Perutusan Eidulfitri 1429 Hijrah dari Anwar Ibrahim, Ketua Umum, Parti KeADILan Rakyat


Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh,

Saya, mewakili keluarga dan segenap lapisan kepimpinan & akar umbi Parti Keadilan Rakyat ingin mengucapkan Salam Eidulfitri kepada umat Islam di Malaysia dan seluruh dunia amnya.

Ramadhan kini menghampiri penghujung, Syawal bakal menjelang tiba. Umat Islam selepas menunaikan ibadat puasa di bulan yang mulia ini pastinya menyambut kedatangan bulan Syawal dengan rasa penuh kesyukuran.

Bulan Ramadhan ini, sebagaimana yang diulaskan oleh para ulama, adalah madrasah terbaik buat melatih serta mendidik kita umat Islam agar berani dan yakin mendepani segala cabaran yang mendatang. Ramadhan sentiasa mengajar kita betapa kesabaran menjadi paksi kepada kejayaan hakiki dan memperkukuhkan kekuatan ruh serta jiwa. Ini kerana jiwa dan ruh yang membentuk manusia, seperti yang diungkapkan oleh Abul Fath al-Busti:

Perhatikan jiwamu, dan sempurnakan,
Kamu insan kerana jiwa, bukan kerana jasad.

Ramadhan pastinya mengingatkan kita akan kisah Pembukaan Kota Mekah(Fath Mekah). Kejayaan Rasulullah S.A.W yang didokong para sahabat baginda wajar menjadi teladan. Kejayaan tersebut sudah tentu tidak datang sekelip mata. Dua tahun sebelum kejayaan membuka Kota Mekah, satu perjanjian yang dikenali sebagai Perjanjian Hudaibiyyah telah dimeterai di antara Rasulullah S.A.W dengan wakil kaum Quraisy.

Tidak sedikit yang merasa ragu dengan perjanjian tersebut. Namun ternyata ada hikmahnya di sebalik kesediaan dan kesabaran Rasulullah S.A.W di dalam menerima perjanjian tersebut. Rupa-rupanya ‘jalan kemenangan sudah jelas nyata.’ Selepas sahaja termeterainya Perjanjian Hudaibiyyah, maka turunlah firman Allah S.W.T yang berbunyi:

Sesungguhnya Kami telah membuka bagi perjuanganmu (wahai Muhammad) satu jalan kemenangan yang jelas nyata.

Ayat ini menghilangkan keraguan umat Islam serta memperkuatkan lagi azam mereka bagi memastikan seruan untuk melakukan islah terlaksana.

Rakan-rakan sekalian,

Ketakwaan yang diadun bersama kesabaran dan kebijaksanaan adalah kunci utama untuk mengecap kejayaan. Janganlah keyakinan kita digugat tatkala kejayaan sudah hampir. Saya menyeru pencinta kebenaran agar perkukuhkan tekad perjuangan. Ingatlah anjuran Al Quran yang berbunyi:

Dan bagi (menjalankan perintah) Tuhanmu, maka hendaklah engkau bersabar (terhadap tentangan musuh)!

Perubahan yang ingin kita laksanakan bertapak di atas bongkah-bongkah yang kukuh, jauh sekali dari retorik kosong yang berasaskan kebencian dan persengketaan. Kita harus menyedari negara Malaysia bukannya ekabudaya. Kita harus memastikan negara ini tidak ditelan api asabiyyah dan karam dengan sikap taksub melulu. Ingatlah “siapa yang menyemai angin akan menuai badai.”

Sering saya ulangi pemerkasaan ekonomi tidak akan berjaya selagi mana kemajuan dan pembangunan didorong oleh nafsu serta tamak yang bukan kepalang. Pertumbuhan ekonomi dan kekayaan harus difahami dan dimaknai dengan pengertian yang lebih luas. Kekayaan tidak boleh berlegar di kalangan segelintir sahaja, ianya harus menjadi pendorong untuk membebaskan masyarakat dari penindasan dan kezaliman. Inilah yang kita tegaskan sebagai ekonomi yang manusiawi. Ekonomi yang dibangun di atas prinsip insan sebagai makhluk bermoral dan berakhlak, bukannya semata-mata homo economicus; yang hanya memburu kepentingan diri sendiri.

Rakan-rakan sekalian,

Syawal yang bakal menjelang pastinya disambut meriah oleh semua. Pun begitu hendaklah kita sentiasa wasatiyah dalam pendekatan, yakni bersederhana tanpa meminggirkan mereka yang tidak berkemampuan. Syawal adalah bulan kemenangan, bulan memupuk ukhuwah. Kemenangan mengharungi Ramadhan dirai dengan jalinan ukhuwah yang utuh sesama ummah. Kemenangan ini bukan sekadar melawan hawa nafsu sepanjang Ramadhan, sebaliknya diterjemahkan jua sebagai kemenangan menentang kezaliman dan menegakkan keadilan.

InshaAllah kemenangan yang diredhai menjadi milik kita pastinya, sebagaimana yang dijelaskan di dalam Al Quran,”ibarat pohon yang baik, akarnya teguh dan cabangnya menjulang ke langit (Ayat 24, Surah Ibrahim)”

Salam Eidulfitri 1429 Hijrah.
Minal ‘aidil wal faiziin.
Maaf zahir dan batin.

ANWAR IBRAHIM
Ketua Pembangkang
Ketua Umum Parti Keadilan Rakyat

Mr. Prime Minister, read Zaid Ibrahim’s letter and act to save what is left of your 5-year Administration


Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

On the eve of Eid Murbarak/Hari Lebaran, I urge you to read and understand the contents of your former Cabinet colleague Zaid Ibrahim’s letter. I cannot believe that you allowed Najib and Syed Hamid to put Raja Petra Kamaruddin under ISA and send him to Kamunting, Perak for a period of two years.

It is commonly known among bloggers especially that both Najib and Syed Hamid have personal axes to grind and Raja Petra has been giving them sleepless nights through his writings which appear on his web-blog, http://www.malaysia-today.net. What I can say about someone of your stature who can condone actions that are not acceptable to Islam because it violates the principles of justice. Ramadhan and Eid Mubarak prevent me from being brutal to you.

You have violated the tenets of Islam as embodied in the Qu’ran without compunction. Yet, your media dubs you as “Mr Nice Guy”, etc. It is time you redeem yourself and act. Otherwise, the very men in UMNO who used to kiss your hand will now put a dagger in your back. I am told, through the grapevine that they are deserting you by the dime and a dozen; they are supporting Najib who is your Brutus acting on the advice of the Iago of Malaysian politics and his reactionary and conservative supporters. Najib will challenge you, mark my word, Mr. Prime Minister.

As we all celebrate the end of Ramadhan with our families, Raja Petra Kamaruddin and other ISA detainees are languishing in Kamunting. If this is not unjust and cruel, what else can it be for you as Head of Government and your Cabinet colleagues including those mute and cowardly ministers from Malaysian Chinese Association(MCA), MIC (Malaysian Indian Congress) and Gerakan and others. Maybe the right word is “barbaric”. That should apply to both the Deputy Prime Minister and the Home Affairs. In addition, I would like to say this to Najib and Syed Hamid, “may you both rot in hell”. —Din Merican

http://www.malaysiakini.com

Zaid Ibrahim writes open letter to PM

Sep 30, 08 1:53pm

In our proclamation of independence, our first prime minister gave voice to the lofty aspirations and dreams of the people of Malaya: that Malaya was founded on the principles of liberty and justice, and the promise that collectively we would always strive to improve the welfare and happiness of its people.

MCPX

Many years have passed since that momentous occasion and those aspirations and dreams remain true and are as relevant to us today as they were then. This was made possible by a strong grasp of fundamentals in the early period of this nation.

The federal constitution and the laws made pursuant to it were well founded; they embodied the key elements of a democracy built on the rule of law. The Malaysian judiciary once commanded great respect from Malaysians and was hailed as a beacon for other nations.Our earlier prime ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein Onn were truly leaders of integrity, patriots in their own right and most importantly, men of humility. They believed in and built this nation on the principles and values enunciated in our constitution.

tunku abdul rahmanEven when they had to enact the Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960, they were very cautious and apologetic about it. Tunku stated clearly that the Act was passed to deal with the communist threat.

“My cabinet colleagues and I gave a solemn promise to Parliament and the nation that the immense powers given to the government under the ISA would never be used to stifle legitimate opposition and silent lawful dissent”, was what the Tunku said.

Our third prime minister, Tun Hussein Onn, reinforced this position by saying that the ISA was not intended to repress lawful political opposition and democratic activity on the part of the citizenry.

Government has failed the people

The events of the last three weeks have compelled me to review the way in which the ISA has been used. This exercise has sadly led me to the conclusion that the government has time and time again failed the people of this country in repeatedly reneging on that solemn promise made by Tunku Abdul Rahman.

This has been made possible because the government and the law have mistakenly allowed the minister of home affairs to detain anyone for whatever reason he thinks fit. This subjective discretion has been abused to further certain political interests.

History is the great teacher and speaks volumes in this regard. Even a cursory examination of the manner in which the ISA has been used almost from its inception would reveal the extent to which its intended purpose has been subjugated to the politics of the day.

Regrettably, Tunku Abdul Rahman himself reneged on his promise. In 1965, his administration detained Burhanuddin Helmi, the truly towering Malay intellectual, a nationalist who happened to be a PAS leader. He was kept in detention until his death in 1969. Helmi was a political opponent and could by no stretch of the imagination be considered to have been involved in the armed rebellion or communism that the ISA was designed to deal with.

This detention was an aberration, a regrettable moment where politics had been permitted to trump the rule of law. It unfortunately appears to have set a precedent and many detentions of persons viewed as having been threatening to the incumbent administration followed through the years.

Even our literary giant, ‘sasterawan negara’ the late Tan Sri A Samad Ismail was subjected to the ISA in 1976. How could he have been a threat to national security?

I need not remind you of the terrible impact of the 1987 Operasi Lalang. Its spectre haunts the government as much as it does the peace-loving people of this nation, casting a gloom over all of us. There were and still are many unanswered questions about those dark hours when more than a hundred persons were detained for purportedly being threats to national security. Why they were detained has never been made clear to Malaysians.

Similarly, no explanation has been forthcoming as to why they were never charged in court. Those detainees included amongst their numbers senior opposition members of parliament who are still active in Parliament today.

The only thing that is certain about that period was that UMNO was facing a leadership crisis. Isn’t it coincidental that the recent spate of ISA arrests has occurred when UMNO is again having a leadership crisis?

‘Militant’ Ezam back in UMNO

isa distributeIn 2001, Keadilan ‘reformasi’ activists were detained in an exercise that the Federal Court declared was in bad faith and unlawful. The continued detention of those that were not released earlier in the Kamunting detention facility was made possible only by the fact that the ISA had been questionably amended in 1988 to preclude judicial review of the minister’s order to detain.

Malaysians were told that these detainees had been attempting to overthrow the government via militant means and violent demonstrations. Seven years have gone and yet no evidence in support of this assertion has been presented. Compounding the confusion even further, one of these so-called militants, Ezam Mohamad Noor, recently rejoined UMNO to great fanfare, as a prized catch it would seem.

hindraf isa detainees 290808At around the same time, members of PAS were also detained for purportedly being militant and allegedly having links to international terrorist networks. Those detained included Nik Adli, the son of Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, the menteri besar of Kelantan. Malaysians were made a promise by the government that evidence of the alleged terrorist activities and links of these detainees would be disclosed. To date no such evidence has been produced.

The same formula was used in late 2007 when the Hindraf 5 were detained. Malaysians were told once again that these individuals were involved in efforts to overthrow the government and had links with the militant Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam of Sri Lanka. To date no concrete evidence have been presented to support this assertion.

It would seem therefore that the five were detained for their involvement in efforts that led to a mobilisation of Indian Malaysians to express, through peaceful means; their frustration against the way in which their community had been allowed to be marginalised. This cause has since been recognised as a legitimate one. The Hindraf demonstration is nothing extraordinary as such assemblies are universally recognised as being a legitimate means of expression.

isa 3 teresa raja petra tan hoon chengIn the same vein, the grounds advanced in support of the most recent detentions of Tan Hoon Cheng, Teresa Kok and Raja Petra Kamarudin leave much to be desired. The explanation that Tan Hoon Cheng was detained for her own safety was farcical. The suggestion that Teresa Kok had been inciting religious sentiments was unfounded as was evinced by her subsequent release.

As for Raja Petra Kamarudin, the prominent critic of the government, a perusal of his writings would show that he might have been insulting of the government and certain individuals within it.

However, being critical and insulting could not in any way amount to a threat to national security. If his writings are viewed as being insulting of Islam, Muslims or the Holy Prophet (pbuh), he should instead be charged under the Penal Code and not under the ISA.

In any event, he had already been charged for sedition and criminal defamation in respect of some of his statements. He had claimed trial, indicating as such his readiness and ability to defend himself. Justice would best be served by allowing him his day in court more so where, in the minds of the public, the government is in a position of conflict for having been the target of his strident criticism.

Law used against dissidents

The instances cited above strongly suggest that the government is undemocratic. It is this perspective that has over the last 25 plus years led to the government seemingly arbitrarily detaining political opponents, civil society and consumer advocates, writers, businessmen, students, journalists whose crime, if it could be called that, was to have been critical of the government.

How it is these individuals can be perceived as being threats to national security is beyond my comprehension. The self-evident reality is that legitimate dissent was and is quashed through the heavy-handed use of the ISA.

There are those who support and advocate this carte-blanche reading of the ISA. They will seek to persuade you that the interests of the country demand that such power be retained, that Malaysians owe their peace and stability to laws such as the ISA. This overlooks the simple truth that Malaysians of all races cherish peace. We lived together harmoniously for the last 400 years, not because of these laws but in spite of them.

I believe the people of this country are mature and intelligent enough to distinguish actions that constitute a ‘real’ threat to the country from those that threaten political interests. Malaysians have come know that the ISA is used against political opponents and, it would seem, when the leadership is under challenge either from within the ruling party or from external elements.

Malaysians today want to see a government that is committed to the court process to determine guilt or innocence even for alleged acts of incitement of racial or religious sentiment. They are less willing to believe, as they once did, that a single individual, namely the minister of home affairs; knows best about matters of national security.

They value freedom and the protection of civil liberties and this is true of people of other nations too.

I attempted to push for reform

Mr Prime Minister, the results of the last general election are clear indication that the people of Malaysia are demanding a reinstatement of the rule of law. I was appointed as your, albeit short-lived, minister in charge of legal affairs and judicial reform.

In that capacity, I came to understand more keenly how many of us want reform, not for the sake of it, but for the extent to which our institutions have been undermined by events and the impact this has had on society.

zaid ibrahim resignation from ministerial post 160908 01With your blessing, I attempted to push for reform. High on my list of priorities was a reinstatement of the inherent right of judicial review that could be enabled through a reversion of the key constitutional provision to its form prior to the controversial amendment in 1988.

I need not remind you that that constitutional amendment was prompted by the same series of events that led not only to Operasi Lalang but the sacking of the then Lord President and two supreme court justices.

Chief amongst my concerns was the way in which the jurisdiction and the power of the courts to grant remedy against unconstitutional and arbitrary action of the executive had been removed by Parliament and the extent to which this had permitted an erosion of the civil liberties of Malaysians.

It was this constitutional amendment that paved the way for the ouster provision in the ISA that virtually immunises the minister from judicial review, a provision which exemplifies the injustice the constitutional amendment of 1988 has lent itself.

I also sought to introduce means by which steps could be taken to assist the judiciary to regain the reputation for independence and competence it once had. Unfortunately, this was viewed as undesirable by some since an independent judiciary would mean that the executive would be less ‘influential’.

I attempted to do these things and more because of the realisation that Malaysia’s democratic traditions and the rule of law are under siege. Anyway, there is nothing wrong with giving everyone an independent judiciary and the opportunity to a fair trial.

This is consistent with the universal norms of human rights as it is with the tenets of Islam, the religion of the federation. Unchecked power to detain at the whim of one man is oppressiveness at its highest. Even in Israel, a nation that is perpetually at war the power to detain is not vested in one man and detention orders require endorsement from a judge.

If there are national security considerations, then these can be approached without jettisoning the safeguards intended to protect individual citizens from being penalised wrongfully. In other jurisdictions involved in armed conflicts, trials are held in camera to allow for judicial scrutiny of evidence considered too sensitive for public disclosure so as to satisfy the ends of justice.

If this can be done in these jurisdictions, why not here where the last armed struggle we saw, the very one that precipitated the need for the ISA, came to an end in the 1980s?

ISA was never intended to be permanent

Any doubts as to the continued relevance of the ISA in its present form should have been put to rest by the recommendation by the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) that the ISA be repealed and an anti-terror legislation suited to the times enacted in its place. Containing as it did a sunset clause in its original times, the ISA was never intended to be a permanent feature on the Malaysian legal landscape.

Through its continued use in the manner described above and in the face of public sentiment, it is only natural that the ISA has become in the mind of the people an instrument of oppression and the government is one that lends itself to oppressiveness.

Its continued use does not bode well for a society that is struggling to find its place in the global arena. It does not bode well for the democracy that is so vital for us to develop sustainably.

abdullah ahmad badawi isa arrest with handcuffs 010604Mr Prime Minister, I remember very clearly what you once said; that if one has the opportunity to do what is good and right for the country, then he must take on the task. I respect you deeply for that and if I were confident that I would have been able to do some good for Malaysia, I would have remained on your team.

Sir, you are still the prime minister and you still have the opportunity to leave your footprint in Malaysian history. I urge you to do so by repealing the ISA once and for all.

Let us attempt to fulfil that solemn promise made by our beloved first prime minister to the people of this country.

Yours sincerely

Zaid Ibrahim

Azly@ Columbia says: “Free Raja Petra Kamarudin and all the ISA detainees. Abolish the ISA”.


Hadhari, Human rights, Hypocrisy
Azly Rahman  dr.azly.rahman@gmail.com
http://azlyrahman-illuminations.blogspot.com/

The General Assembly proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member-States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.- Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948

Free Raja Petra Kamarudin and all the ISA detainees. Abolish the ISA. This is my appeal to the current regime.

How do we continue to live with the contradiction of being a ratifier of the UDHR and still hold on to the Internal Security Act (ISA) as an instrument of oppression? At home, how must we live with this hypocrisy of jailing without trial our noble citizens such as Raja Petra Kamaruddin and yet abroad speak out against Guantanamo Bay in the platform of world affairs?

When Malaysian leaders go abroad and give speeches at the United Nations or the Malaysian embassies for example, they often argue that Malaysians have their own way of dealing with human rights issues.They say that culturally Malaysians are different than, say the American or the Britons. Human rights is a subjective issue that needs subjective interpretation, as the argument goes.

The way the government deals with freedom of speech for example includes the stubborn political will to keep the ISA intact as an instrument of the country’s ‘right’ to maintain peace and security.

When Malaysian leaders are abroad and speak to Malaysians at dinner gatherings, for example, they often argue that other countries do not have the right to meddle into the affairs of another nation.

The US therefore is warned not to comment on Malaysian politics. Al Gore and Condoleezza Rice  are to be scorned for making statements about the reformasi demonstrations on Malaysian streets and on the trial of Anwar Ibrahim, respectively.

At home, however, Malaysian leaders ironically love to rally for the cause of others – from the abolition of apartheid in South Africa or for the plight of the Palestinians. Well and good. These are universal issues of human rights of which we ought to be aware.

We speak up for the rights of the Bosnians, the Chechens, the Palestinians, and Pattani Malays. I do not know whether the former Yugoslavs, the Russians, the Israelis, and the Thais have warned Malaysians not to meddle into the politics of the respective countries.

Isn’t upholding and protecting of human rights the job of all citizens of the world? Did we not speak out against Guantanamo Bay, as millions of Americans have been doing; Americans who themselves are fed up with the war-mongering Bush-Cheney regime?

Refusal to understand

Herein lies our hypocrisy within the context of our proclaimed ideology of Islam Hadhari and the right to talk about human rights. We are living with an outdated version of the Mahathir-Lee Kuan Yew interpretation of human rights vis-a-vis political and economic stability.

The ISA is used on citizens these days as part of a way to ensure that power, ideology, and hegemony is maintained for the rights of the few and to sustain the right to dehumanise others.

The question for educators like me is: how will the continuing existence of the British colonial legacy of the ISA create a progressive, liberal, intelligent, wise, and just Malaysia? How do we mediate the false dichotomy between the ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ interpretations of human rights?

Malaysia is a signatory to the UDHR including:

- Article 9: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

- Article 10: Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

I believe the much trumpeted brand of Islam the current regime is promoting, Islam Hadhari, is anti-civilisation  in the way human right is vis-a-vis the ISA detentions.

It is anti-Islam when those who are detained are fighting for social, economic justice and as Islam requires, to speak truth to power in combating corruption.

To jail those who expose wrongdoings bring Islam Hadhari back to the age of pre-Islamic Jahiliyyah (Age of Ignorance). Indeed, we are being hypocrites when we continue to keep and use the instrument of oppression left behind by the oppressors. We continue to let the current regime refine the instrument.

Setting aside the truncated mindset of the Malaysian leaders, the people must recognise the critical importance of the awareness and maintenance of human rights throughout the world.

We must believe that the definition, creation, and dissemination of human rights norms can bridge the gaps between countries, ensure that individual’s human rights are respected, and pave the way for a more peaceful world.

And, as the countries of our world become increasingly more interconnected, the call for universal human rights standards could not be more important.

We are hypocrites living in an ideology of Hadhari. We seem to refuse to understand what the idea of the universality of human rights means. We cannot progress in this area unless we live by such principles of human rights – the one that we too ratified.


I APPEAL TO THE MALAYSIAN GOVERNMENT TO RELEASE RAJA PETRA KAMARUDIN IMMEDIATELY AND UNCONDITIONALLY AND RELEASE ALL THE ISA DETAINEES AS WELL AND CONSEQUENTLY REPEAL THE ISA AND ALL OTHER INTOLERABLE ACTS

REPLACE THE ISA with the INTELLECTUAL SUSTAINABILITY ACT INSTEAD.

PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION: http://www.petitiononline.com/isa1234/petition.html

Reuters: Anwar Ibrahim is favored as Malaysia’s next Prime Minister, according to independent opinion poll


Anwar leads Malaysia poll, economy dominates concerns

Monday, September 29, 2008 1:38pm IST

By David Chance

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim scored better than the government’s pick to become the next prime minister in an opinion poll which showed that worries over the economy dominated voter concerns.

Anwar Ibrahim at CLSA Conference by Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar is threatening to unseat the government that has ruled Malaysia for 51 years and the rise of the opposition since their success in elections in March has paralysed policy-making as top politicians from the government jostle for power.

The poll by the Merdeka Center published on Monday showed that for half of people questioned, the main concern in this country of 27 million people was the economy at a time when fuel prices have risen and inflation has surged to 27-year highs.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who has offered to quit early to avoid a leadership challenge topped the poll, although his approval ratings continue to fall.

Asked who would make the better prime minister, 40 percent said Anwar and 34 percent said Najib Razak. Najib has been named as successor to Abdullah who scored 43 percent.

Anwar, a former deputy prime minister who was imprisoned on what he says were trumped up sodomy and corruption charges in the late 1990s was characterised as “a strong and visionary leader” and “a competent manager of the economy” by 51 percent of respondents in the poll of 1,003 voters.

He is facing new charges of sodomy which he denies.

Anwar has said that he has won over enough government MPs to oust Abdullah in a confidence vote in parliament and the prime minister on Friday said he would hand power to Najib, most likely in March.

Abdullah had earlier planned to hand over power in 2010.

Since becoming prime minister in 2004, Abdullah has failed to implement key pledges such as ending corruption and boosting the independence of the judiciary. The policy drift, along with rising racial tensions, has unsettled both party activists and investors.

NERVOUS MARKETS

A year ago just 25 percent of those questioned in a similar poll by Merdeka, an independent pollster, were worried about the economy in the poll a year ago compared with 50 percent now. Markets are nervous over a prolonged transition.

“Political noise remains elevated, which we consider bearish for risky assets, including the ringgit, and bullish for government bonds,” ING said in its morning Asia research report.

ING forecasts that the ringgit will end this year at 3.55 to the dollar compared with 3.4410, a depreciation of over 3 percent. It has already fallen 3.7 percent this year.

The plan to hand power to Najib has also unsettled some in the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the party that dominates the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.On Saturday, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, a former finance minister said the plan was “extra constitutional” and said he would stand in the party polls.

Home Minister Syed Hamid said on Sunday said that the intense contest for party posts was causing splits in UMNO. “We see that the heat is becoming more intense, as though there are instigators pitting one group against another,” he said, according to state news agency Bernama.

Traditionally the leader of UMNO is also the prime minister of Malaysia and under party rules, any contenders for UMNO president must garner 30 percent of total nominations to be eligible to run.

Anwar and Najib: Was there any doubt that it is Anwar who will be a better Prime Minister?


http://www.malaysiakini.com

Fauwaz Abdul Aziz | September 29, 2008

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim was the more popular choice to become the next prime minister than Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, according to a Merdeka Centre survey.

MCPX

who will be better pm anwar najib 290908When both men were matched up on who was better to head the country – 40 percent went with Anwar, with Najib trailing at 34 percent.

A quarter of the respondents were undecided or unimpressed with both candidates.

In a separate question, 39 percent agreed that Najib would make a good premier, while 44 percent disagreed.

This was good news for the deputy prime minister as he has increased his approval ratings by five percent when compared to the last polls in July.

Anwar appeared to garner more support from non-Malays compared to Najib, which was primarily Malay.

When contacted, Merdeka Centre’s executive director Ibrahim Suffian said this was the first time the poll research organisation had pitted Anwar directly against Najib.
anwar ibrahim and najib“We included the question this time as the survey was being carried around September 16. Also, Anwar has been casting himself as the prime minister-in-waiting,” said Ibrahim.

September 16 was Anwar’s self-imposed deadline to take over the government.

A total of 1,002 persons were randomly polled between over two weeks between Sept 11 and 22.

US/Jews agent

Roughly consistent with the results of a survey conducted last month, only 15 percent said they believed in the allegation against Anwar of sexual misconduct whereas only 13 percent believed that he was a “sexual criminal”.

Even though 21 percent were convinced he was an “agent of the US/Jews”, it was easily negated by more than half respondents (51 percent) in belief that the PKR leader was both “a strong and visionary leader” and “a competent manager of the economy”.
Seventeen percent of Malays polled felt Anwar was a “sexual criminal”, whilst only eight percent of the Chinese and one percent of the Indians sharing that sentiment.


is anwar a sexual criminal 290908 merdeka centre


The score was similar when it come to him being an agent of the “American/Jews”, where a high 28 percent of Malays say ‘yes’ compared to only 12 and four percent of Chinese and Indians respectively.

When asked specifically on whether Najib would be a good prime minister – without comparing him with anyone – Malays gave him a 52 percent count, while garnering only 29 and 10 percent of Chinese and Indians respectively.

Questions on Abdullah

Things were not looking up for premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi – but neither were they looking down – as his approval numbers did not drop from July, even if they were not encouraging.

abdullah approval rating merdeka centre 290908

However he’ll remain worried, as more Malaysians (21 percent) regard the political uncertainties presently clouding the country as their foremost concern, rising from the 10 percent two months ago.

Fifty percent said they are still most concerned over economic issues.

See full survey results [PDF version]

Eidul Fitr al Mubarak/Selamat Hari Lebaran For All


The Malaysian DJ Blogger wishes all Malaysians including my blogger friends, and friends in ASEAN and around the world Selamat Hari Raya/Eidul Fitr al-Mubarak, Maaf, Zahir dan Batin.

To Malaysians, I say stay united and show genuine goodwill because collectively we will make Malaysia a great place for all who wish to call this wonderful country our home. Together, we can clean up the mess, eliminate corruption, stamp abuse of power and make our country a model of good governance. The tasks ahead are daunting, no doubt about that, but given both political will and social resolve, we can do it in cooperation with the right leadership at the political level.

While we celebrate this special day, let us not forget Raja Petra Kamaruddin and other ISA detainees held in Kamunting, Perak and their families who are again without their patriarchs. Be patient, please and change is on the way.

In the meantime, we must continue with our goal of ending the era of Rule by the ISA. Ours will be Rule of Law where our constitution is again the Supreme Law of the Land. Daulat Tuanku, Daulat Tuanku, Daulat Tuanku dan Daulat Kepada Raja-Raja kita. Hidup Rukun Negara.

To mark this special day (October 1, 2008), I have asked P. Ramlee, Saloma, Sharifah A’ini and Fadzidah Joned to sing for us.—DJ Din Merican

Not to be missed, here is Jaclyn Victor and her spectacular tribute to the irreplaceable and incomparable P. Ramlee, our man from Pulau Pinang. Dato Ahmad Ismail is also from the same place! But, ah, he is an UMNO Malay supremacist.

Enjoy Jacklyn and brush aside Dato Ahmad who desperately wants to be more Malay than the Malay, which basically means that he has an identity crisis. Or could be it be a “lack of contracts” crisis for him since Pakatan Rakyat team led by CM Guan Eng is now charge of Pulau Mutiara and Seberang Prai (Province Wellesley)?

Mr. Prime Minister: Take Charge or Let Anwar Ibrahim take over, not Najib


http://www.malaysiakini.com

Political crisis paralysing economy and investment

September 29, 2008

The political crisis since March elections that humiliated the ruling coalition has stifled the stock market, deterred foreign investment, and crimped growth forecasts.

MCPX

And economic observers said that with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi still clinging to power despite mounting calls for a speedy departure, there is no end in sight to the uncertainty.

“It has been on a downtrend since the general elections and we expect it to remain so as there are no signs that the political situation is easing,” said Stephen Soo, a senior analyst at local brokerage TA Securities.budget 2007 stock exchange and forexHe said the political turmoil, combined with the turbulence in the US financial markets, offered “not much hope” for the market to revive before year-end.

“Investor sentiment is still weak and foreign funds have been pulling out of the market. The political scenario is definitely a deterrent to foreigners.”

Abdullah has said he may not seek re-election as ruling party leader in internal polls next year, but the coalition also faces an unprecedented challenge from the opposition, which says it has the numbers to seize power.

The prospect of a messy change of government – the first in the history of Malaysia, which has been ruled by the Barisan Nasional coalition since independence in 1957 – is making investors very nervous.

The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index, which reached an all-time high of 1,524 points in January, dived to 1,157 shortly after the March elections that saw the government lose its two-thirds majority in parliament for the first time.

On Sept 18, the bourse plunged to a two-year low of 963, and ended last week at 1,020.53, in a malaise worsened by the stream of bad news from Wall Street.

PM’s flip-flop on petrol pricesCitigroup chief economist for Singapore and Malaysia, Kit Wei Zheng, said the political situation has forced the government to resort to unsustainable policies that could widen the budget deficit.

“When you have an unstable political situation, you are forced to make populist promises needed to secure power,” he told AFP.

petrol new price rm2 45 240908Abdullah’s 2009 budget offered tax cuts and sweeteners designed to restore support for the beleaguered coalition and spur growth in the face of a global slowdown.

Kit said the premier’s flip-flop on petrol prices – with two cuts that partly reversed a deeply unpopular 41 percent price hike in June – “is not a good signal to foreign investors.”

“As long as this political situation does not resolve itself, even if there is a global recovery, Malaysia might be passed by in favour of other destinations,” he said.

Despite the gloom, the government’s forecasts remain relatively rosy.

Ku Li: Business confidence has plummeted

Deputy premier Najib Razak, who last week took over the finance portfolio from Abdullah as part of a succession plan, said the government still expected the economy to grow by 5.7 percent this year.

However, the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research – a government think-tank – has cut its 2008 growth projection to 4.6 percent, partly due to the domestic political turmoil.

tengku razaleigh“The government has been unable to respond to the economic crisis with even a basic plan of action,” said Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, a veteran figure in the ruling party and one of Abdullah’s most vocal critics.

“Business confidence has plummeted as capital flees the country,” he said in a statement last week.

“Political crises come and go, but the present crisis might well be the beginning of a cascade of failures leading to long-term instability and destruction.”

Bakri Musa in “The Corridors of Power”: The Badawi-Najib Show pales in comparison with the Punch and Judy Show; in my view, it is disgraceful and pathetic display of UMNO Politics.


corridors

The latest UMNO shenanigans effectively reduced the party’s (and thus the country’s) leadership to a Sunday market trinket, to be haggled between a desperate discredited seller trying to get the best possible deal, and a bankrupt buyer who has only his incumbency to offer as currency.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

M. Bakri Musa

Tengku Razaleigh, in referring to the tussle between Abdullah Badawi and Najib Razak, said, “… [W]e are embarrassed at the sight of two grown men playing this endless children’s game of ‘yours and mine’ with the most important responsibility in the land, oblivious of the law, oblivious to the damage they are doing to the nation.” The Prince’s observation on the damage wrecked on Malaysia is spot on, declaring that Malaysia had been reduced to a banana republic and a laughing stock.

What Abdullah and Najib do not realize is that the value of the trinket they are frantically bargaining over keeps dropping. While the two are consumed with striking a deal between them, they fail to notice that Anwar Ibrahim is on the sideline, ready and willing to take over, thus effectively reducing the two protagonists and their trinket to irrelevance.

Meanwhile the important business of running the country is neglected. They have been consumed with lobbying their followers, as well as engaging in hours of “four eyes only” meetings, haggling over when, how, and at what price the trinket would be handed over. They are oblivious to the nation’s compounding problems, from the massive public health hazard of contaminated milk products imported from China to the American credit crunch that will soon spread around the world.

It is time to make these two characters irrelevant. It is time to let this desperate drowning duo strangle each other and sink to the bottom of the cesspool they have created for themselves. Our priority is to make sure that they do not drag the nation down with them. This responsibility falls heavily on those leaders of the opposition, in particular Anwar Ibrahim. He has to be ready to take over and make the necessary preparations now, especially with regards to policies and personnel.

The Price Keeps Dropping

Right after the March 8, 2008 electoral debacle, Abdullah declared that he still had the people’s trust. Then with confidence borne out of ignorance a la the village idiot, he asserted that he would serve his full second term. He even intimated that he might lead his coalition to its third electoral victory in 2013!

Such detachment from reality! It was merely out of courtesy (that is the trademark of our culture), and respect for the highest office of the land that Abdullah was not laughed off the stage. Unfortunately he mistook that as acceptance, if not rousing endorsement, aided by his cronies, advisers, and family members feeding his fantasy. The world knew better.

On the surface Abdullah did seem to have a mandate. After all, his coalition secured a comfortable though not the usual two-third majority in Parliament. On closer scrutiny, however, his Barisan coalition barely scrapped through the popular vote, while many of the seats won were only with the slimmest of majority. That election also saw five states, including some of the most developed, repudiating Abdullah’s leadership.

When the rumblings of discontent over his leadership became louder, especially after his coalition’s thumping at the Permatang Pauh by-election, Abdullah was forced to lower his bid, but just a tad. He now thought he could satisfy his detractors by agreeing to hand over power by June 2010. He set it far enough ahead such that should circumstances shift, he could conveniently change his mind. Abdullah was counting that people would not see through his not-so-sly scheming.

Again, he misjudged the public, and his party’s mood.Following a ruckus September 2008 UMNO Supreme Council meeting in which a few finally caught on to the reality and spoke up, albeit tentatively and a little belatedly, Abdullah lowered further his asking price. Now he did not rule out on an earlier transfer, clarifying that the June 2010 date was meant to be the latest when he would quit. That pacified the dissidents, including the outspoken Muhyiddin Yassin and the hitherto “Iron Lady” Rafidah Aziz. They were an easily-mollified bunch.

Then following the gathering of his clan, and undoubtedly convinced once again by them, Abdullah backtracked. They prevailed upon him that his leadership was worth more and that he should hold out for a better price. That triggered yet another volley of dissatisfaction. At a special meeting of the Supreme Council last week, presumably to discuss specifically the leadership transition, Abdullah was given an ultimatum. He must decide by October 9, 2008 on whether to defend his leadership. The alternative presumably would be to quit.

To an average observer with a modicum of commonsense, that was just another nice way for the council to say, in the grand Asian tradition of “saving face,” that it no longer had confidence in Abdullah. Abdullah however is thick-skulled and a tad slow on the uptake. Besides, another round of meetings with his clan and they would convince him that indeed was not the intent of the council. “Flip-flop” Abdullah listens to whoever has his ear last.

More to the point, that council’s decision was meaningless. If Abdullah were to decide not to defend his position at the now-postponed UMNO convention, the country would still be faced with a leadership crisis and uncertainty for the next six months. Everyone would be consumed with positioning themselves. No effective government work would be done as every UMNO politician would be busy politicking.

On the other hand, if he decided to cling on, it would still create a leadership uncertainty, and there would still be heavy intrigue and campaigning. Nothing would have changed. Our nation’s business would still be unattended.Abdullah has again abused our traditional Malay culture of halus, the subtle way.

The gullible Muhyiddin went so far as to describe Abdullah’s latest “decision” as “magnanimous!” No word from the “Iron Lady.” As I said, they are easily satisfied. I wonder how long before UMNO Supreme Council members realize that they had once again been had by him.

As for Najib, he is burdened with his own considerable baggage. He would like that trinket be handed over to him as if it were his due, and without contest, all in the name of party unity of course. Contest means having to scrutinize his record, which is not pretty. In fact it is sordid.

If only there were some jantans in UMNO Supreme Council, they would have long ago given Abdullah an ultimatum. Resign or we push for a “no confidence” vote! That is the only language Abdullah understands: direct and brutal. There cannot be any subtlety or he will pretend to miss it. It does not take a jantan to do that, only some responsible adults concerned about the lack of leadership and the country being left adrift.

Absent that, rest assured that come October 9, Abdullah will again waffle, and UMNO Supreme Council will have to find yet another face-saving device to spare some modicum of respect to someone who clearly no longer deserves any.

I could not care less about those UMNO Supreme Council members except that they are also the leaders of our country. That is the scary part. If they cannot stand up to a limp Abdullah Badawi, how can we expect them to face up to a President Bush, China’s Hu, or even Singapore’s Lee. That is what terrifies the heck out of me, as it should all Malaysians.

Meanwhile Malaysians are reduced to watching the bizarre haggling over an increasingly worthless trinket between their two top but desperate leaders. We all should be embarrassed by that, not just Tengku Razaleigh.

Will UMNO-BN realise this:No place for ISA in modern Malaysia,and so free Raja Petra and Other ISA Detainees


Fellow Malaysians, bloggers and lovers of Freedom everywhere,

I agree with the views and sentiments of Malaysians, as represented by those who with the courage of their convictions (below) wrote to Malaysiakini.com.

Yes, we are a disgrace to use ISA against Raja Petra Kamaruddin, the men of HINDRAF and others who are now in Kamunting, Perak. They stood up for freedom of speech and expression and our fundamental rights under the constitution, and are prepared to risk their personal security.

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To top it all, UMNO-BN leaders are now mismanaging the economy, causing considerable hardships to Malaysians, especially the low income groups and the poor, who are burdened with high cost of living as a consequence of the dramatic drop in the purchasing power of the ringgit and inefficiences of an opaque public administration; these leaders destroyed the integrity and independence of institutions like the Judiciary, the Attorney General’s Office, the Civil Service, the Anti-Corruption Agency, the Election Commission, and the Police, which have become tools of a repressive government. They also treat us citizens as enemies of state, and yet during the elections they beg for our votes. We are not enemy combatants, nor do we condone the Patriot Act of the United States.

We have reached our lowest point in daily existence where the bond between us and government based on trust is broken. Restoring trust must be our first priority when a new government is formed.Right now, UMNO-BN leaders are desperately clinging to power.

They imagine reprisals from the next government in power, and ignore the sense of outrage from the public. They use the mainstream media (their editors be damned!) to spread lies and sow seeds of racial and religious discord among us while they seek to introduce a new race legislation.

We know that we cannot legislate peace and harmony among Malaysians. We have to educate our people to respect the dignity of difference, build on our diversity, create economic opportunity, promote social mobility, and lead by example. As citizens, we must abide by the Rule of Law, not by UMNO-BN’s politically motivated interpretations of our laws and reject the ISA.

It is not by wielding kerises at every opportunity in the name of Malay supremacy or by playing on racial sentiments to retain power. We promote national unity through goodwill, mutual respect and understanding among Malaysians. We focus on matters that unite us, while we solve problems that form the seeds of our differences and discord. We uphold the ethos of Rukun Negara and abide by our constitution. We certainly cannot put Malaysians under the Internal Security Act (ISA) because they disagree with us, or because they expose our misdemeanours and corruption.

And we do not hide under hubris. Like a bunch of ostriches, these leaders bury their heads in the sands of hubris and arrogance (may be, inferiority complex) as reflected in the speech of our Foreign Minister, Dato Seri Dr. Rais Yatim at the United Nations General Assembly last Saturday (September 27, 2008).

Yes, I agree with you, John Johnson, that “The government has no right to detain people without proof or evidence of their alleged wrongdoing.” The government cannot deny them their right of habeas corpus. It is always sad Eidul Fitr for me when I know that some fellow Malaysians like Raja Petra, the men of Hindraf and other ISA detainees are denied their freedom and cannot be with their families for this special occasion and for Deepavali.

Let us continue to aggressively campaign for an end to Rule by ISA. May we have a better Hari Lebaran in 2009 under new government led by Anwar Ibrahim and his PR colleagues—Din Merican

http://www.malaysiakini.com

September 29, 2008

Anti-ISA vigil turns into Peace March

Juliana Lim: Detention under the ISA is most inhuman and unkind. Being a senior citizen left alone all by myself in the daytime, I know what loneliness and solitude feels like. Thus, I cannot help but think of the agony being endured by all those being detained under ISA.

I say “yes” to the use of ISA on terrorists as these people are the major factors that contribute to the instability and insecurity which destroy the peace and harmony in the country. But to detain someone just because you don’t agree with their opinions is simply unforgivable.

Indeed I simply cannot forget the incident when the young reporter was detained for simply reporting the truth. It was her job to earn an honest and honorable living. It is simply ridiculous that she was punished when she committed no wrong.

When will Malaysia abolish the ISA? When will we be free of this draconian law?

John Johnson: With all due respects, I am not interested in who becomes prime minister or who is haggling for a transition of power or when the UMNO Supreme Council will meet next.

All I’m interested in now is the law (ISA). The government has no right to detain people without proof or evidence of their alleged wrongdoing. These people also cannot be denied a fair trial. There is no place for such draconian laws like the ISA in the 21st century.

If the people have to shout themselves hoarse protesting against the ISA, so be it. We will go on shouting until our prime minister listens to us.

For how long must we continue embarrassing ourselves in the eyes of the world? We feel no shame slamming other countries if we think they are committing human rights abuses and yet behind closed doors, the government sings a different tune.

Our human rights record is a complete disgrace. Just look at the way our foreign labour is treated, how our ISA detainees are completely stripped of their basic rights as human beings and how the poor in the country struggle to make ends meet. These are genuine complaints, and yet no one in government seems bothered to address them.

If any other country so much as comments in these issues, we slam them for interfering in our internal issues. The rakyat must wake up and make a change and stop this rot before it gets out of hand.

How can we even imagine celebrating Hari Raya and Deepavali while the ISA detainees are languishing in cells in Kamunting? Shame on the government.

On Petrol bomb attack on Teresa Kok’s home

AB: I read with utter disgust and rage that there are Malaysians who would stoop to such despicable acts of cowardice to vent their anger. It is becoming a habit for such people and I am equally amazed that the police have not been able to nab the perpetrators.

The government goes all out to enact absurd laws like the DNA Act and yet the police and their erstwhile forensics department are so inept in catching criminals like these. Is this another sign of partiality in investigations by the authorities?

Are politicians from the opposition not important enough for the police to protect? Must they hire their own bodyguards?

Are we Malaysians going to be cowed by all these vile cowards who portray themselves as the ‘heroes’ of the rakyat but then subvert the peace and stability of the nation? Enough is enough, it is time for a change.

On Race Relations Act – why now?

Shirina Rashid: No legislation can teach Malaysians how to be ‘colour-blind’ or how to live in peace with everyone regardless of ethnicity, race and religion.

As a Malaysian, I can testify that it does not take a scientist to tell us that one can be non-racist starting from a young age. When I was growing up, my parents encouraged me and my siblings to befriend everyone regardless of ethnicity, religion, colour, race and social status. Racism was something we did not condone under our roof.

Because of this, I grew up having many friends who were mostly Chinese, Indian, Iban, Bidayuh, and Eurasian. To this day, we still keep in contact even though the majority of us are now based overseas. Thanks to my parents, I learnt to respect everyone.

Social sciences and humanities experts would tell us that no textbook or even a legislation can teach us to respect each other. Moreover, it makes sense that racist parents always beget racist children and the cycle goes on when their children pass this racist mentality to their own offspring. Racism is a vicious cycle and it takes a few anti-racist people to take a stand against it.

Racism and its other ugly cousin, race superiority, do not deserve any place in a ethnically diverse nation like Malaysia. It is time we as parents, caregivers and members of the community play our role in teaching our children how to be non-racist starting in our own homes and from a young age.

Meng Yee: It is a shame that Malaysia has descended to the point of having to legislate race relations. Thanks to a race-based party having governed Malaysia for 51 years, Malaysia has descended to a new low in race relations.

The continued use of Biro Tatanegara to preach Malay supremacy is a way of instilling disunity in Malaysia. The BN government has a hidden agenda to keep the races disunited in order to perpetuate their existence and justify their brand of race-based politics.

Anwar Ibrahim’s PKR has thrown a spanner in the works and is threatening the status quo.

We will not need a race relations act if we do away with race-based political parties.

On Temple torn down without state’s knowledge

Joe: Whether it is a temple or a mere shrine, registered or not registered, it is a place of worship so why tear it down? The state executive councillor said the government was not informed, or is it that someone in the state government knew about it, but didn’t care. What kind of governance is this?

Mr Xavier, you are not there to warm the seat, but to keep abreast of all the issues in the state. Please keep in mind that the rakyat showed Samy Vellu the door because he was a lame duck minister. Don’t let the same fate befall you and your colleagues.

Thayakugan: Ampang MP Zuraida’s comment that misunderstanding between the local authority and temple officials on building/renovation plans is not a valid excuse to demolish the temple in its entirety.

The local MPs and MPAJ councillors ought to have nullified or cancelled any order for demolition of places of worship in the local authority.

MIC is not trying to take advantage of the situation nor is it slamming PKR unnecessarily. However, it is extremely saddened by this episode which is an insult and an infringement of the freedom of Indians to worship.

The Pakatan Rakyat-led state government must rectify the situation by providing the temple with an alternative site and compensate it adequately so it can rebuild what has been demolished.

On PKR wants religious body to probe sex claims

Ahmad Kamal: I am a little puzzled by the case of alleged entrapment to have illicit sex. A little puzzled by the foolishness of these PKR members who are Muslims and know for a fact that illicit sex, consent being irrelevant, is not too be taken lightly.

I would strongly advise the PKR leadership to remind themselves and their lot to stay out of mischief. While most Malaysians and some Muslims in Malaysia may think that sex between consenting adults, same-sex or otherwise is a private matter, clearly the Malaysian public at large think very dimly of such activities.

There are existing laws which consider these acts a crime, but the proof, by pictures is despicable if the state so wishes to use them, as Islam warns against public humiliation of such aberrations.

It would be useful for the defence counsel to raise questions as to the procurement of these pictures and I hope the Syariah judges will scrutinise the manner of investigation and prosecution of these Syariah offences. Trickery should not be encouraged.

Be that as it may, the PKR leadership cannot afford to be railroaded by the sexual antics of their rank and file at this crucial time in Malaysian politics and I would reiterate the advise of prevention as the better strategy to prevail. Please discipline your rank and file.

On Ku Li: Reject delay of party polls

Nitha Malar: Malaysia’s political system no longer adheres to democracy. The government is closing one eye, ignoring the people’s issues and is only focusing on securing the future of the governing party. The UMNO party elections seem more important than addressing the motion of a vote of no confidence against the prime minister in Parliament.

The economy is sliding, and yet the government has not implemented any concrete plans to address the issue.

We must prioritise. The country’s future and security must not depend on these two individuals who, it seems are jostling for power. Either Pak Lah or Najib must give in for the sake of the country.

Ku Li was right when he said Malaysia has become a laughing stock.

King and Politics


http://www.malaysiakini.com

Abdul Aziz Bari | Sep 26, 08 12:58pm

It appears that the public now seems to think that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong should intervene to put certainty and order back in the country. Some quarters however felt that such is not desirable, arguing that it is not appropriate to get the king involved in it.

MCPX

Apparently this view fails to take into consideration various facets of the king’s role and functions under the constitution. On top of that the intervention seems the only available option given that the prime minister has already refused to consider, let alone allow, the convening of parliament to see whether he still has the majority behind him.

king and parliament official opening 12th parliament sessionThe role of the king – like head of states in other Westminster countries – is to become the symbol of the nation as well as becoming the formal repository of state authority and powers. While this is the primary one, he may, once in a while in critical situations, assume the guardianship role.This is the theme that provides the legitimacy for drastic actions; something comparable to the dismissal of Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam by the country’s head of state, governor-general Sir John Kerr in 1975. Not far from home we have seen how King Bhumipol Adulyadej, the world’s most senior head of state, occasionally intervened in Thai politics.

The advantage of having a monarchy like ours is that this institution, unlike appointed heads of states, is generally able and indeed seen to stay above politics. Some of the appointed heads of states were indeed politicians before they came to the office and this is one of the reasons why it is quite difficult for them to stay above the political fray.

Even when they eventually managed to do it, their past keeps reminding those who are not convinced about their neutrality. For one thing impression and perception matter and these may have been due to the manner of their appointment.

In Malaysia these two types of offices exist side by side though the non-royal heads of states may be said as to have been created to fill the void. In any case under our constitution the Yang di-Pertua Negeri is appointed by the king through his discretion after consulting the chief minister of the state concerned.

But the impression of the public seems to be that the Yang di-Pertua Negeri is virtually put in office by the prime minister. And this is something which is difficult to deny given what has been the practice since 1957.

The rulers on the other hand do not owe their position to the politicians. Indeed the constitution has undertaken to protect the rule of succession in all nine states with sultanates, obviously as part of the guarantees provided for by the constitution for the states under the Malaysian federal system.

Flexing their muscle

The position of the rulers as hereditary heads of states has helped, in some ways, stabilise the states. This was quite evident in the aftermath of the 12th general election whereby the rulers in Perak, Selangor, Perlis and Terengganu have taken an active part in the formation of governments following the shift in our political landscape.

mahathir kimma new office event 150708 03Such a phenomenon has prompted some political observes to say that the rulers – despite the amendments initiated by former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 1983, 1993 and 1994 – have started to flex their muscle and assert their influence.

But this is not true for what the rulers did was exactly within their constitutional powers. Although they also took some additional measures but these were nonetheless very much ancillary to those constitutional powers.

Generally speaking the role and powers of the heads of states are quite similar with that of the king at the federal level. However unlike the former, the latter has not been equally assertive although the Conference of Rulers has, on a number of occasions, been willing to take quite a proactive role.

Their initiatives on the appointments of certain senior members of the judiciary is a case in point. The Conference has also been representing the rulers during the constitutional crises in 1983 and 1993 where it has somehow shown that it was quite good at it. Interestingly enough, the king retired to the background on both occasions.

Why has the king – or more accurately the kings – been taking a largely subdued role? One obvious reason is the nature of the office: while a ruler virtually reigns for life in his own state the King is only in the capital for five years on a rotation basis.

He is there representing his other brother rulers, lending the Malay and Muslim image and identity to the federation. In the first 51 years of independence we have seen how the kings come and go the prime ministers stay: we have had 13 kings in the half century only five premiers within the same period.

agong power in the change of government  220908This has obviously made it difficult for the king to be assertive or take the role similar to those assumed by the Thai King or Queen Elizabeth II. The latter, who has been in office since 1952, has presided over regime changes involving some 11 prime ministers; from the conservative Winston Churchill to liberal or Labour politicians such as the current Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Being on the throne for more than 56 years has given the Queen an enormous amount of experience and tact. Such was the reason why she has never put her foot wrong when it comes to her constitutional duties.

The Constitution has divided the powers into three broad categories; namely the formal powers, those exercisable on advice and the discretionary ones. Admittedly it is easy to divide the powers of the king as a matter of theory.

However the same could not be said when it comes to their actual exercise. Take what is termed as the discretionary power to appoint the prime minister under article 40(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution – which corresponds to the power to appoint mentri besar in the case of the rulers and chief minister in the case of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri – as example.

Given the nature of the democratic nature of the constitution this power will only become discretionary in situations whereby there is a hung parliament; that is when the there is no clear majority or that there is a majority but it has no clear leader. In situations whereby there is a majority group of MPs who has a clear leader there is no question of discretion: the Yang di-Pertuan has to appoint that leader as prime minister.

Ball in the royal court

In most part of the Commonwealth political parties indicate their leader, indeed in countries like the United Kingdom they have what is known as parliamentary party which consist of party members in the house and a leader who is elected by these MPs. Thus the power of appointment vested in the sovereign is a mere formal appointment with no real discretion involved even though as a matter of law it is still termed as the prerogative power of the Queen.

While appointment has become largely a mere formal exercise of power there are other aspects of the constitution which require the proactive part of the king. It has to be said that some of these powers are quite controversial. However, this is quite inevitable for state running is essentially politics or political in nature.

It is not easy to disentangle politics from government policies and administration, even the routine ones. This is something which perhaps should be borne in mind by the palace advisers: some of them have already indicated their apprehension on the calls for the king to intervene.

Be that as it may the office of the king has effectively been politicised by the government of the day on several occasions. We have seen how the government backbenchers accused Karpal Singh of committing sedition when the latter raised issues on certain matters touched by the royal address during the official opening of parliament.

Their action was obviously wrong as the speech, despite the name, was actually the policy speech of the government of the day. In other words what happened was simply this: the Barisan MPs hid behind the throne when they got attacked by the opposition.

crash style dark type pak lah and anwar 250908One recalls that in the aftermath of the Bersih demonstration in the city last November one of the palace officials came out with a statement – purportedly made on behalf of the king – distancing the palace from the polls reform group.

Not too long ago the name of the king popped up in the case of pardon granted to the grandson of a former finance minister who was convicted of murder, a decision that was obviously made by the government.

In the light of democracy and constitutionalism the issue now is not whether the king’s involvement is political or otherwise. What matters most is that something needs to be done in order to put the country back on the democratic process which at the moment means the testing of the claim made by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim that he has got the numbers to form the new government. As parliament has been denied the opportunity, the ball is now at the king’s court.

Fitness to govern is a grave matter and thus it is inappropriate for us to delay it.


Dr ABDUL AZIZ BARI is professor of law at the International Islamic University Malaysia.

Bebaskan Raja Petra (Free Raja Petra):Happy Birthday,Pet, from Malaysians of Goodwill


http://www.malaysiakini.com

Anti-ISA vigil turns into peace march

Andrew Ong and Rahmah Ghazali | September 27, 2008

About 2,000 people staged a peaceful march through the busy streets of Kuala Lumpur tonight calling for the abolishment of Internal Security Act and freeing detainees under the Act

MCPX

anti isa dataran merdeka 270908 01Initially, two separate groups – Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) and coalition of NGOs led by the Writer Alliance For Media Independence (Wami) – had initially planned to hold a candlelight vigil at Dataran Merdeka at about 7.30pm.

When they came across a police cordon at Dataran Merdeka, the Hindraf-led group numbering about 500 decided to march to the temple opposite the Puduraya bus terminal about 1km away.

The crowd marched unhindered towards their destinations and gradually the crowd swelled to about 2,000 people from all walks of life, with many carrying candles.

anti isa dataran merdeka 270908 raja petra fansThe other group, which was in a procession holding Chinese lanterns, eventually joined up with the Hindraf group.

The police were caught off-guard by the huge turnout. Many media personnel had also remarked that the large crowd was unanticipated as past vigils had been small in number.

‘Tonight, we are the judges’

Shouts of “Mansuhkan ISA (Abolish the ISA)”, “Bebaskan Raja Petra (Free Raja Petra)” and “Hindraf Valga (Long live Hindraf)” were chanted by the marchers.

Eventually, the crowd gathered at the temple compound where several individuals addressed the crowd with highly charged speeches.

Hindraf national coordinator R Thanenthiran said that government should heed the protesters’ demands to free ISA detainees.

anti isa dataran merdeka 270908 lantern“The Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar should listen to us. He alone cannot decide what is best for the country. Tonight, we the people, are the judges,” he said.

Later, Teluk Intan MP M Manogaran told the crowd that a large gathering is being planned to commemorate the first anniversary of the ISA arrest of five Hindraf leaders currently held in the Kamunting Detention Camp.

“We will keep holding gatherings until all ISA detainees are released,” he said.

Festive atmosphere

Meanwhile, the crowd was peaceful throughout and a festive atmosphere permeates in the air.

Several supporters of detained blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin were also at hand to sing ‘Happy Birthday Raja Petra’ as today was his birthday.

By 9pm, protest leaders dispersed the crowd. There were no reports of untoward incidents.

anti isa dataran merdeka 270908 thanenthiranHindraf national coordinator Thanenthiran later told reporters that the march tonight was proof that Malaysians can gather peacefully in order to express themselves.

“If the police follows the law, we can do the same,” he said.

In a statement immediately after the crowd dispersal, Hindraf leader-in-exile P Waytha Moorthy thanked the police for allowing the march to proceed.

“The government should now accept that Malaysians have sent a loud and clear message that the use of the ISA cannot be tolerated,” he said.Meanwhile, two visually blind participants told Malaysiakini at the scene why they took part in the march.

Ramli Abu Bakar, 51, said he has been supporting the anti-ISA movement ever since it was established because “the country has achieved independence and the act is nothing but a mediaeval law”.

anti isa dataran merdeka 270908 03“We have been independent for 51 years and why would we need such a legislation now?” asked Ramli.

Ramli’s friend, Kamal Abu Bakar, 48, echoed his views, saying that the government is “stupid for not abolishing ISA as it is no longer relevant”.

There were also supporters of Raja Petra who were in high spirits in showing their support to their idol on his birthday.

For Sampa Lee, 60, he said releasing Raja Petra and other detainees would be the best birthday gift the government could ever give to them.

“It would be the best present for Raja Petra and all Malaysians as we are all against the draconian law,” said Sampa.

The Qur’an guarantees Freedom of Expression, so Free Raja Petra and all ISA detainees


September 25, 2008

We read the statement issued by the Home Minister concerning the detention of Raja Petra Kamaruddin under the dreaded and inhumane Internal Security Act (ISA) with skepticism. According to the Home Minister, Raja Petra was detained because his articles ridiculed Islam. One is now left to wonder whether Islam itself allows such detention without trial in order to protect its sanctity from being ridiculed by people, the likes of Raja Petra.

We would like to stress the fact that there is ample evidence in the Qur’an which guarantees freedom of expression (hurriyat ar-ra’iy) that is generally accepted as a subset of freedom of speech (hurriyat al-qaul). Individuals should be able to accept or reject a particular faith or dogma on the basis of personal conviction, and that no amount of external pressure or compulsion should be permitted. The cardinal Qur’anic doctrine is that: “There shall be no coercion in matters of faith” [2:256]

Every single person has the right, guaranteed by the Qur’an, to freely follow and express his convictions, irrespective of whether he is right or wrong. By emphasizing people’s right to follow their conviction, the Qur’an reiterates a long standing position, which it traces back to one of the earliest known Prophets, Noah: “Said [Noah]: O my people! What do you think? If [it be true that] I am taking my stand on a clear evidence from my Sustainer, who has vouched safe unto me grace from himself – [a revelation] to which you have remained blind-: [if this be true] can we force it on you even though it be hateful to you?”[11:28]

The message of freedom of belief and conviction, and the call to religious tolerance is reiterated time and again through various Prophets,as it is quite apparent in the message of Prophet Shu’ayb to his people: “And if there be some among you who have come to believe in the message which I bear, while the others do not believe, then have patience in adversity till God shall judge between us [and them]: for He is the best of all judges!” [7:87]

Not only does the Qur’an recognise the individual’s right to freedom of conviction, but it also recognises his/her moral freedom to act on the basis of their conviction: “Say: O my [truth-denying] people! Do ye all that may be within your power, [whereas] I, behold, shall labour [in God’s way]: in time you will come to know who it is that shall be visited [in this world] by suffering which will cover him with ignominy, and upon whom long-lasting suffering shall alight [in the life to come]!” [39: 39-40].

Indeed, one cannot find in the Qur’an any support for the internment or incarceration for those who opted to follow their conscience, even though their convictions might be contrary to the mainstream idea, or even up to the level of “heretical” in nature. Using Islam as a “tool” to justify detention without trial is anathema to the basic principles of “adl” (just) and “ihsan” (benevolence) that formed the foundation of Islamic jurisprudence. Such cowardly act of invoking ISA every time when there were dissenting views against the authoritarian government and their despotic ulama’ will not augur well for the future of free and democratic Malaysia.

One is then left to speculate whether such actions were in reality meant to maintain the political hegemony of the ruling elite and that we are actually gravitating towards the creation of a police state instead.

If one were to look back into history,the reason the Islamic world flourished during the earlier period was an early emphasis on “freedom of speech”, as summarized by al-Hasyimi (a cousin of Caliph al-Ma’mun) in the following letter to one of the religious opponents he was attempting to convert through reason:

“Bring forward all the arguments you wish and say whatever you please and speak your mind freely. Now that you are safe and free to say whatever you please, appoint some arbitrator who will impartially judge between us and lean only towards the truth and be free from the slyness of passion and that arbitrator shall be Reason, whereby God makes us responsible for our own rewards and punishments. Herein I have dealt justly with you and have given you full security and am ready to accept whatever decision Reason may give for me or against me. For “There shall be no coercion in matters of faith” [2: 256] and I have only invited you to accept our faith willingly and of your own accord and have pointed out the hideousness of your present belief. Peace be with you and the blessings of God!”

We, from Muslim Professionals Forum, believe that this is the recourse that should be taken by the government in handling issues pertaining to Raja Petra in particular. By resorting to intellectual discourse, any differences in opinions or interpretations could be ironed out in a civilized manner. We therefore call upon the Prime Minister of Malaysia, to release Raja Petra unconditionally, and all the other ISA detainees for that matter. We also call upon the Prime Minister to abolish this draconian Act that clearly violates the basic human rights that were enshrined in the Qur’an ever since.

Dr Farouk Musa

Dr Sheik Johari Bux

Dr Jeffrey Hassan

Dr Musa Nordin

Dr Mazeni Alwi

Haji Ali Ghazali

Muslim Professionals Forum(MPF)



It is Jazz, cool, man, cool, all the way.


For this weekend, it shall be Jazz of the Bee Bop era, featuring Miles Davies, John Coltrane and Charlie “Bird’ Parker all the way. Soon the fasting month of Ramadhan will be over and we await the arrival of Edil Fitr Al-Mubarak for Muslims and Lovers of Peace and Freedom everywhere. Sabai, Sabai (Relax,Relax) and we will still face some more long weeks.

Let us not forget my dear and good friend, Raja Petra Kamaruddin and others now detained in Kamunting, Perak under the Internal Security Act. They are away from their loved ones for standing up for what is right. Our UMNO and Barisan Leaders are men and women of no conscience and devoid of morality. It is unthinkable that after 51 years we still people who are scared of their own shadows. It is only such types who are fear dissent. —DJ Din Merican

Miles Davies and John Coltrane–Autumn Leaves

Miles–The Birth of the Cool

Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker–Bongo Mood

Peralihan kuasa: Lari dari mulut harimau ke lubuk buaya?


sumber: http://www.harakahdaily.net

Abdul Aziz Mustafa
Sabtu | September 27, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR, September 27, 2008 (Hrkh) – Rakyat bimbang peralihan kuasa dari Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi kepada timbalannya, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak tidak ubah seperti lari dari mulut harimau masuk ke lubuk buaya, kata Ketua Penerangan PAS, Mahfuz Omar.

Iklan

“Najib bukan sekadar mewarisi indeks rasuah negara ini yang lebih buruk dari Israel, malah beliau masih tidak dilihat bersih dan terus dituduh antara penyumbang terbesar masalah rasuah di negara ini,” katanya.

Ahli Parlimen Pokok Sena itu merujuk kepada Laporan Ketua Audit Negara 2006 mendedahkan banyak perkara yang tidak kena dalam pengurusan perolehan enam buah kapal peronda (patrol vessel) Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia, yang menimbulkan persepsi yang sangat buruk dan mencurigakan dari segi perancangan, pelaksanaan dan pemantauan.

“Banyak persoalan yang tidak dijawab sehingga hari ini dari segi penambahan kos sehingga RM1.4 bilion yang begitu mudah diluluskan sehingga nilai kontrak yang sepatutnya berjumlah RM5.35 bilion bertambah RM6.75 bilion.

“Tempahan yang belum disiapkan berjumlah RM2.214 bilion manakala jumlah yang diperlukan untuk menyiapkan tempahan yang belum disiapkan itu ialah RM2.214 bilion tanpa sedangkan wang yang berbaki pada kontraktor hanya RM832.92 juta. Akhirnya, dengan mudah wang sebesar RM1.4 bilion itu diluluskan,” katanya.

Mahfuz juga membangkitkan Laporan Ketua Audit yang mendedahkan kehilangan baucer bayaran dan dokumen sokongan di Kementerian Pertahanan ketika Najib menjadi menterinya untuk 14 bayaran kemajuan berjumlah RM943.46 juta kepada kontraktor bagi tempoh Disember 1999 hingga Januari 2002.

Tiada jawapan memuaskan

“Saya hanya merujuk kepada Laporan Ketua Audit negara sahaja, belum lagi pelbagai persoalan yang berbangkit dan tidak dijawab dengan memuaskan mengenai pembelian Sukhoi dan Scorpene,” katanya.

Rakyat, katanya, tidak boleh mengharapkan Abdulllah yang mengambil alih jawatan Menteri Pertahanan dari Najib dalam tukar suka sama suka baru-baru ini menyiasat dan membongkarkan perkara itu.

Jika Abdullah berbuat demikian, katanya, Najib yang mengambil alih jawatan Kementerian Kewangan dari Abdullah juga boleh menyiasat dan membongkar misteri kehilangan dokumen-dokumen berkaitan penggabungan ECM Libra and Avenue Capital Resources dari kementerian itu.

Dalam jawapan kepada seorang peguam mengenai dokumen-dokumen itu, Timbalan Peguam Cara Perbendaharaan Kementerian Kewangan, Haini Hassan memberitahu, dokumen-dokumen tersebut “tidak terdapat dalam simpanan (possession), jagaan atau kawalan Kementerian Kewangan.

“Sebab itulah rakyat begitu bimbang berlakunya tragedi lari dari mulut harimau masuk lubuk buaya,” kata Mahfuz.

Lebih buruk dari Israel

Dengan imej sedemikian, beliau tidak yakin Najib boleh berbuat untuk memulihkan imej negara yang begitu tercemar akibat pemerintahan UMNO dan Barisan Nasional.

“Apabila negara kita merudum lagi dan lebih buruk dari Israel dalam senarai Indeks Persepsi Rasuah Transparency International baru-baru ini, pemerintahan yang diterajui umat Islam di negara ini dilihat lebih jahat dari Israel dalam soal rasuah. Ia amat memalukan umat Islam.

“Kita pula tidak akan mampu menjawabnya kerana, antara lain, sudah tercatit pula secara rasmi dalam Laporan Ketua Audit Negara salah urus kewangan yang menimbulkan persepsi tentang penyelewengan yang begitu besar dalam Kementerian Pertahanan ketika Najib menjadi menterinya.

“Belum lagi disentuh isu pembunuhan Altantuya Shaariibuu, pembelian Sukhoi dan Scorpene serta lain-lain. Saya tidak tahu bagaimana Najib boleh menebalkan mukanya melawat ke sana sini di luar negara dengan imej dan persepsi sedemikian ke atasnya.

“Saya tidak fikir pasaran, pelabur asing dan masyarakat antarabangsa akan yakin kepadanya,” kata beliau.

Menurut Mahfuz, jika RM11bilion modal dalam negara dihebohkan keluar dalam masa 15 hari sahaja, bagaimana pasaran, pelabur asing dan masyarakat antarabangsa boleh menaruh keyakinan kepada Najib yang mengambil alih kepimpinan dengan “baggage” yang lebih buruk dari Abdullah ketika beliau mengambil alih jawatan Perdana Menteri 2003 lalu.

Inflasi terburuk

“Rakyat kini diganasi cengkaman inflasi tertinggi sejak 27 tahun lalu. Saya bimbang kepimpinan Najib akan memburukkan lagi keadaan,” katanya. Mahfuz berharap apa yang terjadi itu menyedarkan rakyat untuk menggunakan hak demokrasi mereka bagi memastikan peralihan kerajaan di negara ini.

“Peralihan kepimpinan UMNO bukan sahaja tidak dilihat mampu menyumbangkan kebaikan malah mungkin akan memburukkan lagi keadaan dalam negara ini,” katanya.

Tengku Razaleigh: Increasingly a Voice in the UMNO Wilderness


http://www.malaysiakini.com

Kuli: Reject delay of  UMNO polls

September 27, 2008

MCPX

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has called on Umno members to reject the postponement of party elections to March next year as it is not provided for in the party constitution.

ku li tengku razaleigh interview 241106 assuranceHe told a press conference at his Kuala Lumpur residence this afternoon that the new UMNO plan unveiled by the party’s supreme council yesterday was not acceptable.

Today’s media briefing by Razaleigh was a follow up of his press statement yesterday where he slammed Umno president Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his deputy Najib Abdul Razak over the power transfer plan.

“I think I speak for the country when I say we are embarrassed at the sight of two grown men playing this endless children’s game of ‘yours and mine’ with the most important responsibility in the land, oblivious of the law, oblivious to the damage they are doing to the nation.

“Instead of a national economic plan or any kind of reform all the Umno leadership has given us since March 8 is a transition plan designed to save two individuals from the inconvenience of facing elections. Their personal careers appear to be more important than the future of the nation,” the Umno stalwart said yesterday.

Anwar ahead, says Merdeka Center Survey


source: the Malaysian Insider

By Debra Chong

KUALA LUMPUR, September 27, 2008 — By a small margin, Malaysians think opposition leader Datuk SeriAnwar and Petronas Anwar Ibrahim would make a better prime minister compared with Datuk Seri Najib Razak, according to a survey conducted recently by the independent Merdeka Centre.

In the same survey, Malaysians also appear more divided than ever over their support for the country’s political leadership.

There are also sharp differences in preferences between the different races, with a majority of non-Malays supporting Anwar, while more Malays preferred Najib.

Between Sept 11 and 22, Merdeka Centre carried out a leadership performance perception on a cross section of 1,002 people of voting age from the three main ethnic communities in the country.

Among the questions asked was: “Between Najib Razak and Anwar Ibrahim, who do you think makes a better prime minister?” Najib garnered a 33.8 per cent average total support among the three major races. Anwar edged him by a margin of less than six per cent — he garnered an average total of 39.3 per cent.

The difference is more conspicuous when the show of support is broken down according to the ethnicity of those polled.

The split was apparent among racial lines, with Najib drawing as much as 47.3 per cent support from the Malay community. Anwar trailed with just 32.5 per cent.

The opposition leader gained greater support among non-Malays, receiving the support of 37.4 per cent of Chinese voters and a whopping 85 per cent from the Indians.

In comparison, Najib only won the approval of 18.4 per cent of Chinese voters and just five per cent of Indians thought he would make a better prime minister.

Of note was the high percentage of voters who remained non-commital. More than 40 per cent of Chinese voters polled expressed no preference.

Based on the poll results, Malay support for Najib is significantly stronger than that for Anwar.Political analyst Tricia Yeoh says the party factor is a very strong featuring factor with the non-Malay communities.

“It is possible they view Najib as continuing to perpetuate the same kind of politics that has plagued Malaysia through UMNO,” she said.

“Anwar will need to fight for Malay support most prominently since Najib may continue to be seen as the final bastion of support for the Malay position,” she added.

Another political analyst, Khoo Kay Peng, sees it differently. “No doubt Najib commands higher support among the Malay community because of the status of UMNO as a Malay party. It has been representing the Malays for a long time. But at 47.3 per cent, the support is not really very high for Najib. It’s not much off Abdullah’s support,” he said.

Based on the same Merdeka Centre report, Abdullah still enjoys 50.7 per cent support from the Malays.”The key is that Najib does not get much support from the Chinese and Indians. Najib is still seen as a Malay leader. If you want to be the prime minister, you must have support from across the board,” he said.

“Anwar stands a much better chance because he gets support from over 30 per cent of the Chinese and the Indians, predominantly from the Indians, which is consistent with past reports,” he pointed out.

In a toss up between who will become the next prime minister, he felt it would definitely be Anwar.

But for Khalid Samad, the Pas MP for Shah Alam and an ally of Anwar, the results are frightening for the Pakatan Rakyat alliance. He said the results of the survey showed government media propaganda still held sway, especially among the rural Malays. He is concerned that much of the Malay media has portrayed a negative impression of Anwar as being an “immoral guy” and being a stooge of the United States.Malaysian Flag

“Basically, UMNO-Barisan Nasional has been quite successful in conning Malays into believing that Anwar is selling out the Malays and that is the reason for the low percentage of support for Anwar,” said Khalid.

“These are not very encouraging results if it is representative of the entire population. It means there is a problem. Anwar will have to work harder. It’s important he should have at least a 50-50 situation among Malays. That would suffice,” he stressed. But he does not think that the sample poll is a true reflection of the voting populace.

“I don’t think that Anwar in the actual situation is that far behind Najib. I would expect 47 per cent for Najib and 45 per cent for Anwar.”The difference, almost 15 per cent difference in support from Malays, gives the impression that if Pakatan Rakyat comes to power, the position of the Malays will be jeopardised. But no one race will lose out under Pakatan leadership,” he said.