Sunday, September 28, 2008

When Car is a place called Home

I felt a bit of Raya mood in the air this morning while driving 150kph on the clear highways due to public holidays for all govenment staff.
Vehicles were less and no traffic jam at all.

However during this festive season, life is tough for some of us here in the UAE. The spiralling cost of living esp. rising rents, food prices and school fees escalate inflation further and affect a section of working class expats.

Read the following report.

Driven into kerbside bedrooms
Yasin Kakande
Last Updated: September 27. 2008 11:36PM UAE

SHARJAH // Every evening, “Shafiq”, a Pakistani driving instructor, searches for a parking space in the crowded streets of Abu Shagara, tilts his car seat back as far as it will go and, leaving the engine and the air-conditioning running, does his best to get a decent night’s sleep.

Luckily for him, petrol is still a lot cheaper than rent.As Sharjah, Ajman and Ras al Khaimah absorb the ever-increasing exodus of house-hunters from Dubai, migrating along the coast in search of affordable rents, it is the working poor in those emirates who are paying the price.

Shafiq is one of a growing number of people being driven out of homes and into cars by rising rents and increasing living costs. A year ago, he was sharing one room with three friends in the Ghaefiya area until the municipality demolished the old building to make way for a new development.

Since then, he says, he has had no choice but to use his company Toyota Corolla as a kerbside bedroom. “At first I thought I would find another house,” he says. “I looked for one for about a week and all the deposits, real-estate commission and rent itself was too much for me and my colleagues.
“After staying in the car for a week I thought it was normal and I am pushing on with it.
”His family in Pakistan knows he is now homeless. Whenever he calls home his eldest daughter, aged 10, cries and says: “Dad, I just can’t stand it that you are living in a car.”

He does his best to reassure the family: “I’ll say, ‘You know what? This is OK for now because I’m safe, healthy and have a job; things will get better with time.’ But I don’t think so.”
There are now several areas in Sharjah where, late at night or early in the morning, people can be seen sleeping in cars. Although it provides no figures, the municipality says it has come across an increasing number of people like Shafiq. Guilty of a bylaw offence, for some of them a Dh500 fine has been added to the burden of homelessness.
In one case, “We also found someone who had also stocked a lot of alcohol in his car,” said Hareeb al Tunaiji, the head of the municipality’s inspection team. In addition to receiving the standard fine, this man was also referred to the public prosecution office.
In another case, he said, inspectors discovered that mechanics working at a large garage were sleeping in customers’ cars left in the workshop overnight, apparently with their employer’s consent. The garage owner had accepted the situation could not continue, but said most of his workers could no longer afford to rent anywhere to live.

Mr Tunaiji said the man had told officials: “Most of the old cars we have here have no air-conditioning, and since it’s the hot season we allowed them to use the customers’ cars at night and clean them in the morning before the owner comes.”
Discomfort is not the only risk faced by the “car people”.
In February last year a 58-year-old jobless Palestinian was found dead in a broken-down car in which he had been living on Al Wahda Street. Residents told police that Bassam Shariff, who had been in the UAE for 20 years, was unable to afford rent and had been living in the vehicle for two years, relying on the bathrooms in mosques.
In Dubai, the municipality said it had not had any reports of people living in cars in the city, but that it would take action against anyone who did.
“Of course this is unhealthy,” said Redha Salman, the director of the Public Health and Safety Department, “but the main issue in such cases is of security as people risk their lives and spoil the environment.”
Many expatriates who work in Dubai say they are now forced to live in Sharjah, Ajman and Ras al Khaimah as rents in Dubai have become unaffordable.
“When I was a bachelor I lived in Dubai and paid just for a bed space,” said Narayan Kutty, a sales representative who now lives with his family in Rolla.
“However, when I decided to bring my family here, I had to move to Sharjah because I can’t afford even a small room in Dubai.”
Other complications are putting further strain on housing stock.
In May, officials proposed an amendment to labour laws that would prevent companies that were not licensed to operate in the emirate from using Sharjah as a dormitory in which to house workers cheaply. The move, which followed a series of protests and violent skirmishes over the rising cost of living among workers whose jobs were in Dubai or Abu Dhabi but whose quarters were in Sharjah, is also expected to complicate life further for workers who commute from Sharjah to escape Dubai’s high rents.
In Abu Dhabi, where municipal officials also say they have not heard of people living in cars, the pressures of high rents and low supply have created a different problem: the illegal partitioning of villas and apartments. This in turn is putting further pressure on housing stock.
Since March, the municipality has been waging a campaign against violators, many of whom are what Salem al Maameri, the municipality’s director of municipal services, describes as “investors” who rent properties and then modify them into separate apartments, which they then sublet.
“Any building modification has to be approved,” he said. “Sometimes it is external modification, sometimes internal, but it is against the law. This is a big problem and we are fighting it.”
Following a fire that started in a makeshift rooftop development in Abu Dhabi this month, the municipality is also conducting inspections of all high-rise apartment blocks, with the intention of removing such “penthouses”, often home to many workers.
Over the past two years the tide of workers seeking an affordable lifestyle has created a shortage of housing and driven up rents in Ras al Khaimah. The situation is exacerbated by the emirate’s electricity shortage; new houses are being built but, without power, remain empty, leaving more people to squeeze into existing properties.
Ahmad, a driver for a local company, shares two rooms in a partitioned villa with eight men from Peshawar, Pakistan. The rent is Dh1,100 per month, excluding electricity and water. Although they like RAK and count their blessings – they can still afford to send some money home – when Ahmad moved to the emirate 10 years ago four rooms cost him Dh250. His cousin, uncle and son have all returned to Pakistan because of the rising costs and he plans to follow them soon.
Though the room already looks overcrowded, they have a plan in place for the next rent increase – they will replace their mattresses with bunk beds to accommodate yet more people in their room.
In another area of the city, old houses that were abandoned 20 years ago have been converted into small compounds, where each room is shared by up to 10 men. Five or six years ago, rooms that today cost between Dh1,000 and Dh1,500 would have fetched only Dh300.
However, the population explosion in RAK is now making it increasingly profitable for owners to rent these villas to middle-income families, whose companies will offer Dh40,000 or more.
In one such building, 13 men who work as labourers, repair men and drivers are facing eviction from their two-bedroom villa within two months. Some hope to stay with friends and commute to work in RAK. Others are unsure of their future.
The RAK authorities are aware of the problem, says engineer Majid Awwad, a technical adviser to the municipality. The municipality has plans to build low-income housing for labourers and others, but this is not a short-term solution; it will not be ready for at least another two years.

* With additional reporting by Praveen Menon, Zoi Constantine, Anna Zacharias

Aminudin Baki - Arkitek Pendidikan Negara

Pada hari pertama bulan Ramadan bersamaan 24 Disember 1965 negara ini kehilangan puteranya yang muda dan banyak berjasa dalam bidang pendidikan. Aminuddin bin Baki meninggal dunia pada usia baru mencecah 39 tahun.

Mengenang arkitek pendidikan negara


PADA 9 Disember 2004 telah diadakan suatu majlis perasmian bangunan di Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Tanjung Malim. Dalam majlis tersebut, salah sebuah pusat di kampus itu diberikan nama Pusat Global Pendidikan Aminuddin Baki.
Nama 'Aminuddin Baki' begitu menyengat dalam otak Rozeman Abu Hassan, anak muda berusia 37 tahun yang hadir dalam majlis itu. Siapa gerangan Aminuddin Baki yang disebut-sebut itu sehinggakan banyak institusi yang memakai namanya? Bermulalah penggalian beliau akan diri tokoh yang dikatakan amat berjasa kepada sistem pendidikan negara itu.
Pengabdian diri Rozeman keluar masuk arkib dan perpustakaan menemukan beliau dengan pelbagai dokumen yang memukau minatnya. Semua bahan itu berkaitan sumbangan Aminuddin berupa artikel, syarahan, catatan, gambar, sijil dan yang paling autentik adalah buku harian saku milik Aminuddin antara 1961 - 65 dan diari peribadi beliau yang juga catatan perjalanannya ke United Kingdom.
Kebanyakan buku dan tulisan yang ditemui Rozeman sebelum ini tentang Aminuddin lebih tertumpu kepada aspek agenda pendidikan yang diperjuangkan oleh tokoh pendidikan itu. Hal peribadinya, latar belakang keluarganya dan kehidupannya yang membentuk jati dirinya hampir tidak ada sama sekali.
Rozeman pun menukar arah penggaliannya daripada arkib dan perpustakaan kepada kampung halaman Aminuddin di Chemor, Perak menemui ahli keluarga dan saudara mara Allahyarham. Demikianlah bermulanya projek penulisan buku Biografi Aminuddin Baki: Arkitek Pendidikan Negara yang baru saja diterbitkan. Rozeman menyodorkan buku barunya ini kepada saya dua hari lalu.
Aminuddin Baki lahir di sebuah perkampungan Mandailing di Chemor, Perak. Keluarganya, orang Mandailing berasal dari Sumatera dan Aminuddin dibesarkan dalam sebuah keluarga tujuh adik beradik. Beliau mendapat pendidikan awal dalam suasana sekolah atap dan mengikuti kelas agama Islam sebelah petang dan malam di bawah bimbingan Ustaz Dahlan.
Sekolah Anderson di Ipoh kemudian memberi tempat kepada Aminuddin menduduki Special Malay Class. Sepanjang belajar di Sekolah Anderson, Aminuddin mengayuh basikal sejah 20 km tiap hari antara Chemor dengan Ipoh.
Kedatangan tentera Jepun telah menghantar pula beliau ke Sekolah Convent, Jalan Gopeng di Ipoh bagi mempelajari Kamigayo, iaitu pelajaran bahasa Jepun sehingga melayakkan beliau menjadi guru bahasa Jepun.
Kemudian Aminuddin menjalani latihan perguruan di Hyoin Yosei Jo, di Brewster Road. Di sinilah Aminuddin mula akrab dengan tokoh-tokoh pendidikan lain seperti Hamdan Sheikh Tahir dan Abdullah Ayob. Dalam kalangan teman-teman akrabnya, Aminuddin dikenali dengan sikap dirinya yang jujur, mempunyai keazaman tinggi, berprinsip dalam tindakannya dan berpegang kuat dengan mengamalkan setiap ajaran Islam.
Selepas tamat perang, Aminuddin kembali menyambung pengajian dan memperoleh School Certificate pada 1946 dan menyambung pengajian di Raffles College, dan kemudian ke Universiti Malaya, Singapura. Dalam masa itu juga Aminuddin menimba pengalaman menjadi guru dengan mengajar di Anglo-Malay Evening School di Singapura antara 1949-1951.
Bersama Abdullah Majid, Aminuddin mengaturkan pelbagai kelas bahasa Inggeris untuk anak-anak Melayu di beberapa tempat di Singapura dengan Aminuddin sendiri mengajar di Sekolah Telok Belangah. Selain seorang pemidato dalam bahasa Melayu yang baik, Aminuddin boleh bertutur dengan fasih dalam bahasa Inggeris, Jepun, Cina dan Arab.
Dalam biografi ini sikap bencikan sistem penjajah amat kental pada diri Aminuddin. Beliau dipetik berkata "Saya tidak tahan lebih lama lagi menuntut di sekolah penjajah, saya tidak mahu menjadi anak jajahan. Bagaimana saya boleh belajar dengan sistem pelajaran penjajah sekarang ini? Bagaimana saya boleh menimba ilmu dari perigi yang kotor?"
Aminuddin bertekad melanjutkan pengajiannya di Universitas Gadjah Mada di Indonesia. Beliau mahu menjadi pelajar Melayu pertama di universiti tersebut. Sahabat beliau, Abdullah Hussain memberi nasihat kepada Aminuddin, "Memang benar perigi itu kotor, tetapi di dasar perigi itu ada mutiara. Apa salahnya kalau saudara menyelam mengambil mutiaranya tanpa menggunakan airnya yang kotor itu? Walaupun tubuh saudara akan kotor tetapi mutiara yang saudara peroleh di dasarnya dapat membersihkan kotoran itu."
Bakat kepimpinan Aminuddin jelas apabila ketika baru berusia 20 tahun beliau menubuhkan dan memimpin Persatuan Pelajar-Pelajar Melayu Insaf (PERMI) di Ipoh pada April 1946. Beliau memperkenalkan perjuangan PERMI dengan slogan "Belajar terus belajar!"
PERMI yang diterajui Aminuddin kemudian berjaya menghimpunkan pemimpin pelajar Melayu dari seluruh Semenanjung pada 14 dan 15 Ogos 1948 bagi menubuhkan Gabungan Pelajar-pelajar Melayu Semenanjung (GPMS).
Aminuddin tidak menerima pelantikan sebagai Yang Dipertua GPMS yang pertama, tetapi selepas itu beliau dilantik dua kali menerajui GPMS. Kepimpinan GPMS terpaksa ditinggalkan oleh Aminuddin apabila beliau menerima Queen Scholarship bagi melanjutkan pelajarannya di peringkat sarjana di London. Beliau kemudian dilantik menjadi Penasihat GPMS sehinggalah beliau meninggal dunia.
Selepas pulang dari London, Aminuddin menjadi pensyarah di Sultan Idris Training College, Tanjong Malim. Pengalaman beliau dalam PERMI dan GPMS digunakannya bagi menggerakkan persatuan penuntut di SITC pula.
Ketika berusia 36 tahun pada 1961, Aminuddin merupakan pegawai kerajaan yang termuda dilantik sebagai Ketua Penasihat Pelajaran bagi Persekutuan Tanah Melayu. Beliau berusaha kuat memastikan bangsa Melayu berdiri sama tinggi dan duduk sama rendah dengan bangsa lain di Tanah Melayu.
Jawatan Ketua Penasihat Pelajaran bukanlah diterimanya tanpa cabaran dan salah satu ujian getir yang dilalui oleh Aminuddin ketika itu ialah dalam menghadapi mogok pelajar Sekolah Dato' Abdul Razak (SDAR) di Tanjong Malim yang menuntut penukaran guru besarnya. Mogok ini merebak sehingga selama satu setengah bulan sebelum SDAR diarah tutup.
Sebagai salah seorang yang menggubal Laporan Razak beliau memastikan wujudnya sekolah menengah aliran Melayu. Keputusan ini membuka laluan dan peluang yang luas kepada pelajar Melayu mendapat pendidikan tinggi di universiti. Bagi memajukan lagi perkhidmatan pendidikan negara, Aminuddin memujuk pegawai Melayu menyertai profesion perguruan. Antaranya termasuklah Abdul Rahman Arshad dan Murad Mohd. Nor yang kedua-duanya kemudian menjadi Ketua Pengarah Pelajaran.
Dasar Pelajaran Kebangsaan yang digubal seperti termaktub dalam Akta Pelajaran 1961 menjadikan tugas Aminuddin semakin berat. Beliau menyusun dan menggerakkan jentera pelajaran dengan amat berkesan. Beliau merancang beberapa dasar pelajaran dalam negara untuk digubal dan digunakan sebagai dasar pendidikan kebangsaan.
Dua cabaran yang diatasinya ialah bagi mewujudkan aliran Melayu peringkat sekolah menengah dan meyakinkan ibu bapa akan keupayaan anak-anak mereka maju dalam aliran Melayu yang ketika itu tidak diyakini akan dapat memberi peluang kerjaya yang baik.
Satu lagi sumbangan Aminuddin Baki yang penting ialah bagi mewujudkan aliran sains di sekolah menengah Melayu bagi memperbanyak lulusan aliran ini dalam kalangan anak Melayu pada peringkat yang lebih tinggi di universiti.
Usaha beliau ini telah berjaya melahirkan graduan Melayu daripada aliran Melayu dan aliran sains yang sebelum ini dinafikan oleh sistem pendidikan penjajah. Justeru, sesuailah jolokan 'Arkitek Pendidikan Negara' diberikan kepada beliau.
Secara keseluruhan, buku ini telah berjaya mendokumentasikan dengan lengkap sumbangan yang telah diberikan oleh Aminuddin dalam sistem pendidikan negara. Buku ini harus dibaca oleh setiap kita khususnya yang terlibat dalam profesion pendidikan dan perguruan.
Pada hari pertama bulan Ramadan bersamaan 24 Disember 1965 negara ini kehilangan puteranya yang muda dan banyak berjasa dalam bidang pendidikan. Aminuddin bin Baki meninggal dunia pada usia baru mencecah 39 tahun.

- ROOSFA HASHIM, Pensyarah
di Pusat Pengajian Umum,Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Is Saudi really the easiest place to do business in GCC?"

Personally, I have no experience in doing business in Gulf Co-operative Council (GCC) except of course some experiences in the UAE. I guess from other businessmen, UAE is regarded the best place among GCC countries to do business.

According to Arabian Business, all six GCC states have appeared among the top 60 countries in the world to do business in, according to a report published jointly by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Surprise, surprise. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have been named in a report as the best places in the region to do business.

A fortnight ago global financial markets took a beating when US investment bank Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection and Merrill Lynch agreed to be taken over, so news that the GCC is a good place for business couldn't have been better timed.

But despite being the bearer of good news, the report didn't fail to raise a few eyebrows with its rankings.

In an overview of the report Doing Business 2009, it's been revealed that Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are leading the pack when it comes to the best places to do business. Qatar comes in third followed by the UAE in fourth place. Kuwait and Oman are last on the list.

According to the report, the economies have been ranked on their ease of doing business. The index averages the economy's percentile rankings on 10 topics, made up of a variety of indicators giving equal weight to each topic.

They include setting up business, dealing with construction permits, employing workers, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and closing a business.

The data accumulated covers the period from June 2007 to June this year.
But after speaking to contractors and developers working in the region, Construction Week learnt that most have called the report "inaccurate."

Can Saudi Arabia really be the easiest place to do business?

"The UAE is the easiest place to do business," said Haytham Al Tajir, chairman of a Dubai-based development firm, Al Tajir Real Estate.

"Nowhere else even comes close. We have property all over the Gulf and I have to say, the UAE is the fastest and quickest place to conduct business. I don't agree with the report."

Some GCC states faired better than the others under different topics.

To start a business based on the procedures, time and cost involved and minimum capital required, Qatar came out tops followed by Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE and then Kuwait.

Bahrain topped the list for least procedures, time and cost required for acquiring construction permits, with Qatar and UAE following close behind. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman came in after, in that order.

But Belgian construction firm Six Construct general manager Philippe Dessoy who is currently working on projects in the UAE, Qatar and Oman expressed his doubts over the report and said that if any place was easy to work in, it would have to be the UAE.

"Acquiring construction permits anywhere in the region is difficult. In fact, it's a nightmare, so I wouldn't rate any place higher than the other," he said.

Saudi Arabia was named first with regards to having the least procedures, time and cost to register property followed in order by Bahrain, UAE, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.

With recent scandals in the UAE involving some developers attempting to cancel already sold-out projects coupled with many high profile arrests on alleged charges of bribery and embezzlement, it comes as no surprise that the UAE was last on the list for best places for investor protection.

Kuwait topped this list followed by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar.

Kuwait came in as number one again for the least procedures, time and cost required to enforce contracts. Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, and UAE followed in that order.

Despite Saudi Arabia topping the list on the whole, it came in last in this category.

The ease of pulling out or closing shop again saw the UAE come in last with Bahrain topping the category. Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait followed.

But Dahlia Khalida from the IFC and World Bank and co-author of the report said the rankings reflect reforms that have been made by these countries.

"The report is not recommending any country over another as best to do business in. It is based on the speed and level of reforms that have been made in these countries and Saudi Arabia has reformed the most."

"The UAE may still be the best place to do business in, but when based on the levels of reforms in the country, it is not among the top."

And the UAE is not beyond the need for reforms. Construction permits is an area that could do with some attention along with investor protection and contract enforcement.

Further, Rob Wagner, editor of Construction week wrote:-

While Saudi Arabia has reached out to Western businesses for trade and has brought contractors and developers to Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam, there remains much work to truly make the country a relatively friendly place to do business.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle is the lack of codified laws. The Kingdom only recognises Shariah as the law of the land.

That means little to Western companies that want to be protected if disputes arise. Most business and labour regulations are issued through a royal decree. Commercial courts have been established since the founding of the country, but commercial disputes are generally settled by two Shariah judges and one legal adviser. Decisions by this committee can be appealed to the Ministry of Commerce.

In addition, non-Saudis are not permitted to act as commercial agents. If a non-Saudi wants to open a business he or she is required to have a Saudi sponsor. Another obvious impediment to doing business in Saudi Arabia is the requirement that all women must be accompanied to the Kingdom by a male guardian, such as a father or brother or even a son. There is a large segment of independent businesswomen who could do well in Saudi Arabia, but are excluded due to guardianship issue.

There are other issues that would take an entire issue of Construction Week to address: Wasta, the mind-numbing bureaucracy, poor infrastructure that in many cases make large projects virtually impossible to get off the ground, and the lack of coordination between various ministries.

It also should be noted that the World Bank's report is not entirely glowing in its praise for Saudi Arabia.
While positive reforms have been implemented, the report notes that no progress has been made in issuing construction permits, employing workers, obtaining credit, paying taxes (there are no taxes in Saudi Arabia) and enforcing contracts.

Yes, much has improved, but Saudi Arabia has a long road to hoe before it becomes the most business friendly.

Sebelum Tiba Waktu Itu

Inilah kehidupan sejengkal
mencorak hitam, putih, kelabu
dan warna-warna musim perantauan
yang melebarkan perspektif jiwa
tentang rindu dari kehilangan
waktu, jarak dan ruang
sebagai musafir yang menumpang
asing kemeriahan suasana

Di sana jauh kehidupan berlalu
mengisi imej, wajah, peristiwa
dan langkah-langkah perjuangan
yang menyingkap memori manis
mengepung sentimental secebis emosi
kasih, sayang dan kebahagiaan
sebagai anak yang digamit pulang
lambaian kampung kelahiran

Kehidupan kita merentas benua
menjejak bumi semakin mendatar
bersama bulan, bintang dan mentari
tetap berputaran mengikut paksi
mungkin esok, mungkin lusa
sekiranya itu destini perjalanan
kita tidak lagi berhutang jasmani
dengan janji yang sering dimungkiri

Lantas syawal yang tiba
sehening takbir memecah fajar
jadilah kita insan kerdil yang tawakal
mengadap dan berharap
ramadan telah mengembalikan
kekudusan dalam usia tersisa
agar rohani tercalar tidak tersesat
sebelum tiba waktu itu
di destinasi nafas terakhir!

Dubai, UAE
28 Ramadan 1429

Kifarat Mahathir Menuju Diktator

Dalam pertandingan jawatan dalam UMNO yang bakal hangat dan memuncak, walau ditangguhkan, tentunya para penulis buku politik akan sama bertarung untuk mencari habuan.

Tidak kiralah sama ada penulis politik bertaraf upahan atau profesional, persaingan untuk melakukan buku masing-masing menambahkan kemeriahan suasana.
Ada politikus yang akan menaja atau membeli buku-buku tersebut untuk diedarkan secara percuma sekiranya buku tersebut mempromosikan mereka sebagai calun pemimpin yang hebat.
Manakala, tidak mengejutkan juga kalau ada buku setaraf '50 dalil' kenapa si fulan dan si fulan tidak boleh jadi PM, TPM dan sebagainya.
Fakta, fitnah, atau yang separuh fakta separuh fitnah boleh mempengaruhi perwakilan, selain tentunya duit pelincir dan suapan lain yang sudah lama menjadi budaya UMNO.
Salah satu buku politik yang muncul ialah, 'Kifarat Mahathir Menuju Diktator.'
Tajuknya seakan, 'Mahathir Bashing' walau Mahathir tidak bertanding tetapi masih mempunyai tangan ghaib untuk menentukan kalah menang calun-calun yang disokongnya, termasuk anaknya sendiri.
Kebenciaan Mahathir terhadap pengganti pilihannya sendiri bukanlah rahsia lagi dan Mahathir berterusan mengutuk Pak Lah sehingga Pak Lah pencen tidak lama lagi. Tetapi keduanya akan bersama kembali dalam Yayasan Kepimpinan Perdana. Tidak pasti sebumbung nanti, kedua mereka akan terus jadi 'Tom and Jerry.'
Dari sebuah blog rakan di TV9, yang mengulas:

Dalam bukunya beliau menulis, "bertolak dari tindakan Pak Lah menghentikan sungai emas yang mengalir ke kantong penjilat dan pengampunya maka Mahathir pun mulalah menambak dengan mulut celuparnya.

Untuk memenuhi nafsu serakahnya Mahathir sanggup turun dan hadir dalam apapun majlis, sama ada diatur oleh UMNO, parti pembangkang atau NGO.

Dia tanpa aib dan malu berterusan menfitnah, memperlekeh, menghina dan mencaci Pak Lah. Seolah-olah dia lupa sepanjang pemerintahannya terlalu banyak dosa dan noda yang telah dilakukannya.

Pak Lah yang bertunjangkan ulamak tidak menjawab dan memalukan Mahathir. Kalau selain daripada Paka Lah tentulah Mahathir telah mendapat malu.

Pak Lah boleh mendedahkan seribu tempayan pekasam busuk Mahathir. Pak Lah boleh menelanjangi seribu pekung bernanah Mahathir.

Kalau Pak Lah berbuat demikian tentulah busuknya terhidu dari kota hingga ke desa. Seluruh ahli-ahli UMNO mengetahuinya.
Seluruh rakyat melihatnya."

Dalam satu bab dalam buku "Kifarat Mahathir Menuju Diktator", Kamarazaman Yacob memilih sembilan tokoh UMNO yang beliau rasa antara mereka yang berjuang mempertahankan Pak Lah.

Antara tokoh yang dipilih dalam bab "Sembilan Pahlawan " itu ialah Adnan Yaakob, Muhammad Muhd Taib, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Ahmad Shabery Chik, Shahrir Samad, Ali Rustam, Noh Omar, Ismail Sabri Yaakob dan Shaziman Abu Mansor.

Rais Yatim Popularising SODOMY in the UN General Assembly

First I read about UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in the UN General Assembly who has called for a full compliance with the principles of the UN Charter and international legitimacy to tackle the enormous challenges that currently face the international community.

In his speech, Shaikh Abdullah pointed out that UAE has made major progress in a number of spheres, such as, for example, in the representation of women in its executive and legislative bodies and to enhance their role and participation in the labour market.

Then, I read another news from the UN General Assembly that Rais Yatim was trying to popularise the SODOMY as a Malaysia culture and vehemently blasted other countries for allegedly interfering with a current sodomy court case.

He was only a stand-in to replace his two bosses who are busy with transition plan and other UMNO internal bickering than representing our nation in the world stage. He sounded like Mugabe few days before, a sore loser, full of hatred in defence of the corrupts and his own misdeeds.

How much of rakyat money is spent to fly him to New York for this mission? Do we have any other urgent and critical matters to be addressed and voiced out for the whole mankind?

For comparison, please read Anwar's keynote speech in Hong Kong HERE.

Read The Reuters Report:-

UNITED NATIONS - MALAYSIA demanded on Saturday that foreign governments stop interfering in its affairs by criticising the sodomy charges against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is challenging the ruling coalition.
Datuk Seri Anwar says the case is a politically motivated attempt to scuttle his bid for power against the United Malays National Organisation, the biggest party in a coalition that has ruled Malaysia for 51 years.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice irked Malaysia earlier this year by saying Washington would speak out in legal cases it considered political in nature, including the Anwar case.
'We could if we choose question the legal basis of the Guantanamo detention without trial but we did not,' Foreign Minister Rais Yatim told the UN General Assembly in a reference to the US-run prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for terrorism suspects.
'While same-sex fornication and marriage are acceptable in California, it does not mean that sodomy, which is a crime in many countries in Asia, is to be impugned or derided upon,' said Dr Rais, who did not directly mention the Anwar case.
The Umno party and Barisan Nasional coalition it leads are facing the prospect of losing power to a resurgent opposition alliance led by Mr Anwar, a former deputy premier.
Mr Anwar is free on bail and his sodomy trial has been adjourned until early October. He was convicted and imprisoned on charges of corruption and sodomy in the late 1990s in a case that derailed his rise in the political ranks.
Malaysia's prime minister has been under pressure to quit since March when the opposition won over a third of the seats in parliament. Rifts have begun to appear in the Umno as the party tries to stave off the opposition challenge.
Mr Anwar is accused of engaging in a homosexual act with a former aide. Sodomy is a crime punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment in Malaysia. -- REUTERS

McCain- Obama Debate was a damp squib!

When I thought the Anwar-Shabery debate was nothing less than a stunt by the cheeky Information Minister, it is fair to say that the first US presidential debate was a damp squib, as per commented by Gulf News editorial.

There is a great hope to see Obama installed as the new US president. It could be about him to be the first non-white to occupy the most powerful seat in the world. There would be definitely no change in US policy towards Israel, period. Whoever wins, US will still be Israel's proxy to rule the world.

Then again, with the current on again-off again and extended transition plan in UMNO, we have less expectations on our own political changes. There would be a new PM but he is still one of them under the same policies and old mindset, governed by corrupt mind and perut survival. He has tainted image and carry heavy luggage (no, I do not refer to his 'big mama' wife) to be effective as the new leader to lead our nation into greater heights.

Unless he takes the dictatorial and iron fist approach like his mentor, Tun M to combact his opponents within or outside the party. Then we have bigger problems as the opposition supporters who could be crashed into all sorts of persecutions to silence the critics.

Back to the the much anticipated debate between Republican presidential candidate John McCain and Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama. It eventually took place on Friday night. The on-again, off-again, on-again tussle proved to be way below expectations of the media and possibly many Americans as well.

The hoped-for explosive dialogue, the first in what may be a series before the elections, turned out to be a damp squib. The heated exchanges, mainly on foreign policy, were so few and far between that viewers could be forgiven for thinking they never existed as the temperature of the debate never rose above lukewarm.
Most of what was said by both candidates had already been spelt out over a period of months and reinforced by the many advertisements that have plagued the public. There was nothing new to excite the blood or even - worse - to set either of them apart as suitable material for the next president of the most powerful country in the world.
In this, the most expensive presidential election campaign ever, it would not have been unreasonable to see some flashes of brilliance or perception to tip the balance in their favour. But nothing was forthcoming.
As President George W. Bush wraps up his second term in office, being generally recognised as the most unpopular president ever, it should be a relatively simple matter for the aspirants to high office to demonstrate to the public, and his opponent, exactly how their policy differs from the present incumbent.
Sadly, none of this was forthcoming. Instead, the candidates took the opportunity to take pot-shots at each other, hoping to score points by making themselves look clever and their opponent look silly. It was obvious though that neither candidate has the gravitas to carry it off, leaving viewers, the audience and even the moderator, wanting more.