Mahathir says Datuk IQBAL OF FARLIM GROUP WAS ANWAR’S CRONY

Dr Mahathir turned the tables on his critics and revealed lists of people who benefitted from government largesse and contracts. Anwar was then sacked on sodomy and abuse of power charges and later jailed. He was released in 2004 and has campaigned against the BN, leading PR to a historic win of four more states and 82 federal seats in the 2008 elections. Business and Politics makes strange bedfellows but MAHATHIR made some men very rich

Stung by charges of nepotism among Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders, Karpal Singh has instead challenged Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today to reveal his and his family assets accumulated before the country’s longest-serving prime minister retired in 2003.

The DAP national chairman also hit out at the Umno-controlled New Straits Times report, saying the federal constitution guaranteed that all citizens are equal and can take part in politics, including children of political leaders. But he said that Dr Mahathir’s children advanced economically under the former prime minister’s time in office.

“They are all multi-millionaires and when he was PM, he made sure he put them in all right places, in the right context. He himself is a millionaire,” Karpal (picture) was quoted as saying by the Malaysiakini news portal in Air Itam, here.

The veteran politician and lawyer hoped that Dr Mahathir would accept his challenge to reveal the latter’s assets, adding that if all his accounts are in order, “he has nothing to fear”.

“Or else, he has lots to fear when Pakatan comes to power. This does not constitute a threat but a firm reminder to be careful in whatever he says,” Karpal said.

His comments came after the New Straits Times carried a report headlined ‘Nepotism in opposition worrying’ with photographs of PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, his daughter Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, Karpal himself and his son, Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, and Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang and his son Penang chief minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

 Mahathir says Datuk IQBAL OF FARLIM GROUP WAS ANWAR’S CRONY 

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Tun Daim Zainuddin a career of shooting poison darts, laying booby traps. and knifing friend or foe in the back

 Petron acquired the oil refiner Exxon Mobil Malaysia Bhd in April, when it bought 65% of the firm, and now has full ownership of the subsidiaries Exxon Mobil Malaysia Sdn Bhd and Exxon Mobil Borneo Sdn Bhd.It has since rebranded 580 former Exxon Mobil fuel stations nationwide and, it is learnt, will do so with 120 more stations by the end of the yeaa boycott of companies owned by BN cronies would be a more effective method of fighting corruption in Malaysia than depending on action by the police or MACC.

 “Say No to Petron” campaign against the new petrol and gas company, which is said to be owned by Mirzan Mahathir, one of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s sons. to boycott all Petron petrol stations to show our dismay over cronyism in Malaysia,“Petron Malaysia Sdn Bhd, which has links with Mahathir’s son Mirzan, has taken over Esso Malaysia Bhd and all Esso stations are being rebranded to Petron.“This is ridiculous. While the people are struggling, a few are enjoying a lavish life because of cronyism. Those who are related to powerful leaders are getting favours without any problems.

“I am really saddened by our system.here are thousands and thousands of complaints lodged with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the police, but nothing is done about them.So, the time has come to use a new method to fight cronyism.” While Robert Vadra, though not even a party leader seems entitled to greater loyalty of Congressmen and women. The difference lies in the tone and tenor of the Congress’s furious and vicious rebuttals of the IAC’s allegations. In contrast,

the dynasty and the Congress will summon all the nerve and the verve at its command to teach a lesson. Interestingly during the recent altercations, Congress leaders have repeatedly pointed out that Vadra is a ‘private citizen’, who has the right to transact business deals like any other businessman in the country. So what’s the fuss about? But that argument ties itself up in knots. Why then have the top party leadership taken it upon themselves to defend a private citizen. In fact, that line of rhetoric could have worked, had Robert Vadra acted like a private citizen and put up his own defence within 24 hours of the IAC’s press conference. Why has he not? Anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday stuck to his allegations against Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, saying he had just put certain facts in public domain which need to be answered.

India Against Corruption (IAC) leader Kejriwal and his lawyer colleague Prashant Bhushan alleged on Friday that Vadra had bought property in Gurgaon and other places at below market rates and sold them at a huge profit.

“We are not passing a judgment … we have put certain facts in the public domain … why doesn’t he (Vadra) answer them,” Kejriwal asked while speaking to CNN-IBN’s Karan Thapar.

He asked why real estate giant DLF sold properties worth Rs 35 crore to Vadra for Rs 5 crore.

Denying he was targeting Vadra for being related to Gandhi and also to get mileage for his yet-to-be-named political outfit, Kejriwal challenged the channel to get the businessman to answer the charges.

“People will not agree we targeted him for being Gandhi’s son-in-law,” said Kejriwal.

Claiming to be neutral, the activist said both the Congress and the BJP said alleged that he was their rival’s agent.

Stating he had not read the reports about the DLF-Vadra link published in The Economic Times in March 2011, Kejriwal said there was no harm in repeating the same.

The Congress defended Vadra, saying the charges against him were baseless and malicious.

Kejriwal denied law minister Salman Khurshid’s charge that he was indulging in blackmail by levelling false charges against Vadra.

As the race towards the US presidential election heats up, there is a growing interest in India, as to what is in it for us. Soon after presidential candidates Democrat and President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney’s gloves off at their first presidential debate, a set of ambassadors from India and US came together at a session hosted by the Asia Centre in Mumbai to ping-pong on whether the agendas of the sparring candidates hold out divergent implications for India.
Writ in the air in countries like India is a sense of disappointment about foreign policy largely taking a backseat in the presidential campaigns till date, given that the economic crises there, has taken an obvious precedence.
Predictably the topmost concern among Indians is on subjects that directly impact them. Over the next few weeks then, both candidates will be closely watched for their views on outsourcing (which has huge implications for the local job market), the visa regime (which determines the flow of students and labour between the countries), their stance on Asia’s regional growth and areas under conflict such as Kashmir as well as other related issues in terms of aid, trade and diplomatic ties with other countries.

One can get a sense of which way Indians living in the US are swayed through the National Asian American Survey (NAAS-http://www.naasurvey.com/resources/Home/NAAS12-sep25-election.pdf) that interviewed over 3,376 Asian Americans through September 19 in order to assess their political views. It found that 43% of the Asian Americans interviewed and likely to vote favoured Obama, while 24% rooted for Romney. Obama received the strongest support among Indians (68%). Interestingly, over 47% of Indian Americans preferred to remain non-partisan, neither identifying themselves as Republicans or Democrats.

While there haven’t been many specifics uttered by both candidates about India, in the context of the neighbourhood, both Obama and Romney have rumbled about China’s trade practices and ‘currency manipulation’. Romney has proposed cutting down on foreign aid, while Obama considers aid as a “core pillar of American power”.

So is India likely to benefit more from a Democrat or a Republican president? Put on the mat, both foreign experts on the podium, Meera Shankar, the former Indian Ambassador to the US and Karl Inderfurth, a former U.S. assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs (via videoconference) were at their diplomatic best.

Both held similarly optimistic views about the elections holding out a win-win for India whether a Democrat or Republican took over. Inderfurth pointed out that both parties have a policy of engagement with India. “That is not a contentious issue.” He anticipated that the parties would also maintain the US’ current stance of Kashmir being a bilateral issue, thereby steering clear of controversy.

Shankar too said the candidates who were known for their partisan views on everything from fiscal deficit to healthcare would agree on their relationship with India, which is based not only on shared values (read:democracy) but convergent interests as well. “There is greater interdependence today, but also greater complexity, especially since the Middle East is undergoing a transition. We hope it will propel policies of pragmatism,” she said

Both believe that the friendly ties initiated by former president Bill Clinton in 2000 which were carried forward by George Bush and Obama would be nurtured by the future president as well. The US-India Civil Nuclear agreement in 2008-09 was after all seen as a watershed moment in bilateral ties.

Foreign affairs experts however, concede that India has much at stake depending on the position US takes with regard to countries like Afghanistan given that a withdrawal of US troops is imminent in 2014. Also crucial are its relationships with neighbouring Pakistan and China, as well as countries like Iran. “The shape that Afghanistan takes in 2014 is a matter of concern for us and we would like to see a reasonable, stable political situation arising,” said Shankar underlining that non-interference would be a positive step.

Whether the electoral outcome really matters to India, is hard to say with authority as of now. We should perhaps wait for October 22 when the last presidential debate is scheduled. It is likely to focus exclusively on foreign policy issues, and may just cut through the diplomatic haze.

Government doesn’t owe people a living

One of the opposition’s favourite lies is that the rakyat are the real “bosses”. That is absolutely untrue. The government’s job is to govern the people, make stiffer laws to ensure that the people do not go out of line, or pose a national security threat. It doesn’t owe the people a living!

Can we trust an opposition leader who is up to his armpits in controversies, or a DAP leader whose lifelong dream is to see a government change, and a PAS leader, who is willing to sleep with the opposition, just so that it gets to rule this country?

The opposition’s latest bait to draw voters is really unfair and downright ridiculous.

Abolishing toll on the highways that will cost the country RM5 billion and another RM7 billion for welfare programmes and health care?

Not to mention the absurd idea of giving free education that will cost the government RM6 billion a year. This money can be better used to build skyscrapers, highways, MRT commuters or to renovate dilapidated government buildings or palaces.

The people must know first-hand that a drastic change in the government will be detrimental to the nation’s future. There will be gross mismanagement, chaos and civil disturbances. It may also lead to bankruptcy and the deterioration of the democratic process.

If Pakatan is ever allowed to govern this country, it will trigger a horrific chain of events as detailed below.

So ponder very carefully on each point before we make the same silly mistake again:

  • Petrol prices will be reduced, which will cause more Malaysians to drive their own cars instead of using public transport, leading to more pollution in the Klang Valley and the rest of the country.
  • A reduction in staple food prices will cause Malaysians to eat more than their fair share, leading to premature obesity.
  • Education loans will be abolished leading to our children being less focused on their studies as they do not need to repay their loans.
  • Meritocracy will be fully restored, heightening intense competition for places in public educational institutions, government institutions, the public and private sectors and the civil service while promotions will be based on merit and good governance. Only students with excellent qualifications will be allowed to pursue tertiary education overseas or be guaranteed places in local universities.
  • Open tender exercises that will affect a large segment of contractors who cannot compete equally on a level playing field.
  • A total revamp with “check and balance” will tax the patience of those in the civil service, with a focus to cut down on red tape while politeness and dedication to service will be introduced in all civil and public departments.
  • MACC will go under the purview of Parliament, thereby restricting its independence to select and prosecute without fear or favour.
  • Independence will be restored to the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary which will reduce the government’s hold on power, while the judiciary will hand down verdicts contrary to the government’s interest. A coup d’etat may occur if the armed rorces are given too much independence.
  • The police, too, will take their own initiative to investigate sensitive cases on their own, and haul everyone up for breaking traffic laws even if it were minor ones. The separation of powers of the Executive, Judiciary and Legislature may also lead to a true democracy so unlike our pseudo-democracy practised by the current administration.
  • VIP’s like Datuks and Tan Sris may have to queue in line like everyone else, instead of being allowed special treatment.
  • Equal rights may cause the majority race to lose their supremacy and superiority, and may ridicule the Bumiputeras special status. It may even lead to everyone being bestowed the same rights in the spirit of Ketuanan Rakyat.
  • It may also cause the Malays and Muslims who have been lovingly protected by Umno against sinning unconsciously, to demand for more individual freedoms.
  • Unbridled freedom of expression may also embarrass our country’s plurality.
  • The proliferation of churches and temples will mar the landscape while widespread religious freedom may affect the sanctity of Islam as the religion of the federation.
  • Malaysians will start to attend open houses for Christmas, Chinese New Year, Deepavali and Hari Raya again, after a long Sabbath. Valentine’s Day may again be aggressively celebrated.
  • There may be a bigger increase in entertainment outlets like massage parlours and pedicure outlets, which is already happening in Selangor under the Khalid (Ibrahim) administration.
  • A high minimum wage touted by the opposition will decrease our economic advantage, causing employers to demand longer hours and more output from employees, while at the same time pushing up the standard of living.
  • Migrant workers will be sent back in droves, so that Malaysian blue-collar workers get to enjoy better wages.
  • Curbing the mass issuance of citizenship to legible foreigners leading to a drastic drop of new citizens and impeding our aim to achieve our target population of 70 million by 2020 (Vision 2020).
  • Malaysians will have to work very hard to earn a living as cronyism will be abolished, and so too the Ali Baba culture so closely associated with cronyism. Cronyism isn’t all that bad, as most cronies will sub-contract out the projects to others and the spill-over will benefit every race.
  • There will be a free market economy, which will be disadvantageous for those who are wholly dependent on the NEP.
  • Financial institutions will review their policies to give bank loans only to those who can repay.
  • Malays, Chinese and Indians will start to unite, shedding their inhibitions to accept each other as fellow citizens, becoming colour blind, and work together in harmony that will spell the end of race-based political parties.
  • A spendthrift government will retard economic stimulus, so necessary to propel the country forward economically, leading to a bankrupt nation, as funds will be re-channelled to improve the people’s living standards.
  • Abolishment of the Official Secrets Act and the Sedition Act may open up a pandora box of dirty secrets that is better left unopened.
  • A discontinuation of Billion Ringgit Mega Projects that is so necessary to stimulate our bearish economy.
  • A tighter rein on our natural resources like oil and gas, timber and our giant plantations that will reduce our international exports edge and much needed foreign exchange.
  • Independent Power Producers (IPPs) will starve without any forthcoming subsidies while electricity may go up again.
  • The Prime Minister’s Department will not be able to administer effectively with a spending cut of RM4 billion a year.
  • BN politicians may end up in the opposition bench, lacking hands-on experience to handle their new political role.

New landscape

Malaysians will start to wake up to a new, strange landscape filled with drastic changes so alien to their mundane lives.

Seriously, we don’t need to change the status quo. We should be contented with what we already have, while allowing the government a free rein to run the country.

The prime minister has recently announced that all the objectives from Budget 2012 have been achieved, while the deputy prime minister has stated that all of Bersih’s demands have been met.

What more can we expect? Why allow a small matter like the electoral roll discourage us from making the right choice?

Why act like hooligans with mob-like tendencies to march in those dirty Bersih rallies?

Now if you have pondered and contemplated on all of the above points, I am sure you will agree that we need to exercise our civic duty to save this nation from itself.

So follow your heart and do not repeat the same mistake back in 2008… again.

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