We are racists in the Post Mahathir Era

August 31, 2010

Post-Dr M, we are all racists

by Neil Khor@http://www.malaysiakini.com

Dr Mahathir Mohamad stressed that Malaysians are more divided than ever. Never assuming any culpability himself, he blames the situation on governmental mismanagement allowing for the rise of the opposition and the resultant voices criticising the NEP.

chedet mahathir blog 210508In short, overnight, after some twenty-two glorious years of unity and peaceful nation building, we have, all of us, become racists!

The crux of the matter has less to do with nation-building and all to do with protecting the interests of the status quo. The wealthiest Chinese in the country did not become rich during the tenure of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi or Najib Abdul Razak. Of course, the CEO of SP Setia did well out of the NEP.

But it was not during the time of Abdul Razak Hussein’s NEP but rather Mahathir’s NEP, the ones infused with “free market” ideology and small government. Malaysia’s merchant aristocrats are, all of them, the children of Mahathir.

In a most cynical and cruel twist of logic, Mahathir conflated race and class, stressing that any let-up on the NEP-like race-based affirmative action is “the rich non-bumis taking whatever little wealth the poor bumiputeras have”. He gave two examples, the construction sector and higher education.

But as usual he did not tell the whole story. Mahathir said that the bumiputeras did not have the capacity to carry out the government contracts awarded to them and most would sub-contract out the work. The ultimate beneficiaries were the Chinese.

But why did his government not take measures to monitor and tighten the implementation process? Why did the government not nurture bumiputera developers, provide training and skills-upgrading for class F contractors?

In Abdul Razak’s time, the government built affordable housing but Mahathir privatised this integral function of government and dubbed them “low-cost housing”. All was done in the name of efficiency.

We are expected to put our trust in private developers, whose main duty is to make money to build affordable housing?

Mahathir also trimmed the civil service and the Works Ministry played a monitoring role instead of actually building roads and houses! Of course, the unintended consequences is that today this same agency has very little “capacity” to build, monitor and implement national projects.

The Mahathir government did not tackle corruption as seriously as his predecessor Hussein Onn and allowed developers to do what they liked. Whilst Mahathir asked us to “Look East”, he looked so far east that his policies resemble those of the US. His government “freed” the private sector and clipped the wings of local governments to regulate development.

The travails of the rentier class

Over time, these policies reduced the National Development Policy (NDP) into a worthless academic exercise. As for the bumiputera contractor, Mahathir’s NEP created a class specialising in getting governmental contracts for the sole purpose of sub-contracting them out for a quick profit. Mahathir’s NEP generated wealth for UMNO Malays, but it also swelled the ranks of the rentier class.

If one thinks it is easy to be in the rentier business, think again. There are so many political pitfalls, so much greasing of palms and egos to placate. So, after years of “closing one eye”, we have an entire class of rentier-contractors who are not really interested in building bumiputera capacity to do anything except get the next governmental contract.

If the analysis put forward is faulty, can Mahathir please explain why bumiputera capacity to carry out construction work still an issue in 2010?

If, as Mahathir himself admitted, the sub-contracting happens because the bumiputeras have no capacity to carry out the contracts given, how can he expect the private sector to give contracts to the very same firms he acknowledges as “not having the capacity to carry out the projects”?

Plus, some of the giant construction companies who benefit from huge governmental contracts are truly “Malaysian” in the composition of its board of directors. These firms have investors like the Employee Provident Fund as well as international investors. They also have a comprehensive work process from design to actual construction. There is no need to sub-contract any work out.

Did not Mahathir’s government advocate efficiency? Did he not say that Malaysian firms needed to be more competitive? Did his government not advocate a free market ideology? The profits from these firms swelled the coffers of the government as well as retired civil servants and other governmental luminaries enriching the elites.

Higher education not the panacea

In higher education, the scenario is the same if not worse. In 1992, there were not more than six public

He should leave Najib to get on with his PM duties

universities, including ITM. Now there are 22 and at least a hundred degree-awarding institutions of higher education. Education was supposed to allow the bumiputeras to catch up. Instead, we have a lot of graduates burdened by student loans and doing jobs that do not need a degree anyway.

Meanwhile, those who have the means to go to foreign universities either do not return home at all or are working for multinationals.

In short, higher education has not been the panacea for race advancement that Mahathir had hoped for.

He also liberalised the sector, allowing for the devaluation of the degree, whilst affirmative action in academia has resulted in mediocrity. Mahathir knows this and that is why he seldom borrows any ideas or statistics from any Malaysian academic or locally-researched work.

One thing that Mahathir said is correct. No country should practice 100% free market enterprise. The government has a duty not only to grow the economy but to make sure that development is sustainable, does not harm the environment and most importantly, is equitable.

Meritocracy more about fairness

Mahathir should also point out that meritocracy is not all about grades but more so about fairness. Obviously if a person has no access to a proper library, he or she should be given a helping hand.

However, the assistance should not be based on ethnicity. The NEM’s objective of helping every Malaysian in the lower 40% of the income bracket regardless of race is laudable.

Affirmative action, studies worldwide have shown, is good for a while but in the long term the benefits diminish and the psychological scars damage the community or ethnic group it aims to help.

The framers of the NEP were not overly optimistic, they were realistic. If Mahathir had followed through with the policies of Abdul Razak and Hussein Onn, we may not have developed so rapidly but we would have been a far more equitable country today.

NONEMoving forward, the government must live up to its responsibilities to protect the rights of every citizen. If the Malays are worried, the government need not side with the far right to assuage them.

It must instead demonstrate that it will protect the interests of the Malays and other Malaysians by getting competent people to head governmental agencies, come down hard on corruption and devise policies that will help build the community’s capacity to participate meaningfully in the national economy.

Affirmative action should be continued in perpetuity so long as there are poor and marginalised Malaysians, but it must never only benefit one ethnic group.

The prime minister must find the courage and the tenacity to return to the policies of his father and break with the unsustainable “free market” enterprise associated with Mahathir’s 22 years at the helm.

Mahathir’s NEP created merchant aristocrats and some very wealthy bumiputeras. It is time that the Najib government made amends to the rest of us.

NEIL KHOR has recently completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge. He is co-author of ‘Non-Sectarian Politics in Malaysia: The Case of Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia’ (2008).

Towering Malaysian of yesteryear

August 31, 2010

On James Puthucheary, Towering Malaysian of yesteryear

By Karim Raslan (newsdesk@the star.com.my)

AS Malaysians celebrate Merdeka, I find myself thinking about the late James Puthucheary. A giant of the Merdeka Generation, he was (among other things) an activist, intellectual and lawyer.

James was already a legend when I first met him at the legal firm of Skrine & Co back in 1987. White-haired, Pickwick-ian and wry, few details escaped his observation.

As a former detainee of the British, Singaporean and Malaysian governments, he possessed an undeniable glamour for idealistic young lawyers. Needless to say, when he talked about “Harry”, “Hussein”, “Mahathir” and “Keng Swee”, we all listened attentively.

As a very half-hearted lawyer baffled by contract law, I tended to shirk my work and disappear into James’ office.He would regale me with stories about 50s and 60s politics and the latest updates on the turmoil in UMNO as Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah struggled for control of the party.

One never gets tired of listening to him talk about his days as an Indian National Army officer or as a leader of the University Socialist Club at the University of Malaya in Singapore. That strikes me now, as I reconstruct those conversations, was how truly Malaysian his life was.

It is true that he cut his political teeth in Singapore, where he was a founding member of the People’s Action Party.

Nevertheless, James was born in Johor and after his banishment from Singapore in 1963, resided here permanently. In many ways, his biography reminds us of when the borders between Malaya and Singapore were fluid.

It also harkens back to a time when their men and women could speak their minds without fear or favour, and transcend ethnic, class and ideological barriers.

The collection of James’ writings, No Cowardly Past, which was re-launched this year, captures some of this ethos. It reads almost like a yearbook of the Merdeka Generation, encompassing all sides of the political spectrum.

It was edited by his brother Dominic (a one-time Gerakan MP) and the outspoken academic Jomo K.S. Pictures of James with Lim Chin Siong, Sydney Woodhull and Devan Nair are blended with the reminiscences of A. Samad Ismail. There are mentions of his associations with the likes of Abdullah Ahmad, Phillip Kuok and others.

Tengku Razaleigh spoke at the launch of the book’s second edition. This is a tribute not only to his greatness as a human being, but his uncanny ability to make friends from all walks of life.

It was a trait that many of his cohorts shared, which their successors — Malaysia’s current political and intellectual elite — have lost. How many of our current leaders are truly Malaysian, rather than communal, sectional figures?

One struggles to name even a handful. More disheartening is the fact that none of them can articulate ideas or policies like James did.

In his Who Owns Malaya and Significant Changes in Ownership and Control in the Malaysian Economy, he argued for state intervention to adjust the historical socio-economic imbalances in the country. These principles later helped shape the New Economic Policy (NEP) of Tun Abdul Razak.

Unlike today’s Malay extremists however, James did not see the NEP as a permanent fixture.Indeed, he believed that the “domination” of Malaysia’s economy by the Chinese was a myth, and that it was really the concentration of capital in foreign (i.e. British) hands that needed to be addressed.

Despite the nearly 40-year time gap, many of his contentions are still relevant. He saw that communal-based parties — no matter how closely allied — would eventually fail to deliver on nation-building.

James, furthermore, worried about sectarianism creeping into our educational system, seeing the “… dangers of large sections of Chinese and Malay children spending very large parts of their formative years in communally separate compartments.

“The existence of two communal educational structures should be frightening to all those who believe that the country’s future is dependent on non-communal politics.”

We may disagree with his proposed solution to Malaysia’s problems: namely socialism, or rather social-democracy, but no one who looks at Malaysia today can deny that his writings have an eerie, prophetic ring to them.

What’s saddening is that we have not only disregarded his warnings, but also rejected the liberal, accepting and pluralistic legacy of Malaya and Malaysia’s founding fathers.

Towering Malaysians like James have been replaced by minnows. Nevertheless, I still have hope that this land, which gave birth to James and others like him, may see the rise of young people who can move it forward.

I keep this hope alive in my heart, like so many other Malaysians waiting for a better tomorrow. And while we wait, let us honour the memory of James Puthucheary.

Rethinking Merdeka

August 31, 2010

Dr. Azly Rahman: Rethinking Merdeka

O’ Malaysians,  where are we, as we prepare for yet another ritual of a neo-colonial entity? Rhetoric aside it looks like we are not getting better in terms of race relations, inter-faith dialogue, educational progress in our schools, freedom of speech, academic freedom in our universities, our judiciary system, our respect for the Constitution, and the way we are sincere about dismantling race-basd politics.

This Merdeka, the 53rd Anniversary of our liberation from the yolk of  British colonialism, we saw the birth of PERKASA and the germinating of the seeds of destruction. If we do not collectively depose our corrupt leaders, we will suffer the consequences being robbed of our future. If we do not go back to transcultural ethics we will be doomed as a nation. If we do not learn to become makers of our own history, we will be trampled and buried by those who owns the means of controlling the march of history.
Obstacles to a Merdeka we Malaysians desire

We no longer have virtuous leaders in our political system. We have many who are corrupt to their  bones and in their souls though, interested only in plundering  national wealth in order to survive the next general election. We also have leaders who still do not understand what ‘development’ means. And we continue to breed new leaders who think that politics is about buying votes and selling the nation.

Virtuous leaders are made and not born. They are created out of good religious or moral upbringing and a clear sense of altruism — prioritising needs, not wants, and certainly not greed. Economic conditions too can create virtuous leaders. It is a question of Man and the environment, Man and his circumstances, or Nature versus Nurture. But religion remains the driving force of virtue.

If each and every family reflects upon the beauty of each religion they were born into, they would preserve the tenets of that religion and use them to guide their children. But this requires a strong family that is not fragmented and destroyed by poverty. If families are busy working two or three jobs because of economic designs (conjured by a dehumanising political ideology that dictates so), how would ‘virtuous children’ be raised?

Even if one does not believe in God and its existence, one can be as ethical and virtuous as what Plato, Socrates, Pythagoras, Buddha, Lao Tzi or Einstein would define such a human being as Master Kung (Confucius) often talk about the breeding of the chuan tze or ‘the gentleman’ and the importance of respect. The Bhagavad Gita spoke of the beauty of the self and for one to follow the dharma. Islam speaks of the beauty of the self in relation to its contribution to a peaceful and just society.

Sufism, Buddhism, Jainism, Hassidism, and many a path to deeper spirituality promote the development of the ‘just and virtuous self’. These cultural philosophies and religious doctrines attempt to bring human nature closer to God and Nature.

But we are today living in a world designed by greedy human beings who themselves do not know their own true nature. One might ask: does ‘true nature’ exist? Or will we be comfortable living a life of the Epicurean — eat, drink and be merry? Or, is our good life guaranteed of happiness determined by market forces? Even if allow market forces to dictate our spirituality, do we know who owns the means of creating markets and producing goods?

Greed and Materialism

Greed and materialism is the prime motivator of the destruction of family values. We are primarily reduced to ‘homo economicus’ essentially and less of ‘homo spiritus’. We spend time either making ends meet or making our millions multiply. We keep making decisions that alter and transform the economy and impact the lives of millions who are at the disposal of those who own the means of economic and intellectual production. With our wealth we oppress each other as we build oppressive institutions of power and control.

We have created a matrix of complexities and a rat race of no winners; a rat race of Chinese complexities as the informational scientist Alan Turing would term it.

Seeds of Destruction?

Our society seems to be heading towards destruction. The seeds are rapidly germinating. Sometime ago we even heard the Malaysian police force threatening ‘to vote for the Opposition’. We are now puzzled: for whom do the police serve? Who will protect the citizens then? Do we then need to set up a non-partisan or a neutral police force?

Politicization of Our Universities

We are seeing the public universities becoming more and more politicised. There is no virtue in the way they are run. Our public universities have become merely well-funded higher and a complex system of hegemony that is revolving at different transitionary stages. This simply means that our public universities, paid by taxpayers of all races, are serving the interest of the political parties of the day.

Our Vice Chancellors are not yet elected from the pool of experts of all races although our student population is of a multi-racial mix. The concept of affirmative action and policies to promote diversity is virtually non-existent. There is no virtue in such a practice in our public universities.

We are seeing people getting edgy and agitated — higher crime rate, more robberies, snatch thefts, hideous crimes related to merciless kidnappings, our youth of all races getting high on all kinds of depressants and stimulants that all religious upbringing has taught us to avoid.


Virtue is eroding even at the highest level of public office. We set up all kinds of bodies, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), etc. to combat corruption. But what has been the success rate so far if we are still trapped in a complex political-economic system that is producing more and more creatures of greed that plunder the nation’s wealth.

‘Virtue’ itself is a corrupted word these days. People are finding it difficult to be virtuous. They want to be pragmatic and rational economic beings that rationalise everything in the name of profit, at the expense of the moral development of the generation we are to leave behind.

We can understand why there are now a growing number of snatch thieves in Kuala Lumpur. They want to emulate the lifestyle of our local robber barons.

Our politics, our economics, our culture, our institutions, and our language have been internally laced with

Gandhi at Buckingham Palace

the language of competition. We cannot escape from the idea that there ought to be winners and losers whether it is in the way we give grades to our students, design our economic policies, organise our political system, or, ironically, even in the way we understand religion and God and how these relate to what Gandhi would call the harijans (children of God).

Ethnicity and Poverty

If all that energy is used to design a better system of participatory democracy and philanthropy, and to reach out to other ethnic groups to collaborate in solving the issue of poverty, we, as Malaysians, will become a miracle nation. Poverty is not the problem of Indians or Malays or Chinese — it is the problem of Man.

How can the rich be saved if the poor are multiplying in large numbers? We will have a society that will need more sophisticated surveillance system in order to reduce robbery, kidnappings, etc.

The poor looks at rich and ask herself: “Am I poor because I am lazy? Or is she rich because she works a hundred times better? Or is it the system we build that will continue to make the rich richer and the poor

This After 53 years of Independence: What went wrong?

poorer? What resources do the rich and their children have vis-à-vis the poor to compete in a world that is increasingly technological and technicist and informational? We have created a system of ethically-based structural violence.

It is a complex problem but one can certainly make sense of it all. We need to bring back ‘virtue’ to the forefront of our political philosophies and into our economic paradigm, and next use it to design a virtuous foundation of our economic system. From a virtuous foundation we will then see a healthier characterisation of how we design and reorganise our lives as economic beings.


Education, and education alone, though slow and tedious as a process of transformation, will be the most powerful tool of cognitive restructuring and the teaching of virtue. Education for peace, social justice, cooperation, tolerance, and spiritual advancement will be the best foundation of this mode of operation.

How do we even begin creating a republic of virtue if we do not yet have the tools of analysing what a corrupt society is and how corrupt leaders are a product of the economic system created to reproduce more sophisticated forms of corruption?

We must engineer a revolution of our very own consciousness. From the revolutions in our minds, we move on to the revolution of our consciousness, and next to our collective consciousness. Gradually, as we realise that a better collective consciousness can be created, we will be aware of the oppositional forces that are making real human progress disabling.

We must now become makers of our own history and help others do the same. We must first learn to deconstruct ourselves and draw out the virtue within ourselves, even if the process can be terrifying. We must then each create a manifesto of our own self and de-evolve form then on, until we tear down the structures within and outside of ourselves and reconstruct the foundations of a new republic

Again, this Merdeka, we must ask the essential question: what kind of legacy do we wish to leave our children and grandchildren with ?

Tunku Abdul Rahman’s Vision poisoned by racism, thanks to PERKASA, ApanamaDia and Others

August 31, 2010

Tunku’s Vision poisoned by racism : Remembering Mongkut Bean’s Grand Uncle

by M Krishnamoorthy@http://www.malaysiakini.com

Tunku Abdul Rahman was born on Feb 8, 1903, in Alor Setar. He was the seventh prince of Sultan Abdul Hamid Shah, the 24th Kedah sultan. A robust and bright boy, Tunku received his early education at the Debsurin School, Bangkok and Penang Free School.

He then went on to study at St Catherine’s College in Cambridge University on a Kedah government scholarship, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Law and History in 1925.

During his overseas studies, Tunku experienced firsthand racial discrimination at the hands of the college’s administrators, which convinced him to fight for equality and to make his homeland an independent state, free from the yoke of British colonialism.

tunku abdul rahman 290809His flair for leadership unfolded in England. Realising the Malay students there were not represented by any organisation, he established the Kesatuan Melayu Great Britain (Malay Association of Great Britain) and became its first secretary.

In 1931, after returning home Tunku joined the Kedah civil service as a cadet in the Legal Advisor’s Office, and then as a district officer in several Kedah districts. He proved himself unpopular among some British officials due to his outspokenness and tendency to introduce reforms in his quest to improve the living standards of the people.

His attempt to complete his law studies at the Inner Temple in England in 1938 came to a halt when the Second World War broke out. He resumed his studies only eight years later, coming home with legal qualifications in 1949.

On Aug 26, 1951, Tunku became UMNO president, succeeding Onn Jaafar. tunku abdul rahman and patrick keith 020805His first mission was to travel throughout the nation to meet people from all walks of life and various races to promote unity. His efforts in overcoming the country’s political problems by way of cooperation among the various ethnic groups saw the birth of the Alliance Party in 1955.

In 1956, he led a mission to London for a discussion with the British government concerning Malaya’s independence.

The meeting resulted in the signing of the Independence Treaty at Lancaster House in London on February 8, 1956 and, consequently, the independence of Malaya on August 31, 1957.

On his return from London on June 3, 1957, after finalising plans for independence with the British, Tunku in his first speech, upon landing at the Sungai Besi Airport, issued the clarion call for unity.

“The situation in this country is different from other countries in the world. Because of this, one race cannot take everything for itself. In order to set up an independent government, we must compromise and make sacrifices.”

Racial slurs

Tunku would never have thought that five decades later, things would develop to a point that national school officials would make remarks ridiculing other races. If a headmistress could make such racial slurs, what more ordinary teachers?

I know of many children who tell their parents not to raise a hue and cry over the incidents of racism they experience at school out of fear that they, the students, would be punished. There must be many cases that go unreported.

This not only goes contrary to the concept of 1Malaysia, but against the fundamental rights of human beings.  The government must call upon teachers, students and parent-teacher associations to report all cases of racist utterances and behaviour. The laws are clear and provide ample sanctions against such behaviour.

As we celebrate Merdeka today, our political landscape has worsen from what Malaya was 53 years ago when Tunku declared Independence. At that time, Malays, Chinese and Indians believed in consensus as the basis for how the nation should be ruled.

You did not hear much of non-Malays being called ‘immigrants’ and compared to dogs or prostitutes. No leader dared to threaten UMNO presidents that they would lose Malay support, as PERKASA president Ibrahim Ali has done recently.

In this era of globalisation, we must think as citizens of the world, not as creatures living under a coconut shell. There is no room for racism.

Malays powerless

In his Independence proclamation speech, Tunku said: “We fully realise that (there are) difficulties and problems that lie ahead and are confident that, with the blessing of God, these difficulties will be overcome and that today’s events, down the avenues of history, will be our inspiration and our guide.

tunku abdul rahman merdeka declaration 261004“At this solemn moment, I call upon you all to dedicate yourselves to the service of the new Malaya: to work and strive with hand and brain to create a new nation, inspired by the ideals of justice and liberty – a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world. High confidence has been reposed in us; let us be united and face the challenge of the years ahead.”

About a month before independence, July 10, 1957, at the Legislative Council, Tunku explained the feelings and aspirations of the three major component races.

On Malays, he said: “Before the First World War, the Malays accepted the intrusion of hundreds of thousands of men and women of other races because they realised that they were powerless to prevent it. But in those days, few people were brave enough to interest themselves in politics and our complicated treaties with Britain had given the ‘protector’ absolute right to do as they liked in this country.

“The Malays had the assurance that the British government would protect their interests and that they would be given time to learn the art of administration and time to develop a business sense, and so they believed in the British.”

Not an easy journey

Reflecting on the early Chinese settlers, Tunku said: “They have been in this country for many hundreds of years. In the early days, they came here to trade and later to like this country and decided to settle down, and they were absorbed by the country and followed local customs and spoke the Malay language, which at the same time retaining some of their own culture and traditions. Later, after the First World War, a large number of Chinese came into the federation to further its development.”

On the Indians, he told the Legislative Council: “The Indians also came to the federation to seek wealth in the country and they found employment in government services or in estates. They, too, have made their contribution for which we are all grateful. Men and women of many other races have also come to Malaya, though in smaller numbers, and I should like to make particular mention of the part played by the British people. They have admittedly devoted their lives to the advancement and development of our country. Whatever may have been their fault, they have made Malaya a prosperous and happy place today.”

The road to nationhood has not been an easy journey. Malayans then, and Malaysians now, have endured the trials and tribulations with confidence and patience, calmness and forbearance, with faith in our final goal of establishing a united Malaysia.

Tunku knew that there would be challenges for the co-existence of the various races. A visionary, he said in his proclamation speech: “Let no one think we have reached the end of the road: Independence is indeed a milestone, but it is only the threshold to high endeavour – the creation of a new and sovereign state.”

Fifty-three years after, Malaysians strive to reach, with great difficulty, yet another milestone.

Part 1: Tunku – the true believer of 1Malaysia

M KRISHNAMOORTHY is a freelance journalist and local coordinator for CNN, BBC and several other foreign television networks. He was formerly with The Star and New Straits Times and has authored four books.

Happy Birthday, Malaysia

August 31, 2010

Today, Malaysia is 53 years old and we have come a long way and have long ways to go. We must renew our commitment to build a united nation under Almighty God. This is a good opportunity for us as Malaysians to demonstrate our unity for this nation we love and value very much and renew our faith in ourselves. A simple patriotic act will be to display the national flag proudly. Our political differences should not diminish  our love for our country.

We pay tribute to all our leaders and fellow Malaysians, past and present, who made it possible for us, despite occasional tensions, to live in peace and harmony and prosperity. But let us not rest on our laurels.

To Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak, my Prime Minister, Dr Kamsiah and I say with all sincerity and humility, Sir, please bring us together so that as One People we can move forward in the spirit of Rukun Negara. Let our actions speak louder than words.–Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican

Rukun Negara

BAHAWASANYA NEGARA KITA MALAYSIA mendukung cita-cita hendak :

  • mencapai perpaduan yang lebih erat di kalangan seluruh masyarakatnya ;
  • memelihara satu cara hidup demokratik ;
  • mencipta satu masyarakat adil di mana kemakmuran Negara akan dapat dinikmati bersama secara adil dan saksama ;
  • menjamin satu cara liberal terhadap tradisi-tradisi kebudayaannya yang kaya dan berbagai corak ; dan
  • membina satu masyarakat progresif yang akan menggunakan sains dan teknologi moden.

MAKA KAMI, rakyat Malaysia, berikrar akan menumpukan seluruh tenaga dan usaha kami untuk mencapai cita-cita tersebut berdasarkan atas prinsip-prinsip yang berikut :


Prime Minister Najib: Don’t let racial and religious issues undermine the Malaysian Way of Life

The time had come for the current generation to take the lead to propel the country to greater heights.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said the society should not allow the Malaysian way of life, which is based upon diversity and moderation, to be undermined by extreme attitudes which manifest themselves through racial and religious issues.

“Everything which we have achieved, everything which we have built, and things which are dear to us, will be destroyed.We should, therefore, value the prevailing peace, harmony and stability in the country,” he said in his message in conjunction with the 53rd National Day tomorrow.

He also said that the time had come for the current generation to take the lead to propel the country to greater heights.

Saying that the real challenge for Malaysians today was to transform the country to become a developed and high-income nation by the year 2020, Najib said, the government had put in place strong foundations in the form of the Government Transformation Plan and Economic Transformation Plan to achieve the objective.

Najib said the success achieved in transforming Malaysia from that of a low-income and agricultural-based country into a medium-income industrialised country was due to the commitment, planning and diligence of the government, along with the people, in holding fast to the philosophy of being constantly ahead of the curve of transformation and changes.

“Refusing to be contented with the status quo, and out of sheer determination, our forefathers took Malaysia from one success to another.Today, it is our turn to lead Malaysia to greater heights of progress and prosperity. The question is, are we courageous enough to break away from tradition and achieve the extraordinary?” said the Prime Minister.

Looking back into the struggle of the country’s past leaders, Najib said the nation’s forefathers had never felt satisfied with what the country had at that time and had striven hard to overcome no matter how big the challenges were.

“They constantly seek and work to create a better future for the country and its people,” he said.

The Prime Minister also said that each Malaysian citizen was crucial to the country’s development and that he or she had the capability to contribute towards the nation’s prosperity and well-being. The time had also come for the country to fully utilise local talents, he said.

“It will be a huge loss to the country if the talents, whom we have painstakingly nurtured, migrate in search of a greener pasture just because of our failure to provide the conducive environment for them to contribute,” he said.

He added that globalisation not only allowed for easy flow of capital and technology across the borders but also the flow of human capital.

Najib said that to create a better future, Malaysia should safeguard national unity, saying it had been the country’s pillar of peace and stability.  It was for this reason, he said, that the basis of integration among the Malaysian people should be built upon shared values as spelled out in the national ideology or Rukun Negara and enshrined in the constitution.

Najib also said that the government was truly committed to defending the country’s independence and sovereignty within the framework of legal instruments and based on its own strength to face threats either from within or outside the country.

“Please remember that Malaysia is our homeland; this is the place where we were born, the place where we grow up, where we find our livelihood, a place where we find happiness and where we shall be laid to rest,” he said.

In conjunction with the National Day, he called on Malaysians to renew their commitment and strengthen their resolve to make Malaysia the best country.”For the sake of our children’s future, we must defend the survival of our country. Let us not break what is intact,” he said.

- Bernama (August 30, 2010)

53rd Merdeka: A United and Free Nation Today(?)

August 30, 2010

Jalur Gemilang

Putra Putri

53rd MERDEKA (August 31, 2010)

by M Krishnamoorthy @http://www.malaysiakini.com (August 29, 2010)

“Now go we in content
To liberty, and not to banishment.”

Shakespeare, As You Like It (I,iii, 139-140)

The free intermingling of Malays, Chinese and Indians working together in harmony was the main reason Malaya achieved independence in 1957 without shedding a drop of blood.

“The greatest source of our pride has been the manner in which it has been achieved. It has been won by the spontaneous support of all communities in this country – Malays, Chinese, Indians and others who regard Malaya as their home,” said the nation’s founder and first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Tunku made this remark six months before Independence Day, August 31, 1957. We talk about 1Malaysia now as if it is something new, but it used to be taken for granted when there was no divide among the races as there is now, when there was hardly any talk of which race we belonged to.

Merdeka Merdeka Merdeka --August 31, 1957

What happened along the way? Was it the education system that molded us into thinking ourselves as different from the other? Why are school principals, who are supposed to emulate the concept of 1Malaysia. using racial slurs to divide the nation?

Fifty-three years ago, Tunku was convinced that this nation could survive only when the races were united. From this foundation of national unity in work, in play, in life, Malaya got its independence. I was eight years old then. There was no need for a campaign for 1Malaysia because we were all seen as one nation, one race – Malayans.

In schools, we all played as though we were of one race without noticing what creed, culture or religion we belonged to. I studied, ate and played with all races, and I did not have any mental block as to how a Malay or Chinese child was different from me. My parents would take me, my brothers and sisters to visit all the different places of worship during the various religious festivals.

‘Not a Drop of Blood’

On February 9, 1957, Tunku as then-chief minister of Malaya, in a speech broadcast over Radio Malaya, said: “Throughout our campaign, not one outbreak of violence occurred and, true to the pledge I gave, not one drop of blood was spilt in our constitutional struggle for Independence.

The Independence of Malaya has, therefore, been won by the measure of goodwill which exists among the various peoples of this country as much as by their united efforts and patriotism and love for this land. Finally, the good understanding between Great Britain and Malaya has enabled Great Britain to appreciate fully our national aspirations.”

The speech was part of a nationwide campaign for contributions to fund the inaugural Merdeka celebrations.  Can you guess what the amount was for the celebrations? It was just a meager one million dollars (then).

“A certain portion of this sum will be required by government itself for the entertainment of foreign guests who will be invited to our celebrations,” said Tunku.

In speaking of Independence Day, he emphasised that “we have become a free nation solely through the efforts and support of the public themselves.”

“You will recall that the Alliance took the political field on the paramount issue of independence, and in the national election, the fact that Alliance candidates swept the board with a majority hitherto unknown in any country in the world indicates that the public decided in no uncertain terms that they want Independence.”

“When the delegation (of Malayan ministers and political leaders) went to England in 1956, we made known to the British government the wishes of the people. The British government accepted these wishes with good grace. They agreed to the date proposed by us for the granting of independence.

“But while the achievement of our independence is a matter of which we can be justly proud, all of us should remember our Independence Day with a feeling of thankfulness and gratitude.

“We must thank God for our achievement, and at the same time I would like to thank all of you for your support. The occasion we are to celebrate is the birth of a new nation. Let us make this event unforgettable.”

A Disturbed, Distracted world

The public would no doubt have its own ideas on how to celebrate the event, and he allowed them a free hand in organising shows and public entertainment.

Tunku was seen as a leader who listened and was liberal in the way he wanted citizens to play a more dominant role. There was a consensus that the money should be spent wisely, and the leaders listened to the people.

Given the racial unity among Malayans, Tunku would not have tolerated allusions to some citizens being penumpang (free-riders) and pendatang (immigrants). He would have nipped it in the bud instead of waiting and delaying action against government servants who use such words to humiliate the other races.

Neither would the Tunku have tolerated corruption reaching such heights of indecency as it is now.Imagine,

The Icon of Malaysian Independence

only one million dollars was allocated for the celebrations. If we had gotten back the billions that have gone to corruption over the past 53 years, we could celebrate in streets paved in gold.

Tunku words in his speech on Independence Day reverberated throughout the Merdeka Stadium where it was delivered, just as they reverberate to this day:

“But while we think of the past, we look forward in faith and hope to the future: from henceforth, we are masters our destiny, and the welfare of this beloved land is our own responsibility. Let no one think we have reached the end of the road: independence is indeed a milestone, but it is only the threshold to high endeavour—the creation of a new and sovereign state.

“At this solemn moment, therefore, I call upon to dedicate yourselves to the service of the new Malaya: to work and strive with hand and brain to create a new nation, inspired by the ideals of justice and liberty – a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world.”

Part 2 tomorrow

M KRISHNAMOORTHY is a freelance journalist and local coordinator for CNN, BBC and several other foreign television networks. He was formerly with The Star and New Straits Times and has authored four books.

Sabah PKR 12, will the real men among you stand up?

August 29, 2010

Sabah Politics:  PKR 12, will the real men among you stand up?

by Terence Netto @http://www.malaysiakini.com

COMMENT The PKR disciplinary committee that recommended a year’s suspension for 12 members in Sabah aligned to the Jeffery Kitingan faction relied solely on deductive logic to arrive at their conclusions.

The 12 had filed an application to form Parti Cinta Sabah on December 4 and withdrew the application two days later. The filing move was cause for disciplinary action.

From inquiries, the disciplinarians concluded the 12 had not been instructed by Jeffery to form the new party. When the 12 could not furnish documentary proof thereof, the disciplinarians deduced that the motive for the withdrawal of the application was not credible.

As disclosed by the 12, the motive was that details of negotiations successfully concluded in Kuala Lumpur on December 5-6 – an effort in which Jeffery was involved – required the withdrawal of the application.

The disciplinarians concluded that if Jeffery had not prompted the filing in the first place, there was no reason for him to make the matter a subject of negotiations.

Furthermore, on December 20, no less than PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim had assured a Sabah PKR convention that action would have to be taken against the would-be rebels.

Therefore not only Jeffery had no reason to make the application an item in the negotiated deal, the party supremo had given no public indication that forgiveness for the errant 12 was part of the peace pact.

Conclusion: The 12 had no reasonable cause for their splinter-forming behaviour; no corroboration for what their motive was when they retracted their move; and had public notice to expect punishment for their initial misbehaviour.

The 12 had been frivolous and vexatious. Hence the recommendation of a year’s suspension, a measure set for deliberation by the PKR leadership council this afternoon. How party supporters must wish things were that simple!

Peace Pact

Unfortunately, they are not. There was a peace pact in which forgiveness for the would-be rebels was part of the deal. However, the details were not engraved in stone. The consequent ambiguity was compounded by administrative confusion that arose from the resignation of Salehuddin Hashim, the PKR secretary-general, in January this year.

This was followed by highly public internal ructions following the departure of a few MPs from PKR, a tumultuous phase in the party’s recent history.

Five Sabah PKR members who had filed a complaint last December about the behaviour of the would-be rebels had waited until June for action to be taken. When no action was forthcoming, they filed another complaint. Last week, a disciplinary cohort from PKR headquarters went to Kota Kinabalu, inquired into the matter, and deductively concluded that the errant 12 should be suspended.

Politics rendered volatile

There is no question whether there was a peace pact in Sabah PKR. There was a deal; the only thing in doubt is whether it entailed no action against the 12. Contention over that issue is now threatening to rip apart a painstakingly gained pact firmed up by mid-December.

That deal brought a tenuous calm to Sabah PKR politics rendered volatile when a leadership line-up that sidelined Jeffery Kitingan was announced in October last year.

Sabah, and sister territory Sarawak, would not bulk large in PKR’s calculations if the party and allies DAP and PAS, had not denied UMNO-BN their customary two-thirds parliamentary majority in the general election of March 2008.

The two states are now critical to the PKR-fueled opposition’s aspirations to take over the running of the country. They say that in a race, it is the last 50 meters that separate the men from the boys. The ‘Sabah PKR 12 issue’ is fast shaping up to be one that draws the line of distinction between the truly seasoned and the parvenus in the party.

*TERENCE NETTO has been a journalist for close on four decades. He likes the occupation because it puts him in contact with the eminent without being under the necessity to admire them.

Prime Minister Najib may have ruffled Dr. Mahathir

August 29, 2010

Prime Minister Najib may have ruffled Dr. Mahathir

By G Krishnan@http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

COMMENT I must admit, reading the recent news stories about Dr Mahathir having his feathers ruffled by talk about the potential dismantling of the NEP may actually be a healthy sign – one that suggests perhaps Najib may well be trying to bring about some genuine and constructive change after all.

Having been one who has never found myself ever in agreement with anything Mahathir has espoused, I must confess that seeing him practically seething and unsettled by the mere signals emanating from Najib’s quarters regarding potential reforms to some aspects of the NEP is refreshing and a welcomed development.

To be sure, much of the news from the past several days has not played out too well for Najib’s image.  In particular, the invidious hand of the mysterious censors in removing Jamaluddin Ibrahim from the air, along with the persistence in the news of the political albatross ,that is Taib Mahmud ,means this past week has again not been a particularly uplifting one for Najib’s camp.

Deservedly or not, a fair amount of the fallout from these events in particular have taken even wind out of Najib’s sails. But it has to be said that the prime minster at least had a bit of a boost to his image. Not insignificant has been his bold proclamation of ‘zero tolerance for racism’.

Whilst these words may ring hollow for many a skeptics of the prime minister, surely it is worth noting that in this climate of heightened political consciousness and close scrutiny of his words and actions, Najib can ill afford to merely grandstand with slogans without some form of concrete action to go along with such words.

So at least on the surface, there is hope that perhaps he has intentions to sail in a somewhat different direction than say his predecessors have. Which of course brings us back to the sabre rattling by PERKASA and their de facto inspiration and spokesman, Mahathir Mohamad.

A healthy sign

Everything about Mahathir’s rumbling and grumbling about the impending NEM suggests that at the very least, certain preemptive pressure is already being applied to ensure Najib doesn’t sail into some unchartered waters, at least not when it comes to the NEP.

But more likely, it suggests that there is genuine cause for Mahathir and his ilk, and here I mean – in no uncertain terms – especially those hell bent on defending racist policies, that there is something genuine change possible. That perhaps Najib is indeed poised to change the direction of the sails and steer the boat into some new waters.

As I mentioned, it would be understandable if skeptics appear to take all the talk by Najib with a grain of salt – as mere political posturing. After all, we’ve yet to see substantive change delivered. But one thing is certain: it is always a healthy sign – at least for those looking for credible and forward-oriented change – when Mahathir seems to be genuinely unsettled and irked by some impending change.

For me, Mahathir’s (and for that matter Ibrahim Ali’s) bizarre outbursts about the government – much like these about the NEM – is akin to a lost ship seeing a bright star in the distant sky: something from which to take hope that indeed there is a chance the ship may yet get on the right course.

But could Najib actually be so bold as to take the ship where, to date, no captain of UMNO has dared venture – and survive a potential mutiny?

G Krishnan is a freelance writer who routinely writes online columns about Malaysian affairs.

Ku Cari Damai Abadi ~ Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

cakap tak suka bikin, Pak Lah!

Aku cari bukan harta bertimbun-timbun,
Untuk hidup kaya,
Aku cari bukan wang berjuta-juta,
Untuk hidup bergaya,
Aku cari bukan kawan-kawan,
Untuk hidup sekadar berfoya-foya,
Aku cari mana dia Al-Ghazali,
Aku cari mana dia Al-Shafie,
Kita bongkar rahsia kitab suci,
Cari pedoman
Kita bongkar rahsia sunnah nabi
Cari panduan
Aku hidup kerana Dia Rabbi
Dialah teman
Dialah wali
Dia mencukupi
Aku hidup bererti
Menikmati damai abadi

UMNO : Stakeholders, Proxies & Money Politics.

August 28, 2010

UMNO : Stakeholders, Proxies & Money Politics.

by: steadyaku47

Who are these people who are stakeholders for UMNO’s wealth? Proxies for UMNO’s business undertakings? Keepers of UMNO’s purses? I must confess that in all my years in KL I have yet to meet anyone who has identified himself or herself to me as being one of these individuals. I know of Malays who have become exceedingly wealthy because they are given contracts by the Barisan Nasional government. They secure these contracts mainly by giving bribes to UMNO politicians. They bribe to be pre qualified for the closed tenders, they bribe JKR to evaluate their submission favorably and if the tender needs cabinet approval, they bribe people in cabinet to approve their bid. All these are bribes given to individuals. Not to JKR or to UMNO but to individuals who work in JKR and to those in Cabinets who are UMNO members.

In as far as JKR are concerned we can understand that the money given to these individuals working there is purely and simply a bribe. Now how does UMNO becomes rich with the bribe we give to those in cabinet or to the political appointees in the various government ministries? I think the simple answer is this.

UMNO does not get rich with the bribes we give. The individuals we give the bribes are the ones who keep the money. What do they do with the bribes we give them? First and foremost they take for themselves what they need…to pay for their living expenses, cars, holidays and to those who are so inclined, wine, women and song….…not necessarily in that order……and maybe bit more to put aside for rainy day….or another wife!

No wonder the couple in the the picture can afford to live in a RM2 million penthouse at The Residence in Taman Tun Dr Ismail

Once that is all taken care of they will look at what they need to do to maintain their seat of power that allows them to take these bribes. Of course Numero Uno is his lord and master – his Minister. He will either give outright cash to the minister or take care of expenses incurred by his minister. Then he has to make sure that the people around him and around his Minister are well fed. These people determine his political future i.e. vote for him at the UMNO election. These people are taken care on a monthly basis,on a one off basis or on a need basis. To do this well he will need not only large amount of money but he has to make sure that the money never dries up.

So the more bribes given the happier the members within UMNO will be. This gives the impression that UMNO is strong politically because it can take care of its own. So we can all see the need for money politics in UMNO. What happens if this source of money dries up? Then UMNO ceases to function. So my friends can you see UMNO killing itself? Can you see money politics, the life blood for UMNO, being taken out of UMNO? Is UMNO stupid enough to commit Hari Kiri?

For anyone to commit Hari Kiri they must first understand what honor is. This is something UMNO does not have! So brace ourself for UMNO and money politics to be around for a long time.

Where there is Abbot there is Costello. Where there is Laurel there will be Hardy….and you know what comes next! Where there is UMNO there will be money politics.

Music Time

August 28, 2010

The Weekend is upon Us again: Music Time

Dr. Kamsiah and I always regard choosing tunes for your listening pleasure as one of bonding with you through music. It is not an attempt to “impose” our taste on you.  We are happy that our choices in the past meet with your approval. For this weekend, we will attempt to choose tunes from way back to 1950s to the present day. May they bring back memories for you as your journey through time. We have a wonderful time in choosing them for you.

The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.– Abraham Lincoln

McGuire Sisters–Sincerely

Tommy SandsTwo Young To Go Steady

Frankie Avalon–Venus

Bobby Vinton–Blue Velvet

Connie Francis-Where The Boys Are

The Carpenters–Only Yesterday

Barry Manilow

Anwar Ibrahim battles on

August 28, 2010

Anwar Ibrahim again battles dubious sex charges

by Mark MacKinnon

Kuala Lumpur — From Friday’s Globe and Mail.  Published on Friday, Aug. 27, 2010 3:25AM EDT Last updated on Friday, Aug. 27, 2010 7:21AM EDT

There is an uncomfortable pattern to life for Anwar Ibrahim, the charismatic leader of Malaysia’s opposition. In 1998, shortly after he quit the authoritarian government of Mahathir bin Mohamad, he was convicted and jailed on trumped-up sodomy charges.

Six years after that conviction was quashed and he was released from prison – and just as it looked like he and his multi-ethnic coalition might finally oust the long-ruling United National Malays Organization from office – Mr. Anwar finds himself trapped in the most awkward of reruns, once more accused of “consensual intercourse against the order of nature.”

The charges again look to be a thinly veiled attempt to ruin Mr. Anwar’s reputation and sabotage his political career in this Muslim-majority country. The trial to date – dubbed “Sodomy II” in Malaysia’s unsubtle government-controlled press – has produced a succession of lurid headlines about lubricant tubes and stained underwear, while Mr. Anwar and his lawyers have been denied the right even to see the medical records of the man with which he is alleged to have had anal sex.

But instead of letting the scandalous court proceedings force him to the sidelines, the eternally optimistic

Merdeka but some Malaysians are still detained without Trial. Time to set them FREE if we cannot charge them. Hari Raya too is coming.

Mr. Anwar has been using good humour and his ever-present BlackBerry to turn even the most awkward of headlines to his advantage, holding up the charges against him as proof of the absurdity of the system he’s trying to change.

As a lone judge contemplates whether there is evidence to convict Mr. Anwar and sentence him to up to 20 years in prison, as well as a flogging, Mr. Anwar has continued his ferocious assault on a government he derides as repressive and corrupt, blogging from the courtroom and sending cheeky and upbeat 140-character updates to his followers via Twitter.

“Sodomy circus turns into sex opera!” reads one of Mr. Anwar’s mid-trial posts, which linked to a video of a lawyer discussing the lurid details of the case. “Courage of conviction. Que sera sera,” was his response to a fellow Twitter user who worried the energetic 63-year-old was headed back to jail.

The odds do seem stacked against Mr. Anwar, a former deputy prime minister who was once considered the rising star of Malaysian politics. But to hear him tell it, his déjà-vu legal ordeal is evidence that Prime Minister Najib Razak and his party are losing their grip on power, and they know it well.

“They can’t deal with me politically – either my economic programs or policies. They can’t debate me. So they resort to this ludicrous exercise to demonize me,” he said in an interview at the offices of his People’s Justice Party in western Kuala Lumpur, a confident grin fixed on his narrow, goateed face. “We will win the next election and we will change the courts.”

It seems unlikely things will go quite that smoothly. Mr. Anwar’s political career has seen his fortunes change as often and as quickly as the weather in this peninsula thrust between the Indian and Pacific oceans. The leader of a Muslim youth organization during his student days, he shocked his followers by joining UNMO in the early 1980s and taking a succession of cabinet posts in the authoritarian government of Mr. Mahathir, eventually rising to become his powerful finance minister and deputy prime minister.

But the two men never saw eye-to-eye on key issues, and they eventually fell out during the 1997 Asian financial crisis over economic policy and Mr. Anwar’s accusation that cronyism at the top was hurting the country’s economy. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Anwar – frequently held up in the West as an example of a moderate Muslim democrat – was in jail.

Though initially barred from politics upon his release, Mr. Anwar steered the opposition to a surprisingly strong finish in 2008 elections, and – even as the new sodomy charges were being laid –very nearly won the long-sought prime minister’s chair in the aftermath when he called for a vote of non-confidence in Mr. Najib’s government. Mr. Anwar said he had the support of a majority in parliament, including an unspecified number of UMNO defectors, but the vote never happened. Instead, 40 key lawmakers were sent on a government junket to Taiwan during which some were apparently convinced to rethink supporting Mr. Anwar’s bid for power.

The next election, which can be called any time before 2013, is set to be a high-stakes affair in this rapidly developing country of 28 million, which has seen freedom of speech blossom since the 2003 retirement of Mr. Mahathir and the rise of the Internet. Any kind of conviction would keep Mr. Anwar – who heads an improbable coalition that consists of liberal reformers like himself and an Islamist party that seeks to impose Koranic law – on the sidelines for another five years.

Mr. Anwar, a married father of six children, denies the new charges that he had sex with a 25-year-old former aide to Mr. Najib. (The sodomy law, which dates back to the British colonial era, has only been used seven times since independence, with four of those charges being levelled against Mr. Anwar.)

The case recently devolved into further farce when it surfaced that the complainant was having an affair with a member of the prosecution team. Though Judge Mohamad Zabidin Diah acknowledged the affair as fact, he denied Mr. Anwar’s application to have the charges thrown out on that basis.

Mr. Anwar, who counts Al Gore, Nelson Mandela and former Canadian prime minister Paul Martin among his friends, said that while the Malaysian court system would do him no favours, he thinks his case is high-profile enough that the government won’t dare jail him again. “It’s a catch-22 for them. If they put me in jail, they invoke more sympathy, certainly the government will lose … And unlike Mahathir, Najib wants to be seen to be acceptable in the international community.”

Mr. Anwar’s undimmed ambition to be prime minister clearly infuriates his political opponents. Even in retirement, his mentor-turned-nemesis Mr. Mahathir uses his own blog to mock his former protégé and lash back at accusations that the case against Mr. Anwar is trumped up. “Could it be that it was actually the victim of anal rape who decided to tell things as they happened? I would like to say we should wait for the court to decide, but that can take a very long, long time or even never,” Mr. Mahathir wrote recently.

Despite a near-complete ban on his speaking to the official media, Mr. Anwar appears to be winning the public-relations battle, in part because of his savvy online efforts. A poll conducted by the independent Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research shortly after the new charges were filed found that only 11 per cent of the more than 1,000 respondents believed the new sodomy allegations against Mr. Anwar. Two-thirds said they agreed with the statement that the trial was “a politically motivated action to disrupt Anwar Ibrahim’s political career.”


Pay Off for a Powerful Politician(?)

August 28, 2010

Pehin Sri’s Mansion in Seattle: A Gift from Samling?


Did logging giant Samling give a 100-year-old mansion in Seattle worth at least US$6.8 million (RM21 million) to Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud’s family?

That’s the question asked by an anti-Abdul Taib website, Sarawak Report, in its latest series of explosive revelations.

azlanThe mansion was bought by California-based CSY Investments in 1991 through its subsidiary, WA Boylston Inc, and its ownership was allegedly transferred to Taib’s family a few years later for a nominal sum of US$1 (RM3.1).

According to Sarawak Report, CSY is the initials of CSY Investments president Chee Siew Yaw, who is son of Yaw Teck Seng, ranked by Forbes magazine as the 13th richest Malaysian along with eldest son, Yaw Chee Ming.

Teck Seng, 72, is founder of conglomerate Samling Global, which began its logging operation in the rainforests in Sarawak before moving overseas to Guyana, Russia and China.

Earlier this week, the Norwegian pension fund announced that it was divesting 16 million of its shares in Samling following the company’s “unethical” operations in Sarawak and Guyana, which has contributed to illegal logging and severe environmental damage.

Taib defends Samling

Yesterday, Abdul Taib had defended Samling, describing it as a “responsible” company. NONE“Abdul Taib in his joint capacities as chief minister, finance minister and state planning and resources minister, has controlled the issuing of Sarawak’s timber licences for the past 30 years, leaving clear questions over his incentives for favouring such an ‘unethical’ company,” said Sarawak Report.

The two-storey mansion, originally built in 1910, sits on a gentle slope in the exclusive Boylston Avenue East neighbourhood, providing an excellent view of the Seattle skyline.

NONEThe building, which has six bathrooms and five bedrooms, has a full basement, a large patio, a built-in garage, a gazebo, a pond and a tennis court.

According to Sarawak Report, Taib acquired the sprawling mansion, whose compound is about half of a football field, in the mid-1990s.

“The property forms part of the family’s Sakti International Corporation, incorporated in California and currently managed by Hisham (Sean) Murray, the chief minister’s son-in-law,” it said.

Murray is husband of Jamilah, the eldest of four siblings in the Taib family. The couple owns the second most expensive house in Ottawa, Canada, worth RM28.3 million.

The Yaws and the Taibs

It is earlier reported that Canadian-based Sakti International owns an estimated US$80 million (RM258 million) in properties, including the Washington Fusion Centre – a maximum security building which houses the Seattle division of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and counter-terrorism unit.

The Sarawak Report said that the only official document on the transfer of the Seattle property was from the King County Land Registry in a quit-claim deed where CSY Investments gave up the mansion for US$1.

A quit-claim deed is a document by which one disclaims any interest one may have in a piece of property and passes that claim to another person.It sometimes used for transfers between family members, gifts, and the placing personal property into a business entity.

“Family portraits of the chief minister, his deceased wife and four sons and daughters as small children, adorn the elaborate rooms,” said Sarawak Report.

The website also mentioned a second property, “an equally gracious and prestigious mansion” has also found its way from the Yaws to the Taibs in Seattle.

The house, worth about US$2.85 million (RM9 million) at its peak value in 2008, has the “famously sought-after views over the city”.

Nazir Razak Goes to Oxford University

August 27, 2010

Nazir Razak Goes to Oxford as a Chevening Fellow


Nazir Razak Goes to Oxford as Chevening Fellow

Malaysia’s top banker Datuk Seri Nazir Razak will head to the prestigious Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies next month as a Chevening Fellow for 2010/2011 but declared he will continue to head the CIMB banking group.

The CIMB chief executive said the studies will allow him to further his knowledge in Islamic finance and network with prominent Muslims visiting the Oxford centre.

“These studies will allow me to network with Muslims personalities, learn more about Islamic finance and modernisation in Islamic societies,” said Nazir, who led the CIMB group to post a record RM1.7 billion in net profit for the first half of the current financial year.

Nazir, who is Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s younger brother, has been calling for the dismantling of affirmative action policies under the New Economic Policy (NEP), much to the dismay of Malay rights groups who want those policies kept.

His comments drew the ire of PERKASA and former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who argue that policies under the NEP are rights and still relevant for the Malays.

Nazir’s fellowship at Oxford will be welcomed by right wingers in UMNO and the Malay community as a retreat by someone with influence and eloquence to push the meritocracy agenda. But The Malaysian Insider understands that Nazir remains committed to this issue and will likely continue to speak out on the need for the Malaysian economy to be restructured.

He also stressed that he will remain in control of the Malaysia’s top dealmaker and second largest banking group by assets.

“The longest period I will be away is between two and three weeks but I shall continue to work and chair meetings in the CIMB London office,” Nazir said, stressing the studies were important for his development as a banker.

The Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies was established in 1985 under the patronage of The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, for the scholarly studies of Islam and the Islamic world. It runs advanced research, the three biggest ones being The Atlas Project, Muslims in Britain and Islamic Finance.

The Atlas Project aims to publish the historical atlas of the Islamic world, concerned with the roots of the Islamic world and its social progression. The Muslims in Britain research is concerned with the history, needs and challenges of British Muslims. The third research focuses on the theory and practical application of Islamic finance all over the world.

The centre also hosts lectures by distinguished visiting lecturers, among whom were Prince Charles, Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan and former Malaysian prime ministers Dr Mahathir and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The centre is headed by Dr Farhan Ahmad Nizami, who is a Prince of Wales Fellow, Magdalen College, Oxford and Emeritus Fellow, St Cross College, while Dr Adeel Malik is a Globe Fellow in the Economies of Muslim Societies and Research Fellow, St Peter’s College, apart from being an Islamic Centre lecturer, International Development Centre in the University of Oxford.

What’s next for Sime Darby?

August 26, 2010

What’s Next for Sime Darby?

Will he be replaced?

Investors are expecting palm oil-to-property conglomerate Sime Darby to book more write downs from its stricken energy division when Sime reports full-year earnings today.

The results briefing will also see Sime’s new chief executive Datuk Mohamad Bakke Salleh, an ally of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and a former key official of Felda, spell out his plans for a company avoided by investors and thought to be ready for an overhaul.

Here are some questions and answers on what could happen for the world’s No.1 plantation firm by land bank and Malaysia’s No.2 firm by market capitalisation.

Will there be significant provisions?

Yes, the company is set to announce large provisions for Middle Eastern energy jobs and civil engineering works for the ongoing Bakun dam project in Sarawak.

A forensic audit on the four projects will be made public by end-September and local media have reported that extra provisions could range between RM100-RM490 million although it’s a matter of when they get realised.

Some analysts say the fourth quarter should signal the last of the provisions although a senior company official told Reuters the impairments may continue into the next financial year as Sime has yet to hand over the Bakun dam to the government.

Provisions will certainly drive Sime Darby’s 2010 profits way below last year’s RM2.28 billion.According to Thomson Reuters StarMine estimates, 2010 net profit is seen at RM1.6 billion. So far for this financial year, Sime Darby has made RM804 million in profits and booked over RM930 million in provisions.

What will Bakke do next?

Sime will likely keep its conglomerate business model, at least for the time being, despite calls for the sprawling conglomerate to divest some of its holdings.Bakke is likely to carry out a management reshuffle. He may also stop bids for new projects for the energy division after the board is given details of the forensic audit on the energy division.

Some investment banks have speculated that Sime could list its cash-generating plantations business and sell underperforming units such as motoring and energy to unlock asset values. A Sime plantations IPO could add more liquidity to Malaysia’s stock exchange, in line with PM’s promises to reform state-linked companies and boost investments.

Some analysts say that once Sime has recognised the impairments, it could sell assets like the under-utilised ship fabrication yard it bought from Ramunia for RM530 million in 2009.

The appointment of Bakke shows how seriously Najib takes the issue of Sime. Bakke had run state plantations firm Felda until his appointment to Sime. Prising him away from Felda, which is responsible for land on which tens of thousands of voters depend, was a hard decision.

Who will buy Sime?

Few fund managers have been willing to take a punt on Sime ahead of the earnings and they want to see how Bakke shapes up before taking a position on the stock. For now, buyers of Sime have been limited to government funds. Sime has fallen 12.7 per cent this year, under performing the Trade and Services index which has gained 9.2 per cent this year. It has also underperformed pure palm oil plays as the Plantations index has gained 2.6 per cent and the benchmark Kuala Lumpur index is up 9.8 per cent.

State-run funds like Permodalan Nasional Bhd and Employees Provident Fund own about 65 per cent of Sime. — Reuters

Race Declaration: 1Malaysia for All Political Parties

August 26, 2010

Race Declaration – What’s the big deal?

by K.K. Tan (http://www.thesundaily.com/article.cfm?id=51102)

I MADE a simple suggestion in my last article entitled “7 sins of racial chauvinism” for a public declaration against all forms of racialism or racial chauvinism to be signed by all parties across the political, racial and religious divides. (You can read the article at http://www.thesundaily.com under “comment & analysis”)

I also explained the meaning of and differences between racism and racial chauvinism and why in Malaysia we are fond of calling each other “racist” even though it is not a strictly correct term to use. My concern is not just about semantics as an incorrect analysis of a social problem can often lead to further confusion and a wrong approach to dealing with the issue.

This newspaper followed up on my race declaration suggestion and published the responses in two news articles, first on August 10 regarding the comments from some politicians and then on Aug 18 on the views from certain social analysts and NGOs. The responses have been mixed with some supporting the idea, some neutral, while others opposing it outright. The impression I got from reading these two news reports is that not many people fully understood what and why I was suggesting such an idea and what we could all hope to achieve from such a declaration. However, the fact that the proposed declaration has been given public airing and critical scrutiny is a good thing (regardless of the responses so far) and I would like to congratulate theSun for taking up this difficult challenge.

So what good can a race declaration do, especially in the current (racially charged) atmosphere? Let’s not have any illusion that any declaration, no matter how well written and even if it’s signed by most political parties, business associations, religious groups and other NGOs can solve the ethnic problem in Malaysia any time soon. But a well worded and strongly supported public declaration (in all major languages) will be a significant step forward in promoting better ethnic understanding and goodwill and will help to cool the tense situation.

The declaration would not be legally but morally binding and it would be up to the organisations or individuals concerned to face their own stakeholders and the public should they breach any part of it after signing it. It is more like a code of ethics and conduct mainly for politicians and at a macro level, it is also in some ways similar to the many UN declarations that Malaysia is a signatory to.

On another point raised by some analysts to the declaration, there is no such thing as absolute freedom, especially in a multi-ethnic society like ours. Absolute freedom by individuals to do and say whatever they like is plain anarchism. And that can be a threat to national unity, social justice and economic development. Even in a developed and democratic country such as Britain, there are laws against racial incitement and abuses. Those who continue to live in denial of reality and those who advocate absolute freedom (out of a misplaced sense of altruism) to allow any group to commit acts of racial chauvinism, run risk of being seen as accomplices of a social crime.

On the other hand, the punitive and preventive laws such as the ISA and Sedition Act do not really address the moral dimensions or the “software” of racial chauvinism such as the distrust, fear and suspicion, which are often based on rumours, falsehoods and historical stereotyped prejudices.

The declaration’s main aim is to hold the conscience of basically honest people from “straying into racial territories” and to discourage them from falling into “traps” set by extremists or bigots. It also makes the signatories collectively responsible to expose, alienate, isolate and discredit any racialist ideas and provocations coming from any quarters (including from members of their own organisations).

This declaration, will therefore, discourage any forms of racial chauvinism, both mainstream and the fringes of our society.

The declaration is a draft. It can be fine-tuned so that most political parties, religious groups, mainstream and new media, trade or business organisations and NGOs would feel comfortable about signing it. Civil society and community leaders and even individuals who agree with it should also be encouraged to sign it.

In order for the declaration to be effective, it would need the participation of at least 80% of mainstream organisations, especially the political parties because what they do and say seem to have the greatest impact on race relations in this country.

1) We recognise and support ethnic diversity in Malaysia as a major strength and we will oppose any attempt/s to instil or promote racial hatred, fear and distrust.

2) We support the Rukun Negara and the position of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as the king of all Malaysians and as a unifying force for the country.

3) We support the vision and values of 1Malaysia espoused by our prime minister.

4) While recognising the special position of the Malays and the natives of Sarawak and Sabah in the constitution and understanding the true spirit of this clause, we believe that all Malaysians are born equal and they are to be treated equally before the law.

5) Equality, mutual respect, justice and basic trust shall be the guiding principles for promoting national unity in the country.

6) Our government and society have the responsibility to help all races to progress and prosper. We support any affirmative policy based on need. No race should feel alienated or be left behind by any government policy or development programme.

7) We support genuine inter-ethnic partnership and employment in business and the multi-racialisation of the civil service and the GLCs.

8 ) We strive to work together to increase our nation’s productivity, income and economic cake so that our people of all ethnic backgrounds would benefit from them.

9) We strive to help all communities to be more competitive and self-reliant in the interest of our long-term survival, success and progress.

10) We believe that all ethnic communities are like different vital parts of a human body and a problem in one part affects the entire body. Therefore, it is not in the interest of any ethnic community to deprive others of their basic rights and opportunities or to keep them in a state of poverty, low employment and business income and underdevelopment.

11) While we may continue to represent and speak out for the welfare and interests of various ethnic communities and even to make reasonable requests on their behalf, we undertake not to play the race card or to instigate or insult the other races in any manner that may offend them. We undertake to publicly oppose and expose any attempts or acts which can be considered as racial chauvinism or extremism in the following manner:

taking an arrogant, bigoted or superior attitude against another race
making racial slurs or degrading or insulting remarks against another race
attacking or calling for the denial of the basic rights of another race
holding an illogical distrust of another race
preaching forced assimilation over other cultures rather than voluntary integration
falsely blaming other race/s for the problems of his/her ethnic community
falsely portraying other race/s as a threat to his/her ethnic community

12) We undertake to take disciplinary action against our members or staff who are found guilty of breaching any of the above.

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