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Kemelut 1MDB dan Serangan Ringgit – Apa kata Menteri Kewangan?

February 6, 2015

Published: 6 February 2015 4:28 PM (TMI)

Isu tentang pemilik The Edge, Datuk Tong Kooi Ong, yang dituduh menyerang ringgit untuk menjatuhkan Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) bagi keuntungan peribadi tetiba menjadi kemelut hangat dalam pasaran forex sejak dilaporkan oleh sebuah blog “Exposing The Truth of Malaysians” dengan tajuk “How Tong Kooi Ong is attempting to break Bank Negara and crash the Ringgit” (28 Januari).

Tong membuat penafian (dengan kenyataan akhbar) atas tuduhan tersebut (shorting the ringgit) sebanyak dua kali sementara Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad menyuarakan pandangan beliau Tong diserang kerana banyak membuat pendedahan dan mengkritik tentang tadbir urus 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) dalam medianya The Edge. Dr Mahathir juga dikatakan digunakan oleh Tong bagi melancarkan serangan terhadap 1MDB.

Saya tidak mahu membuat apa-apa komentar tentang dakwa-dakwi pihak yang tertuduh dan kini pihak Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak yang juga mahukan kes yang disebutnya sebagai “economic saboteur” atau ‘penyangak ekonomi’ dibawa ke muka pengadilan.

Namun sekadar merakamkan sahaja, banyak pihak yang membuat komentar keupayaan Tong dengan US$1 bilion untuk menggugat keutuhan BNM yang mempunyai RM400 bilion sementara seluruh (total transaction) pasaran forex adalah sebanyak US$1 trilion adalah tidak menasabah. Peliknya isu ini masih nampaknya mahu dimainkan oleh pihak kerajaan PM Najib.

Persoalan saya untuk pihak Menteri Kewangan Najib dan BNM, yang berkebetulan adalah dipimpin oleh seorang tokoh Governor Central Bank yang diiktiraf dunia adalah seperti berikut:

a. Apakah langkah “supervisory and regulatory” yang dikemaskinikan oleh BNM sejak negara didakwa diserang oleh George Soros dalam krisis Kewangan Asia 1997 dahulu?

b. Mengapakah Tong didakwa melepasi kesemua “surveillance and supervision” peraturan “oversight” yang sepatutnya dikuatkuasakan oleh BNM?

c. Mengapakah BNM, dalam kes Tong ini, tidak memanggil beliau atas tuduhan beliau dikesan melakukan spekulasi matawang ringgit ini untuk beberapa bulan sejak Ogos 2014?

Kesemua ini mesti dijawab oleh Najib yang kini dilihat termakan atau mungkinkah ada juga yang mendakwa menjadi dalang dalam mencetuskan “fiasco” ini kerana “expose” yang dibuat oleh The Edge?

Timbalan Perdana Menteri Tan Sri Muhyddin Yassin hari ini (laporan Bernama) membuat kenyataan menyuruh semua hentikan membuat tuduhan tentang penyangak ekonomi atas dasar spekulasi kerana memburukkan lagi suasana ekonomi negara.

Nada ini adalah berlainan dengan Najib dan Ahli Parlimen Kepala Batas yang telahpun membuat tuduhan wujud kelompok yang mahu menyerang BNM dan ekonomi negara dan mahu tindakan diambil.

Semalam Todayonline melaporkan BNM mahukan semua pemberi pinjaman (yakni banks sebagai lender) mengepastikan akan pinjaman yang dibuat untuk transaksi ‘jualan pendek’ atau ‘short selling’ melibatkan pertukaran ringgit dan wang asing (contohnya US dolar) mesti disertakan dengan dokumentasi sebagai peringatan tegas bersabit perkembangan mutakhir ini.

Jelasnya bagi saya, BNM sememang mempunyai mekanisme memantau pasaran pertukaran asing ini dengan teliti.

BNM juga memantau pergerakan forex atau pertukaran asing ini nisbah dengan jumlah simpanan asing yang BNM milikki. Tidak mudah juga untuk mengambil kedudukan hari ini untuk membuat serangan terhadap matawang ringgit.

Ringkasnya mekanisme ‘penyerang mata wang’ ini begini. Mereka menjual satu mata wang contohnya ringgit dengan membeli US dolar dengan harapan bila mata wang (ringgit) itu jatuh akan membelinya semula dengan dollar pada harga yang lebih murah. Keuntungan mereka adalah perbezaan harga jualan dan pembelian kemudiannya.

Isu kedua

Aspek kedua yang saya ingin rakamkan dalam sidang akhbar ini adalah bersabitan hutang 1MDB sebanyak RM2 bilion yang kini beberapa tertunggak sejak tarikh 30 November 2014 setelah diberikan lanjutan dua kali dan kini melepasi tarikh lanjutan pada 31 Januari lalu.

Informasi yang saya ada ialah hutang 1MDB ini telah pun dianggap sebagai Hutang Tak berbayar atau NPL oleh bank-bank yang terlibat.

Maybank Berhad dan RHBCapital Berhad adalah bank utama (lead lenders) sebanyak 58.99% dan 32.41%, di samping yang lain seperti Alliance Investment Bank Bhd (4.06%), Malaysia Building Berhad (3.24%) dan Hwang DBS Investment Bhd (1.29%).

Untuk ingatan umum, hutang RM2 bilion ini adalah sebahagian dari hutang RM5.5 bilion dibuat oleh anak syarikatnya, Powertek Investment Holding Sdn Bhd (PIH) pada May 2014 unutk membiayai pinjaman sebanyak RM6.17 bilion sebagai ‘bridging loan’ yang dibuat ketikan 1MDB membeli PIH dari Tan Sri Ananda Krishnan pada 2012.

Ananda menjual PIH kepada 1MDB dengan harga RM8.5 bilion pada tahun tersebut.

Laporan dari The Edge Financial Daily minggu lalu melaporkan Ananda sebagai juga orang yang menjamin pinjaman 1MDB bersetuju memberikan pinjaman ‘interim’ (sementara) kepada 1MDB sebanyak RM2 bilion untuk melunaskan hutang Maybank dan RHBnya.

Kesemua pergolakan ini meninggalkan persepsi yang sangat buruk terhadap 1MDB yang kerap didakwa pihak kerajaan, khususnya Datuk Ahmad Maslan kedudukan kewangan 1MDB adalah sihat. 1-MDB juga mencetuskan risiko sistemik kepada institusi perbankan serta menambah ‘contingent liability’ (resminya RM9.6b) kepada Kerajaan Persekutuan sekaligus risiko untuk diturun ‘penarafan berdaulat’ oleh agensi penerafan atau ‘rating agencies’.

Dengan kata lain 1MDB tidak lagi mampu mendapat pinjaman bank dan meminjam kepada individu yang tidak diketahui apakah terma dan syarat-syarat pinjaman tersebut seandainya 1MDB gagal melunaskan hutang kepada bilionair tersebut.

Mengikut laporan kewangan mutahir 31 Mac 2014, asset 1-MDB ialah sebanyak RM51.4b dan hutang sebanyak RM49.97b dan kerugian sebanyak RM665.4 juta. NTA adalah sebanyak RM1.43b.

Hutang 1MDB adalah 4% dari KDNK dan lebih besar dari seluruh GLCs (tak termasuk pihak bank). Dikatakan juga 1MDB mendapat pulangan dari pelaburan di Cayman Island yang penuh kontroversi itu sebanyak RM3.9 bilion mutakhir ini. Namun mengapa 1MDB masih terbelenggu dalam kemelut tidak mampu membayar hutangnya.

Seandainya gagal melunaskan hutang ini, 1MDB boleh menjadi punca kepada ancaman sistemik (systemic risk) sekaligus menjejaskan ‘penarafan berdaulat’ atau “sovereign rating” negara. Kerajaan Persekutuan juga ada menjamin hampir RM10 bilion dalam pinjaman yang dibuat 1MDB.

Berdasarkan kesemua rentetan pergolakan di atas adalah wajar supaya Jawatankuasa Kira-kira Wang Negara (PAC) bertindak untuk memanggil 1MDB selaku sebuah badan pelaburan berdaulat negara kedua, di samping Khazanah Nasional Berhad, yang dipengerusikan Lembaga Pengarahnya oleh Najib sendiri, bagi melunaskan tanggugjawabnya sebagai badan pemantauan Parlimen.

Kita tidak boleh meletakkan hujah 1MDB yang diaudit tidak perlu diaudit lagi kerana terlalu rumit dan sukar seperti yang disebutkan oleh Pengerusi PAC tempoh hari.

Contoh Enron yang diaudit oleh Anderson dan Transmile, oleh Deloitte di negara kita sendiri, sudah cukup mengingatkan kita bagaimana sebuah firma antara the ‘Big 4’ di dunia melakukan pelbagai “accounting fraud” dalam kes skandal Transmile Berhad dan juga lebih besar kes Enron.

Ataukah lebih baik lagi bagi Najib memulakan satu audit khas oleh Auditor General atau melibatkan sebuah Badan Audit Bebas yang berwibawa untuk meneliti dan membedah segala kesemua kegiatan dan tadbir-urus kewangan dan pelaburan 1MDB yang menjadi sasaran kritik oleh pelbagai pihak.

Saya mengucapkan tahniah terlebih dahulu kepada ketegasan Perdana Menteri selaku Menteri Kewangan, seandainya beliau berani mengambil tindakan tegas dan tuntas seperti itu. – 6 Februari, 2015.

* Sidang akhbar Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, Pengarah Eksekutif Pusat Penyelidikan PAS.
– See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/rencana/article/kemelut-1mdb-dan-serangan-ringgit-dr-dzulkefly-ahmad#sthash.kfIZiSpR.dpuf

Malaysia’s sovereign ratings poised to move south………But Why?

February 4, 2015

The 1MDB debts may trigger a downgrade in the sovereign ratings, dealing yet another blow to a country already hit by the falling oil prices.

1MDB2KUALA LUMPUR: Investors wouldn’t pay too much attention in normal times to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) issue, but given the oil-related challenges Malaysia faces and concerns about its budget deficit, the issue of contingent liability has added to concerns about fiscal improvement, according to a report filed by CNBC.

The role of billionaire Ananda Krishnan, Malaysia’s second richest man, in the 1MDB saga also remains unclear and adds to the uncertainty.

1MDB, whose chief adviser is Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, has missed a deadline to repay a US$550 million loan to creditor banks three times over the past three months, fuelling worries the company won’t be able to service the rest of its obligations.

“It’s really too early to call 1MDB’s situation a debt default,” said Rahul Bajoria, regional economist at Barclays, on a more optimistic note. “Looking at the numbers, the amounts aren’t large at all; so it won’t have a big impact on Malaysia even if the government does have to step in.”

1MDB’s situation may not even require government intervention. Last week, the firm announced it may sell some of its property assets, worth more than US$5 billion, to pay off its debt load, Reuters reported.

But other experts aren’t so optimistic.

The company’s entire debt load stands at US$11.6 billion, out of which nearly US$2 billion is guaranteed by the government.

Experts say that makes it a serious liability risk for an economy whose finances have been strained by oil’s plunge by 50% in the past six months. Crude-related income accounts for 30% of government revenues.

Andre De Silva, Head of Asia-Pacific Rates at HSBC, says the delay of a loan payment by 1MDB or its inability to repay its debts may trigger a downgrade in Malaysia’s sovereign ratings, dealing yet another blow to a country already hit by the falling oil prices.

Public debt

If 1MDB is unable to meet its obligations, the government will have to step in, and that’s likely to inflate the country’s massive public debt, already the largest in Southeast Asia at 55% of gross domestic product.

“The government’s guarantee may be a small amount, but keep in mind that the budget is already stretched,” warned Wellian Wiranto, economist at OCBC Bank.

“Certainly, the risk is there for a downgrade,” said Hak Bin Chua, Asean economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Ratings agency Moody’s warned last week that a worsening in Malaysia’s debt dynamics or the crystallization of large contingent liabilities could exert downward pressure on its current A3 rating.

Meanwhile, Fitch has an A- rating with a negative outlook on the country, which means a cut is likely within the next 12 to 18 months, according to a recent statement from the agency. “Fitch views 1MDB as a close contingent liability of the sovereign because of the nature of its operations and leadership, as well as explicit sovereign guarantees,” the agency said.

“Our sovereign credit team also has a negative outlook on the country. From an economics perspective, you can really see the cracks starting to show,” said Su Sian Liam, Asean economist at HSBC.

‘We Palestinian Christians say Allahu Akbar’

February 3, 2015

Nadezhda Kevorkova is a war correspondent who has covered the events of the Arab Spring, military and religious conflicts around the world, and the anti-globalization movement.

Published time: January 30, 2015 15:16

Photo by Nadezhda Kevorkova

Photo by Nadezhda Kevorkova

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The only Palestinian Orthodox Christian bishop in the Holy Land speaking about the suffering of Palestinian Christians, their unity with Muslims in the Palestinian struggle, about Orthodox Christian martyrs, and Ukraine.

Archbishop Sebastia Theodosios (Atallah Hanna), 49, is the only Orthodox Christian archbishop from Palestine stationed in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, while all other bishops of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem are Greeks. The Israeli authorities had detained him several times, or stopped him at the border, and taken away his passport. Among all Jerusalem clergymen he is the only one who has no privilege of passing through the VIP gate in the airport – because of his nationality. “For the Israeli authorities, I am not a bishop, but rather a Palestinian,” explains his Beatitude. When talking on the phone he says a lot of words you would normally hear from a Muslim: “Alhamdulillah, Insha’Allah, Masha’Allah”. He speaks Arabic, and the Arabic for ‘god’ is Allah, whether you are a Christian or a Muslim.

Your Beatitude, what’s it like being the Palestinian bishop in the Holy Land?

Firstly, I’d like to confirm that I am the only Palestinian bishop in the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. A fellow bishop is serving in the city of Irbid in the north of Jordan; and there are also several Palestinian priests.

I take pride in belonging to this great religious institution that’s over 2,000 years old.

My church has been protecting the Christian presence in the Holy Land and the sacred items related to the life of Christ and Christian Church history.

I am proud of my religion and nationality, I am proud to belong to my fatherland. I am a Palestinian, and I belong to this religious people who are fighting for the sake of their freedom and dignity to implement their dreams and national rights.

I support Palestinians and share their cause and their issues. We the Palestinian Orthodox Christians are not detached from their hardships.

The Palestinian issue is a problem that concerns all of us, Christians and Muslims alike. It’s a problem of every free intellectual individual aspiring for justice and freedom in this world.

We the Palestinian Christians suffer along with the rest of Palestinians from occupation and hardships of our economic situation. Muslims and Christians suffer equally, as there is no difference in suffering for any of us. We are all living in the same complicated circumstances, and overcoming the same difficulties.

As a church and as individuals we protect this people, and we hope a day will come when Palestinians get their freedom and dignity.

A Christian pilgrim holds a cross as he dips in the water after a ceremony at the baptismal site known as Qasr el-Yahud on the banks of the Jordan River near the West Bank city of Jericho January 18, 2015. (Reuters/Mohamad Torokman)

A Christian pilgrim holds a cross as he dips in the water after a ceremony at the baptismal site known as Qasr el-Yahud on the banks of the Jordan River near the West Bank city of Jericho January 18, 2015. (Reuters/Mohamad Torokman)

For those coming to visit the Holy Land there are few opportunities to see how hard the Palestinians’ situation is. What would you like to say to those wishing to understand better the Palestinian problem?

The Israel authorities treat the Palestinian people in a way we can never accept or approve, first and foremost because Israel treats Palestinians as foreigners, as if we were strangers in our land.

Palestinians have never been strangers either to Jerusalem or to the entire homeland. Israel is an occupation force which treats us as visitors or some temporary residents. But we are the native people of this land. We didn’t come here, we have always been here. In contrast, Israel appeared out of the blue.

They are treating us as if we came here from elsewhere, as if we accidentally and recently strayed into this land. But we are the rightful owners of this land. We didn’t intrude into Israel. Israel intruded into our lives in 1948, and in 1967 it occupied Eastern Jerusalem. We have been here long before Israel. By the time Israel came here, our forefathers had been living here for many centuries.

This is why we cannot accept Israel treating us like strangers to our own homeland. I shall be honest and say it over again: both Christians and Muslims suffer the same from the Israeli authorities.

Is visiting Jerusalem as difficult to a Christian Palestinian from the West Bank as for a Muslim?

They don’t ask if a person arriving from Beit Jala or Ramallah to Jerusalem is a Christian or a Muslim. They only ask one question, “Do you have a permit to enter Jerusalem or not?”

The pass allowing a Palestinian to enter Jerusalem is issued by Israel. No one can come through without one. In pursuing its racist policy towards the Palestinian people Israel disregards different confessions. We are all targeted just the same. It all depends on getting a pass, whether you’re a Christian or a Muslim.

We all are their targets.

On top of that, Israel took control of a lot of property of the Orthodox Christian Church and is interfering with the internal affairs of the Church. They put pressure on the Palestinian Christians in all sorts of ways trying to force them to leave.

There is only one cause of suffering for both Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land.

The recent attack on the French satirical magazine triggered a wave of anti-Muslim marches in Europe. Netanyahu walked in the front row of such a march. What it your attitude to what happened?

We denounce the attacks in Paris which were committed by the people allegedly representing a particular religion.

But they do not represent any religion – they are murderers.

This attack was committed by the people, who claimed to have faith, but they definitely don’t represent Islam and cannot act on behalf of Islam, they only do harm and hurt the image of Islam through what they do.

At the same time, we denounce just as much terrorist operations in Syria and Iraq as we denounce the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Those who committed the terror attack in Paris and elsewhere, belong to the same groups that are engaged in terrorism in Syria and Iraq and attack sacred places, desecrate churches and kidnap religious leaders.

They attack women and children in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.

We were witnesses of the terror act in Lebanon’s Tripoli just days ago which killed dozens of innocent people who were at a café.

We condemn the terror attacks in Paris and we equally condemn any such attacks in any part of the world. We strongly oppose the idea of connecting these attacks to Islam.

We are currently preparing for an international conference that religious figures – Christian, Muslim and Judaist – from many countries will take part in to assert that we, the representatives of the three monotheistic religions, are against terror, fanaticism and violence used under religious slogans. The conference might take place in Amman, Jordan.

To a Western mind, Allahu Akbar sounds like a threat. What do Christians of the Holy Land think about them?

We Christians also say Allahu Akbar. This is an expression of our understanding that the Creator is great. We don’t want this phrase to be related to terrorism and crimes.

We refuse to associate these words with massacres and murders.

We speak against using this phrase in this context. Those who do, they insult our religion and our religious values.

Those using these words while taking some unreligious, unspiritual, uncivilized actions are harming the religion.

We refuse to associate these words with massacres and murders.

One must not use these words for non-religion-related purposes in order to justify violence and terror.

Christian priests hold a Christmas Midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem December 25, 2014. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

Christian priests hold a Christmas Midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem December 25, 2014. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

Do people say Allahu Akbar in church?

Of course.

For us, Allah is not an Islamic term. This is a word used in Arabic to indicate the Creator who’s made the world we are living in. So when we say Allah in our prayers we mean the Creator of this world.

In our prayers and pleas, in our Orthodox Christian religious ceremonies we use exactly this word. We say, glory be to Allah in all times. We say Allah a lot during our liturgy. It’s erroneous to think that the word Allah is only used by Muslims.

We the Arab Christians say Allah in our Arabic language as a way to identify and address the Creator in our prayers.

Is this all about Christ? Was he the one to provoke a religious split in the Holy Land? Christians and Muslims recognize that Jesus Christ had been born, and they are awaiting his second coming, and the judgment day. Jews deny this however, and await their Messiah.

We Christians believe that Jesus has already come. We have recently celebrated Christmas as a reminder that Jesus came into this world, that he was born in Bethlehem, and began his road here in the Holy Land for the sake of all mankind, and for the salvation of the world.

So as far as we are concerned, Jesus has already come.

Jews believe that he hasn’t come yet, and await his coming. This is the main disagreement between Jews and us. We believe that Jesus has already come, whereas they don’t.

Despite this fact, we are not at war with Jews. We do not express aggression against Jews or anyone else in the world, despite any differences in our beliefs.

We pray for those who disagree with us.

When Jesus came into this world he didn’t tell us to hate, ignore, or be at war with one or the other; he didn’t tell us to kill this one or that one. He gave us one very simple instruction: to love one another. When Jesus told us to love one another this love wasn’t conditioned by what a person was like, or what he was doing. If we are indeed true Christians it is our debt to love all people, and to treat them with positivity, and with love.

When we see someone who’s sinful, lost, and distant from Allah and from faith, someone who acts wrongly, then it is our duty to pray for him although he might be different from us and our religion. When we have religious disagreements with people we pray that Allah would guide them the right way. Hatred, anger, and accusations of having a wrong faith are not a part of our ethics as Christians. This is the key disagreement and difference between the Jewish religion and ours. The Jewish religion that had existed before Christ is the religion of people who were awaiting Jesus’ coming. Many Jews followed him, yet there were those who didn’t believe in him, and rejected him.

We know that Jesus was persecuted, and so were the early Christians. For instance, Herod the King killed thousands of babies in Bethlehem thinking that Jesus would be among them. The book of the Acts of the Apostles, as well as sacred tradition, talk about numerous instances of persecution of early Christians.

Despite that, we see each person who disagrees with us on religion as our brother, our fellow human. Allah created all of us, he gave us life, therefore it is our duty to love each person, and to pray for those who are mistaken or are misunderstanding, so that Allah would guide them the right way.

Is that why Christians and Muslims are persecuted?

We don’t divide the Palestinian people based on who is Christian and who is Muslim, who is religious and who isn’t, who is left or what party they are a member of. We don’t divide the people based on convictions and religion.

For the resistance it doesn’t matter whether they are Muslim or Christian.

Regardless of what their political views may be, all Palestinians actively support the idea that the Palestinian people should be able to exercise their rights and achieve their dream.

Yes, a number Christians have been killed since 1948 to this day. Some Christians have been driven away from their houses. Some Christian villages have been completely destroyed, and now there’s not a single house or resident there, for example, Al Galil in the Golan Heights.

Many churches have been attacked in Jerusalem; there have been attempts to seize their property and lands.

There are Christians in Israeli prisons – not as many as Muslims, but there are some. The Christian community is smaller in general, but we have our own martyrs who were killed and prisoners who spent years and years behind bars.

Christians suffer under the Israeli occupation just the same as Muslims – the entire Palestinian population suffers under it. They don’t distinguish between us.

Are there any special aspects when it comes to Christians living in the Holy Land?

Here’s one of the many examples, connected to the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Holy Trinity Cathedral located in the western part of Jerusalem belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church, but after 1948 Israel used the situation in Russia to its advantage and seized some of the buildings around the Cathedral, using them as police quarters and a prison with torture practices.

When someone says “moskobiya”, referring to something connected to the Moscow Patriarchate, something holy and spiritual, the first thing that comes to the mind of a Palestinian living in Jerusalem is torture, police, interrogation and prison.

In Nazareth, for example, the word “moskobiya” is associated exclusively with the old Russian school where the Palestinian cultural elite, scientists and politicians studied. Although it was closed after the 1917 Revolution in Russia, its fame lives on.

So it’s only for the Palestinians in Jerusalem.

What do Palestinian Christians, I mean Orthodox Christians first of all, think of the Ukraine crisis?

Overall, we are deeply concerned with the divide in Ukraine. We still believe all Ukrainian Christians must stay within the fold of the Mother Church that is the Moscow Patriarchate.

I wish the Ukraine crisis would resolve through dialogue so that we see reconciliation and an end to violence and bloodshed.

Christians do not need wars, killings and massacres. This political crisis must be resolved in a peaceful way. The Church must work hard to ensure that the divisions are bridged and overcome.

The Orthodox Church in Ukraine is strong because most of the people preach Orthodox Christianity.

Divisions must be healed. We really hope that the efforts by the Moscow Patriarchate and the Patriarchate of Constantinople will help to re-unite the Ukrainian Church.

I believe the split can be reversed and those who broke away could come back. But in order for that to happen we need humility, belief and strong will.

We pray for the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Pakatan heading for irrelevancy if spats not resolved, says analyst (Isn’t it obvious oreidi?)

February 3, 2015

BY ZULKIFLI SULONG, FEATURES AND ANALYSIS EDITOR (TMI)

Published: 3 February 2015 8:59 AM

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is starting to become irrelevant, as seen from its recent quarrels, especially between DAP and PAS, and runs the risk of quashing people’s hopes of ever seeing an alternative coalition to the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN), said political analyst Dr Bridget Welsh.

A Malaysia observer, Welsh, who is a senior research associate at the Center for East Asia Democratic Studies of National Taiwan University, also said it was no longer true that PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was the glue that held the three parties in PR together.

Instead, the PR parties had to deal with their differences and go back to why they had banded together in the first place.

“They need to rebuild trust between themselves if they want to move forward. (Right now) the trust has been lost. Not only is there no dialogue, there are also no targets and shared responsibility,” she said.

She said PR had to get all these problems resolved soon or else voters would start losing confidence in the coalition.

At the same time, Anwar could not be faulted for PR’s problems as he was no longer the sole unifying factor for PAS, DAP and PKR.

“If Anwar is jailed after February 10, some say it will be a litmus test to see whether he truly is the binding factor or not. But to me, I do not think so.

“Since 2013 (after the 13th general election), he is no longer the man who keeps Pakatan Rakyat leaders together,” she told The Malaysian Insider, when asked about the PR’s future if the Federal Court’s verdict on Anwar’s sodomy appeal next week was to send the opposition leader to jail.

The Federal Court has fixed February 10 to deliver its verdict on Anwar’s final appeal against a conviction of sodomising his personal assistant, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, six years ago.

Welsh said that jailing Anwar would not lead to the PR splitting up but would instead make the coalition even stronger and more united.

“This is what is being said about PKR, make him the martyr and he will be recognised internationally.”

If PR were to split, Welsh said, it would be less because of Anwar and more because of their unresolved problems, such as the differences between PAS and DAP over local council elections and hudud or the Islamic penal code.

“The crux of the problem lies with PAS president (Datuk Seri Abdul) Hadi Awang and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.”

She said Hadi was the cause of disunity in PR because he appeared to be “anti-Pakatan Rakyat” in his ways.

“Breaking all mutual consent, from racism to local government elections and hudud issues, all these had nothing to do with Anwar,” she said.

But Hadi, she added, could not be blamed solely as the entire PAS had to be held accountable for “quarrelling openly like children”.

“The real test is whether these leaders can ignore the differences between them. Arguments about these differences will not end. It will only become worse because each party is trying to please their supporters, be it DAP or PAS.”

Welsh said PAS would stand to lose the most, “including Kelantan and most of its seats in Selangor in the current climate”.

She predicted that the three parties would remain in PR but become “increasingly weaker and divided”.

As a pact, Welsh said Pakatan has failed to draw up a common strategy on impending issues such as constituency redelineation, the Sarawak elections, the goods and services tax and dealing with Malaysia’s gloomy economic outlook.

“PR has no strategy as a pact. Their cooperation will not work unless they have a joint strategy,” she added.

Last year, DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang, who is also Gelang Patah MP, had also raised the same issue of PR’s relevancy.

He said that the PR component parties owed the public a clear and unequivocal answer as to whether the three parties were capable of closing ranks or whether their cooperation was near the end. – February 3, 2015.
– See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/pakatan-heading-for-irrelevancy-if-spats-not-resolved-says-analyst#sthash.UkvfpPM7.dpuf

“Ethnicity is no longer the basis for inequality, the whole thinking must change – Kamal Saleh

January 3, 2015

In the News – Do away with Bumiputera agenda, prominent economist tells Putrajaya

The Malaysian Insider

BY ANISAH SHUKRY

Published: 2 January 2015

It is time Putrajaya shelves the Bumiputera agenda and focuses its entire effort on a national policy – one that will uplift all Malaysians regardless of race, says prominent economist Tan Sri Dr Kamal Salih.

The Bumiputera agenda has been the backbone of the Barisan Nasional (BN)-led government’s economic plans since 1969, its pro-Malay policies justified for decades by the economic backwardness of the Malays as a result of the British colonial policy of divide and rule.

“Putrajaya must go for the national agenda and create a national policy that is more inclusive. And if it does that properly, and avoid the pitfalls of the past, then I think it can achieve its economic goals, without having this red flag of being a ‘Bumiputera agenda’.

“If you are trying to reduce inequality and reduce the gap between the rich and the poor, the beneficiaries will be largely Bumiputeras anyway.

“So why go through the pain of being accused of being racist, when you can achieve the same goals without being racist?” Kamal, an adjunct professor of Economics and Development Studies at Universiti Malaya, told The Malaysian Insider in a recent interview in Kuala Lumpur.

Last November, the New Straits Times had reported that the government had spent RM46.5 billion to boost the Bumiputera economy through 23 programmes since September last year.

Bumiputera Agenda Steering Unit (Teraju) chief executive Husni Salleh, who is also Bumiputera Economic Council (MEB) secretary, said that all 23 ministers, secretaries-general and GLCs now have key performance indicators on Bumiputera economic programmes, monitored by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

At last year’s Umno general assembly, the party’s deputy president, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, had proposed that a “new” National Economic Policy (NEP) be created to turn the Bumiputera economic agenda into a national agenda.

However, Kamal, who has dedicated his career to policy research, noted that inequality was more prominent within ethnic groups, rather than between them, and poverty could no longer be defined along racial lines.

“Ethnicity is no longer the basis for inequality.

It has now become (defined) by income and the disparity between the rich and the poor, the gap between the CEO and the ordinary worker. So the whole thinking must change.

Continue reading here….

Gelagat Najib lawat kawasan banjir dapat perhatian media sosial – Hebat you, PM @NajibRazak !

January 2, 2015

Published: 2 January 2015 (TMI)

Gambar daripada video lawatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak bersama Menteri Besar Perak Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir ketika melawat kawasan banjir Perak yang menjadi viral di kalangan pengguna media sosial dan menerima pelbagai komen negatif. –  Gambar Youtube, 2 Januari, 2015.

Gambar daripada video lawatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak bersama Menteri Besar Perak Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir ketika melawat kawasan banjir Perak yang menjadi viral di kalangan pengguna media sosial dan menerima pelbagai komen negatif. – Gambar Youtube, 2 Januari, 2015.

Video gelagat Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak ketika mengadakan lawatan ke salah satu kawasan banjir di Perak pada Isnin kini mendapat perhatian pengguna media sosial.

Najib bersama Menteri Besar Perak Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir dalam video (tonton di bawah) yang berdurasi 49 saat itu dilihat cuba memberi arahan kepada jurugambar untuk merakamkan sudut terbaik ketika mereka melalui kawasan yang dinaiki air.

“You duduk sebelah sana, ambil di sebelah sini,” kata Zambry kepada jurugambar dalam video berkenaan.

Najib pula berkata: “Kena ambil paras inilah,” sambil menunjukkan paras pahanya.

Video yang sudah ditonton lebih 14,600 kali setakat 4 petang ini turut menunjukkan dua orang pembantunya membantu menyarungkan kasut presiden Umno itu.

Ini menimbulkan komen negatif pengguna media sosial, Shah Reeza yang menonton video itu.

“Sampai kaki pun nak kena orang bersihkan… Apa kejadahnya..!!!!” katanya memberikan komen.

Muhammad Aidil pula berkata: “Kantoi, kantoi”.

“Malulah kepada Allah,” kata Ibnu Mujaddid mengulas video yang dimuat naik pada Isnin itu.

Najib sebelum ini terpaksa memendekkan tempoh bercutinya ke luar negara selepas keadaan banjir di pantai timur bertambah buruk.

Gambar beliau meluangkan masa bermain golf bersama Presiden Amerika Syarikat Barack Obama ketika penduduk di pantai timur dilanda banjir teruk turut mendapat kecaman pengguna media sosial.

Sementara itu, sebuah laman yang merakamkan perjalanan udara antarabangsa menunjukkan pesawat rasmi kerajaan 9M-NAA hari ini tiba di Bangkok, Thailand pada 11.11 pagi tadi selepas berada di London, New York dan Dubai semalam.

Menurut laman Flight Radar 24, pesawat Airbus A319 itu meninggalkan Dubai pada 1.53 pagi ini, selepas tiba dari London pada 12.16 pagi.

Setakat jam 1 tengahari ini, laman Flight Radar 24 tidak merekodkan destinasi pesawat 9M-NAA yang seterusnya.

Pesawat itu sebelum ini mendarat di beberapa tempat seperti Los Angeles, Indianapolis dan Honolulu.

Pengguna media sosial juga bertanya ke mana pergi isteri Najib, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor di saat pantai timur dilanda banjir besar.

“@NajibRazak Rosmah kat mana, Rosmah Rosmah kat mana (yeaa), Rosmah kat mana, Rosmah Rosmah kat mana (ditanya tanya lagi) #TaufikBatisah,” kata Lucius Maximus melalui Twitter, menggunakan bait-bait lagu penyanyi popular dari Singapura, Taufik Batisah.

Kedahkini turut bertanya: “ROSMAH MANSUR KAT MANA?”…..TERUS JADI TANDA TANYA”

Megat Trainor (@akeemzamani) pula berkata: “Rosmah ulang alik kt US shopping barang utk mangsa banjir kot #Husnuzon (sangka baik)”

Sementara Munifah (@mo0n94) berkata, “Alhamdulillah. Macam ni la FLOM yang kita nak,” merujuk kepada singkatan First Lady of Malaysia atau wanita pertama Malaysia. – 2 Januari, 2015.
– See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/bahasa/article/gelagat-najib-lawat-kawasan-banjir-dapat-perhatian-media-sosial#sthash.eYKwFsHF.dpuf

Gambar daripada video lawatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak bersama Menteri Besar Perak Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir ketika melawat kawasan banjir Perak yang menjadi viral di kalangan pengguna media sosial dan menerima pelbagai komen negatif. – Gambar Youtube, 2 Januari, 2015.Gambar daripada video lawatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak bersama Menteri Besar Perak Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir ketika melawat kawasan banjir Perak yang menjadi viral di kalangan pengguna media sosial dan menerima pelbagai komen negatif. – Gambar Youtube, 2 Januari, 2015.Video gelagat Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak ketika mengadakan lawatan ke salah satu kawasan banjir di Perak pada Isnin kini mendapat perhatian pengguna media sosial.

Najib bersama Menteri Besar Perak Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir dalam video (tonton di bawah) yang berdurasi 49 saat itu dilihat cuba memberi arahan kepada jurugambar untuk merakamkan sudut terbaik ketika mereka melalui kawasan yang dinaiki air.

“You duduk sebelah sana, ambil di sebelah sini,” kata Zambry kepada jurugambar dalam video berkenaan.

Najib pula berkata: “Kena ambil paras inilah,” sambil menunjukkan paras pahanya.

Video yang sudah ditonton lebih 14,600 kali setakat 4 petang ini turut menunjukkan dua orang pembantunya membantu menyarungkan kasut presiden Umno itu.

Ini menimbulkan komen negatif pengguna media sosial, Shah Reeza yang menonton video itu.

“Sampai kaki pun nak kena orang bersihkan… Apa kejadahnya..!!!!” katanya memberikan komen.

Muhammad Aidil pula berkata: “Kantoi, kantoi”.

“Malulah kepada Allah,” kata Ibnu Mujaddid mengulas video yang dimuat naik pada Isnin itu.

Najib sebelum ini terpaksa memendekkan tempoh bercutinya ke luar negara selepas keadaan banjir di pantai timur bertambah buruk.

Gambar beliau meluangkan masa bermain golf bersama Presiden Amerika Syarikat Barack Obama ketika penduduk di pantai timur dilanda banjir teruk turut mendapat kecaman pengguna media sosial.

Sementara itu, sebuah laman yang merakamkan perjalanan udara antarabangsa menunjukkan pesawat rasmi kerajaan 9M-NAA hari ini tiba di Bangkok, Thailand pada 11.11 pagi tadi selepas berada di London, New York dan Dubai semalam.

Menurut laman Flight Radar 24, pesawat Airbus A319 itu meninggalkan Dubai pada 1.53 pagi ini, selepas tiba dari London pada 12.16 pagi.

Setakat jam 1 tengahari ini, laman Flight Radar 24 tidak merekodkan destinasi pesawat 9M-NAA yang seterusnya.

Pesawat itu sebelum ini mendarat di beberapa tempat seperti Los Angeles, Indianapolis dan Honolulu.

Pengguna media sosial juga bertanya ke mana pergi isteri Najib, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor di saat pantai timur dilanda banjir besar.

“@NajibRazak Rosmah kat mana, Rosmah Rosmah kat mana (yeaa), Rosmah kat mana, Rosmah Rosmah kat mana (ditanya tanya lagi) #TaufikBatisah,” kata Lucius Maximus melalui Twitter, menggunakan bait-bait lagu penyanyi popular dari Singapura, Taufik Batisah.

Kedahkini turut bertanya: “ROSMAH MANSUR KAT MANA?”…..TERUS JADI TANDA TANYA”

Megat Trainor (@akeemzamani) pula berkata: “Rosmah ulang alik kt US shopping barang utk mangsa banjir kot #Husnuzon (sangka baik)”

Sementara Munifah (@mo0n94) berkata, “Alhamdulillah. Macam ni la FLOM yang kita nak,” merujuk kepada singkatan First Lady of Malaysia atau wanita pertama Malaysia. – 2 Januari, 2015.
– See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/bahasa/article/gelagat-najib-lawat-kawasan-banjir-dapat-perhatian-media-sosial#sthash.eYKwFsHF.dpuf

Jangan sampai kerusi DUN PAS Kelantan ‘hanyut’ lepas banjir, kata Husam (Bukan masa utk berpolitik TAPI Jangan juga terlalu Naif!)

January 2, 2015

OLEH MOHD FARHAN DARWIS (TMI)

Published: 2 January 2015

PAS perlu menjuarai program pembangunan negeri itu selepas banjir, kata Naib Presiden PAS Datuk Husam Musa. – Gambar fail The Malaysian Insider, 2 Januari, 2015.

PAS perlu menjuarai program pembangunan negeri itu selepas banjir, kata Naib Presiden PAS Datuk Husam Musa. – Gambar fail The Malaysian Insider, 2 Januari, 2015.

Parti pemerintah kerajaan negeri Kelantan, PAS perlu menjuarai program pembangunan negeri itu yang dilanda banjir bagi memastikan 24 kawasan Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) di negeri itu terlibat dalam musibah berkenaan tidak turut sama ‘hanyut’, kata Datuk Husam Musa.

Naib presiden PAS itu berkata, meskipun mereka tidak mempunyai keupayaan seperti kerajaan pusat daripada segi kewangan dan kepakaran, PAS perlu menjuarai program pasca banjir di peringkat akar umbi dan dilihat rakyat.

“Ada 27 DUN terlibat banjir (di Kelantan), kalau kita tidak jaga ini, semua hanyut sekali. Saya tidak mahu tengok DUN kita hanyut,” kata Husam dalam program Malam Amal, Kelantan Pasca Banjir, “The Untold Story” anjuran Yayasan Darul Hijrah di Kuala Lumpur, malam tadi.

“Cara sesetengah pemimpin kata, seperti mahu gunakan kesempatan ini untuk meluaskan pengaruh politik mereka.

“Kita tidak boleh bina rumah seperti kerajaan pusat bina, tetapi kita mahu dilihat, mengetuai misi banjir mega Kelantan 2014. Saya mahu tuan puan bantu kami daripada segi itu,” katanya.

Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak sebelum ini mengumumkan peruntukan khas berjumlah RM500 juta bagi setiap negeri yang dilanda banjir.

Peruntukan itu merupakan tambahan kepada bantuan RM50 juta melalui Kementerian Kewangan yang diumumkan pada 25 Disember lalu, khusus bagi operasi menyelamat dan penghantaran barangan keperluan kepada mangsa banjir.

“Ringkasnya banjir ini paling hebat, paling luar biasa,” kata Husam.

Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (Adun) Salor itu berkata, kerajaan pusat pimpinan Barisan Nasional (BN) seperti tidak bersedia menghadapi banjir besar berkenaan sehingga mengakibatkan penduduk terlibat gagal bersiap sedia sekali gus mengalami kerugian besar susulan kehilangan harta benda dan kemusnahan kediaman mereka.

“Mungkin mereka terkejut, tetapi sebagai kerajaan mereka tidak boleh terkejut, mereka ada saluran.

Kalau kerajaan Malaysia ada sistem simulasi yang kemas, sudah boleh beritahu dalam hebahan, air akan tiba jam sekian-sekian, tetapi tidak…kerajaan kata ini banjir biasa. Tak payah bimbang, terkawal,” katanya.

Naib Presiden PAS Datuk Husam Musa bercakap mengenai pasca banjir di Kelantan dalam satu program di Kuala Lumpur, malam tadi. – Gambar The Malaysian Insider oleh Seth Akmal, 2 Januari, 2015.

Naib Presiden PAS Datuk Husam Musa bercakap mengenai pasca banjir di Kelantan dalam satu program di Kuala Lumpur, malam tadi. – Gambar The Malaysian Insider oleh Seth Akmal, 2 Januari, 2015.

Husam berkata, dakwaan beberapa pihak yang berkata banjir besar di Kelantan berpunca daripada ‘hukuman’ Allah kerana hudud juga tidak masuk akal.

“Orang kata hukuman kerana mahu laksana hudud, bukan macam itu.

Dalam konteks Kelantan kita tidak boleh kata hukuman, lima kali pilihan raya orang Kelantan sokong negeri yang mahu laksana enakmen jenayah syariah, yang kena hukuman patutnya orang Johor, Negeri Sembilan, enakmen jenayah Islam tiada,” katanya, berseloroh.

Husam turut berkongsi pengalaman beliau sebagai mangsa banjir apabila rumahnya di Kelantan turut ditenggelami air termasuk kenderaannya juga gagal diselamatkan.

“Rumah saya sendiri, habis. Pukul 7.30 pagi, 27 Disember, kita ambil gambar air sampai rumah kita seronok, tidak pernah banjir tetapi lama-kelamaan air naik terlalu mendadak.

“Di kampung saya, di tepi jalan besar, kereta bersusun ‘berenang’ dalam banjir,” katanya.

Husam berkata, sehubungan itu, pihaknya mencadangkan Putrajaya memperkemaskan sistem pengesanan dan simulasi banjir bagi mengelak tragedi sama berulang.

Sebab itu saya cadangkan penggunaan helikopter. Tapi orang kata ini membazir, helikopter sekarang keperluan ketika banjir ini. Kalau kita tiada helikopter nak uruskan banjir, mustahil. Inilah pengajaran kita,” katanya.

Beliau berkata, Yayasan Darul Hijrah juga akan ke Kelantan bagi membantu penduduk terlibat dalam menyediakan dapur dan makanan untuk mangsa banjir supaya mereka boleh fokus untuk memperbaiki kediaman dan harta mereka.

Pihaknya juga mencadangkan kerajaan PAS Kelantan segera melakukan operasi pembersihan sampah-sarap di kawasan terjejas banjir bagi mengelakkan penularan penyakit berjangkit.

Darul Hijrah bercadang sediakan dapur di kampung-kampung ini. Mereka akan fokus membina rumah mereka, uruskan lembu, kambing, tidak perlu risaukan makanan,” kata Husam.

Naib Presiden PAS Salahuddin Ayub semalam melalui surat terbuka kepada Najib menggesa royalti minyak dapat dikembalikan kepada Kelantan bagi membantu negeri itu bangkit semula selepas menghadapi musibah banjir besar.

“Saya menulis surat terbuka kepada Najib, yang beliau sendiri pergi dan melihat keadaan yang berlaku di Kuala Krai dan Manek Urai, Kelantan,” katanya, dan menambah,”Saya menulis surat ini pagi ini dan meminta beberapa perkara.”

Salahuddin berkata, susulan tragedi berkenaan, ia adalah masa yang terbaik untuk rakyat Kelantan menikmati royalti tersebut.

“Saya rasa ini masa yang terbaik untuk perdana menteri pulangkan kembali hak rakyat Kelantan, yang kita perjuangkan sejak 2008.

“Atas bencana besar yang berlaku dan disaksikan kita semua, saya rasa sudah sampai masanya hak ini disampaikan kepada rakyat Kelantan,” katanya.

Bekas ahli Parlimen Kubang Kerian itu berkata, kerajaan Kelantan sudah tentu memerlukan perbelanjaan besar untuk membangunkan kembali negeri itu.

“Kerajaan Kelantan perlukan peruntukan yang agak besar bagi membantu rakyat Kelantan.

“Royalti itu hak, bukan kita mengemis dan mendesak,” katanya.

Husam turut dilaporkan berkata, syarikat petroleum nasional, Petronas diharap dapat memberikan RM3 billion kepada Kelantan untuk dibelanjakan bagi membina semula negeri itu.

“Apa kata Petronas yang mengaut kekayaan dari laut Kelantan tanpa apa-apa sumbangan selama ini menunjukkan jiwa kemanusiaannya dengan memberikan RM3 billion bagi tujuan itu?” kata Husam dalam satu kenyataan sebelum ini.

Husam sebelum ini pernah mengetuai kempen menuntut Putrajaya membayar wang royalti kepada Kelantan bagi petroleum yang digali dari perairan negeri itu sama seperti bayaran yang dibuat kepada Terengganu.

PAS Kelantan berulang kali mendakwa Putrajaya sengaja menangguhkan pembayaran royalti itu kerana kerajaan negerinya tidak ditadbir BN. – 2 Januari, 2014.
– See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/bahasa/article/jangan-sampai-kerusi-dun-pas-kelantan-hanyut-lepas-banjir-kata-husam#sthash.OOhf55en.dpuf

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