Friday, 21 June 2013

Ali Baba Bujang Lapok

Akhir-akhir ini agak kerap filem arahan Allahyarham Tan Sri P. Ramlee “Ali Baba Bujang Lapok” ditayangkan di TV sama ada oleh Astro ataupun RTM. Walaupun begitu saya tidak jemu-jemu masih setia menontonnya. Begitu juga dengan filem-filem Allahyarham yang lain yang berbentuk komedi, saya masih belum puas menontonnya walaupun beberapa kali ditayangkan. Inilah istimewanya insan yang bernama P. Ramlee ini. Bandingkan dengan komedi moden, contohnya siri Raja Lawak atau Karoot Komedia. Sekali ulang masih boleh bertahan tetapi kalau dah dua atau tiga kali, saya mula cari saluran lain.      

Berbalik kepada Ali Baba Bujang Lapok. Apa yang menarik dan menggelikan hati saya selain dari lawak-lawak yang bersahaja yang ditonjolkan itu ialah cara salam diucapkan oleh Norsiah (isteri Ali Baba) dan dijawab oleh Normadiah (tak ingat watak apa yang dilakonkan beliau). Salam yang diucapkan oleh Norsiah: assalaamu’alaikunna, dan dijawab oleh Normadiah: wa’alaikunnassalaam. Nampaknya P. Ramlee ingin mencari kelainan, bukannya menggunakan lafaz yang selalu kita dengar (iaitu assalaamu’alikum dan wa’alaikumussalaam) walaupun ianya dibolehkan untuk digunapakai untuk semua keadaan tidak kira sama ada yang diberi salam itu lelaki atau prerempuan dan seorang atau ramai sungguhpun ianya bercanggah dengan nahu Bahasa Arab.      

Lafaz yang betul yang sepatutnya diucapkan oleh Norsiah ialah: assalaamu’alaikuma, kerana hanya ada dua orang perempuan semasa salam diucapkan. Jawapan oleh Normadiah sepatutnya: wa’alaikissalaam, kerana ianya ditujukan kepada Norsiah seorang sahaja.

Apa agaknya punca terlepas pandang ini oleh P. Ramlee. Datuk Aziz Sattar (yang melakonkan watak Ali Baba) mungkin dapat memberikan penjelasan. Apa yang saya boleh agak ialah bahawa P. Ramlee mungkin telah bertanya kepada seorang ustaz apa lafaz yang betul untuk jamak (plural) bagi perempuan dan ustaz tersebut telah memberikan jawapan yang betul berpandukan soalan iaitu: assalaamu’alaikunna. Jamak dalam Bahasa Arab ialah tiga dan ke atas, berbeza dengan Bahasa Inggeris iaitu dua dan ke atas.  


Wednesday, 20 March 2013

MISC: Part 2

With the delisting of MISC Berhad being expected to take place anytime soon, allow me to list here a number of now famous personalities who used to be on its payroll.

YB Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop: The Deputy Home Affairs Minister joined MISC in 1981 as Senior Legal Executive after resigning from the Government service. His tenure in MISC lasted less than 2 years. Nevertheless what was interesting to tell was that when he came on board, he together with other executives of the same grade, had to put up with the open office concept, i.e. no room. Being accustomed to the Government’s practice of providing rooms for all Division One officers, he felt awkward and appealed to the Management to provide a room for him. The Management agreed and other executives too benefitted from his effort.          

Dato' Joseph Salang Gandum: The Deputy Minister of Information, Communication and Culture joined MISC in early 1980s as a manager in a subsidiary company in Sarawak. Following the closure of that subsidiary office in Sarawak, he was transferred to the head office in the Peninsular which he reluctantly accepted. During the first few weeks of his new working life in the Peninsular, he had several altercations with the Director of Personnel and Administration, Encik Azmel Hj Maamor (as he then was) over his new allocation of duties.  

Dato' Azmel Bin Hj. Maamor: This former Federal Court Judge joined MISC in early 1980s as Director of Legal Affairs but later assumed the higher-ranked post of Director of Personnel and Administration. He too did not last long here.   

Dato' Aznil Hj. Nawawi: This popular compere joined MISC in mid 1980s after completing his tertiary studies on MISC scholarship. Although he studied economics, he preferred to work in the PR line. Throughout his stint with MISC, he was always active in organizing events for the company.

Abdul Aziz Abdullah: Perhaps not many people know him. This former civil servant joined MISC in mid 1980s as Deputy Managing Director following the acquisition by MISC of a company he jointly owned with two others. What was interesting about him was this: He contested (on Semangat 46 ticket) against Dato’ Khalid Yunus (then a Deputy Minister) for Jempol parliamentary seat in the 1995 general election without resigning from MISC. When MISC was alerted of it, he was asked to leave which he did but later took MISC to court. The case was subsequently settled out of court.  

Datuk Mohamed Abid: He was a member of the top management of one of MISC’s subsidiaries during the 1970s and 1980s. He is now an author of several books but more well-known as a besan (I can’t find English equivalent for this word) of Tun Dr Mahathir as his daughter is married to Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir

Monday, 18 February 2013

MISC to be delisted soon?

I am sad to learn that the company I had worked for almost 30 years, Malaysia International Shipping Corporation Berhad (MISC) may soon be taken private by its holding company, Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas). The local shipping giant has, since its listing in 1987, been one of the biggest public companies on Bursa Malaysia in terms of market capitalisation.
MISC was incorporated in November 1968 with the late Tun Dr. Ismail as its first chairman. He was later replaced by a prominent businessman, Mr. Robert Kuok, who is now having the distinction of being listed as the richest Malaysian. Sometimes, Malaysian as well as foreign newspapers mistakenly refer to him as Tan Sri Robert Kuok, perhaps they get mixed up with his brother Tan Sri Philip Kuok. Some quarters claimed that Robert declined to accept any title and preferred to remain as a plain Mr. Robert Kuok. After Robert's departure, the chairmanship passed on to Tan Sri Tengku Ngah, Tan Sri Raja Muhd Alias (who preferred to be adresssed to as RM Alias), Tan Sri Hassan Marican, Dato' Shamsul Azhar Abbas and now Datuk Manharlal Ratilal. The last three are Petronas nominees.
MISC started shipping operations in 1970 with two ships bareboat-chartered from the Government of Malaysia, who in turn received them from the Government of Japan as "blood debt" payment arising from atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese Army in Malaya during World War II.   
MISC acquired the specialised and highly expensive LNG vessels in 1981/82 but could not trade them immediately because the Petronas LNG plant in Bintulu, Sarawak could not be completed on time. The French-built ships had to be mothballed in Sweden until the plant was commissioned in 1983. The laid-up vessels cost lots of money and MISC incurred quite heavy losses. Many politicians from both sides of the political divides jumped on the bandwagon to criticise MISC's management for being "over-ambitious", "wasteful" and "imprudent". Needless to say these very same politicians were deafeningly silent when things later turned around and MISC's LNG shipping business became a saviour when some of its other business lines (particularly liner) were bleeding.       
It became Petronas' subsidiary in 1998 following a corporate exercise that saw the national oil company injecting its wholly owned subsidiary, Petronas Tankers Sdn Bhd (PTSB) into MISC at the cost of almost RM6 billion, which was satisfied through the issuance of 859.9 million ordinary shares at RM6.96 per share. With this injection, MISC became the world largest owner/operator of LNG ships as ownership of these vessels has since been parked under one entity as opposed to two previously

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Election Date Guessing Game

While waiting for our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib to announce the very much anticipated date for the dissolution of parliament, suddenly his Australian counterpart Julia Gillard sprang a surprise not only to her fellow Australians but also the world by announcing that the general election will be held in September, an unusually lenghty notice of eight months. There have been various comments, both pros and cons, on her decision, but the Australians will surely have more than ample time to plan their affairs, a luxury not available to us in Malaysia.

Compare this with the US. Its presidential election must be held on the first Tuesday of November in the leap year, while the inauguration of the President elected in that November election will take place on 20 January of the following year. This year it fell on a Sunday but the business went on as usual as if it had fallen on a weekday. During the oath-taking, the newly elected President took the oath while holding the bible. What happens to “render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s”. Also held on the same day as the presidential election are elections for the entire seats in the lower house (House of Representatives) and for one third of the seats in the upper house (Senate). The US Senate really lives up to its status as the upper house of the Legislature as it is vested with enormous powers to act as check and balances against Executive actions. A good case in point is the current confirmation hearing of Cabinet nominees proposed by President Obama. While John Kerry was easily confirmed (perhaps due to his "good" records) as Secretary of State, Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defence, Chuck Hagel is still under severe examination by a Senate Committee. A point worth mentioning: Hagel, a Republican is being nominated by a Democrat President.  

Back to the local scene. I think PM Najib might as well let parliament run its full term in April. There is no difference between dissolving now and letting it to expire in April, a mere two months. There is no need to move the Agong to sign the dissolution order, record it in the gazette and attend to other administrative procedures. It could save stationery costs as well!! The various state legislative assemblies should follow suit.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Ellias Zakaria a very big man now

Penang Islamic Religious Council President Ellias Zakaria must be a very big man now, if The Star's report of 18 June 2011 is anything to go by.

I quote below the relevant paragraph from The Star's report:

"Ellias said he was summoned to Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur, accompanied by Penang Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas, where the King ordered the setting up of an independent committee to find new procedures in appointing mosque committee members".

There you have it. An ordinary civil servant is being accompanied by a Yang Dipertua Negeri. Even the Chief Minister will have to accompany the Yang Dipertua Negeri not the other way round.

I wonder if this radical change in protocol is also being observed by other states in that the Yang Dipertuas Negeri / Sultans will have to accompany their Religious Council chiefs whenever an audience with the King is required.  

Monday, 16 May 2011

Happy Teacher's Day

We celebrate Teacher's Day yesterday 16 May 2011. Teachers are, along with our parents, undeniably instrumental in shaping us into what we are today. On this happy occasion, I would like to record and acknowledge the roles and contribution of my former teachers.

During my primary school days in early and mid 60s at SK Badak in Bachok, Kelantan, I am proud to mention that its HM Tuan Haji Mohd Zain Abdullah had done much to sort out my overage problem, one associated with my late enrollment at the school. The SITC-trained Cik Gu Zain later resigned from his post to contest the 1964 General Election as a PAS candidate. He won and successfully defended the seat for several terms, including his famous victory in 1986 GE (on BN ticket) by defeating a PAS heavyweight, Datuk Nik Aziz, now Kelantan MB. The fact that he still managed to win despite changing his party affiliation speaks volumes about his rapport with the electorates. Another teacher at the school who later made good in public life is Datuk Noordin Razak a former DG of DBKL. My late father used to be his father's "henchman". One of my classmates at SK Badak (named after Kg Badak where Datuk Mustafa Mohd, the Minister of International Trade and Industry hails from) is Maktar Mohd, the Minister's younger brother who is now a businessman. 

I later went to SM Bachok (then known as Bachok English School) for my secondary education. Again, an HM left an impact on my life. Cik Gu Mokhtar Hassan (the school's HM) forced me to sit for the maximum 9 subjects in the SPM (in 1969) instead of 8 as I had intended. I had wanted to drop my weakest subject, Drawing Art but Cik Gu Mokhtar would have none of it and had even offered to pay for the 9th subject if my reason for skipping Drawing Art was due to financial problem. He suggested I took Add Maths instead, in view of my "strength" in Maths, despite the subject not being taught by the school. I reluctantly agreed and he lent me several relevant textbooks for me to study on my own. I managed to barely pass with grade P8 but I reckoned I would have failed my Drawing Art should I opt for it. In any case, a P8 in Add Maths is much more valuable than a P8 in Drawing Art. What was amusing was that during the exam I was the only candidate at the exam hall sitting for the paper and was overseen by 4 invigilators!!! Amongst my schoolmates: Zainai Mohd (now Prof Dr, the VC of UMK who's one year my senior), Mansor Jusoh (now Prof Dr., a retired economics professor from UKM who's my classmate), Phua Ah Hua (former national badminton player, one year my junior) and Kang Bee Leng (now VP of MTUC and long-time Sec-Gen of AUEGCAS, two years my junior).          

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Osama Dead in 2001?

Has anyone ever read or heard about Osama being killed in Afghanistan in 2001 shortly after the World Trade Centre disaster? I must confess that I am terribly out of date on this issue. What I did hear was the suspicion that the WTC tragedy was not perpetrated by Osama but by a Jewish organization and the US Government itself to provide justification for a "war against terrorism" and invasion of Muslim countries such as Iraq. They pointed to the alleged fact that no Jews were killed in the WTC disaster.

For those who are in the same league as me on Osama's death in 2001, please read the article below which appeared in the Star of 12 May 2011.


OPINION: Osama may still have the last laugh

Petaling Jaya (The Star/ANN) - The Sept 11 terrorist attacks on US soil is not the only event whose 10th anniversary is approaching.
This week, US and Pakistani officials said a secret deal was struck between the two countries a decade ago for unilateral US military action within Pakistan.
The deal is said to have been made between Gen Pervez Musharraf and President George W. Bush. It supposedly resulted from Osama's escape from US bombardment of eastern Afghanistan's Tora Bora mountains in late 2001.
The deal, quickly denied by Musharraf, allowed US forces to launch operations in Pakistan as and when it found fit. It would have the silent approval of the Pakistani authorities, who could then protest loudly for domestic consumption.
So far, events have gone according to script. Variables include the fate of the future billions in US aid for Pakistan and the precise nature of diplomatic relations between them.
Another event also approaching its 10th anniversary is the death of Osama himself. This is unlike the conspiracy theory that Osama is still alive and well somewhere.
There is a growing body of circumstantial evidence and belief around the world that the alleged head of al-Qaeda had died in the 2001 Tora Bora attack. Subsequent events including video releases are said to be devised to perpetuate his continued "existence" for US geopolitical interests.
In this scenario, the testimony of Osama's supposed captive family and al-Qaeda itself are of questionable origin. Its very secretiveness allows it to be another covert false flag operation by US authorities.
No pictures of a dead Osama have been shown that can stand up to scrutiny. An initial mugshot has been exposed by Pakistan's Geo TV as fake.
His body was swiftly dumped in the ocean, preventing verification by witnesses or forensic examination by experts. Despite the US Navy SEALs team that raided the Abbottabad hideout equipped with video cameras on their helmets, no graphic image of Osama, in close-up or from a distance, has been available.
Even senior members of the US government who watched the live feed from Abbottabad in "real time" from those helmet cameras had 25 minutes blacked out, CIA director Leon Panetta admitted this week.
President Obama said watching the raid live in the White House Situation Room was the longest 40 minutes of his life, but those 25 minutes must have been even longer.
Much of the testimony about Osama's death in late 2001 or early 2002 has come from senior US and Pakistani officials over the past decade.
Gen (Rtd) Hameed Gul, former head of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency, is among those saying that the US raid on the Abbottabad compound was a hoax.
In December 2001, Pakistan's Observer newspaper reported that the Afghan Taliban had found Osama dead and buried him. In the same month, US forces ousted the Taliban from government.
The following month, Pakistani leader Gen Pervez Musharraf said he believed that Osama was already dead. He said Osama's dialysis machines needed for his kidney condition had been destroyed at Tora Bora.
Later that year, Afghan president Hamid Karzai said much the same on CNN, with the belief shared by the FBI's head of counterterrorism. An unnamed Republican Party source also confirmed to US radio host Alex Jones that Osama's body had been kept "on ice" by the Bush administration until a politically favourable time.
Democrats then made an issue of that and the White House apparently retreated from that measure and relied on "Osama videos" instead.
In late 2001, another video of Osama appeared, showing a younger, chubbier image grinning untypically. The point of that video was to "take responsibility" for the Sept 11 attacks.
The following year, senior US government security official Dr Steve Pieczenik announced on US radio that Osama had been dead for several months. Pieczenik had served in various presidential administrations and aided Osama and the Afghan mujahideen against the Soviet occupation in the 1980s.
Gen Tommy Franks, who led the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, then let slip in a news conference that Osama was already dead. Pieczenik believes that Osama had died not of renal failure but from Marfan Syndrome, which does not make US forces out as heroic for having hunted him successfully.
In early 2007, "new" videos of Osama looking quite unlike the gaunt and greying figure before Tora Bora's onslaught were released. Prof Bruce Lawrence of Duke University said the videos were fake, and he believed that Osama had already died.
In November that year, former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto told David Frost on Aljazeera that Omar Sheikh was the man who had killed Osama. Omar, a British-born Pakistani militant, had earlier been recruited by the MI6 British intelligence agency and whom Musharraf suspected to be a double agent.
The following month, Benazir herself was killed soon after her return to Pakistan following a visit to the Bush White House. Not only did she say openly that Osama had died years ago, she had wanted the US and Britain to stop pretending he was still alive.
By 2009, Pakistani President Ali Asif Zardari, Benazir's widower, said he did not believe Osama was still alive. In the US, others who refused to believe the standard version of Osama remaining alive until early this month were news veteran Walter Cronkite and former secretary of state Madeleine Albright.
Last week, the possibility of Osama being kept a virtual prisoner in the Abbottabad compound was floated. Former US Homeland Security Adviser Frances Townsend added to this view by saying a secret video of Osama there looked like he was a prisoner.
Meanwhile, establishment voices opposing sceptics of the official story dismissed all speculation as conspiracy theories. But so far the score is that the US government has scored some hits, plus a timely hike in public opinion, regardless of how or when Osama had died.