Thursday, January 29, 2009

Perut-Perut besar berDEMO bantah tangkap rasuah UMNO

SEBAHAGIAN daripada anggota Umno yang mengadakan demonstrasi membantah peranan Lembaga Disiplin dan Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia di pekarangan Menara Dato Onn kira-kira 8.20 malam tadi. - foto The Star oleh AZHAR MAHFOF
KUALA LUMPUR: Majlis Tertinggi (MT) Umno kini sedang bermesyuarat dengan sekumpulan ahli dipercayai, anggota Pemuda dan Putera, mengadakan 'demonstrasi' membantah tindakan Lembaga Disiplin dan Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) dalam soal membanteras gejala politik wang.
Mereka menyerahkan memorandum bantahan terhadap tindakan SPRM, yang didakwa keterlaluan dan kasar semasa menyoal siasat 39 orang berhubung politik wang di Pahang baru-baru ini.
Jurucakap kumpulan berkenaan, Zuraidi Abdul Rahim iaitu perwakilan dari Baling berkata, tindakan SPRM itu telah mencemarkan imej mereka.
Beliau mendakwa mewakili kira-kira 2,500 anggota Pemuda.
"Dua atau tiga orang daripada mereka telah membuat laporan polis," kata beliau kepada wartawan di sini malam ini.
Kumpulan itu berhimpun di pekarangan Menara Dato Onn di sini dengan membawa sepanduk tertera mesej "Lembaga disiplin sudah nyanyuk", "Jangan ambil hak ahli Umno" dan "Kami menolak SPRM, boleh blah".
MACC lodges report against Umno leader
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has lodged a report to counter allegations that an Umno division leader was assaulted by MACC officers during detention.
Earlier, the 46-year-old division leader from Maran, Pahang, reported that he was punched in the head, shoulder and stomach during his four-day remand in Kuantan.
He also claimed that he was forced to strip naked, lie and roll on the floor besides being asked to do squats and sing the national anthem repeatedly.
In his report, he also claimed an officer pressed him against the wall and threatened to arrest his wife and ask her to strip if he refused to confess that he had handed money to Umno members.
He lodged his report at the Damansara police station Thursday.
MACC deputy commissioner Datuk Abu Kassim Mohammad said the MACC had lodged a report against the Umno leader for allegedly lodging a false report.
“Before being released, he told us that he will lodge a report and smear MACC’s image, so we waited for him to lodge a report before we ourselves lodged a report.
“We want the police to thoroughly investigate the man’s allegations against our officer and if there is any evidence that the MACC officers had abused or assaulted him, then the police must take action.
“However if there is no such thing, the police must take action against him for lodging a false report,” he said.
Abu Kassim also said that the MACC investigation into money politics involving the Umno leader would continue without fear or favour.
Related story:Umno members protest MACC, disciplinary board actions

Projek-Projek Di Dubai yang Dibatalkan/tangguhkan

Dikatakan secara minima, 50% projek hartanah di Dubai sama ada dibatalkan atau ditangguhkan. Tidak mengejutkan dalam krisis kewangan dan ekonomi dunia yang terus merudum.

Antara yang ditangguhkan ialah pembinaan menara yang melebih 1 km dan lebih tinggi dari Burj Dubai, iaitu bangunan tertinggi di dunia apabila siap sepenuhnya. Ketika ini ketinggian Burj Dubai dikatakan 800m.
Ada banyak juga syarikat pembinaan hartanah yang gulung tikar. Tidak kurang yang lesap bersama wang pendeposit. Banyak cerita sedih dan malang.
Maka gelembung (bubble) Dubai telah pecah dan yang terburai adalah mereka yang selama ini seakan main judi dengan beli jual beli jual. Ada yang tersangkut dengan hutang dan pinjaman bank.
Bank juga turut sama lingkup. Dua syarikat kewangan hartanah digabungkan dibawah bail-out kerajaan. Syarikat hartanah juga sudah memberhentikan ramai pekerja. Dikatakan jumlah yang dibuang sudah menghampiri 30 ribu orang dari pelbagai industri, terutama hartanah dan perbankan.
Keadaan masih belum menentu. Dengan persidangan Davos sama memberi isyarat krisis ekonomi berterusan, mungkin lebih banyak berita projek yang diberhentikan/tangguhkan/batalkan yang kita dengar.

Can Umno save itself from corruption?

I have lost trust and hope in Umno top leaders as well as young leaders for a long time, as long as they are part of the sinking ship, they are the same. Period.

The Edge Financial Daily says
Can Umno save itself from corruption?

CAN Umno save itself from corruption? It is telling that Umno disciplinary board chairman Tan Sri Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen Tengku Ismail has called for all the party's wings - Wanita, Youth, Putera and Puteri - to be abolished in order to reduce corruption in the system.
Such a radical message - from a party elder and custodian of its integrity - means that the rot has gone so deep that only the most drastic action can save the organisation from an ignoble fate.
Indeed, it is relevant to ask today whether Umno can salvage its reputation, or whether it is too late for that already.
Harsh as that may sound, the question now reverberates through the public space, since all efforts to rid the party of corruption for over two decades have failed to cure it of the malaise.
What has brought Umno, once the most formidable political force in the country, to its current crisis of credibility?
The answer is simple - the system of checks and balances that can prevent people in power from abusing their positions to reward their supporters is not working.
For Umno to stop corruption from spreading, it must open itself to scrutiny, so that people who are not able to benefit from their proximity to the seat of power can object when favours are granted by the powerful to their family members and friends.
If Umno can rise to the challenge, perhaps there is hope for its political renaissance.
If it cannot, it must live with the taint of money politics, as the scourge of corruption in its ranks has been euphemistically called, and deal with the consequences of its inertia.
Today, the odour of corruption that envelops Umno cannot be masked by the failure of those who make such accusations to provide concrete evidence of the practice. It is well reported that Umno leaders themselves have been loudly complaining about vote-buying for the longest time.
This has become standard fare whenever an Umno election looms, and reports of money politics on a mind-boggling scale have become an inseparable part of the political scenario. Who cannot recall the episode of a candidate for a division chief's post who spent RM6 million in 1995 on his campaign?
In such a milieu, is it possible that Umno leaders at all levels are free of money politics?
Further, with Umno's standing at such a low ebb, how can it hope to renew the Barisan Nasional after the mauling that the coalition received in the last election?
Indeed, the current generation of Umno leaders deserve to apologise to the likes of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak, Tun Dr Ismail and Tun Hussein Onn, who laid the foundations of the nation's progress, for bringing the political situation to its current abyss.

American Pie and a Song for Malaysia

I adapted the below article to suit Malaysia present political and economic situation...original article was Amerian Pie and a Song for Our Times by Barkha Dutt.

What for you was the indelible image from the week that America got itself a new President? Was it the benediction — when millions of people bowed their heads in grace and whispered amen?
Was it when a firm hand placed itself on a Bible that had as much history as the moment itself? Was it when the new President called for hope over fear? Or was it the moment of private tenderness between Michelle Obama and her husband as they huddled together on the dance floor? For me, frankly, it wasn’t any of these moments — unforgettable and powerful as they were.
The image that sticks in my mind is far less flamboyant and much more simple. In fact, it’s the day before Barack Obama was sworn in. It’s the memory of him singing along to the strains of American Pie. That single sight epitomised the essence of his presidency. It wasn’t only about youth or change or ousting George Bush. It was also about being one of us — about being a ‘regular guy.’ The cynics may dismiss it as ‘branding’ — but whether it’s the Chili Hot dogs, the basketball dunks or the Blackberry addiction — from the very start Obama has focused on blending a determined ordinariness into his unique political mix.
He has broken down the barriers of formality and hierarchy that separate a people from their politicians.
And it is precisely this, which we most miss in Malaysia. Think about it. Can you ever imagine any of our political leaders being comfortable enough to hum along to the strains of an old Malay film song, if they knew the cameras could catch them? (I add - some of them yes, they love hindi songs and patron karaoke/dangdut clubs)
The couple of them who may — P. Ramlee maybe or Sudirman perhaps — get affectionately stereotyped as ‘entertainers’.
You may wonder why I’m making so much of this singing business. But it’s really music as a metaphor for comfort, ease and accessibility. Even our younger politicians are so ill at ease when it comes to being themselves in public. It’s almost as if an unspoken code of stiff protocol and remote politeness defines the Malaysian neta’s public persona.
Ironic, because as individuals, many of them are among the warmest people I know, happy to engage in the warmth of conversation and the spontaneity of debate. But when they don their politico hat, it’s as if they have been hardwired for primness and the most archaic interpretation of propriety. Some of it has to do with how our political culture has evolved.
Don’t you feel just a little envious when you see Nicholas Sarkozy going for his morning jog through the streets of Paris and not feel any less presidential for it? Or when ordinary Americans can shake hands with their President at street corner rallies?
In Malaysia, even when ‘at homes’ are hosted by let’s say, the sleeping prime minister, to mark big national functions like Hari Kebangsaan, a security cordon separates the really important guests from the less-important ones. Mingling is out of the question unless you line up in a long queue for a brief handshake or namaste. (I add - even in Dubai, our PM had so many UTKs to guard him from the rakyat)
And, while it may sound horribly politically incorrect, here’s the truth: Malaysia’s poor and Malaysia's mega-powerful are the only two categories of people with any chance at direct contact with the political class. Influence peddlers within the business community or the media are of course lucky enough to know their politicians well. And, ironically, the men and women who remain committed voters despite the grinding poverty of their lives may be able to sometimes engage with politicians in a way that is less officious. It’s Malaysia’s middle class that remains outside the circle of contact.
Perhaps they have only themselves to blame. Apolitical mindsets and a knee-jerk and unintelligent antipathy to all politicians in general means they aren’t really entitled to much in the political process. But equally, could their disengagement be turned around by someone who was identifiable; someone they could relate to; someone who was willing to sometimes be one of them?
And no, these new rules of engagement don’t have to be defined by an urbane, upper crust, English-speaking constituency. Accessibility and informality can be communicated in a million different ways that can happily vary from person to person. In the end, it’s all about politics (and politicians) being a little more enthusiastic and a lot friendlier.
That perhaps is Obama’s most charming dimension. Beyond his oratory and his freshness, it is his willingness to be human, even fallible. Through his campaign he did not hesitate in admitting to mistakes.
He wasn’t shy about saying sorry either. Unlike his predecessor’s famous ‘I didn’t inhale’ obfuscations, Obama even admitted to dabbling with marijuana in his younger years, describing it openly as the actions of a ‘confused kid’ who hadn’t grown up. And yet, despite this searing honesty — or maybe because of it — the world embraced him.
Perhaps, it is this that at least a younger generation of politicians needs to imbibe. Gravitas is not defined by how solemn and sedate your public presence is. Integrity will be indexed by your actions.
In any case, in a world where the Internet is swiftly eliminating gatekeepers (for better or for worse) and pushing even Malaysia’s biggest cine stars into direct messaging with their fans, the pressure on Gen-Next politicians to be more open and transparent is only going to increase.
So, you may as well let us get to know you better. And in the meantime, if you sing us a song, we promise you a chorus.

My Teenage boys and Dubai

Soon it will be a decade of living in this part of the world. Time does fly when we look back and reflect on life. Alhamdulillah, so far, our boys have been wonderful. They are excellent in academic and active in co-curriculum activities.

Saifullah is the school's head boy, Faidhi is the house captain and Muhaimin is aiming to follow suit. Saifullah is ready to leave the nest to venture into college life, away from home in Dubai.

The boys have their own separate after school activities. We do allow them to hang out with (school, Malaysian or other) friends now and then. They go camping and participate in outdoor activities. Even Faidhi was starring in school theatres and video clip production, beside three of them representing school's footbal teams as well as donning Malaysia in Dubai jersey team.

Friday morning is for Malaysian sport.
An article below on frustrated teens in Dubai.
Teenage kicks

The 7DAYS letters page has recently been filled with comments from frustrated teens saying there is nothing for them to do in this city.

It’s true, the weather in this part of the world does prohibit a lot of outdoor activity for at least three months of the year, sports can be expensive, and transport to and from clubs, friend’s houses, events and malls is more than likely reliant on parents - how uncool!

But if you dig deep and look further than the usual mall outings and bowling alleys, there is in fact, plenty for teens to do in Dubai. All it takes is a little imagination.

Here are some suggestions to banish boredom:
Climb a wall

If having nothing to do quite literally has you climbing the walls, then why not take advantage of this talent and head down to the E-Sports Climbing Academy or the Pharaoh’s Club at Wafi to perfect the art of scaling heights. Both venues have professional climbing walls and expert instructors to show you the ropes, and of course the foot-holes.

Become an eBay whizz kid

Parents are always complaining that they don’t understand computers yet the younger generation are internet experts.

So, get to grips with eBay; make a fortune for your parents and demand your own cut of the profits!

If you manage to make dhs100 for a pair of your mum’s old shoes or flog your dad’s old magazine collection (with permission of course) you’re bound to score points with the folks and collect a tidy sum.

Make the most of the nice weatherIt’s going to be too hot to enjoy outdoor activities soon, so why not get some air in your lungs now?

Ask your parents if they’ll be able to pay for you to go wakeboarding or horseriding. But if money is tight at the moment, get some friends together and play tennis or football on the beach. We live so close to beautiful beaches, but often take them for granted, so celebrate the cooler climate and make the most of the outdoor life.
In this multicultural city, being able to speak a new language would be really handy. If you’re an expat teenager, why not learn Arabic and impress your local friends. The Eton Institute of Languages down at Knowledge Village has dozens of courses from Farsi to Italian and they even do online courses so you could do it all from the comfort of your bedroom.

Dramatic tendencies
If you can entertain your friends without even breaking a sweat, then you could be a born actor. Why not put your skills to good use and start attending drama classes? Drama Dubai runs workshops for all ages and abilities to teach everything from method acting to stage fighting and circus skills.

Do some charity work
Doing something for others or ‘giving back’ as they say gives people a real sense of satisfaction. And if you’re thinking, ‘why would I give up my precious free time’, well charity work doesn’t have to be a chore. If you like animals you could volunteer at an animal sanctuary like Feline Friends or, if you’re creative, put your skills to good use by selling your cool crafts and donating the money to a charity of your choice.

Al Noor Training Centre for Children with Special Needs takes on young people over the age of 16 to assist and help the children at the centre. The volunteers work from 8am to 1pm so maybe you could put a day off school to good use by signing up for a few hours on a Friday.

Older teens should also note that listing volunteer work on your CV gives you an added advantage when future employees are looking to recruit.

If you and your friends are really bored, why not set up a business doing odd jobs? From washing cars to babysitting or maybe even just doing some dusting (essential in Dubai), if you work out a rate for each job it could be a nice little earner. If you’re a real entrepreneur you could design flyers or set up your own web site to advertise your service.

Every teen wants to be a rock star, so what’s stopping you? Any spare time can be put to great use by starting a garage band. Find a singer, guitarist, drummer and bassist and get practicing in any available space - at home or at school. Music and lyrics can be found online, and if you get really good, you might even find an opportunity to play at one of Dubai’s many live music nights.
Get fit and sample army life by going along to a Fitness 02 bootcamp. They’re gruelling, but lots of fun.
Just started this week is a special ‘Young Gun’ session for teenagers on Mondays from 4.30pm to 5.30pm down at Safa Park.

Get on the ball
The Barclays International Football Academy is the UAE’s largest football school and the coaches are all English FA qualified. They take on teenagers up to age the age of 16. For information go to
Teens of all ages can join the youth team with Dubai Amateur Football League.