The PKR situation in Sabah from another perspective (October 26, 2009)

On PKR Sabah

by Hussein Hamid

Re: People Parliment article “The End Days of PKR in Sabah”.

Quote : “My source who was at the meeting at Merchant Square today said Anwar made it clear at the meeting that he was not going to have any of this. “No way in hell will I have Jeffrey as chief”, Anwar is reported to have blasted. Anwar, it seems, is determined to see a Muslim lead PKR in Sabah because, it is said, he insists that Muslims make up the majority in Sabah.”

Steadyaku47 comments: I do not as a rule read other blogs. Just MT2Day , The Malaysian Insider  and maybe some Local Media – just to keep myself current. This morning one of my friends, KS, sent me Harris posting ‘The End Days of PKR in Sabah” and asked for my comments.  So comment I will – and  I do so with the intention of putting the record right – as I know it -with apologies to Harris.

With all due respect to Harris I have known Anwar for over 50 years. I have yet to hear him use that “HELL” word even once. Not even when he speaks of Mahathir or UMNO! I am sure his close associates will vouch for this claim of mine. So I can say with conviction that he did not say, “No way in hell will I have Jeffrey as chief”,

Jeffery KitinganNow as to whether he will have Jeffrey as ‘Chief’ – is this the same Jeffrey as below:

He is known to be a controversial politician, having been detained under the infamous Internal Security Act on suspicion of plotting to secede Sabah from the federation of Malaysia. He is also known to have switched political parties a number of times, being a former member of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS), Parti Angkatan Keadilan Rakyat (AKAR Bersatu), and United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO). In 2003, he applied to join the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) but his application was rejected. He is currently the Vice President of Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

In the Malaysian General Election 2008, he challenged his brother Joseph Pairin from Barisan Nasional-Parti Bersatu Sabah at the Keningau Parliamentary Constituency, but lost.

If he is then it is not only in Peninsular Malaysia that we are burden with one katak call “Ibrahim Ali’ but there is also one in Sabah. Now if my common sense dictates that I will not want this Ibrahim Ali to be on my team when I am going against another team call UMNO – why would anybody want Jeffery to lead any team against UMNO? You would need to be a moron to trust this guy with anything, much less the future of Pakatan Rakyat! And I know Anwar is not one! You need Jeffery like you would need a hole in your head.

Another quote from Harris article:

“In a fax message addressed to PKR president Wan Azizah, 14 Sabah PKR division chiefs put their signatures to this message, naming just one man as their choice to lead PKR Sabah. Keningau division chief, Datuk Dr. Jeffery Kitingan, is the choice of the strongest PKR divisions in Sabah”.

Again I beg to differ. My credible sources indicated that more divisional heads support Ahmad Thamrin Hj Zaini (letters duly signed) compared to Jeffery (letters by Fax).  All these letters (duly signed for Thamrin and faxed for Jeffery) were tabled at the meeting.  Thamrin is aligned to Jeffery’s camp and was the Secretary to the KeADILan State Committee.

Another quote from Harris article:

“Azmin’s out. The PKR division chiefs have made it clear that he’s not wanted”. There really is no need to malign Azmin. His mandate by Biro Politik Keadilan ends in October. Ditto for Mustafa Kamil in Sarawak!

Another quote:

“Anwar, it seems, is determined to see a Muslim lead PKR in Sabah because, it is said, he insists that Muslims make up the majority in Sabah”.  This is a most pathetic assumption to say that no Muslim is eligible. That all Muslims are deemed to be racists. I see this as a trend among those pseudo intellectuals, clearly with no roots in their own culture and tradition. Do they have any idea what impression the Sabah Muslims  has of Jeffery?…and well deserved too if I may add!

Enough said for now. What I have said above are based on facts that will be borne out in the time to come. As to what transpired when Anwar was in UMNO  and with Mahathir I will leave it to Anwar himself to tell us. Time will reveal all that we need to know. After all we must leave Anwar with some things to tell when he does get to writing his memoirs!

The Lingam Charade

October 31, 2009

The Lingam Charade  ends at Judiciary’s Expense

by Daniel Albert
October 29, 2009

The refusal by the Attorney-General’s Chambers to take any further action or proffer charges against any of the six named individuals involved in the Lingam video clip fiasco has received scathing criticism from the public – and rightly so.

This pre-mature attempt to close official investigations into this matter is an affront to the judiciary and a slap in the face to us all.

The refusal to prosecute in effect means that the implications of blatant judicial manipulation and improper interference surrounding this affair, which were reinforced by the findings of the Royal Commission, will be left to linger and fester without any finality or conclusion.

lingam tape panel meeting 031007 abdul gani patailDespite the public fury stirred by the contents of the video clip, no basis or reasons were given for the AG’s decision. Only a blanket statement was offered to the effect that investigations into the affair had failed to turn up sufficient evidence to bring charges.

So smug are our government officials and leaders that despite the decision going completely against the findings and recommendations of the Royal  Commission, no attempt has been made to provide any further explanation or give reasons for their decision to the rakyat.

It is significant that the findings of the Royal Commission were not merely made by lay individuals devoid of any knowledge of the law. The panel was headed by a former Chief Judge of Malaya and also included a former Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, a former Court of Appeal Judge and a former solicitor-general. The panel was not only highly proficient in the law, but in addition, possessed valuable experience in the workings of the judiciary and AG’s Chambers.

Their specific findings that there was sufficient cause to invoke the Sedition Act 1948, the Prevention of Corruption 1961, the Legal Profession Act 1976, the Official Secrets Act 1972 and the Penal Code against some of the principal individuals involvedwould therefore have been made with a thorough understanding of the application of these laws and the requisite burdens and standards of proof entailed in invoking these laws.

Identities of witnesses not shrouded in secrecy

It is also significant the entire process that led to the commission’s findings were transparent and open to public scrutiny. The identities of the witnesses called were not shrouded in secrecy. Neither was witness testimony extracted behind closed doors by unknown means. Evidence presented was adequately tested by a host of lawyers that represented the interests of all parties concerned. The quality of the inquiry conducted and the evidence obtained as a result was apparent to all.

Over and above all this, what is of utmost significance is that there was basis provided for the findings of the commission. The reasons for their findings were detailed in a report that was disclosed to the public. The conclusions and recommendations made were justified with their interpretation of the evidence obtained.

All this adds credibility to the findings of the commission; a quality sorely lacking in the AG’s decision. What investigations were carried out? Were they sufficiently thorough? What was the outcome of these investigations? What kind of legal expertise were used? Surely, the rakyat is entitled to such answers. It is absurd that a matter of this significance is now being swept under the carpet in such cavalier fashion.

vk lingam tape inquiry 210108 loh mui fah and loh gwo burneShould we be surprised by such action? Sadly, no. The manner in which this matter had been dealt with, from the very start, was indicative of the fashion by which it would be concluded.

When the video clip was first disclosed, whilst the rakyat were livid at the contents of the clip, our then prime minister instead chose to warn those that reported the video clip that action will be taken against them if the allegations that surfaced as a result of the video clip were proven untrue.

Calls for a royal commission were immediately rejected. Instead, a cabinet appointed panel was instead set up. The legal basis of this panel was vague and it was unclear if the panel had the necessary powers to conduct a proper fact-finding inquiry.

Thereafter, the focus was skewed towards identifying the maker and source of the video clip; the contents were made secondary. Curiously, whilst their identities were fastidiously pursued, all mention of the lead actor and his likely conversation partner was carefully avoided by the authorities. Continued calls for a royal commission to be set up fell on deaf ears. The entire time, the de facto law minister had the gall to maintain that the matter had been blown up and there was no crisis within the judiciary.

A royal commission was only set up after almost two months of unabated public outcry and more footage of the video clip revealed – and even then, the terms of reference of the royal commission were exceedingly confined.

Whilst the motivation for such conduct is open to speculation, it is clear that the integrity and sanctity of the judiciary has taken a back seat. As opposed to immediately making every effort to fully investigate the allegations surrounding the video clip and thereafter undertaking the appropriate remedial measures to restore the integrity of the judiciary and public confidence, there have been concerted efforts to play down and where possible avoid the issue all together. Avoiding the issue does not resolve the issue. This however is a solution our leaders seem quite content with.

Scant regard for judicial institution is nothing new

This scant regard for the judicial institution is sadly nothing new. This willingness to prostitute the judiciary has been consistently demonstrated time and time again by our leaders. The integrity and independence of the judiciary is simply not a priority. In fact, it does appear that many of our politicians perceive a strong judiciary as plain trouble.

These sentiments have manifested in the form of continued attacks by our leaders on the judiciary. Attacks, whether by means of controversial appointments and removal of judges or ousting the court’s jurisdiction so that certain governmental action is beyond judicial scrutiny, have undeniably led to the continued erosion and decline of the judicial institution and the state of affairs present.

vk lingam tape 3rd part 280108It was against this backdrop that the Lingam video clip was disclosed. Hence, the public distrust and immediate presumption that many of the allegations surrounding the video may be credible. The hue and cry that ensued and demands for the video clip to be thoroughly investigated was understandable. Had the video clip been disclosed against a backdrop of a strong independent judiciary with a sterling track record, perhaps the AG’s decision, given without reason, would be easier to swallow.

And at what costs is this to the rakyat? Most significantly, the decline of our judiciary has resulted in its inability to function as an effective watchdog on the executive and legislative.

The doctrine of separation of powers dictates that all three organs of the state (executive, legislative and judiciary) act as watchdogs on each other to carry out a process of ‘check and balance’. This is a safeguard to ensure that none of the organs abuses its constitutional power or oversteps its mandate. The reality however is that because the composition of the legislative (Parliament) and executive (government) overlaps and both organs are effectively controlled by the prime minister, the process rarely is effective. This emphasises the role of the judiciary.

Ills of corruption allowed to fester

This failure of the judiciary to carry out this process has allowed avoidance of accountability and transparency in the country’ governing. The ills of corruption, abuse of public funds and excesses of power have been allowed to fester and become constant features in our political landscape.

The disclosure of the video clip presented a golden opportunity to our leadership reform the judiciary; to clean up everything that was wrong and perceived to be wrong with the judiciary and start afresh. Sadly, this now looks unlikely.

It is clear that unless and until there is sincere political will for reform, things will not change. We, the rakyat, must mk50provide the impetus for that change in political will. We need to make clear to our leaders, regardless of political divide, that a strong judiciary is a priority and we will accept nothing less. It is for this very reason we cannot allow this matter to be put to sleep quietly.

Yet another political nonsense: Just Take Action, not another Task Force

October 31, 2009

Comment:  Another Task Force has been created by Prime Minister Najib, this time, it is not a super Task Force like the one set up to look at the PKFZ scandal; it is only an ordinary Task Force to look into the findings of  the 2008 Auditor-General’s Report.  The link between the Super and the Ordinary Task Force is its Chairman, Tan Sri Sidek Hassan, Chief Secretary to the Government.

He is all hypeOnce upon a time (al kisah) in the days of old, UMNO-BN Prime Ministers used the Late Tun Raja Mohar bin Raja Badiozaman to head Task Forces to deal with specific issues. The brilliant Cambridge educated and much admired civil servant was overloaded with such work that he could not perform his role as Advisor to the Prime Minister as effectively as he would have  liked to.

History repeats itself and Prime Minister Najib is now making a habit of using the Task Force approach  to deal with issues that he is not prepared to take on with a firm hand. Like some of his predecessors, especially Mahathir, he has started to overload the present Chief Secretary with duties which are strictly speaking outside the scope of his duty as Head of the Civil Service. Najib is all hype.

The government does not need a Task Force to deal with the Auditor-General’s report; what it needs is the political will to take action quickly  to deal with the mismanagement of the various ministries by senior civil servants.  The Chief Secretary is ultimately responsible for the proper functioning of the civil service. He should, therefore, haul up the Secretary-Generals of ministries identified by the Auditor-General and ask them to explain their excesses and other departures from the General Orders and Treasury regulations. Then the MACC  should be called in to deal with those who have flouted the guidelines and procedures, and there should be no cover-ups.

As for the Prime Minister, he should hold his Ministers personally accountable for abuses in their respective Ministries. Will he do it?  To answer this question, I wish to quote Barry Wain, author of Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times, who had this to say of Najib:

“Najib’s record offer few clues as to how he might approach his prime ministerial assignment, beyond acting cautiously and pragmatically. So light has been his ministerial touch, except in defence, that it is hard to establish where he stands on major issues, or how he would like Malaysia to adapt to the strong currents buffeting the country, from globalization externally to so-called “creeping Islamization” (and if  I may add, UMNO  racist politics) within. The charitable explanation is that he was long overshadowed by the dominant Mahathir, who involved himself in almost every major policy his administration pursued for 22 years.

In short, Najib won’t cut his own throat by taking a tough stance on the civil service. Neither would he  against his own party, UMNO. On UMNO, Barry adds,” …Najib is unlikely to clean up the party, since that would antagonise the divisional warloads and others who delivered the votes for him and now expect to reap the business rewards. As the close associate of Najib puts it, ‘He won’t cut his throat‘ “*.

Malaysia is a rich country and UMNO leaders and their cronies will continue to put their hands in our national till at the expense of the rest of us. After all, outstanding Auditor-Generals like Tan Sri Ahmad Noordin and Tan Sri Ishak Tadin and others were dispensed with. The same fate may await  my good friend, Tan Sri Amrin Buang–Din Merican.

* Barry Wain, Najib’s Challenge: Glory or Oblivion (Far Eastern Economic Review, 2009), reprinted from FEER by Research for Social Advancement (REFSA), 2009, pp 15 and 19.

Yet Another Task Force with the same Task Force Head

bernama logoThe government has set up a high-powered task force, headed by chief secretary to the government Mohd Sidek Hassan, to study the 2008 Auditor-General’s report and initiate appropriate action against those responsible for financial irregularities and abuse of power mentioned in the report.

Prime Minister Najib Razak said the setting-up of the task force had received the green light from the cabinet, which met today, and was in line with the government’s effort to realise a high performance culture in the civil service.

NONE“The cabinet views the report seriously and has decided that a task force be formed to probe financial irregularities mentioned in the report.

The committee will not only look at the abuse of power and initiate action against those found involved in financial irregularities but also take administrative action against those found guilty but could not be charged in court for various reasons,” he told a news conference at his office.

The task force would also include Finance Ministry secretary-general Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah, Public Service Department director-general Ismail Adam and auditor-general Ambrin Buang himself.

They would have the power to rope in attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission if the need arose.

The Augitor-General’s report has highlighted cases where billions had been lost due to mismanagement of government projects.

This included the Transport Ministry’s RM6 billion Ipoh-Rawang double-tracking project, which due to it being poorly managed, resulting in losses amounting to RM1.14 billion.

Najib: It’s not a witch-hunt

“I want to emphasise here that we are not on a witch-hunt of any kind, but we want to ensure that those who have done wrong are not let off the hook.

“We will use the law against those found to be involved in irregularities but if there are cases which we cannot take to court, we will use administrative action like a demotion or a transfer,” said the prime minister.

He said action would be based on fairness and would take into consideration all mitigating factors and circumstances.

“We also have to give these people a fair chance to defend themselves. The task force will have the power to summon anyone it thinks fit to testify to the task force.

“We also want to show that even those in the government administrative system are not let off if they had issued wrong orders to those lower down. The cabinet feels that action must be taken as we do not want mistakes repeated annually and only pointed out in the Auditor-General’s report without any serious action taken against wrongdoers,” said Najib, who is also finance minister.

Najib said the task force would hold its first meeting Monday and look at the report on a case to case basis in stages.

The prime minister stressed that the government wanted to show that it was committed to initiating stern action against those who abuse power while in office.

“I know we cannot achieve zero irregularities but we can reduce its incidence,” he added.

He said that while the government was going after those who committed wrong while in the civil service, it would also reward those who performed their duties well.

“We are not only taking punitive action but also instilling the high performance culture where those who perform well mk50get rewarded,” he added.

Happy Birthday Tean Rean

October 31, 2001

tean rean

Tean Rean

Dr Kamsiah and I sincerely wish you Many Happy Returns of the Day and hope that despite depressing news out of BolehLand, you find some time to enjoy this occasion with my family and friends  just sabai, sabai.

Well, being caught between Maria Osawa and Paris Hilton is not a bad situation to be in and I think, New Yorker Bean, Salmiah Hassan, Tok Cik , Menyalak-er, Danildaud and others including our UMNO- BN brother, Ilham, will agree on this. For one single moment, we all can agree while we have our differences when it comes to politics.–Din Merican

ps we have added a Louis Armstrong song for you with a kind reminder that we must not lose our capacity to dream.

Press Release from Datuk Seri Wan Azizah, PKR President


Tarikh: 29hb Oktober 2009

wan azizah wan ismailRombakan kepimpinan KeADILan telah menimbulkan kekeliruan dan keresahan di kalangan tertentu. Saya sepenuhnya menyedari bahawa tidak semua akan berpuas hati dengan keputusan yang dibuat kepimpinan parti serta menghargai betapa sukarnya kami untuk membuat keputusan dengan meneliti setiap pandangan yang disampaikan, termasuk dari cabang-cabang yang menjadi tulang belakang parti, di samping memastikan parti mencapai matlamatnya.

Tatkala parti kita mulai berkembang dan menjelma menjadi sebuah organisasi yang disegani dan dihormati, sememangnya kita akan menempuh saat sukar untuk mencipta kesimbangan kepimpinan yang terbaik dan strategi yang ampuh untuk mengangkat kita ke tahap perjuangan seterusnya. Sepanjang itu kita telah menempuh pelbagai cabaran serta menemui bakat-bakat baru yang komited dengan perjuangan parti. Kita perlu bekerja kuat untuk mencapai apa yang dicita-citakan dan keputusan yang dibuat minggu ini dibuat selepas mendapat mandat dan berdasarkan semangat musyawarah dalam parti.

Keadilan ditubuhkan untuk menjadi wadah penyatu kepada semua Rakyat Malaysia merentasi batas agama dan kaum serta mengembalikan keutuhan keluhuran Perlembagaan Persekutuan. Perjuangan ini ternyata bukan tugas mudah dan merupakan satu tanggungjawab serta cabaran kepada semua pendokong Keadilan.

Beberapa tahun lalu ramai yang mencemuh kita kerana kesungguhan perjuangan KeADILan yang berhasrat untuk menamatkan politik perkauman sempit dan membanteras amalan rasuah. Namun bersama rakan-rakan dalam Pakatan Rakyat, kita telah melakarkan kejayaan bersejarah demi memulihkan demokrasi, kebebasan dan kedaulatan undang-undang. Kejayaan tersebut kita kecapi walaupun tidak mendapat sokongan media arus perdana dan berhadapan dengan segala kekuatan serta serangan bertali arus institusi kerajaan yang dikongkong pimpinan UMNO-Barisan Nasional.

Sememangnya kita terpaksa berhadapan dengan pelbagai masalah yang mengecewakan selepas pilihanraya umum Mac lalu. Perjuangan politik kepartian terbukti berhadapan dengan jalan berliku, dan permuafakatan politik tidaklah menjelma sekelip mata. Kekecewaan yang diluahkan oleh sebilangan rakan dan ahli parti ada asasnya. Walau bagaimanapun saya sedia berbincang dengan semua pihak didasari rasa hormat, persefahaman dan iltizam menegakkan keadilan.

Masa hadapan negara ini, perjuangan kita serta Pakatan Rakyat tidak bergantung kepada mana-mana individu. Saya menyeru agar semua berpegang teguh dan tetap bersabar memastikan kejayaan perjuangan kita demi Rakyat Malaysia.

Parti KeADILan Rakyat


Date: October 29, 2009

Recent changes to the leadership in KeADILan have caused confusion and consternation among some.  I recognise that not everyone will be pleased with decisions made by the party’s leadership and not everyone will appreciate the difficulty we face in seeking to accommodate all views, including those of the divisions and branches which make up the backbone of the party, while striving to guide our party towards achieving its goals.

As our party grows in number and transforms into a national organization we have struggled at times to identify right strategy and mix of leadership that will carry us to the next level. Along the way we have encountered great challenges and have also uncovered promising new talent. Our task remains a work in progress and the announcements made this week are based on consensus and consultation within the party to work towards a better future.

KeADILan was established with a mission to be a unifying force for Malaysians of all races and religions and restore the integrity of the principles enshrined in the Federal Constitution.  This mission carries unprecedented import and its pursuit confronts us with unparalled challenges.

Over the years many have poured scorn on our aspirations for a brighter future and have derided our belief in an end to racial politics and rampant corruption.  And yet we, with our partners in the Pakatan Rakyat, made historic progress towards restoring democracy, freedom and the Rule of Law. We have done so despite a hostile media and the relentless attacks on us by the institutions of the government and the unlimited resources of the UMNO-led BN coalition.

I acknowledge the setbacks that we have faced since the March elections.  Political parties are complex organisms and political coalitions are neither crystallised overnight nor even in a fortnight.  The frustrations which have been expressed by some colleagues within the party and by some supporters are valid and I remain open to engaging all parties on the principle of mutual respect, understanding and an unrelenting commitment to the principles of justice and fairness.

The future of the nation does not lie in the hands of any one individual nor does our party nor does this coalition. I continue to ask the ongoing faith and patience of the people in supporting the mission of KEADILan and of Pakatan Rakyat.

Parti KeADILan Rakyat

Some jazz and sentimental tunes to soothe your aching heart this weekend


It has been rough week for my colleagues and I with all the happenings in Sabah and Selangor. It is timely for me to play a collection of jazz tunes (Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and His Majesty The King of Thailand and Nat King Cole)  and sentimental songs (by Peggy Lee and Joni James) for us to relax together.

Jones James and Peggy Lee are my favorite female vocalists  from yesteryears and I am sure their fans will be happy that I am featuring them for this week’s entertainment.  Yes, Joni, I love to take Dr. Kamsiah on a slow boat to Shanghai, China.  New Yorker and Osawa Tean, I preempt you this time.–DJ Din Merican

Glenn Miller–In the Mood

Benny Goodman and His Majesty The King of Thailand

Nat King Cole–Let There be Love

Peggy Lee–Mr. Wonderful

Joni James– You’ll Never Know

Joni James–On A Slow Boat to China

Joni James– Where can I go without you

Jeffrey hints at 2nd chance for PKR in Sabah

Oct0ber 29, 2009

Joe Fernandez writes (October 28, 2009): Jeffrey hints at 2nd chance for PKR in Sabah

Jeffrey Kitingan, who yesterday quit his post as PKR vice-president, has hinted at the possibility of a second chance for opposition party in Sabah. However, he painted a ‘big if’ situation.

He urged party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to move immediately to implement three steps that would stave off a total collapse of PKR in the state.

kitingan project ic 250107 jeffery kitinganFirstly, the PKR constitution should be changed to recognise the special position of Sabah and Sarawak (in Malaysia) by giving them autonomy to manage their political affairs and organisation.

Secondly, the leadership at the PKR headquarters based in Selangor should allow the divisional delegates to choose the state leadership line-up including the Sabah PKR chief, which will likely to be Jeffrey himself.

Thirdly, the party should create a special committee to review, manage and implement the requirements of the 20-points agreements when Sabah joined the federation.

The three recommendations are contained in Jeffrey’s resignation letter which he emailed late this afternoon to Wan Azizah.

The Sabah strongman also resigned as a member of the party’s supreme council and the political bureau, but remains as party member and Keningau division chief.

Views not respected

Jeffrey, when contacted in Kota Belud, confirmed that he had indeed emailed his letter of resignation to Wan Azizah and confirmed the gist of its contents.

“The three steps, if implemented, will allow PKR to address local issues and sentiments without having to set up a local political party,” writes Jeffrey in his resignation letter. “It will promote democracy in the state.”

Touching on his resignation, Jeffrey expressed regrets that he had to relinquish his position in the party as his “views are not respected”.

Jeffrey recalled that he joined the party because he “believed in its philosophy of democracy and struggle for justice, freedom and democracy and its recognition and acceptance of the Tambunan Declaration”.  The Tambunan Declaration incorporates Sabah rights and the 1963 Malaysia Agreement.

“I worked hard day and night in Sabah and Sarawak too, putting my life on the line sometimes, to promote the party,” writes Jeffrey. “It did not matter to me who was the state chief as long as we worked as a team.”

Jeffrey assured the party president that he had nothing against Ahmad Thamrin Jaini, the newly-appointed state chief, Azmin Ali who got the boot as the state chief and party advisor Anwar Ibrahim.  However, the Sabah division chiefs had to draw a line somewhere when “Anwar continued to look at Sabah the same way he did when he was in UMNO”.

“Many now wonder what reformasi (reformation) is all about when it comes to Sabah and Sarawak,” pointed out Jeffrey. “It had been our hope that PKR would be different from Umno as far as the handling and treatment of Sabah and Sarawak is concerned. But sadly, there’s no difference.”

Musical chairs

In support, Jeffrey cited the fact that the third state chief, Awang Tengah, was removed by Anwar despite the fact that he had the support of 90 percent of the divisions.

He attributed this to instigation of a certain division chief who has the ear of Anwar and is willing to be a proxy for people in Kuala Lumpur.

Awang Tengah’s removal, Jeffrey charged, was simply to facilitate the appointment of the unpopular Tuaran division chief Ansari Abdullah as the fourth state chief.

NONEWhen Anwar found that almost the entire Sabah PKR was against Ansari, he took over as state chief for two months before relinquishing the post to Azmin, who sought advice only from Ansari on how to run the party in the state.

In Sarawak, Jeffrey complained, the unpopular Mustapha Kamil Ayub from Perak was thrust on party members in the state despite their protests.

In one of his parting shots, Jeffrey reminded the PKR president that the party lost the general election in the state last year simply because it was led by a state chief who did not have the support of the majority of the divisions.

“If the party doesn’t change its approach in Sabah and Sarawak, it will continue to get weaker and will no longer be cohesive as when it first started,” warned Jeffrey.

The September 20 memorandum, signed by 18 division chiefs, said Jeffrey, “is a manifestation of the same concern for better decision-making based on the principles of democracy which the party preaches.”

mk50Whoever is appointed as the state chief in Sabah “will only bring disaster to the party” if he or she doesn’t have the support of the division chiefs, warned Jeffrey.

The 20 Point Agreement

Point 1: Religion

While there was no objection to Islam being the national religion of Malaysia there should be no State religion in North Borneo, and the provisions relating to Islam in the present Constitution of Malaya should not apply to North Borneo

Point 2: Language

  • a. Malay should be the national language of the Federation
  • b. English should continue to be used for a period of 10 years after Malaysia Day
  • c. English should be an official language of North Borneo for all purposes, State or Federal, without limitation of time.

Point 3: Constitution

Whilst accepting that the present Constitution of the Federation of Malaya should form the basis of the Constitution of Malaysia, the Constitution of Malaysia should be a completely new document drafted and agreed in the light of a free association of states and should not be a series of amendments to a Constitution drafted and agreed by different states in totally different circumstances. A new Constitution for North Borneo (Sabah) was, of course, essential.

Point 4: Head of Federation

The Head of State in North Borneo should not be eligible for election as Head of the Federation.

Point 5: Name of Federation

“Malaysia” but not “Melayu Raya”

Point 6: Immigration

Control over immigration into any part of Malaysia from outside should rest with the Central Government but entry into North Borneo should also require the approval of the State Government. The Federal Government should not be able to veto the entry of persons into North Borneo for State Government purposes except on strictly security grounds. North Borneo should have unfettered control over the movements of persons other than those in Federal Government employ from other parts of Malaysia into North Borneo.

Point 7: Right of Secession

There should be no right to secede from the Federation

Point 8: Borneanisation

Borneanisation of the public service should proceed as quickly as possible.

Point 9: British Officers

Every effort should be made to encourage British Officers to remain in the public service until their places can be taken by suitably qualified people from North Borneo

Point 10: Citizenship

The recommendation in paragraph 148(k) of the Report of the Cobbold Commission should govern the citizenship rights in the Federation of North Borneo subject to the following amendments:

  • a) sub-paragraph (i) should not contain the proviso as to five years residence
  • b) in order to tie up with our law, sub-paragraph (ii)(a) should read “7 out of 10 years” instead of “8 out of 10 years”
  • c) sub-paragraph (iii) should not contain any restriction tied to the citizenship of parents – a person born in North Borneo after Malaysia must be federal citizen.

Point 11: Tariffs and Finance

North Borneo should retain control of its own finance, development and tariff, and should have the right to work up its own taxation and to raise loans on its own credit.

Point 12: Special position of indigenous races

In principle, the indigenous races of North Borneo should enjoy special rights analogous to those enjoyed by Malays in Malaya, but the present Malays’ formula in this regard is not necessarily applicable in North Borneo

Point 13: State Government

  • a) the Prime Minister should be elected by unofficial members of Legislative Council
  • b) There should be a proper Ministerial system in North Borneo

Point 14: Transitional period

This should be seven years and during such period legislative power must be left with the State of North Borneo by the Constitution and not be merely delegated to the State Government by the Federal Government

Point 15: Education

The existing educational system of North Borneo should be maintained and for this reason it should be under state control

Point 16: Constitutional safeguards

No amendment modification or withdrawal of any special safeguard granted to North Borneo should be made by the Central Government without the positive concurrence of the Government of the State of North Borneo

The power of amending the Constitution of the State of North Borneo should belong exclusively to the people in the state. (Note: The United Party, The Democratic Party and the Pasok Momogun Party considered that a three-fourth majority would be required in order to effect any amendment to the Federal and State Constitutions whereas the UNKO and USNO considered a two-thirds majority would be sufficient)

Point 17: Representation in Federal Parliament

This should take account not only of the population of North Borneo but also of its siz and potentialities and in any case should not be less than that of Singapore

Point 18: Name of Head of State

Yang di-Pertua Negara

Point 19: Name of State


Point 20: Land, Forests, Local Government, etc.

The provisions in the Constitution of the Federation in respect of the powers of the National Land Council should not apply in North Borneo. Likewise, the National Council for Local Government should not apply in North Borneo.

Dr.Wan Azizah concedes that internal problems plague PKR

October 29, 2009


PKR President Dr. Wan Azizah concedes not all is well with party

In a frank admission, PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail conceded that the country’s leading opposition party is facing internal problems amid a spate of resignations from key leaders.

bukit gantang by election wan azizah ceramah 020109 03“The frustrations which have been expressed by some colleagues within the party and by some supporters are valid…,” said Wan Azizah in a statement today.

Over the past two days, PKR has been hit by the resignations of vice-president Jeffrey Kitingan and Sabah Wanita deputy chief Christina Liew as well as talks that secretary-general Salehuddin Hashim would quit the party.  Salehuddin has since denied he was stepping down.

Both Jeffrey and Liew have expressed their unhappiness over the decision of the top PKR leadership on a string of issues, the latest being the appointment of Ahmad Thamrin Jaini as the party’s new Sabah state leader.

“Recent changes to the leadership in KeADILan have caused confusion and consternation among some. I recognise that not everyone will be pleased with decisions made by the party’s leadership and not everyone will appreciate the difficulty we face in seeking to accommodate all views, including those of the divisions and branches which make up the backbone of the party, while striving to guide our party towards achieving its goals,” said Wan Azizah.

“I acknowledge the setbacks that we have faced since the March elections. Political parties are complex organisms and political coalitions are neither crystallised overnight nor even in a fortnight.”

Appeal to supporters

She said that PKR had struggled at times to “identify the right strategy and mix of leadership” as the party grew and sought to transform itself into a national organisation. “Along the way we have encountered great challenges and have also uncovered promising new talent. Our task remains a work in progress…,” she added.

zaid ibrahimWhile Wan Azizah did not go into details on the nature of the problems, there is undercurrents within the party over the role to be played by newcomer Zaid Ibrahim, the former UMNO minister who joined PKR four months ago.

With PKR deputy president Syed Husin Ali ready to bow out of the party soon, vice-president Azmin Ali – a confidant of de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim – and Zaid are both seen to be potential candidates to fill the post.

In the statement today, Wan Azizah went out of her way to reassure party supporters that PKR was working to resolve its internal problems.

“The future of the nation does not lie in the hands of any one individual, nor does our party, nor does this (Pakatan Rakyat) coalition. I continue to ask the ongoing faith and patience of the people in supporting the mission of PKR and of Pakatan.”

Understanding the Politics of Sabah and Sarawak: UMNO style replicated

October 29, 2009

malaysian insider

East Malaysia is 1Malaysia?

by James Chin

sabah mtkinaI always laugh when I hear politicians claim that Sabah and Sarawak epitomises 1 Malaysia. In the main, Sabah and Sarawak are supposed to be fine examples of places where race and religion do not matter, and where all ethnic groups and religions live happily side by side. Paradise on earth. Malaysians living in the peninsula would do well to go, see and learn from Sarawakians and Sabahans on how to apply 1 Malaysia.

As someone who spent nearly 20 years in Sarawak, and visited Sabah often, I really have to say that the Sabah and Sarawak of 1 Malaysia do not exist anymore. Yes, before 1970 you really can say that ethnicity and religion were minor issues. In Sabah it was common to see several religions in one family and mix marriages in East Malaysia were quite common. In fact in Sabah they became a distinct category — the Sino-Kadazans. The number of Iban-Chinese marriages was also quite common in the upper river regions of Sarawak. Muslims were quite happy to sit in the same kopitiam where pork was served, and churches, temples and mosques can all be found on the same street. People visit each other during the festivals and you do not have to second guess if the food was halal or not.

Fast forward to today. The politics of today, especially the BN model where political parties are mobilised along ethnic and religious lines, is the norm. This is more so in Sabah when UMNO and its three “runners” — MCA, Gerakan and MIC — established branches there in 1990. This established the clear race and religion politics framework you have in the peninsula. Prior to that, in the 1980s, the “Project M” was to ensure Muslim numerical supremacy in Sabah — again with the aim of reconfiguring the political balance there. Thousands of Muslims from Sulu and Indonesian Borneo ended up as Sabahans with their names on the voting roll.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Sabah politics was between the Muslims, Chinese, Dusuns, Kadazans and the minor groups. By the late 1980s, the lines were completely redrawn into three categories — Chinese, Muslim Bumiputera and non-Muslim Bumiputera. Sounds similar to the Malay, Chinese and Indian game?

In Sarawak, in the immediate post-independence days it was the Chinese, Ibans, Bidayuhs and Malays who played a major role in politics. By the late 1970s the game was reduced to the Ibans, Chinese and the Melanau. Truly multi-racial parties such as Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP) and Sarawak National Party (SNAP) became “Chinese” and “Iban” parties.

Tsarawak-iban+dancehe Melanau hegemonic control over Sarawak politics has ensured that the polity there now is even more aware of ethnicity and religion. The divide-and-rule tactic ensures that almost all ethnic groups there want to establish their own little party so they can “represent” their people. Like Sabah, politics there is now based firmly along the three categories — Chinese, Muslim Bumiputera and non-Muslim Bumiputera.

Today while all the parties in East Malaysia claim to be multi-racial and 1 Malaysia, in reality they only pander to one ethnic group. Yes, in every one of them, they will have some token minority but in reality when it comes to the grand bargaining such as forming a government, they represent a single ethnic group.

The trend towards Islamisation of politics in Peninsular Malaysia is also moving into East Malaysia. In the early 1980s, you hardly saw women wearing the tudong, and men wearing the jubah were mostly non-East Malaysians. Today it is a common sight in East Malaysia. Religion is now a sensitive issue in East Malaysia.

So let us be brutally honest with ourselves. The race and religion political framework that destroyed ethnic relations in Peninsular Malaysia is well entrenched in East Malaysia after 46 years of the Federation of Malaysia. Let us not fool ourselves that things are better in East Malaysia. The BN structure based on ethnic representation is the same model being used by the state BN coalitions in Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. Peninsular Malaysia has successfully “exported” its political framework to East Malaysia! Now that’s what I called “1 Malaysia”!

Public Funds for the Taking with no Accountability

October 28,2009

Citizen Nades:  Say ‘Tak Nak’ to ‘Tennis Segera’

In this column some years ago, I made an observation: If you dug a hole in front of your house and threw in some guppies, you could get a VIP to officially launch it and it would be declared a “tourist attraction”. What I did not add was that you could even get million-ringgit grants from the government. From watch exhibitions to sports events, the phrase “tourist attraction” has been used to squeeze the arms of our tourism “czars” for money.

It was not surprising that a retired police officer with “strong connections” walked into Tourism Malaysia’s office demanding RM10 million so that he could open a booth at last year’s Beijing Olympics. When he was politely shown the door, one of the bosses remarked: “Even my father does not like you.”

If you thought that the nonsense of “investing” in sports activities ended with the Champions Youth Cup (CYC) where a “bidding” fee of RM17 million was paid to the promoter which led to the National Sports Council almost breaking the bank, the queues are getting longer at the Tourism Ministry. The key weapons in the new operators’ armoury are “project paper” and “surat sokong”. Armed with these, all and sundry have joined the bandwagon – spin doctors, journalists and even sports officials – to become sports impresarios. For a good measure, the traditional name-dropping game is used.

Last month, we had the Malaysian Open ATP tournament and no one knows how much the Tourism Ministry doled out. Yet we talk about Key Performance Index and Return on Investment. Of course, the reasoning that is often given is that “the tournament will put Malaysia on the world map.” Really? Does anyone measure the returns on million-ringgit investments? Except for the VIPs who get the syiok sendiri feeling of rubbing shoulders with the stars, there’s nothing to show.

If you are talking about attracting tourists, then the promotions for the event must have started a year ago. But no, we can “create” instant tourists. And after the never-heard of CYC tournament which came to our shores three years ago and in which we lost more than RM25 million, another circus is coming to town.

It’s called the Showdown of Champions – Asia versus Russia Grand Slam 2009. Ever heard of it? No one had heard of it previously. I Googled this tournament and as of noon yesterday, there were just two entries – both from the website of the Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM). There were no such tournaments previously and someone coined the name of the tournament and for good measure appointed a failed but good-looking tennis star as “ambassador”.

Does she have to present credentials to anyone? Probably not, since she has not won a major singles title. Judging by the posting on the website, even the LTAM does not deem it important enough to deserve better play. The posting dated Sunday reads: Tennis fans will be in for a treat as the Tourism Minister is scheduled to launch the Showdown of Champions 2009 at the Pavillion Shopping Center in Bukit Bintang at 10am tomorrow. Also, a Russian female star will grace the event and meet our junior players at the National Tennis Center in the evening.

Four women will travel to Kuala Lumpur with an entourage of coaches, tukang urut and the lot (on first-class of course) and we the taxpayers are supposed to pay for their holiday. And we are told that some tukang urut have also jumped on the bandwagon.

Government departments and agencies are not sports promoters. And for one moment, do not use the phrase “it will help promote tennis among the youth”. We have had an overdose of such clichés.

Are we giving promoters the impression that Malaysians are a gullible lot? Like trying to export snow to the Eskimos, many are looking East for vulnerable people who are willing to part with their money so as to enrich themselves with all kinds of events. And we seem to be suckers for punishment. No one will have any qualms if promoters take their money out of their own pockets and take business risks. But when taxpayers are asked to guarantee that such events are not financial disasters, then it takes a different dimension. If previously, government-linked-companies were directed to do “national service” by underwriting costs, they have now turned to the government coffers, in this case, taxpayers’ money.

At a time when the Tourism Ministry can’t even put its house in order with the million-ringgit losses in “investments” by its wholly-owned companies under the Pempena umbrella, why is it getting involved in areas which are alien to it?

The Tourism Malaysia and the Tourism Ministry must come clean on the sports events that they are funding. Taxpayers are entitled to know how much is being spent on and what kind of returns can be expected. The reply can be envisaged: “Malaysia will be mentioned four thousand nine hundred and two times during the telecast and we see this as valuable returns” but are we as gullible as they are?

Heads of government departments and agencies are custodians of people’s money. They have to be prudent and the principle of “value for money” must always be in their minds when spending it. While some will be labelled as “kedekut” and refuse to part with taxpayers’ money without examining its implications, there are many who are willing to spend RM42,000 for a laptop. And the people at Tourism Malaysia have seen similar transactions in the past; the time has come for them to be accountable for their actions.

Now that the dozens of “aides” of the minister have found themselves in different locations and no longer poke their heads into finance and administration, it is time for Tourism Malaysia to stand up and say: “We’ll not be a party to your money-making schemes.”

While there are returns from events like the F1, R. Nadeswaran feels that “instant” kucing-kurap tournaments should not be touched with a 10-foot pole. He is editor (special and investigative reporting) at theSun and can be reached at:

Secretary-General Sallehuddin Hashim denies quitting PKR

October 28, 2009

Sallehuddin Hashim denies quitting PKR

by Terence Netto

PKR secretary general Sallehuddin Hashim denied this evening that he had resigned from his post amidst swirling rumours that he had sent a strongly-worded letter of resignation to party supremo Anwar Ibrahim.

salehuddin hashim interview 110408 thinkingIn remarks made to Malaysiakini, Sallehuddin (left) blithely attributed the rumours to his penchant for telling his supporters in the party that “…if I find my position untenable, I will quit.”

“I’m always telling them that,” chuckled Salehuddin on the phone to Malaysiakini, adding, “That’s probably why those rumours of me quitting are now flying around.”

“I’ve not quit,” he reiterated.

Sources, however, say that Salehuddin had already sent in his letter of resignation today and that it contained criticisms against the leadership.

“I don’t know what his strategy is,” commented a source who claims to know of the existence of the ‘quit’ letter.

At loggerheads with PKR bigwigs

A man of vaunted candor, Sallehuddin would likely take umbrage at a suggestion that any decision to dispatch a resignation letter could be part of a strategic manoeuvre rather than outright avowal of intent.

“I’ll call you when I have quit,” was all Sallehuddin was prepared to say when pressed on the veracity of the ‘quit letter’ sources say he sent Anwar.  Sallehuddin, who from the outset has made it clear that he is not interested in a career in politics, is known to be at loggerheads with PKR bigwigs, owing mainly to his impatience with unnecessary politicking.

He has clashed with territorial barons in the party who were unduly preoccupied with their own fiefdoms and pursuing their own interests  while prosecuting their personal feuds.

mk50A lawyer by training but a corporate trouble shooter by experience, Sallehuddin has previously spoken to Anwar about wanting to quit his secretary general’s post for a role in the private sector.

Mahathir told to shut up by PAS President

Ustaz Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi told Mahathir to shut up

malaysian insiderby Adib Zalkapli

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang today ticked off Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, saying he should not interfere in the Islamist party rocky leadership crisis.

“Only the party can decide on the leadership,” Hadi told reporters in Parliament.

He was responding to Dr Mahathir’s call yesterday for the PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat to step down because of his age.

Last week the Kelantan mentri besar called on the party to convene a special muktamar to oust certain leaders he claimed to be “problematic.”

hadi-awang-oct27“We practice democracy in PAS and we allow everyone to express their views, there had been differences of opinion before and we handled it well,” said Hadi on Nik Aziz’s call.

He said that Nik Aziz as the head of the syura council is responsible in ensuring that the party is run according to the direction set by the body.

“We practice collective leadership and he is still the head of the syura,” said Hadi.

When asked about Nik Aziz’s attendance to the central committee meeting tomorrow night, Hadi said the party understands his tight schedule.

“It will depend on his health, we know about his health and he is also busy because the Kelantan state assembly is still in session,” said Hadi.

The special committee meeting was called to decide whether a special muktamar is necessary. Nik Aziz was invited to attend the meeting in his capacity as the Kelantan party chief.

On allegation that PR parties were responsible for instigating Nik Aziz to make the call for EGM Hadi dismissed it as baseless.

“I don’t believe that, we have a good relationship with Pakatan and we meet at least twice a week,” said Hadi.

He also said the unity government proposal which was raised early this year had been dropped.

“We proposed it during the administration of Tun Abdullah Badawi and things have changed,” said Hadi when asked about his stand on forming political cooperation with UMNO.

Anak Banggau: Mengapa tidak pilih Jeffery Ketua PKR Sabah?

October 26, 2009

Sabah – Anwar, Pisang Tak Berbuah Dua Kali

Oleh Anak Banggau, Selangor (di terima melalui e-mel)

anwaribrahim3Rakyat khususnya penyokong PR baik di seluruh negara ataupun Sabah khususnya mengharapkan isu kepimpinan PKR di Sabah akan diselesaikan dengan baik setelah episod Azmin Ali yang ditolak kepimpinannya. Mengapa bahagian di Sabah menolak Azmin seharusnya difahami dengan teliti oleh Anwar, selaku ketua PKR.

Anwar dikatakan berpengalaman luas dalam politik, semua rakyat mengakui ketokohannya, dan selaras dengan ini rakyat dan penyokong PKR terutamanya di Sabah mengharapkan Anwar menggunakan kebijaksanaannya dalam menyelesaikan kemelut politik dan kepimpinan PKR di Sabah. Kalau PKR Sabah mantap, ini bukan sahaja mencerahkan harapan untuk menang dan menguasai negeri ini di PU akan datang, tetapi juga akan memberi kesan yang positif kepada anggota PR yang lain, seperti DAP dan PAS.

Jeffery KitinganMalah mungkin dengan penyelesaian yang baik dan menggembirakan rakyat Sabah, PR juga akan mendapat sokongan dari parti-parti lain di Sabah yang menentang BN. Tetapi malangnya, Anwar tidak melihat peluang ini. Dia melantik Thamrin. Siapa Thamrin?, begitu teman saya bertanya. Saya jawab, saya pun tak kenal. Mungkin dia `tokoh besar’ dalam politik Sabah, saya menjawab sinis. Teman saya ketawa terbahak.

Saya diberitahu melalui beberapa sumber, hampir 80 peratus bahagian Sabah mahu Jeffrey dilantik sebagai Ketua PKR Sabah. Saya fikir ini suatu tuntutan yang wajar. Jeffrey sudahpun memegang jawatan Naib Presiden PKR, jadi apalah salahnya maka beliau tidak diberi kepercayaan memimpin Sabah, lebih-lebih lagi dalam keadaan PKR terumbang ambing sekarang.

Lagi pun, isu yang dilaungkan oleh ramai pihak di Sabah ialah mereka perlukan orang tempatan, tetapi harus juga diingat, bukan sebarang orang tempatan yang tidak mempunyai pengaruh. Thamrin mungkin Ketua Bahagian Libayan, tetapi sebagai Ketua bahagian pun, ramai orang tidak mengenalinya, apa lagi berpengaruh atau disegani untuk mengawal dan memimpin PKR Sabah. Kalau saya jadi Jeffery pun, saya pasti tidak setuju. Malu lah Jeffery, walaupun sebagai Naib Presiden, tetapi di Sabah dia tidak diiktiraf, tetapi terpaksa bekerja di bawah Thamrin yang setahun jagung dalam politik.

Ada orang mengatakan rekod Jeffery tidak baik, tetapi bolehkah dicari mana-mana tokoh Sabah (baik dari BN sekalipun) yang benar-benar bersih dalam erti kata yang sebenarnya. Jeffrey, walaupun latar belakang politiknya dilihat meragukan (kerana sering lompat parti) apa bezanya dengan tokoh-tokoh lain. Umum mengatakan, kalau anda tidak bertukar parti , anda belum lagi lulus sebagai orang politik di Sabah.

Lihatlah sejarah. Tun Mustafa, Harris Salleh, Osu Sukam, Pairin, James Ongkili, Bernard Dompok, Yong Teck Lee, Ansari Abdullah, John Ghani, Salleh Said, Said Keruak dan senarainya amat panjang – kesemuanya mempunyai lebih daripada satu parti dalam karier politik mereka. Ahli UMNO Sabah sekarangpun, sebenarnya bukanlah ahli UMNO sejak mula, mereka ini juga adalah bekas ahli parti lain di Sabah, sebelum UMNO bertapak di negeri itu seperti dari USNO, Berjaya, UPKO, PBS dan lain-lain. Keadaan dan latar belakang politik Sabah memang unik, justeru ada banyak parti di negeri itu atas sebab dan akibatnya tersendiri.

Berbalik kepada Jeffrey. Memang dia sebelum ini ahli kepada beberapa parti politik – macam Ibrahim Ali di Malaysia lah. Rais Yatim, Shabery Chik, Tengku Razaleigh pun pernah bertukar parti. Tetapi Jeffrey di lihat satu-satunya tokoh politik Sabah yang boleh dikatakan setanding dengan pemimpin politik lain (BN) di Sabah. Beliau dikenali oleh seluruh rakyat Sabah dan telah melalui banyak pengalaman, pernah ditahan bawah ISA. Ketika Anwar sibuk menjaja projek 16 September untuk menarik kononnya ahli parlimen Sabah melompat ke PKR (atau PR) sebagai agenda menubuhkan Kerajaan Pusat, Anwar gagal menarik walau seorang ahli Parlimen Sabah (dan Sarawak) ke dalam PKR.

Projek 16 September Anwar Ibrahim kini bukan sahaja tertimbus dalam lipatan sejarah politik, tetapi juga dijadikan ejekan dan bahan ketawa oleh BN. Kesian Anwar, mulai sejak itu kredibilitinya juga saya rasa ikut terjejas dan dikatakan Anwar juga dah kelentong rakyat. Anwar sepatutnya bersyukur.

Walaupun gagal dengan projek 16 September, beliau masih mendapat sokongan padu daripada rakan parti dalam PR, dan PR berjaya memenangi enam pilihan raya kecil, kecuali di Batang Ai dan yang terakhir kalah teruk di Bagan Pinang.  Episod kekalahan di Bagan Pinang, rupanya membuakkan segala masalah yang di landa oleh PR selama ini. Umpamanya yang sedang dihadapi oleh PAS, Kerajaan PR di Selangor dan kalau diteliti betul-betul, isu kepimpinan PKR di Sabah juga menjadi semakin panas selepas Bagan Pinang, malah  mungkin sudah lama wujud. Jeffrey, sebagai orang lama dalam politik, di sebalik kecelaruan ini, tetap bersama PKR walaupun terdapat berbagai tuduhan liar yang meragui kesetiaannya, tetapi  Jeffrey hanya bersikap berdiam diri.

Demikanlah, apabila krisis Sabah tidak dapat dibendung lagi, Anwar terus mengambil tindakan. Tetapi ternyata, tindakan yang diharapkan dapat menyelesaikan krisis, rupa-rupanya tidak. Perlantikan Thamrin, juga dibantah. Kalau saya dari Sabah pun, saya akan bantah. Anwar dikatakan memilih Thamrin kerana dia orang `kuat’nya. Inilah masalah Anwar,  selalu memilih orang kesukaannya dan melupakan kekuatan tokoh seperti Jeffery. Beliau seorang intelektual, masak dalam politik malah boleh berdepan dengan mana-mana tokoh politik dari BN, termasuk Musa Aman. Anwar sepatut nya hadir sendiri di Sabah, berjumpa dengan semua Ketua Bahagian (25 orang).

Kalau Jeffery dipersetujui sebagai Ketua, maka pilih lah dia, dan ingatkan yang lain supaya akur dengan pilihan mereka. Jadikan misi dan agenda PKR sebagai prioriti. Bersemukalah dengan Jeffery  secara terus terang. Berikan kekuatan dan kepercayaan kepadanya dengan penuh. Kalau perlu beri amaran kepada Jeffery supaya luruskan haluan politiknya untuk PKR dan masa depan yang menanti di Sabah. Saya yakin kalau ini dibincangkan dalam suasana harmoni dan tanpa syak wasangka, Jeffery akan komited kepada PKR, kerana dia telah diberi tanggungjawab yang besar.

Lagipun, kalau dia sudah diberi jawatan Naib Presiden yang lebih besar, kenapa tidak diberi kepercayaan kepada jawatan yang lebih kecil, sebagai Ketua Perhubungan Sabah. Saya yakin Jeffery dapat memainkan perananya dengan lebih berkesan. Janganlah dijadikan isyu Muslim dan bukan Muslaim, atau Kadazan dan bukan Kadazan sebagai asas perlantikan seseorang. Dasarkanlah kepada ketokohan, kekuatan dan kesungguhan dan kesediaan bekerja untuk semua. Bukankah ini agenda PR yang berbeza dengan UMNO/BN?

Kesilapan melantik Thamrin dan bukan Jeffery masih belum terlambat untuk diperbaiki atau diubah. Anwar mesti berani membuat keputusan yang baik. Saya yakin, Jeffery sebagai Ketua perhubungan sabah, banyak masalah PKR dapat dikurangkan, kalaupun tidak diselesaikan dengan segera. Mahukah PKR atau PR mendapat kosong kerusi daripada 25 kerusi parlimen di Sabah?

Sabah Politics: PKR situation apparently remains unresolved


October 26, 2009

Sabah PKR at odds over Anwar’s pick

by Joe Fernandez

Sabah PKR seems set to face renewed infighting following the appointment of Ahmad Thamrin Jaini, an Anwar Ibrahim loyalist, as the new Sabah state chief.

Generally, the party’s Sabah membership appears unhappy that Anwar himself made the appointment during the supreme council meet yesterday.  “We don’t agree with Thamrin heading Sabah PKR since the party’s constitution was in breach. Anwar had no right to appoint him,” said former Deputy Sabah PKR chief Daniel John Jambun.

“We will discuss Thamrin’s appointment at an emergency meeting on Tuesday in Kota Kinabalu. Everybody will also agree that he’s a poor performer.”  Jambun indicated that only members of the party’s powerful KadazanDusunMurut Task Force (KDMTF), headed by him, would meet. He described the KDMTF as a pro-autonomy group within PKR that controls 18 of the party’s 25 divisions in Sabah.

The KDMTF appears to be the proverbial tail wagging the dog. kitingan project ic 250107 jeffery kitinganHigh on the agenda would be a fax and hand-delivered brief sent yesterday morning to Wan Azizah by 14 division chiefs proposing that Keningau division chief Jeffrey Gapari Kitingan (left) be appointed as Sabah State PKR Chief.

Kitingan, according to a spokesperson for the 14 division chiefs who briefed Wan Azizah before the supreme council meet, in fact outranks all the other division chiefs as a party vice-president. Hence, protocol-wise it would not also be the done thing to have any of the other division chiefs lording it over him when convening meetings of the division chiefs.

‘Puppet’ leaders

Thamrin, Jambun charged, is a member of a group dubbed as proxies of Kuala Lumpur. Many of them, according to Jambun, are also tainted by their suspected links with various syndicates who have been caught red-handed for their involvement in the bogus MyKad scam.

Others, it is said, have been held previously under the ISA for placing illegal immigrants on the electoral rolls. Jambun Ansari_Abdullah1was referring to Hassnar Ebrahim, the former Libaran division chief – the same division now held by Thamrin – as a case in point. Hassnar, who is eyeing the post of Batu Sapi division chief, doesn’t deny anything.

“Single-handedly, I alone placed 15,000 illegal immigrants on the electoral rolls within the two years 1985 to 1987,” admits Sabahan Hassnar in an exclusive interview with malaysiakini.

Hassnar, who was held under the ISA (Internal Security Act) just before PBS (Parti Bersatu Sabah) returned to the BN in the early 2000s, also alleged that 135,000 illegal immigrants were placed on the electoral rolls between 1970 and 1985 by other renegade operatives.

“This is why the Malaysian identity card was changed from blue to one with the bunga raya motif and again to the present MyKad system,” claims Hassnar.  The whole idea was to make it extremely difficult for anyone to trace the illegal immigrants entering the electoral rolls, he added.

Hassnar, who is presently suing the police for RM30 million in a case not related to his ISA detention, claims the practice of placing illegal immigrants on the electoral rolls is still taking place, albeit more discreetly, even with the mobile court system.

“Tawau PKR division chief Kong Hong Ming was right when he recently alleged that the illegal immigrants in the district are getting their hands on MyKads,” he added, underlining also Jambun’s concerns over “proxies and traitors” in PKR being more than in the know about the bogus MyKad menace in the state.

No mandate to choose

Jambun was asked about Azmin’s claim during the supreme council meet yesterday that he was advised by the Sabah divisional chiefs to inform the party president that she has the full mandate to pick the next state chief.

“This is not true,” said Jambun. “During the special meeting in Kota Kinabalu on October 22, the divisional chiefs felt that Azmin had no business presiding over a session of Sabahans trying to pick their leader from among themselves,” said Jambun.

“He should have excused himself from the meeting to allow a vote to be carried out. Instead, he was talking all the time and trying to railroad the divisional chiefs into a decision already made by KL.” Jambun also added that the emergency KDMTF meeting will also discuss Anwar’s purported remarks during the supreme council meet yesterday.

“We are disturbed that Anwar said that ‘there’s no way in hell that he would allow Jeffrey to be Sabah PKR state chief’,” said Jambun. “If it’s true, then PKR in Sabah is finished.”  Anwar’s explanation was that Kitingan had a hidden agenda (against KL) in Sabah and “it would be very difficult to control him”.

Kitingan, when reached in KL last night at a leading hotel, expressed disappointment with the new developments (regarding Sabah) in the supreme council. He dismissed the hidden agenda charge as “the same lies repeated by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad” to facilitate his detention under the ISA in the early 1990s.

“I don’t know anything about the emergency meeting of the KDMTF,” said Kitingan. “I will know more when I return home on Tuesday morning. My main concern now is to help save the party.”  Kitingan said that he knew that “something was not right” when Thamrin kept avoiding him and other division chiefs over the last two weeks.

Subsequently, he heard that Thamrin had gone with two other division chiefs to meet with Anwar in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, October 20. Ansari has since denied that he was one of the other division chiefs.

Kitingan keeping cards close

Kitingan, who is on a three- month sabbatical, did not attend the supreme council meet. Neither did Kota Kinabalu division chief Christina Liew. The sole representative from Sabah was Tuaran division chief Ansari Abdullah.  Earlier, according to reliable sources in KL, Liew had warned party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail in a short text message against picking a proxy in Sabah.

Thamrin replaces Azmin who was forced to quit his post after 16 divisional chiefs expressed no confidence in him on October  7. This follows the act of 18 divisional chiefs including the 16, Thamrin from Libaran and Johani Abdul Halim from Silam signing the September 20 memorandum calling for Azmin to be sacked.

However, during the special meeting in Kota Kinabalu on Oct 22 chaired by Azmin, Thamrin, Johani and Kudat division chief Mursalim Tanjul openly begged the outgoing state chief’s forgiveness for signing the memorandum, according to insiders.

Senior PKR activist Richard Jayasuriya, president of the deregistered Parti Pasok (Native), isn’t surprised that Thamrin has been picked by Anwar to lead the party’s chapter in Sabah. Asked whether he knew in advance that this was going to happen, he merely responded: “It’s a long story”, giving credence to the theory that Anwar made his decision shortly after Wan Azizah received the Sept 20 memorandum.

mk50This may be the reason why Thamrin, who signed the Sept 20 memorandum, did not sign the October 7 and 25 resolutions on Kitingan.

Effusive Bodek of Najib

October 26, 2009

Praising Our Leaders Too Soon and Too High

Morgan-Hill, California

Najib in ParliamentMalaysians are generous to a fault.  We are too charitable especially to our guests and those new to us, without pausing to consider the significant burden it imposes upon us and those we love.  This is best captured in our saying, Kera hutan di tetekan, anak di riba mati kehausan (We breastfeed monkeys in the jungle while our infants die of thirst).

We are also treating our leaders as kera hutan, indulging them only too readily.  We are overly charitable to and very forgiving of them, especially our new leaders.  I can understand the rationale for such a sentiment; we desperately want our leaders to succeed.  By praising them so soon and so highly we hope to inspire as well as encourage them to lead us to greater heights.

The adulation of followers can indeed be a tonic to leaders, invigorating them to redouble their efforts; likewise with prestigious awards and public recognition.  The Nobel Committee in awarding its Peace Prize to President Obama so early in his tenure is clearly expressing the hope of many that he would indeed bring about a more peaceful world.

There is however, a dangerous flip side to that hope.  Effusive praises, especially when clearly out of proportion or yet to be deserved, risk swelling these leaders’ head.  Even if they do not have mega-maniacal tendencies initially, such incessant drumbeat of praises would inflate the ego of even the humblest of leaders.  They would then think that they are destined by God to lead us.  From there it is but a few easy and enticing steps away from asserting that they are indeed God.  Then no one could or would dare question them.  There are many ready examples of such inept but egotistical leaders at home and abroad, now and in history.  The ravages they inflict far outlive them.

Praising Najib Early and Excessively

Mohd. Najib Bin Abdul Razak has been Prime Minister for barely six months; he delivered his first presidential speech

by Dr. Bakri Musa

by Dr. Bakri Musa

to his party only last week.  As Prime Minister he had initiated only a few not-so-major policy shifts thus far, such as liberalizing a small sub-sector of the economy, the effectiveness of which has yet to be ascertained.  Yet the high praises are already pouring in by the torrent.

In describing his performance at the recent UMNO General Assembly, one commentator in the mainstream media described it as “one of his best off-the-cuff speeches that many in UMNO had witnessed.”  She went on describing Najib as a “thinking president,” gushingly concluding that the meeting he chaired “as one of those special moments in UMNO’s history.”  Special moments!  Wow!

Another concluded with undisguised “astonishment at the remarkable ability of the country’s premier political party to renew, reform and reinvent itself after the severe setback it suffered in the 12th general election.”  All in the few months since Najib took over!

There was no shortage of superlatives to describe the new Najib, with terms like “transforming leader” and “thinking leader” liberally thrown in, based simply on that first address he gave at the UMNO Assembly.

Najib’s Maiden Budget for Fiscal 2010

Now that Najib had presented his first budget, dubbed “People first; Performance now!” expect even more extravagant praises.  I do not however, share much of the artificially generated enthusiasm.  At least not yet.

It is a measure of our ‘progress’ that in discussing the economy in his budget speech Najib was giddy that it was contracting less severely now.  I can see being exuberantly excited if it had actually expanded, however slim.  On another item, he proudly announced the establishment of 30 “merit” scholarships for our students to attend top universities.  I would be more impressed if, after over 50 years of independence, those scholarships were for sending our students to top doctoral or MBA programs, not for undergraduate studies.

Art of Making Dim Candles Appear Brighter

Such embarrassingly embellished praises from established sycophants and would-be supplicants, as well as blatant favor seekers, are to be expected.  After all, old habits are difficult to break, even if you are committed to doing so.  More problematic however, are the uncritical rave reviews from otherwise seasoned observers.

This is not a new phenomenon or unique to Najib.  When Abdullah succeeded Mahathir, there were similar early outpourings of uncritical praises for Abdullah.  One otherwise solid scholar, undoubtedly desperate to ingratiate himself, unabashedly described Abdullah as a “social engineer par excellence.”

Those commentators were not content with merely praising Abdullah.  To make him look even better, they resorted to actively denigrating Mahathir.  They must have felt that Abdullah’s dim candle could only appear brighter by snuffing out Mahathir’s.

When I took those commentators to task for their nauseating praises, they were furious, accusing me of being unnecessarily negative and not missing any opportunity to denigrate our leaders.  How could I possibly know about Abdullah with my being away for so long, they sneered.

I wonder if those who were so enthusiastic about Abdullah so earlier on now feel they bear some responsibility for his subsequent failure.  Perhaps if they had been more restrained, Abdullah’s ego would not have been so swollen.  Who knows, his basic humility may have taken hold of him and he would have sought wider counsel.  His tenure then might have lasted longer and would not have been the colossal waste of opportunities, for him and for the nation.

At the UMNO Assembly, Najib paid tribute to Abdullah for not criticizing Najib, a pointed reference to what Mahathir did to Abdullah.  Both Najib and Abdullah are deeply mistaken in this.  For had Mahathir not been relentless and even unmerciful in his criticisms of Abdullah, the latter would remain Prime Minister today, and we would all be still enduring that terrible burden.

There is one positive aspect to the current orgy of praises on Najib; at least those commentators are not running down his immediate predecessor.  I am uncertain whether that is necessarily a compliment to Abdullah.

Najib should welcome and actively encourage criticisms not just from Abdullah and Mahathir but also from others.  That would be the best assurance that Najib would avoid grievous errors in his administration.  Even a gifted and charismatic leader as Barack Obama, with an overwhelming mandate from the people, welcomes criticism.  As he said in a White House Correspondents’ dinner, “I may not agree with everything you write or report. I may even complain, … but I do so with the knowledge that when you are at your best, then you help me be at my best.”

Like others, I want Najib Razak to succeed, less for his sake but more for our nation.  I fear that these uncalled-for and overly generous praises so soon in his tenure might just go to his head, tempting him to rest on his laurels (slim as they are right now) instead of striving harder.

We must not treat our leaders like our pet monkeys; we must never indulge them.  Instead we must subject them to the toughest scrutiny and not be afraid to criticize them.  And do so early and fiercely.  By all means, when Najib proves himself, then we can all be generous to him.

Dari Dr. Dzul: Bajet 2010

October 26, 2009

Bajet Sulung 2010 Perdana Menteri

oleh Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad*

drdzulYAB Perdana Mentri selaku Mentri Kewangan telah membentang Bajet sulungnya petang semalam (October 24, 2009). Beliau sangat berhajatkan Bajet 2010nya itu disokong semua golongan dan lapisan rakyat kerana ia bertemakan “I-Malaysia — Kemakmuran Bersama”. Najib tidak melepaskan peluang ini untuk melonjakkan lagi momentum kemenangan Bagan Pinang seperti yang diungkapkan dihujung ucapan hampir 2 jam itu. Tampaknya dia puas dengan prestasi penyampaiannya dari wajah mukanya.

Umum mengetahui, seperti dirinya juga tahu, bahawa melepasi segala jenis “imbuhan” serta pelbagai peruntukan fiskal samada berbentuk subsidi mahupun penurunan cukai kepada setiap segmen rakyat, realiti yang menanti tidaklah seindah yang cuba ditampilkanDefisit Bajet yang dianggarkan 7.6 peratus dari KDNK tahun 2009 ini perlu ditangani, seperti juga beban hutang kerajaan Pusat yang mencecah 52.4 peratus dari KDNK tahun 2009 melonjak dari 41.5 peratus tahun 2008. Pendapatan dari cukai menurun sebanyak 8 peratus — dari RM176.2 bilion yang diramalkan hanya RM162.1 bilion yang mampu dijana.

Kebergantungan pendapatan dari sumber minyak mentah dan gas dalam bentuk dividen, cukai, royalti dan duti ekspot minyak mentah dan gas sudah ke peringkat kritikal. Dari RM19 bilion pada 2004 kepada RM67.8 bilion tahun 2009 atau 43.5  peratus dari pendapatan kerajaan Pusat. Bukan sahaja ia satu yang tidak wajar, bahkan kita juga tidak menabung ketika sumber pendapatan ini lumayan. Kalau pada tahun 2005 Petronas menyimpan 42.5 peratus dari keuntungannya, kini ia hanya menabung 21.1 peratus dari keuntungannya. Bermakna kita telah membelanjakan kekayaan sumber anak-cucu kita.

Justeru, berlatarbelakangkan kesemua ini, Najib sudah tidak mampu lagi merumuskan Bajet yang “populis” yang disorak dan ditepuk oleh semua pihak. Najib mahu sahaja meneruskan momentum kemenangan Bagan Pinang dengan menampilkan Bajet yang terus mengukuhkan sokongan semua rakyat. Najib macam serba tak kena.

Ini adalah antara banyak dilema yang Najib depani kini. Kalau silap congakan, beliau tahu akan dihukum kemudian. Sebab itu ada perkara yang disebut, tapi macam tak mahu sebut. Contoh jelas ialah GST – Government Sales Tax. Cukai Jualan Kerajaan yang sifatnya cukai “Regressive” atau “mengena semua”. Beliau sebut juga tapi langsung tak berani mendetailkan. Najib semacam tak yakin itu baik bagi populariti, bahkan tak tahu meramal tekanan kepada rakyat nanti. Sebetuan tentang pemulihan ekonomi bukan mudah untuk diyakinkan.

Bahkan Najib diperingat bukan sahaja oleh pakar-pakar ekonomi antarabangsa bahkan juga think-tank tempatannya sendiri seperti MIER, bahawa ekonomi global mungkin sahaja akan mengalami pemulihan bukan berbentuk V (turun dan naik), tetapi W yakni dua kali V, maksudnya kebarangkalian akan berlaku sekali lagi kemelesetan selepas pulih sebentar tidak dapat ditolak sama-sekali. Parah dan ngeri juga buat dirinya, tambahan kalau-kalau berhampiran dengan musim pilihanraya.

Berlatarkan kesemua senario dan unjuran yang kurang senang dan tidak menentu ini, Najib terpaksa menelan nafsunya untuk bermewah atau bermegah secara melampau dengan pemberian subsidi, imbuhan atau penurunan cukai.

Sebaliknya, Najib terpaksa mendepani realiti pahit ini. Peruntukan wang sebanyak RM 191.5 bilion, yang meliputi perbelanjaan mengurus sebanyak RM138.3 bilion adalah penurunan sebanyak 13.7 peratus dari tahun lalu (RM160.2 bilion, 2008). Malang pengurangan mengurus ini tidak dapat disalurkan kepada belanja pembangunan. Belanja pembangunan juga mengalami penurunan sebanyak 4.4 peratus atau RM51.2 bilion berbanding RM53.6 bilion pada tahun 2008.

Penulis sedia mengakui bahawa Najib telah cuba memberikan, seperti mana-mana bajet-bajet lain yang dibentangkan setiap tahun, pelbagai pemberian “penyedap hati”. Terlalu panjang kalau mahu dibsenaraikan akan seanika dan segala pemberian kepada setiap kelompok rakyat, atau lebih tepat lagi pengundi, samada kepada pelajar universiti, petani, nelayan, kakitangan awam, pesara, golongan pekerja persendirian yang tak berpencen, kelompok ibu yang punya anak kecil, pelepasan diri kepada pembayar cukai, kelompok miskin tegar, orang asli, OKU dan banyak lagi. Benar, pelbagai jaringan keselamatan sosial boleh dilaksanakan untuk kelompok yang “vulnerable” dan sensitif. Najib PM dan Mentri Kewangan pulak. Ini masanya.

Tegasnya semua dapat. Tidak ada yang wajar mengkritik kerajaan. Sepatutnya bersyukur. Mudahnya, apa lagi yang tak cukup yang diberikan Menteri Kewangan? Itu tidak termasuk segala peruntukan RM9 bilion tentang projek infrastruktur termasuk pembinaan jalan termasuk luar bandar/kampung, jambatan, bekalan air, perkhidmatan pembentungan, pelabuhan dan perkhidmatan laut, serta projek lapangan terbang dan lain lain.

Kesemua yang tersenarai di atas adalah perkara “regular” atau lazim dalam sebuah bajet. Bezanya hanyalah jumlahnya. Di segi itu, tidak ada yang luar biasanya bajet Mentri Kewangan ini. Sebab itu ramai yang tidak teruja dan tepukan  dan sorakan tidaklah semewah yang dihajati pembentang. Malang dan sedih juga isterinya yang hadir dalam Dewan yang mulia itu.

Akan tetapi yang lebih merunsingkan ialah golongan yang lebih celik ilmu ekonomi dan kewangan yang menunggu-nunggu hingga ke hujung. Tegasnya, Mentri Kewangan membuktikan bahawa beliau hanya mampu memahami masalah namun tidak pula menampilkan penyelesaian. Jauh lagi secara tuntas.

Bahkan “resipi dan rumusan” seperti yang beliau bentangkan boleh sahaja dimuatkan dalam apa jua pembentangan Bajet. Sifatnya generik atau boleh sahaja digunakan dalam apa jua keadaan. Macam ubat generik seperti panadol untuk pening/sakit kepala.  Tetapi sayugia diingatkan bahawa sakit kepala punya pelbagai puncanya? Mungkin juga migraine, stress, hipertensi atau lebih parah dari itu — ketumbuhan dalam otak, space-occupying lesion, dengan izin.

Begitu juga dalam hal perumusan belanjawan ini.

Najib mungkin mengenalpasti penyakit namun dalam banyak hal rawatan dan ubatnya gagal dipreskripsi secara konsisten dan koheren.

Buat permulaan ambil sahaja isu “Pergantungan kepada sumber Minyak”. Kalau sudah sampai ke tahap 43.5 peratus pendapatan dari sumber minyak mentah, sayugia dingatkan kepada Najib, bahawa ekonomi negara ini masih lagi dikategori ekonomi tua atau “Old Economy” yang berteraskan kepada sumber asli. Tepat sekali kerana sumbangan pendapatan lain juga turut bergantung kepada minyak sawit, getah, galian, kayu-kayan yang kesemua sifatnya tak boleh diperbaharui.

Sudah sampai masanya bahawa negara benar-benarnya beredar dari pergantungan kepada “petroleum-based sources” dan “commodity-based sources” kepada teras yang lain yang menjadikan ekonomi kita tergolong dalam “The New Economy” yang berteraskan kegiatan ekonomi yang sarat “Knowledge” atau Pengetahuan. Satu satu dekad sebutan ini di buat, tapi hanya tingal sebutan.

Rhetorik dan impian untuk menjana “knowledge workers” adalah ungkapan molok pemimpin BN sewaktu seminar. Benar-benar “lip-service” sifatnya. Sejauhmana pencapaian di segi ini mampu kita banggakan? Penjanaan “New Economy” juga dapat dibantu dengan “internet connectivity” yang berkualiti di segi kelajuan bukan hanya penembusan. Tapi negara kita jauh terkebelakang.

Kita beraleh kepada satu lagi mantra terkini yang kerap juga diulangsebut oleh pemimpin kerajaan terutamanya Menteri Kewangan sendiri. Dalam Bajet ini juga beliau mengulang sebut tentang membawa ekonomi negara ini dari “Low-Income Economy” kepada “High-Income Economy”. Ini adalah masalah kronik ekonomi negara ini. Kerajaan yang mahukannya kerana dulu itu faktor tarikan pelabur asing (FDI). Kini ia telah menjadi liabliti dan perangkap.

Benar juga kalau kita duduk di paras ini kuasa membeli dan permintaan domestik kita tetap tidak berupaya. Pendapatan per kapita negara ini hanya RM15,819 setahun berbanding negara seperti Singapura atau Korea Selatan atau Taiwan yang 3 atau 4 kali ganda. Bajet ini hanya sekadar menyebutkan bahawa kita perlu menjadi ekonomi yang punya pendapatan tinggi, tetapi tidak jelas cara, kaedah dan pendekatan untuk menuju ke matlamat tersebut. Najib lebih tahu masalah dari penyelesaian. Mungkin juga kerana ini bajet sulungnya.

Tambahan dengan kebanjiran pekerja asing yang tidak punya ketrampilan, maka negara akan kekal dengan kegiataan nilai-tambah yang rendah dalam sektor pertanian dan pembinaan. High-Income Economy bermula dengan memperkasa pembinaan modal insan yang bebas dan kreatif serta digalakkan dengan iklim kebebasan yang mampu akses maklumat dan hak berkarya. Ini berlawanan sifat dengan sebuah kerajaan yang takut memperkasa rakyatnya dengan maklumat dan kebebasan. sebaliknya mencekik rakyatnya termasuk ahli akademik dan bijak pandai dengan Akta – AUKU dan OSA dll. Kepimpinan negara wajar memahami erti kebebasan dan kemerdekaan serta menghayatinya.

Najib meletakkan harapan yang tinggi kepada sektor swasta untuk memacu pertumbuhan kerana pihak awam (G-factor) tidak lagi mampu menjana pertumbuhan kerana terhalang dengan defisit melebar dan beban hutang yang menimbun. Akan tetapi hakikatnya, Najib memberitahu bahawa FDI jatuh ke paras yang teruk, RM3.36 bilion dari RM19.7 bilion tahun lepas.

Apakah sebab utama pelaburan asing langsung tidak merasakan negara ini menarik? Apakah sebab yang diberikan oleh kajian World Economic Forum ketika Malaysia lucut 3 tangga? Disamping faktor keselamatan dan jenayah, utama ialah tanggapan “institutional framework” yang bermasalah. Apakah SPRM atau MACC, MCMC, SPK, SPR, Institusi Judisiari atau Kehakiman?  Najib perlu sedar bahawa Bajet bukan sahaj hal-hal ekonomi dan kewangan. Persoalan besarnya ialah: Mampu kah kerajaan merangsang dan menggesa pihak swasta untuk menjana pertumbuhan?

Mampukah kerajaan memujuk syarikat-syarikat milik orang malaysia yang beroperasi di luar negara dan negara jiran untuk pulang, seperti yang di akui sendiri kini oleh Najib? Dulu kita kata di Parlimen, itu pelaburan kita di luar negara. Mengapa mereka selesa di luar bahkan khuatir untuk beroperasi di negara ini? Mutakhir ini, liberalisasi semacam menjadi penyelesaian dan mantra terbaru buat pemimpin UMNO/BN untuk menarik pelaburan. sayugia diingatkan, ia penting tapi liberalisasi bukanlah segala-galanya. Jangan terlalu ghirah.

Perlu ada kesediaan juga untuk menerima bahawa polisi-polisi UMNO/BN-sentrik dan amalan patronage-kronisme UMNO/BN telah menjadikan negara kehilangan daya-saing sebenarnya. Penswastaan, mantra Mahathirisme, telah membebankan dan tidak mengurangkan kos kepada pembayar cukai dan perkhidmatan yang mahal dan dana rakyat ranap kerana kerajaan melakukan  “bail-out” dan memberi subsidi kepada pihak swasta seperti IPP dan pemegang konsesi Tol dan Air. Apakah akan berlaku gelombang penswastaan kedua dalam era Najib?

Bajet telah dibentangkan. Harapan rakyat tinggi menggunung untuk mengecapi kemakmuran dan kesejahteraan. Telah acapkali rakyat dikecewakan. Kali ini Najib memohon untuk di berikan “the benefit of doubts” — bersangka baik oleh rakyat. Silap itu penulis rasa. Ini bukan persolan berbaik sangka. Isunya ialah ketepatan polisi dan komitmen/iltizam politik untuk menggapainya.

Bagi melindungi kepentingan dan kemaslahatan rakyat, pemimpin  Pakatan wajar terus menyemak-imbang pengurusan dan tabiat buruk pemimpin UMNO/BN bagi melindungi kemaslahatan semua dan mengangkat dayasaing negara. —

* Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad ialah Ahli Parlimen Kuala Selangor.