Anwar Ibrahim: Amanat Harapan


posted by din merican

Ucapan Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim kepada kepimpinan PKR “Amanat Harapan” 28 Februari 2009 di Hotel Quality, Shah Alam, Selangor  Darul Ehsan

Hadirin Sekalian,

Himpunan hari ini menjadi bukti kepada bulatnya tekad serta matlamat kita semua untuk berbakti kepada negara dan rakyat negara ini. Bersama rakan-rakan dalam Pakatan Rakyat, kita akan pastikan Perubahan mengambil tempat dan menyempurnakan janji untuk membawa Harapan Baru kepada negara ini.

Tidak lama dahulu ramai yang percaya parti ini tidak ada masa hadapan. Mereka mentertawakan hasrat serta cita-cita kita. Muncullah nujum-nujum politik yang meramalkan kepupusan PKR kerana tidak percaya politik baru yang kita bawa; sebuah negara yang benar-benar bersatu dan tidak terperangkap dengan politik sentimen perkauman yang sempit.

Kepada rakan-rakan sekalian percayalah bahtera perjuangan ini tidak akan karam. Jangan sesekali keutuhan tekad perjuangan kita melonggar lemah.

Kepada mereka yang masih tersemat keraguan, percayalah kepada keluhuran akal budi rakyat, bukannya nujum-nujum yang sebenarnya masih terus mendokong regim korup. Parti ini sudahpun memasuki tahun yang ke 10 dan perjuangan kita mulai menunjukkan hasil. Yakinilah haluan tepat negara ini berada di tangan-tangan kita.

Masa Yang Sukar

Ini adalah saat-saat sukar buat Malaysia. Ekonomi negara berada di ambang kemelesetan. Kita lihat kilang-kilang ditutup, perniagaan mulai terkesan akibat merudumnya ekonomi dan pengangguran pastinya mencecah ratusan ribu di akhir tahun ini. Rakyat Malaysia akan menempuh saat-saat sukar.

Malangnya Menteri Kewangan sekonyong-konyong terpinga-pinga dan hanya semalam terkejut menyatakan bahawa tidak ada yang menjangka kedudukan ekonomi sebegini parah. Walhal kita bersama mengungkap permasalahan ini enam bulan sebelumnya ketika membahas belanjawan tahun lalu.

Namun ketegangan kaum yang direkayasa demi meraih keuntungan politik masih berlaku. Nilai-nilai yang menjadi teras masyarakat Malaysia; kepercayaan kepada Tuhan dan menghormati Sistem Raja Berperlembagaan dimanipulasi oleh politik sempit untuk melaga-lagakan di antara satu kaum dengan yang lainnya serta digunakan untuk mempertikaikan kesetian terutamanya pendokong Pakatan Rakyat terhadap Negara. Sedangkan mereka pada masa yang sama menginjak-injak Semangat Keperlembagaan negara ini, yang menjanjikan kepada seluruh rakyat negara ini hak untuk bebas bersuara dan berhimpun.

Perkembangan politik tanah air mutakhir ini meletakkan Pakatan Rakyat di persimpangan jalan. Kita berdepan dengan propaganda yang menggembling emosi tiga R – Race, Religion and Royalty – bangsa, agama dan raja. Tiga isu emotif ini bertapak  dan memunyai akar yang meresap dalam dalam psikologi orang Melayu. Sekiranya rakyat tidak mendapat penjelasan yang kukuh dan persuasif tentang isu hakiki ini mereka akan diperdayakan dengan pujukan simbol-simbol tentang bangsa, agama dan raja dan akan mengakibatkan pemikiran mereka kembali sempit, mundur dan kembali ke zaman feudal, bertentangan dengan semangat perjuangan pahlawan dan pendita bangsa- Dr Burhanuddin al Helmy, Dato’ Onn Jaafar, Ahmad Boestamam dan Pendita Bangsa.

Kita menyakini kita mempunyai hujah-hujah yang  cerah, jitu dan persuasif untuk menangani propaganda UMNO yang memperolok simbol-simbol bangsa, agama dan raja yang semata-mata digunakan untuk mengekalkan kekuasaan dan menutup pekong rasuah, jenayah dan penyalahgunaan kuasa. Sebaliknya kita mempunyai iltizam yang ikhlas dan sahih terhadap kepentingan dan kedudukan istimewa bangsa Melayu dan bumiputera, serta agama Islam yang dihuraikan dari perspektif sejagat dan berteraskan prinsip keadilan, tradisi ilmu, Bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa rasmi dan prinsip raja beperlembagaan.

Rakyat benci dengan sikap sombong pemerintah, rasuah dan pembohongan yang dilakukan dengan berterusan. Tindakan ini perlu dimulai dengan membina muafakat yang berlandaskan ilmu di kalangan pimpinan dan penggerak parti. Justeru itu kita perlu menggembleng semua idealisme,cita-cita dan hasrat rakyat untuk berdepan dengan momokan dan putar belit sentimen perkauman sempit UMNO.

Keadilan telah mula mengambil langkah-langkah untuk mengungkap persoalan Islam dari perspektif sejagat dan inklusif yang berlandaskan tradisi ilmu. Sekarang propaganda UMNO telah memutarbelit  isu raja-raja Melayu untuk menimbulkan kekeliruan dan kekeruhan di dalam pemikiran rakyat. Kekeruhan ini perlu dijernihkan kembali.

Isu raja-raja Melayu perlu ditangani dengan sikap serhana, berhikmah tetapi tegas. Ia juga harus mencermin pemikiran arus perdana, dan bukannya retorika yang terpinggir. Selain dari hujah-hujah Islam dan keadilan sejagat,  perspektif progresif dalam sejarah dan kebudayaan Melayu perlu dinukilkan. Dalam konteks ini tiga sikap terhadap raja perlu dibentangkan: pertama sikap Hang Tuah yang setia membuta tuli, kedua sikap Hang Jebat yang menderhaka dan menumpahkan darah rakyat yang tidak berdosa, di antara keduanya adalah Bendahara Paduka Raja, yang setia lagi bijaksana.

Sikap Bendahara Paduka Raja boleh dibandingkan dengan pendirian Edmund Burke yang berdepan dengan revolusi Perancis, dan Hang Jebat seorang Jacobin.  Kaitannya pemikiran Edmund Burke kepada kita adalah kerana beliau seorang reformis, mendukung Glorious Revolution( Revolusi Gemilang), revolusi parlimen yang membataskan kuasa raja, dan ahli parlimen yang menentang penyalahgunaan kuasa yang dibuktikan dalam sikap beliau menuntut  Warran Hastings meletakkan jawatan.

Perlu disebutkan juga tafsiran Bernard Mandeville dalam The Grumbling Hive terhadap ungkapan rex non potest peccarre – the king can do no wrong – dengan bait: But Kings, that could not wrong, because their Power was circumscribed by Laws.

Kerajaan UMNO-BN menjadikan negara ini lumpuh. Mereka tidak mampu untuk membuat keputusan demi kesejahteraan rakyat kerana apa yang diperjuangkan adalah keuntungan politik semata-mata. Apa tidaknya harga barang terus melonjak tinggi; tol dinaikkan dan hanya ditangguhkan sejenak menjelang pilihanraya kecil. Keutamaan bagi memastikan negara terus makmur serta kebajikan rakyat dipelihara ternyata diabaikan sedangkan kemelesetan mula memberi dampak.

Penubuhan Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia dan Suruhanjaya Perlantikan Kehakiman gagal memenuhi harapan rakyat untuk melihat sebuah badan yang bertindak bebas dari pengaruh UMNO–BN. Rasuah masih berleluasa dan kedaulatan undang-undang seperti dicabut taringnya.

UMNO-BN lebih mementingkan politik kabilah ketimbang menyelesaikan masalah sebenar yang dihadapi oleh rakyat Malaysia. Manakala itu suratkhabar arus perdana masih tidak mahu memaparkan maklumat tepat berhubung salah guna kuasa mahupun keadaan ekonomi negara, sedangkan pemuka-pemuka negara gagal melaksanakan tanggungjawab mereka.

Ini menjadikan tanggungjawab yang digalas kita semakin berat; untuk menyahkan segala bentuk rasuah dan kemunduran, untuk bangkit agar tidak terperangkap dengan permasalahan titik bengit serta kebencian yang disebabkan kekeliruan ciptaan politik jijik.

Sudah Tiba Masanya Untuk Sedar Dari Lamunan (Day Dreaming)

Menjelang ulangtahun 8 Mac 2009, marilah kita semua merenung kembali samada kita sudahpun berusaha sedaya mungkin untuk memenuhi cita-cita Perubahan yang kita jana. Adakah kepimpinan parti melakukan yang terbaik bagi menyampaikan mesej Ketuanan Rakyat kepada rakyat.

Janganlah kerana kejayaan yang sedikit itu membuatkan kita berpuas hati. Jangan lah pula sesekali kita menyerah kepada serangan demi serangan yang datang segenap penjuru, direkayasa demi mencemar imej parti.

Kekecewaan jangan dibiarkan hinggap, penat lelah berjuang pasti disusuli kemanisan kemenangan.

Kita tidak boleh lagi bersikap sambil lewa dalam menunaikan amanah yang dipertanggungjawabkan. Ini bukanlah masanya untuk mendabik dada siapa kah yang paling banyak berkorban. Masih segar dalam ingatan apabila dipasung dalam penjara, betapa saya terkesan dengan keberanian saudara, tersentuh akan kesetian para pendokong serta didorong dengan pengorbanan rakan-rakan seperjuangan menentang kezaliman. Kita mesti kembali menggilap semangat perjuangan bagi memastikan Perubahan terlaksana dan parti yang dicintai ini diperkasa.

Masa untuk berbulan madu sudah tamat. Banyak lagi peperangan yang kita mesti menangi. Raikanlah kemenangan kita dengan penuh sikap tawaduk dan bersedia menghadapi cabaran yang lebih getir. Bulan-bulan mendatang menjanjikan halangan-halangan baru yang memperlihatkan wajah sebenar regim Umno-Bn yang sanggup menggunakan undang-undang kuku besi demi menghalang kemaraan kita.

Membaharui Tekad

Rakyat Malaysia dahagakan Perubahan. Mereka mahukan ianya direalisasikan. Mereka mahukan pemimpin yang menjadikan rakyat sebagai agenda utama serta sebuah negara yang bersih dari rasuah serta salah guna kuasa.

Apabila rakyat memilih kita, mereka mahukan iklim politik yang berlainan; memimpin dengan penuh sikap tawaduk serta berbicara dengan penuh hemah. Oleh itu kita mesti berusaha bukan sahaja sekadar memenuhi harapan mereka bahkan mesti lebih baik. Kita mesti belajar untuk mengakui kesilapan dan memastikan ianya tidak lagi berulang.

Kita percaya politik adalah wadah buat kita berbakti kepada rakyat. Makanya kita bertanggungjawab baik terhadap sesama kita dan juga terhadap rakyat. Perjuangan kita berasaskan keyakinan untuk memastikan negara ini kembali berada di landasan yang tepat.

Izinkan saya menukil sepotong ayat dari esei tulisan Vaclav Havel yang berjudul “Paradise Lost”:

Those who find themselves in politics therefore bear a heightened responsibility for the moral state of society, and it is their responsibility to seek out the best in that society, to develop and strengthen it.” (“Mereka yang berada dalam politik sesungguhnya memikul tanggungjawab besar terhadap apa jua keadaan masyarakat dan adalah kewajipan mereka membangunkan masyarakat itu dengan  segala kekuatan dan yang terbaik darinya”)

Saya menyeru kepimpinan Keadilan untuk membaharui komitmen mereka kepada rakyat. Tidak kira mereka yang berkhidmat dalam Biro Politik, MPT, Ahli Parlimen mahupun ADUN, juga kepimpinan parti di seluruh negara, kita mesti memastikan rakyat adalah agenda kita. Tunaikanlah amanah dengan berkesan dan penuh tanggungjawab.

Ingatlah perjuangan Parti Keadilan Rakyat tidak berasaskan ideologi kabilah, teras kita adalah perjuangan menegakkan keadilan dan merangkul semua tanpa mengira batasan kaum mahupun kepercayaan. Ini juga tentulah tidak asing dari seruan li-ta’arafu yang berasaskan ayat Al Quran Wahai umat manusia! Sesungguhnya Kami telah menciptakan kamu dari lelaki dan perempuan, dan Kami telah menjadikan kamu berbagai bangsa dan bersuku puak, supaya kamu berkenal-kenalan( Al Hujurat: 13)

Manakala Confucius di dalam Analect, Buku 12, dan dirumuskan oleh pengarang terkenal Han Su Yin, ada mengatakan Si hai zhi nie jiexiong di, yang bermaksud “Empat lautan terbentang luas, Semua manusia bersaudara.”

Oleh yang demikian, kita punya ruang yang luas bagi semua suku kaum di negara ini untuk bersama merealisasikan impian ketuanan rakyat yang merupakan  harapan baru untuk Malaysia.

Dari Perlis ke Johor merentasi lautan hingga kesabah dan Sarawak, Keadilan harus bergerak dengan kesungguhan memperjelas serta meraih keyakinan rakyat agar tiada lagi keraguan untuk melakukan perubahan bersama kita kearah masa depan yang lebih gemilang.

Strategi

Justeru itu, kita perlu memperkukuhkan jentera serta memperkuat semangat, kita juga  harus memikirkan secara bersama bagi mendapatkan dana untuk parti.

Untuk itu, saya telah meminta setiausaha agung parti agar membawa parti ke hadapan untuk menyahut cabaran tersebut. Mulai saat ini juga, pihak sekretariat akan lebih memberi tumpuan kearah pengukuhan akar umbi diseluruh negara.

Bagi mencapai tujuan itu, kita akan memastikan sekurang-kurangnya satu mesyuarat dan ceramah diadakan pada setiap bulan oleh setiap negeri dan bahagian. Manakala ketua penerangan di setiap negeri akan diminta untuk melaporkan kepada ibu pejabat parti setiap bulan bagi membincangkan perkembangan terkini serta arahan dan langkah selanjutnya.

Pengambilan ahli-ahli baru harus ditingkatkan kerana ia adalah salah satu strategi kita  bagi menghadapi pilihanraya di masa depan.

Tahun-tahun kebelakangan ini, anda telah mempamerkan semangat kesungguhan dalam perjuangan. Namun demikian kita seharusnya akur bahawa masih terdapat kekurangan dan kelemahan, masih ada ruang untuk kita memperbaiki serta melakukan peningkatan. Kita juga mahukan penyertaan yang lebih berkesan daripada rakan-rakan yang baru menyertai parti. Kita mesti terus melangkah ke hadapan, manakala mereka yang ada bersama kita pada hari ini adalah mereka yang komited dan sanggup berkerja keras untuk membawa parti ini ketahap yang lebih tinggi.

Perjuangan ini akan mencapai matlamatnya jika setiap daripada kita mengerti akan pentingnya semangat kerja berpasukan.

Bahtera telahpun menarik sauh tanda pelayaran sudah bermula, ayuh bersama kita melakar sejarah yang penuh gemilang. Kepada anda yang telah meraih undi daripada rakyat, adalah teramat penting mendapatkan sokongan berterusan dari rakyat untuk terus bersama melayari bahtera perjuangan. Buat anda yang telah diberi tanggungjawab dengan memegang jawatan-jawatan dalam parti, diharap dapat menjalankan amanah tersebut dengan berusaha lebih gigih demi memartabatkan perjuangan keadilan.

Masa semakin berlalu , ia telah membawa kita hampir kepada Pilihanraya Umum sekali lagi, oleh itu amatlah penting buat kita merebut setiap detik bagi membina kekuatan perjuangan menegakkan keadilan.

Dengan situasi ketidaktentuan ekonomi serta kerapuhan dalaman pihak lawan, ia seharusnya  memberi kita kelebihan untuk terus mara kehadapan. Tambahan pula, keyakinan yang ditunjukkan rakyat terhadap kepimpinan Pakatan Rakyat masih tetap utuh. Ini semua hasil dari kesungguhan kita yang selama ini senantiasa menumpukan untuk terus berkhidmat demi masyarakat.

Isu Kewangan

Menyedari bahawa kita tidak mempunyai kekuatan kewangan seperti BN, namun kita tidak akan sesekali tunduk kepada politik wang apatah lagi menyalahgunakan kuasa yang diamanahkan bagi mencapai matlamat  perjuangan.

Penutup

Kita akan tetap bergantung kepada dukungan rakyat yang menyokong agenda membawa perubahan untuk terus memberikan bantuan kewangan bagi membolehkan kita menjana kemenangan. Adalah menjadi prinsip kita selama ini bahawa kualiti kepimpinan serta komited melakukan perubahan dan pembaharuan dalam memperjuangkan kehendak rakyat adalah merupakan asset terpenting demi merealisasikan impian membina Malaysia Baru.

Is ASEAN relevant, we may wish to ask.


posted by din merican—February 27, 2009

Asean’s relevancy questioned

by Pokpong Lawansiri*

Finally, the Thai government under the leadership of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajiva is able to hold the 14th ASEAN Summit after it was postponed in December 2008 after the turbulent seizure of the country’s airport by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD).

There was earlier speculation that a re-scheduled summit would face great difficulties after attempts by the anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship had petitioned Myanmar and Singapore to boycott the summit claiming that the government is undemocratic.

As ASEAN will celebrate its 42nd birthday this year – it was established on August 8,1967 – a lot of ASEAN observers are wondering if the organisation is truly relevant to the ASEAN population.

During the period of the adoption and ratification of the Asean Charter in 2007 and 2008, many Asean governments, including Thailand, insisted that the ASEAN Charter will make the body a more “people-oriented” organisation.

The actual text of the charter, however, does not detail how the people can be involved in ASEAN’s decision-making processes. The Jakarta-based think-tank, Center for Strategic and International Studies and Indonesian lawmakers had spoken in favour of the non-ratification of the charter, seeing no benefit in the charter.

ASEAN’s relevancy has been questioned in many instances. First, Asean policies have proven to be mostly rhetoric rather than actual implementation. The 1997 document, ASEAN Vision 2020, talks about ASEAN’s aim “to build a community of caring and sharing societies”. However, PM Abhisit of Thailand as the current chair of ASEAN reiterates the quote on one hand and at another, continues to label the Rohingya refugees from Burma as illegal migrants who should be detained and “pushed-out” from the country.

Relevancy in question

This totally contradicts the essence of a caring and sharing community. It has been noted that less than 50 percent of Asean agreements are actually implemented, while ASEAN holds more than 600 meetings annually.

Secondly, ASEAN members themselves do not take the organisation seriously. Last year, when Thailand and Cambodia were at their most critical dispute in decades over the ownership of the Preah Vihear Temple – which was stirred up by the PAD’s ultra-nationalism fervor – Samdech Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of Cambodia ignored ASEAN and took the issue directly to the UN Security Council. He surely must have been aware that there is a dispute settlement mechanism in ASEAN to which he could refer the issue.

The writer was recently told by a former senior staff of the ASEAN Foundation, an integral body which is tasked to promote greater awareness of Asean and interaction among the peoples of ASEAN, that the Asia-Europe Foundation has been receiving far more funding from ASEAN  governments than ASEAN’s own foundation. He said, “ASEAN governments want the foundation to stand on its own”.

Similarly, the Asean People’s Assembly (APA), a yearly forum that has been organised by the ASEAN think-tank network known as the Asean Institute for Strategic and International Studies since 2001, which attempts to bridge the gaps between the policymakers and civil society groups by bringing the two groups together to a same forum, is also facing a similar problem.

While in the ASEAN Vientiane Action Programme adopted in 1999, it recognises APA as an “important consultative mechanism for developing more people-oriented policies”, ASEAN is still not supporting the initiative as this mechanism is facing large financial constraints on continuing its operation.

Thirdly, participatory democracy is a foreign term known among ASEAN governments. The ASEAN Charter which is the first document that talked about a people-oriented ASEAN was discussed discreetly, while there have been calls by civic groups to make it public for general discussion or to have it voted in a referendum. Three documents accompanying the charter, namely the Economic, Political-Security, and Socio-Cultural Blueprints were also discussed in private.

Meeting human rights challenges

Last and most importantly, civil society and observers are viewing ASEAN as being unable to meet human rights challenges. While ASEAN bureaucrats often credit ASEAN for having created peace in the region since its establishment, they forget to acknowledge that ASEAN stood still during the genocide in Cambodia, which then was not a member of ASEAN.

Similarly, ASEAN allowed Indonesia to take extreme measures against East Timor in 1974 to 1999, which Jakarta then viewed as a renegade province. The conflict in Cambodia and East Timor claimed approximately two million and 102,800 lives respectively. Not to mentioned the human rights situation in Myanmar which has not improved since it was admitted to Asean in 1997.

Although, the ASEAN Charter is coming up with a plan to establish an Asean human rights body (AHRB) by appointing a high-level panel which is currently drafting a terms of reference of the AHRB, there is very little hope for those who have been following its development.

The confidential text of the terms of reference highlights that the body has to respect the principle of non-interference and will work to defend ASEAN from external interferences on human rights issues. Furthermore, it is known that the body will focus on promotional roles rather than protecting human rights victims; that it will only serve as a window-dressing mechanism for ASEAN.

Earlier this month, close to 1,000 civil society representatives gathered under the banner of the ASEAN Peoples’ Forum in Bangkok, Thailand, to discuss issues affecting them. One question discussed was the relevancy of ASEAN. A statement will soon be delivered to ASEAN leaders outlining how they can better serve the people.

As ASEAN claims to be a ‘people-oriented’ body, it surely must implement policies and ensure that ASEAN will be able to respond to the needs of its people on issues such as democracy and human rights.

*Pokpong Lawansiri  is a Bangkok-based independent scholar and an analyst on ASEAN and related foreign policy issues. This article appeared in http://www.malaysiakini.com on February 26, 2009

Civic Governance


posted by din merican–February 27, 2009

http://www.malaysiakini.com

Civic governance
Dr. KJ John
Febrauary 24, 2009

Some time past, I had asked the rhetorical question, “What is the colour of the air we breathe?” In Petaling Jaya it used to be foul smelling, dirty, corrupted air, especially when related to billboard advertising.

Thanks to the breath of fresh air brought by Pakatan Rakyat-appointed councilors, The Sun newspaper ran an editorial entitled “A great clean-up” on Febraury 12. Thank you, The Sun, for recognising good clean-ups.

What was most interesting was that the new guidelines for cleaner air were approved by the Committee for Sustainable Development of Petaling Jaya. If I am not wrong, PJ started the pilot project of the Local Agenda 21 (LA 21) programme about eight years ago. MPPJ was one of five local authorities specially selected under the United Nations Development Programme’s LA 21 programme. There was a lot of rhetoric and little real work to show serious sustainable development planning and approvals.

In fact, I even made a complaint to the then MPPJ president that there was ‘a lot of talk and very little walk’ under this agenda. The most surprising thing was, I even received an answer from the then MPPJ president assuring me that the LA 21 agenda was alive and well.  Today I say, “Shame to you Mr President as it was during your tour of duty that the corruption vide the backdoor of donations to sports clubs started”. It is now obvious that you created and supported the tolerance for the foul air culture within the MPPJ.

So it is with great delight as a member and rate-payer in MPPJ for me to accord accolades, respect and honour to the MPPJ councilors which The Sun declared had “firmly yet fairly, promulgated the guidelines and pushed through their agenda despite hurdles placed in their midst”. I am indeed grateful.

Allow me to then ask again, “What is the colour of the air we breathe in Petaling Jaya?” Let me try and expound one philosophy or approach towards civic governance that the current MPPJ president and councilors can consider as they move the LA 21 agenda towards a natural conclusion.

I have called it the 3W2R1A approach for sustainable development. Let us begin with the1A. It is the common agenda that all MPPJ councilors have to agree for it to become the guidelines for the billboard arena.

Seeking a win-win situation

Most organisations cannot claim to have such a clear and unequivocal agenda which all organisational actors subscribe to. In this instance, it is obvious that MPPJ found their one voice and common agenda; and therefore, now the rewards of recognition.

The second and equally important is the 3W. I have always called this the ‘triple win’. Too often in transactional management techniques, the promoters only talk about a win-win. Even corruption is a double win: for the advertisers it was cheaper to bribe and for corrupt staff, they saw the benefits.

But as always in the non-sustainable agenda, it is the third win of public interest that is always sacrificed. MPPJ was cheated by insiders and outsiders for their own and private win-win agendas!

The 3W worldview of sustainable development is something like the 360 degree management model being promoted today. All interested stake and share holders in any enterprise must be included and involved in the development agenda.

Therefore in the case of billboards, the component that was sadly missing in the older way of doing it was the ‘third win’ of public interest, which every citizen, elected government and local authority exists to protect and preserve. Unfortunately, in the current model of ‘greed is good’ worldview of capitalism, the third win of public interest is the first principle to be sacrificed for personal interests; whether one calls it a CEO being paid millions, or a president who closes one eye to wrong-doing or authorities who are blind to the real issues.

How else can the so-called most developed country in the world, the US, and the so-called most developed state in Malaysia, Selangor, have such foul smelling air? It now befalls on the new CEO’s to clean out years and years of dirt and filth accumulated under the watch of poor and inept leaders of the past.

The third and final aspect of this philosophy of operational leadership is what I call 2R. The two Rs stand for risk-taking and reward sharing.All parties in any enterprise, whether the so-called owners, or merely share-holders, or even only the customers or beneficiaries, are all joint stakeholders of the enterprise.

They all have and hold a stake in what that enterprise does or does not do, for the future belongs to them and their children. That is posterity and prosperity today cannot deny the posterity of the future which gives hope to all who come later.

Therefore, any contract between two parties never involves only two parties. There is always the need for some kind of third party insurance for the larger good of all third party stakeholders. Usually these come in the form governments and for good governance mechanisms.

New role-model in governance

Democracy is our only current best alternative for selecting a model of power-sharing that seemingly allows for good governance. But, as is evident in the so-called best democracy in the world, oversight cannot be left only to so-called private sector authorities or the so-called market.

As is becoming obvious, even markets need the governance oversight of governments. But like everything else in life, any extremes in one direction or another, either with democracy or with free-market capitalism, unless the third party interests are well overseen, public interest will always be denied.

Greed and the love of money is at the root of the fall of mankind. Greed, therefore, always needs to be moderated against ugly self-interested utilitarian individuals and their allies. In fact, Amitai Etzioni the well-known organisationalist and sociologist addressed this very issue vide a book called ‘The Moral Dimension: Towards a New Economics’.

The challenge for all of us then in seeking good governance is to search out and establish civil or civic rules and guidelines that meet the needs of all parties and interests. These, the MPPJ councillors have done well. We can only watch and observe as they seek to improve their governance with cleaning of the air on billboards.

My prayer is that the rest of the country will also watch and learn as MPPJ experiments with a new economics of development and a new model of improved governance of the public space.

Royalty and Loyalty: A View from the Outside


posted by din merican–February 27, 2009

http://www.malaysiakini.com

Royalty and loyalty

by Dean Johns
February 25, 2009

Royalty has been much in the news lately. Australian expatriate Harry Nicolaides has just been granted a royal pardon after serving five months of a three-year sentence for committing the Thai crime of lese majeste in his self-published 2005 novel, ‘Verisimilitude’.

And both sides of the constitutional contretemps in Perak are accusing the other of insulting Sultan Azlan Shah. Barisan Nasional (BN) claims that the opposition is showing disrespect for the Sultan’s legal judgment by going over his head, so to speak, to seek the opinion of a British QC over constitutional matters.

sivakumar and perakAnd, as I understand it, BN is accusing Perak assembly speaker V Sivakumar of contempt of royalty by not only refusing to accept the sultan’s replacement of ousted Menter Besar Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin with Zambry Abdul Kadir, but also subsequently suspending Zambry and six BN-appointed executive councillors from the House.

As always when royalty is under discussion, I find myself impossibly prejudiced. Not so violently so, perhaps, as French cleric Jean Meslier, or Messelier (1664-1729), who famously wrote in his last will and testament that he “would like the last of the kings to be strangled with the guts of the last priest”.

But I’m most certainly against inherited power and privilege on principle, on the grounds that it’s almost always at the expense of the people.

At this point I have to say that, from what little I know of it, the Thai royal family has been unusually benevolent and enlightened, and may well deserve the high regard in which it is popularly and legally held. Certainly, from all I’ve heard of him and his good works, reigning monarch King Bumiphol, seems to be justly respected and admired. But to judge by unsavoury rumours long surrounding the crown prince, the royal figure allegedly defamed in Nicolaides’ book, he’s no chip off the old block.

Of course the very word “block” sends shivers down the spines of royals and royalists, as it recalls the unhappy if richly-deserved fate of Charles 1 of England. He was beheaded, you may recall, for the treason of waging war, not only once but twice, on his own people.

A great many other kings have done this in their time, under the guise of protecting the populace. This protection racket worked a treat for centuries as – witness Meslier’s remark linking kings and priests – people believed in their ignorance or blind faith that kings were divinely appointed, much as some still fancy figureheads like the Pope or the Dalai Lama to be today.

Purging of Royal Houses

But some monarchs made such a mockery of their ‘divine right’ to rule that the whole idea eventually lost all credibility. Henry VIII of England was to me one of the key figures in bringing kingship into disrepute and disbelief.

Dubbed ‘Defender of the Faith’ by the Catholic church, the seat of his original religion, he later founded the Church of England in the name of popular nationalism. But it was actually for the sordid twin purposes of divorcing several wives and even murdering a couple of them, then stealing the Catholic monasteries’ land and property for himself, his ‘nobles’ and other cronies.

The British monarchy survived both Henry and the hapless, headless Charles 1, of course, but only by gradually becoming as powerless and people-friendly as all get-out.

There were also PR stunts like changing the family name from Saxe Coburg Gotha to Windsor to seem more British during World War 1, and forcing Edward VIII’s abdication for threatening to marry a divorced woman, let alone doing a Henry VIII. All these self-preserving efforts have since come to naught, however, thanks to the dim Princess Di and a string of pubic relations disasters ending with Dodi Fayed.

Most other monarchies have dwindled to insignificance or have entirely disappeared. Some have met a sticky fate. The French people butchered their royal family and thousands of assorted aristocrats centuries ago in a frenzy of ‘liberty, equality and fraternity’.

Some other royal purges have been more peaceful. The Nepalese recently dispensed with their king without much bloodshed beyond an earlier mass-shooting of his relatives by a male member of the royal family. And the ruler of Bhutan himself took the initiative to declare his country democratic.

Some nations that have dispensed with their royals have found themselves ruled by replacements that have proved as bad or even worse. The Russians got rid of the czars only to be re-enslaved themselves under a series of totalitarian dictators.

In China, thousands of years of hellish rule by ‘heavenly’ emperors were succeeded by a 60-year reign of terror and error by Mao Tse Tung and his political heirs.

India, on the contrary, was doubly fortunate in achieving its independence in 1947, taking the opportunity to rid itself of not only its imperial oppressors, but also the Maharajahs who, as corrupt puppets of the British, had been so disloyal to their own people.

Earn loyalty

And on much the same grounds, Ihave often thought it a pity that Malaysia failed to similarly avail itself of the opportunity to dispense with its royals. Most if not all of the sultans of colonial times co-operated if not collaborated with the British in their exploitation of the people of then Malaya.

And, with all-too-rare exceptions, the sultans since 1957 have shown themselves more dedicated to their own interests than to the well being of their loyal subjects.

No wonder so many Malaysians applauded then premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad when, if for his own reasons rather than those of the rakyat, he seized on the excesses of some sultans to curtail royal privileges and immunities. The current Perak sultan, it seems to me, is among the more worthy and distinguished members of Malaysian royalty. But surely it’s not disloyal, as some have been suggesting lately, to question his legal opinion.

Malaysia, like Great Britain, is a constitutional monarchy these days. So the rakyat’s loyalty is no longer for royalty to command, demand or expect as its birthright, but to earn and inspire by its care and concern for the common good.

In other words, royalty these days is more a matter of worth than birth, and only deserving of our loyalty if it puts principles before pride, position and possessions.

As in the case, for example, of that prince of a guy, Raja Petra Kamarudin, a Malaysian of such rare royalty of spirit and loyalty to freedom and justice that the robber-barons of BN can’t rest until they shut him up.

Eli Wong and The Palace: HRH Sultan of Selangor,Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah,is above Politics


posted by din merican—February 26, 2009

February 25, 2009

THE following is the full statement by the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, over the controversy involving Bukit Lanjan state assemblyman Elizabeth Wong, issued by his private secretary, Datuk Mohamad Munir Bani:

I am pleased to inform that Yang Amat Berhormat Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Bin Ibrahim, the Mentri Besar Selangor, has sought an audience with His Royal Highness, The Sultan of Selangor, on Wednesday, 25th February 2009 and duly informed His Royal Highness on the political development and the issue which involved Yang Berhormat Elizabeth Wong Keat Ping, the Selangor State Assemblyman for Bukit Lanjan who is also the State Selangor Exco Member.

His Royal Highness, The Sultan of Selangor, has commanded me to inform that His Royal Highness could not offer any guidance or advice to the Mentri Besar in the matter related to the issue of Elizabeth Wong as it was still under police investigation and it involved her political position.

It is His Royal Highness’ stance as the Sultan of Selangor to be above politics. His Royal Highness believes that whatever decision that is going to be made by the Mentri Besar will be made with accurateness, fairness and with wisdom by taking into consideration the interest of the rakyat ,in particular and the State of Selangor generally.

His Royal Highness is upset and worried as of late the intrusion of someone’s privacy and private rights was being used to destroy one’s dignity and reputation. It is a sad thing as one’s life and private rights were being made public and subject to public scrutiny by publicising in the mass media.

To Elizabeth Wong, His Royal Highness felt sad and sympathised with her as to the unfortunate event she had suffered and hoped that she will remain calm and be patient in continuing with her life henceforth.

Perak: It’s hilarious, says Che Det in www.chedet.com, and weird too


posted by din merican–February 26, 2009

http://www.malaysiakini.com

PM Badawi’s advice to Dr. Zambry: It’s hilarious, says Che Det ( Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad)
February 25, 2009

There is nothing more hilarious than Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s advice to Perak Menteri Besar Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir to file a police report over his suspension from the state assembly.

mahathir pc 260608 05This was the summation by former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who offered his opinion on the current political misadventure in Perak. “We are seeing many weird episodes happening in Perak which was once renowned for its tin,” said the 84-year old statesman in his latest blog posting.

As for Zambry’s suspension, Mahathir said if the decision by the Perak speaker could be considered a crime, then what about the Dewan Rakyat speaker suspending opposition members of Parliament for various reasons? “This (being suspended from the Dewan Rakyat) happens often. Will opposition MPs file a police report as well? If they do, then we can assume that the police have power over the speaker,” he added.

Stating that the speaker is capable of committing crimes, Mahathir, however, noted that suspending a member of the house does not fall under the ambit of crimes which the police could act upon.

Where will Zambry sit?

The former premier also raised several questions in response to reports that a defiant Zambry will attend the state assembly sitting, which must be held by April.

“According to the rules, the speaker can order the officers of the house to remove him (Zambry) from the house. Will the officers, who are not from Pakatan Rakyat, do so?”

“Where will Zambry sit (in the house)? What if (Pakatan Rakyat’s ousted MB) Mohamed Nizar Jamaluddin sits in the menteri besar’s seat?” he asked. “Will Nizar be forced to vacate the seat? Will Zambry be in the house or outside the house. Let us, the rakyat, wait and see what
nizar jamaluddin dr zambry abdul kadir perak will happen,” he added.

Last Wednesday, the Perak crisis took a new twist when speaker P Sivakumar slapped Zambry and his six exco members with a 18 and 12- month suspension respectively for contempt of the state assembly. This has effectively put Barisan Nasional as the minority in the state assembly which has to convene in April.

UMNO is currently seeking the opinion of a Queen’s Counsel (QC) on the constitutional issues which have plunged Perak into a political stalemate. Earlier this month, BN seized power in the state with the help of four defectors who upset the delicate balance of power.

Selective persecution


It is no surprise how active the MACC has been since being passed into law last December.  An institution which came into being with so much fanfare and hope was destined to become the lapdog of a government falling over itself with mistakes and blunders.  If the MACC was to be the last attempt by the outgoing Prime Minister to inject some semblance of credibility into his administration it is quickly losing any hopes of doing so.

Compare for example the case of cows, cars and judges.  In Selangor the MACC seems to be exceedingly confident in the allegations of graft against MB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.  So much so that the MACC chairman is comfortable to comment publicly on the case, tainting public opinion and presumably affecting the outcome of any investigation. But in the case of the VK Lingam tape – it appears that most of those implicated in the scandal will be cleared of any wrongdoing.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC): A View from CitizenNADES


posted by din merican–February 25, 2009

http://www.sun2surf.com

February 25, 2009

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC): Feeble attempts to show independence

ON Monday (February 23), the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) charged four people with various offences ranging from receiving bribes and making false reports – perhaps with a reason too. This turn of events has been seen by some as a prelude to the official launch of the MACC yesterday. But cynics have a right to call these attempts to right a wrong which was done on Friday when it announced that it had enough evidence to press charges against Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

However, one looks at the events of the past five days, all the hard work, time, effort and money spent on giving the anti-graft body a new image has gone down the drain. By going into over-drive and charging someone with offences allegedly committed in one case, at least six years ago, cannot mitigate the highly-publicised press conference on Friday. Let’s put the matter in the right perspective – corrupt practices cannot be condoned irrespective of who does it – the government or the Opposition; the director- general or the office boy. It would be a folly to say that some of the charges are politically-motivated.

But by jumping the gun and announcing the evidence against Abdul Khalid, the MACC has turned its back on its own policies, if not rules.

On May 23, 2006, I shared the same platform with the then ACA’s research and planning director Sutinah Sutan at a seminar on corruption in local government. I had gone on a tirade because the agency was dragging its feet on several high-profile cases. I then posed this question: Do I as a complainant have a right to know the progress of investigations into a case I reported?

Sutinah unequivocally declared: The ACA is not obliged to update complainants on the progress of investigations unless it receives an official letter seeking such information.

That was not the first time I had locked horns with the ACA top-brass. A year earlier, I had a lively debate with its former chief, Datuk Seri Zulkipli Mat Nor, on his numerous lawatan sambil belajar (which he had admitted to) at a forum chaired by the former chief justice, Datuk Annuar Zainal Abidin.

After our public spat, Zulkipli in a conversation with colleague Terence Fernandez last remarked that “senior ACA officers are unhappy with what Nades is writing. And because the ACA reports directly to the prime minister, these criticisms are also directed at the PM.”

If dropping names was the previous chief’s forte to get us off his back, he failed miserably. No, the PM took no umbrage to the criticisms when Terence and I interviewed him last November. On the contrary, he wanted support for his reforms which included the setting up of the MACC.

Even before the MACC was set up, we had always co-operated with law enforcement agencies. As late as three months ago, we gave the then ACA a dossier on a minister’s questionable practices. While on an official trip to Japan and Hawaii, the minister’s personal trainer was on the same flight. His expenses were paid by a supplier to one of the agencies under the ministry. The dossier contained the flight details, exchange of e-mails between the travel agency and the supplier and even copies of a cheque and payment vouchers. We did not pick these documents out of thin air and neither did they arrive in brown envelopes as they usually do. They were and still are available in the public domain – at the High Court Registry. These documents were produced in a civil suit.

As outlined in last Wednesday’s column, there are many other cases which the ACA or now, the MACC, has yet to provide progress reports. Yet, on Friday, there was an update on Abdul Khalid’s case. Don’t misunderstand me. I would be the last to stand up for a public figure who is corrupt and neither am I saying he is innocent.

Three days before its official launch, MACC’s image is in tatters. However hard it tries to justify its actions, public perception will not change. Despite all its claims to be “truly independent”, people will continue to view it as an arm of the ruling party. The debates in the “Letters to the editor” columns in the print media and in cyber space are testimony to this.

How can MACC repair the damage? Crisis management specialists will give the same advice that we, the lesser mortals, can offer: Come clean by telling the truth. There’s no other way. The flurry of prosecutions can continue but they will not nullify the wrongs of the previous week. No one can read the mind of the MACC chief who called for the press conference. No amount of self-righteous statements by those associated with the MACC is going to change public perception.

The MACC shot itself in the foot and it has to nurse the wound which may heal, but the scar will remain. The pain must be unbearable but that’s the price one pays for one’s follies.

R. Nadeswaran is editor (special and investigative) reporting at the Sun. He can be reached at  citizen-nades@thesundaily.com.

UNTING’s Death: An Opportunity for historic redress in the Land of the Hornbills (Sarawak)


Ferbuary 25, 2009

by Terence Netto

Graceful Hornbill will usher in a new era in Sarawak, starting with Batang Ai

 

In an ironic twist, the death of Dublin Unting Inggot, the Batang Ai assemblyman who succumbed yesterday after being comatose for nine months, has provided an opening for the redress of an error that owners of Native Customary Rights land among Sarawak’s Dayaks were left to rue since May 2000.

The death of Unting, which is from BN component Parti Rakyat Sarawak, paves the way for a by-election in this state seat in the Sarawak interior which is peopled mainly by the Iban, the majority group in the ethnic mosaic called the Dayak.

In recent years, the Iban, in areas where they are dominant, have been in dispute with logging and oil palm plantation companies over NCR land, an issue that flared up in Sarawak politics in May 2000 when the state assembly passed an amendment to the land code that had the effect of weakening Dayak claims to the NCR land.

Unting, then secretary general of Parti Bangsa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS), which was deregistered in 2005, did not think it urgent to circulate a legal opinion drawn up by Dayak lawyers Baru Bian and Kilat Beriak that cautioned the eight PBDS members of the assembly against voting for the amendment.

In an historic faux pas that would become the subject of much hand wringing and caustic comment among the tiny Dayak intelligentsia, Unting chided fellow assemblyman, Gabriel Adit Demong who had passed him a note during the debate inquiring about the opinion: “This is not the place to discuss the issue.” The amendment passed with PBDS’s unwitting support, triggering an often acrimonious aftermath that saw internal ructions between deputy president Daniel Tajem, then Malaysian High Commissioner to New Zealand, and James Masing, a supporter of the amendment.

Then PBDS vice president James Masing was heir presumptive to incumbent president Leo Moggie, attenuated and serene in his Federal ministerial job in Kuala Lumpur, the sole one for the Dayaks in the BN. (Moggie’s retirement in 2004 left the community without a minister’s seat at federal level, the first time that has happened since Sarawak’s merger with the Federation in 1963).

Now Unting’s death throws up an election that will test the electoral allegiance of the community that has historically wavered between opposition parties and the BN. In recent months the community has been attracted to the egalitarian agenda espoused by Parti KeADILan Rakyat. PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim has electioneered to reportedly large and rapturous crowds in the main towns of the state over the last year.

PKR is expected to field Nicholas Bawin Anggat, whose unsuccessful exertions in 2005-2007 in registering a successor party to PBDS under the name of the Malaysian Dayak Congress, has inevitably led to membership in PKR.

PKR’s claims to representing Dayak aspirations in Sarawak will be tested in the Batang Ai by-election. To be sure the party had rebounded from the wipeout it suffered in its first foray in the state in the September 2001 elections, to a sole seat win in the May 2006 elections through Dominique Ng in Kuching. Last November Ng was joined in the assembly by Ngemah’s Gabriel Adit, a PBDS leader turned Independent, which brought PKR’s representation to two in the 71-seat assembly.

That number would be up by a digit should PKR’s Bawin come up against Nelson Munjah, the favored candidate of Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu, the main Dayak powerbroker in the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), the dominant party in the Sarawak BN coalition.

Munjah, an Iban district officer in Lubuk Antu, the parliamentary constituency in which Batang Ai is located, is from Jabu’s state ward of Betong. Hence he will be viewed as an outsider, a disadvantage in the parochial politics of Sarawak’s interior. However, if the BN candidate is Naga Anak Alam, secretary to the late Unting and an Iban native of Lubuk Antu, the tussle will be close.

Bawin, 50, an Iban native of Lubuk Antu, would be hard to beat but in this constituency crisscrossed by three rivers on the banks of which are located some 100 Iban longhouses, logistics and a big campaign chest, the BN’s trump card, are decisive factors.

Despite lacking funds and personnel in the May 2006 state election, Bawin, a Mara business studies graduate, contesting under the banner of SNAP (Sarawak National Party), polled a respectable 2,489 votes to Unting’s 3,295.

With the more formidable resources of PKR at his command, Bawin would be a stronger contender in the upcoming by-election than he was in the 2006 poll. More certainly, his years as deputy president of the Majlis Adat Istiadat (Council of Dayak Customs and Rights) from 1992 to 2005 had gained him eminence in the community as an exponent of Dayak traditions and claims, especially in matters pertaining to NCR land.

His tenure in the Majlis came to an abrupt end after exertions on behalf of his community brought him into dispute with his employer, the Office of the Chief Minister, where the real centre of political gravity in the state lies.

That is why many reckon that reverberations from a PKR victory in Batang Ai will sweep across the political landscape, rendering the next state election, widely expected to be held much earlier than its due date in May 2011, a contest of pivotal importance to Sarawak.

Shah Alam is infested with monkies, requiring assistance from PKR-PR monkey catchers and handlers


February 25, 2009

In recent weeks, the Pakatan Rakyat State Government of Selangor has been plagued by a new monkey specimen from UMNO (see below), who is seeking to be the next UMNO Youth leader come the end of March. UMNO can have him, of course, but Selangor must ensure that he does not continue to interfere in the affairs of the state through his “hired agents and hands” (macais) who are still employed in the service of the state.

The time has come for us to ensure that Mr Toyol is investigated by the newly minted Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and account for his activities when he was the Menteri Besar. Let us give him what he deserves and let justice be done and seen to be done. Malaysians in general are sick and tired of leaders who are corrupt and incompetent.

A Political Scoundrel

There are also within the state administration a whole group of people are leaking information to Mr. Toyol. I find it rather strange that no action has so far been taken by the current YAB Menteri Besar to rid his administration of such elements, who are doing a great disservice to him and his Exco colleagues, and undermining his authority at every opportunity they can.

In the coming months, I hope we will see new faces in the State Secretariat, Selangor GLCs, local councils, district offices, religious departments, and other agencies. We need people who are professional in their approach and dedicated to their duties, and who are thoroughly committed to YAB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s “Merakyatkan Ekonomi Negeri Selangor” programmes and activities.

We can no longer afford to allow politicians from UMNO and Barisan Nasional to scuttle our efforts to deliver on our promises and commitments to the people of Selangor Darul Ehsan.YAB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim deserves our understanding and wholeheartedly support. He faces many challenges in his path to change the conduct of state administration. He also needs to surround himself with exceptional people, that is, men and women of integrity, outstanding credentials and proven competence. With a great and trusted team backing him and given his own abilities and considerable talents, YB Tan Sri Khalid will be one of the best Menteris Besar in the history of Selangor, InsyaAllah (God Willing).-–Din Merican

Singapore recognises the power of the new media (internet)


posted by din merican—February 25, 2009

The Malaysian Insider

February 25, 2009

Singapore Premier Lee Hsien Loong made clear last night that the government recognised the growing reach and influence of the new media and was evolving to deal with it.

In an interview with Channel News Asia on the changing media landscape which aired last night, he said: “We are still learning. It is not easy to make this transition. It is like going from sea to land or vice versa, you are changing your medium and you need to get comfortable with it. But we are working hard at it.”

Lee said the government was building up its capabilities in new media so it put its material up in a way that would appeal to the Internet generation. It was also on the lookout for young MPs “who are of that generation, who are with it and quite naturally comfortable with it and with the population who are also operating there”.

The feedback arm, Reach, is currently setting the pace in the government’s move towards more e-engagement. But he was also realistic as to how successful the government might ultimately be online. “I don’t think that we will be, how shall we put it, a very popular social networking website; but one where the information is there, accessible, and feedback can be taken and will be attended to,” he said.

What was clear from Lee’s remarks was that new media cannot be ignored and could feature in the next general election. He noted the role that the Internet played last year in Malaysia’s general election and the United States’ presidential polls, and added that the medium had become a “natural way to do things” for the young.

“They organise parties, they do their school work, they do their office work, a lot of it on the Internet. And I think that’s going to happen in politics too,” he said.

This trend posed a big challenge for the government in trying to get its message across, he said in response to a question. “You cannot force people to watch you. I mean if you’re boring they will just surf, they close, click, gone! And you can put anything you like on your website. Unless you can make people interested in it, they won’t read your website, they don’t have to read your website,” he said.

“So how to get the message across and get people to focus, to think about these subjects and to understand what’s important, I think that’s a big challenge.”

His remarks on new media are the latest sign of the government’s changing mindset towards the medium.
Last month, it said that it would allow political podcasts and vodcasts for the next general election. It also lifted the outright ban on party political films.

As he spoke on new media, Lee referred to changes in how young people read newspapers or watched television. But he stressed that traditional media still had a place and noted it still held its own. “I think there will always be a role for editors, journalists — people who are seriously following events, packaging, presenting, packaging, interpreting. Whether it’s on the newspapers, whether it’s on TV, on the news bulletin or whether on the Web, you need that service,” he said.

“I do not believe that if we talk about Web 2.0, anybody can be his own journalist and straight away you get a good comprehensive, coherent, sensible view of the world. You will have impressions, impressionistic images, facts, data.

“But to put it together and make sense of it and to relate different things to one another and explain that this is what’s happening in the bigger trends, you need people who are professionals, who understand this, who understand the news, who understand the audience and will present it.”

The mainstream media had done well to maintain its audience: “I think the fact that you’ve been able to keep audiences up, readership up in Singapore shows that the mainstream media has credibility. I mean people know that it speaks facts — it may not be as exciting as in a place where tomatoes are regularly thrown at the government,” he said.

Moving forward, he defined the media’s role as a forum for airing different views. This, on top of its task of informing and educating the public. “I think you also want to reflect views, you want to report the public debate, be a forum where different perspectives on what the country is doing, what’s happening, where we should go, aired and debated. And the media provides a forum where all these can happen; at the same time remembering that the stage is never quite completely neutral,” he said.

He said the media is a lot livelier now. “Many more views are expressed. I sometimes think, how shall I put it, you need not just have views expressed but you need people who have spent time and effort to think about the issues and to focus so that you have a deeper debate.

“Not just ‘I like this’ or ‘I don’t like this’ or I have preferences… but views which people have thought about, they have considered. They know what the trade-offs are, what the implications are.

“And then gradually you get a sense of what is good, what is bad but also what is possible and where you have to make compromises and accept what is workable but not an ideal outcome.” — The Straits Times, Singapore

Serving justice, straight up


posted by din merican—February 24, 2009

by Malik Imtiaz Sarvar

It took me a while to understand that in as much as contract, commercial, criminal, constitutional or any other field of law was important, the existence of a functioning system by which the law was applied and enforced was far more crucial. For without such a system, it would not matter at all that there were laws.

When I first graduated from law school, I believed that all things said and done we had such a system. I am almost certain now that we do not. We have courts, some of them in very opulent buildings that are akin to palaces. We have judges at all levels, be it at the subordinate courts or into the dizzying heights of the judicial hierarchy. There is in place an Attorney General’s Chambers from which spring a number of federal counsel and deputy public prosecutors who represent the State in its legal endeavours. They are complimented by a host of lawyers who, together with their counterparts from the civil service, apply laws that have been duly enacted by legislative chambers and Parliament respectively.

Impressive, one could say. I, however, reserve my judgment. Just like cameras, there are “point and shoot” lawyers and judges, and there are the far more sophisticated and capable ones. Both serve their purpose but one category serves it far better, something to think about considering the legal system is one whose standard cannot be compromised for any reason at all. Lives, in the widest sense, are at stake. They are being put at risk by the kind of individuals being allowed into the system.

All this does not directly answer the question of whether the system is one that is functioning effectively. In this, it must be understood that the ultimate arbiter of whether a legal system is effective is the public that the system is intended to serve. The level of public confidence in the system is the only yardstick by which this effectiveness can be measured.

The stark reality is that the average Malaysian entertains grave doubts about the integrity or competence or both of those who make up the system (and in this, I tar lawyers with the same brush). From a public confidence standpoint, it could be said that the system is not functioning.We cannot blame them for so doubting.

Controversy upon controversy, many of which were unnecessary and avoidable, have impacted. Suspicions have been given foundation by the findings and recommendations of a Royal Commission of Enquiry that lambasted the system and urged urgent corrective measures. One cannot fault the average Malaysian for thinking justice is no longer the sacrosanct quality that it is meant to be, having instead transformed into something pliable that can be moulded to convenience.

This has had ramifications it seems. Malaysians have no alternative but to take their cases to the courts, it is the only way in they can have their legal disputes resolved. Faced with a system that they have come to perceive as lopsided and pliable, it appears that they have attempted to improve, or at the very least even out, their odds where they have been able to do so. If the system were seen and understood to be unyielding, this would not be occurring.

It is perception that fuels belief that the system is hardly working as it should. As a lawyer, this saddens me, not because I think it is an unfair assessment but because I can see why it is they might believe this to be the case. Over the last twenty years the Judiciary has taken a beating, inside and out. It seems like every Chief Justice since Tun Dzaiddin started his term with laudable declarations concerning the need for reform only to subsequently find that the problem areas were so entrenched that resolving them was neither easy nor possible in their limited terms of tenure. Promises unfulfilled have deepened distrust.

It is high time that those who manage the institutions in ours system of justice wake up to the hard truth that mere rhetoric and superficial changes will not serve any purpose in attempts to rebuild confidence. Efforts must be real and driven by a desire to deliver to Malaysians objective justice at its keenest. It is not enough to say that there are those in the system who do just that. Though that may be the case, there are seemingly those who do not. It must be understood why this is the case and what can be done. The situation is desperate and calls for extreme measures.

Crucially, the system must be seen to be delivering justice. It is a cardinal rule of justice that not only must it be done, it must be seen to be done. The appearance of impartiality is paramount in building public confidence in the system. In this, standards must be seen to be applied uniformly, without exception. Explanations as to why they are not, do not go very far in explaining away the fact that they are not.

Perception is key. Without the public having confidence in the system, justice will never be served.

(Malay Mail, February 24, 2009)

MIS

UMNO-BN’s Political Vengeance: A Return of virulent Mahathirism?


posted by din merican—February 24,2009

http://www.malaysiakini.com

Political vengeance – BN vs Pakatan

Athi Veranggan | February 23, 2009

Political controversies occuring in Malaysia over the past one year are a chain reaction of UMNO-Barisan Nasional’s political vengeance to halt emergence of Pakatan Rakyat, said two former DAP leaders in Penang today. Pakatan is seen as a real threat to Barisan’s dominance, the two pointed out.

pakatan rakyat under siege 230209 teoh teik huat

Former state DAP chairperson Teoh Teik Huat, however, regretted that the Pakatan leadership was not prepared to tackle and counter an imminent BN political backlash following the ruling coalition’s unprecedented loss in the last general election.

“Pakatan leaders should have realised that the BN vengeful reaction was inevitable following its electoral defeat. BN, particularly UMNO, has always made a quick kill of its opposition. Pakatan leaders should have been prepared to face and handle the reaction,” he told Malaysiakini, adding that the leaders were left wanting and caught off guard with the BN political backlash.

Teoh, a former three-term assemblyperson (1982 – 1995), suggested that the best Pakatan could do now was to prove to the people that it could be a ‘viable, reliable and progressive alternative with a difference’ to BN.

All eyes on Pakatan reps

Teoh said Pakatan had four state governments – Penang, Kedah, Kelantan and Selangor – under its fold to do just that. “Between now and the next general election, Pakatan leaders and elected representatives should be extra careful in their movements as deeds and misdeeds would be monitored by the intelligence units. “They will be vulnerable and become political victims of any wrongdoings,” warned Teoh, formerly the Bagan parliamentarian (1986-1990).

Another former DAP stalwart K Balasundaram, pointed out the current controversies besieging Pakatan allies, especially PKR, were mainly caused by premier designate Najib Abdul Razak’s ambitious grand plan to stamp his authority as the “all powerful Prime Minister”.

Najib is set to succeed Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as the premier and UMNO president during the UMNO general assembly next month.najib tun razak wearing songkok “Najib will first tame the external rivals then move on to kill internal rivals within UMNO and BN”.

Unhealthy politics is dangerous

“No doubt Pakatan is under siege now,” stressed the former Penang DAP political education bureau chief, who was previously Datuk Keramat state assemblyperson (1990-1995). However, Balasundaram warned that such unhealthy political trends could be dangerous and send the country back to the political era of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed. “Reviving Mahathirism would send the country backwards. The people need to stop this,” said Balasundaram.

Among the main controversies that involved Pakatan recently was the attention around the Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case. The subsequent disappearance of private investigator P Balasubramaniam and his family after he had made two shocking statutory declarations related to the murder case was a major talking point in town since mid-last year.

p balasubramaniam altantuya murder case private investigatorIn his first statutory declaration, Balasubramaniam claimed that Najib had links with the murdered Altantuya, only to deny it the next day with a fresh statutory declaration.

The sedition charge instituted against webmaster Raja Petra Kamaruddin for raising many questions on who’s who was behind Altantuya’s murder has also been a controversial subject for political discussion.

Pakatan must work hard

Then there was the Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan sodomy allegation against Pakatan supremo and Permatang Pauh parliamentarian Anwar Ibrahim.mohd saiful bukhari azlan 4 at jawi 271108

Both the former DAP leaders also cited abuse of the Internal Security Act to tame ans silence politicians, activists, bloggers and even journalists to show that BN , particularly UMNO was bent on using all intimidating tactics to stem Pakatan’s growing option as a viable alternative political entity.


The recent Perak political crisis triggered by the fall of the Pakatan state government, the resignation of PKR Bukit Selambau assemblyperson and Kedah executive councillor V Arumugam and the public relevation of Bukit Lanjan assemblyperson Elizabeth Wong’s private photos are all seen as BN political inventions.

Teoh and Balasundaram suggested that Pakatan state governments use their current administrative opportunities to develop good governance and a people-orientated political system based on democratic principles, conventions and virtues. “By doing this, Pakatan can show to the people that the coalition is different from BN. This would help the coalition in next general election,” both summed up.

RPK case: Federal Court reserves judgment


http://www.malaysiakini.com

Hafiz Yatim
February 23, 2009

The Federal Court today reserved judgment in blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin’s application for a revision over the apex court’s two member panel’s decision on Tuesday to dismiss his earlier application to recuse Justice S Augustine Paul.

Court of Appeal President Justice Alauddin Mohd Sheriff along with Chief Judge of Malaya Ariffin Zakaria and Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Justice Richard Malanjum did not fix a date to deliver their decision.

Today, counsel Malik Imtiaz Sarwar for Raja Petra said that his client was submitting the application for a review under rule 137 of the Rules of the Federal Court. Malik submitted that the two member panel comprising Justice Nik Hashim Nik Abdul Rahman and Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin had erred in law in dismissing Raja Petra’s application as the two member panel contravened section 74 (1) of the Courts of Judicature Act (CJA).

Section 74(1) of the Act states that every proceeding in the Federal Court shall be heard and disposed of by three judges or such greater uneven number of judges.

‘Wrong for two-member panel seating’

Malik said that it was wrong for Nik Hashim to invoke section 78(1) of the CJA to allow for a two-member panel seating.

“As the two member seating on Tuesday can be considered unconstitutional, hence the decision rendered by the two can be considered as unlawful and illegal when it heard and decided on Paul’s recusal application.

“Following this, my client is applying for a review over the Tuesday’s decision,” he said to a courtroom packed with the blogger’s supporters. However, Raja Petra was not present to hear the application.

On Tuesday, Paul had recused himself from hearing Raja Petra’s augustine paul application resulting in a two-member panel headed by Nik Hashim. Raja Petra applied to recuse Paul as a result of the blogger writing several critical articles on the judge while the latter was presiding the Anwar Ibrahim’s corruption trial.

Application dismissed

Paul had also heard Raja Petra’s habeas corpus application in 2001, when he was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) where the judge dismissed the application. However, Nik Hashim and Zulkefli, despite an objection by Malik of a two-member seating, decided to dismiss Raja Petra’s application to recuse Paul.

Raja Petra had filed for an application of review on Friday following Tuesday’s decision and the blogger wants his present habeas corpus case to be heard before a new panel and not before the present panel comprising Nik Hashim, Zulkefli and Paul.

Raja Petra, in his application, also cited he was worried as the bias issue was not heard by the original panel. The home minister is appealing against the Shah Alam High Court’s decision on November 7 to release Raja Petra from ISA. The blogger had been detained for 56 days following an order by the minister.

Prove panel unlawfully constituted

Tun Majid Tun Hamzah, representing the home minister in the appeal, submitted that it was incumbent upon the applicant to show that the two-man bench which heard the recusal application was unlawfully constituted under the CJA.

Tun Majid was assisted by senior federal counsel Abdul Wahab Mohamad and Najib Zakaria. Shah Alam High Court judge Justice Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad, in ordering Raja Petra’s release, ruled that the home minister had not followed proper procedures under Section 8 of the ISA.

Syed Ahmad said there was procedural non-compliance and the minister had acted beyond his powers in issuing the detention order. “A minister cannot issue an order out of bad faith,” said the High Court judge.

He then ordered that Raja Petra, who had been held at the Kamunting detention camp in Taiping, Perak, for 56 days, to be released.

On another matter, a defamation suit filed by lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah against Raja Petra will be heard on May 25.

We must reform and change, says Anwar Ibrahim


Comment: The time has come for PKR and Pakatan Rakyat to expose the extent of corruption in Selangor under Khir Toyo and his predecessors. Toyo should be brought to the courts to face charges against him. No one should be above the law.It is also necessary to bring into public view the wrongdoings and misdemeanours of Government ministers, top officials and other functionaries, and make them “pay” for their role in rampant corruption, abuses of power and wanton and wasteful public spending of scarce resources.

It is a total disgrace that we Malaysians have allowed this state of affairs to continue for decades. There must now be the political and social will to “reform and change” (Anwar Ibrahim). MACC which was supposed to emulate Hong Kong’s much respected IACC started on the wrong footing, and has lost its crediblity after this fundamental error by Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan.

ACA/MACC is not empowered to prosecute. That is the function of the Attorney General, Gani Patail. But unfortunately the AG himself is under investigation for his role during the Anwar Ibrahim 1998 trials and will not act against those in power. Only ikan bilises, and not sharks, will be intimidated and pursued.

Badawi should be asked to answer for all these problems before he conveniently leaves office at the end of March, 2009 and hands over the premiership to Najib Tun Razak. The next Prime Minister should be decided by us Malaysians in a free and fair elections. It is not Badawi’s or UMNO’s to give.

We also seem to forget that the ACA/MACC has yet to follow through on the findings of the Royal Commission under Justice Haidar with regard to the Lingam Tapes. Why is Lingam still walking on Malaysian streets as a free man? What about former Lord Presidents, Eusoffe Chin and Ahmad Fairuz and others who were mentioned in the Royal Commission’s report.

We must reform and change, say Anwar Ibrahim. We must adopt good governance practices and, if I may add, a foreign policy that is realistic and rational. And government must be competent, honest, transparent and accountable to the rakyat. That is no other way to restore public confidence and trust in our institutions. We want democracy, not a dysfunctional Mugabe type government.

The message from this matter of “Cows and Lexus” is that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others. Toyo is certainly one occupier of one such a proverbial glass house and he must, I repeat, be investigated by MACC, and made to stand trial for corruption and blatant abuse of power. He must made to account for his actions when he was Selangor’s Menteri Besar.—Din Merican

http://www.malaysiakini.com

‘MB didn’t order cows and it’s his Lexus’
February 22, 2009

The Pakatan Rakyat has hit out at corruption allegations against one of its leaders who is accused of misusing public funds to maintain his luxury car and to buy cattle for a Muslim feast.

khalid ibrahim and sprm maccSelangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim was investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) after complaints were filed by a ruling party leader.

The MACC was quoted in weekend reports as saying it had found “good and strong” evidence against Khalid and would recommend that he face prosecution.

“We have completed investigations and we are satisfied that there are elements of abuse of power on the part of the Selangor MB,” MACC chief Ahmad Said Hamdan said.

Khalid is accused of spending taxpayers’ money to buy 46 cows that were slaughtered and distributed in his constituency during the Hari Raya Korban festival last December.

He was also reportedly accused of using funds belonging to state-owned firms to buy a Lexus SUV worth nearly RM1 million, and maintaining it at government expense. Khalid has denied all the charges.

MACC’s findings under fire

sankara nair bukit aman teresea kok isa arrest pc 170908 02His lawyer Sankara Nair dismissed the MACC’s findings, which he said were “unjustified and appeared to be motivated by political consideration”. The cattle purchase was never ordered by Khalid personally,” Sankara (left) told AFP on Sunday. “The Lexus is his own personal car which he was using even before he became the menteri besar, while the maintenance expenses for official purposes were all approved by the state,” he added.

The MACC’s findings came under fire from opposition politicians who questioned the commission’s motives in revealing details of the probe even before the attorney-general decides whether there is a case against Khalid.

“The law is clear. It states that a person is innocent until he is proven guilty,” said DAP leader Karpal Singh.

The broadside against Khalid is the latest political drama in Malaysia in recent weeks, after the Barisan Nasional coalition seized control of Perak, one of the opposition states.

- AFP

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim—Merakyatkan Ekonomi Selangor

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim—We must reform and change because we are corrupt and incompetent

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

MACC–An Independent Agency or a Branch of UMNO?


http://www.malaysiakini.com

‘MACC chief should join a political party’
February 23, 2009

The statement by the MACC chief on the Selangor MB has certainly brought the MACC into disrepute. Ahmad Said Hamdan must explain his action. Is he seeking publicity?’

On MACC yet another BN lap dog?

Chelvam Rengasamy: Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Ahmad Said Hamdan says the MACC ‘has strong evidence and Khalid had misused the powers’. This statement is certainly pre-judgmental, before even the prosecution is initiated. I believe this is the very first time such a statement has been released by MACC to the press even before the proper legal process is carried out.

This statement will certainly jeopardise the individual’s concern, as in Malaysia, one is deemed to be innocent until one is found guilty by the courts. But the MACC chief has taken it upon himself to decide that the Selangor MB had misused his powers even before this case is brought to the courts. Recently, I noticed the MACC is prone to seek publicity, as happened in the recent investigations into some individuals on money politics.

Massive publicity was given, with even some state chiefs of MACC giving press conferences on this issue. However, the crux of this matter was that the matter was still under investigation and no concrete findings has been made as yet. But MACC jumped the gun and mentioned that prominent individuals are being investigated. What is the true purpose of this exposure? To seek publicity or to show that MACC is doing its tasks?

If the latter is the case, I am also puzzled why it takes such a long time for the MACC to initiate action against those individuals mentioned in the ‘Lingam tape’ saga. Even the Royal Commission of Inquiry found some abuses of power in this case. However, till today, MACC is still dragging is feet on this issue. All this only shows the MACC is not totally independent and does not project a true professional image. The statement by the MACC chief on the Selangor MB has certainly brought the MACC into disrepute.

Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan must explain his action. Is he seeking publicity or is he being biased in the investigations of cases and their findings. Malaysians from of all walks of life have high hopes on the newly-minted MACC. But if the MACC acts in this way, I believe the public will lose confidence in this institution.

I am certainly disappointed with these kind of statements coming from its chief. It’s time the MACC act truly as an independent and responsible commission. If the MACC chief intends to play politics, then by all means he should resign and join a political party.

Appum: The MACC has shown its true colours to the rakyat of Malaysia in that it is nothing but an adjunct servant of the BN government. What is the use of having it being called and identified as a commission when it is not able to tear itself away from the ruling tai ko and be subjected to their whims and fancies? It is not independent as it tries to show to be.

Malaysians today are not cock-eyed. If the menteri besar of Selangor is guilty of abuse of power by using a Lexus, would he be so naive and transparent to show the whole world that he is misusing government funds by using his own car? Obviously, there is clear intent that he is not abusing his powers. Would a person who is abusing his powers be so obvious with so public a demonstration?

Mind you, there are so many things shielded away from public knowledge of BN’s abuse of power in their 50 years of dominant and domineering rule. I do not have to list the items here as it would fill the whole page.

The rakyat knows already. That is why the rakyat was fed up with them and at the March 2008 GE, they got a large dose of their own (BN) medicine in defeat. Then come their racial shouting games in Permatang Pauh which disgusted the general rakyat again. And again, their total defeat in Kuala Terengganu despite their spending of RM500 million. The next dirty game was the seizing of the Perak state government.

To use money to buy support is not corruption? What is the MACC doing? If our elected representatives are so noble and switch camps on grounds of integrity and political principles, the rakyat would have accepted their moves. But for money? Isn’t that abusing your powers? Obviously, this country needs to totally revamp all government institutions before the rakyat can feel free of abuse from the powers that are ruling them now.

Can the BN sincerely change and show genuine independence for these institutions – the police force; the judiciary; and the MACC? If the present government can’t do it (not by talk only or window dressing moves) then move away and let the new political force come in and do it. That’s what the rakyat needs now.

Christina: Call a snap 13th general election now! Our MACC is not independent, our police are not independent, our courts are not independent, our Election Commission is not independent, our government is not independent. They’re all rubbish. We, the rakyat want a new government which can bring benefits to all people.

KH: Reading such reports as the above is more heart-sickening day by day. We spend so much time on cows and cars rather than tackling the global issues ahead on us. The Selangor MB should have been more sensitive towards anything he does. He could have been wrong. But cows and cars? Come on!

Of course, the Toyo fellow looks so desperate that he picks on cows and car to whack with now. He’s just got no more capital. And I thought the MACC were supposed to follow up on the Toyo case? By the way, who’s going to catch the MACC if they are corrupt themselves?

Sang Kancil: Whether it is ACA or MACC, you can name it in different version but they are all the same. They only ago after Pakatan Rakyat and not BN. They were trained in such a way that they are triggered the moment they receive report against Pakatan Rakyat. Time has come for these guys to change otherwise they will be wiped out after the next election.

So Letek: What childish investigating by the MACC. They should maintain an absolute neutral stand and should not at all be concerned about the status and position of the person or persons they are investigating. Only then can we believe that MACC is truly independent and transparent. Does this mean that the ex-MB Selangor has a strong cable link to MACC or he is enjoying a strong mandate from the ‘sleeping PM’ to accuse the opposition leaders of anything?

This is actually a dirty trick by the ex-MB to fool UMNO members in order to win at the coming UMNO elections. This type of cheap publicity had been in practice ever since there was an UMNO general meeting. Shame on you, all those who have said unkind remarks about Khalid Ibrahim.

G-man: MACC, which many hoped to be impartial and unbiased seems to be nothing more than a BN lapdog, as demonstrated by the handling of the car and cow matter by them. I am sure by virtue of importance, this case surely is far behind the likes of the rest of the cases of corruption, which implicate BN leaders.

If this is how its going to be, why bother with the MACC at all; its just a waste of taxpayers’ money, which we might as well spend on private investigators.

Absolutely degrading and disgusting

Kaisim: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is hardly six months old. After a long search and debate in trying to get an institution that can act without fear and favor, we are now back to square one.

The MACC is not seen to be fair in its investigation and action. It is beholden to UMNO members, judging from the cases reported in the media. The police are also dragging their feet when comes to UMNO wrongdoings.

Today, we are like living in a country where the law of the jungle exists. UMNO has forgotten that Malaysia is a multi-racial country. What did we do to deserve this treatment? Generally, we work hard for an honest and humble living. This is a democratic society so we have the right to choose the best people to run the country. All that we ask for is to be fair and then leave us alone.

Enjoy the Weekend with Tunes I have chosen for you


Dear Friends,

Disgusting politics in recent weeks prevented me from playing some tunes for you at weekends. Now that I have become accustomed to the ugly face and ferocity of UMNO-BN dirty political games and my colleagues and I are ready to deal with them in our own time and at our own choosing, I decided to reaappear as your DJ.

My dear wife had a hand in persuading me to get back to my usual musical frame of mind, at least for this weekend. So I am starting off with Anne Murray’s chirpy rendition on Snowbird, followed by two tunes by The Carpenters featuring Karen with an unforgettable “Top of the World. “I need to be in love” is my favorite for reasons you probably know and I dedicate it to my Cik Cun. Do have a great weekend.—DJ Din Merican.

Anne Murray- Snowbird

Karen Carpenter–Top of the World

Karen Carpenter—I need to be in Love