Tuesday, May 20, 2003


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Eclipse of theSun

More on Colmar Tropicale Resort.

Report from official news agency Bernama datelined Putrajaya May 20 , 2003 14:48pm has this:
"We gave a licence to the club but I think they may have abused the licence and we have instructed this be stopped," he said when asked on the 200 slot machines available there.

This part is eclipsed - edited out - by theSun today, page 2.

Is the common ownership of the two enterprises a factor?

UPDATE: The NST reports on page 6 today, quoting the PM, that the slot machine licence issued to the club at Colmar Tropicale Resort has been revoked as it breached conditions stipulated in the licence.

MARKET MOVEMENTS. KLSE first board company MOL (MOL, 8001) hit limit down yesterday after hitting limit up when trading resumed on Monday.

The counter closed at RM1.62 yesterday, shredding 0.23 sen and easing by almost 30%.

Market sentiments took it as an affirmation that MOL will not be listed under gaming and leisure section of KLSE as rumoured earlier.

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All eyes on stimulus plan

The level of anticipation generated by the economic stimulus package is very high. Several trade and professional bodies that I know, especially those from the service industry, are on queue to offer immediate reaction later today, after the PM unveils the plan.

I like the article by Star Business Editor Wong Sulong yesterday, written in his unimitatable layman's language. Highly recommended.

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Jangan mati adat...

On May 15, I blogged about the thriving Malay adat as displayed during the wedding reception of Anwar Ibrahim's eldest daughter, Nurul Izzah, recently.

Despite the overpowering UMNO patronage system, I noticed many Malay dignitaries discarded the nuances of political-correctness, side-stepped the divisive intra-Malay partisan politics and bravely came to the fore to cement the silaturrahim among their brethren over a kenduri.

I chronicled that it's customary for a Malay invited to a wedding kenduri to return the gesture with a personal attendance gracing the ceremony irrespective of personal differences and enmity.

The bride's mother seems to share the same view:
Mengenai kebijaksanaan mengundang dari semua kelompok, perlu dijelaskan bahawa kami menjemput semua kenalan lama dan baru, lebih-lebih lagi kerana kami pernah menghadiri majlis kenduri mereka.

Lagi pun ia bukannya majlis politik dan ini merupakan kesempatan terbaik bersiratulrahim (sic). Kita mesti berganjak memupuk budaya sihat dalam amalan hidup secara beradab dan bertamadun.

Allow me to requote the age-old maxim: "Biar mati anak, jangan mati adat".

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Dr M: No casino at Bukit Tinggi

Stop abusing permit for slot machines. Prime Minister Dr Mahathr Mohamad said in Putrajaya the Government has stopped issuing casino licences, and Bukit Tinggi Resort has been directed to stop abusing its permit issued only for gaming machines.

Dr Mahathir, who is also the Finance Minister, was commenting on speculations the government had issued a second casino licence to Berjaya Group.

Read my blog on Pahang menteri besar's statement regarding Colmar Tropicale, April 27. The breaking news is quite contradictory to the original story.

But then, Glen Newey of University of Strathclyde, Britain, has a scientific theory for this.

Monday, May 19, 2003

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Khir Toyo and OSA

Call for transparency. Editor of fortnightly Malaysian Business, Charles Raj, devotes his May 16 commentary on Selangor menteri besar Dr Mohd. Khir Toyo.

His commentary focusses on the recent controversy in Selangor over allegations of granting of state land on the cheap to exco members, relatives and top officials and that proper procedures were not being followed.

Khir had threatened to punish state government servants who revealed such information. He has even threatened to use the Official Secret Act (OSA).

For this, Charles comments:
It might be timely to remind ourselves that the OSA is designed to stop Government secrets from falling into the wrong hands. Politicians should not be tempted to use it to withhold information, or worse, cover up abuses and corruption.

Charles says the Selangor menteri besar seems to be prone to creating controversies, from 'die and let die' treatment of hardcore drug addicts to anti-vice raids and advisory to women whose husbands patronise vice dens.

I leave it to you to read the juices in the print copy, but this is Charles' parting shot on Page 10:
It would do him good to remember the rise and fall of his predecessor.

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This Wednesday and Friday...

Much ado... The market was abuzz with two pieces of news yesterday: The latest economic stimulus package to be announced by the PM this Wednesday, and a MCA power trasfer to be staged this Friday.

ECONOMY: The Edge ran the news on economic stimulus package on May 16, and AFP and NST picked it up yesterday. This is after several false starts when Pak Lah was acting PM.

POWER: Last week, Sin Chew Daily said the MCA Central Committee will make an "important announcement" at an emergency meeting on Friday. I took note of the short notice given - less than a week required under Article 165.3 of the party's constitution.

Talk to any taxicab driver and businessmen at golf courses and the cigar dens, they will tell you the MCA opera has been reprised twice over in the form of wolf-cries. It has been related - rightly or wrongly - to a party president who wanted to resign but he has been too indispensible to the Cabinet and the country.

I am researching on Ng Cheng Kiat. At the drop of a hat, he left the Cabinet in 1990 on the word 'Go!" - on his own accord.

He left behind a Chinese saying that lingers till this day, "You ren chi guan gui gu li, you ren lou ye gan ke chang". In simple translation, it means "Just when there are people resigning from officialdom to balik kampung, there are as many who rush the night trips reporting for duty".

So, the market is merely on reacting mode as there is nothing that you have not already known.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Truth is... your politicians lie

As the general elections draw near... This is probably the next best thing to putting your wakil rakyat on polygraph a.k.a. lie detector.

The Observer, Sunday edition of The Guardian, reported this yesterday: After intensive research, scientists have concluded that politicians lie.

The paper said: "They may prefer to call it being 'economical with the actualité'. But it's official: politicians just can't help telling lies."

And voters must expect to be lied to in certain circumstances, and sometimes even require it.

But if voters care to ask fewer questions, politicians would tell them fewer lies.

According to Observer, Glen Newey, a political scientist at Britain's University of Strathclyde, concluded that lying is an important part of politics in the modern democracy. Newey's research was published by the government-funded Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Newey's research, essentially a study of the art of telling political whoppers that examined a wide range of subjects from the cash-for-questions scandal to Bill Clinton's sex life, concludes that it is "almost impossible for modern politicians to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."

However, Newey said lying by politicians can occasionally be entirely justified, such as when national security is at risk, and the public even has a "right to be lied to" in cases where they do not expect to be told the whole truth, such as during a war.

"When journalists or parliamentary colleagues start to probe at that area which the government wants to keep secret, you are more likely to be pushed further and further toward the territory of lying," Newey said.

There is also a problem for voters who want to blow the whistles on compulsive liars among politicians.

Psychologists say politicians who do lie are usually very good at it.

This is showcased in another Guardian story about alleged staged media event during US invasion of Iraq: Saving Private Jessica Lynch.

Her rescue will go down as one of the most stunning pieces of news management yet conceived. It provides a remarkable insight into the real influence of Hollywood producers on the Pentagon's media managers, and has produced a template from which America hopes to present its future wars.

But the American media tactics, culminating in the Lynch episode, infuriated the British, who were supposed to be working alongside them in Doha, Qatar. This Sunday, the BBC's Correspondent programme reveals the inside story of the rescue that may not have been as heroic as portrayed, and of divisions at the heart of the allies' media operation.

The line that separates politics from media and journalism is getting thinner and thinner, so it seems.

A dull blog that gets 85,000 pageviews per month

Can you beat that? Dave Walker, a 32-year-old cartoonist from England, has claimed the distinction of writing "The Dullest Blog in the World."

His "dull blogging" has now been elevated to an art form, much like haiku for economics in words. His blogs meticulously chronicle mundane events in his life: checking e-mail, turning his head to the right, walking past the ironing board, and thinking about making some food.

Walker's number of fans has increased, but he said he had not been tempted to make his blog more interesting fo fear of losing his followers.

For that he earns a story on New York Times technology section.

Via JD Lasica who says irony isn''t dead.