When I look at Najib, Muhyiddin, Mahathir, Ibrahim Ali - all those bombastic self-proclaimed Ketuanan Malay “leaders,” I do not think of Hang Tuah! Huh! All they remind me of are Field Marshall Idi Amin Dada, Mobutu Sese Seko, Robert Mugabe and His Excellency Benito Mussolini Head of Government, Duce of Fascism, and Founder of the Empire. Yes at one time or another they were all leaders of their people, all striding to the sound of brass bands and traveling around in motorcades flanked by armed guards. Leaders they might be but they were all totally oblivious to the look of contempt and disgust from the very masses that they consider themselves to be Lord and Master over. Totally oblivious of the massive harm they have done to the country they ruled. Totally oblivious to the crumbling ruins of their government because all they see are the trappings of power and their personal needs. Never the misery of the people they rule.

I want you all to understand this. When in power these kinds of leaders will do what they want. They would not investigate themselves. MACC, the AG, the Judiciary and PDRM (among other Government entities) are there to ensure that these leaders are given the means and leeway to do what they want. And what they want is to stay in power and make money for themselves and their cronies.
By FMT Staff

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has been on New Zealand immigration's radar screen for illegal immigrants since 2006 after 20 people were detained during a nine-month investigation ending in March 2007, according to online whistleblower WikiLeaks.

It reported that a confidential document on the nation's action plan against human trafficking had identified Malaysia, Hong Kong and South Korea as hotspots for illegal immigrants.
"In the case of Malaysia, while migrants are circumventing border control, New Zealand immigration is effectively identifying these cases through brothel raids.

"GNZ will continue to monitor Malaysia's visa free travel status and rescind it if that proves the only way to more effectively manage illegal migration from that country," the report said.

The WikiLeaks report, which was carried by an online newsportal, also noted that although New Zealand had "little or no trafficking problems", it was nonetheless monitoring all “suspicious” travel.
Detailing the situation, the report said between June 2006 and March 2007, 20 illegal immigrants exiting Malaysia managed to slip through New Zeland's Advance Passenger Processing (APP) system.
The APP requires airlines to identify passengers who may be seeking to enter New Zealand illegally before they board an overseas flight.

According to the report, monitoring of potential illegal immigrants and trafficking victims continued after passengers arrived in New Zealand and had passed through immigration and customs.
Field investigations, it noted, are carried out by immigration, visa, border control and other law enforcement officers.

The report said New Zealand's law enforcement officials conducted 1,300 investigations to identify illegal migrants including trafficking victims. While not a single trafficking case was found, the officers did stumble on 18 illegal immigrants from Hong Kong, one from South Korea and 20 from Malaysia.

"Although the number of illegal migrants remains small compared to the overall number of visa-free entrants, GNZ recognises the need to prevent more widespread abuses," it noted. - FreeMalaysiaToday
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KUALA LUMPUR - PAS has demanded UMNO leaders to show the official document containing a declaration of their battlecry 'ketuanan Melayu' (Malay supremacy), as the concept was nowhere to be found in the Federal Constitution.

PAS vice president Mahfuz Omar said UMNO leaders should give "clear and detailed" explanation on the real meaning of the slogan, which they have been desperately defending.

“I sincerely urge UMNO leaders to define the meaning of 'ketuanan Melayu' because the concept is not found in the Federal Constitution and only coming out from UMNO.

"Reveal the document on Malay supremacy for the public's viewing,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday.

Mahfuz said he hoped that UMNO leaders particularly Najib Razak could come up with the document before the end of parliamentary session on Thursday.

SINGAPORE: Singaporean diplomats think the leaders of some close Asian allies including neighbouring Malaysia are corrupt, incompetent or stupid, cables from WikiLeaks revealed Sunday.

Confidential diplomatic notes given by the whistle-blower website to Australia’s Fairfax media group contained unflattering assessments of key figures in Malaysia, Thailand, India and Japan.

“A lack of competent leadership is a real problem for Malaysia,” permanent secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bilahari Kausikan, reportedly told US Deputy Secretary of Defence for East Asia David Sedney.

As a result, “the situation in neighbouring Malaysia is confused and dangerous” and there is a “distinct possibility of racial conflict”, according to the cable dated September 2008. Such conflict would see ethnic Chinese flee Malaysia and “overwhelm” Singapore, Bilahari was quoted as saying.
Source: The Jakarta Post

The Indonesian Soccer Association says the national team will walk off the pitch should Malaysian spectators use lasers to blind Indonesian players in the first leg of the Asean Football Federation Cup final in Kuala Lumpur to on Dec. 26.

“If there is a laser we will not continue to play,” Indonesian Soccer Association (PSSI) chairman Nurdin Halid said as quoted by

Nurdin said he had heard that Vietnam's players had complained about the use of lasers by Malaysian fans in their semifinal match.

Reports said the lasers may have impaired the Vietnam goalkeeper's visibility, leading to Malaysia's first goal.

“We don’t want to suffer the same thing,” Nurdin said.

The second leg of the AFF Cup final will be held on Dec. 29 in Jakarta.
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Source: The Jakarta Post

Indonesia’s enthusiasm for its national soccer team is on the rise as over 1,000 gathered on Wednesday in Senayan to watch the team practice.

According to, spectators young and old were cheering and clapping during the practice.

Indonesia is scheduled to play against Malaysia in the Asian Football Federation Cup’s finals on Dec. 26 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The second match, to be held in Jakarta, is slated for Dec. 29.

The last match on Sunday saw Indonesia defeat the Philippines 1-0, with striker Christian Gonzales delivering the game-winning goal.

Coach Alfred Riedl still has a few more days to decide whether or not to position Yongky or Irfan Bachdim, another striker said to be roughly equal to Yongky, on the bench.
By Romen Bose (AFP)

KUALA LUMPUR — Caning in Malaysia has "hit epidemic proportions" with thousands of people subjected every year to beatings which leave permanent physical and mental scars, Amnesty International said Monday.

The London-based rights group called on the Malaysian government to immediately end the practice of judicial caning, which is meted out for immigration offences as well as more serious crimes like murder and rape.

"Caning in Malaysia has hit epidemic proportions," said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International?s Asia-Pacific director.

"In every case that we examined, the punishment amounted to torture, which is absolutely prohibited under any circumstances."
Bogor, W Java (ANTARA News) - Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Hatta Rajasa said resource-rich Indonesia with a population of 240 million has great potential to become a new global economic power.

"We have great potential to emerge as a new global economic power," he said on the sidelines of a panel discussion held by the Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals Association (ICMI) here on Sunday.

The panel discussion was part of the ICMI`s 5th congress held at the IPB International Convention Center (IICC) here on Dec 4-7.

Hatta said the great potential could boost the national economy. "The national economy has been performing well all the time. In 2010, it is expected to grow by an average of 7.0 percent."

The average growth of 7.0 percent this year outstripped the government-set target of 6.8 percent, he said.

Given the higher-than-expected average growth this year, he expressed optimism that Indonesia would soon emerge as a new global economic power.

"Looking ahead, we will become the world`s five biggest economic powers," said Hatta who is also chairman of the National Mandate Party (PAN).

"We are optimistic that the national economic growth will continue to increase every year. Even foreign observers have predicted that Indonesia will soon become main part of the global economic powers," he said. 

Source: Kantor Berita Antara
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Forbes Indonesia

Despite recent volcanic activity, Indonesia's star is shining bright. Its stock index has outperformed those of all other major Asian economies, up more than 50 per cent in dollar terms so far this year.

Only Mongolia's and Sri Lanka's markets did better. No surprise then that the country's richest enjoyed big gains. Their total worth surged to $71 billion, up from $42 billion last year, hitting an all-time record.

In another first, more than half of the top 40 are billionaires, up from last year's dozen. The Hartono brothers retain the top spot for the second year in a row with a net worth of $11 billion. They inherited clove cigarette maker Djarum from their father, but these days get the bulk of their wealth from Bank Central Asia, the country's largest bank, which returned to the ranks of the Forbes Fab 50 this year.

Behind them is Susilo Wonowidjojo, the year's biggest dollar gainer, worth $8 billion, up from $2.6 billion. His family still gets the bulk of their wealth from Gudang Garam, the country's largest clove cigarette maker. Sixteen of the 21 billionaires made their fortunes in coal or palm oil.
Wimbo Satwiko

Jakarta. With his first objective in the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup achieved, Indonesia coach Alfred Riedl plans to rest some of his first-team players for the team’s final group game.

Indonesia dismantled Laos 6-0 at Jakarta’s Bung Karno Stadium on Saturday, guaranteeing itself top spot in Group A and a berth in the semifinals.

After thumping Malaysia 5-1 in its opening match, Indonesia entered Saturday’s game wary of a recent improvement in form by a resilient Laos squad.

Against Indonesia’s in-form attack, however, Laos wilted and was a far cry from the team that forced a surprising draw with Thailand last week.

Riedl had coached Laos before moving to Indonesia, and many believe the coach’s first-hand knowledge of the opposition made the difference.
Dominic Menor

Jakarta. Indonesia could be in line for Southeast Asia’s first permanent football academy to develop youngsters’ talent under plans being considered by English Premier League Club Liverpool.

The club is eager to boost its presence in Asia through its youth wing, the Liverpool International Football Academy.

Should the plan take off, Indonesia will be the first country in Asia that the Liverpool Academy will call home, with the prospect of Indonesian students getting a direct line to try out to play in the Premier League.

The Anfield club has already sent its youth coaches twice this year to Jakarta.

After celebrated former Reds striker Ian Rush presided over one clinic in May, the club last Saturday launched eight days of activities to promote football education.

PETALING JAYA: Hosts Indonesia, having already sealed their place in the semi-finals, can decide the fate of the other three teams in Group A of the Suzuki Cup Asean Football Federation (AFF) championships.

Coach Alfred Riedl’s side are safely through to the last four after picking up an unassailable lead at the top of the standings in the group with six points from two straight wins. Three-time winners Thailand are next with two points, followed by Malaysia and Laos with one each.

Thailand seem to have the best chance to grab the second semi-final spot from the group because they will be playing Indonesia in their last group match at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta tomorrow.

As Indonesia have already qualified for the last four, they may take their foot off the pedal and allow Thailand to get the win they need to go through.

However, should Indonesia field their strongest line-up and hold or beat the Thais, it will open the door for either Malaysia or Laos, who meet at the same time at the Jaka Baring Stadium in Palembang, to sneak into the last four.

National coach K. Rajagopal said that having gone through two absorbing matches “I believe we are in with a chance to make the semi-finals”.
Rangga D. Fadillah, The Jakarta Post

Malaysia has shown signs of perceiving Indonesia as a source of investment that could boost its own economic growth by driving its ambitious economic transformation programs designed to increase its income per capita to US$15,000 by 2020.

Kuala Lumpur invited Indonesian businesspeople to explore investment potentials in Malaysia during the recent visit of Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to Jakarta.

Muhyiddin met with representatives of Indonesian prominent businessmen to affirm his country’s commitment to opening larger opportunities for private business entities to become involved in the country’s development projects.

“I came here to explain about Malaysia’s economic transformation programs, including 131 projects opened for the private sector’s involvement both from Malaysia and Indonesia,” he said at a press conference after the meeting at Bank Mega Tower in Jakarta on Friday evening.

He said the Malaysian government had decided to reduce its involvement in those offered projects, adding that the government would cover no more than 8 percent of all required funds.
Jakarta. Indonesia’s Irfan Bachdim has become an overnight football sensation after scoring in his national team debut, the 5-1 destruction of bitter rival Malaysia on Wednesday night.

The handsome 22-year-old, born to an Indonesian father and Dutch mother, delighted 30,000 diehard fans at Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta and millions of others huddled around televisions throughout the country with his gutsy performance and the side’s final goal of the match.

By midday, Irfan had attracted more than 30,000 followers on Twitter, up from around 7,000 the previous day. His name is being mentioned on the micro-blogging site about 1,000 times per hour.

And among Irfan’s most vocal supporters is his girlfriend, Jennifer Kurniawan, who models lingerie in Germany under the name Jennifer Jasmin.


Most Sabahans view Indonesians as just labourers or household servants, oblivious to the fact that its Borneo neighbour is one of Indonesia’s richest provinces.

I COMPLAIN about our politicians talking too much, but I’m becoming just as much a culprit. I seem to be delivering speeches all the time. So, first off, my apologies for being a rank hypocrite.

Anyhow, last week, I was in Kota Kinabalu chairing a session on the business opportunities that exist between Sabah and the Indonesian province of East Kalimantan.

I had been invited (along with some Indonesian guests) by the government agency Sedia, which runs the Sabah Development Corri­dor.

While the talk was lively, I was struck once again by how little Malaysians know about Indonesia. Whereas all the Indonesians present had visited Kota Kinabalu, very few of the Sabahans had any idea about Indonesian locales like the East Kalimantan oil and gas hub of Balikpapan or the provincial capital of Samarinda.

INDONESIAN billionaires are ready to make Malaysia their prime investment destination after being assured by the Government they will not face any obstacles.

The billionaires, led by the influential entrepreneur Chairul Tanjung, indicated they were ready to come to Malaysia as early as next year.

“Funds are not an issue to us. All we need are the opportunities and commitment from Malaysia which I am very happy to say we are seeing now,” he said in joint press conference with Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin here yesterday.

Muhyiddin had earlier met Chairul and a group of Indonesian billionaires at Chairul’s office at Bank Mega tower.
By Queville To

KOTA KINABALU: The poor in Sabah may have just got a little poorer following the nationwide hike in petrol and sugar prices. But the state government is in denial and claims that "all is well."

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Yong Teck Lee, however, is demanding that the government “show us the real numbers” to substantiate its claims that poverty is not a serious problem in Sabah.

Yong said that if the government used real facts and figures ,the truth would be out.

“Chief Minister (Musa Aman), like other ministers recently, again cited the so-called e-Kasih data to put the number of hardcore poor household heads (KIRMT) at only 7,455.

“In fact, on the ground, 'e-Kasih' has already been discredited as being 'p-Kasih' meaning 'pilih kasih' (favouritism) because e-Kasih involves cash handouts to selected persons.

"Not all poor people are registered under e-Kasih. Any grassroots leader who walks around a poor village will come across many hardcore poor villagers who say they have been excluded from the e-Kasih programme,” said Yong, a former chief minister.
Dinesweri Puspanadan, Malaysia Chronicle

It's amusing to see UMNO is barking about 'Ketuanan Raja'. Don't you think UMNO should flip through history. Who was the one who withdrew the Sultan's power? Welcome to Malaysia!

MIC is busy bashing Selangor state government for being racist for denying Indian students rights for Selangor state scholarship. Ironically, what MIC has been doing for past 52 years when every year UMNO denies PSD scholarship for many excellent Indian students?-Welcome to Malaysia!

UMNO has been championing 'Ketuanan Melayu' for ages, yet 96 percent of poor are Malays- Welcome to Malaysia.

Police force is indulging in 'trigger-happy acts'. Fatal shootings involving minors and innocent civilians is rampant, yet Home Minister claims that we are 'safe' - again, Welcome to Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR — A renowned Islamic scholar silenced arguments today over the controversial “Malay supremacy” concept, charging that it was un-Islamic and akin to the Jewish’s “ chosen race” claim.

Former Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin wrote today that the act of placing the Malay race as more supreme than the others was against the teachings of Islam, which preaches tolerance and the equality of all races.

“If someone considers himself more noble simply because of race or ethnicity factors, or considers others lower than himself because they are not of the same race, such belief is wrong and goes against the teachings of Islam.

“Should this be the case, it can be likened to the Jewish claim that they are the 'chosen race',” he said.

The outspoken scholar added that such “pride” was rejected by Islam.

Dr Mohd Asri's view on the contentious concept is a direct blow to Malay rights group Perkasa, whose leaders have been blaring the “Malay supremacy” rhetoric to push for Malay rights.

Thailand coach Bryan Robson is likely to make wholesale changes to his starting line-up against Malaysia in the Suzuki Cup today.

The match at Gelora Bung Kano stadium kicks off at 5pm and will be televised live on Channel 7 and Star Sports.

In the other Group A match of the Southeast Asian championship, Indonesia meet Laos.

Thailand needed a last-gasp strike to secure a 2-2 draw with Laos in their opening game. Robson rested several key players because they were tired after a long domestic season.

"It is going to be a big game for both sides because it could decide who will reach the semi-finals. The team which wins will surely qualify for the semi-finals," said the English coach.
JAKARTA, Indonesia

The number of billionaires in Indonesia has nearly doubled from a dozen last year to a record 21 today -- thanks largely to booms in coal, palm oil and other commodities.

Forbes Asia also said in its December issue that the collective net of the country's 40 richest people jumped from $42 billion to an all-time high of $71 billion.

Indonesia, home to 237 million people, has one of the fastest growing economies in the region. That's thanks to a strong stock market -- boosted by the wealth of many on the list -- abundant natural resources, and consumers who are eager to spend.

The richest Indonesians were once again brothers Budi and Michael Hartono. Money generated by the Bank Central Asia, clove cigarette giant Djarum and palm oil interests gave them a combined net worth of $11 billion.

That's up from $7 billion last year.

Source: Business Week
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CANCUN, Mexico: Indonesia played an important role in a making changes at the climate summit negotiation table, a diplomat said.

“Many countries appreciate Indonesia for being one of the main catalysts for fundamental change,” Eddy Pratomo, Indonesian ambassador to Germany, who is a senior advisor for the Indonesian delegation at the summit, said in a press release made available Friday.

Indonesia was among a handful of developing countries that agreed on the role of measurable, reportable and verifiable mechanism, known as MRV, to be applied in the emission reduction effort.
Malaysia has plunged 10 notches to 141 in the 2010 World Press Freedom Index - the lowest in nine years - putting it firmly in the bottom quarter of 178 countries.

The country failed to capitalise on last year's improvement where it moved up one notch from 132 to 131.

The issues which have perhaps affected Malaysia's poor ranking include the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission's investigation into Malaysiakini's cow-head video, the arrests of bloggers and the ban on a number of books by cartoonist Zunar.

Interestingly, Singapore (136) outranked Malaysia for the first time since Paris-based press watchdog group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) began releasing its ranking in 2002.
By Luke Rintod

KOTA KINABALU: DAP has blamed Umno-Barisan Nasional's 'corrupt nature' for the regime's inability to meet promises it had made to Sabahans in 1994 and 2007.

Its national disciplinary committee chairman, Tan Kok Wai, said it is this inherent characteristic that had led the Umno-led BN to plunder Sabah's resources.

Tan, who is also MP for Cheras, recalled that in the 1994 general election, BN in its manifesto pledged that there would be zero poverty in Sabah by the year 2000, but today, 10 years later poverty still plagues the state.

"In 2007, the BN state chief minister again promised Sabahans that poverty would be eradicated by the year 2010 and that there would be no more hardcore poor in the state by 2009, but today Sabahans remain the poorest in Malaysia.
Sam Chee Kong

So what our policy makers in this part of the world is doing to protect us from all these ‘lose money’ from entering our shores? Apparently our Governor of Bank Negara Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akthar’s response to the FED’s QE2 seems to contradict with what our neighbors are trying to achieve. Instead of preventing the inflow, rather it is encouraging a greater inflow of foreign capital and declared that we have to manage the increase in volatility of the markets due to QE2.

A country’s Money Supply is basically the total of all notes and coins, loans and credit and other liquid investment. Or put it simply the total Money Supply of a country consist of the following :
By Kenny Gan, Malaysia Chronicle

I started working as a young graduate electrical engineer in 1983 in an engineering firm in Kuala Lumpur. My starting salary was RM1200 which was pretty typical in those days. This may not seem much now but mixed rice was less than RM2.00 with Chinese tea and petrol was RM1.00 a litre. After 6 months and an increment under my belt I plonked down for set of wheels; a cute little Toyota Corolla which I paid off in 3 years. Two years later I put down the deposit for a double storey terrace house in a thriving suburb near the capital.

Fast forward to the present and it would be very hard for any graduate to follow my act without substantial help from their parents. No, I wasn’t from the privileged class and I didn’t get a leg-up from my parents, save for the education they gave me. Present day graduates start their working life at RM1800 to RM2000 a month, not a lot of difference from 25 years ago but prices of everything have tripled and quadrupled. A hawker meal now cost RM5 (drinks extra), prices of cars and houses have grossly outpaced income and there are new expenses like toll, hand phones, Astro and internet. Our ringgit has depreciated against foreign currencies making consumer goods and overseas travel more expensive. To put it simply, real income has declined.
Speech made by Ranil Wickremesinghe - leader of the opposition, Sri Lanka at the Rotary International South Asia conference in Bangkok yesterday.

By the 4th century BC, Asia had begun its first cycle of economic growth and power. This was the reason why Alexander the Great decided to travel eastward to establish an empire. At that time there was nothing worthwhile to the west of Greece. On the othr hand, to the east of Greece was Persia, and beyond were rich kingdoms in India and China. A Roman Emperor once complained Rome had to import all its luxuries from India and China; but had nothing to offer these Asian countries. Until the 1820s, Asia was responsible for 60% to 75% of the world’s GDP.

Asia is not a continent that can be brought together like the European Union. Historically, culturally and climatically we fall into five distinct categories: East Asia, Indo-China, Central Asia, West Asia and the Indian Ocean region. In the past these regions were all integrated by the Silk Route. This is why I have titled this speech ‘The Return of the Asians’ - because contrary to common opinion what we are witnessing today is not the rise of Asia but the return of Asian countries to recapture the global economy.
While economists debate whether China or India will dominate the world economy of the 21st century, another rising Asian power is quietly entering the picture. Relatively unscathed by the global financial crisis, Indonesia's economy was projected to grow at a healthy 6.1 percent clip in 2010 and 6.3 percent next year, one of the fastest rates in Asia (and the world). What's more, its per capita GDP is projected to increase almost 20 percent in the next two years. Since 2009, Indonesia has had Asia's second-best-performing stock market. A number of analysts are now suggesting that the BRIC grouping might soon need to add another I.

Part of the growth is driven by the country's abundant natural resources -- it is a major exporter of timber, coal, and silver -- but Indonesia's manufacturing sector is growing as well. Chinese clothing and furniture companies, which prospered by making goods for the American market, are now increasingly moving production to Indonesia, taking advantage of a free trade agreement between the two countries, which is just now coming into effect.
Long known as feminine and demure, Indonesia's traditional kebaya is headed for a makeover at the hands of innovative designers.

Growing demand for stylish yet still modest fashions in the world's most populous Islamic nation is helping power efforts to bring Islamic fashion into the modern age, a movement symbolized by changes to the iconic kebaya, a blouse-dress combination.

Fun prints, intricate detailing, colors so bold as to be psychedelic and a mix of delicate lace all graced the catwalk at the recent Jakarta Fashion Week. One designer even paired the kebaya with red-and-yellow striped tights.

"I think it's a good presentation because if you wear Muslim clothing like this, it's not necessarily boring," Jakarta Fashion Week project manager Petty Fatimah told Reuters.

"You can definitely expect to see more Islamic fashion in the future and it is for everybody. If you're not a woman who wears Islamic clothing you can still wear it."
If the holiday shopping continues at the pace set this weekend, area retailers appear likely to have a merry Christmas.

From clothing to electronics to toys, from discount stores to department stores to specialty shops, the turnout of shoppers scooping up bargains at after-Thanksgiving sales gave retailers reason for optimism about the holiday season.

In one big-box store that was open on Thursday morning, Thanksgiving Day, cheerful stock clerks were topping off the shelves, creating new displays in wide aisles and marking down prices for sales that would begin several hours later. They were working hard and under a deadline, but their demeanor showed excitement rather than stress. What happened over the next two or three days would indicate whether holiday sales this year would be good, mediocre or bad. Clearly, the store workers were expecting and preparing for demand like in the old days before the crash.
By Maclean Patrick

It cannot be faulted if we all agree that it is human nature for people to group together within familiar circles. We see this in family units, communities, villages, towns, cities, states, countries and (the obvious) political entities.

It’s a comforting effect – to be able to huddle together in a tight unit either for warmth or security. A habit born from prehistoric times since the days the human species branched out to populate the world.

Human beings are herding creatures, much like the rest of nature.

And as Sarawak approaches its state election, we are presented with a tantalising option: which herd will we join?

Direct membership is nothing new to the Barisan Nasional (BN). Yet there should be a caveat as proposed by Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president James Masing.

“Direct BN membership should not be a sanctuary for party dissidents or rejects of any BN component party. If BN accepts those characters, it will create a destabilising precedence and open the floodgates for unruly personalities to come in,” he told a local daily.
By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's economy is set to crash if no regulation is imposed on the inflows of hot money, DAP economist Charles Santiago said.

A rallying market and appreciation of the ringgit have forced the government to think twice before imposing capital control.

Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah has said in an interview with Bloomberg recently that “we are benefiting from the capital inflows and the appreciation of the ringgit. It’s not affecting our property market like many other countries.”

The World Bank has warned that Asian economies may need to impose capital controls as “quantitative easing by the US threatens to spur asset bubbles in the region”.
By Athi Shankar

GEORGE TOWN: A group of prominent politicians and social activists from East Malaysia are seriously contemplating pulling out Sabah and Sarawak from the Federation of Malaysia.

They are planning to take up their case to the United Nations to hold a referendum on the status of the Borneo states as independent nations.

They no longer want their states to be under the clutches of the Umno-led Putrajaya administration.

The group has already sought legal advice from the international community to explore all orderly and democratic means to legally declare Sabah and Sarawak as separate sovereign states.

Sources said the group was keen to avoid any civil unrest, bloodshed and armed conflict with the central government, features usually associated with separatist movements.
By Rahmah Ghazali

FULL REPORT KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has alleged that it was Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin's “old friend” Omar Mustapha who introduced the Malaysian government to US-based public relations firm Apco Worldwide.

He claimed that Khairy and Omar were partners in the consultancy firm, Ethos.

Anwar had revealed this in the Dewan Rakyat today, when he explained his “One Israel and 1Malaysia” jibe.

The opposition leader also furnished documentary evidence to substantiate his allegation that the government had links with the company, which, according to him, masterminded the “One Israel” concept more than a decade ago.

"Omar was reported to have introduced Apco to the government as its consultant, and its (Apco's) adviser was stationed in the Prime Minister's Office after Najib Tun Razak took over as prime minister. But this did not go down well with some of the government officials," he said.
1. Jakarta
Jakarta Skyline

Jakarta @ Night

Established in the fourth century, the city became an important trading port for the Kingdom of Sunda. It grew as the capital of the colonial Dutch East Indies. It was made capital of Indonesia when the country became independent after World War II. It was formerly known as Sunda Kelapa (397-1527), Jayakarta (1527-1619), Batavia (1619-1942), and Djakarta (1942-1972). Now the city has a population of 9.58 million people, according to 2010 census count.
A large South Korean flag being waved by suppo...Image via WikipediaSeoul. Taking the World Cup back to South Korea in 2022, 20 years after it was jointly staged there with Japan, would again present football governing body FIFA with dilemmas over the fractured and difficult relationship between the North and South.

As if to remind football’s power-brokers that they are still technically at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a ceasefire, not a peace treaty, tension escalated again this week.

North Korea fired dozens of artillery shells at a South Korean island off the North’s coast, killing at least two civilians and two soldiers. The action prompted return fire from the South and the dispatch of a US aircraft carrier group to Korean waters.
Thursday, 25 November 2010

Turkey, which was earlier listed as the 16th biggest economy in the world in terms of size of national income, has revised its position in the ranking as the 15th, due to a correction made by the Council of Ministers in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures in the country's 2011 Program.

Following such correction, Turkey's Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) based national income size, which was previously envisaged as 947.83 billion USD for 2010, has become 1.1 trillion USD.
by Sydney Sasson
The Malaysian Insider
November 23, 2010

Dear Deputy Foreign Minister Pillay,

We read with interest your latest statements in the Dewan Rakyat today that the Malaysian government is keeping Malaysians abroad under watch.

Guess what? Malaysians abroad are keeping the Malaysian government under watch too. Its encouraging to know that a number of civil society initiatives and solidarity actions taken by Malaysians overseas in the past year have been noticed by the Malaysian government.

It means that all those days of braving the cold and rain to protest against the archaic Internal Security Act and government corruption, and writing to various overseas Members of Parliament and lobbying politicians, the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Commonwealth Human Rights Council, the overseas press and international civil society organisations to alert them to the worrying state of human rights in Malaysia has not been in vain.
street beggingImage by Dave_B_ via Flickr“The real wealth of a nation is its people, the beneficiaries and the drivers of human development, and expansion of their freedoms, with the main focus on empowerment, equity and sustainability, is the cornerstone of the basic concept of human development,” reaffirms the 2010 Human Development Report (HDR) – 20th anniversary edition entitled “The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development.”

The main objective of 2010 HDR edition, that was presented today at the UN Office in Armenia with participation of Dirk Boberg, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Armenia, and Ara Petrosyan, RoA Deputy Minister of Economy, is to provide a retrospective systematic assessment of trends in key components of human development – life expectancy, school enrolment, literacy and income - over the past 40 years.
Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Tun RazakImage via WikipediaThe government backs down on a tycoon's sports betting plan

The Malaysian government has portrayed its recent decision not to legalize sports gambling as the action of a responsible administration responding to public opinion and keeping its promise to be more open and accountable.

In fact, the episode is a sharp reminder of how deeply entrenched the crony culture is in the country and how little has changed under the leadership of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

While Najib has pleased many Malaysians by refusing to allow businessman Vincent Tan to expand his gambling empire, the prime minister's image has suffered because of his secretive attempt to revive sports betting.
Raja Petra Kamarudin at a press conference aft...Image via WikipediaUnknown forces attempt to block Malaysia Today from printing documents involving a huge scandal

Malaysia Today, the hard-hitting news website edited by Raja Petra Kamarudin, has been blocked by mysterious technical problems twice in the last 24 hours after publishing damning articles of deep corruption at the top of the Malaysian government.

One implicated the United Malays National Organization, the country's leading political party, in looting MAS, the country's flag carrier. A second alleged that a friend of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was attempting to steer RM200 million into the pockets of Najib's family from China Railways Engineering Corporation (CREC), for double-tracking the national railway.
Flag of the Malaysian state Sabah. Based on a ...Image via WikipediaBy Queville To

KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Musa Aman's 'timely' announcement of a special allocation of RM1 million to each Barisan Nasional representatives in Sabah next year has been described as a "form of political corruption".

DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang said Musa's announcement – under the state budget - warrants Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) attention and investigation.

“It is a political corruption to allocate RM1 million public funds to the BN constituencies alone. It is clearly an election budget to boost the winning chances of BN in the next general election and not for the benefit of the people. It is to be used to buy votes,” Lim charged.
Matt Oakley Leicester City skipperImage via Wikipedia
Jakarta. Indonesia can now count itself as part of Asia’s invasion of English football, after Championship League side Leicester City announced over the weekend that Iman Arif has a minor stake in the club.

Leicester City was bought by Asia Football Investments, headed by Thai businessman Aiyawatt Raksriaksorn, in August reportedly for 40 million pounds ($63.8 million).

But English media reported that a second investor accounted for 20 percent of the cost, or an estimated 8 million pounds, to purchase the team.

On Friday, Leicester City officials revealed that it was Iman’s Cronus Sports Management Pte Ltd that had acquired a minor stake in the club.
JAKARTA, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- Angklung, the traditional Indonesia's West Java musical instrument made from bamboo, has been included in the list of the UNESCO's (United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization) list of intangible cultural heritage, local media reported Friday.

The instrument was among 46 items from 21 countries inscribed to the list at the Fifth Unesco Inter-Governmental Committee meeting on Intangible Cultural Heritage in Nairobi, Kenya.

The angklung now joins the wayang (the Javanese shadow puppet theater), the keris (the Javanese ceremonial dagger) and batik among the Indonesian representatives in the list.
In an interview with ET Now, Robert Levitt , CFA, Founder, Managing Member and CIO, Levitt Capital Management , says India is a difficult market as regulations are not yet developed. Excerpts:

You recently mentioned that markets will enjoy a free ride till the end of the year. How is it looking for emerging economies such as China and India, and what is going to keep the momentum going from here onwards?

There is a respite over the last few days since the G20 meeting came out and it was not real clear to people how the currencies were going to revalue. But if you think about it, it was never going to be so clear. The Chinese or the US are not going to say they have decided to devalue the dollar 40% over the next five years. It does not happen like that because if it did, there would be a rush to do it immediately. And there is a concern about the Plaza accord with the Japanese Yen over a short period of time really appreciated quickly.
INTERNATIONAL. The world is in a sustained period of high economic growth, or super-cycle, which started in 2000 and is expected to last at least another couple of decades and see the global economy reach over US$300 trillion in size by 2030, up from US$62 trillion today, according to a special report by Standard Chartered.

The world economy has already doubled between 2000 and 2010.

The developed economies will do well through the super-cycle, but the emerging markets will do much better. As a result, the global balance of economic power will shift decisively from the West to the East, according to the report.
Location of SarawakImage via WikipediaBy Bruno Manser Fund
We have been informed that Radio Free Sarawak has gone on air this morning. The new alternative radio station will broadcast two daily broadcasts on shortwave, presumably in Iban and Malay (Bahasa). It aims at Sarawak's rural communities who lack access to independent media. As you might know, the media in Sarawak are strictly controlled by an extremely corrupt state government under Abdul Taib Mahmud and the logging companies who own and control all major media outlets.
JAKARTA, INDONESIA - JUNE 02 : US-Indonesian m...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeKUALA LUMPUR: It's Halloween week and horror stories are pouring out of the Auditor-General's 2009 report.
According to PAS information chief Idris Ahmad, the report has put every single Malaysian adult and child in debt!

He said Auditor-General Ambrin Buang's report that last year's debts stood at an all-time high of RM362.39 billion, simply meant that each Malaysian had a domestic debt of RM14,000.

"The A-G revealed that Malaysia had the highest debt of RM362.39 billion in five years.

"This debt – RM362.39 billion – means that all 26 million Malaysians carry the burden of owing RM14,000 each... and it's all because of the government's corrupt practices," Idris said.
AID 08Image via Wikipedia2011 Budget not a child of New Economic Model but bears all the marks of old discredited Mahathirish policies (Part 1 of 5)

On Monday, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak launched the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

It was also the start of a week which saw the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) suffering a triple blow.
Anwar IbrahimImage via WikipediaBy Baradan Kuppusamy

KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 22, 2006 (IPS) - Malaysia's first serious survey of race relations, in 50 years, shows that behind the façade of outward unity and peace, racism runs deep in this multi-ethnic 'melting pot'.

The telephone survey of about 1,200 Malaysians also found that the majority of the various races find comfort and security in their respective ethnicity and not in a common ‘Malaysian' identity, as the travel and tourism brochures suggest.

''The findings are not at all surprising,'' said social scientist Chandra Muzaffar. ''This is partly because ethnic boundaries are real in our society and almost every sphere of public life is linked to ethnicity in one way or another.''
Countries by 2008 economic freedom index. The ...Image via WikipediaCoffetoday Nov 15 , 2010 – When the Freedom House and many other institutions measure the level of political freedom in society, Fraser Institute of Canada would see the other side, namely the level of economic freedom. Its size is freedom to engage in economic activities, maintain property obtained legally, and enjoy equal opportunity without any interference. In the annual report Economic Freedom of the World 2010, which was released recently mentioned, an indication of the kind of freedom that is the overall expenditure of government agencies, the legal structure of a country and the protection of property rights.
World map depicting AsiaImage via WikipediaAAP 

Asia and other emerging markets offer Australian investors the opportunity to spread their funds and risks, a UK-based asset manager says.

Threadneedle head of Asia and Global Emerging Markets Equities, Vanessa Donegan, said the asset manager had been investing in Australia through its Asian and global funds for years.
BlackBerry Torch 9800Image by Qiao-Da-Ye賽門譙大爺 via FlickrAfter Introduce by Research In Motion (RIM) in Indonesia in late September 2010, XL Axiata PT Tbk (XL) finally proposes offer the latest mobile variant of the BlackBerry, the BlackBerry 9800 Torch, to be marketed through a distribution channel.

“BlackBerry has many features not owned any other smart phones. The advantages that make it continue to look for people although other smart phones continue to emerge, “Director of Marketing XL, V Nicanor Santiago, through a press conference in Jakarta, Monday, November 8, 2010.

“Therefore we present the latest BlackBerry bundling programs, which included 9800 Torch promo free roaming BlackBerry,” he said.
Jakarta's Central Business District along the ...Image via WikipediaA regional workshop on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and the protection of civilians was held in Jakarta on 8-9 November 2010, co-hosted by the Foreign Ministries of Indonesia and Norway. The workshop was well attended, with participants from 12 countries in the region, the International Commitee of the Redd Cross (ICRC), military, academics, NGOs and national human rights institutions.

The workshop was formally opened by the Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marty M. Natalegawa and the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jonas Gahr Støre. Foreign Minister Støre emphasized Norway’s strong commitment to reclaim the protection of civilians in armed conflict, and underlined the value of IHL as a global achievement and shared responsibility. Foreign Minister Natalegawa emphasised education and training to strengthen the capacity of the military, observance of the notions of human rights and a strong political will as central for enhancing protection of civilians in time of armed conflict, and reiterated Indonesia’s commitment to comply with IHL.
Malaysia is the worst country in Asia-Pacific in Transparency International Corruption Perception Index in past 16 years since the start of the annual ranking in 1995

Despite the “1Malaysia People First Performance Now” slogan and the alphabet soup of GTP, NKRA, MKRA, SRIs, ETP etc and one Roadmap after another of Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the National Integrity Plan of former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Malaysia is the worst country in the Asia-Pacific in Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) in past 16 years since the start of the annual ranking in 1995.

In the first TI CPI in 1995, Malaysia was ranked No. 23 out of 41 countries or the 6th highest-ranked nation after New Zealand -1, Singapore – 3, Australia – 7, Hong Kong – 17 and Japan – 20, with a CPI score of 5.28.
by John Baptist
The Malaysian Insider
November 11, 2010

I read with disgust Zaini Hassan describing in the Utusan Malaysia the tragic May 13, 1969 incident as “sacred”. The Oxford Dictionary defines sacred as either “connected with God or a god; considered to be holy” or “very important and treated with great respect.”

From general reading, the incident involved carnage, destruction of private and public property, ruining of families, instilling of fear, the destruction of years of trust between the races built by our forefathers and the maligning of our nation in the eyes of the world, setting us back years in the terms of our economic potential.
I need take only carnage to exemplify that it is prohibited by all religions and hence cannot sit comfortably within the first definition of “sacred” by the Oxford Dictionary.
Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Tun RazakImage via WikipediaBy Soraya Permatasari and Barry Porter | Bloomberg

Nov. 12 (Bloomberg) — Malaysia will ask the World Bank to help in the country’s efforts to cut government spending as Prime Minister Najib Razak seeks to reduce the budget deficit from a 22-year high.

The nation is asking the Washington-based lender to review all areas of government expenditure, including how state contracts are awarded, to prevent waste from inefficiency, Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said in an interview in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Malaysia hopes the study will bolster the government’s credibility, he said.

“We just want a third party as a check and balance,” said Ahmad Husni, 58. An annual audit of spending at state agencies has shown “some negative findings and we hope that with the involvement of the World Bank, in the future we can see a clean sheet,” he said.
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has lost the bid to host one of the three qualifiers for the 2012 London Olympics. India and Japan, however, were successful with their bids while the hosts for the third qualifiers will be announced later.

The decision was made by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) executive committee when they decided on the hosts for their major tournaments over the next four years.

Bidding for one of the qualifiers was a priority for the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) as their target is to regain their place in the Olympic Games.

The national team are currently playing in the Asian Games in Guangzhou where the winners will gain an automatic berth for the London Games.
A map of current APEC members. Map centred in ...Image via WikipediaThe APEC summit is wrapping up today, with the leaders issuing their statement on the 'The Yokohama Vision - Bogor and Beyond.' Bogor refers to the city in Indonesia where APEC leaders gathered in 1994 to announce 'their shared commitment to achieve free and open trade and investment by 2010 for industrialized economies and by 2020 for developing economies.'
So, how are they doing? According to the leaders' statement released today, the Asia-Pacific has secured substantial reductions in barriers to trade and investment and members are confident that APEC is 'well on track' to achieving free and open trade and investment among member economies.
GUANGZHOU, China - World number one Lee Chong Wei got his Asian Games off to the worst possible start on Saturday by suffering a shock defeat, but it was plain sailing for arch-rival Lin Dan.

Lee, who admits he is not fully fit after an ankle injury, lost to Thailand's world number six Boonsak Ponsana in three sets in the quarter-finals of the men's team event in Guangzhou.

The surprise 21-9, 10-21, 19-21 defeat only heightens fears that the 28-year-old Malaysian's Games could be ruined by injury.
Gz2010Image via WikipediaBy John Weaver (AFP) – 7 hours ago
GUANGZHOU, China — Hosts China crushed Malaysia by 55 runs with a powerful all-round team display in the first official cricket match ever staged on Chinese soil.
China scored 116 for 6 in their 20 overs in the Asian Games women's match after winning the toss and electing to bat on Saturday.
Malaysia never threatened to reach their target in front of a disappointingly sparse crowd at the 4,800-capacity Guanggong Cricket Stadium.
The Chinese lost two early wickets with only seven runs on the board but steadied their innings through Sun Huan, who scored a quickfire 47 off 49 balls, including three boundaries.
In a late flurry, captain Wang Meng hit 13 runs off 13 balls. Sloppy bowling from Malaysia contributed to 21 extras in the innings, including 17 wides.
Guangzhou, Nov 13 (PTI) Star woman shuttler Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap scored impressive wins but the Indian challenge ended in the both men''s and women''s team events in the Asian Games here today.
India''s women lost 2-3 to Indonesia while the men''s team suffered a 1-3 defeat against Chinese Taipei at Tianhe Gymnasium.
Saina gave India a winning start by beating Adriyanti Firdasari 21-16 21-17 in the first singles in just 30 minutes.
In fine Alinskyite tradition, Pres. Barack Obama is ready to say anything at any moment if it seems expedient. So it was that he spoke some months back of the “unbreakable bond of friendship” between the United States and Israel. The occasion was the Jewish state’s Independence Day. The proximate cause, however, was a backlash provoked by policies shot through with anti-Israeli animus — and none more so than President Obama’s obsession over the construction of Israeli housing, a subject on which the president is no less doctrinaire than his good friend Rashid Khalidi, the former PLO mouthpiece turned U.S. academic.

Was the “unbreakable bond” bit a sweet nothing, or did Obama really mean what he said? The president’s skedaddle out of the country after the mammoth electoral drubbing his policies caused his party provides a good opportunity to judge.
G20 countriesImage via WikipediaIf there is a moment when an epoch ends, perhaps it was last weekend in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, the port from which Vasco da Gama sailed in 1497 on his voyage of conquest that set up the first European empire in Asia.
The visiting President of China, Hu Jintao, offered to help bail out Portugal from the threat of default on its huge sovereign debt. ''We are ready to take concrete measures to help Portugal overcome the global financial crisis,'' Hu declared.
Kim Yu-na: G20 Seoul Summit AmbassadorImage by KOREA.NET - Official page of the Republic of Korea via FlickrBy VIJAY JOSHI | AP

SEOUL: Leaders of 20 major economies on Friday refused to back a US push to make China boost its currency's value, keeping alive a dispute that raises fears of a global trade war amid criticism that cheap Chinese exports are costing American jobs.

A joint statement issued by the leaders including US President Barack Obama and China's Hu Jintao tried to recreate the unity that was evident when the Group of 20 rich and developing nations held its first summit two years ago during the global financial meltdown.

President Obama spent four years of his childhood in Indonesia in the 1960s, and recently made an official presidential visit to the southeast Asian archipelago. But what excited the most public attention in Jakarta were not any diplomatic initiatives he proposed, but what he said he missed from his time there. And what he missed was bakso.

Bakso (a.k.a. bakmi) is Indonesia's premier street food, a soup that can contain any number of things, but always includes meatballs -- which are also called bakso. Confused? This soup is sold from stalls in the street, from trucks, and, most memorably, by vendors who ride bicycles that have a bakso-assembling set-ups attached to the front, complete with little steam-table tubs heated by Sterno flames or charcoal.
Tropical Malaysia is blessed with natural beauty and has been a popular tourist destination for all. Our rich multi-racial culture on top of the exquisite culinary experience never fails to awe. Our cityscape is a blend of modern skyscrapers and pre-war architectural heritage. Our tropical forests are the home of many endangered species while our coast lines are dotted with beautiful islands of pristine sandy beaches and rich marine life.
Unfortunately, the inconsistent service level is putting a huge dent in the tourism industry's efforts to draw in more tourists. We often read of letters to editors in news dailies, complaining of their unpleasant experiences while holidaying in Malaysia. We read about tourists getting cheated, robbed and some even disrespected by the authorities.
Our heartbreaking efforts  to save our NCR lands and forest in Sebangan.
Yesterday, my brother Numpang Suntai, went all the way from Sebangan to Ulu Sungai Ijok.
The destruction of our land and forest is heartbreaking, Mut” he told me. “All this destruction for a mere 250 ringgit!” he said.
Tears trickled down his cheeks when he saw what used to be a lush jungle of majestic trees is now being replaced by miles and miles of dead empty space of fallen trees and logs, mounds and mounds of bulldozed earth as mud slowly trickling down to Ulu Sebangan River and changed it to a river of yellow water and mud. 
I too am crying as I wrote this because we love our land and once our ancient trees are gone, they are gone forever and no amount of money can bring them back ever again!
Petaling Jaya, Nov 12 - DAP Parliamentary Leader Lim Kit Siang has slammed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for the latter's recent tolerance of racial slurs and anti-1Malaysia sentiments, especially after Barisan Nasional's by-election victories in Galas and Batu Sapi.

The Ipoh Timor Member of Parliament (MP) observed that two days before the Nov 4 by-elections, the PM was "reaching out" to the Chinese community in his World Chinese Economic Forum speech saying that Malaysia have been successful due to the expertise and dedication of the Malaysian Chinese community.

By Stanley Koh

Malaysians generally have had enough of politicians. What they crave is real leadership. Over the last 20 years or so, their distrust of their representatives has been growing but their aspiration for true democracy has never waned.

The opposition gains in the 2008 general election – the so-called political tsunami – did sweep in a breath of fresh air, but it has since turned stale.

What went right in 2008? How did the Pakatan Rakyat coalition succeed so dramatically and why did Barisan Nasional receive the blunt end of the electoral sledgehammer?
It will be a fatal mistake if opposition politicians from the peninsula ride roughshod over the sensitivities of the people of Sabah. It is well known that the land below the wind (now the land of illegals) has long been seething with anger at the federal masters. Rich in natural resources, bigger than the peninsula, they should be enjoying the fruits of their natural wealth and holding the future in their hands. Instead, fate was unkind to them and today they live under the yoke of “alien” rule. For a brief spell, they had power but because of the machination of a devious dominant peninsular party, they lost their high seat. Though their politically emasculated Huguan Siou (paramount leader) now sits at the same table with the hated “conquerors”, life there does not seem to change for the better.
Jakarta. After three years of waiting, the state’s largest lender, Bank Mandiri, has obtained a permit to open a branch in Shanghai, its first step into the world’s most populous country.

China’s Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) issued the permit on Nov. 3.

Bank executive Thomas Arifin said on Thursday that Mandiri now would submit a business operation application to CBRC.
Let me begin with a simple statement: Indonesia is a part of me. I first came to this country when my mother married an Indonesian man named Lolo Soetoro. As a young boy, I was coming to a different world. But the people of Indonesia quickly made me feel at home.

Jakarta looked very different in those days. The city was filled with buildings that were no more than a few stories tall. The Hotel Indonesia was one of the few high-rises, and there was just one brand new shopping center called Sarinah. Becaks outnumbered automobiles in those days, and the highway quickly gave way to unpaved roads and kampungs.
By Karim Raslan

Times change. Had US President Barack Obama visited Indonesia just a year ago the reception would have been electric, obsessive and overwhelming. Instead, on a heavily overcast and stormy afternoon troubled by talk of volcanic ash and airport closures, Obama landed in a country under pressure from natural disasters. He encountered a nation no longer so enamored of his rock-star appeal.

Still, the deep fondness for “Barry” Obama, the brilliant son of Indonesianist Stanley Ann Dunham, remains a constant.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono painted a bold vision for the nation as he left for the Group of 20 summit in South Korea. As global economic power shifts from the West to the East, the president challenged the country to continue along its growth trajectory and become a fully fledged world power.
“If we can manage things well, then five to 10 or 15 years from now, we can really be a world power,” the president said. Those are bold words, but they are not without basis.
By Rahmah Ghazali

KUALA LUMPUR: Sabah and Sarawak have been “marginalised” in Budget 2011 despite bigger contributions to the government's coffers than its counterparts in the peninsula.
Tony Pua, DAP national publicity secretary, said that from the projects outlined, the peninsula is “by far the biggest beneficiary, with Sabah and Sarawak the biggest losers”.
He said the value of the projects in the peninsula amounted to a massive RM109.74 billion, compared to Sabah and Sarawak which only received a meagre RM9.55 billion.
Pua said this continued “marginalisation” would halt the country from becoming a high-income nation.

"Is this (justifiable)... when it is Sabah and Sarawak which have contributed the most to the federal government's coffers?
By Joe Fernandez
KOTA KINABALU: Deputy Federal Regional Development Minister Joseph Entulu Belaun estimates that at least 40,000 Dayaks in Sarawak have no birth certificates, and hence no MyKads, and a further 30,000 who have neither birth certificate nor MyKad.
The Selangau MP includes his constituency as among the many in Sarawak saddled with the problem which takes students out of school at Year Six and maroons them in the villages for fear of being arrested by the police.

“There are at least 500 to 600 people in Selangau alone who either have no birth certificates, and therefore no MyKads, or have the document but no MyKads,” said Entulu.
By Joseph Tawie
KUCHING: The state government's RM2.5billion loss from an investment in 1st Silicon Sarawak, a premier foundry, has turned out to be the largest scandal ever according to the DAP.
The company is said to be among the global semiconductor industry’s premier foundries dedicated to reliable, cost-effective manufacturing processes for high-volume system on-chip (SoC) designs and innovative niche markets.
But since its founding here in 1998, 1st Silicon has been losing money. The last known loss was RM2.5 billion.
KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia's widening network of poverty stricken people are centered in Sabah, according to the latest World Bank Report (WBR).
Noting that Sabah remains the poorest state in the country, the WBR's 2010 Malaysia Economic Monitor (MEM) Report showed that Sabahans continue to struggle, with higher incidences of poverty in outskirts of towns.
"(There are) deep pockets of poverty here in Sabah," said the bank's East Asia and Pacific Region Human Development Sector director Emmmanuel Jimenez who was in the state capital to present the report on Wednesday.
"Sabah has about 10% of the Malaysian population but more than 40% of all poor people in Malaysia live in Sabah," he said.
He said that if one compared this figure to that of Selangor, which has about 25% of the population, the percentage of poor people was less than 10%.
"Whatever poor people remaining in Malaysia, many of them are here in Sabah and most of them live in the rural areas … groups such as the

By Queville To

KOTA KINABALU: The World Bank recently made an embarrassing disclosure that Sabah still remains the poorest state in Malaysia despite 16 years of Barisan Nasional (BN) rule.

Now the opposition wants to know: where have all the funds given to Sabah for poverty eradication gone to?

Luyang state assemblywoman Melanie Chia today fired a broadside at the state government:

“It is indeed shocking to learn that although the state has only 10% of Malaysia’s population, it has 40% of the poverty.

TEN months after his explosive investigative piece on the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaaribuu, Bangkok-based French journalist Arnaud Dubus (picture) gave Free Malaysia Today's Sara Celestine an update on the scandal which has dragged down the good name of Najib Razak.

In the 45-minute interview, Dubus, who wrote the article for French newspaper Liberation, admitted that the trail connecting the Prime Minister to Altantuya had gone cold. The 46-year-old journalist of 20 years believed the only evidence – a photograph – linking Najib to the dead Mongolian beauty would never be found. Here are excerpts from the interview.

It has been 10 months since you wrote the article. How come there has been no follow-up story from you?

By Joseph Tawie
KUCHING: The teacher who caned 10-year-old Basil Anak Beginda for bringing non-halal food from home for recess has apologised.
The senior assistant of St. Thomas’ Primary School, Iskander Fadeli, apologised to Basil's mother, Angela Jabing.
Jabing, who attended a meeting with members of the school board of directors and representatives of Education Department, said: “He (Iskander) apologised to me and I accepted his apology on condition that he must be transferred out from the school as my son is still traumatised and is scared to see him.
“I want the education department to take action, and they said that they will let me know what action will be taken,” she said.