Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tindakan Mahathir masih disanjung

Tuesday December 9, 2008
Clinton’s 24-hr talking holiday

Bill Clinton was in Kuala Lumpur for just 24 hours. In that time, the former US president met Malaysia’s leaders, several VIPs, shopped, visited some interesting sites – and talked.

FORMER US president Bill Clinton loves to talk. That should not come as a surprise for most politicians but seriously, the man just loves to hold court and to be listened to.

He spent almost an hour on stage at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre last week, where he lectured on a broad range of issues from the need to help poor countries to the global financial crisis.
"Dr Mahathir did the right thing (in pegging the ringgit) during the 1997 financial crisis. His model worked, not necessarily elsewhere, but certainly he did the right thing." - Bill Clinton

The audience included Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Cabinet members, opposition legislators, businessmen and students. It was even televised live via the Awani channel on Astro.

An hour later, at the home of his host, Datuk Vinod Sekhar, in Bukit Tunku, he spent another two hours talking. He did not even take a seat.

It was his first visit to KL and all he had was 24 hours. He had flown in from Hong Kong where he had attended the Clinton Global Initiatives conference.

I first met Clinton in New York in September, where I managed to interview him. I was allocated 15 minutes but the interview dragged on for another 20 minutes.

This time, I was luckier. Together with 15 others who included US Ambassador James Keith and Selangor Pewter boss Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon, we had the whole evening with Clinton to ourselves without the aides.

Clinton preferred to stand and talk, holding his plastic plate over a spread of Indian food.

“I love Indian food, besides Mexican and Middle Eastern food,’’ he said, as he piled food on his plate.

He had spent the morning visiting the bird park at the Lake Garden, bought wooden craft work at Karyaneka and Selangor pewter ware at the KLCC shopping mall.

He stunned shoppers when he walked into a watch shop to check out the items.

It was then off to Putrajaya for serious business where he met the Prime Minister and his deputy. The leaders had asked Clinton the same question – would president-elect Barack Obama, who has been close to the trade unions, be protectionist in his trade policies.

Clinton had replied: “This is my guess. Obama has been trying so hard to reach the rest of the world. I don’t think he would be protectionist.”

For Asian countries, where many goods are produced for the American market, the loss of jobs and the US$200mil (RM727mil) contribution from powerful unions have been a cause of concern.

They fear new regulations would be imposed on Asian manufacturers, making it difficult to enter the US market.

In the past, developing countries have experienced Democrat governments using human rights, child labour and environment issues, often egged on by unions, to impose trade rules.

But what Clinton revealed about Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was more interesting. He listed down the names of leaders he admired during his term as US president.

They included South Africa’s Nelson Mandela, Palestine’s Yasser Arafat and China’s Jiang Zemin.

“And certainly, Dr Mahathir. He did the right thing (in pegging the ringgit) during the 1997 financial crisis. His model worked, not necessarily elsewhere, but certainly he did the right thing.”

Clinton said he used to discuss about Dr Mahathir at the White House with his advisers and sometimes told them that they were not practical (when they touched on politics and economics) “because you guys have never run for office.”

Interestingly, even during my interview with Clinton earlier, he had shared with me his admiration for Dr Mahathir, particularly the impressive economic growth then.

Ironically, his vice-president Al Gore irked Dr Mahathir, when he used the word “reformasi” – the rallying cry of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his supporters – during the Apec summit dinner in KL in 1998.

Clinton’s stay has been short but the Malaysian trip was something he had always wanted to do.

“It took me more than 30 minutes to travel from Putrajaya to KL. The roads were jammed. That means Malaysia is doing all right,” he joked.

From the window of his Mandarin Oriental suite, Clinton had an impressive view of the KL skyline, which included the Petronas Twin Towers.

At midnight on Friday, he left on his private jet to New York, promising to be back again.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Saturday December 6, 2008

Oliver Stone stays controversial


KUALA LUMPUR: Controversial Hollywood director Oliver Stone was true to style when he attended the Global Brand Forum at the Palace of the Golden Horses hotel — he declared himself an anti-brand.

“I’m not a commercial director. People like (Hollywood producer) Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of the Caribbean series) or HBO or (producer) Joel Silver (of The Matrix trilogy fame) should be here today,” said 62 year-old Stone.

Sharing views: Stone listens as Mallika (left) speaks during the Global Brand Forum in Kuala Lumpur.

Nevertheless, the three-time Oscar winner understood and disclosed the essential quality when it comes to building a brand.

“A brand is about comfort. That’s why when people buy a fake brand product, they still like it because it makes them comfortable,” said Stone.

“I am the elusive brand. Oliver Stone — the anti brand,” said the decorated Vietnam-war veteran.

Stone also spoke about his latest film W, a brief biography about President George W. Bush and how he couldn’t miss the opportunity to direct such a film.

“I didn’t set out to direct a third movie about an American president (the other two being JFK and Nixon) but Bush in his eight years pushed extreme buttons and manipulated the media to further his cause. It is an amazing story,” he said.

Stone has directed such films as Platoon, Wall Street, Natural Born Killers and Alexan-der among others.

Stone later joined a panel discussion entitled Creating Brand Leadership in the Entertainment and Fashion Industry.

Also present at the event were Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat and Datuk Farah Khan, president of the Melium Group, with Al Jazeera’s Riz Khan as moderator.

Mallika spoke about her own trials as a Bollywood actress and how she managed to create her own brand.

“I was against the tide (in the Bollywood film industry) and did different things as an actress ... like kissing. My brand is rebelliousness,” she said.

Mallika is also plying her trade in Holly-wood and is starring in the film, Hisss, directed by Jennifer Lynch, daughter of famed director David Lynch (Blue Velvet, Mulholland Dr.) which is due for release next year.

And this is the problem she faces working in the Hollywood industry.

“To get the accent right is a struggle in Hollywood,” she said.

The Global Brand Forum is presented by the Media Prima Group and marks the first time that the forum was held in Malaysia.

The forum was held for two days — on Thursday and yesterday.

It featured speakers such as Jim Stengel, former global chief marketing officer of Procter & Gamble, celebrity heiress Ivanka Trump, Flickr website founder Stewart Butterfield and creative director of Shanghai Tang, Joanne Ooi among others.

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Pek Ha Penyelamat Hubungan Dua Hala?

Pek Ha: Indonesia sambut baik

JAKARTA 29 Nov. – Beberapa anggota Parlimen Indonesia menyambut baik keputusan Mahkamah Sesyen di Kuala Lumpur menjatuhkan hukuman 18 tahun penjara ke atas Yim Pek Ha, majikan kepada pembantu rumah dari Indonesia, Nirmala Bonat.

Speaker Parlimen Indonesia, Agung Laksono berkata, beliau tidak mahu mencampuri urusan mahkamah itu tetapi menghargai sistem undang-undang di Malaysia yang menjatuhkan hukuman yang sesuai dengan kesalahan penderaan itu.

“Selain menunjukkan berjalannya proses penegakan hukum di Malaysia, keputusan ini juga cukup bererti bagi Indonesia kerana ada banyak lagi pekerja Indonesia di sana,” katanya.

Dalam pada itu, beliau juga mengingatkan para pekerja Indonesia yang sedang mencari rezeki di Malaysia supaya berhati-hati dalam bekerja dan sentiasa mematuhi undang-undang Malaysia.

Ketua Jawatankuasa Hal Ehwal Luar Negeri di parlimen Indonesia Theo L. Sambuaga juga memberikan penghargaan kepada mahkamah di Malaysia yang menurutnya telah mempastikan perjalanan undang-undang dengan baik dan adil.

“Saya kira kita angkat topi kepada mahkamah Malaysia yang telah membuat keputusan seperti itu dan benar-benar mempertimbangkan fakta yang ada,” katanya, yang mahu setiap pekerja Indonesia dipastikan tahu selok belok pekerjaan dan didedahkan juga kepada adat, budaya dan pengetahuan asas undang-undang setempat.

Ketua Badan Kerjasama Antara Parlimen di parlimen Indonesia Abdillah Thoha pula berterima kasih kepada kerajaan Malaysia kerana telah menyelesaikan proses undang-undang dan kehakiman ke atas rakyat Indonesia yang mencari keadilan seperti dalam kes Nirmala.

Sementara itu, akhbar-akhbar di Indonesia turut melaporkan berita keputusan Mahkamah Sesyen Kuala Lumpur itu yang dianggap telah memberikan keadilan kepada Nirmala.

Akhbar Republika pula memuatkan reaksi positif seorang pegawai di Kedutaan Besar Indonesia di Kuala Lumpur sebagai berkata, hukuman 18 tahun penjara itu sangat mengejutkan apatah lagi ia merupakan kes pertama penganiayaan terhadap pembantu rumah dari Indonesia yang dijatuhkan hukuman seberat itu.

“Kami kira dia (Pek Ha) kena lima hingga 10 tahun saja. Namun hakim mempertimbangkan aspek kemanusiaan, keadilan dan kepentingan umum. Jadi ini sudah setimpal,” kata pegawai yang bernama Selamet itu.

– Bernama

(Nampaknya hukuman ke atas Pek ha merupakan penyelamat hubungan dua hala, Malaysia dan Indonesia)