanah' even under the spells of Hadhari.

Back 'our' candidate, PAS top leaders tell voters
Chan Kok Leong Aug 24, 08 4:39pm
Any differences on who will become the next prime minister should Pakatan Rakyat form federal government were put aside last night as PAS supporters turned out in full force to back "their" candidate.
In this part of Penanti, which is 99 percent Malay voters, some 4,000 people braved the light drizzle to listen to PAS top guns.
At Taman Guar Perahu, party president Abdul Hadi Awang and spiritual healer Dr Haron Din allayed rumours of a PAS pullout by urging the crowd to support "our" warrior.
Though Hadi's ceramah only lasted 10 minutes, his final words should be enough for anyone doubting PAS’ commitment to PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim's campaign.
It also put to rest, for the moment, his own ambitions to helm the nation.
"I urge Permatang Pauh voters to once again give your votes to PKR and let Anwar return to Parliament. And if there is a chance to lead this country as well," said Hadi.
Before that, he touched on issues of governance and why Barisan Nasional, in particular Umno, should be rejected.
Later, it was announced that Hadi was not feeling well and hence the short but no less crucial message.

Sodomy allegation
Meanwhile, Haron's ceramah killed off whatever doubts Malay voters regarding the sodomy allegation against Anwar.
"These people are using Islam when it suits them," said the 68-year-old religious scholar-turned-politician.
"When they made accusations, they go to the mosque, hold the Quran and swear in God's name. But what about the other part of Islam requirements?" he asked.
"If they want to use Syariah to swear that the crime did take place, he (accuser Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan) should also present four credible witnesses."
Under Islamic law, accusations must be backed by four credible witnesses otherwise the accuser is guilty of qazaf (false accusations).
So far, the Umno campaign has revolved around the sodomy allegation and Anwar’s ‘betrayal’ of the Malay cause.
Haron's defence just two days before polling is the best that PKR could wish for to help satisfy questions on why Anwar has not taken an oath to deny the allegation.
Umno will no doubt crank up the pressure over the next 48 hours with around-the-clock public screening of Saiful's swearing.
But for the PAS faithful, Haron and Hadi are enough to combat BN's more high-tech campaign

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Rumpun Bahasa Melayu Ternyata dari Kalimantan

Kamis, 21/8/2008 22:13 WIB

Rumpun bahasa Melayu yang selama ini disebutkan berasal dari Champa Thailand, mulai terbantah dengan penelitian baru yang menyebutkan rumpun bahasa yang digunakan di sebagian wilayah Indonesia itu justru berasal dari pedalaman pulau Kalimantan.

Guru Besar Bahasa Indonesia pada PKIF Universitas Lambung Mangkurat (Unlam) Prof.Dr.H.Djantera Kawi, di Banjarmasin, Kamis menyebutkan asal rumpun bahasa Melayu dari Champa itu merupakan hasil penelitian pertama yang dilakukan peneliti bahasa dari Eropah yang kemudian banyak dijadikan literatur di perguruan tinggi.

Namun hasil penelitian terbaru dilakukan penelitian asal Amerika dipastikan rumpun Bahasa Melayu berasal dari daratan Borneo atau tepatnya di daerah pedalaman Pulau Kalimantan.
Dari hasil peneliti itu menunjukan Pulau Kalimantan punya andil dalam tatanan bahasa-bahasa di dunia dan orang-orangnya cukup dinamis, sehingga bahasanya yaitu Bahasa Melayu menyebar pula ke berbagai belahan benua.

Mengenai Bahasa Daerah Banjar, Kalsel, dia mengatakan, hal tersebut bila ditinjau dari segi dialek, terbagi tiga yaitu Bahasa Banjar Kuala, Banjar Hulu dan Pedalaman yaitu komunitas masyarakat adat terasing atau Suku Dayak.

Tapi kalau dilihat dari segi kebahasaan itu sendiri, berdasarkan penelitian, Bahasa Daerah Banjar terbagi 13 sub, yang dalam perkembangannya tak begitu nampak lagi, demikian Djantera Kawi.

Sedangkan hasil penelitian orang Eropah yang menyebutkan rumpun Bahasa Melayu dari Champa Thailand berkembang pada sejumlah perguruan tinggi di Indonesia hingga tahun 1960-an, katanya dalam pertemuan rutin "baracau" Lembaga Budaya Banjar (LBB) Kalimantan Selatan (Kalsel) di Banjarmasin.

"Baracau" berasal dari Bahasa Daerah Banjar, Kalsel, yang pengertiannya berbincang-bincang tanpa topik yang fokus, hanya sekedar tukar informasi dan pendapat yang digelar LBB dua kali dalam sebulan tiap tanggal 7 dan 21 di Sekretariat LBB-Gedung Sultan Suriansyah Banjarmasin.

Kesimpulan peneliti dari Eropah tersebut kelihatannya cukup beralasan, karena pengguna Bahasa Melayu itu di Champa yang menyebar ke Semenanjung Malaka dan juga berkembang ke Indonesia yang merupakan gugusan nusantara.

Kantor Berita ANTARA

List of the world's richest royals

UAE president Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan has been ranked second in a list of the world's richest royals.

The ruler of Abu Dhabi's fortune of approximately $24 billion was topped only by the King of Thailand's $36 billion. Meanwhile, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, was ranked fifth with an estimated fortune of $18 billion.

Elizabeth II, the Queen of England, is now the world's 12th richest monarch after slipping one place in the royal rich list published by Forbes Magazine.

Top of the royals, according to the list, is King Bhumibol Adulyade - the world's longest-reigning monarch - who bumped last year's winner the Sultan of Brunei out of first place.

Estimates of the Thai king's fortune rose seven-fold since last year due to increased transparency over his holdings.

The Sultan of Brunei - one of only two rulers to see their wealth fall during the year - is now in fourth place with an estimated fortune of $20 billion.

Ahead of him is the UAE's Sheikh Khalifa and King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, who was ranked third with a fortune of about $21 billion.

As a whole the monarchs grew richer, seeing their collective wealth increase to $128 billion.

Middle Eastern royals have done particularly well during the past 12 months with the price of oil soaring.

The richest royals:

1. King Bhumibol Adulyade of Thailand
2. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates
3. King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia
4. Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei
5. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai
6. Prince Hans-Adam II von und zu Liechtenstein of Liechtenstein
7. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani of Qatar
8. King Mohammed IV of Morocco
9. Prince Albert II of Monaco
10. Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman

Friday, August 22, 2008

Terkini dan Panas dari Permatang Pauh

Tinggal jauh di Dubai di musim pilihanraya kecil MEGA di P44 ini tidak mengurangkan mood untuk mengetahui perkembangan menarik. Malah nama Permatang Pauh juga dikenali oleh rakan-rakan pejabat dari negara-negara lain yang mengikuti politik Anwar Ibrahim.

Dalam banyak-banyak blog yang diikuti, salah satu yang menguja ialah yang dibawah...

Di jalan kecil ini jugalah yang wajib dilalui oleh Najib Razak, Rais Yatim, Syed Hamid, Khairy Jamaluddin, Ezam Mat Nor dan Hishamudin Hussein.

Bayangkan maki hamun dan sumpah seranah yang dilemparkan terhadap penyokong Barisan Nasional.

Rais Yatim telah dihulurkan sehelai duit 50 ringgit dari salah seorang anak muda yang bersusun ditepi jalan. Tanpa mengetahui apa makna duit ini Rais Yatim telah mengambil duit itu.

Sebaik sahaja duit ini di dalam tangan Rais Yatim ratus dari anak-anak muda yang membarisi jalan ini telah bersorak - rasuh! rasuah! rasuah.

Duit ini dilontarkan kembali oleh Rais Yatim ke arah anak-anak muda yang sedang bersorak-sorak ketawa.

KJ atau Khairy Jamaluddin selain dari menerima sumpah seranah telah juga dipeluk-peluk bukan tanda kesayangan tapi tanda benci yang amat sangat. Terdengar suara ' dulu hang terer di Ijok sat ni hang baru sedar!'

Rasa saya tidak adalah insan yang paling menyesal dilahirkan di dunia pada pagi itu selain dari Ezam Muhamad Nor. Makin hamun dan sumpah seranah yang berterus sejuah 3 kilometer telah di lemparkan terhadap Ezam.

Klik imej di bawah untuk bersantai dengan Hisham Rais


Someone wrote:

I was in Singapore on 9th August 2008, Singapore National Day, and witnessed the celebrations. I could sense the national pride of the Singaporeans over the country's achievements through hard work and integrity. Remembering the numerous Merdeka celebrations I had witnessed, I can't help but feel forlorn over the false sense of pride, borne of self deception and arrogance, and thrusted upon its following by the UMNO fraternity.

The short discourse below by Ahmad Mustapha provide a glimpse into this sad state of affairs that has beset our's really nothing new but we do need to be reminded and awakened now and then!

Reflect !!

A frank discourse by a bumiputra of Malaysia.
By Ahmad Mustapha
The writer is a nephew of Dr Mahathir.

Singapore's Minister Mentor, Lee Kuan Yew, who was Singapore's founding father, has always been very direct in his comments. This was the man who outsmarted the communists in Singapore (with the innocent help of Malaya then and the willing help of the British) and who later outwitted the British and outpaced Malaysia in all spheres.

Singapore practises corrupt-free meritocracy and Malaysia affirmative action. The former attracted all the best brains and the latter chased out all the brains. The Singapore cabinet consists of dedicated and intelligent technocrats whereas Malaysia has one of the most unwieldy cabinets. Not only that, brain wise it was below par not even good for the kampong.

With that kind of composition, one that is very brainy, naturally Singapore , with no natural resources could outstrip Malaysia in every aspect of development. Malaysia, on the other hand, was too much preoccupied with its Malayness and the illusory 'Ketuanan Melayu' and was also more interested in useless mega iconic development rather than real social and economic development.

Whenever Kuan Yew utters anything that was deemed to be a slight on Malaysia, voices were raised admonishing him. Malaysia would never dare to face reality. That Singapore had shown that it could survive was a slap on those who believed that Singapore would fold up once it left Malaysia .

Therefore, it was natural that these doomsayers would try to rationalise their utterances to be in their favour to combat whatever Kuan Yew commented. Its political jealousy.

Singapore achieved its development status without any fanfare. But here in Malaysia , a development that was deceptive was proclaimed as having achieved development status. It was trumpetted as an achievement that befits first world status.

This was self-delusion. Malaysians are led to believe in a make believe world, a dream world. The leaders who themselves tend to believe in their own fabricated world did not realise the people were not taken in by this kind of illusion.

Lee Kuan Yew believed in calling a spade a spade. I was there in Singapore when the People's Action Party won the elections in 1959. He was forthright in his briefing to party members as to what was expected of them and what Singapore would face in the future.

Ideologically, I did not agree with him. We in the University of Malaya Socialist Club had a different interpretation of socialist reconstruction. But he was a pragmatist and wanted to bring development and welfare to the Singaporeans.

Well! He succeeded.

Malaysia was so much embroiled in racial politics and due to the fear of losing political power, all actions taken by the main party in power was never targeted towards bringing wealth to all. Wealth was distributed to the chosen few only. They were the cronies and the backers of the party leadership to perpetuate their own selfish ends.

Seeing the efficiency and the progress achieved by Singapore caused the Malaysian leadership to suffer from an inferiority complex. That Malaysia should suffer from this complex was of its own making.

In a recent interview, Kuan Yew said that Malaysia could have done better if only it treated its minority Chinese and Indian population fairly. Instead they were completely marginalised and many of the best brains left the country in droves. He added that Singapore was a standing indictment to what Malaysia could have done differently. He just hit the nail right there on the head.

Malaysia recently celebrated its 50th year of independence with a bagful of uncertainties. The racial divide has become more acute. The number of Malay graduates unemployed is on the increase. And this aspect can be very explosive. But sad to see that no positive actions have been taken to address these social ills.

Various excuses were given by Malaysian leaders why Singapore had far outstripped Malaysia in all aspects of social and economic advancement. Singapore was small, they rationalised and therefore easy to manage. Singapore was not a state but merely an island.

There was one other aspect that Malaysia practises and that is to politicise all aspects of life. All government organs and machinery were 'UMNO-ised'. This was to ensure that the party will remain in power. Thus there was this misconception by the instruments of government as to what national interest is and what UMNO vested interest is.

UMNO vested interest only benefited a few and not the whole nation. But due to the UMNO-isation of the various instruments of government, the country under the present administration had equated UMNO vested interest as being that of national interest.

Thus development became an avenue of making money and not for the benefit of the people. The fight against corruption took a back seat. Transparency was put on hold. And the instruments of government took it to be of national interest to cater to the vested interest of UMNO.

Enforcement of various enactments and laws was selective. Thus a 'palace' in Kelang, APs cronies and close-one-eyed umno MPs could exist without proper procedure. Corruption infested all govt departments, the worse is the police and lately even in the judiciary.

Singapore did not politicise its instruments of government. If ever politicisation took place, it is guided by national interest. To be efficient and to be the best in the region was of paramount importance. Thus all the elements like corruption, lackadaisical attitude towards work and other black elements, which would retard such an aim, were eliminated. Singapore naturally had placed the right priority in it's pursuit to achieve what is best for its people. This is the major difference between these two independent countries.

Malaysia in its various attempts to cover up its failures embarked on several diversions. It wanted its citizens to be proud that the country had the tallest twin-tower in the world, although the structure was designed and built by foreigners. Its now a white-elephant wasting away. It achieved in sending a man into space at an exorbitant price. For what purpose? These are what the Malays of old would say "menang sorak" (hollow victories).

It should be realised that administering a country can be likened to managing a corporate entity. If the management is efficient and dedicated and know what they are doing, the company will prosper. The reverse will be if the management is poor and bad. The company will go bust.

There are five countries around this region. There is Malaysia , and then Indonesia . To the east there is the Philippines and then there is that small enclave called the Sultanate of Brunei . All these four countries have abundance of natural resources but none can lay claim to have used all these resources to benefit the people. Poverty was rampant and independence had not brought in any significant benefits to the people.

But tiny Singapore without any resources at all managed to bring development to its citizens. It had one of the best public MRT transport systems and airlines in the world and it is a very clean city state. Their universities, health care, ports are among the best in the world.

It is impossible to compare what Singapore has achieved to what all these four countries had so far achieved. It was actually poor management and corruption, and nothing more. Everything is done for the vested interest of the few.

Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines and the Sultanate of Brunei need good management teams. They would not be able to do this on their own steam. I would advise that they call on Kuan Yew to show them what good governance is. Why look East to Japan when it is just next door across the causeway.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

No talk, full stop

LET’S get one thing out of the way.

The Selangor government has NOT reversed its policy on hillside development ... yet.

What this paper had been campaigning for is good governance, transparency and holding steadfast to promises made. Even an intention to break election promises is of grave concern as it reflects a government that is prone to bending over backwards on its policies and compromising the people’s welfare for the whims of large corporations whose only concern is the mighty ringgit, and to whom sustainable development is taboo.

In Selangor at least, for the last two decades, we had been subject to a state government that can be equated with a secret society, where almost every deliberation and decision was classified as an "Official Secret".
Minutes of meetings were doctored and an entity deemed illegal by the High Court was deciding on development and investments. This entity continues to be used by the present government.
Local authorities keep two sets of books – one for public reference and one for officials – and the alienation of land meant for the public or the lower income group, to the well-connected, was as common as ais kacang on a hot day. How much of state land has ended up in the hands of cronies – some of them teenagers – will remain a mystery, unless of course the new government keeps to its word – to declassify the documents.
If there were two sets of books, there were also two sets of laws – one for you and me, and the other for exco members and assemblymen and their families and cronies.
The people are seldom consulted and even if they are, it is a mere cosmetic exercise, epitomised by the words of Datuk Emran Kadir, when he was Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MPPJ) president: "We will hear the residents’ views but we have already decided to go ahead with the project." This is the same man who insisted that a "sumbangan" (contribution) of RM10,000 had to be made with every application for a billboard licence!
The cutting of hills and encroachment into parks and green lungs were met with a slap on the wrist and another development order for another swathe of de-gazetted or non-gazetted forest. For a small cemetery, 58ha was alienated – the balance would have ended up with cronies if not for the change on March 8.
Direct negotiations were always favoured over a transparent tender process and private companies with city council officials and councillors as directors were operating with impunity, where money meant for rate-payers was siphoned into private accounts.
So it was no wonder that the people said "enough is enough" and when the opportunity came, booted out those who had overstayed their welcome and treated public office as a private entity.
Which is why, when the new guys took over, they were viewed as the Messiah – sent from the heavens to protect the weak and oppressed, and all things good and decent.
The clean-up crew was to unearth the sins of the past and put things right again. Do we hold them to higher standards than their predecessors? Of course. Because that was how they painted themselves to be – whiter than white – during the election campaign and even before when they were community leaders and heads of NGOs.
Executive councillor for investment, trade and commerce, Teresa Kok, had campaigned alongside residents and environmentalists against the rape of Bukit Gasing, and had spoken out against developers who flout the law, long before she joined the state administration.
Likewise, executive councillor for local government, Ronnie Liu, whose claim to fame was as the "Shadow MPPJ", had been vocal in pointing out misdeeds and abuse of process by the local council and developers who park themselves outside the offices of the council president. Thus, one cannot fault this paper or the public for being aghast to find these same personalities now seemingly justifying the requests of the developers.
Yes, Kok and Liu are right. There is no harm in listening to developers and allowing them to have their say on certain issues. Yes, developers are not the enemy and there are many property developers out there who abide by rules and regulations and endorse sustainable development. But when the agenda is to get the state government to reverse a policy, which it was elected on, the two YBs should have said "No deal. You want to talk about other problems; we are all ears, but not hillslope policy".
There is a big likelihood that the policy will remain. Liu – a night after meeting Citizen-Nades and I to clarify his position – had told the Star Metro this. But our bone of contention is that even entertaining these developers, many of whom obtained hillside land from the previous administration via dubious means, sends the wrong message to the people.
Now, thanks to the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) – which felt compelled to jump to Kok’s and Liu’s defence via a statement to this paper, part of which was published on Friday – we know that the mentri besar had already had one meeting with developers – without residents, environmentalists and those opposed to hillside development present.
The two page letter from Eddy Chen, adviser of Rehda Selangor, had 10 paragraphs – the first two stating that it was invited to the meeting and that it was "erroneous of theSun to report that Rehda is pressuring the Selangor government to reverse its policy". (Citizen-Nades in a note to Chen refuted the claim – that no where did this paper use the word "pressuring").
The rest discusses at length the sustainability of hillside development and why Selangor needs more homes!
We have since learnt that Rehda also met the Land Task Force which rejected its appeals and upheld the policy. So, the policy is safe for now. But what guarantee is there that there will not be further attempts to get the state government to be "flexible" on this policy?
Well, even if there is, we know whom these developers will approach to argue their case. One hopes that where right and wrong is as clear as night and day, those in power will adopt the attitude that there will be no further discussion on the issue.

Terence had told relatives and friends in Seputeh to vote for Teresa Kok in the recent election because "she can effect change". He hopes he was not wrong. Email for feedback.

Zulkifli Noordin is now Umno?

In Malaysiakini, YB LGE said that YB Zulkifli Noordin is no different from Umno for bad attitude.

And Zulkifli Noordin replied that "Do not label him as Umno". He then said, "This matter should never be politicised."

During this mother-of-all-by-elections, there is one over-used politically correct statement, "Do not politicise this and that."

Pak Lah said that do not politicise DNA bill and his sleeping on the job thingies. Anwar said do not politicise that guy sumpah-sumpah. Najib said, do not politicise his alleged khalwat case in Port Dickson and submarine purchase scandal or Altantuya. Khairy said, do not politicise his ECM-Libra scandal etc.

When politicians say do not politicise this and that, what is left for politicians to say and do?

In reality, politics is everything in Malaysia. Not only in political arena but in other supposedly non-political fields. That's why we are still lagging behind in, for examples, sports and university world ranking.

Guan Eng: PKR's Zulkifli no different from Umno
Rahmah Ghazali Aug 21, 08 5:11pm
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today slammed his fellow Pakatan Rakyat MP Zulkifli Noordin for bad attitude, putting the latter in the same boat as arch-rival Umno.
"It is very disappointing for him, coming from a multiracial party like PKR to speak at this level," Lim told reporters at the Parliament lobby. "Sometimes we see these remarks are no different from Umno."
Zulkifli, in the doghouse for taking part in a rowdy protest against a recent Bar Council forum to discuss legal issues related to the conversion to Islam, got into more trouble with his opposition colleagues yesterday.
During a parliamentary session, the PKR MP for Kulim had accused Chong Eng (DAP-Bukit Mertajam) of being a 'racist', claiming that she had tried to portray the Muslims who protested the Bar Council event as aggressive and irrational.Lim, who is also Penang chief minister, said Zulkifli should be aware that he represented PKR, a multiracial party unlike Umno which accepted only Malay and bumiputera members.
Lim reiterated that Chong was not a racist, otherwise she would not have received so much support from her Malay constituents during the March general election.
Nevertheless he added the DAP would not seek a reprimand from the House. Stressing Pakatan unity, Lim said his party would leave the matter with the PKR leadership.
"There is no point (bringing this up in the House) because I think PKR has taken their stand, and their stand is similar to ours. So there's no point for us to bring it up. Let PKR handle this matter," he said.

'Don't label me as Umno'
Meanwhile, an unrepentant Zulkifli defended his action.
"Any Muslim would defend their religion, regardless from which party they are from. It is not fair for me to be labeled as Umno for defending my own religion," Zulkifli said when met by reporters later on.
"This matter should never be politicised."
The Kulim MP however said his agument with Chong would not affect their relationship in the Pakatan.
"DAP is a mature party. I do not see any fracture that will affect our relationship...but if Lim wants to sit down and talk about this matter with me, I would welcome it," he added.
He also said he protested the Bar Council forum as a member of Lawyers in Defence of Islam (Pembela) and not as a PKR MP. Therefore, the show-cause letter PKR had said wanted to serve on him was not an issue, he added."Anwar called me last night, and he also has accepted my explanation that I was there not as a PKR MP, but as a lawyer," Zulkifli said.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oil Down, USD Up...still problems

Dollar strength to create problems

All the best humour is deadly serious. I contend that the finest comics and satirists are really true cynics – idealists who examine the way the world is against the bright light of their own, very pure notion of what it should be. When they find that reality falls short of their ideals, they snarl. They try to change the world by pointing out the lunatic inadequacy of the way things are.

My point is, that the best humour is true to life as it is, and makes us think about how it should be.

But that's enough of the introduction to basic humour. So here's an old joke with a very serious financial subtext of direct relevance to today's global property markets – specifically, in London, the French Riveria and Dubai.

Our story originated in the Moscow of the mid-90s – a time when the middles classes had their savings wiped out, the Communist system finally died on its feet, and gangster capitalism and handguns in the boardroom.

It was also a time of fabulous wealth for a few (the oligarchs and their cronies) and the emergence of a predilection for conspicuous consumption that is still very much a part of mainstream Moscow business culture.

The tale itself concerns two businessmen. Ivan notices that his friend Viktor has a new gold Rolex watch.
How much did it cost, asks Ivan.
$50,000 (Dh183,500), announces Viktor, with a small smile.
And where did Viktor get it?
Viktor reveals the address of an exclusive shop on the Arbat.
"Fool!" cries Ivan. "I know a place just a couple of minutes away where you could have got the same thing for twice as much!"
There is still plenty of mileage in the principle of "if you've got it, flaunt it" among the Russian plutocrats – and the Asians too, if I read the runes of what's happening with Li family right (but more of that in another column).
My contention that flashing the cash is still very much in vogue at the top end of the market is supported by a number of deep niches that remain impervious to the vicissitudes of the credit crunch and all those boring economic ills that affect the common herd (people like me, gentle readers, bit not all of you, I'm sure).

The modern art market (specifically Jackson Pollock, and latterly the truly dismal work of Jonathan Rothko) is booming on the back of Russian and Asian investment. Wine, too, is a popular investment. But property is top of the tree.

No-one can really be quite sure which is Europe's most expensive residential property, as, I suspect, real wealth requires true secrecy.
Some of the most sought-after properties change hands without the common herd ever being aware that the assets had come on the market.
An exception to this rule is the recent acquisition of the Villa Leopolda. Sited in Villefranche-sur-Mer on France's Cote d'Azur, the property has been acquired for $500 million by a Russian billionaire.
Now, this property has cachet. Formerly owned by the Safra banking family, it has reportedly housed guests as famous as Ronald Reagan, Elvis, and Frank Sinatra. The estate agents who did the deal claim that the market in ultra-exclusive locations is more buoyant than ever.

Well, that may be so, for the moment. But think back to my little Russian joke. It makes a simple point that the cachet in buying an object does not really come from the object itself, but the expense of its acquisition. Thus the same object, at twice the price, would have more cachet.

What does this tell us (other than the obvious fact that explaining jokes is deadly dull)? I believe that the strength of the dollar is going to create real problem for these exclusive, high-end markets which have so far not seen any kind of downturn.

Comment on global currency rates is not my brief here. But I contend that the dollar has well and truly turned. It is strengthening rapidly against sterling, the euro and its prospects against the dirham look very good to me too.

In short, viewed from the prospect of the dollar-rich billionaire (commodity oligarchs spring to mind) these prize properties will soon seem embarrassingly cheap.

The Villa Leopolda transaction has broken the previous record residential property deal of $220m. Britain's richest man, the Asian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal is reported to have paid this sum for a home next door to Prince Charles's pad in Kensington.

But that sum will seem like what you'd hand over for some miserable hut selling kebabs when you consider what Indian industrialist Mukesh Ambani is planning.

Asia's richest man is soon to move into a 27-storey mixed-use development (family residence and the offices of his own businesses). Located in Mumbai, estimates put the value of the development at around $2 billion. Its design, appropriately enough, is apparently themed on the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

So I fear for Kensington, Chelsea, Knightsbridge, the Cote d'Azur and Dubai for the perverse reason that the rising dollar means they won't be expensive enough to attract the interest of the mega-rich.

That said, I've been very impressed with the size and scale and ingenuity of Dubai property development. When you look at the 1.4 billion square feet Waterfront development that Middle East property developer Nakheel has taken on, the sheer scale and logistical difficulty make one think of, well, something not unlike the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

I was surprised to learn that this and another Nakheel development, the transformation of the QE2 liner into a luxury resort hotel, is being managed by a huge system of super-smart internet-based software that allows the project managers to co-ordinate the efforts of suppliers from all over the planet.

Each contributes its own bit to the project and is given access to relevant buts of the site. The system software is rented out to developers such as Nakheel by a highly successful and dynamic company based in England, BIW Technologies, which is, apparently, looking for investment capital (a market listing is a possibility, once the markets pick up).

I wish the company luck. Without systems like BIW's platform, major global-scale developments wouldn't be Hanging Gardens of Babylon, more disorganised Towers of Babel. Mind you, not using clever systems would be one way of making them that much more expensive.

Martin Baker is a journalist, author and commentator on international business affairs.

Emirate's Superluxe Airbus A380 Makes Flying Fun Again

SAN FRANCISCO -- The world's biggest jetliner brings back the golden era of air travel, when flying was an event so grand men wore ties and women wore furs. That is, it will bring it back if you've got $14,000.

That kind of cash buys a first-class ticket for a New York-Dubai round trip on Emirates airline's new A380, a 489-seat behemoth where the 14 people rich enough to sit in first class enjoy hot showers, massaging chairs, 1,000 channels and seven-course meals served on china and linen. Oh -- there's also a bar with a waterfall.

If you're like the rest of us and have just $1,500, you get a seat sandwiched between nine other people, a 9-inch TV screen and space in an overhead bin. But the seat's comfy, there are 500 channels, and the cup holder's gyroscopic.

Dubai-based Emirates is adding 58 A380 super-jumbo jets to its fleet as fast as Airbus can build them. It picked up the first one last week and made the maiden voyage from Dubai to New York on Friday. Emirates is adding service from Dubai to San Francisco and Los Angeles by the end of the year, and even though it's using the more conventional Boeing 777-200 on those runs, it brought the A380 to San Francisco Monday to show people how the other half lives.

Huge doesn't begin to describe the A380. It's 238 feet long, it weighs 560 tons and it carries 82,000 gallons of fuel. The airline says the plane burns just 3.1 liters of fuel per passenger per 100 kilometers (a little more than three quarts of fuel per passenger every 60 miles), a figure it boasts is "better than most hybrid passenger cars."

Just how big is it? The KLM Boeing 747 next to it looked dinky, and the American Airlines Airbus A300 that taxied past looked like a Smart car alongside a Hummer. Despite its size, the A380 is said to be quite nimble, very fast and a dream to fly.

"It's like driving a Ferrari," says Abbas Shaban, chief pilot for Airbus and captain of the three flights the plane's made since Emirates picked it up last week. He's been flying commercial jets for 28 years and says the A380 "is much better than any plane I've flown. It's more responsive, more powerful and more stable."

It's also more ostentatiously over the top than anything in the sky. If Steve Wynn built airplanes instead of Vegas casinos, they'd look like the Emirates A380. First-class passengers sit in leather seats that fold flat at the push of a button. They watch first-run movies on 23-inch flatscreens. Their private suites -- seats are so plebeian -- are trimmed in polished wood and brass. There are two showers with faux marble floors, fluffy towels and the biggest assortment of shampoo this side of a Beverly Hills salon. (With just 50 gallons of water for 14 people, you're limited to five minutes.) Lighting that mimics sunrise and sunset is said to keep your internal clock in sync and minimize jet lag.

One of the 76 business class seats will set you back $9,000. They're almost as swanky as those up front, but you don't get the showers, the TVs are a little smaller and there's no waterfall -- but there is a well-stocked bar that'll seat 25 people and apparently was hopping on the flight from Dubai. Even the 399 seats in economy class -- which, at $1,500 a person round-trip, is a bit of a misnomer -- is nicer than anything you've flown recently. The cloth seats are wide and supportive, the entertainment system offers so many choices it's overwhelming. and your meal doesn't come in a box.

Emirates is flying the A380 only on its Dubai to JFK route, but it's got two more planes on the way for its Dubai to London and Sydney-Auckland runs. It has $18.8 billion worth of A380s in the pipeline and may bring them to other U.S. cities in the future. All those planes will add more than 25,000 seats to the airline's fleet, which makes you wonder who's going to fill them.

Emirates isn't worried. The airline's grown by 20 percent annually since it was founded in 1985 (and, according to Senior VP Nigel Page, done it without any government subsidies). With air travel expected to triple in the next two decades and landing rights at airports getting tougher to secure, airlines need to pack as many people into every flight as possible. Adel Al Redha, executive vice president of engineering and operations, said the demand is there. "The only thing holding us back is the planes," he says. "We can't get them fast enough."

The Roads & Transport Authority of Dubai Looking For Malaysian Engineers

The Roads & Transport Authority of Dubai (RTA) is very keen to employ Malaysian Engineers,
10 posts are offered

1. Malaysian
2. Muslim
3. Min 8 years experience
5. Advantage experience in highway and bridge design.

5 posts for design team and 5 posts for supervision team

Kindly forward resume direct to

More jobs at kerjadubai

About RTA

Since Dubai is one of the fastest growing cities in today's world, making the provision of high quality infrastructure facilities absolutely imperative, and since providing an advanced transport network for the people of Dubai has been high on the government’s agenda, which is evident from its initiatives to enhance the public transport facilities and improve roads across the emirate to make travel safer and smoother, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) was formed by the decree number 17 for the year 2005.

RTA is responsible for planning and providing the requirements of transport, roads & traffic in the Emirate of Dubai, and between Dubai and other Emirates of the UAE, neighboring countries in order to provide an effective & an integrated transport system capable of achieving Dubai's vision & serving the vital interests of the Emirate.
RTA responsibilities also include:
Roads & Parking
Roads Engineering
Rail Project
Registration & Licensing
Inter-City Transport
Marine Transport - Abra
Traffic Safety
Commercial Ads on the Right of Way
Public Buses
Roads Beautification

Monday, August 18, 2008

Zulkifli Noordin breaking his silence in Malaysiakini

The elusive MP is back into the limelight. Read the news from Malaysiakini

Zulkifli defends his action at Bar forum
Aug 18, 08 6:25pm
"I am Muslim first then a lawyer; I am Muslim first then an MP," asserted PKR Kulim Bandar Baru parliamentarian Zulkifli Noordin today, breaking his silence for the first time after heading the commotion which disrupted of Bar Council's ‘Conversion to Islam' forum on Aug 9.

Zulkifli also insisted that he was at the scene as the representative of Lawyers in Defence of Islam (Peguam Pembela Islam) and not as a PKR member.

"In fact I purposely attended the assembly because we are against the attitude of the Bar Council for going on with the forum despite objections by various parties of the government and non-governmental organisations."

"You cannot look at the forum in isolation and say that they are having a forum talking about some rights because you look at the background of the Bar Council... they have been very consistent with their anti-Islam stand," said Zulkifli.

When asked whether or not he had barged into the building to halt the discussion, Zulkifli said the media had distorted the situation.

"You have a misleading fact. There was no question of us stopping the forum. They have already discussed with the police to stop it... it's not because of us."

"We were just there to put forward our views... you mean the Muslim cannot stand up and protect their rights," he exasperated.

Around 300 protesters, led by Zulkifli, gathered at the Bar Council headquarters in that day to coerce the lawyers to wrap up the forum claiming that the open dialogue touched on sensitive religious issues.The Bar then brought the forum session which began at 9am to an end at 10am in order to calm the crowd and to diffuse the situation.

Zulkifli who was believed to be evading public attention since the day of forum said he was away on his personal matters and declined to explain further of his disappearance.

Read Letter to Utusan & Berita by two Muslim lawyers who are againts Zulkifli's actions HERE

Can You Handle The TRUTH? Permatang Pauh

I watched a hilarious scene from a British sitcom last night.

It was a parody of a court scene from "Few Good Men' film.

The theme was "Can You Handle The Truth?"

During this current 'I swear to God' session and all throwaway promises as well as 'initiatives' like money-4-vote scheme in the grandmother of all by-elections, we may not be able to see the truth within its context. Do not rely on mainstream media or even some online sites or blogs, distorted reporting is not unfamiliar during this war of truth.

A grandmother has declared jihad in this P44 by-election againts an individual whom she believes, based on her truth, can destroy our country. As like our country is not currently being destroyed by her own boss and her own party.

She has her priority wrong then again, the truth can be misleading when too much truth in the air. Who owns the truth, you can answer that correctly.

What’s morally wrong with the truth?

BEFORE this column was written, the opinion of learned friends was sought as this newspaper does not want a mob outside its office. Could this scribe, a beer-drinking and bak kut teh loving person, write on a word that some believe is exclusively theirs? Would such a comment be against the rule of the religion? Would some religious zealot decree that those who used the word be subjected to the order given out on Salman Rushdie? Ordinarily, such thoughts would be described as "over-acting", but in times when mobs are allowed to rule under the watchful eyes of those in power, it is better to be safe than sorry.
So, consultation was done. We had an assurance from at least five fellow Malaysians who are Muslims, including my colleague Zainon Ahmad, that we can touch on the issue of jihad – not the holy war but on a pronouncement by the former women and family development minister and defeated Lembah Pantai member of Parliament, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.
Last week, she declared a jihad against an individual whom she said should not be given the chance to destroy the country’s political stability and prosperity. No one would have a quarrel with such a stand. After all, everyone has a right to declare war on anything. For that matter, the government had previously declared war on drugs, resulting in harsh penalties being imposed on traffickers and pushers.
So, while her jihad or war is against an individual, would it be more beneficial if our resources and efforts are directed at a bigger problem, if not the biggest problem facing our nation and its future?
We wonder if Shahrizat would make a similar stand on corruption and other immoral and unethical conduct which have afflicted our society. Such a war would certainly help the authorities to wipe out corruption. After all, the Corruption Perception Index does little to flatter the egos of those who claim that "we have won the war on corruption". Besides, she has the numbers behind her which she can mobilise to ensure that her jihad succeeds.
The Anti-Corruption Agency’s education unit can provide enough material to use in the jihad and more importantly, it would break all religious and racial barriers with people from all walks of life who view corruption as damaging the basic fabric of our society.
This may not be asking too much because time, effort and money spent on fighting an individual would be more useful in fighting something even our prime minister has commented about. Over to you, Datuk Seri Shahrizat.
TALKING about morality, Shahrizat’s successor at the ministry has sent out the wrong message by making a public stand that leaders should not be judged on their standards of morality. And if such a stand makes up part of her values, then it is all right to engage in other immoral acts such as corruption, dishonesty and misuse of power. Using the argument, then we as taxpayers and voters have no right to question or judge those who indulge in corrupt practices.
More than 25 years ago, this scribe interviewed prominent Pulitzer Prize winner, US journalist and columnist Jack Anderson, over Voice of America radio. He rose to fame exposing the antics of rogue politicians. His roguish techniques included eavesdropping, spiriting away classified documents, rifling through garbage and sometimes blatant threats – methods he defended as justified in his lifetime campaign to keep government honest.
One of the questions that we asked him was: "Who gives journalists the right to pry into the private affairs of people?"
His reply went something like this: "If your neighbour is having an affair with the gardener, I would call it private. But if we have a Senator who goes around preaching about moral standards and has fathered a child out of wedlock, the journalist has a right to expose him. If you want to be a leader, don’t have skeletons in your cupboard."
We are not in the least suggesting that all our leaders have skeletons in their cupboards, but I was shocked when the minister was quoted as saying: "I do not dare decide or judge someone else’s morality except my own. Can you give me a leader who scores a 100% mark in morality?"
Are we to assume that ALL our leaders will fail a simple morality test or can it be read as indication that we can brace ourselves for more video?
All said and done, Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen has two simple questions to answer. One: Was it morally right on her part to take an oath of allegiance to the King and country when being appointed Senator in the Dewan Negara while being a permanent resident of Australia? She has since said that she did it for the sake of her three children’s education. Then that too has to be answered: Was it morally right to take up PR status just for the sake of her children’s education? Did she not deceive the government of Australia? And more importantly by having one foot Down Under, is she implying that she does not have faith in the country’s future and its education system? People living in glass houses should not throw stones.

R. Nadeswaran is editor (special and investigative reporting at theSun. He can be reached at

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Gejala Rasuah dan Penyelewengan Korporat di Dubai

Terkejut sekali apabila membaca mengenai penahanan seorang rakan yang pernah menjadi ketua projek untuk siasatan kes penyelewengan baru-baru ini. Beliau sebelum ditahan adalah CEO sebuah syarikat kewangan perbankan Islam terbesar dan kini menjadi orang nombor dua dalam salah satu syarikat pelaburan terbesar.

Mengenali beliau secara dekat selama setahun memberikan gambaran perwatakan dan peribadi yang boleh dikira berwibawa. Kalau tiada bos nombor satu ketika itu, beliau akan menjadi imam setiap kali solat di pejabat.

Oleh kerana kami hanya berlima dalam team projek, perhubungan kami agak rapat. Dengan program projek (untuk feasibility study menubuhkan sebuah syarikat telekomunikasi, dipanggil kod babytel) yang padat dan mencabar, ada kalanya hubungan menjadi tegang, tetapi sebagai satu team, kami dapat bekerja secara profesional.

Kami mengenali satu sama lain dan memahami karenah masing-masing. Dia adalah seorang ketua walau lebih muda dari saya, dan dia mempunya daya kerja yang kuat. Jarang melihat anak tempatan atau Emirati yang bekerja tahap sebegitu, malah hujung minggu juga beliau datang ke pejabat untuk menyiapkan kerja.

Pernah kami berdua menghabiskan dua hari di pejabat untuk menyiapkan lapuran dan presentation kepada lembaga pengarah. Banyak juga belajar dari beliau walau beliau seperti saya, pernah menjadi pengurus IT.

Kenaikan mendadak beliau dalam tangga korporat tidak mengejutkan. Beliau adalah salah seorang bintang yang dianggap bersinar terang. Kali akhir beliau merasmikan urusniaga harian Bursa Saham New York mewakili Dubai.

Melihat gambar dan nama beliau terpampang sebagai seorang yang disyaki terlibat, sukar untuk mengambarkan perasaan saya. Walau beliau masih belum didakwa dan didapati bersalah, sekadar ditahun untuk siasatan lanjut, namanya sudah terpalit dan sukar untuk dibersihkan.

Sebenarnya berita itu cukup memberikan gambaran gejala rasuah dan penyelewengan yang semakin menjadi penyakit dalam pembangunan pesat Dubai. Sebelum ini, gejala ini selalu ditutup sebelah mata. Berlaku diperingkat pengurusan pertengahan.

Seorang lagi rakan sekerja juga sedang ditahan untuk kes rasuah. Sebelum itu seorang CEO sebuah syarikat kewangan hartanah juga masih ditahan sejak empat bulan lalu. Malah seorang menteri muda juga dibuang kerana terlibat dalam penipuan.

Berita perdana Dubai TV mengumumkan yang kerajaan Dubai sedang membuat tindakan lanjut demi membenteras gejala rasuah, penyelewengan, fraud/penipuan dsbnya untuk meyakinkan pelabur luar mengenai ketelusan dan ketegasan kerajaan.

Ini adalah sebahagian dari 'growing pain' dalam Dubai bergerak untuk menjadi sebuah negara maju dan pusat kewangan dunia.

Biar dibenteras dari sekarang sebelum menjadi 'budaya' yang menghancurkan. Cegah sebelum parah, cegah demi maruah!

Dubai's zero tolerance pledge on corruption

The Government of Dubai will take strict and prompt action against all acts of corruption and bribery wherever they occur in the emirate, Dubai's Public Prosecutor said on Sunday.

Commenting on the recent questioning of employees of listed and public companies on suspicion of exploiting their positions to make illegal profits, he said: "The government will continue to have a strict stance against all aspects of corruption and will take legal measures against violators."

He said fighting corruption is at the top of the government's priorities.

"Dubai Government follows a transparent and clear policy on such issues. There are strict directives to have zero-tolerance towards all aspects of corruption, bribing and taking advantage of official positions."

His comments came just days after Dubai mortgage lender Tamweel's former chief executive Adel Al Shirawi and head of investments were named as part of an investigation for alleged wrongdoing.

And Nakheel, the government-owned developer of manmade islands in the shape of palm trees, said on Friday one of its employees was under investigation on suspicion of bribe-taking. Earlier this year, investigations began into alleged irregularities by executives at Dubai Islamic Bank, the Gulf Arab state's biggest Islamic bank by market value, and its affiliate real estate firm Deyaar.

The Public Prosecutor added that the results of ongoing investigations about the accused employees will be announced once they are complete.

"Any employee exploiting his position to make illegal profits will not have immunity. The strictness with which some violations that emerged in the recent past were dealt with, confirms the government's commitment to maintaining the highest global standards in fighting corruption and enhancing its achievements in the economic, financial and legislative fields," he said.

He added that corruption and bribery are some of the most important issues that obstruct development in the World.

"The government has created an ideal environment here, which is supported by a legal and legislative structure that depends on the best global practices. The government will continue this policy, which made it gain the confidence of business leaders throughout the region and the world. There will be no tolerance shown to anybody who tries to exploit his position to make illegal profits," the Public Prosecutor added.

Meanwhile, Marwan Bin Ghalaita, chief executive of the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA), said on Sunday that investigations into financial irregularities at property developer Nakheel and mortgage lender Tamweel are a sign that transparency in the real estate sector is improving.

“I think this is a good thing for the market,” Bin Ghalaita told radio station Dubai Eye.

He disagreed with this month’s Morgan Stanley report that claimed Dubai property prices could fall up to 10 percent in the next two years.

“The real estate market is very solid and the confidence is there,” he said.

The RERA head also said that companies need to educate their employees about the values and ethics of their business, as some of them come from countries where bribes are common in the industry and are seen as a form of commission. (Reuters)

Nakheel exec in bribery scandal named
UPDATE 1: Media reports say general manager of sales being questioned by police.

Police arrest Adel Al Shirawi
UPDATE 2: Tamweel says it is unaware of investigation into dealings of former chief executive.

Arab Nuclear renaissance

A nuclear renaissance. When I recently read that term, I was amused, because I never quite associated nuclear technology with a renaissance.
The nuclear industry is now into its sixth decade, and on the global front, US presidential candidate John McCain has called for the construction of 45 nuclear power plants in the US by 2030, as a solution for carbon-free power generation and to reduce America's reliance on oil imports.
France obtains nearly 80 per cent of its electricity from nuclear sources. However, in the Arab world, and specifically the Gulf, the proliferation of nuclear technology has just begun.
Six Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, Libya, Algeria and Morocco have said they would like to have civilian nuclear programmes.
The US has already signed an initial nuclear cooperation agreement with Bahrain. France has signed similar agreements with Libya and Algeria. Syria and Jordan have also taken initiatives in this direction.
We in the UAE have gone farthest in developing feasibility plans, and have signed agreements with France, Britain and the US to work on nuclear programmes. The UAE is said to become the owner of the Arab world's first nuclear reactor.
We have ushered in a nuclear age in the Arab world, and the race is on.
If you're wondering why now, why this sudden rush to develop nuclear technology, the answer is very simple. The huge oil and gas reserves in the GCC states will start to face supply challenges within the next 20 to 25 years, particularly with the increasing domestic and international demands. This makes the aggressive development of alternative sources of energy necessary. Not to mention the ownership of nuclear technology undoubtedly contributes to the balance of power in our region.
Excessive consumption
In our society today, we are consumerists to the core, and our energy consumption is also on the rise, whether for lighting, transport, air conditioning, sewage treatment or desalination. This in itself is a component we need to address, as our excessive consumption of energy, due to our day-to-day behaviour, contributes to the depletion of our current major energy source (oil), and also to the increase of global warming which results from the consumption of oil for energy.
Eventually our excessive consumption of energy will also contribute to the accumulation of nuclear waste, resulting from nuclear power plants which will provide our future energy needs. Can you imagine living in a world with increasing global warming and increasing nuclear waste?
As we usher in this new age of energy, we must tread with caution. Nuclear technology has the power to create sustainable energy beyond the age of oil; it has the potential to create jobs in a new industry in our region, and potentially to promote the mastery of nuclear sciences in the Arab world.
In addition, nuclear energy is more fuel efficient than oil, as one ton of uranium can produce more energy than that produced by several million barrels of oil. Not to mention that oil consumption contributes to pollution and global warming, while a nuclear power plant, that is well managed, does not release pollutants into the environment.
But this technology also has the power to destroy human life. I recall the words of the scientist Robert Oppenheimer, who is known as "the father of the atomic bomb". Upon testing the atom bomb for the first time, Oppenheimer described it as "... death ... destroyer of worlds".
The atomic bomb is a product developed through nuclear technology, so the potential for mass destruction is also what nuclear technology offers, and this is something we should always be conscious of.
Nuclear energy also comes with the challenge of waste disposal, as nuclear power plants produce products which emit dangerous radiation that can kill, and so require special storage.
Also some of you may remember the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. It was the worst nuclear power plant accident in history. The explosion of that reactor resulted in a severe release of radiation or radioactive dust which was nearly 30 to 40 times more than the radiation released by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
So while nuclear technology is a necessary strategy for our region, we must pursue this with much wisdom and regulation.
I believe that in moving forward the fundamental question we need to ask ourselves is what type of world do we want to live in, and that should dictate how we develop and use nuclear technology.
I believe in the decades to come we want to build an Arab region that is powerful because of the enlightened and progressive intellect of its people, its good systems of governance, its solid innovative economies, its capacity for self-defence when necessary with wisdom and restraint, and its wise and humane approach towards the use and development of powerful technologies such as that of nuclear power. That would be a renaissance.

Najla Al Awadhi is a member of the Federal National Council, Deputy CEO Dubai Media Incorporated and General Manager of Dubai One TV.

Pamela Anderson Bakal Jadi Muslimah?

Menurut seorang kawan yang berkawan dengan beberapa anak bumiputera UAE, Pamela memang kerap ke sini. Selalu dengan jet peribadi untuk hujung minggu.

Tetapi itu mungkin sekadar cerita atas cerita sahaja, kabar angin mahupun gosip semata-mata. Tiada Akuan Bersumpah mahupun angkat sumpah dengan Quran.

Lagipun, bukan urusan kita untuk ambil tahu.

Pamela Anderson finds her new love in the UAE
By Kevin Scott, Staff Reporter
Published: August 16, 2008, 23:51
Dubai: US glamour model Pamela Anderson is dating a prominent Emirati from Abu Dhabi, according to reports.
The blonde actress and producer, most famous for her role as C.J. Parker in TV's Baywatch, was spotted with her new beau at a bar in West Hollywood at the weekend, according to
The couple apparently met each other when Anderson visited the UAE in June with the Make a Wish Foundation.
During her stay she announced plans to build an eco-friendly hotel in Abu Dhabi.It seems that she's also fallen in love with one of the residents.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Kreatif: Mendung Berarak di Taman Twar 3

Berita Harian 16 Ogos 2008.
CERPEN : Mendung Berarak di Taman Twar 3
BAK lirik lagu Cat Stevens Morning Has Broken yang dibawa angin, pagi telah pecah di horizon tahun baru. Limpahannya memenuhi Taman Twar 3 yang hanya dibuka untuk ibu dan anak-anak pada hari biasa.
Suasana pagi Januari musim dingin yang menambahkan suhu keceriaan buat Shah. Begitu riang bermain dengan kawan sebaya berusia 3 tahun, Asif.
Seperti biasa, Shah dan Asif tidak pernah peduli dengan apa sahaja yang berlaku di luar taman. Kehidupan dunia yang dipenuhi dilema, tragedi, peristiwa, wabak dan bencana.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Shortlisted Contenders for the Malaysiakini MAN of the YEAR - 2008

It has been a hectic day today. From breakfast at 'belakang Shangri La' with bujang friends, window shopping at Festival City Waterfront Mall, to Mat Ju's house in Qusais for lunch and lastly to attend Areeq's 5th birthday makan-makan in Sharjah.
By maghrib, I received an emergency call from Abu Dhabi. The call was from one of Malaysian expatriates from Dubai who drove in convoy to have 'mandi' lunch with other fellow Malaysians in Abu Dhabi.
One of their cars had breakdown. Today is friday and most workshops are closed.
Later, I watched "Man of The Year" starring Robin Williams (simultenously with 'Daily Show with Jon Stewart' on the other channel)
Robin Williams plays Tom Dobbs, a political comedian who decides to run for president as an Independent. The movie confronts some of the major problems in most democratic process today, including computer voting machine tampering which erroneously elected Dobbs as a new president.
Coincidentally, tomorrow is the nomination day for Permatang Pauh by-election. This movie should be viewed by every voting Malaysians. I can only hope viewers will see the real information behind the comedic front.
Hollywood is very good at spreading its political view through subtle messages in its products, "V for Vendetta" and "the Matrix" are two excellent examples. This film is more than just a comedy, it is a political statement that needs to be heard by not only every American, but Malaysian as well.
But I do not think it was coincidental that Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan appeared in public today to swear on the Quran and denied he had consented to the alleged anal intercourse with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.
As we speak, there are five hot contenders for the coveted Malaysiakini's MAN of the year award.
They are (alphabetically):-
1. Anwar Ibrahim - if he becomes PM by Sept 16
2. Arif Shah Omar Shah - if he becomes the giant killer
3. Lee Chong Wei (if he wins gold in Beijing Olympics)
4. Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan - if he proves he was really sodomised and not consensual
5. Raja Petra Kamarudin - if he proves that his SD on Altantuya murder and article on Sodomy II are the truth in court