Let Anwar contest in General Elections (source:www.malaysiakini.com)

Jan 31, 08 1:15pm
Opposition party PKR today urged Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi toensurethat the coming general election is held after April 15 so that the party’s de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim can contest.“Abdullah should ensure that he does not fix the timing of the next election to once again deprive Anwar of his right to participate –a basic right which was denied to him in the 1999 and the 2004 general elections,” said PKR secretary general Khalid Ibrahim today.“We say have an early election by all means, but fix nomination day for April 15th or later,” he added. Anwar is legally prohibited to participate in the elections until April 15 due to his previous convictions for corrupt practices and sodomy. “Anwar has already been wrongfully deprived of his political rights since his first conviction on April 14, 1999.

“Both his convictions have been universally condemned as politically motivated, and the result of procedurally flawed and unfair trials, rendering his six year incarceration in Sungai Buloh prison, a political detention,” added Khalid.

He added that if the government believed that Anwar has become“irrelevant” to Malaysian politics, then there should be no reluctance in delaying the election by a month or so to allow him to participate.

Also present at the press conference were party vice president Sivarasa Rasiah, treasurer William Leong and the Youth wing information chief Low Teik Hai.

Anwar is ready

When asked by the media of the significance of Anwar contesting in the coming election, Khalid said that it was important for Anwar to contest as he was the de facto leader of PKR.He added that by denying Anwar his rights, PKR would be deprived of presenting their best candidate.

Khalid also dismissed the suggestions that Anwar can always contest in a by-election in the event the general election was held before April 15.

For Anwar to contest in a by-election was a waste of time and the contest itself would be a waste for the rakyat, as seen by the extravagant cost undertaken by the government in the last by-election in Ijok, said Khalid.

The former corporate flier also said Malaysians should be given a chance to hear and decide on Anwar’s proposals for reforms for the nation.

To a question as to where would Anwar contest, if the election is held after April 15, none of the four PKR leaders at the press conference were forthcoming with an answer.

They said that the identity of the seat would be kept as a secret for the moment.

“But if you ask me whether he is ready to contest in the election, yes, Anwar is here to stay and has been ready for the last six years” said Khalid.

The prime minister is expected to call for the election very soon. Pundits speculate that the elections could be held in mid March.


Vincent Tan, the Man intent on being in the Corridors of Power

By Ahmad Mustapha Hassan

Vincent Tan, Oh! Sorry! Tan Sri Vincent Tan, the man who played me out in the Sports Toto deal, after having deviously become a corporate figure ,was bent in getting into the good books of the then Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. He would be unhappy if anyone informed Dr. Mahathir of any of his unethical business practices. He wanted to be portrayed as a cultured and intelligent corporate man.

He believed he could easily gain Dr. Mahathir’s confidence as he had seen how others of lesser stature than him could easily become confidants of the man in office. If they could, he definitely could easily do that and be better at it. He did not need to be a genius to do that. All he needed to do was to impress the man with his ability to do what Dr. Mahathir wanted or what he felt Dr. Mahathir fancied.

He first met Dr. Mahathir in Rome in 1984 when I introduced him to the then Prime Minister who was on an investment tour to Rome. He wanted to get Dr. Mahathir’s blessings and approval in the privatisation of Sports Toto. He also met in Rome Mohamad Abdullah Ang, who was the chief executive of Malaysia’s Sogososha, (Multinational Company) Malaysian Overseas Investment Corporation, MOIC for short, and a confidant of Dr. Mahathir. This man was not that known until he became Dr. Mahathir’s close friend.

Dr. Mahathir was a native of Kedah, a state in the north of the peninsula. He naturally appreciated northern types of dishes. What better chance than to start a restaurant specialising in northern cuisine! Thus Restoran Rasa Utara was born.

Dr. Mahathir liked riding horses. Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort would definitely impress the man. It did not matter that the Club did not make money. It was important that Dr. Mahathir graciously approved of this venture. He knew that now being a corporate figure banks would always come to his aid.

He managed to develop a resort on the hill at Bukit Tinggi with all the various amenities that would appeal to Dr. Mahathir. And Dr. Mahathir would spend time at this resort to write his speeches. After all Vincent had already become Dr. Mahathir’s buddy.

In the case of Tun Razak, he would spend time at Government bungalows either at Cameron Highlands or Fraser’s Hill so that he would not be seen to patronise any businessman with luxurious facilities.

Dr. Mahathir was ‘a simple man’ and he would not mind patronising such places like the resorts at Bukit Tinggi. After all the resorts have many attractions and one of them being the Japanese Restaurant. Dr. Mahathir, I was told, liked Japanese cuisine.

Vincent did a good study of the man in power then. He knew the likes and dislikes of the man. Once confidence had been built, it would be easy to talk and discuss various topics with this man who held the destiny of the country. It would also be nice to impress other notable people if he could show that the man in power was a close chum of his. He could slap the man’s back in public if he wanted to.

Once, when Vincent was still trying to gain the confidence of Dr. Mahathir, he became very angry with me for blemishing his image with Dr. Mahathir. Anyway Dr. Mahathir would not listen and believe anything I told him of any black marks about all these “successful” businessmen. He thought I mentioned all these out of jealousy. That was always his favourite remark.

Vincent, after having gained the confidence of the man holding the destiny of the nation, was now a man in the corridors of power. He was able to strut around and discuss matters of national importance. It would also be possible to influence Mahathir’s decisions on such matters.

When his name was mentioned in the Lingam tape scandal, it was never a surprise to me. The man had made it into the corridors of power.


Thanks, Ahmad, for allowing me to post your piece on my blog. Most of the tycoons around Tun Dr. Mahathir knew how to please him and would be bend backwards to accommodate the needs of this very powerful man. Once the Tun trusted them, they could get away with blue murder (figuratively speaking). Some of them have deserted him and are now hanging around Badawi; but not Tan Sri Vincent Tan, who would play both sides. —Din Merican

Trip to Kedah

By Din Merican


Dear Friends,

I will be on a road trip again, this time back to my hometown, Alor Star, Kedah where Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim will be holding a series of ceramahs. It will be another exciting trip to witness for myself and enjoy the sense of elation whenever Dato Seri Anwar meets ordinary people. I shall have a report for you when I return to Kuala Lumpur.

Thanks for visiting my blog and I am most grateful for your support. My only wish is that more of you, my dear friends, give me your comments and feedback. Please have the courage to express your views and share your ideas. In my experience, I find that there are no correct answers and I know that we have to look at things from many different perspectives. If we want change, we must be able to articulate it. It is not enough to complain. We must take action. There are risks, of course, but remember that even a turtle must stick its neck out in order to move forward.

Join the turtles and be a ninja! A new dawn awaits us…

Mahathir: “Pak Lah overstaying welcome”

source: http://www.malaysiakini.com

AFP | Jan 30, 08 4:23pm

Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said he never intended his successor Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to serve more than one term and suggested he should stand down.

Abdullah, who has had a very public falling out with the veteran leader, will contest for his second term in general elections expected to be held in March.

Mahathir previously said he made a mistake in picking Abdullah, and should have opted for influential deputy prime minister Najib Razak.

“That was my thinking, since (Abdullah) was older than Najib, he should be PM for one term and then Najib should be able to take over,” he told a press conference at the launch of selected letters to world leaders.

“I know it takes time to implement plans and projects but I think if that is to be used as an excuse to stay in power for 18 years then that will not be very welcome.”

Abdullah won a landslide victory in 2004 polls when voters were enthused by his plans to fight corruption, but since then he has been widely criticised for inaction and suffered a steep tumble in popularity.

In recent months he has faced an unprecedented wave of public protests over the rights of minority ethnic Indians, as well as electoral reform and rising food and fuel prices.

“They see a government that is retreating and they want to take advantage,” Mahathir said of the street rallies which would have been unthinkable during his term in power which ended in 2003 after more than two decades.

Abdullah was Mahathir’s hand-picked successor when he stepped down, but after the new leader dumped several of his pet projects he began launching accusations of economic mismanagement, nepotism and corruption.

Enduring Friends: Vincent and The Tun

By Din Merican


In his recent testimony before the Haidar Commission, gaming magnate, Tan Sri Vincent Tan, commented on his links to the former Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. He said that he and the Tun met in the early 1980s when he brought the McDonald franchise to Malaysia. Initially, this friendship was strictly professional. He then acknowledged that “I owe whatever success I have in business to him…He was the Prime Minister of the country for a long time. He is a very powerful man.I don’t want to go around claiming he’s my good friend. But I’m very pleased that he said I’m an old friend”.

In my capacity as Director of Corporate Affairs and Planning, Sime Darby Group, I travelled to Seoul with Tan Sri Vincent Tan when, as part of the Malaysian business delegation, we accompanied the then Prime Minister, Dato Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, on his official visit to South Korea (in 1986). Tan Sri Vincent was then a young businessman and an emerging entrepreneur. We chatted about Ray Kroc, the man behind the McDonald empire and how hard he worked to convince Ray to give him the franchise for Malaysia.

I wanted to know what Ray was like, having read about the man and his concept of business. Ray was a hands-on manager with a passion for service quality and a stickler for cleanlinesss. I remember, Tan Sri Vincent mentioning to me that he had to attend a programme at the Hamburger University to learn the art of making burgers and the McDonald business culture and model before Ray was convinced that he was their man for Malaysia. I admired him for his capacity for hard work and his business acumen, and entrepreneurial skills. He was also an excellent networker with an engaging personality. But I was shocked to learn from listening last year (September, 2007) to the now famous “Correct, Correct and Correct” Lingam video clip that his name was mentioned together Tunku Adnan.

I am still too embarassed to admit that I was naive then in thinking that business was very straightforward with a strong orientation towards maximising shareholder value. I was trained in an American Business School to look at business as a stream of future cash flows—the further one goes into the future the riskier the cashflows— and one had to make one’s decisions on the basis of the maximum total expected value of these cashflows which are determined by a certain discount rate. But in the real world, business is more complex than what I had learnt from my professors. Politics gets in the way of one’s decisions and more often than not managers are forced to learn the art of taking care (greasing) of politicians, their cronies and top civil servants, and other functionaries.


January 31, 2008

Since posting this piece, I was severely criticised by a respected entrepreneur—also a close friend— for being too kind to Vincent Tan and Tun Mahathir. I told him that I had expected my readers to read between the lines.

A Muslim leader should not condone gambling and other forms of gaming, he added. My friend made it plainly clear to me that Tun Mahathir gave Vincent Tan a licence to print money. His gaming company kept Vincent out of financial trouble all these years, and that is the real reason why the friendship between the two men is enduring!! Tun Mahathir had given licences to others, including a virtual monopoly over our air waves plus licence to run a lottery to an Indian billionaire businessman. 

I will state clearly that the fixing of judicial  appointments and judicial decisions is just unacceptable anywhere in the world, and those who had a hand in this should be severely dealt with, irrespective of their status or rank. I assume, the true  purpose  of  a Royal Commission is to get at the truth, nothing but the truth. I will, therefore, hold Commissioner Datuk Mahadev Shanker to his words: “The only hands we have here are the hands that God has given us. These are the hands, together with other skills which have been divinely provided, which we will use in this inquiry.” (seee page 8, The New Straits Times, January 31, 2008).

Well said, Datuk Shanker. I agree, since we are all God’s creations. Even our political leaders and administrators have divinely designed hands. But I wonder what they have been doing with their hands over the last 50 years. Some of them have put their hands in the national till, and continue to do so with impunity. Huge commissions—almost RM1 billion— have been earned, for example, by a senior Minister from the purchase of two French built submarines and a fleet of Russian made fighter jets. He used his God given hands to sign those deals.

Now the state of Malaysia is rotten. Corruption is rampant; our judiciary is severely compromised and in urgent need of root and branch reform; our civil service is dysfunctional because those in charge have become politicians; our country is lagging behind other nation states in the region because our leaders are playing politics with our economy and public administration; our universities are of poor quality because there is no academic freedom and our professors have become cheerleaders and “kaki ampus” of the Government in power and, finally, Malaysians are divided along ethnic and religious lines and we are being led by an inept Prime Minister who has overstayed his welcome.

As a private citizen, I have the right to state that I am dissatisfied with the way the Haidar Commission handled the hearings. Key witnesses were not called to give evidence. Anwar Ibrahim and lawyer Mohamad Shafee Abdullah, for example, were denied their day at the hearings while the others appeared in camera. The public right to know is being suppressed. —Din Merican



28 Januari 2008

Cadangan Kementerian Pelajaran untuk menggantikan karya-karya para Sasterawan Negara dan penulis tersohor kita dengan penulis-penulis semasa yang dianggap popular di dalam mata pelajaran bahasa dan sastera di sekolah amat mengejutkan dan harus dibantah oleh semua yang menghargai nilai sastera dan warisan khazanah budaya negara.

Rancangan tersebut, yang dicadangkan untuk dilaksanakan pada 2010, dikatakan akan merangkumi penyingkiran karya tokoh-tokoh seperti Shahnon Ahmad, Usman Awang dan Samad Said, untuk digantikan dengan para penulis yang belum lagi terkenal ataupun penulis yang belum diiktiraf para karyawan. Kekayaan khazanah sastera mencerminkan ketinggian budaya sesebuah masyarakat, dan para sasterawan ini telah membina khazanah tersebut secara berterusan selama ini. Adakah kerajaan meluahkan penghargaan terhadap sumbangan mereka selama ini dengan tindakan sebegini?

Kami tidak membantah penggunaan teks penulis semasa yang dianggap popular sekadar memberikan pendedahan kepada pelajar tetapi galakan ini tidak seharusnya mengorbankan karya-karya agung bangsa. Di dalam perkara ini, selain dari mengembangkan karya-karya Bahasa Malaysia, kerajaan mesti turut mengambil peranan proaktif dalam mengembangkan sastera di dalam bahasa-bahasa lain terutamanya minat membaca hasil-hasil klasik sama ada di dalam Bahasa Inggeris, Cina mahupun Arab.

Pendidikan ialah hak asas semua rakyat dan menyediakan pendidikan yang bermutu ialah tanggungjawab pihak berkuasa. Meskipun Kementerian Pelajaran dalam sepuluh tahun kebelakangan ini sememangnya tidak dikenali kerana dasar dan tindakan yang munsabah, namun cadangan terbaru ini teramatlah tidak masuk akal, malah lebih dikesali andainya ia dibuat atas perkiraaan politik. Jelas sekali, tidak ada sebarang manfaat daripada cadangan ini. Saya menyeru semua rakyat Malaysia yang prihatin untuk membantah cadangan yang dikira dangkal dan merendah darjat budaya bangsa.



Does the Minister of Education cum UMNO Election Chief for Permatang Puah Parliamentary Seat in 2008 General Elections know what he is doing in his Ministry? I think he is being sent into political oblivion to make way for the Prime Minister’s son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin. If not why send a Johor man to Province Wellesley when they know that Hishamuddin does not understand budaya utara. —Din Merican

Haidar Commission: A new circus in town?


28 JANUARY 2008

The Haidar Commission in ruling not to admit evidence on fixing of court decisions has severely affected public confidence that the present administration is serious in restoring the rule of law in Malaysia.

It is disappointing to note that the Haidar Commission has ruled that I need not be called to provide evidence of corruption as indicated in the synopsis of my statement to be given to the Haidar Commission. I am certain that the evidence that I can give will be of significant assistance to the Haidar Commission to get the truth behind this dark patch in Malaysian judicial history.

The decision by the Commission to arbitrarily disallow me to testify would certainly lead one to the conclusion that some unseen hand is at work. This hand is so powerful that the Commission will stop at nothing to prevent me from giving evidence, even though the evidence concerned will definitely shed light on the testimony given so far. Instead of seizing the opportunity of the Inquiry to find the underlying cause of this scandal, the Commissioners, (in particular the Chairman Tan Sri Haidar), have chosen to fetter themselves with procedural legalities and restrictive interpretations as to what they can do and what they cannot do.

The purpose and objective of the Enquiry is to assure both the Malaysian public and foreigners that judges in Malaysia dispense justice without fear or favour. Unfortunately, instead of adopting a robust approach to surgically remove the cancer of corruption in the judiciary in all its forms, the Commissioners adopt at a restricted interpretation of its term of reference and thereby exclude investigation into the most malignant form of corruption that decisions of the Courts in Malaysia can be fixed. The crux of the matter is that the Lingam video shows that persons who are likely to be corruptible or are corrupted are appointed or promoted as judges. The Commissioners have fallen into serious error in only allowing evidence of brokering of judges’ appointments without allowing evidence of corruption to be admitted.

I had prior to the setting up of the Royal Commission warned that the terms of reference of the Enquiry must be sufficiently wide and clear to ensure that the public interests is served. This was not done. As a result of the poorly drafted and restrictive terms of reference, the Commissioners have now made a manifest error.

Obviously, in pursuing this farcical approach to justice, the Commission has not only deprived itself of the opportunity to get a better picture of the true state of affairs but is wittingly or unwittingly become complicit in the obstruction of justice. I use this term not in the restrictive legal context but in a wider ethical and moral context taking into account the legitimate expectations of the people. And it is the legitimate expectation of the people that the proceedings of the Inquiry be conducted so that justice is not only done but seen to be done.

I also call upon Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to take immediate action by providing a clarification on the terms of reference to ensure that evidence of corruption including the fixing of decisions beginning from the time of the sacking of the former Lord President, Tun Salleh Abbas be admitted in the ongoing Enquiry.

If the government is serious about combating corruption as well as restoring confidence in the judiciary, this is the opportunity for it to prove itself. Rather than just paying lip service to the principles of accountability and transparency, the Prime Minister should take decisive and firm action to bring to justice all those responsible, how high they may be, for corrupting the administration of justice in this country.

I urge Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to act immediately in order that Malaysians and the international community can be assured that his administration is serious in combating corruption and is genuine in wanting to uphold the rule of law.


Malaysia’s Competitiveness Ranking: Badawi misleads himself, not us


29 January 2008

Prime Minister Abdullah’s claim that Malaysia is currently ranked 8th in the world in terms of competitiveness is deliberately misleading.

Closer examination of the data reveals that this is true only within the category of countries with a population of 20 million or more.

According to the full World Competitiveness Report 2007 as cited by the Prime Minister, Malaysia is in fact ranked only 23rd in the world. Fifteen of the twenty-two countries ranked above Malaysia in 2007 have populations of less than 20 million people, while seven of the twenty-two have populations exceeding 20 million.

Malaysia’s competitiveness ranking in 2006 was 22nd, and in 1997, it was 17th.

Prime Minister Abdullah’s decision to resort to such misdirection is a weak attempt to hide the fact that Malaysia’s economic fundamentals have weakened progressively under his government.

Malaysia’s competitiveness is plumetting and where once our economy stood shoulder to shoulder with countries like Singapore and Hong Kong, we are now ranked 23rd in the world, they are ranked 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Malaysia is clearly in need of a higher calibre of leadership if Malaysia is to realise its full potential as an economy of global stature.



I learned years ago at university that statistics (statistics in the hand of an incompetent politician, I mean) and lies have something in common and that is they are tools that be used to conceal reality. But if repeated often enough, they are taken to be the truth. In the hands of Prime Minister Badawi, they become one big joke. The Prime Minister’s attempt to make Malaysia look good under his leadership has failed again. It will continue to fail because he has no credibility left.

The breaking news is that he has launched yet another corridor, this time in Sabah, and that is his solution to all our problems. More corridors. It won’t work when he cannot even fix the rot in the judiciary. The Haidar Commission is going to be another huge letdown. The witnesses are not concerned about lying to their teeth even under oath—Din Merican

VOX POPULI: Is this all Pak Lah is good for?

source: http://www.malaysiakini.com

January 29, 2008

People are suffering with the price hikes. They are already hard-pressed so just let them voice out their grievances. Don’t shut them out.

On Opposition condemns mass arrests

Nirmala Naidu: The more the government tries to shut us up, the more we are going to rebel. There are more rallies and demonstrations that have yet to come. People are suffering with the price hikes. Especially in the low and average income groups.

They are already hard-pressed so just let them voice out their grievances. Don’t shut them out.

I just watched the video of a Malaysiakini journalist being hauled into the police truck. What is wrong with our police? These people are innocent. Why throw them into a truck? They looked like caged animals in there.

This is inhumane. Is this all Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s administration is good for? Go catch the real criminals, god damn it!

I salute the PAS lady representative. She was so gutsy when she revealed the number of males and females detained. People like them give us hope for the future.

HSW: Maybe the people should organise a ‘Support BN rally’ and surely getting a police permit will not be a problem.

At this rally, placards must show ‘Yes to price increases’, ‘Yes, to crime increase’, ‘Yes, to Zakaria Deros’ mansion, etc.

The message will not be lost on the Malaysian public!

On Lingam challenges clip authenticity

Judicial Independence Believer: Although the Lingam tape was captured six years ago, it was only released now through Anwar Ibrahim. If the tape had been released during Mahathir’s reign, the entire matter would have been closed. He would have branded it as opposition lies, confiscated all copies through the police and the matter would have been closed just like hundreds of other scandals during his reign.

Pak Lah for sure has greater integrity. His integrity will be revealed when he decides whether he will go all the way in cleaning up the judiciary or only make some cosmetic changes with the intention of fooling the public.

On Uthaya risks heart attack: family

Subra: Isn’t it so sad that our PM has failed time and again because he listens to bad advice all the time? If Utayakumar were to go into a coma or suffer a fatal heart attack, the PM can rest assured that hundreds of thousands of Indian voters will turn against the government.

It should be conveyed to the PM that the crowd at Batu Caves this Thaipusam was significantly smaller. The Indians are still boiling. Don’t let them boil over.

TM Kumar: I wish to comment on the recent action by these so-called fighters of Hindu or Indian rights. Please note the movement started off with the right message but somehow the opposition and some so-called Hindus have manipulated the movement for their own benefits.

Here I wish to refer to Anwar Ibrahim for I clearly remember he was the one who once said that he could stop a temple bell by a stroke of his pen (the temple vs mosque issue in Penang some years back).

Today he is fighting for us the Hindus. Well, many are taken up by his actions. But the rational Hindu knows that what Anwar is doing now is for his political comeback.

As such, I ask my Hindu and /Indian Friends to think rationally before casting their votes. We are what we are because of our past leaders. What we can do is to join forces with the current leadership for a better tomorrow.

On Vincent Tan takes full control of Sun, Edge

Garviel Loken: I have stopped buying The Star since 2006 due to the bias reports which treats readers like an idiot. The Sun is the only newspaper that I enjoy with a cup of coffee in the morning.

If it’s going down the road of The Star and NST, it’ll be a step backwards for Malaysia’s press progress towards having an independent and unbiased stand.

On Remembering Christopher Fernando

Aaron Yap: I saluted and admired Mr Fernando as one of the best out there. A real loss to the country for he was a man with such a good ability. May God bless him and let his soul rest in peace. To Mrs. Fernando and his rest of the family members, please stay strong during this trying moments.


On Dato Christopher Fernando, I wish to add my fond memories of the man. He was born in Yan, Kedah a few years after me. We both are from the same area at the foot of the awesome Gunong Jerai that had been for thousands of years the landmark for seafares who traversed the great Indian Ocean in search of adventure and fortune. I knew Chris since school days as he was my brother’s classmate.

The last time I saw Dato Christopher was at Sdr Azmin Ali’s Hari Raya Open House in Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. He was in the brim of health and upbeat. He was a good and humble Muslim. He did not allow his reputation as an outstanding counsel to go to his head. He was a genuine friend to me. To his widow and family, I extend my sincere condolences.

Semoga Allah mencuri rahmat keatas roh kawanku Christopher

—Din Merican

Press Release: NEW VK LINGAM Revelation

My friends,

No sooner did the RCI decide not to call Anwar Ibrahim’s testimony on the VK Lingam video clip on grounds the information he posseses is irrelevant, Dato Seri Anwar has released another segment of the Lingam tape recording. In this segment the predecessor to Ahmed Fairuz and the former Chairman of the Royal Commission of the Police Force, Dzaiddin Abdullah, is clearly identified as having compromised his integrity by accepting bribes from at least VK Lingam and Vincent Tan.

There should be no handwringing on the authenticity of this segment as such has already been verified by numerous experts.

It takes a man of great leadership and vision to understand that this Royal Commission if left to its own devices will do its level best to sweep this widening conspiracy under the rug and further destroy the credibility of the Judiciary, which is was supposed to restore.

Why then has the RCI has chosen to ignore the PKR de facto leader who brought these evidence to light on September 20, 2007. The politics and the power of certain vested interests now on full display to the public makes me sick. The public outcry at this point should be deafening. Never has the level of decadence in the judiciary been so high and so obvious. Talk about credibility and independence of this RCI!! It is going to be a SHAM.

The hearings will be completed by next Wednesday and unless something miraculous happens, we can say that Anwar will not get his day at the hearings. Let us hope some other credible witness(es) can testify.

28 Januari 2008

Pada hari ini saya menerbitkan segmen ketiga rakaman video lawyer VK Lingam yang diberikan kepada saya pada Jumaat lepas, 25 Januari. Klip ini memberikan bukti tambahan bahawa konspirasi yang kini sedang disiasat oleh Suruhanjaya Diraja melangkaui usaha melantik Ahmad Fairuz ke Mahkamah Persekutuan. Segmen 5 minit ini secara langsung mengaitkan bekas Ketua Hakim Negara Dzaiddin Abdullah yang didakwa menerima rasuah dari VK Lingam dan Vincent Tan agar beliau tidak mengkritik kedua-dua individu tersebut secara terbuka. Dzaiddin Abdullah merupakan Ketua Hakim Negara antara Disember 2000 hingga 2003. Di dalam video tersebut disebut VK Lingam menyatakan: “Dan kita telah memberikan beliau hadiah paling mahal. Jangan tanyalah apa bendanya. Saya telah beri kepadanya dan Vincent Tan telah berikan kepadanya.”

Meskipun pada awalnya penubuhan Suruhanjaya Diraja telah memberikan rakyat Malaysia harapan agar kewibawaan dan integriti Kehakiman dapat dipulihkan, kami belum yakin dengan prosiding dan keputusan prosedur yang dibuat para Pesuruhjaya setakat ini. Suruhanjaya Diraja mestilah dapat menjunjung ketelusan dan integriti agar tidak kelihatan merosakkan lagi imej sistem kehakiman negara. Saya dengan ini menyerahkan bukti terbaru ini kepada orang ramai dan menyatakan kesediaan bekerjasama sepenuhnya dengan prosiding Suruhanjaya selama ini.

Video ini dapat dilihat di laman web saya http://www.anwaribrahim.com.


January 28, 2008

Today I am releasing a third segment of the video tape recording of lawyer VK Lingam that was given to me on Friday, January 25th. This clip adduces additional evidence that the conspiracy currently being investigated by the Royal Commission extends beyond the attempt to fix the appointment of Ahmed Fairuz to the Federal Court. This new 5-minute segment directly implicates former Chief Justice Dzaiddin Abdullah who has allegedly received bribes from VK Lingam and Vincent Tan so that he cannot attack those two individuals publicly. Dzaiddin Abdullah was the Chief Justice of Malaysia from December 2000 until 2003. It was quoted as: “And we have given him the most expensive gift. Don’t ask about it lah. I have given him and Vincent Tan has given him.”

While the creation of the Royal Commission gave the Malaysian public some hope that the credibility and integrity of the Judiciary might be restored, we are unimpressed with the proceedings and the procedural decisions made by the Commissioners thus far. The Royal Commission must operate with the highest level of integrity and transparency so as not to be seen as feeding the rot which has tarnished the Malaysian Courts. I submit this new piece of evidence to the public, and extend my full cooperation to the Commission’s ongoing proceedings.

The video can be seen on my website at http://www.anwaribrahim.com


Pilihanraya Yang Ke-12 : Masa Untuk Perubahan Telah Tiba

Kepada rakan seperjuangan, sahabat handai, penyokong Parti KeADILan Rakyat dan seluruh rakyat Malaysia,

Biarlah apa yang dikatakan oleh Perdana Menteri Abdullah Badawi mengenai tarikh pilihanraya atau beliau masih menunggu tibanya ilham, saya, kamu dan semua penyokong sekarang bersiap-sedia untuk menghadapi pilihanraya umu yang ke-12. Ianya mungkin diadakan diantara sambutan Tahun Baru Cina hingga pertengahan bulan Mac 2008 atau mungkin juga lebih awal lagi mengikut ragam Perdana Menteri.

Saya menjemput semua anak muda Malaysia yang dinamis menjadi sukarelawan, penolong dan duta rakyat. Saya berani berjanji bahawa pengalaman yang akan diperolehi dari perjuangan mengubah nasib rakyat, bangsa dan masa hadapan negara akan memberi satu transformasi yang luar biasa apabila mengambil bahagian dalam perjuangan politik di akar umbi.

Mereka yang berani menyambut cabaran saya, sila hubungi saya di alamat email dan telefon number yang tertera di blog ini. Tugas kita bukan mudah kerana kita akan menempuhi banyak cabaran selama 2-3 bulan yang akan datang.

Parti kita bersama dengan rakan-rakan politik kita dalam PAS dan DAP akan mencabar UMNO dan Barisan Nasional yang mempunyai banyak faedah dan kelebihan sebagai kerajaan memerintah. Umpamanya, mereka menguasai arus media perdana. Mereka menggunakan media tersebut untuk menyebarkan propaganda mereka dan putar belit serta helah untuk menipu rakyat.

Mereka sudah mengeluarkan iklan-iklan negatif terhadap Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim dan PKR dengan menggambarkan kita sebuah parti yang mengganas dan suka membuat kacau-bilau. Tujuannya ialah untuk menakut-nakutkan rakyat yang cintakan keamanan dan harmoni antara kaum. Mereka sudah menunjuk dengan jelasnya bahawa mereka akan menggunakan kekerasan polis dan anggota cawangan khas serta undang-undang rimba seperti Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA).

Oleh kerana mereka terdesak untuk menang pada kali ini, mereka akan menggunakan bermacam-macam cara seperti melakukan penipuan di dalam pilihanraya termasuk menggunakan orang yang telah kembali ke rahmatullah untuk mengundi, undi pos dari tentera dan polis serta melakukan gerrymeandering. Pengerusi Suruhanjaya Pilihanraya, Tan Sri Rashid Abdul Rahman dan organisasinya berat sebelah kepada pihak UMNO dan Barisan Nasional. Pilihanraya kali ini seperti yang lampau, umpamanya (2004) jelas akan berlaku banyak penipuan, terapi atas nama perjuangan menuntut demokrasi dan kesejahteraan rakyat. PKR akan lawan tetap lawan!

Kita mesti mengambil peluang ini untuk menggembeling ketidakpuasan hati rakyat terhadap dasar-dasar kerajaan UMNO dan Barisan Nasional dan sikap sombong serta bongkak pemimpin-pemimpin mereka. Kita boleh mendapat sokongan rakyat dengan merapati mereka serta menyebarkan maklumat yang benar dan jelas terus kepada mereka tentang perubahan dan harapan yang baik bagi semua melalui cara dan teknik berkaitan dengan politik pilihanraya yang cangih dan innovatif.

Saya telah mengunjung ke ceruk negara kita dengan tujuan mendampingi dengan rakyat dan berasa bangga atas sambutan yang kami di PKR telah nikmati. Mereka turun dengan hebat sekali, kadangkala dalam cuaca yang kurang memuaskan untuk mendengar penerangan dari pihak kami yang tidak langsung disiarkan oleh media arus perdana. Mereka juga merasakan daripada pengalaman mereka bahawa pembangunan yang dijanjikan oleh kerajaan Barisan Nasional kepada mereka tidak dapat mengubah kehidupan mereka, keluarga serta komuniti mereka.

Mereka mendengar kisah rasuah dan salahguna kuasa, pengangguran, kadar jenayah yang tinggi dan pembaziran perbelanjaan serta pengurusan ekonomi yang lembab. Dan mereka sangat prihatin tentang kenaikan harga barang seperti minyak masak, gas, petrol dan lain-lain bahan penting yang menjadi asas kehidupan.

Kami memerlukan sukarelawan dan pembantu sebagai bantuan kepada jentera pilihanraya kami yang sedang bekerja keras untuk menghadapi cabaran pilihanraya yang mendatang. Kami ingin menyampaikan maklumat, memantau perjalanan pilihanraya dan membantu calon-calon di seluruh negara.

Kepada anda dan rakan-rakan seperjuangan dalam parti, kami ingin menyatakan bahawa kita boleh mencapai kemenangan yang baik jika kita ada azam, fokus dan komitmen. Ketabahan, kesanggupan dan sikap berani menghadapi cabaran perlu, jika kita ingin membangunkan negara kita semula. Sudah bertahun lamanya, terutama sejak 2003, kita masih sebagai sebuah negara yang tertinggal berbanding dengan potensi yang kita ada. Mari kita semua bergerak dan bekerja keras ke arah satu perubahan yang lebih baik dan adil untuk semua rakyat Malaysia.

Din Merican

Dear Colleagues, Friends, Supporters of Parti KeADILan Rakyat and Fellow Malaysians,

Despite what Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi may say, you and I and our supporters are now gearing up for the 12th General Elections. It may be held some time between The Chinese New Year and the middle of March, 2008, or maybe earlier depending on the Prime Minister’s ilham.I am inviting young and dynamic Malaysians who can serve as volunteers, helpers and goodwill ambassadors and I can promise them that this experience can be a transforming and exciting one for them. They will benefit from participating in our campaigns and related work, and can make a genuine contribution to our efforts for Malaysia in the process.

Those who are keen to help, please contact me. My address (e-mail and telephone number) can be found if they go to Din Merican’s Welcome in this blog http://www.dinmerican.wordpress.com.

Our Party together with our partners in PAS and DAP will be taking on the ruling UMNO-Barisan Nasional which has all the advantages of incumbency. They control the media, for example; they have been using the television and major mainstream media to spread their propaganda.

They have put out negative advertisements (bordering on lies and disinformation) against Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim and PKR. They have shown that they will not hesitate to use the Police and the Special Branch. They also used the draconian law, the ISA, against our prominent colleagues and NGO leaders, thereby creating fear among the voting public.

Since they are desparate to win, they have shown (in the 2004 Elections) that they are prepared to rig elections, use phantom voters including the help of our dearly departeds, and postal votes (from military and police personnel), and other means like gerrymeandering. Even the Elections Commission, especially its Chairman Tan Sri Rashid Abdul Rahman, is openly in their favour. The Elections cannot under these circumstances be free and fair. But lawan tetap lawan in the name of democracy, and we shall overcome.

We must capitalise on the mood of our citizens who are increasingly frustrated with the policies and arrogance of the UMNO-BN leaders. We can reach the voting public by going directly to them to spread our message of change and hope through innovative and new means of electioneering.

I have been travelling to some parts of our country in recent months, and am encouraged by the responses we in PKR have been getting from ordinary citizens. They turned up in full force, sometimes in inclement weather, to hear our side of the story which is not carried by the media. They also feel from their personal experiences that the development that UMNO-Barisan Nasional promised them did not make a difference to their lives, those of their families and their communities.

They hear of corruption and abuse of power, unemployment, rising crime, wasteful public expenditure and incompetent management of our economy; and they are very concerned about the rise in the cost of cooking oil, gas and basic commodities.

We need volunteers and helpers to supplement our existing election machinery, which is already geared to meet these challenges. We want to spread our message, monitor the elections, and back our candidates throughout the country. With the growing support of Malaysians, we and our partners will have a huge impact on the outcome of the 12th General Elections.

To you, my colleagues, I would like to say that passion, focus and commitment are needed for any great work and for the cause of justice for all Malaysians. Courage, forebearance and audacity are essential in large doses if we are to rebuild our country. For years now, especially since 2003, we as a nation are punching below our weight. Let us together move to change Malaysia and usher in a new dawn.

Din Merican

Credible leadership?

Watch and decide:

I got this via email from a friend in Washington DC today. His reaction after the video on my blog is:

“He sounds like George Bush, lying all the way. His body language gives him away. At least, George learned to lie convincingly, maybe because he is educated at Yale and Harvard Business School, albeit using the reputation of his grandfather Prescott Bush and the wealth of his father,George Herbert Walker Bush. Din,where did your man go to school? In one of the madrasahs in your state? Sorry man, Mr. Badawi strikes me as someone who is totally incompetent to lead Malaysia forward.

I am sorry, old buddy, I dread the thought of his managing the economy which is likely to be affected severely by the looming global banking crisis. I am worried for America and I hope you are not as laid back and complacent as Mr. Badawi.

Right now, no one knows how bad the banking crisis really is. There is mounting uncertainty. I am of the view is that since the banking system is impaired, globally we will not be able to finance economic development. It will be severe this time because it affects public confidence. But be ready for tough times ahead. Regards, David” .

My reaction to Badawi’s comments at Davos World Economic Forum is as follows:

I suppose we should not worry since we have the father of “Borianomics”, Badawi, in charge of our nation’s Treasury, ably assisted by Noh Mohamed as Minister of Finance No 2 and Deputy Finance Minister Dato Dr. Awang Adek. Our economy has strong fundamentals and our foreign exchange reserve position is healthy, said the Prime Minister in Swizerland.

Remember, we said the same thing when currency speculators attacked the Thai Bhat in July, 1998. We were assured that we would be fine when the East Asian economic contagion hit our shores. But that turned out to be wishful thinking. We have yet to fully recover from its after effects. But fortunately, we had a strong economic leadership team then with Mahathir, Anwar Ibrahim and Daim.

I, therefore, find it hard to accept the comments of Boriaeconomist Badawi at Davos, Switzerland (as reported by Lokman Mansor of the New Straits Times). He said, and I quote:

“Yes, at one time we were very dependent on the US, but following our diversification efforts, Malaysia has started to export to other countries and is not as dependent on the US as before…Our economy is also showing signs of resilience. Total trade is more than RM 1 trillion, we have large reserves of USD101 billion(RM 327 billion) and some 86 per cent is our GDP (gross domestic product) is from the strength of the domestic economy.”

The Prime Minister forgets that the rest of ASEAN, China, India, Japan and South Korea, which he claims to be our new markets, are dependent on the health of the US economy. If these countries are affected, then our total trade will decline too. In fact, the entire global economy and the international financial system resolve around the US and the US dollar.

The world trading and financial system after WW2 was designed by American genius to create and maintain US hegemony. That is why everything in trade and finance is done through the US dollar as international currency. The American banking system,in turn, serves as the mechanism for trade and investment flows. If both the US dollar and American banks are weak, the rest of the world will catch an economic flu. So let us not “cakap besar”.

How competent is the UMNO-BN government in economic management? Please see Tan Sri Khalid’s press statement which I posted on my blog earlier. I get shudders when I think of how we have been managing our economy since Badawi became Prime Minister in 2003. Nothing is happen except all the big announcements about corridors and other mega projects.

It may also be recalled that Noh Mohamed was the foreign exchange man at Bank Negara Malaysia in the 1990s and he helped Malaysia to lose nearly rm30 billion of forex reserves speculating on the British pound. He had a spectacular corporate career in Mun Loong!! Is he really credible? While I may be very critical of Rafidah Aziz, I believe she will make an interesting Minister of Finance, that is, if she is not defeated in Kuala Kangsar in the coming 2008 Elections!!

So let us throw out at the bulls… and face reality. We must prepare for the worst and get real—Din Merican

Feeding the Rot: The Royal Commission of Inquiry

Report on William Leong’s speech at Sungai Lallang, Kedah
(reported by Din Merican)

In an earlier presentation at Sungai Lallang, Sdr. William Leong briefed the audience on the progress of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the VK Lingam “Correct, Correct, Correct” video clip. He said that the system of rule of law should be the concern of every citizen in this country. This is because it affects our lives and property and other rights and in many ways. Right now, there is no confidence in our sistem perhakiman and keadilan. Our Judiciary’s independence was severely compromised and our rule by law severely impaired. We must, therefore, make sure that we all have equal consideration before the courts and for this to happen our courts are totally independent and can deliver justice without political interference. Our judges too must be men and women of impeccable character and outstanding intellect and who can understand the intracacies of law.

The Lingam video clip provides clear proof that our justice system had been tampered with to favour the rich and powerful. Sdr William said, “sistem perhakiman kita sudah rosak; terok betul, para hadirin sekalian dan saya bimbang bahawa ini akan menjadi ternat”. If this is not urgently fixed, no one will invest in this country. The integrity of our judicial system and the dignity of our judges(“maruah para hakim kita mesti dipulih semula”) must, therefore, be restored, the sooner the better. It gives us no comfort to note that a powerful and strong willed Prime Minister had been manipulated (“Tun Dr. Mahathir telah dimanipulasikan”) by a “peguam India dan tauke judi Cina” to fix judicial appointments, and court decisions.

The progress of the RCI has so far been rather slow, perhaps deliberately and the public is increasingly frustrated with the politics of its public hearings. Now there is a move to keep its proceedings away from public knowledge. The Commissioners are apparently trying to change the rules of public inquiry which has been traditionally been open, transparent and participatory. William added that there must a genuine effort by the RCI to balance the need to protect the privacy of those who could be implicated in this case and the need to serve the public interest. As this is a Royal Commission, the public interest should take precedence. Sdr. William acknowledged that there is a need for greater discipline in the conduct of its business. Closed door sessions have limited value if the intention of the RCI is get at the truth and make appropriate recommendations to protect judicial integrity and dignity.

He said that he and his colleagues with PKR and the legal profession are hopeful that Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim who was solely responsible for the release of the Lingam video clip to the nation on September 19, 2007 would be allowed to appear before the RCI in a open rather a closed session.

Finally, he added that we should not be diverted from our present economic and social problems—inflation, unemployment and business slowdown, poverty, corruption and abuse of power, and mismanagement in our civil service—which have been ignored by Badawi since he took office in 2003. Let us not allow him and his UMNO-BN colleagues to blame the previous Prime Minister, who was a definitely a superior and smart leader, for what is happening to our country over the last four years.

Despite his faults—and he had lots of strengths too—Tun Dr. Mahathir understood how our economy functioned and was very action-driven and decisive  when it came to solving the nation’s problems. With regard to management of the economy , the Tun had able ministers like Anwar Ibrahim and Daim Zainuddin to assist him. During his premiership, Malaysia enjoyed robust growth with strong foreign direct investment flows, and our stock market was booming in stead of languishing and lagging behind other regional stock exchanges. People had jobs and business was doing well.

John Keats:La Belle Dame Sans Merci

Here is another of my favorites by John Keats, La Belle Dame Sans Merci. It is dedicated to my young Filipino friends, Anna and Charlene I met when I was part of the discourse team at the Asian Renaissance Leadership Programme at Lembah Impian Resort, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah in early December, 2007. This programme was jointly organised by Japan’s Sosokawa Peace Foundation and Institut Kajian Dasar of Malaysia. The participants came from Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Like Wee Loon, Dhamina, Amin, and Najwan, they made a favorable impression on me with their outgoing and confident persona—Din Merican


La Belle Dame Sans Merci.

Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight,
Alone and palely loitering;
The sedge is wither’d from the lake,
And no birds sing.

Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel’s granary is full,
And the harvest’s done.

I see a lily on thy brow,
With anguish moist and fever dew;
And on thy cheek a fading rose
Fast withereth too.

I met a lady in the meads
Full beautiful, a faery’s child;
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.

I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long;
For sideways would she lean, and sing
A faery’s song.

I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She look’d at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.

She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna dew;
And sure in language strange she said,
I love thee true.

She took me to her elfin grot,
And there she gaz’d and sighed deep,
And there I shut her wild sad eyes–
So kiss’d to sleep.

And there we slumber’d on the moss,
And there I dream’d, ah woe betide,
The latest dream I ever dream’d
On the cold hill side.

I saw pale kings, and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
Who cry’d–“La belle Dame sans merci
Hath thee in thrall!”

I saw their starv’d lips in the gloam
With horrid warning gaped wide,
And I awoke, and found me here
On the cold hill side.

And this is why I sojourn here
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is wither’d from the lake,
And no birds sing.

Dr Mnesia, Lingamnesia and Samnesia


By Dean Johns
January 23, 2008

You won’t remember this, as it was so long ago and you’ve had far more pressing matters on your mind, but back in November 2006 I wrote a column for Malaysiakini titled An aide memoire on amnesia.

I’d almost forgotten about this myself until recent events in Malaysia jogged my memory of it. Looking it up, I’m reminded that I mentioned as many versions of amnesia as I could think of at the time. Including ‘cramnesia’ (forgetting all the facts we all crammed to get through school or university); ‘jamnesia’ (forgetting our vows to never again venture out in the traffic on festive-season weekends); and ‘RAMnesia’, the total memory-loss we suffer when our computers crash or die.

But these were all incidental in leading to the point I was attempting to make, which is that the most dangerous form of amnesia is ‘scamnesia’, the tendency to forget the tricks played on us by those we unwisely trust to act in our best interests, like elected representatives, the police and other so-called civil servants and institutions including the judiciary and the press.

And, re-reading that old piece as I did just now, I’m reminded that I also referred to ‘Saddamnesia’, an extreme form of amnesia that causes some of us to forget that we may someday pay the ultimate price for our crimes; and ‘Umnesia’, a tendency for some people to forget that they’re neither superior to nor more privileged than Malaysians of other parties, races or religions.

I recall feeling pretty well satisfied at the time that I’d exhausted the topic of amnesia and its multifarious mutations. But recent events have prompted me to re-think the topic, and revisit if not revise it.

One current form of amnesia that I suppose I can be forgiven for failing to foresee, as Anwar Ibrahim had yet to release the video which an investigation is now evoking examples of it, is ‘Examnesia’. The inability of the focal figure and at least one key witness in the ongoing judge- fixing inquiry to remember anything much under cross-examination.

Examnesia evidently takes two forms. The first, ‘Dr Mnesia’, in which the witness clearly considers himself too important and confident of his immunity from blame to be bothered even trying to remember.

Blissful ignorance

And then there’s ‘Lingamnesia’, a species of forgetting formerly known in legal circles as ‘The I dunno, Your Honour, I was drunk at the time’ defence. Neither Dr Mnesia nor Lingamnesia would stand up in court, of course, let alone a royal commission. Which explains why the government has chosen to set up a panel without any powers to improve a system whose faults it would prefer to preserve.

Another form of amnesia that’s causing a lot of talk right now is what I suppose by right should be called ‘Samynesia’ but which for the sake of euphony I’ll take the liberty of shortening to ‘Samnesia’. Depending who you are, you can define this syndrome either of two ways.

If you take the Hindraf point of view, Samnesia is the condition from which Mr Samy Vellu has chronically suffered for decades, causing him to forget the welfare of his constituents in favour of cashing-in on his position and mis-managing their investment funds.

But on the contrary, if you’re a member or supporter of the Barisan Nasional or the MIC, or both, Samnesia signifies the sad failure on some peoples’ part to remember what wonders Works Minister Samy Vellu has wrought for their benefit.

In a desperate attempt to push the latter interpretation, Prime Minister Abdullah recently declared a public holiday in KL and Putrajaya for Thaipusam. But whether this will prove powerful enough sop to overcome disaffected Indians’ Samnesia, only the forthcoming general election will tell.

Of course, in preparation for the general election, as big a proportion as possible of the Malaysian population is being lulled, as usual, into a state of blissful ignorance and forgetfulness that, in recognition of the tireless manipulation of the ‘mainstream’ media by (mis)information minister Zainuddin Maidin, could well be termed ‘Zamnesia’.

And it’s timely to remind ourselves that any of us with family, friends or colleagues suffering from Zamnesia would do well to get involved with Ops Bawa Berita Balik Kampung, see , or the Newspaper Hatal campaign being waged by Helen Ang and Haris Ibrahim of The People’s Parliament.

Perpetual domination

However powerfully the government promotes Zamnesia, however, there’s one event it never lets the voters forget: May 13. In fact Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak was hard at work plugging it again just the other day, claiming that official crack-downs on Hindraf and other recent rallies had averted a serious risk of racial violence.

‘If the Malays of Kampung Baru come out then we have the spectre of a serious possibility of a racial clash in this country,” he reportedly said in an interview with AFP, adding that, “There were signs that they were preparing to come out so we had to tell them, ‘look, don’t make the situation any worse’,’

Despite having such a clear recollection of May 13 1969, however, and being so determined to remind the opposition of the possibility of a repeat performance, Najib and many of his colleagues seem otherwise to have a very poor memories indeed.

In fact, they appear to suffer badly from ‘haramnesia’, a tendency to forget that just as threats of bloodshed against the innocent are not ‘halal’, neither are deceit, corruption or many of the other techniques routinely employed by Barisan Nasional in its pursuit of perpetual domination.

As a foreigner, of course I can’t participate in the elections in Malaysia. But at least I can urge anyone who’ll listen to have an attack of amnesia when it comes time to remember to vote for BN.

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim: “Merakyatkan Ekonomi Malaysia”

by Din Merican
Sungai Lallang, Kedah
January 26, 2008

At Ceramah Umum in Sungai Lallang, not far from Sungei Patani, yesterday night (January 25, 2008), Parti KeADILan Rakyat’s Secretary-General, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim told a gathering of 1200 people from all walks of life who braved the heavy drizzle that PKR and its partners PAS and Democratic Action Party (DAP) will be return the economy to the Malaysian people under the concept of “Merakyatkan Ekonomi”.

A strong team of PKR stalwarts from Kuala Lumpur led by Tan Sri Khalid comprising Sdr. Zambri Yusof, PKR Kedah Liaison Chief, Sdr. Johari Abdul, PKR Supreme Council member, Puan Fuziah Salleh, Deputy Director (Elections), prominent lawyer and Party Treasurer, Willam Leong, and yours truly from the Office of Dato Anwar Ibrahim descended on the Merbok Parliamentary constituency and stronghold of Minister of Information Dato Zainuddin Mydin (ZAM). We were given a rousing welcome and garlanded by members of the Indian community and Tan Sri Khalid also accepted some 200 new Indian members under the watchful eye of a few members of the famed Special Branch with two of them manning their video camera.

According to Sdr. Zambri, the local Police authorities gave PKR the permit to hold this gathering and we were indeed most grateful to them for this gesture. I wondered aloud whether Bukit Aman headed by their IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan at Bukit Aman would have allowed us to meet in Sungai Lallang if Sdr. Zambri had applied for permit in Kuala Lumpur. The granting of the permit did reflect that Police personnel on the ground were more reasonable and understanding than their bosses who are close to the seat of power in Putrajaya.

It was a peaceful gathering of concerned Malaysians.They wanted a different take on the political and economic situation in their country, compared to what the mainstream media have putting out each day and night. They want to be part of the moments of truth. Let say me this with a degree of pride that my colleagues and I did not fail them. We were hard hitting and critical of what is happening in Boleh Land under Abdullah Badawi.

More importantly, we were able to articulate an alternative vision and offer concrete solutions to our present malaise. In this sense, the UMNO-BN regime is bankrupt of ideas and could only rehash and rebrand failed schemes, spending millions of ringgits relaunching them throughout the country amidst pomp and ceremony with “gendang bertalu talu” (with repeated beating of the drum).

“Merakayatkan Ekonomi”

“Merakayatkan Ekonomi, apa maknanya?” asked Tan Sri Khalid. He went on to explain this concept in a commonsensical and non-technical way. It means that economic choices made by the people which are considered and dealt with the Government in preparing the annual national budget exercise, and ensuing programmes. The collective decision is invariably a very rational one and that is, it is a choice which on the aggregate provides social and economic benefits to the maximum number of people, not to a single person or crony or some vested interest group. For example, a decision made by the Prime Minister to buy a rm230 million Airbus Executive Jet for his own use and that made by the Deputy Prime Minister to purchase of two French made submarines and a fleet of Russian fighter aircrafts in exchange for commissions to the tune of nearly rm1,000 million cannot be tolerated in such a system. Both are cases of abuse of power.

The role of the government then is that of a custodian of natural resources, taxes, royalties and other incomes and proceeds from the disposal of public assets should be kept in a special fund, as in the Islamic Bait al-maal concept. The custodian acts in trust for,and in the interest of, the entire nation.

Funds will be used for education, healthcare, and social services and public infrastructure. In such a custodial role, the government is expected to be thoroughly professional, competent, responsible and accountable to its citizens. If the government is inept, or corrupt, or acts against the interest of the nation, it can removed by the people and its officials can replaced or charged in our courts and appropriately punished. The government must be fully accountable to the people who, in turn, have the right to know.

He told the audience that in order to make the right decisions about their choices, the public should be provided with complete information. It is for this reason, when an alternative government is elected in office, the Prime Minister designate in consultation with PAS and DAP as partners will abolish the Official Secrets Act (OSA), a relic of the British colonial system, which has enabled the UMNO-BN government to conduct its affairs without public oversight. India has done way with their OSA. If India could introduce right to information legislation,Tan Sri Khalid could not see any valid reason why Malaysia cannot do so. The alternative government would also seek to reform and strengthen the Judiciary and protect the rule of law.

The rule of law is important if we are to attract foreign and domestic investors to create much needed economic growth. Right now, our economic growth rate reflects that our economy is performing below its potential. We need to put in place policies that can create jobs and opportunities and we need, said Tan Sri Khalid, to invest in the training and retraining of our workers so that they earn higher income. We need to improve our education and healthcare system. At the same time, we need social policies that can reduce the widening gap between the rich and the poor. There must be justice for all Malaysians—Malays, Indians and Chinese alike. Growth and national productiity will precede, of course, distributive justice.

There should a root and branch reform of the civil service and there is an urgent need to provide adequate facilities and resources to take care of policemen and soldiers. We must deal with the high and rising crime rate and protect our sovereignty and territorial integrity. The audience applauded when Tan Sri Khalid remarked that,” kita mesti memberi kemudahan and gaji yang lebih baik kepada anggota polis dan perajurit perajurit kita yang sudah banyak mengkorban tenaga dan nyawa mereka demi keselamatan and keamanan negara kita”.

In closing his remarks, he pledged amidst applause that as soon as the new alternative government is formed, Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim will announce that “harga minyak akan turun” at the pumps. Unlike what Najib said, Malaysia will not go bankrupt. It will be bankrupt, if and when the present government does not how manage the country’s wealth prudently. We need to eliminate wasteful and unproductive public spending.

There will be free education for all Malaysians up to university level. He said that the new government would also study the national health service in the United Kingdom with a view to introducing a similar system in our country so that those young and old alike do not have seek public donations for serious illnesses. It is the responsibility of a good and caring government to ensure that no one is denied the right to proper medical care. Malaysia is a rich and blessed country, and we can certainly afford a better deal for all Malaysians.

All the speakers from the PKR team made impassioned appeals to the audience that “inilah masanya untuk kita membawa perubahan dalam bumi kita yang bertuah ini”(Johari Abdul). My 25 minute speech was a personal reflection of a Kedah boy who was born during Second World War in Guar Chempedak, Yan, not far from Sungai Lallang. I told my audience that I owed it to their grandparents, parents and others for taking such great care of me and supporting me through school and university. I said, “saya ni terhutang budi kepada rakyat negeri Kedah yang menjaga saya dengan baik. Sebab itu saya kembali berjuang bersama Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim dan kawan kawan lain dalam PKR demi masa depan yang lebih baik dan aman bagi rakyat. Negara kita sakit sekarang”. I also urged my audience to work hard ahead of difficult times, and live in peace with each other, not to allow UMNO politicians to play the Malays against the Indians and the Chinese.

After the ceramah—it was already ten minutes past midnight by that time— many among the audience came up to the platform to thank us and shake our hands. The warmth and sincerity as reflected in their sad eyes made me say to myself that “there is no way my colleagues and I and our esteemed leader, Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim, will ever let them down, inshaAllah”.

It is always a learning and humbling experience for me to meet my fellow Malaysians who are doing the best they can with their sparse resources at their disposal from dawn to dusk—kais pagi makan pagi, kais petang makan petang—to eke a living, educate and give their families and dependents a decent life.The fight against poverty and lack of opportunity is never more urgent.