Anwar Backs Penang Chief Minister

January 31, 2010

Anwar Ibrahim backs Penang Chief Minister

By Adib Zalkapli and Neville Spykerman

PKR de facto chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim  today took steps to paper over cracks in his Pakatan Rakyat coalition by declaring his support for Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and sending his critic to be disciplined.

Anwar said Bayan Baru MP Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohamed Hashim, who called Lim a “dictator” and “communist-minded”, will join another PKR MP, Zulkifli Noordin, and Datuk Zaid Ibrahim to face the disciplinary committee.

“We reject and condemn his views on the Penang chief minister,” he said, adding that Zahrain’s attack was uncalled for.

The Oppositon Leader added that Zaid, who criticised the party leadership for not taking immediate action against Zulkifli, will also have to explain himself to the disciplinary committee.

“Some of us have called for immediate actions, but here in PKR and Pakatan, we have to adhere to the party constitution and allow due process to take place,” said Anwar, adding that he hoped that the committee would convene as soon as possible.

He also said the DAP-led Penang government had also given PKR a list contracts awarded by the state to dismiss Zahrain’s claim that the state government has been unfair in awarding contracts.

“It is not that we don’t like to be criticised, it is ok to criticise, but it is not right to attack Guan Eng calling him dictator, chauvinist, communist as he has always consulted others, sometimes he reviews his own decision, but at the end of the day, he is the Chief Minister,” said Anwar.

DAP leaders have responded to Zahrain claims saying that the former Umno man was unhappy as a company linked to him has failed to secure a government contract.

Zahrain is also said to be a leading a group of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) MPs who intend to help Barisan Nasional (BN) regain its two-third majority. He denied the allegation.

It is not about the Malays being divided as a race, it is about the Malays (and Malaysians) being divided by class

Suara Keramat Pak Sako

Friday, January 29, 2010

In a speech yesterday, Mahathir Mohamad blamed PAS and PKR for dividing the Malays, putting this down to greed for power amongst different Malay factions consisting of disgruntled political aspirants desiring political positions.

If Mahathir’s logic is correct, then the split amongst the Japanese in Japan between supporting two different political parties with different cultures, experiences and policies must be a bad thing. These Japanese political parties are the centre-right LDP which had governed Japan and is noted for entrenching patron-client relationships between politicians and corporations; and the DPJ, a reform-minded, social-democratic party that claims to be more people-centric. These parties more or less reflect the distinction between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat.

Going by Mahathir’s argument, then, this split would have seriously enfeebled the Japanese race, resulting in civil strife or at least hard rancour amongst them, or exposing them as a whole to “attack”, “manipulation”, “subjugation” or “domination” (or insert other terms to taste) by citizens of non-Japanese ancestry (smaller than in Malaysia as a proportion but growing) or by neighbouring nations such as North Korea, Russia or China (recall how we are made to fear Singapore).

But this has not been the case. Japan has not collapsed by having an ‘inexperienced’ ruling political party. Japan as a country is richer for having this new-found choice in being able to switch between alternative politics. Japan’s socioeconomic “evolutionary potential” is rejuvenated by the competition that the DPJ poses for the LDP. We, too, should ask ourselves, as the Japanese have, whether we wish to stick with the stale ways of the old guard whose interest it is to maintain the status quo, the old socioeconomic arrangement which benefits powerful special interests/elites; or whether we want renewal, a restructuring of socioeconomic arrangement that liberates us from the stranglehold of the elites so that the ordinary person can demand and receive a greater share of the nation’s wealth without being held at ransom by threats of unemployment (or inflation) and have a bigger, freer say in how we country to be like and how our social freedoms are defined?

The Malays are not not dividing themselves; they are opening themselves up to choices

In Malaysia, the Malays are beginning to explore choices, and there is nothing wrong in wanting a Greek salad over a nasi lemak. It could in fact be a healthier choice.

Accordingly, many Malays have taken the brave leap for change, to embrace newer values that enables them to bond better with fellow citizens and to rightfully ask for a fairer share of the nation’s “cake”. The Malays and other Malaysians demand this not from any particular race group, but from the politically influential — the governing/aristocratic/corporate class consisting of a mix of the various races. And in doing so, the new lower and middle-class Malays are forging a more harmonious and united relationship with their non-Malay counterparts. In doing so, they are not at all submitting their rights to the ‘others'; they are enhancing their collective rights as citizens in solidarity. The key point to note is that the problem is primarily an issue of socioeconomic class and class domination, not an issue race domination.

But this point is precisely what Mahathir’s and UMNO’s racial rhetoric is attempting to mask. The Malays that are vulnerable to such scare tactics cling on out of fear and ignorance to old, outdated values promoted by certain powerful groups. These groups dangle candies to society (government handouts or more shopping malls) to lull them, and bring about a basic level of ‘political stability’ through restrictive, questionable rule and extensive control of public apparatuses. This enables powerful groups and elites to appropriate the lion’s share of a nation’s wealth.

Why care about the elites? A snapshot of Malaysia’s political economy

So far in the history of Malaysia as an independent state, the majority of the people have conditioned to be content (‘puas hati’) with the moderate amount of income and wealth and fairly restricted social liberties that they have been accorded.

This situation was made possible because Malaysia has been blessed with an exceptionally high level of natural and human resources per capita, i.e., we have had an overabundance of resources relative to our small population size. Each Malaysian in theory could be very well off, with hundreds of thousands of ringgit sitting in their bank accounts, for example, or have superior social services such as those in countries like Canada, Australia or Sweden.
But this has not been the case.

What has been happening is that out of the total economic profits our country generates annually, most of the ordinary Malaysians have been apportioned the minimum amount of income, infrastructure and amenities necessary to placate or satisfy them while the remainder is reserved for the elites, a capture made possible by:

(i) widespread rent-seeking, which includes the collusion of politicians and the corporate and social bigwigs to apportion for themselves the nation’s capital to derive supernormal profits (defrauding by power and capital);

(ii) restrictive labour laws that discourage unionisation and wage bargaining power and keep real wages down (economic oppression);

(iii) distracting society with cheap entertainment, restricting free reporting of the actual state of the nation, and threatening possible imprisonment if the status quo is questioned using excuses such as “this shall destabilise racial and religious harmony”, etc. (dumbing down).

For comparison, observe that this has not been possible in Indonesia because given its resources Indonesia has a large population and so it is harder to create this critical mass of satisfied, contented middle class citizens. This has also not been possible in Thailand which has not been endowed with plentiful high-value resources like us (and they have a substantially large population too).

In this view, Malaysia is indeed economically unique and blessed. But it also means that a braver, more vigilant and empowered society is all the more crucial to prevent easy abuse by those who govern it (elite capture).

As Malaysia’s resources run out (the depletion of its natural resources from its wasteful, inequitable squandering and the loss of human capital as a result of severe “brain drain”), sudden belt-tightening policies are proposed and instituted. These policies ranging from the imposition of the GST, the drastic removal of subsidies, and the scaling back of government expenditure on public services such as healthcare. There is an acceleration in the rate of liquidation of natural and environmental resources such as our remaining forests and wetlands in a desperate bid to generate cash.

In connection with this is a rash of license issuance to foreign commercial and investment banks either inject more liquidity into our financial markets and/or to allow foreign investment in various development projects the details of which we know precious little of. At the same time, there is a stagnation of real incomes; the nominal wage of a fresh engineering graduate in 2000 was on average RM1700 and this has remained more or less the same in 2010, ten years hence, even as the prices of goods increased.

The bulk of the burden of these actions fall on the ordinary rakyat, whether Malay or not. It may fall disproportionately on the ordinary rakyat depending on how the “economic pie” is cut. It is possible that Malaysians are suffering the economic pinch a little excessively because:

(i) the elites may be trying to maintain their cut of the economic pie and their present standard of living, without having to reduce the amount of gains or profits that they have been receiving, or by only slightly sacrificing these gains, or by eliminating contenders (e.g., the shooting down of people linked to the previous prime minister): and

(ii) the government is unwilling to appropriate and repatriate past gains and profits (that may be squirreled away overseas) made illegally and through corrupt rent-seeking, or stem practices such as the excess resource allocation or rent-seeking for the influential interest groups concerned

This issue of the influential class requires highlighting because not only is it the crux of the matter, it is also a matter of justice. It is about whether you feel that some groups deserve to enjoy super normal profits, political privileges and positions at the expense of the rakyat’s welfare. One could even ask whether they are intentionally distracting the rakyat from thinking about this question by conditioning them to believe that their enemies are their fellow citizens of a different skin colour (or that they risk being enslaved by other races if they aren’t united as a race themselves).

So is PKR and PAS bad for giving Malays and Malaysians as a whole the choice to alter the socioeconomic arrangement of Malaysia?

Those groups offering the Malay choices in styles of governance (greater transparency, responsiveness and reduced corruption and rent-seeking) and different opportunities for improvement (e.g., greater social empowerment and alternative modes of development besides the build-malls-and-shop-all-day approach) should be praised and supported. Those who try to instill fear in the Malays in an attempt to hold them back from thinking broadly and limiting them from freely expressing choice should be censured.

The fact is that the Chinese or Indians are not going to take over Malaysia and turn the Malays into slaves. Although there are safeguards, these groups do not intend to do that to begin with. Believers of social Darwinism should rein in their alarmist attitude and understand that social cooperation and fair and equitable rules improves everyone’s lot and that not all the needy belong to a single race group. These social Darwinists should also not underestimate the potential for adaptation and improvement or cooperation of any race group.

As we can already see by what is happening on the ground, especially post-March 2008, the ordinary Chinese and Indians want to and are willing to live and work together with the Malays if given the chance. This is evident from the momentum of the Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM) movement, to cite an example. The Perkasa group which Mahathir extols is precisely the type of groups fomenting division amongst the Malays. They frighten off the Malays from contemplating choice and taking a leap and they do this for various self-interested reasons. That they are lobbying the sultans to support their partisan political stand is disturbing.

Mahathir is in essence barking up the wrong tree. If he is indeed worried about the division of Malays, then he should encourage them to unite under the more reformist and progressive umbrella of Pakatan Rakyat. Their fellow non-Malay Malaysians are waiting for them there.

Note: Read also Suflan Shamsuddin’s The Fallacy of Malay Unity.

Fissures fester in PKR

by Terence Netto
January 31, 2010

That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

This is what is being touted about PKR in the wake of the continued insolence of Zulkifli Nordin and the attacks on Lim Guan Eng by the party’s MP for Bayan Baru, Zahrain Mohd. Hashim.

The antics of a pyromaniac were followed by the reaction-baiting broadsides of the party’s former Penang chief. There is the scent of mutiny in the salvoes let loose by Zahrain  in recent days at the Penang Chief Minister and DAP secretary general.

He is upset with Anwar Ibrahim but apparently can’t bring himself to train his guns on the PKR supremo. It appears Guan Eng would do nicely as vicarious substitute.

A little over two weeks ago, Zahrain was nowhere to be seen when Anwar visited Permatang Pauh, to hand out free spectacles to poor residents, attend a DAP dinner in Bukit Mertajam, and then speak at ceramah in Cherok Tok Tun and Sungai Bakap.

Usually, Zahrain would be around to accompany the PKR supremo, though on this occasion he was less duty bound to. Last October, Anwar picked Mansor Othman, the present Deputy Chief Minister, to replace Zahrain as PKR chief for Penang.

Zahrain had wanted to be the PKR candidate for the Penanti by-election in late May 2009, a poll that was called because the incumbent Mohd Fairus Khairuddin resigned at Anwar’s behest following a painfully embarrassing run in the deputy chief minister’s role.

Anwar chose former his political secretary, Mansor, as the candidate for the by-election, to Zahrain’s chagrin. For Anwar’s January 15 visit, Zahrain, no more the state chief, was not required to be in attendance. But telltale signs of a rift were inferred when Anwar let on to state party insiders that he had not heard from Zahrain in some time and, having misplaced his Blackberry, was at a loss to contact his old Penang buddy.

Friends of some 30 years’ standing don’t usually have any problems getting each other’s contact numbers from mutual acquaintances. There then followed the spectacle of the public rants of Zulkifli Nordin over supposed threats to Islam.

Zahrain must have been unimpressed with PKR’s vacillations in the face of Zulkifli’s shenanigans, considered hugely damaging to the party’s image as multi-denominational. The barbs Zahrain aimed at Guan Eng are calculated to coerce his party to take action against him when it is already hard put to do just that to Zulkifli.

Angling for action to be taken

Meanwhile, Zulkifli has defied a PKR gag order by claiming that he knows of ulterior motives behind Christians wanting to use the word ‘Allah’.

Court approved use of the word is the subject of controversy, so it is said by some quarters, while others maintain the hubbub is contrived to serve the aims of elements conniving to forestall Umno’s prospective loss of power.

In sum, the darts now hurled by Zahrain on Guan Eng come at a time when PKR has drawn withering fire for having been woefully supine towards Zulkifli.

Today the decisions of a combined PKR Political Bureau and Leadership Council meeting in the morning followed by a Pakatan Rakyat presidential council meeting in the afternoon are not likely to impress Zulkili , neither Zahrain, if at all their outcomes impinge on PKR’s malcontents.

Ostensibly, the earlier meeting was called to discuss Zahrain’s fulminations against Guan Eng. The latter has wisely elected not to dignify them with comment.

Both Zulkifli and now Zahrain are angling for action to be taken against them, the better they can make alternative arrangements with power brokers who are intent on the next item in Malaysian political gamesmanship: the re-delineation of parliamentary boundaries.

Their redrawing, held every 10 years and which never failed to favor the powers-that-be, has to be endorsed by two-thirds majority in Parliament which the ruling Barisan Nasional were denied at the last general election and could now secure by default, with the help of some new-found friends.

Presumably, Zahrain’s prospective departure would not be unaccompanied. If he is joined by the PKR MP for Nibong Tebal, Tan Tee Beng, the charade will be complete in its turn towards farce.

For only last June, Tee Beng led nine of 13 PKR divisions in Penang in a petition to party headquarters demanding Zahrain’s removal as state chief.

Like they say, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

The Fallacy of Malay Unity

January 30, 2010

The Fallacy of Malay Unity

by Suflan Shamsuddin*

They say, that when a stick is on its own, it can be broken. But when many sticks are bound together, they become strong and unbreakable. So for Malays to be strong and unbreakable they must unite. For if not, then the non-Malays, and all those who wish to undermine the Malay race and Islam, will break them. This is what Perkasa and others like them peddle to the Malays. What a load of hogwash! And I say this as a Malay and a Muslim.

In reality, this call for Malay unity is the opposite of what is needed to bring members of my community out of its despair. And the reason is simple.

The price Malays pay for this unity is their individuality. If you belong to a herd, and your strength comes from the herd, then as an individual, you are weak. No capacity for self determination when left to your own device. You become subservient to a set of values that is driven by the elite, who will act as your protector, and who will demand your obedience. You will have no capacity to challenge the elite, and you will cower to those in authority, happy to be either an underachieving dependent of the system, or aspiring to join the ranks of the elite, to do that which once was done unto you.

The outcome of continued dependence on Malay unity is obvious. A select, strong and powerful elite will remain in control of wealth and power; and a mass of happy ignorant followers will continue to be dragged along with what is pronounced by those with authority, never daring to question, never daring to challenge, and ever willing to fight the fight, if called upon by their leaders.

As a community, you might say (but hardly unequivocally) that you are strong. But as individuals, you would be weak, with no sense of personal accountability, no understanding of the importance of individual freedoms, no desire to self-improve and work hard, no desire to play fair.

The world has moved on. Today, national boundaries help determine where we pay our taxes, and under which legal jurisdiction are we subject. But with the revolution of information and technology, territorial national boundaries do nothing to keep global market and socio-economic forces from affecting each and every one of us as individuals every single second of the day.

No matter who we are, whether we be Malays, Chinese, Indian, the responsibilities are the same. We each need to be fully contributing and responsible individuals, who will add value to that part of society to which we belong (whether we define that territorially, religiously or culturally), and to care for and look out for the happiness and welfare of those whom we love.

And for us to be able to do this effectively we must be individually capable. Each of us must build the right set of values, priorities and character, and not simply belong to a herd, following aimlessly with everyone else. Because market forces don’t affect the herd in today’s global world. It affects the individual. And a weak, non-contributing and continually dependent Malay, no matter how strong his community might be as a united force, is no good to anybody.

I shudder to think of the kind of Malays that will be created if Perkasa had its way.

*The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist. Suflan qualified as a barrister at law from Middle Temple and has been called to the Malaysian Bar. He is currently working in a Fortune 500 company as a senior counsel and is based in London. He is also author of the book “RESET: Rethinking the Malaysian Political Paradigm”.

MP Zahrain says he has enough PKR colleagues to give UMNO-BN 2/3rd majority in Parliament

January 30, 2010

Zahrain: I have the Numbers

by G.Manimaran

Disgruntled PKR MP Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohd Hashim has reportedly offered enough Pakatan Rakyat colleagues to Barisan Nasional as to enable their full legislative control of Parliament, but his colleagues dispute he has such numbers.

It is understood that the Bayan Baru MP has offered some 10 lawmakers, including himself, to add to BN’s 137 for a two-thirds parliamentary majority.

Such a majority allows the government to pass any law despite opposition from their rivals. BN needs 11 more seats in the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat for the psychological majority, and it is learnt that Independent Pasir Mas MP Datuk Ibrahim Ali or even Kulim Bandar Baharu MP Zulkifli Noordin is expected to join the group if the defection happens.

Zulkifli has supported Zahrain in his diatribe against Lim.“I have heard that [there are] three or four who want to leave the party. BN really wants him, too,” Penang PKR chairman Dr Mansor Othman told The Malaysian Insider, referring to his predecessor whom he replaced after winning the Penanti seat and being made deputy chief minister last year.

Zahrain was not available for comments despite several attempts to reach him. He had previously said it was mere speculation that he would leave PKR for former party UMNO or the newly set-up Parti Cinta Malaysia.

Several other PKR and DAP leaders confirmed they have heard news that Zahrain was now gathering allies to make the jump.

“I don’t think he has the numbers. From what I know, it’s just three of them,” a senior DAP leader told The Malaysian Insider. Pakatan Rakyat now has 82 MPs, of which 31 are from PKR including the four from Penang: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (Permatang Pauh), Tan Tee Beng (Nibong Tebal), Mohd Yusmadi Yusoff (Balik Pulau) and Zahrain.

Mansor said he was not sure if the MPs are from Penang, other states, or they included those from allies DAP and PAS. “I don’t really know… All I know is that there are some MPs who have expressed an intention to leave the party,” he added.

Speculation that Zahrain could be leaving peaked again when he restarted a simmering feud with Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng this week, by calling the DAP leader “a dictator, a chauvinist and communist-minded” and earning brickbats from party colleagues and allies.

He had previously criticised Lim when former Penanti assemblyman and deputy chief minister, Mohamed Fairus Khairuddin quit his post and seat last year.

Mansor said that while the bad blood between Zahrain and Lim was long-standing, news that the PKR leader wanted to quit began very recently and added the matter would be brought up at the party’s special supreme council meeting tomorrow.

The Malaysian Insider understands that the issue will also be discussed at the PR joint leadership council meeting due to take place after tomorrow’s PKR meeting.

DAP parliamentary leader and representative at the PR meeting, Lim Kit Siang, today called for the formation of a disciplinary committee to discuss the cases of intransigence within the pact, saying these cases have dented the coalition’s recent hard-won gains.

Mansor yesterday lamented Zahrain’s statement, which was critical of Lim. “The words were uncalled for and I regret his statement. That is certainly not the way to address our fellow partners in PR,” he said and declined to elaborate further.

The PKR leader said the party will issue a statement on Zahrain’s criticisms against Lim, but coalition insiders believe Anwar might not take action after having failed to admonish his fellow Penangite last year.

Anwar has also been seen as soft on Zulkifli, who has ignored a party gag order by continuing to make comments on the “Allah” issue.

PKR’s Zahrain on Penang DAP Leadership

January 30, 2010

Zahrain blames DAP for defection speculations

by Athi Shankar (January 29, 2010)

Bayan Baru parliamentarian (PKR)Dato Seri Zahrain Hashim blames the current defection speculations among PKR MPs on the party’s submissiveness to DAP’s political demands. He said due to disgruntlement among PKR leaders and members, talks of defections have surfaced among party elected representatives.

NONEZahrain was rumoured to be leading a handful of PKR parliamentarians out of the party to become Barisan Nasional-friendly representatives. He has neither denied nor confirmed the speculation.

Zahrain claims that the majority of PKR’s elected representatives and members, especially from Penang, were frustrated with their party’s subservient attitude to Pakatan Rakyat ally DAP.

Their anger, he alleges, was more towards DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

The former Penang PKR chief is particularly annoyed with PKR’s ‘virtual surrender’ to Lim and partly blamed it on a weak state party leadership. He said the current PKR representatives in the state Pakatan government were meekly giving in to DAP at the expense of party interests, rights and benefits.

“They dare not stand up against Lim. PKR has compromised its original reformasi agenda to suit the whims and fancies of DAP’s political game,” he told Malaysiakini.

‘PKR doesn’t need DAP’

Zahrain believes that PKR could survive without DAP, being a multiracial party. He called on PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim to review the party’s ties with DAP before it was too late. “If defections happen, it will be due to DAP’s dominance over PKR,” said Zahrain.

He also rubbished the Lim government’s CAT principles based on competency, accountability and transparency. Instead he claims Lim’s motto of governance was “it must be my way or no way.”

Zahrain says he is prepared to face the music for publicly criticising another Pakatan leader, calling Lim a “chauvinist running the state government like his own backyard.” He described the DAP secretary-general’s style of governance as taking the island-state “backward rather than forward.”

“Being a multi-racial party representing all communities, PKR has to take the rap for Lim’s failures,” Zahrain said. Among the ‘failures’ Zahrain alluded to were the contentious Kampung Buah Pala and Kampung Melayu Tanjung Tokong incidents.

Penang ‘better off’ without Lim

NONEZahrain also lambasted Lim for fast tracking the construction of the much-opposed Penang International Convention Centre (PICC) in Relau, which ironically sits in his constituency.

He said Lim has also failed to practice political unity and power-sharing by sidelining PAS from the state administration. Zahrain also alleged that Lim was against holding local council elections in Penang for fear of losing control over municipalities, despite being a central figure in DAP’s ‘third vote’ campaign.

He said Penangites were also growing restless with Lim’s statements blaming the previous BN administration for everything.

“He should stop complaining and start to look for money to carry out people-orientated programmes. Until today, he has not done anything worthy for Penangites,” lamented Zahrain.

Since the much-hyped initial foreign investments in 2008, the PKR man said Lim’s government had failed to attract any notable foreign investments despite spending millions in public funds in frequent foreign trade missions.

He also slammed Lim’s hypocrisy of ‘advocating’ press freedom on one hand, while banning certain media groups and reporters from his functions. “It’s because Lim cannot take criticism,” he said.

Zahrain also opined that Lim has failed to comprehend Penangite sentiments and aspirations as the latter was ‘parachuted’ in from Malacca; he believes that Penang should be led by a local-born chief minister. “Penang would be better off without Lim,” he said.

Have a Great Weekend, Friends

January 28, 2010


I am ahead of schedule this week to bring you some wholesome entertainment. This is because in the next two days Kamsiah and I will be at her niece’s wedding ceremonies.  I have chosen with appropriate advice from Kamsiah to feature  some of the finest female vocalists for your weekend pleasure. I think we all deserve some light entertainment after heavy politiking on this blog.

We must ease tensions and remember that Malaysia is a beautiful place to be, although it can be better if we are a united people, less conscious  of our colour, race and creed. I am proud to be Malaysian, and it is hard for me to trade places. But I am also a Malaysian who recognises that Malaysia “tak boleh semua”, although some of our leaders “sapu semua”, leaving crumps for the rest of us.  Have a good weekend.–DJ Din Merican

Joni Mitchell– Both Sides Now

Petula Clark–Love, This is My Song

Anne Murray–Snowbird

Natalie Cole–Orange Coloured Sky

Vanessa Williams–Save the Best for Last

Brenda Lee– I want to be wanted

Diana Krall–The Look of Love

PKR’s Vice President Azmin Ali on Zulkifli Noordin Issue

January 28, 2010

PKR Vice President Azmin Ali  on Zulkifli Noordin Issue: “Now is the time to act against him.”

PKR Vice President Azmin Ali

PKR’s powerful vice president Azmin Ali says he’s not going to be another Zulkifli Noordin, the recalcitrant MP for Kulim-Bandar Bharu, and upset the apple cart for his own party and the Pakatan Rakyat for the benefit of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s UMNO-BN coalition.

By Wong Choon Mei, Harakah

Of late, Azmin has been the target of the UMNO-controlled media, which has been trying to pit him against PKR colleague Selangor Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim. And the reason – to foment negative publicity for the Pakatan state government and pave the way for UMNO to retake Selangor, the country’s richest state.

“The issue of rivalry between myself and Tan Sri Khalid  is a nonsensical notion spread by bankrupt politicians like Khir Toyo ( the former UMNO chief minister of Selangor),” Azmin told Harakahdaily in an interview.

“Let me make it clear right now. I give my full support to Tan Sri Khalid. I have always believed he can do the job and I am happy with his leadership. I will continue to support him in the state government through my role as the leader of the Selangor backbenchers.”

Destabilizing the Pakatan

The 46-year old Azmin is a pioneer member of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s Reformasi movement. His boyish good looks belie his age, but those close to him rate him as being one of the shrewdest political brains in the party. Many believe that if UMNO succeeded in luring him over – like it appears to be succeeding with Zulkifli – it would deal PKR and Pakatan a major blow.

Since the 2008 general elections, Najib and the UMNO-BN have done little to improve the country, choosing instead to focus their energies and time on destabilizing the Pakatan. Last year, they managed to stage a coup d’etat in Perak and they have made it clear Selangor is their next target.

“We won’t be sitting ducks but we will pick our time and our fights,” Azmin said. “In fact, on Wednesday, Selangor Pakatan will be convening a retreat to brainstorm strategies on how to retaliate and fend off UMNO’s attempts to topple us.”

“We cannot disclose our strategies but our biggest strength is when we act as a united and formidable front.”

Act now against Zulkifli

He also lambasted party colleague Zulkifli, whom many have accused of being an UMNO mole or Trojan horse out to trip the Pakatan.

Zulkifli had crossed swords with PAS MP for Shah Alam Khalid Samad over the use of the word Allah by non-Muslims. He then lodged a police report against the PAS leader. That sparked anger from amongst his Pakatan colleagues, not least from his own PKR party, drawing calls for his immediate sacking.

Indeed, Zulkifli appears to have flouted the gag order imposed on him by the PKR political bureau on Tuesday. He has created a fresh furore by calling the DAP a chauvinistic party that wanted to turn Malaysia into a Chinese country, and urging PKR and PAS to dump it and join hands with UMNO instead.

“Now is the time to act against him,” Azmin said. “The political bureau has already deliberated on his case and asked the disciplinary board to conduct an investigation within one month. I am now urging the disciplinary board to wrap up the whole thing within the next two weeks. In fact, the sooner the better.”

Selangor Menteri Besar’s Approval Rating Down

January 28, 2010

Selangor Menteri Besar’s Approval Rating takes a dip

by Hazlan Zakaria

Rumours that Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim is facing a dampening in popularity since taking power almost two years ago may yet be proven true.

khalid ibrahim pc 120809 02According to a Merdeka Centre poll, the MB’s approval rating has dropped eight points in recent months – from a high of 62 percent in June 2009 to 54 percent in January this year.

The survey comes hot in the heels of recent claims of rampant dissatisfaction in the state with Khalid’s administration.

However, interestingly the approval rating for the state government has remained quite strong – it stands at 60 percent, only losing ground slightly from 64 percent in June 2009.

The survey was revealed today in a close-door discussion on the public perception towards the Pakatan Rakyat state government at a Pakatan Rakyat retreat in Subang Jaya.

Survey’s useful

Sources said Khalid strutted his usual corporate savvy by stressing the need to serve Selangor’s five million residents, or “customers” as he calls it, with the utmost efficiency.

He also appealed to the elected representatives to win over the state public service institution in order for state policies to be implemented smoothly.

Speaking to reporters during a break later, the main organisation of the retreat Yaakob Sapari said the surveys commissioned by the state had helped identify weaknesses in the Pakatan government.

An area of concern was the state government’s problems in communicating with the public.  “Currently, the public mostly subscribe to the mainstream media, as such information from the state government does not get through. Only a few actually use the alternative media,” he said.

“This is something that we must address to make sure that our message gets through to the public”.

No ‘Perak style’ takeover

On rumours that BN will attempt to wrest the state from Pakatan next month, Yaakob said the state government was aware of it and are making preparations, just in case.

“This is BN’s psy-war. They have lost the battle for the votes of the rakyat. They should have gone to the rakyat to try to win them over, but instead, they are now using the police and courts,” he said.

“We know about all this and are monitoring the situation. In fact we are prepared to face this and have plans to counter it. I can assure you, no elected representatives will defect. What happen in Perak shall not repeat in Selangor,” he said.

In February last year, Pakatan lost control of the state government after three of its assembly persons defected and became BN friendly independents.

A similar takeover is rumoured to involve criminal and legal action against Khalid, Yaakop along with executive council members Ronnie Liu and Dr Xavier Jayakumamar.

All four have either outstanding cases or are under investigation by either the police or the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

Kamal Ahmad tentang PKR

28hb. Januari, 2010

PKR semakin sakit tetapi belum tahap lumpuh

oleh Kamal Ahmad

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) kini semakin sakit dan memasuki peringkat tenat, tetapi belum tahap lumpuh. Kenyataan Presidennya, Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, jelas memberi pengertian bahawa penyokong, ahli dan pemimpin parti itu kini saling bercanggah pendapat serta berpuak. Buktinya, Wan Azizah berkata, rombakan kepemimpinan parti itu pada 20 Januari lalu menimbulkan kekeliruan dan keresahan di kalangan tertentu. Beliau mengakui dan sedar tidak semua akan berpuas hati dengan keputusan dibuat kepemimpinan parti.

Dr Wan Azizah melalui kenyataan dalam laman web rasmi parti itu seterusnya mengakui PKR akan menempuh saat sukar untuk mencipta keseimbangan kepemimpinan yang terbaik dan strategi ampuh. Seterusnya, beliau mengakui bahawa kekecewaan diluahkan sebilangan rakan dan ahli parti memang ada asasnya sekali gus sedia berbincang dengan semua pihak terbabit.

Selangor contoh terbaik bagi menggambarkan senario perpecahan PKR di seluruh negara. Menteri Besarnya, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, adalah Ketua Perhubungan PKR negeri dan datang daripada cabang PKR Kuala Selangor yang dibubarkan. Cabang itu “lenyap” selepas hilang 15 ahli jawatankuasa (AJK) apabila dua daripadanya meninggal dunia, seorang keluar parti dan 11 meletak jawatan pada 20 Januari lalu. Tindakan mereka didorong kesedaran selepas kecewa dan hilang keyakinan terhadap Abdul Khalid.

Kes cabang PKR tidak upaya disembunyikan lagi oleh parti itu. Tindakan AJK itu juga adalah pernyataan atau manifestasi protes pemimpin bawahan dan penyokong beliau. Apabila seorang Menteri Besar digugat sebegitu rupa, pasti ada sebabnya. Ini berlaku ketika parti sudah menggenggam tampuk kuasa sekali gus membuktikan ada sesuatu tidak kena dengan Menteri Besar. Kesan kegagalan mentadbir cabang PKR Kuala Selangor turut dirasakan di cabang parti seluruh negeri. Hujah mereka ialah kalau Abdul Khalid gagal mentadbir cabang parti yang ada 5,000 ahli, di mana kemampuan beliau mengurus parti peringkat negeri. Apabila gagal mentadbir parti, Khalid juga sebenarnya tidak layak mengurus kerajaan serta rakyat Selangor.

Sebaliknya, Abdul Khalid seperti biasa menuding jari mendakwa UMNO bertanggungjawab atas semua perkembangan buruk PKR di negeri itu. Itulah cara beliau melepaskan diri daripada prestasi dan reputasi buruk dirinya mengurus parti. Contoh kelemahan pentadbiran beliau ialah menukar setiausaha, naib ketua, ketua penerangan dan bendahari peringkat cabang serta penyandang jawatan dalam perhubungan PKR negeri berpuluh kali sejak menerajui parti itu.

“Dalam hal ini, jangan sekali-kali Tan Sri (Abdul Khalid) salahkan UMNO. Dia harus cermin dirinya dulu siapa puncanya. Pembubaran cabang PKR Kuala Selangor dan keluarnya AJK serta ahli parti di Ijok bukan atas dasar mereka dapat imbuhan atau habuan daripada UMNO. Ini atas kerelaan hati masing-masing.

“Tan Sri (Abdul Khalid) dengan sombongnya tidak pernah membela nasib ahli-ahli parti… inilah yang sebenarnya. Saya ingin tegaskan sekali lagi ini bukan salah UMNO atau Barisan Nasional. Masing-masing (AJK yang meletak jawatan) ada fikiran. Dia tahu mana baik dan mana yang tidak baik. Mana yang boleh memimpin dan yang tidak boleh memimpin,” kata Azmi Muhamad, 51, bekas AJK Cabang PKR Kuala Selangor yang keluar parti itu pada 19 Disember lalu.

Antara sebab kekecewaan 11 AJK cabang yang didakwa terhadap Khalid seperti diumumkan pada 20hb. Januari lalu ialah:

• Gagal mengadakan mesyuarat AJK Cabang dalam tempoh 14 bulan terakhir menyebabkan biro tidak dapat diwujudkan sekali gus gerak kerja serta aktiviti tidak dapat diadakan.

• Wujud jurang kemesraan dan jalinan komunikasi dengan disebabkan sikap sombong selain tidak lagi turun menemui AJK serta ahli akar umbi.

•Cabang PKR Kuala Selangor tidak mempunyai pejabat pentadbiran parti sebaliknya menggunakan Pejabat Kerja Menteri Besar di pekan Ijok yang dibiayai kerajaan negeri.

• Khalid tidak mengambil inisiatif memperkukuhkan parti walaupun ahli bukan Melayu keluar parti dan menyertai Kelab Penyokong PAS.

• Bersikap enggan menerima pandangan, teguran dan cadangan dalam hala tuju parti yang hanya ditentukan olehnya.

“Kami juga kecewa dan bosan kerana Tan Sri (Abdul Khalid) gagal menunaikan janji-janjinya seperti mahu memajukan Ijok menjadi seperti Bandar Klang. Beliau juga menjanjikan membantu belia di sini memperoleh pendapatan sekurang-kurangnya RM2,000 sebulan. Pada awalnya memang ada belia dihantar berkursus, tetapi hingga kini masih belum ada kerja seperti dijanjikan.

“Kita rasa kecewa lagi apabila beliau mengambil sahabat baiknya daripada kalangan bukan orang Ijok. Contohnya, Pegawai Penyelarasnya duduk di Kajang, tetapi ambil beliau letakkan di Ijok untuk mentadbir Ijok. Seolah-olah di Ijok tiada orang bijak pandai (berkelayakan),” katanya.

Lantas Khalid dicabar mengosongkan kerusi DUN Ijok yang diduduki bagi membolehkan pilihan raya kecil diadakan bagi mendapatkan mandat baru rakyat yang rata-rata didakwa kecewa dengan beliau.

“Saya cabar beliau letak jawatan. Siapa yang akan dapat sokongan. Kalau dia betul-betul hebat, dia letak jawatan. Kita akan lawan habis-habisan,” kata Azmi yang pernah menjadi orang kuat Menteri Besar itu sejak 10 tahun lalu. Satu lagi kekecewaan Azmi sehingga mendorong beliau keluar parti ialah tindakan Abdul Khalid membubarkan Jawatankuasa Penyelaras PKR DUN Ijok selepas dua bulan dipersetujui penubuhannya dan menerima sijil pelantikan daripada Menteri Besar itu.

“Tetapi adakah benar surat pembubaran itu ditandatangani oleh menter besar sendiri kerana kami meraguinya. Namun beliau langsung tidak memberi maklum balas dan saya pun sudah membuat laporan polis mengenai surat itu,” katanya.

Cabang PKR Kuala Selangor wujud dengan sokongan kira-kira 30 ranting yang mempunyai kira-kira 5,000 ahli. Namun keupayaan Abdul Khalid mentadbir Cabang PKR Kuala Selangor, malah tindakan beliau selaku Ketua Perhubungan PKR Negeri, sangat kontroversi. Apakah yang boleh dinilaikan mengenai sikap beliau apabila pernah menukar sekurang-kurangnya enam Setiausaha Cabang dan lima Setiausaha Perhubungan Negeri? Apakah yang tersurat dan tersirat apabila beberapa orang sama ada “berhenti atau diberhentikan” bagi jawatan Timbalan Ketua Perhubungan dan Naib Ketua Perhubungan? Begitu juga jawatan bendahari dan ketua penerangan peringkat cabang serta negeri.

Lebih kontroversi ialah kenapa ada memorandum kepada Dr Wan Azizah dan Setiausaha Agung PKR mendesak Abdul Khalid meletak semua jawatan dalam parti dan kerajaan daripada cabang PKR Kuala Selangor, pertengahan 2009 lalu? Menariknya, ibu pejabat PKR senyap membisu tanpa memberi maklum balas kepada memorandum berkenaan.

Apa tanggapan ibu pejabat terhadap cabang PKR Kuala Selangor? Apakah yang ditanya kepada Abdul Khalid? dan, sehingga menyusul surat kedua kepada Dr Wan Azizah serta Setiausaha Agungnya seminggu kemudian yang bertanya status memorandum berkenaan, namun sehingga kini Abdul Khalid umpama berada di bawah perlindungan kepemimpinan tertinggi PKR di ibu pejabat. — Berita Harian

* This article is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

The Value of Measured Decision Making–Suara Keramat Pak Sako

January 28, 2010

On giving Zulkifli Noordin the sack: the value of measured decision making

Although I have views to share on various recent events and issues, I have been occupied and have not been able to blog. But I shall take a moment to comment on the Zulkifli Noordin matter.

Zaid Ibrahim is of the view that Zulkifli Noordin should be given the boot, and the sooner the better. Personally, I concur. The person in question has breached party and coalition lines by taking undiscussed renegade action against a coalition member.

The public’s disappointment over the PKR leadership council’s decision to give the disciplinary committee up to one month to decide on Zulkifli Noordin’s position is understandable. I too was expecting a more forthright handling of the issue by PKR. However that was not to be.

Haris Ibrahim, for example, laments over this lack of decisiveness and its political cost to PKR and Pakatan Rakyat as a whole. Yes, I believe there could be a political cost. But there are political costs either way.

I now speculate on and rationalise why PKR did what it did. There could be valid reasons. It could be possible that the political cost of taking this path is lower.

While a rapid sacking of Zulkifli Noordin could signal to the public that PKR is capable of rapid and decisive action, I believe there is merit in taking the current approach of going through the due party processes, such as submitting Zulkifli Noordin to the disciplinary committee prior to what could be an inevitable execution.

Remember that Anwar is the de facto leader of the party, not the official leader. Most importantly he is not and should not be seen as the dictatorial hand of PKR: enemies might politically exploit this impression. Moreover, if PKR is what it really stands for, then this sort of dictatorial rule is not in keeping with PKR’s culture of consensus and democratic decision-making. Anwar, therefore, should be  seen as a leader who promotes and abides by this culture of consensus and one who is able to give the subject fair hearing and a chance to have a say.

After that, the party could proceed to expel Zulkifli Noordin. This is precisely the move that I (would like to) believe Anwar is be taking. And I believe there is virtue in taking this route.

First, it defuses any possibility of sensationalising Zulkifli Noordin’s expelling and turning him into a martyr and giving him the opportunity to garner more support than he deserves. By taking this route, we dampen any possible gains that Zulkifli Noordin could make, put him to shame for his poor actions and then sack him without fanfare.

Second, there is also value in retaining the option of controlling when to deliver the trump card. Instead of letting their hand be forced (to immediately sack Zulkifli Noordin), Anwar and PKR are choosing to deploy this trump card out of their own will at a strategic moment.

Third, party decisions must at least appear to be as if it was made after having been given due consideration, not as if it was made spontaneously or haphazardly. I’m sure Machiavelli, Sun Tzu and Kautilya alluded to such things and more in their respective magnum opuses.

The key here is speed, in the words of our prime minister. The disciplinary committee should not wait for the tail end of the one month it is accorded to convene and decide. It should display vigorous dynamism. It should get going and pass its judgment as soon as possible.

The single drawback to all this is that the public may lack the patience to attempt comprehend the subtleties of decision making, and it is often tricky for political groups to explain such strategies to the public without being seen as verbose, cunning, or laying bare their strategising to rival political groups.

In the meantime, let us sit back and watch how it all plays out. As a French diplomat once noted, between a crisis and a catastrophe, we might as well have a glass of champagne.– Suara Keramat Pak Sako

A Good Spin

January 28, 2010

A Study in Creative Dissonance

by Syed Nadzri (January 27, 2010)

CONTRASTING articles by Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim appeared on the same page yesterday, in the opinion section of The Wall Street Journal Asia. They both centred on the controversial “Allah” issue, but that was where the similarity ended. In approach, tenor and presumably intention, their articles went in practically opposite directions from the start — the prime minister taking a conciliatory, disarming style, as against the opposition leader’s fault-finding digressions.

The contrast was apparent from their first lines, which told the whole story.

Najib: “In contrast to the impression left by some international reporting, in the hours and days after the recent vandalism of churches and other places of worship in Malaysia, the true spirit of our nation shone through.”

Anwar: “Malaysia has once again resurfaced in international headlines for the wrong reasons.”

The significance of the articles appearing in the same newspaper is enormous: The Wall Street Journal Asia is seen as a leader in global business news for Asia and read by “an influential pan-Asian audience of corporate and government decision-makers”.

Its reach and impact, is huge. Every word counts. That’s where Najib’s earnestness, in wanting to see through the whole “Allah” episode with minimal damage to the social fabric and delicate make-up of Malaysia comes out strongly.

“Across religions and races, Malaysians have spoken with a unified voice in condemning the despicable acts of a few,” Najib wrote, “and citizens have joined as one to assert that vandalism was never an acceptable way to express diverse views or resolve differences.

“Muslim groups volunteered to safeguard churches in their towns. Muslim social activists have written petitions to oppose these senseless acts of vandalism. Muslim civic groups are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Christians, Hindus and Buddhists to ensure that all people can freely worship as they wish.”

Christian and civic leaders had called for calm and interfaith dialogue, he added, as they were fully aware that those who perpetrated these acts did not represent the Muslim majority in Malaysia.

A rah-rah piece, yes, but what else could anyone expect? He is the prime minister, after all. But this prime minister has good reason and is on solid ground to say so.

Najib is plainly putting things in proper perspective, particularly for those in influential positions in the region, like WSJ readers, to right the false impressions that might have arisen since the Dec 31 High Court ruling permitting the use of the word “Allah” to refer to God in the Herald, a Catholic weekly newspaper.

“The government will reach out to all parts of Malaysian society in the coming days to foster open dialogue and work to resolve sensitive issues,” Najib wrote. He also said the country must resolve to maintain a fair and open society with opportunities for all Malaysians to flourish.

“Reforms have been undertaken, such as liberalising ownership requirements in key sectors of the economy, encouraging foreign direct investments, creating 1Malaysia clinics to provide access to healthcare and extending educational opportunities to all Malaysians,” he wrote.

“These reforms have sometimes been politically difficult. But they are important because the long-term health of Malaysia’s society and economy can only be built on what unites us rather than what divides us. We will not waver from the pursuit of 1Malaysia.”


But not necessarily so with the tone of Anwar’s piece: “The recent arson attacks exemplify what’s wrong with the way Malaysia regards its non-Muslim citizens,” he wrote.

“Since (the Dec 31 High Court ruling), an already tense situation boiled over, largely due to incitement by a few reckless politicians, the mainstream media and a handful of non-governmental organisations linked by membership and leadership to the UMNO.”

Anwar does what he always does best — what he thrives on, other than rabble-rousing — throwing his conspiracy theories into the issue, claiming that the government is using scare tactics and incendiary propaganda techniques to exploit public sentiment and garner support through useful diversions from embarrassing scandals.

He describes this as “old politics”. But perhaps this is the “old Anwar” we know so well: the one who always paints a picture of a disconsolate Malaysia and then pushes himself forward as the saviour.

Royal Malaysian Police Prevents Anwar Ibrahim from Speaking

An Act of Defiance Tolerated by PKR Leadership

January 27, 2010

“By the way, Anwar, now do you believe that Saiful, the man Najib sent to work in the party office, is a plant? You have only one plant to worry about. We have had so many. But we ‘killed off’ all the plants they sent. We used them to mislead the enemy. You allowed that one plant called Saiful to kill you. Now you want to allow another plant called Zul Noordin to kill Pakatan Rakyat as well?”–Raja Petra Kamaruddin (January 27, 2010)

“Some in the party are too scared to take action against Zulkifli, despite it being clear that his actions were aimed at destroying PKR from within. Until when are we going to practise amphibian (two world) politics?”–Zaid Ibrahim

Pendapat Zaid Ibrahim tentang PKR dan Zulkifli Noordin

January 27, 2010

Little Napoleon

oleh Zaid Ibrahim

Parti Keadilan Rakyat hari ini (January 26) membuat keputusan merujuk kes Zulkifli Noordin kepada Jawatankuasa Disiplin parti untuk menyiasat serta membuat keputusan terhadap beliau dalam masa 30 hari. Parti juga mengeluarkan “gag order” atau larangan supaya beliau tidak lagi mengeluarkan kenyataan yang boleh memudaratkan parti serta merosakkan perpaduan Pakatan Rakyat.

Hebat bunyi keputusan PKR. Nak ikut “due process “atau proses keadilan dalam undang undang”.Sebenarnya ramai orang merasakan PKR tidak serius untok mengambil tindakan. Malah ada yang mengagak tidak akan ada satu keputusan yang tegas akan diambil dalam tempoh tersebut. Sementara itu Zulkifli Noordin setiap minit akan terus menghina pendirian Pakatan dalam TV UMNO dan surat khabar UMNO dan tidak akan peduli arahan parti, sama seperti yang telah dia lakukan pada masa-masa yang lepas.

Hairan juga keadaan ini, seolah-olah Zulkifli Noordin adalah seorang manusia yang tidak boleh disentuh oleh parti; entah mengapa ada keistimewaan itu. Sebab itulah Zulkifli menggelar sesiapa saja yang mengkritiknya sebagai “Firaun Kecil” atau “Little Napoleon”, iaitu merujuk kepada pegawai parti yang tidak ada taring; maksudnya orang seperti saya.

Selepas hari ini, saya yakin PKR tidak mampu mempertahankan sesuatu prinsip utama dalam perjuangan nya. Hanya yang mudah dan expedient.PKR hari ini tak jauh bezanya dengan UMNO; cuma ia hanya seperti acuan atau “a poor man’s version of” UMNO.

Ada pihak amat takut untuk mengambil tindakan terhadap Zulkifli Noordin, walaupun jelas tindakannya yang mahu menghancurkan parti dari dalam, kerana bimbang dengan persepsi bahawa orang Melayu dan Islam sayang kapada Zulkifli Nordin . Dia konon nya popular dengan “isu Islam nya”.

Tapi Zulkifli Noordin bukan wira Islam. Bukan wira Melayu. Sikap, perbuatan dan kata-katanya sama dengan jaguh-jaguh UMNO. Lagi pula Zulkifli Noordin terang-terang membuat kenyataan yang bertentangan dengan keputusan parti dan Pakatan Rakyat. Apa yang dilakukannya hanyalah memberi gambaran kepada umum bahawa PKR dan Pakatan Rakyat telah mengkhianati umat Islam dan Raja Melayu kerana kononnya sanggup membiarkan orang agama lain menghina Islam, terutamanya dalam isu penggunaan perkataan Allah.

Bagi saya, kalau kita tidak yakin dengan pendirian kita dalam soal penggunaan perkataaan Allah ini, dan isu lain yang dibawa olih Zulkifli Noordin ikut saja UMNO dan Zulkifli Noordin. Tapi kalau kita yakin, kalau kita berpegang kapada prinsip dalam Perlembaggaan Persekutuan , dan pendapat alim ulamak maka kita mesti teruskan dengan pendirian kita.. Sampai bila kita mahu berpolitik dua alam; di sana kita berpegang kepada satu prinsip, di sini kita bertukar kepada prinsip lain pula.

Mungkin ada rakan-rakan yang akan berkata tindakan akan diambil selepas siasatan jawatankuasa parti, dan minta saya bersabar. Ikut lunas undang undang. Saya memang setuju, sebab itu kita sepatutnya gantung Zulkifli Noordin sementara siasatan selesai. Kerana kesalahan nya jelas dan berterusan bagi mereka yang dapat dan mahu melihat. Kita perlu berlaku adil kapada dia , tetapi kita juga perlu berlaku adil kapada ratusan ribu ahli parti yang mengharapkan pembelaan dalam mempertahankan prinsip perjuangan parti dan Pakatan Rakyat.

Dalam memperkatakan semua ini saya mungkin dipecat olih parti Keadilan kerana saya tidak ada kekebalan saperti sasetengah pemimpin PKR. Tapi saya biasa kena pecat dan saya akan terus menyuarakan perjuangasn politik yang sihat dan bermaruah untok kebaikan PKR dan Pakatan. Kita tidak mampu menjadi parti yang akan membawa perubahan kapada politik dan pentadbiran Negara kalau Zulkifli Noordin pun kita tidak bolih selesai dengan cara yang sepatutnya. Nampaknya PAS lebih berprinsip dan berani kerana sanggup mengambil tindakan kapada ketua negeri Selangor nya Dr. Hassan Ali, tetapi PKR takut kapada ahli Parlimen Kulim Bandar Baru.

Come Join Haris Ibrahim and Other Anak2 Bangsa Malaya. We can make difference

Pigs’ Heads, Cows’ Heads and The Demons Among Us.

Jan 27, 2010, by Farish A. Noor

In the Malay-Indonesian rendering of the Mahabharatta, the Hikayat Pandawa Lima, we have an interesting and important episode that takes place as the great battle of Bharatayudha is fought. The Pandawa prince Yudistira – who is an ascetic and pacifist at heart – is forced to do battle with the great King Prabu Salya. Prabu Salya has one great weapon that could not be defeated by anyone else, the demon Chandrabirawa.

The demon Chandrabirawa could not be defeated as he grew more and more powerful every time he was hit. If his arm was chopped off, he would immediately grow another arm, even more powerful and deadly than the one before. Hundreds of warriors tried to defeat the demon, but they were all slain and the demon grew stronger with each fight- for the demon thrived on hate and violence.

Yet Prabu Salya had been warned by the sages that his defeat would come at the hands of ‘the man of pure heart who has done no harm to anyone’.

When the demon Chandrabirawa comes to confront the prince Yudistira, Yudistira refuses to fight him. Despite the provocations and taunts of Chandrabirawa, Yudistira maintains a stoic silence and refuses to raise his hand in anger. The demon is enraged by Yudistira’s refusal to be provoked and to fight, and in his anger grows more and more demonic and fiery; but the demon is consumed by his own hate and anger, and eventually succumbs to the fire of hate. Thus the legend comes true in the end, and Prabu Salya is defeated by the man who has done no harm to anyone.

Today in Malaysia there seem to be some who wish to inflame the situation in the country with blatant acts of provocation, intended to arouse the ire and hate of the rest of us. We have witnessed the sad and shameful spectacle of cows’ heads being severed, and now pigs’ heads have been cut in anger too.

While the authorities have the responsibility to stop this cycle of violence from spiraling any further, we – every ordinary Malaysian – have our own responsibility as well when it comes to choosing how to react to these acts of provocation. In times of overheated rhetoric and anger such as these, cool heads and calm tempers must prevail. Now is the moment for each and every one of us to be the Yudistira that is in all of us. Now is the time for the spirit of the wise pacifist to prevail – and it is not a spirit of passive defeatism that is called on, but rather the active and deliberate will not to fall into the trap of provocation.

The cycle of hate and violence can only end when we choose to break the link before us, and refuse to allow ourselves to be made into pawns for some sick and potentially deadly game that is being played by puppet-masters who have neither the courage nor principles to identify themselves in public.

Enough is enough. One severed cow’s head, or pig’s head, is already one too many. As Marina Mahathir has noted in her article ‘Let us Not let them Provoke us into War’ (27 Jan 2010), let US – Malaysian citizens of all walks of life and belief – regain our will and autonomy and reclaim our nation from the hate-mongers, cowards, bigots and chauvinists. Hate will not be defeated by more hate, and racism will not be defeated by more racism.

Like Yudistira, we must show that love – for peace, for others – is a mighty force that can defeat the demons among us. And like Yudistira, we must understand that Pacifism is NOT weakness, but rather the strongest expression of an independent intelligent will that refuses to compromise its dignity and autonomy by blindly walking down the path of irrational hate and anger.



Khinzir, Lembu dan Raksaksa di Kalangan Kita

(*Terjemahan dari rencana Farish A. Noor bertajuk “Pigs’ Heads, Cows’ Heads and The Demons Among Us” oleh saudara David Chong yang budiman. Saya terhutang budi kepadanya atas kesudian beliau untuk menterjemahkan rencana ini.- FN )

Oleh Farish A Noor/ Diterjemahkan oleh David Chong

Terjemahan Mahabharatta dalam bahasa Melayu-Indonesia, Hikayat Pandawa Lima, menceritakan episod menarik dan mustahak yang berlaku atas medan pertempuran Bharatayudha. Putera sulong Pandawa bernama Putra Yudistira – seorang pertapa berjiwa damai – terpaksa berperang dengan Raja Prabu Salya. Prabu Salya memiliki suatu senjata hebat yang tidak boleh dikalahkan oleh sesiapa pun, iaitu, Raksasanya Chandrabirawa.

Raksasa ini tidak mudah ditumpaskan kerana ia menjadi lebih kuat setiap kali ia diserang. Jika tangannya dipotong, tangan baru tumbuh semula, lebih berkuasa dan berbisa dari yang sebelumnya. Ratusan pendekar cuba mengalahkan raksasa ini tetapi mereka semua gagal. Malah makhluk itu menjadi lebih kuat selepas pertarungan kerana ia dibekalkan keganasan dan kebencian.

Namun Prabu Salya telah diberi amaran bahawa beliau akan tumpas di tangan ‘orang berjiwa murni yang tidak mencederakan sesiapa’.

Apabila Raksasa Chandrabirawa datang berdepan dengan Putra Yudistira, baginda enggan berlawan. Walaupun dilontar cemuhan dan provokasi Chandrabirawa, Yudistira tabah berdiam dan langsung tidak bertindak keras. Maka Raksasa itu naik berang melihat tingkah laku Yudistira dan api kemarahannya semakin marak sehingga ia musnah dibakar obor kebenciannya sendiri. Termakbullah legenda bahawa Prabu Salya akan ditumpaskan oleh ‘orang berjiwa murni yang tidak mencederakan sesiapa’.

Hari ini, ada golongan yang ingin sengaja mengapi-apikan keadaan di Malaysia dengan perbuatan provokasi, bertujuan untuk menyalakan rasa gusar dan benci di kalangan kita. Kita melihat insiden sedih dan memalukan di mana kepala lembu dan kini, kepala khinzir pula dipancung dan dilontar dalam kemarahan.

Walaupun pihak berkuasa bertanggungjawab untuk menghentikan kitaran keganasan dari berterusan, kita, setiap warga Malaysia, juga memikul kewajipan memilih bagaimana kita bertindak balas terhadap perbuatan provokasi golongan tersembunyi ini. Pada masa sebegini, fikiran tenang dan emosi tabah harus dikekalkan. Inilah saat kita diseru mencontohi jiwa Yudistira dalam sanubari kita. Semangat cinta damai putera bijaksana ini adalah suatu sifat aktif, serta melibatkan suatu keputusan untuk menghindari perangkap golongan provokator.

Kitaran benci dan keganasan hanya dapat dihentikan apabila kita sendiri mematahkan rangkaiannya yang di depan mata dan enggan membiarkan diri menjadi bidak dalam permainan api dalang yang tidak berprinsip dan takut mendedahkan diri mereka di muka umum.

Sudah cukup kita melihat insiden kepala lembu atau kepala khinzir ini! Marina Mahathir, dalam tulisan beliau, juga telah menggesa kita agar jangan biarkan provokasi mereka membawakan persengketaan (27 Jan 2010). Jadi marilah kita – warga Malaysia dari setiap lapisan masyarakat yang pelbagai kepercayaan – memulih kembali kebebasan negara kita dari golongan fanatik, penakut dan provokator ini. Kebencian tidak dapat dikalahkan dengan kebencian, dan rasisme tidak akan ditumpaskan dengan lebih racun rasisme.

Seperti Yudistira, kita harus membuktikan bahawa sifat cinta kepada keamanan, cinta sesama kita adalah kuasa yang mampu menewaskan raksasa di kalangan kita. Dan seperti Yudistira, kita mesti faham bahawa pasifisme bukanlah ciri kelemahan, malah ia adalah ekspresi paling ketara bagi jiwa bebas lagi bijaksana yang enggan berkompromi dalam mengikuti jejak dendam dan kebencian.


The Maharaja wears no clothes

January 27 , 2010

Is Anwar that naive or stupid that he cannot see the false façade that Zul is wearing on his face? I think Anwar may need to spend a second term in the Sungai Buloh Prison to wake him up to the reality of what is going on in the real world.”--Raja Petra Kamaruddin, No Holds Barred (Malaysia-Today, January 27, 2010)

The Maharaja Wears No Clothes

by Farish A Noor

Looking at the state of Malaysian politics and society today, at a time when the nation is caught in the grip of a collective anxiety over questions of identity and its future, it is heartening to note that so many of the efforts at nation-building, reconciliation, the fostering of a sense of nationhood and common belonging is coming from ordinary people from all walks of life. Almost all of the efforts we have seen thus far — be it in the form of defining the meaning of Anak Bangsa Malaysia to the healing of collective wounds and sensitivities — have been individual efforts initiated by Malaysian citizens who still believe in the Malaysian project and the idea that Malaysian identity ought to be founded on the notion of a common, universal and equal citizenship for all.

Such positive developments, however, are set back by the lame and insipid developments on the political front; most notably the turgid pace of reform in some of the political parties of the country, including those parties that claim to be founded on the basis of reform itself.

Most recently we have witnessed the pathetic spectacle of political parties totally unable or unwilling to undertake the task of reform in their own ranks, and failing to admonish errant members whose actions and speech seem to contradict what the parties stand for. We are told that this is due to political necessity and fed the same excuse that politics is a ‘complicated business’ where egos and personalities need to be massaged all the time. Then there is the other familiar excuse of pragmatism backed up by the equally lame argument of having to pander to the communitarian sensitivities of their vote-bases and constituencies.

Politicians, however, ought to be reminded that politics is all about the art of the possible and to open up new opportunity structures all the time. Even in the most desperate situation, the able politician is capable of finding ways of compromise and negotiation. And in instances when parties flounder due to the behavior of errant individuals, then parties will have to decide in the name of the good of the party and its image.

After all, consider this: If there was a Capitalist party that discovered one of its members to be a Communist, the Capitalists in the party would simply lay down an ultimatum to the member and tell him/her to make one of two choices: Either conform to the ideology of the Capitalist party or leave and join a Communist party. So would it be with a Communist party that harboured an errant Capitalist member. So would it be with any other party on the planet, for heaven’s sake.

Yet the failure of PKR to deal with issues of ideological consistency and conformity with/to party principles leaves the mind boggling. After all, political parties are composite entities that require wilfull participation of members who believe in the same things. It’s not a dinner party.

All of this points to the now evident weakness of the man who has become the emblematic leader of the PKR himself, and who was the icon and idol for so many. Not least an entire generation of first-time voters who saw in him a new hope for the future. The ‘New Politics’ that was bandied about in March 2008 was meant to be a departure from the old mode of patronage-clientelist personalised politics and the ‘buddy-buddy’ network of the past. However as some senior PKR leaders themselves have come to admit, it appears that not everyone is equal in PKR and that some are more valued and protected than others.

The damage that this has and will cause to PKR cannot be gauged at the moment, but the lustre has begun to wear off. Perhaps the first blow came when the much-lauded and over-hyped ‘takeover’ of the country scheduled for September 16, 2008 never materialised; akin to standing in the heat waiting for the space shuttle to take off and only to be told that the darned machine won’t fly because the astro-toilet system cannot flush. A series of similar letdowns and non-shows have disappointed us all, and with that so have the admiration and respect waned. I am not the first and only one to say this, but others have noted too that the party now seems to be a case of all ‘sound and fury, signifying nothing’ — to quote the leader’s favourite playwright. The Maharaja has lost his charm. The mojo has gone. And the party stands naked, exposed for what it is.

Oh well, time for Malaysians to recover their will and agency on their own I suppose. And that may not be a bad thing considering the appalling performance of our politicians of late. —•

Parti KeADILan Rakyat weasels out of sacking MP Zulkifli Noordin

January 27, 2010

“PKR’s bark is worse than its bite, its actions less principled than its rhetoric”, says Netto.

by Terence Netto

PKR has weaseled out of taking drastic action against its recalcitrant MP Zulkifli Nordin and opted instead to impose a gag order and refer him to the party’s disciplinary committee.

The majority of its 23-member political bureau, at its meeting yesterday, was in favour of sacking Zulkifli but two senior members plumbed for the less punitive course of ordering his silence and requiring him to face the disciplinary committee.  The minority view prevailed at the end of a three-hour meeting.

azlanThe problem with the minority view was that PKR’s disciplinary committee had already in 2008 recommended his sacking after Zulkifli had deeply embarrassed the party by his bellicosity towards a Bar Council meeting that was called to discuss the issue of religious conversions.

In retrospect, the politburo’s failure to endorse that decision to sack Zulkifli had only encouraged him to successively higher levels of defiance of party discipline and policy coherence.

Now the politburo’s ducking out of taking the bull of Zulkifli’s defiance by the horns and throttling it suggests that when it comes to disciplining its rebels, the party’s rival, UMNO, has fared rather better.

PKR’s bark worse than its bite

The fate last year of Ahmad Ismail, UMNO’s Bukit Bendera division chief, is a case in point. He behaved deplorably and spoke inflammatorily at a press conference in September last year after PKR’s Anwar Ibrahim had regained his parliamentary bastion of Permatang Pauh.  UMNO had no hesitation in suspending him. In terms of excesses, Zulkifli’s public pronouncements and actions have been far worse a violation of PKR norms than Ahmad Ismail’s deportment was of UMNO’s.

But PKR has been limp-wristed in bringing Zulkifli to heel whereas UMNO had been firmer in disciplining Ahmad Ismail.

PKR’s decision to opt for the velvet glove rather than the bludgeon towards its flagrantly rebellious of representatives suggests that its bark is worse than its bite, its actions less principled than its rhetoric.