He may be the PM-in-waiting but Anwar Ibrahim doesn’t want a Cabinet post right now. Nope. His plan, it seems, is to just waltz into the role of leader of Malaysia once Dr M’s called time.

Elsewhere in the news, despite the deadline having long passed, Opposition lawmakers have yet to declare their assets. Also, the data’s clear: Malaysian women earn less than men.

Playing it cool

The man who would be king

There may be a Cabinet reshuffle or there may not. It isn’t quite clear. One thing appears certain though: Anwar Ibrahim will not be a member of PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration. 

On Saturday, in Maddey’s presence, Anwar had joked he hadn’t applied for a Cabinet post. He repeated this on Sunday, adding that to him, it’s clear – he’ll wait until given the green light to take over.  

Since his return to Parliament last year, the PKR bigwig has taken great care not to rock the boat and offend his current and former boss Maddey. However, Anwar’s wishy-washiness on Sunday seems especially odd given he’d just spoke at a meeting organised by PKR loyalists who want a clear transition plan in place. 

We get it. Anwar, having been burned once before, may be hoping to say all the right things this time. But does he really expect to waltz into the top job once the old man’s ready to go? Also, does he expect no pushback from certain current Cabinet ministers when (if?) that time finally comes? 

Still, though Anwar appears to be playing it cool within Pakatan Harapan as a whole, within his own party, he’s not just standing his ground but taking repeated shots at those who’ve “forgotten the party’s struggle” and “abused their power”.  

Does Anwar mean rival Azmin Ali and his loyalists? Or the two PKR members who were sacked later Sunday on allegations of corruption? We dunno. But it sure does seem the man who would be king is determined to cement his position as top dog … well, at home at least.

Honesty is such a lonely word

It’s coming up to two months since MPs were supposed to declare their assets. However, it seems the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is STILL waiting for Opposition lawmakers to make their declarations.

In early July, the Dewan Rakyat approved a special motion compelling all members of the august House to declare the sources of their moolah as well as any and all assets. However, while almost all Pakatan Harapan lawmakers have complied, the jokers from Barisan Nasional and PAS are still refusing to do so.

Parliamentary motions, as we’ve written before, don’t have the force of law. And though those who act in contempt of motions can be referred to the Parliamentary Rights and Privileges Committee, it sure seems the prospect of a fine or short suspension isn’t particularly worrying to anyone.

This then is the main reason why, despite the government’s best intentions, all we have five months since that asset-declaration motion carried on July 1 is a website that only lists the income and assets of Pakatan politicians. So yeah, no Najib Razak, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor or any other members of the former administration currently facing corruption charges. Read into that what you will …

Incidentally, there’re some rather interesting numbers in the currently-published list, and chief among these is Tourism Minister Mohammadin Ketapi’s declaration that he possesses only one asset – a motorcycle worth RM9,338. Hmmm … the guy apparently earns RM50,000+ a month but only has a bike and no other assets? 

Another point to note is the value of stuff listed by Pakatan’s big bossman a.k.a. PM Mahathir Mohamad who apparently has assets worth, wait for it, RM32.26 million! Yes, we know Maddey was PM for a long ass time and he’s been on the board of GLCs like Petronas and Proton but surely assets worth that much merit an investigation, right? Right?!?! 

Then again, Flying Car Minister and former petroleum engineer Mohd Redzuan Yusof has RM23+ million in assets. So maybe it’s all good?

What's good for the goose ...

The data obtainable worldwide is patchy, but over the past few years, several studies have made it abundantly clear, even if not altogether surprising: male employees generally make more money than women.

And here’s the worst part – according to the World Economic Forum (WEF), there’s no easy fix. Indeed the WEF said last year that issues related to the gender pay gap are so complex and the pace of change so slow it will take … wait for this … 202 years to solve!

In Malaysia, last year, the average male employee drew a median salary of RM2,342 a month. Women, meanwhile, made RM2,227. The reasons? Gender bias, discrimination, misconceptions and perhaps the worst stigma of all: the “motherhood penalty” which assumes mothers are not committed to their jobs.

Yes, the government has already announced measures like 90 days of maternity leave and other positive initiatives to increase the participation of women in the workforce. However, like the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry readily admits, more must be done, and not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because women represent a large, untapped resource.

Think of it like this: at the moment only 55.2% of Malaysian women are part of the labour force. However, according to the World Bank, if we manage to remove the barriers and get more women to join the workforce, Malaysia could see its income per capita grow by a whopping 26.2%! That’s more money for families, more spending power and more money in public coffers which can be channelled back to you and me, the rakyat. We thank you ladies.

Can we achieve that? Well, women are a target group under the Shared Prosperity Vision (SPV) 2030 and the government has already said it’s committed to gender-sensitive policies, so here’s hoping we find a way to right some of the wrongs and give women their dues.

Odds and ends

A bit more happened over the weekend, and here’re some of the more important highlights:

  • Former MCA deputy president Lee Kim Sai passed away aged 82. Lee had held a number of government posts in the span of his career including health minister and human resources minister.
  • Lim Kit Siang says the Malaysian dream will die if Pakatan falls the government. In his haste to fear monger, Uncle Lim has forgotten one thing: the Malaysian dream is dying with Pakatan IN government too!
  • It’s only been a year since Menteri PengANGKATan Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said he wants politicians to stay outta sports bodies and already everyone seems to have forgotten about it. Case in point: Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad had no problems accepting the post of Kuala Lumpur Football Association president. 
  • All states must abide by the minimum legal age requirement for marriage once guidelines are formulated and introduced by the government. Right now, seven states are still against raising the minimum marriage age to 18.
  • We knew it was coming but it still hurt like hell when we learnt of the death of Malaysia’s last remaining Sumatran rhino. In June, in our special feature on the county’s rhinos, we hoped all would not be lost. But, it’s hard to feel anything but despair now Iman is dead.
  • China’s envoy to Malaysia says his country will not tolerate its nationals misbehaving here. This isn’t the first time China has warned its nationals to behave properly overseas though. In 2013, the government even published a 64-page guide book  for “civilised tourism and travel”. 

“Politics: 'Poli' a Latin word meaning 'many' and 'tics' meaning 'bloodsucking creatures'”

- Robin Williams -
  • Close to three million people voted in district council elections in Hong Kong on Sunday. The elections are usually dominated by pro-Beijing parties. However, they’ve taken a hammering this time, with pro-democracy campaigners recording huge gains.
  • Goo Hara, a former member of popular K-pop girl group Kara, was found dead in her apartment on Sunday. Goo’s death comes a month after Sulli, another star, was found to have committed suicide. 
  • A small plane crashed in the Congo shortly after takeoff, killing 26 people. The victims include those on board and people on the ground.
  • It’s confirmed! Henry VIII was written by John Fletcher. Wait, who?!?! Yup, William Shakespeare’s famous play is apparently only 50% his work. The rest of it is attributable to Fletcher, a member of the King’s Men drama troupe.

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This weekday newsletter is brought to you by Trident Media, a group of Malaysian journalists with 60 years of combined media experience in four countries across TV, print and digital media.

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Trident Media · Seksyen 35 · Shah Alam, Selangor 40470 · Malaysia


This weekday newsletter is brought to you by Trident Media, a group of Malaysian journalists with 60 years of combined media experience in four countries across TV, print and digital media.

trident media logo

Trident Media · Seksyen 35 · Shah Alam, Selangor 40470 · Malaysia

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