Badawi’s legacy in Medini Iskandar

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has unofficially resigned so to speak, but will only officially do so in March next year after his party polls.

The question is how well will his tenure be remembered?

Or has he left any good legacy for the country and people, at least so far? I wouldn’t want to mention deeply about this issue but all I can remember from his few years of popular-then-very-unpopular premiership was nothing more than his so-called “Economic Corridors”.

This week at a global real estate event in Dubai, Iskandar Malaysia – one of Mr Badawi’s brainchild corridor project has revealed an ambitious multi-billion dollar development in the Iskandar region of Johor, the southern state neighbouring Singapore.

Medini - Iskandars Financial District

Medini - Iskandar's Financial District

It is called Medini Iskandar (City) or simply known as Iskandar Financial District, which is to be developed by a consortium of investors mainly from the Middle East. (It was also announced that the Iskandar region would have at least three world-class theme parks.)

The unveiling of this urban-centric project came after the privately-funded Penang Global City Centre project in the northern economic region of Penang, another brainchild of the Prime Minister, was scrapped by the recently-elected Opposition government of Penang.

Medini Iskandar

Medini Iskandar

I’m here trying to be a little pessismistic on the prospect of Iskandar Malaysia, not really because it was a brainchild of an unpopular Prime Minister but more of the fact that our political uncertainty since March 2008 is taking its toll (or has had) by driving out the “forces” to other emerging economies, perhaps China and India.

The fact is Malaysia last year already had an “investment deficit” or negative flow of investments due to fund outflows exceeding the inflow of funds (such as FDI and tourism receipts?) into our country, according to the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2008. What more can you say for this year.   

And then we have a record-breaking inflation rate then doesn’t seem to drop at all when crude oil prices already trade well below the $100 per barrel mark (consumer prices at pump have dropped a little). So I ponder why is our government putting enormous importance to mega-projects that no one cares at all than the welfare of the people who are suffering from a 27-year high inflation?      

It is even harder to believe the viability of this dream corridor amidst a very nasty financial crisis evolving in the developed world. The ongoing crisis in the US and Europe will certainly hit Malaysia’s export-oriented economy very very hard. And we all know this for sure.  

In the end, many corridor projects will just be Dreams, not until everything in the world including Malaysia gets better. Mr Badawi would certainly want his Iskandar Malaysia legacy to live on under the hands of his successor, that most of us already know.

News: RPK to be sent to Kamunting

NEWS – Sept 23

RPK sent to Kamunting…

1. Malaysia’s famed political blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin or better known as RPK was brought to ISA detention centre at Kamunting, near Taiping, Perak this morning. He’ll begin his detention there for up to 2 years.

2. Arrested since Sept 12, RPK will continue to be held without trial under Section 8(1) of the ISA, reporters were told by his lawyers who were at the High Court today to argue RPK’s habeas corpus application. RPK’s wife Marina and ex-ISA detainee-Seputeh MP Teresa Kok were spotted chatting with former de facto Law Minister Senator Zaid Ibrahim as they sat at the public gallery.

3. Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar confirmed signing RPK’s detention order yesterday after he was satisfied with the reasons given by the police for his detention. The detention was due to RPK’s articles that was deemed insulting to Islam which could arouse anger among Muslims.

4. Malaysian Chinese student-rapper Wee Meng Chee or better known as Namewee has been interogated by the police in Bukit Aman today. He is under probed under the Sedition Act.

5. PKR’s information chief, Tian Chua says that his PR alliance has held talks with the Government over the transition of power. Pak Lah has rebuffed this allegation almost immediately.  

6. MIC president Samy Vellu claimed that Pak Lah has agreed to consider releasing the five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders that were detained under the ISA.

7. Malaysia’s 2008 ranking in the Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International slipped further to 47 (from 43 last year out of 179 countries) out of 180 countries surveyed. Malaysia was ranked 2nd among ASEAN countries behind Singapore who was ranked 4th in the world.

8. The Malaysian Insider reported that nearly all (except two) of Umno’s state chiefs will support the Pak Lah – Najib Razak team for the top two positions in the party. Umno division meetings will begin on October 9 and Pak Lah needs at least 58 nominations out of 191 Umno divisions to qualify to contest the Presidency in December polls. 

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News: Teresa Kok released! (updated2)

NEWS – Sept 19:

1. (GMT+8) 1.30pm: Seputeh MP and Kinrara Adun, Teresa Kok released from ISA detention (at last). Will give a press conference in 2 hours time at DAP headquarters.

“She was released unconditionally.”  – Acting Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar

“What have I done to be arrested under the ISA?”  – Teresa Kok

“I have not been able to sleep in the last one week, and my high-blood pressure has gone up.” – Teresa’s father

“If you have proof, let the courts decide. There’s no use for this draconian law.” – PAS Youth chief Salahuddin Ayub

2. The Star reported: The High Court here fixed next Friday to hear the habeas corpus application by RPK who is seeking his release from detention under the ISA.

3. Teresa to sue Utusan Malaysia and its columnist Zaini Hassan over articles accusing her which led to her ISA detention. Teresa will also sue the Government and former Selangor MB Khir Toyo. Malaysiakini reported: Utusan dares Kok to take lie detector test.

4. Bukit Gelugor MP and veteran Opposition leader Karpal Singh has filed an RM10mil suit against Utusan on another defamatory article. 

5. Further remand for blogger Kickdefella.

6. Guan Eng: Anwar is only a threat to BN.

7. Continued pressure on Anwar to reveal the ‘frogging’ MPs, while Pak Lah needs to get at least 58 of the 193 divisions to nominate him to defend his Umno presidency come October 9.  

8. Ong Ka Chuan backs Ong Tee Kiat for No.1 at MCA.

9. KLCI rallied in line with other regional stock markets, up 34 points at closing.

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News: Next Tuesday is critical (updated2)

NEWS – Sept 18:

1. Anwar wants Parliament to meet by next Tuesday, Sept 23 in order to pass a vote of no confidence on Pak Lah. Anwar also did not discount the possibility of seeking an audience with the King.

2. Pak Lah: “There is no need to call for an emergency session of Parliament because the next session is soon anyway (after Hari Raya)”. Meanwhile, Anwar’s sodomy trial is set for the next day, Sept 24.

3. Pakatan to meet on next move as emergency call strongly rejected by Pak Lah.

4. Home Minister Syed Hamid says his Ministry is watching over Anwar before taking any action. Pak Lah says there was no suggestion to use the ISA on anyone.

5. Aliran expresses serious concern over ISA detainee, RPK’s deteriorating health.

6. Pak Lah said he officially informed the Umno Supreme Council about the portfolio change with his deputy Najib Tun Razak.

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