Happy Birthday, Fred: Yabba Dabba Doo


September 30, 2010

http://www.the star.com

Happy Birthday  Fred Flintstone: “Yabba Dabba Doo!”

by Cathal Kelly

The key to The Flintstones was its surfeit of hate. Fred, if truth be told, hated Wilma, who hated Fred, who hated his job, where he was hated by Mr. Slate. Barney didn’t hate anyone, but everyone treated Barney like a flesh piñata.

Hate was the key. And lies. Every single episode of The Flintstones hinged on some sort of untruth someone told someone else, prompting shenanigans. Modern research shows that Faces of Death had a less deleterious effect on childhood delinquency than just 10 minutes exposure to The Flintstones.

If you took Fred and Wilma as your marriage role models, you’re divorced now. You might be in prison. Depends if your plan to plant subliminal messages in your husband’s brain while he slept actually worked, coercing him to commit robbery on your behalf.

It was nasty stuff. When we were kids, the reruns were on during the lunch hour so, what the hell, what else were we going to watch? The news?

Kids really only loved one character on The Flintstones. Dino. Dino was pure. His brand of love was

Dino

unhindered by malice or greed. Dino was also purple, which kids love.

We also liked the Great Gazoo, but only because he tormented Fred, who really was an awful fake human being.

The Flintstones turns 50 years old on Thursday. The show first aired September 30, 1960. The series lasted six seasons. Just long enough to warp many, many young minds. Here are some of the things The Flintstones taught us:

That a man can make a living wage and support his family doing a job he despises, which also happens to be environmentally unsustainable.

If you are caught in a lie (as Fred inevitably was in minute 7 of every show), tell a more outrageous lie. This is how Mussolini got into power.

It’s all right for a man to wear a leopard-skin dress. As long as he also wears a tie.

That if your household appliances were living creatures and could talk, they would tell people how awful you are.

Time spent with your family is wasted time. Time spent golfing, bowling or carousing with a bunch of idiots in buffalo-skin toques revives the flagging spirit.

You have a best friend for a reason. And that reason is to bully him mercilessly.

Red meat, consumed in huge portions, makes you fat. Fat men attract women far above their station in terms of attractiveness, but they’ll never let you forget it.

You should appreciate your wife. But only after you fall asleep (drunk?) at a picnic and have a terribly realistic nightmare in which everyone has moved on without you. Coincidentally, they’re all happier.

If you construct every episode of a TV show around the premise that, “(Blank) wants to go (blanking) with his friend (Blank), but his meddlesome wife (Blank) has planned a dinner for that night,” you will be a god in America. Or Jim Belushi. It’s a crapshoot.

Footnote:

Wikipedia:

Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc. (pronounced /ˌhænə bɑrˈbɛrə/) (formerly Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc., and originally H-B Enterprises, Inc.) was an American animation studio that dominated North American television animation during the second half of the 20th century. The company was originally formed in 1957 by former Metro Goldwyn Mayer animation directors William Hanna and Joseph Barbera in partnership with Columbia PicturesScreen Gems television division, as H-B Enterprises, Inc..[1]

Established after MGM shut down its animation studio in 1957, H-B Enterprises, Inc. was renamed Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. in 1959. Over the next three decades, the studio produced many successful cartoon shows including The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, Jonny Quest, The Yogi Bear Show, The Jetsons, The Huckleberry Hound Show, Top Cat, Wacky Races, The Quick Draw McGraw Show, Snagglepuss, Pixie & Dixie and Mr. Jinx, Space Ghost, The Smurfs and The Magilla Gorilla Show. In addition to their animated projects, the studio also made live-action productions (with or without animation) for television and film as well. Hanna-Barbera’s television productions have earned the company eight Emmy Awards .[2] In the mid-1980s, the company’s fortunes declined somewhat after the profitability of Saturday morning cartoons was eclipsed by weekday afternoon syndication. In 1991, the company was purchased by Turner Broadcasting System, who began using much of the H-B back catalog to program the Cartoon Network the following year.[3] [4]

Both Hanna and Barbera went into semi-retirement, continuing to serve as ceremonial figureheads for and sporadic artistic contributors to the studio. In 1994, the company was renamed Hanna-Barbera Cartoons and in 1996, Turner merged with Time Warner. By the time of the merger, Turner had turned Hanna-Barbera towards primarily producing new material for Cartoon Network, including successful Cartoon Cartoons shows such as Dexter’s Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken, and The Powerpuff Girls.

With William Hanna’s death in 2001, Hanna-Barbera was absorbed into Warner Bros. Animation, and Cartoon Network Studios assumed production of Cartoon Network output. Joseph Barbera remained with Warner Bros. Animation until his death in 2006. The Hanna-Barbera name and studio is today used only to market properties and productions associated with Hanna-Barbera’s “classic” works such as The Flintstones and Yogi Bear.

A Malaysian writes to his Prime Minister


September 30, 2010

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com

From a Malaysian to the Malaysian Prime Minister

September 29, 2010
Dear Datuk Seri Najib,

Greetings from a Malaysian. I hope that you are well and have had a fruitful trip to the United States in your official capacity. I sincerely hope that you’ve achieved all that you had set out to achieve when the trip was planned and I pray for your safe return to the country.

Datuk Seri, I was compelled to write you this letter having seen what’s happening here in the country recently. I have always identified myself as a Malaysian first and everything else was and still is secondary to me.

I don’t go about proclaiming myself to be a Chinese first as I feel what good is a race without a citizenship and a place to call a home? Neither do I go around with a humongous cross hanging on my neck to proclaim my faith. Faith, I sincerely believe is a matter between me and God or Allah or whatever it is that we choose to call our Creator.

Allow me to stray and share a personal experience with you, sir. I came to the capital city a few years ago for economic reasons with a mind full of prejudice. Coming from a laid back society in Sarawak, we’ve always viewed West Malaysians with an unhealthy degree of suspicion. I recalled all the advice, both solicited and unsolicited reminding me of the characteristics of the three major races in the country.

The Malays were to be avoided for their supposed extremism and zealous propagation of their religion up to and including proselytising. The Chinese on the other hand were aloof, selfish and arrogant. A relationship with the Chinese is supposedly measured purely in financial terms. While the Indians were a different animal altogether. Tales of their drunkenness and suspect trustworthiness  were commonplace. I remembered as I reported for my first day at work, I wondered if I was ever going to have any friends at all.

Reporting to work with me that day were two other Chinese, one Indian and five Malays. The next three days entailed visits to different offices in the far reaches of the Klang Valley. My first lesson came that day when I was asking my fellow newbies on how could I get to the three different offices by public transport. The sole Indian offered to drive me there since he was staying a short drive away from my rented home then.

The visit to the final location which was over an hour’s drive away required us to report to the office at 6am. We decided to carpool but the early hour meant picking everyone up would be a hassle. And that was when my second lesson came.

One of the Malay newbies offered me a bed at his home to make it more convenient for our Indian friend to pick us up. And that, after being acquaintances for a mere three days. And moving on to pick the fourth of our party, we found him waiting for us at 4.30am with bags of a fast food chain’s breakfast meals.

That day, my prejudice towards my fellow Malaysians was washed away, completely. No longer do I stereotype any races with their supposed characteristics nor do I discriminate on the account of their religion or lack of. Today, I’m proud to say that I have a liberal mixture of races in my list of friends both in the social networks and in real life.

Datuk Seri, you may be asking me why am I telling you a tale as such? I sincerely believe that this country, which belongs equally to all Malaysians, is heading towards an abyss from which there may be no return.

I remembered the days when I would read the sports section of the newspapers as the local news was invariably less exciting. These days, unfortunately, I read of hate, vitriol and blatant abuse of power shouting out at me from the headlines.

The last year or so, we’ve seen many incidents which had touched the raw nerves of many peace loving and moderate Malaysians. We can start with how the Al-Islam journalists desecrate what is holy to Catholics. It was amazing that the Attorney-General decided that No Further Action (NFA) was necessary. Even the apology came grudgingly after it was demanded for by the Archbishop of KL. In fact, there were some quarters who felt that the apology was not necessary.

Let’s compare that with the recent incident involving an elected representative from the opposition, Datuk Seri. She was present at the surau to disburse of aid for the rakyat. And she gave short speech. I’m certain that she wasn’t trying to convert the Muslims who were there then. But consider the uproar that happened in the aftermath of the issue.

Let’s cast our sights at a few other incidences involving religion shall we, Datuk Seri? The cow’s head issue and the arson of churches in the country were incidents we cannot be proud of. It’s good that both cases had been tried in the courts of law and the perpetrators had been found guilty and punished. What is sadly lacking is a truly united Malaysia in condemning the attacks. In fact, there are even quarters within your political party questioning the need for the government to present aid to Metro Tabernacle Church.

I believe in a Creator, Datuk Seri. When I worship in English, I refer to the Creator as God or Lord. When I worship in Bahasa Malaysia, I refer to the Creator as Tuhan or Allah. Ask any man or woman your age in Sabah and Sarawak how do they address God in Bahasa Malaysia and they’ll tell you the answer.

When the previous home minister decided to tackle this matter, it had remained as it were without any issues or confusion. Even your current home minister said that they should have “let sleeping dogs lie” but the fact of the matter is they didn’t. The hornet’s nest was stirred and now the stinging consequences would haunt us all for the foreseeable future.

Moving on, Datuk Seri, the cases of racially tinged statements is truly going up the roof recently. Educators are supposed to educate the next generation to be better persons and to learn from past mistakes. It’s unfortunate that our educators are spewing instead hate with a racial flavour. And to make matters worse, your deputy cum education minister is unable to act as there’s no provision for him to act on supposedly “High Grade” officers of the civil service.

In the last few days, a high ranking officer from Biro Tata Negara (BTN) under the auspices of the PM Department likened certain races in the country to being “slit eyed” and “drunkards”. I suppose that as the PM, your hands are tied, too, as he’s a “High Grade” officer of the civil service and should be dealt with by the Public Service Department?

I know the difficulties of wearing corrective glasses for eyesight impairment, Datuk Seri, as I have been using spectacles since I was eight. But even without glasses, is it really that difficult to see how members of your party and by extension your administration are currently being myopic on issues to harp about?

One of the biggest culprits, in my humble opinion (though probably unsolicited), is your minister in charge of information. He seems to be constantly threatening to arrest those who are making “inappropriate” remarks when there are so many of his own race and religion are making far more callous remarks towards others.

Perhaps, the minister in question should walk the talk. We see the curtailing of news from the mainstream media daily. Reports on the remarks from the BTN officer is not seen anywhere in print media nor on the telly. But it’s all over the internet portals. Neither is the directive by the Jabatan Hal Ehwal Orang Asli (JHEOA) to the villagers of Pos Pasik to demolish their nearly-completed church, publicised. Is this due to the fact that it would reflect badly on your administration, Datuk Seri?

I read with interest on your speech to the United Nations recently. I truly am a strong supporter of you even before you assumed the premiership. But reading the text of your speech left me with mixed feelings as I lament the malaise that the country is in.

I remembered the sense of pride I had and the kindling of hope that maybe, just maybe under your stewardship the country would turn for the better. Today, I’m disappointed with the way things are but the hope remains that you’ll turn things round eventually.

Datuk Seri, I speak to you not as a Chinese, nor a Catholic. But I speak to you as a Malaysian and a fellow human being. I think that your actions will speak louder than all the words you can say in your speeches sir. It’s time to tell the citizens of Malaysia regardless of race or faith that it’s time to walk together hand in hand as we seek the pot of gold at the end of that rainbow.

It’s time to put all our petty differences behind us and make our mark in history that we can all be proud of. Let the history books in future tell generations to come of the day we took control of our destiny and smash all the barriers that are impeding our unity and progress. Let us not make history for the wrong reasons — the start of the downward spiral which ends with the destruction of this proud nation.

I take my leave now with my best wishes to you and your family sir. Thank you and may Allah bless you and grant you good health always.

Best regards

David Martin,
A Malaysian first, second and last

Satire is seditious?


September 30, 2010

http://www.malaysiakini.com

Satire is seditious?, ask International Press Freedom Advocacy Groups

International press freedom advocacy groups have expressed shock that cartoons and satire in Malaysia can lead its ‘perpetrators’ to being slapped with sedition or other criminal charges and prosecution.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), citing the prosecution of blogger ‘Hassan Skodeng’ as well as the more recent police actions against cartoonist Zunar, noted that “sedition charges in Malaysia are often used to suppress press criticism.”

NONEHassan Skodeng, whose real name is Irwan Abdul Rahman, was charged after posting a blog piece poking fun at power firm Tenaga Nasional Bhd with acting with “intent to hurt”.

Condemning Zunar’s arrest during the weeked over his publication “Cartoon-o-phobia” and the seizure of his works, CPJ called on the Malaysian authorities to “stop harassing” the political cartoonist” and drop the sedition charge against him.

“The arrest of a cartoonist is inconsistent with Prime Minister Najib (Abdul Razak)’s vow on taking office that he would uphold, not suppress, press freedom,” said CPJ senior Southeast Asia representative Shawn W Crispin in a statement from Bangkok.

Crispin was referring to Najib’s call upon taking office in 2009 for the media not to be afraid of criticising the government and pointing out its shortcomings.

Zunar’s drawings often tackle sensitive issues, including the ongoing sodomy trial of Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and the perceived influence of Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor  over his decisions.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein had said the arrest was related to cartoons that touched on the legal system and the ‘Allah’ issue.

Three of Zunar’s previous volumes of cartoons were banned by the home ministry in June under the Printing Presses and Publications Act.

In the Indian sub-continent, the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) also expressed concern over Zunar’s arrest and the seizure of his books.ngo support zunar cartoon pc 260910 zunar Its secretary-general Owais Aslam Ali called for the Malaysian government to release Zunar from all charges as well as to abolish the Sedition Act 1948 “and other outdated, draconian legislation that seek to control (freedom of) expression.”

“As long as these laws exist, they will continue to be open to abuse by the government of the day as a means to curtail legitimate criticism,” said Owais.

“Amid a climate of increased intolerance on the part of the authorities, it is highly likely that Zunar’s latest book will be banned, too,” he added.

The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF), meanwhile, also said it was “distrubed by the repressive nature of the sedition investigation” against Zunar and “firmly” condemned his arrest and the police’ search for his books in Malaysiakini and its publishers and distributors.

It also urge Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak  the subject of some of his (Zunar) cartoons, to intervene to ensure that the police investigation into Zunar, this book and his publishing house is abandoned.

“It would be very alarming for media freedom in Malaysia if press cartoons were to be threatened in this manner,” said RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk chief Vincent Brossel. “How can a book of cartoons be seditious?” he asked.

“Zunar’s cartoons may sometimes be very cutting in their portrayal of Malaysian political life, and especially the ruling party, but they cannot in any way be regarded as seditious. It would be very alarming for media freedom in Malaysia if press cartoons were to be threatened in this manner,” Brossel added.

Appeal to All PKR Members


September 28, 2010

An Appeal to PKR Members

by David Yeoh (received by e-mail)

I would like to express my concern over the overzealous acts of some of the contestants who took part in the on-going party election. All contestants should bear in mind the interests of the party at all times. PKR provides opportunities for all those who wish to serve the rakyat and struggle for a more democratic and just Malaysia, and should not be a platform to pursuing personal ambitions.

I had a long heart-to-heart talk with Anwar Ibrahim sometime last year in London before I decided to join PKR. I’m fully convinced of the sincerity and conviction of Anwar in bringing about political reforms in Malaysia, and I ask those who have just joined PKR like me to study and understand the party history.

Anwar’s contribution to the success of 308 (March 8, 2008 general election) is unquestionable. As the de facto leader of PKR, Anwar has been appointed as opposition leader by Pakatan Rakyat and has performed his role effectively even though he does not officially hold the position of PKR president. I am surprised that the issue was brought up in the current party election.

I am impressed by the vibrant democracy that exists within PKR and would like to remind party members to treasure it. PKR members should be proud of the fact that PKR is the only political party in Malaysia that directly elects its leadership and that the reason why Anwar does not hold party president position is purely due to the prevailing political environment in Malaysia. After all, Anwar is facing unfair prosecution by the BN government.

PKR needs his leadership. The fact that Anwar does not seek election as party president does not at all affect his contribution and leadership in the party. Let me stress that all PKR members who understand the party history have no qualms with Anwar’s position as the de facto party leader. To raise this issue in public only reflects one’s political naivety.

The writer is a former MCA senator.

Jimmy Wales says to Malaysia: Ditch Censorship


September 28, 2010

Malaysia should ditch censorship, says Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia

A co-founder of online encyclopedia Wikipedia said on a visit to Malaysia today that the country should ditch censorship which is a damper on economic growth.

Jimmy Wales said censorship was counter-productive for Malaysia, which ranked 131 out of 175 nations on the 2009 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index because of its tight controls on print and broadcast media.

“This is a country that has a fairly mixed record… there is still some censorship in this country and I think we are beginning to see that it is no longer an effective strategy, certainly not an effective strategy when we think about economic growth,” he said.

“When you think about making sure that the people have the information they need, make good decisions in their lives, it’s absolutely important that we have a very open flow of information,” he told a financial conference.

“I want to write that information (on sites like user-generated Wikipedia) so that my fellow citizens have the knowledge they need so they can’t be oppressed.”

Prime Minister Najib Razak, who took office in the mainly Muslim country in April last year, promised to promote openness and transparency but has since faced accusations that his administration is trying to silence critics.

Sodomy II spooks investors

On Monday, British tycoon Richard Branson told a different conference in Kuala Lumpur that the ongoing sodomy trial against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was discouraging investors from coming to Malaysia.

Anwar, a former deputy premier who was sacked and jailed on separate sex and corruption counts a decade

Zunar : Why should he be handcuffed?

ago, has said that the new allegations – of illicit relations with a young male aide – have been concocted to end his career.

Major newspapers and broadcasters are closely linked with the ruling coalition, so the Internet has become a lively forum for dissent and debate in Malaysia.

Unlike the mainstream press, the web and online media have remained relatively free, despite occasional raids, bans and government criticism.

Last Friday, police detained political cartoonist Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque – better known as Zunar – over his new comic book, which has a caricature of Najib’s wife on the front cover and contains cartoons on numerous controversial issues such as Anwar’s sodomy trial and police shootings.

- AFP

The UMNO-BN Dilemma: Mahathir Mohamad


September 27, 2010

The UMNO- BN Dilemma: What to do with Mahathir Mohamad?

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s warning that “Malays would lose power if Pakatan Rakyat were to come to power”, is not his first racist rant since his retirement.

He tells young Malays thinking is bad for their brains

He delights in taking pot-shots at Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s administration and excels at instigating unrest. Why would the Malays lose power under Pakatan? The Malays lost whatever power they had under 22 years of Mahathir’s rule.

Mahathir is racist, but Najib would not dare charge him with sedition. Mahathir certainly acts like he is the ‘co-premier’ and his flirtation with extremist NGOs like PERKASA, must embarrass the current administration.

At times, we can be forgiven for thinking that he must be the second most powerful person in the government. His ruthless desire to cling onto the reins of power and pretend to speak out for ordinary Malays must create chaos in government circles. He is great at divide-and-rule.

If he is the ‘Father of Modernisation’, then he is out of touch with the people of 21st century Malaysia. Most Malaysians would be open-minded and accepting of one another, but for the politicians. I would accept a non-Malay prime minister of either sex and sexual preference, provided that person is a strong and capable leader.

Malaysia’s riches lie not its mineral wealth or its agricultural produce; its most important resource is its people. Why can’t we set aside racism and simply move forward? We are a hardworking nation but Mahathir’s policies, perpetuated by his successors, have degraded us. With 10 years left until 2020, by when he hopes Malaysia becomes a developed nation, we still bicker over which race does what, where and when. Instead of emulating our neighbours, we behave like children squabbling in the playground.

Isn’t it a bit rich for Mahathir to suggest that Pakatan leaders might be a bunch of self-serving and racist politicians?

Mahathir and the other politicians in the BN coalition have already proven themselves to be self-serving and racist. Research has shown that politicians are the least trusted group of people. The history of politics is the history of lies, and Mahathir could be considered the most professional in this group.

Once people like him have tasted power and climbed the ladder of authority, the lies, deceit and cover-ups have a cumulative effect. He hates ordinary Malays to get on with their non-Malay counterparts and yet his chums are powerful Chinese tycoons.

Absurd claim

Mahathir is vehemently against the west and accuses it of undermining countries. However, he was happy to offer George W Bush his full support and cooperation in the aftermath of the September 11, attacks. He used this tacit approval to tighten his grip on political dissenters at home, using the ISA.

He has a problem with western values and their concept of ‘absolute freedom’ and told the US Congress in Washington: “The west is very impatient. You want overnight change.”  And yet, for 22 years, he altered the Malaysian landscape with his policies which polarised us, increased corruption, worsened nepotism and created the systematic destruction of our institutions.

His argument is that the Malays would lose power under Pakatan. That is absurd. He leaves the non-Malays with a persecution complex or the Malays feeling victimised.  Mahathir is prepared to sacrifice the ordinary person to protect his, and his cronies’ domination of wealth and power. Malaysians from all walks of life are left frightened, angry and worried.

Similarly, the UMNO cohorts are also fearful of what will become of them when Pakatan gains power. We, the taxpayers of Malaysia, want them jailed and our money returned. Mahathir and other extremist leaders imagine we’re living in a Malaysia where the Malay reigns supreme for life.

Ideas like these will cripple the nation. This is the power that Mahathir has over easily-influenced and unprincipled Malays.

Malaysia is financially insecure. Our civil service is shored up with injections of cash even though large swathes of it are overstaffed and inefficient. Mahathir has turned the Malays into a work-shy part of the Malay community. The country is suffering economically and our most gifted people seek jobs abroad. Talk of Malay rights just distracts Malays from valuing hard work and rewards.

The anomaly is that Bangladeshi fishermen are invited to take up 6,000 jobs in our fishing industry. Why? What happened to our once thriving fishing economy? Where are the government policies to modernise our fishing fleet and lift our fishermen out of poverty?

Taxpayers’ money is indiscriminately spent on divisive projects like the Biro Tata Negara (BTN, National Civics Bureau) or the unpopular National Service (NS). A few months of NS are insufficient for promoting unity. The BTN indoctrination traps Malays in a dependency culture.

Power-mad talk

Racial harmony and unity is an ongoing process, best started as early as possible in life. Mahathir’s racist policies are myopic. They have neither made Malaysia better nor improved the lives of the Malays, or any other poor Malaysians.

Let us not kid ourselves. Mahathir is not making the Malays ‘gain power’ or ‘have power’. He is merely referring to UMNO’s (and BN component partners) hold onto power, over us. It is for their own ends – and certainly not ours.

Just be a Roti Man

What happens if people did not vote Pakatan? By Mahathir’s reckoning, the Malays will still have power.  ‘Power’ is meaningless if people still don’t qualify to tender for contracts, have to pay a higher road-toll, are at the mercy of trigger-happy policemen or racist school principals, don’t trust the judiciary, cannot afford cars or houses, and face escalating prices for petrol, electricity and basic foodstuffs?

Who will the Malaysians blame then? It won’t be Pakatan. It will be Mahathir, his cronies and UMNO. Mahathir’s power-mad talk has only managed to cause tensions to rise. As a retiree who has caused irreparable damage to race relations, why doesn’t he just stick to making the bread rise in his bakery business, ‘The Loaf’?

Changes in PKR


September 27, 2010

Changes in PKR as Heavyweights take a tumble

by Hazlan Zakaria @ http://www.malaysiakini.com

Her Defeat is a Big Surprise

The latest round of PKR division elections and nominations held last weekend saw party heavyweights becoming the casualties of what some say are the opening skirmishes in an all-out proxy war.

The undeclared war is already claiming party heavyweights like senior Selangor executive council member Elizabeth Wong, Negri Sembilan PKR chief Kamarul Baharin Abas and vice-president Mustaffa Kamil Ayub.

Division chief hopeful Kamarul (Teluk Kemang) along with incumbents Wong (Petaling Jaya Utara) and Mustaffa (Pasir Salak) lost their bid for leadership of their respective divisions.

Wong, the Bukit Lanjan assemblyperson, garnered 161 votes, losing to Lee Chin Cheh who captured 222 votes, in a four-cornered fight. She , however, claimed that Lee was a recently transferred member from neighbouring Petaling Jaya Selatan division in August this year.

Wong pointed out that this is past the June deadline for eligibility, and claims the transfer did not abide by the rules, hinting at an “inside job”. The exco member will be filing a complaint with the party’s elections committee, saying she has “evidence of illegality”.

Complaint ignored

Mustaffa, who lost to former division chief Osman Abdul Rahman by a close shave of 17 votes, also has an

A Major Setback for this Promising PKR Leader

axe to grind. He said that despite lodging an official complaint that Osman’s nomination was proposed by a party member who did not pay party dues, there was no transparent investigation into the matter.

According to PKR regulations, all those who want to contest and nominate people to contest must be party members in good standing, one requirement of which is to pay all party dues.

He complained that there were no call backs and no officers sent to investigate and check the registry.”I am quite puzzled with this. What are their procedures? What is their workflow in this? Rules were made, if there are those who do not follow the rules, action must be taken,” said Mustaffa when contacted today.

May Step Down as Telok Kemang MP

PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution, however, reiterated in a press conference at the party headquarters in Petaling Jaya today that they will investigate all reports and insisted that the troubles are ‘teething problems’.

Kamarul who lost to Port Dickson assemblyperson M Ravi, was  more accepting of his loss, seeing it as the will of the members. He even hinted via a posting on social media website Facebook last night, that he may step down as parliamentarian, seeing the vote against him as a vote of no confidence in his position as Teluk Kemang MP.

“I receive the results with an open heart and will think on what to do to make way for whomever concerned as soon as possible,” he said in the posting.

New York Times’ Review of Jimmy Carter’s White House Diary


September 27, 2010

Books Of The Times

From Seat of Power, Battling Many Crises

by Steven R. Weisman (September 26, 2010)

Jimmy Carter’s first book, “Why Not the Best?” — published in 1976 when he was a long shot running for president — introduced him charmingly as a born-again Christian, former Georgia governor, former naval officer, Sunday school teacher and peanut farmer. But its frontispiece cast a shadow by quoting the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr: “The sad duty of politics is to establish justice in a sinful world.”

WHITE HOUSE DIARY

By Jimmy Carter

Illustrated. 570 pages. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $30.

That citation was an early sign that Mr. Carter would sometimes bear his presidency like a cross. Indeed, Mr. Carter’s 25th book, “White House Diary,” the edited and annotated journals of his turbulent years in office, reminds one of the plagues visited on him, many beyond his control, and the way he stumbled, suffered, tried to do the right thing, tried to understand his errors and seemed to believe that politics in a fallen world doomed him to being unappreciated.

“This may be my last chance to offer an assessment of my time in the White House,” the nearly 86-year-old former president writes in his afterword. “Looking back, I am struck by how many unpopular objectives we pursued.” Even his proudest accomplishments — the Israel-Egypt peace treaty and getting the hostages seized in Iran home safe — hardly helped his reputation, he notes, adding: “I was sometimes accused of ‘micromanaging’ the affairs of government and being excessively autocratic, and I must admit that my critics probably had a valid point.”

The diaries are not particularly rewarding to read in their entirety, with their endless pages of uninflected entries describing crowds, receptions, appointments and meetings, mixed with asides about his wife, Rosalynn, and his family, mother, jogging, swimming (even skinny-dipping), bowling, fly-fishing and his tennis topspin. In one annotation, Mr. Carter winces that the diary entries do seem self-congratulatory.

The entries also add little of substance that was not in “Keeping Faith,” his 1982 memoir. Not surprisingly, its best parts mirror the best parts of that book: his detailed accounts of the hostage crisis; the fateful (and perhaps fatal) decision to fire several cabinet members and lecture the country about a “crisis of confidence” in 1979 (the famous “malaise” speech, though he never used the word); and of course the negotiations between Israel and Egypt, during which he knelt and prayed when they stalled.

“Keeping Faith” was criticized as sanctimonious and unreflective, and unfortunately these qualities show up here — no surprise to those who either love or despise Mr. Carter for his advocacy of negotiating with Hamas and North Korea. Mr. Carter also has a tendency to introduce but not explain certain subjects, understandably in diary entries. The annotations help but are too often self-serving.

Yet patient readers will find “White House Diary” fascinating on two levels: the pace gives a sense of what it is like to be president, and the entries contain blunt appraisals of the people with whom he dealt.

Granted, Mr. Carter was singular in his approach to his office. You get an early hint of his problems, for example, when he laments that he is inundated by piles of decision papers. Instead of reorganizing his staff, he decides to take an Evelyn Wood course in speed-reading.

But the journals also intensely reflect the experience of any president being bombarded with one crisis after another. The calamities multiplied for Mr. Carter as the country careened through rising prices, unemployment, gas lines, allies abroad killed or overthrown, hostages in Iran, embassies sacked, nuclear reactors melting down, nuclear arms impasses, the bankruptcy of Chrysler, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

In a familiar pattern for modern Democratic presidents, Republicans charged that Mr. Carter was soft on Russia and on inflation, while on the left Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, led a revolt against his budget cuts, his failure to halt spiraling energy prices — and eventually his presidency.

You can see how and why Mr. Carter sought comfort in solitary pursuits and in the pleasures of visiting celebrities, from Vladimir Horowitz to Sophia Loren, as well as in family activities, like sledding with his grandchildren and collecting arrowheads with his wife. The diaries are an unusual mix of matters of state and efforts to escape. “I worked hard all week, some of the most strenuous mental work of my life,” he writes in 1979, for example, referring to the Camp David meetings to recharge his faltering presidency. “Also, it’s not easy for me to accept criticism, and to reassess my ways of doing things, to admit my mistakes. This was a week of intense reassessment. I ran every day from three to seven miles and swam afterward.”

The obsession with getting away brings bizarre moments, like the time Mr. Carter decides to jog alone on the tow path in Georgetown but gets furious when the Secret Service, stuck in traffic, fails to pick him up at a boathouse, where it is freezing and he has no gloves: “I stood there about 10 minutes while I fumed, then ran back into town.”

As for Mr. Carter’s unvarnished comments on personalities, “White House Diary” has already generated some publicity over its harsh view of Senator Kennedy (who died last year), obviously an implicit response to the unkind words about Mr. Carter in Kennedy’s posthumous memoir last September.

Mr. Carter notes acidly that Kennedy’s ambitious health-care ideas had no chance of passing but was a good issue for him. He asserts that his rival felt entitled to the presidency, but that in their first encounter after Mr. Carter defeated him for the 1980 nomination, Kennedy had been drinking.

Equally unsparing are Mr. Carter’s criticisms of Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel, Chancellor Helmut Schmidt of West Germany and many of his own Congressional allies and members of his cabinet, including Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance.

That the language is blunt and occasionally a little un-Christian may come as a surprise. At a meeting with some lawmakers, “I told them in a nice way to go to hell.” A certain Jewish leader “always acts like an ass.” Congress is “just a bunch of disorganized juvenile delinquents.”

“White House Diary” would have benefited from even more candor. But the writings here reflect the Mr. Carter we know: boastful and painfully confessional, sanctimonious and callous, insightful and un-self-aware. These are the thoughts of a secular preacher and calculating politician, surrounded by friends and yet often alone.

Steven R. Weisman, a former White House correspondent for The New York Times, is editorial director and public policy fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and editor of the forthcoming “Daniel Patrick Moynihan: A Portrait in Letters of an American Visionary.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/27/books/27book.html?_r=1&ref=books

Run Up to PKR Elections: Zaid Ibrahim Speaks to MSM


September 27, 2010

Zaid Ibrahim Speaks Up: Ambiguity about PKR Leadership must be resolved

The Underdog

Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, a candidate for the post of deputy president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, has expressed his incredulity at Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s reluctance to contest the presidency.

“Everyone knows Anwar is the leader. I don’t see why he should be referred to as the de facto leader …why he does not want to contest, even I don’t know,” Zaid told the New Straits Times yesterday.

Zaid was elaborating on his thoughts expressed in an interview with Mingguan Malaysia. In the interview, Zaid spoke of an ambiguity concerning the party leadership.

He argued that real power would have to be wielded by party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail if Anwar chose not to contest the presidency since power must come with responsibility.

Zaid told Mingguan Malaysia that while the party should appreciate Anwar’s contribution as party founder, and as a well known person, he “must not be above the president”.

This came after Zaid had in a September 6 blog posting written that he had been warned that his political career would be buried like that of the late Tun Ghafar Baba’s. “I support a genuine and smart leader and I will oppose the pretentious one. If this means that I am not loyal, then I accept punishment by the members later,” Zaid had said in his blog.

Elaborating on the Ghafar episode in the Mingguan interview, Zaid said: “It is just a reminder not to abuse order and power to humiliate me as what happened to Ghafar then.”

Ghafar resigned as deputy prime minister on Oct 14, 1993 after receiving seven nominations to defend his post as deputy president of UMNO against Anwar’s 143.

Zaid is trailing Anwar’s former private secretary, Mohamed Azmin Ali, in the nomination count for the No. 2 post in PKR — 25 to 58; vice-president and Perak party chief Mustaffa Kamil Ayub has received 13 nominations so far.

And last week, Zaid was nominated by the Keningau division in Sabah to contest the presidency.  Anwar has been nominated by eight divisions for the No. 1 post. PKR divisions will vote for national leaders over several weekends from Oct 29 to Nov 21.

Yesterday, the NST highlighted to Zaid the issue of his political consistency, having joined PKR in mid-2009 after serving as a cabinet minister representing UMNO-BN. He said: “No matter what happens, I will continue with my political reforms. I am happy here in PKR and have no intention of leaving.

“I acknowledge that there have been some hard-hitting statements against me which are not very reassuring, but the fact is that we are in the middle of a contest and I take it all in my stride.”

Asked about Anwar’s tacit backing for Azmin, Zaid said: “I have no issues with that. As a leader, you are bound to prefer one over the other and if Anwar throws his support behind Azmin, then let it be … that’s his choice.”

He brushed aside suggestions that his relationship with Anwar had soured. “Rumours will be rumours. I never said I had any issues with him. He is the backbone of PKR and I respect that. We may have different views about certain things, but that does not mean we should regard anyone as our enemy. In fact, I do not even regard Utusan Malaysia as an enemy … if I did, why did I give them an interview?”

Asked if he felt certain leaders in the party were distancing themselves from him, Zaid said: “Definitely yes … I know there are those who are distancing themselves from me. However, I have my reasons for wanting to contest and am certainly not doing it for fun. If these leaders feel they do not like it and do not understand the reasons I’m offering myself for the post, then there is nothing I can do about it.”–http://www.nst.com.my


Silicon Valley’s Sim Tze Tzin: Among The Best of PKR’s New Generation


September 27, 2010

Silicon Valley’s Sim Tze Tzin: Among The Best of PKR’s New Generation of Leaders

By Terence Netto

COMMENT: It’s too early to say, but the PKR Bayan Baru divisional elections last weekend may well be a template for the party’s future.

The run-up to the elections quickly crystallised into a contest between the past and future in Malaysian politics.  Simply put, this past is race warped; the future, if a PKR-led opposition coalition wins the next general election, would accelerate the unshackling of the Malaysian polity from tethers of race that have for too long bound it.

The triumph of Sim Tze Tzin (left), the PKR assemblyperson for Pantai Jerejak, who polled 499 votes to competitor M Nyanasegaran’s 260, is seen as a victory for the new politics that PKR is trying to espouse.

In Sim, the contest had a candidate who mirrors PKR’s future as Nyanasegaran, formerly of Gerakan and MIC, is a throwback to a past of Malaysian politics that PKR’s fondest supporters firmly desire to see consigned to oblivion.

Nyanasegaran, older to the mid-thirtyish Sim by two decades, ought to have triumphed, given that when he joined PKR after the tsunami of March 2008, he brought into the party, as he pledged to, 3,500 members to beef up the already existing 1,500 members.

In the event, very few members whom he had registered with PKR Bayan Baru turned up at last Saturday’s divisional elections. In all some 800 members out of the total 5,500 attended the division’s elective annual general meeting. Observers were expecting busloads from addresses in Perai, Bukit Mertajam, Kulim and Sungai Petani, to arrive with supporters of Nyanasegaran who had furnished these locations when he had his contingent registered.

Those busloads didn’t materialise and observers were left with the surmise that the Indian Malaysian complement of PKR, said to have gone up to 40 percent of the total 400,000 party membership, is an apparition best known to ex-MIC regional sovereigns who joined post-tsunami and brought with them scores of their supposed wards.

Nyanasegaran nominated himself for Penang Datukship

Nyanasegaran operated in the Bayan Baru division as aide to then PKR MP for Bayan Baru, Datu Seri Zahrain Mohd Hashim, who quit the party last February in a pall of vituperation against Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim.

Like Zahrain, Nyanasegaran had expectations of immediate reward for his feat in bringing in 3,500 new members; only that he was more discreet than his former patron and BN colleague.In 2009 and this year, he put himself forward for a state datukship and asked to be included in the Penang Hindu temple endowments boards. These requests went unmet.

Normally, when you are new to a party, it’s best you take the seats at the rear and wait for others to notice your good work before you step up to the plate. But within two years of joining PKR, Nyanasegaran put himself up for the division chairmanship. Well, he could say rival Sim had also joined not earlier than 2006 and so could not pull rank. But unlike Nyanasegaran, PKR was Engineer and MBA-holder Sim’s first political port of call while the former had been around the block.

Silicon Valley Engineer with MBA

Sim became an aide, principally on Chinese affairs, to Anwar Ibrahim four years ago. Schooled at Penang’s top Chinese spawning grounds, he furthered his studies in engineering in California, worked there for a while and took his MBA before returning to Malaysia to plunge into life of politics.

After his election as PKR state representative for Pantai Jerejak, his maiden address to the state assembly was favourably cited by the speaker as a model of reasoned exposition. In his contest with Nyanasegaran, Sim had been an opponent who held to the middle notes and resisted the extremes of stereotyping and wild accusation.

His victory puts him in pole position to be the PKR parliamentary candidate in a fast approaching general election.  Should he be the candidate and should he regain the seat for his party, the Penang assembly’s loss would be the federal parliament’s gain.

And the polity’s struggle to free itself of the race canker that has long blighted its existence will have advanced a step.

Nazri Aziz Responds to Awang Selamat


September 26, 2010

To be a Malaysian does not necessarily mean to be anti-Malay.

Nazri Aziz Responds to Utusan’s Awang Selamat

PADANG RENGAS

To Mr whoever you are, of course I will respond to your article. If we believe in the freedom of speech, let it be known that it is not only given to the Press but also to the individual.

In exercising my right of reply and to defend myself, please do not interpret it to mean I am stifling criticism against me. Far from it; I have been criticised all my years in politics and I am still here where I am.

Mr Utusan said that he got a lot of SMSs to justify that he received support for his article on me. I do not want to talk about the SMSs and emails that I received because he will not be able to verify them, but I am sure he has also been informed that comments made by ordinary people reading the portal have shown that I, too, have support from public just as he claimed he has — if not more.

How can I not dub you a racist when you seem to be upset with the praises and positive responses I got from the non-Malays and attempt to put it as something negative on me, especially those coming from (Lim) Kit Siang and (Lim) Guan Eng?

By doing this you have clearly defined your position as “we Malays against you non-Malays”. Are the comments and praises of the Malays [the] only [ones that] count, and the rest can go to you-know-where? You have a long way to go in accepting that Malaysia is a country belonging to Malaysians of all races who swear their loyalty to the land of their birth.

I am right about your zero experience in politics because you wrote “When the Malays don’t vote”. Well, let me tell you our analysis has shown that “When the Non-Malays don’t vote”, the effect is the same. You have never understood what I have been trying to say, that the most important point is that “When the majority of Malaysians don’t vote” then we all are in trouble.

One of the worst things to do is to offer excuses for your failure by saying others failed too. This is a defeatist attitude and a sure recipe for doom. Why don’t you look around? I am sure you can find other papers which succeed and use them as incentive to work to increasie your readership. I like the Utusan of old and I want you to work hard towards making this paper great again.

I read with extreme happiness your support for UMNO and Barisan Nasional and to ensure that we will succeed. I want you to walk your talk and support the 1 Malaysia policy which is the brainchild of the President of UMNO and Chairman of Barisan Nasional. He is working very, very hard to win the next General Election, so please don’t make it difficult for him.

Awang does not need to tell me about how Utusan is a Malay institution and that its struggle is the same with UMNO. Long before you joined Utusan, I have been in UMNO Youth — right from being appointed exco member to the post of deputy leader — and for one-and-a-half years acting leader of UMNO Youth Malaysia. That is my credential.

If I am a Malaysian leader today, a lot of credit must be given to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. I hold him responsible for what I am today and I owe him a lot. I just want my “sifu” to continue to help me and the others to be good leaders of this blessed country of ours and not to divide us by race, creed, cult and gender. To be a Malaysian does not necessarily mean to be anti-Malay. I hope this will be understood by all.

Finally, being involved in the dissemination of messages to public as claimed by Awang, it is very important that your messages come out loud and clear to them. At the end of the day you cannot be called upon to explain all the time. What you have to bear in mind is not what you think you are but what the public perceive of you.

Sad to say, the non-Malays perceive Utusan as racist, period. And that is why I brought up the issue of Malaysian first and Malay next, in case you don’t understand why. By the way, I still do not know who you are, Awang?–http://www.themalaysianinsider.com

* This letter by Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri bin Tan Sri Abdul Aziz is in response to a Mingguan Malaysia editorial  today entitled, “Lagi Jawapan buat Nazri Aziz”, by Awang Selamat.

Apa Itu ‘Kuasa Melayu’?


September 26, 2010

Apa Itu ‘Kuasa Melayu’?(What is that Malay Power)

Oleh Dr. Hassan Ahmad@http://www.utusan.com.my

ORANG Melayu baru sedar bahawa ‘Kuasa Melayu’ di negara ini akan pupus, atau setidak-tidaknya Melayu tidak akan berkuasa lagi di negeri ini. Beberapa tanda digunakan untuk membuat ramalan tentang kemungkinan pupusnya kuasa Melayu di negara ini.

Hasil Pilihan Raya Umum (PRU) yang lepas dianggap oleh orang Melayu sebagai salah satu tanda terhakisnya kuasa politik Melayu apabila UMNO dan rakan-rakannya dalam Barisan Nasional (BN) hilang kuasa majoriti 2/3 dalam parlimen dan jatuhnya negeri kuasa UMNO sejak kemerdekaan ke tangan Pas atau gabungan parti-parti Pakatan Rakyat, dan hilangnya pengaruh politik UMNO di Pulau Pinang. BN mula-mulanya kalah di Perak tetapi disebabkan tiga orang anggota DUN PR keluar parti dan menjadi anggota DUN mesra-BN, maka Mahkamah memutuskan bahawa BN-lah yang layak memerintah di negeri itu. Tetapi orang Melayu kekal memerintah di Kelantan, walaupun parti yang memerintah bukan BN/UMNO tetapi Pas.

Orang Melayu mungkin mengenang akan kuasa yang diwarisi oleh orang Melayu dari sejarah pemerintahan Melayu di negeri-negeri Tanah Melayu. Sejarah sebelum kemerdekaan menunjukkan bahawa sejak zaman berzaman, sebelum kedatangan penjajah Inggeris, yang memerintah di Tanah Melayu bukan orang lain tetapi orang Melayu, kerajaan Melayu, raja-raja Melayu, pembesar-pembesar Melayu. Benar, sejak Perjanjian Pangkor tahun 1874, British mulai ‘mencampuri’ urusan pentadbiran negeri Melayu, terutama di Negeri-negeri Melayu Bersekutu atau Federated Malay States. Tetapi sejarah itu tidak menunjukkan bahawa kuasa pemerintahan Melayu jatuh sepenuhnya ke tangan kuasa baru, iaitu kuasa British. Tidak. Raja Melayu tetap bertahta (tidak diturunkan dari tahtanya) dan memerintah walaupun dengan ‘nasihat’ pegawai British. Di Negeri-Negeri Melayu Tak Bersekutu (Johor, Kelantan, Terengganu dan Kedah-Perlis) pentadbiran masih hampir sepenuhnya berada dalam tangan raja Melayu, menteri besar Melayu dan para pegawai pentadbir Melayu. British cuma menjadi ‘penasihat’.

Tetapi akhirnya kerana kelemahan raja-raja dan golongan bangsawan Melayu yang memerintah bersama-sama British itu, kuasa politik Melayu makin lama makin merosot sehinggalah sampai pada tahun 1946 apabila British kembali ke Tanah Melayu (selepas Jepun kalah Perang) untuk mentadbir semula Tanah Melayu dan kemudian cuba mengubah status Tanah Melayu atau ‘British Malaya’ menjadi ‘koloni British’ melalui rancangan Malayan Union-nya.

Orang Melayu seluruh Tanah Melayu bangkit menentang rancangan itu, kerana kalau tidak ditentang Tanah Melayu akan menjadi tanah ‘Jajahan British’, raja-raja Melayu akan hilang hak dan kedaulatannya dan akan dijadikan subject raja British dan bangsa Melayu menjadi ‘rakyat British’ sama seperti halnya dengan Hong Kong, tidak lagi sebagai rakyat raja Melayu atau negeri Melayu. Semasa seluruh bangsa Melayu di Tanah Melayu, termasuk Melayu di Singapura, bangkit menentang rancangan Malayan Union itu kaum-kaum lain tidak menyokong protes itu.

Mereka mungkin itu adalah masalah orang Melayu, masalah raja dan negeri Melayu, bukan masalah mereka. Pada masa itu mereka bukan rakyat raja atau negeri Melayu. Mereka adalah ‘orang asing’ atau ‘pendatang’. Jadi, mereka tidak turut membantah kerana menganggap Malayan Union itu ialah masalah Melayu bukan masalah mereka. Barangkali mereka suka Tanah Melayu menjadi koloni British dan mereka menjadi ‘rakyat British’ atau ‘British citizens’.

Malayan Union yang gagal itu digantikan dengan kesatuan baru yang disebut Federation of Malaya yang diperintah oleh raja baru, iaitu the British raj (seperti di India) yang diwakili di Tanah Melayu oleh Pesuruhjaya British sebagai ‘ketua eksekutif’. Tetapi Federation of Malaya itu sebenarnya ialah Federation of Malay States atau ringkasnya Persekutuan Tanah Melayu, bukan Persekutuan Malaya. Ini menunjukkan bahawa ‘negeri Melayu’ tidak dihapuskan seperti yang cuba dihapuskan oleh British melalui rancangan Malayan Union-nya. Ada ‘Negeri Melayu’ bererti ada raja Melayu, ada kerajaan Melayu. Kita menyebut ‘sejarah’ ini untuk menangkis pendapat yang mengatakan bahawa sebelum kemerdekaan ‘Negeri Melayu’ atau ‘Kerajaan Melayu’, atau dengan kata lain ‘kuasa Melayu’ sudah tidak ada lagi.

Maka orang pun percaya – dan ini termasuk para pemimim Melayu – bahawa dalam tahun 1957 lahirlah sebuah ‘negara baru’ yang disebut negara Federation of Malaya (kemudian dalam tahun 1963, menjadi ‘Persekutuan Malaysia’), tidak lagi ‘persekutuan tanah Melayu’ atau ‘persekutuan negeri-negeri Melayu’. Ini suatu penghinaan kepada bangsa Melayu yang sudah mempunyai negeri atau negara atau kerajaan sejak sekurang-kurangnya abad ke-13 lagi.

Kemerdekaan

Selepas kemerdekaan, UMNO yang pada waktu itu mampu memerintah tanpa bergabung dengan kaum-kaum lain, sanggup berkongsi dengan kaum-kaum lain untuk memerintah negeri ini selepas British meninggalkan Tanah Melayu, demi ‘perpaduan kaum’ (konon!). Dalam PRU pertama (1956), UMNO memenangi lebih daripada 2/3 kerusi Parlimen. Calon-calon dari parti komponen Perikatan, iaitu MCA dan MIC, kalau saya tidak silap, semuanya atau hampir semuanya menang di kawasan yang majoriti pengundinya adalah orang Melayu.

Itulah agaknya yang dimaksudkan oleh Melayu sebagai ‘kuasa Melayu’, iatu kuasa politik Melayu. Tetapi mengapakah sekarang orang Melayu takut ‘kuasa’ itu akan hilang? Apakah yang mereka takut: hilang kuasa UMNO atau hilang kuasa Melayu? Dalam Parlimen, orang Melayu masih merupakan golongan majoriti, kalau kita ambil kira kerusi UMNO, kerusi Melayu Pas, dan kerusi Melayu dari PKR. Kuasa Melayu untuk terus menjadi pemerintah di negeri ini tidak semestinya bererti kuasa UMNO sahaja.

Apa Untungnya Rakyat Biasa Melayu jika UMNO terus memerintah?

Former UMNO President becomes Patron of PERKASA

Hari ini, sudah mulai banyak orang Melayu yang berkata, apa untungnya rakyat biasa Melayu jika UMNO terus memerintah. Mereka melihat sebahagian orang Melayu yang berkuasa dalam UMNO sudah tidak ada semangat dan jiwa Melayunya lagi, seperti ibu bapa mereka yang berarak menentang Malayan Union.

Mereka dilihat tidak berani lagi ‘memperjuangkan’ nasib bangsa Melayu; UMNO baru ini dilihat semakin menyerah dan bertolak ansur dengan apa sahaja kehendak dan tuntutan orang bukan Melayu, termasuk hal-hal yang mereka tidak tuntut namun diberikan juga, konon untuk mengambil hati orang bukan Melayu, sedangkan tuntutan Melayu dituduh sebagai tuntuan ‘rasis’. Sama ada ini hanya persepsi orang Melayu terhadap UMNO sekarang atau ini memang kebenaran, UMNO kenalah kaji dengan jujur dan secara rasional untuk mengetahui sebabnya yang sebenar. Maka dalam keadaan nasib Melayu yang tidak menentu ini, lahirlah NGO Melayu yang dituduh ‘rasis’, iaitu PERKASA. Menurut Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, PERKASA lahir kerana mereka menganggap UMNO tidak lagi sanggup atau mampu mempertahankan hak dan kepentingan bangsa Melayu.

Dalam PRU yang lepas banyak penyokong tradisional UMNO lari ke parti-parti lain, khususnya Pas. Apa sebabnya? Apakah mereka sudah kecewa dan hilang kepercayaan kepada UMNO sebagai parti yang dapat membela nasib mereka atau apakah mereka percaya bahawa Pas dapat menjadi parti Melayu sebagai alternatif kepada UMNO? Dasar-dasar apakah yang dibawa oleh Pas yang menarik perhatian mereka?

Masalah

Saya rasa masalah ‘Kuasa Melayu’ tidak terletak pada mana-mana parti politik Melayu atau pada soal

Why No Action Against this Mamak by UMNO ?

‘kuasa politik’ parti semata-mata. Kuasa politik bukan ditentukan oleh parti politik tetapi oleh rakyat, oleh pengundi. Sama ada kita suka atau tidak suka inilah demokrasi. Kuasa politik bukan terletak pada UMNO, atau Pas, atau DAP atau PKR tetapi pada rakyat.

Dan rakyat hari ini, terutama golongan muda – ini termasuk pengundi Melayu yang masih merupakan pengundi majoriti di negara ini – nampaknya tidak lagi memilih parti hanya berdasarkan sentimen kaum tetapi berdasarkan soal sama ada parti itu dapat memerintah negara dengan adil, saksama, seimbang, bersih, cekap dan amanah.

Mereka melihat apakah parti itu dipenuhi oleh golongan manusia yang perasuah, orang yang hanya mementingkan diri sendiri, kekayaan sendiri dan kesenangan kaum keluarga dan sahabat handai mereka, atau apakah parti itu dipimpin oleh orang-orang yang bersih dari segala macam rekod moral yang buruk, orang yang bercakap bohong, orang yang lebih mementingkan ekonomi ‘pasaran bebas’, ekonomi mesra pasaran, daripada ekonomi atau pasaran mesra-rakyat.

Sehubungan ini saya teringat membaca suatu artikel dalam majalah Newsweek baru-baru ini yang menceritakan dasar ekonomi negeri China. Seorang pegawai tinggi kerajaan China berkata: In China we make the market economy to serve the people and the State, not the market, maksudnya, ‘Di negeri China ekonomi pasaran diarah berkhidmat untuk rakyat dan negara tidak untuk pasaran’. Barangkali kerana inilah China sekarang sedang berkembang untuk menjadi sebuah kuasa ekonomi dunia mengalahkan negara-negara Barat dan Jepun.

Kalau sesebuah parti Melayu diketahui oleh rakyat semua kaum sebagai parti yang ‘bersih’, yang akan memerintah dengan adil tidak kira kaum, saya kira semua kaum akan tertarik dengan parti itu. Ini soal prinsip, soal moral, bukan soal perkauman.

Jadi, soalnya, apakah dan siapkah yang salah jikalau ‘Kuasa Melayu’ akan hilang. Jawabnya ialah, yang salah ialah orang Melayu sendiri, bukan kaum-kaum lain. Diberi kuasa yang banyak oleh rakyat, terutama pengundi Melayu, kuasa itu tidak digunakan dengan baik dan bijaksana; kuasa itu disalahgunakan, sehingga berlaku beberapa banyak skandal berlaku, skandal rasuah, skandal jenayah, skandal ekonomi.

Selama 50 tahun orang Melayu mempunyai kuasa untuk mempertahankan hak dan kepentingan Melayu dalam bidang ekonomi, pendidikan, dalam soal dasar bahasa, dalam soal budaya dan lain-lain lagi, tanpa menjejaskan kepentingan kaum-kaum lain yang juga perlu diperjuangkan oleh penguasa-penguasa politik Melayu itu dengan adil dan saksama, sebagaimana dituntut oleh Perlembagaan, tetapi sejak mutakhir ini nampaknya keadaan orang Melayulah yang semakin terdesak. Maka lahirlah badan bukan kerajaan Melayu seperti PERKASA untuk mewakili suara dan keadaan rakyat Melayu yang terdesak itu.

Kemiskinan di kalangan orang Melayu, penduduk majoriti negara ini, dan kemiskinan di kalangan kaum lain juga makin meningkat. Jurang perbezaan antara golongan terkaya dengan golongan majoriti yang susah semakin membesar. Jikalau dasar ekonomi negara ini mesra-rakyat, keadaan ini sepatutnya tidak berlaku. Kita sibuk memajukan keadaan fizikal negara tetapi lupa memajukan keadaan moral rakyat dan negara serentak atau selaras dengan kemajuan materialistik.

Nasihat Kepada Orang UMNO

Nasihat saya kepada orang UMNO ialah, tumpukan perhatian kepada reformasi atau transformasi moral dan budaya politik dalam UMNO. Ini akan menjadi asas atau ‘model’ untuk membolehkan UMNO menjadi ‘pejuang bangsa Melayu’ yang kredibel dalam bidang-bidang ekonomi, pendidikan dan sosial merentas kepentingan peribadi anggota-anggota parti itu sendiri.

Saya tidak berkata bahawa ‘moral’ anggota-anggota dan kepimpinan parti-parti lawan semuanya bersih, hebat, cemerlang, Tidak. Yang penting ialah UMNO sebagai parti Melayu yang terbesar (atau masih terbesar?) hendaklah memperbaiki dan menampilkan imejnya sebagai parti yang benar-benar berjiwa ‘kebangsaan’, parti yang dapat menjadi pilihan utama rakyat, tidak sahaja rakyat Melayu tetapi juga rakyat bukan Melayu berdasarkan prinsip-prinsip keadilan, keseimbangan dan kesaksamaan merentas kepentingan kaum dan kepentingan peribadi para anggota parti.

Akhir kata, ‘Kuasa Melayu’ tidak bererti kuasa untuk orang Melayu yang berkuasa melakukan apa sahaja menurut nafsu mereka, memperjuangkan hak dan kepentingan Melayu dan memusnahkan hak dan kepentingan bukan Melayu. Kuasa Melayu bererti kuasa untuk mentadbirkan negara dengan cekap, adil, bijaksana, bersih, bertanggungjawab untuk kepentingan negara, bukan untuk kepentingan etnik atau kepentingan golongan dan orang-orang perseorangan yang berkepentingan peribadi. Kuasa Melayu tidak bererti kuasa anti-bukan Melayu, atau hanya kuasa pro-Melayu, tetapi kuasa untuk semua rakyat, kuasa untuk mewujudkan kemajuan, kesejahteraan, kemakmuran untuk semua rakyat.

Kalau ini maksud Kuasa Melayu, tidak ada sebab mengapa rakyat mesti takut kepada kuasa ini. Yang kita takut ialah, jika kuasa Melayu ini diberikan kepada atau jatuh ke tangan orang Melayu yang tidak layak menerimanya dan tidak mampu menggunakannya dengan sebaik-baiknya untuk kepentingan negara.

Message to Mahathir and PERKASA: Spare Us Negative Politics.


September 26, 2010

http://www.nst.com.my

Spare Us Negative Politics please and Restart the Politics of Natonal Unity

by Zainul Arifin

IN the United States now, as it seems like in many countries these days, the political divide is getting wider, and weirder, too.The election of President Barack Obama of the Democratic Party and the Democrats’ control of Congress have somehow galvanised the conservatives and his opponents, who are largely from the Republican party, into a formidable force of varying degrees of sanity.

The upcoming mid-term elections in November where the Democrat control of Congress could be reversed have heightened the political temperature and in the fight for votes, all, the flinging of mud or roses, it seems, is fair. The ultimate battle, of course, is for the White House two years from now.

Which brings us to the weird part. The conservatives with their own pundits in the media and leaders are not doing anything to correct the perception of one in five Americans — and the number apparently is growing — that Obama was not born in the US and is in fact a closet Muslim.

Why is this fact important? The combination of race and religion, especially one viewed suspiciously and misunderstood by many, could be a potent combination to upend Democrat domination.

No one talks of race, but it is obvious to neutral observers that it is the underlying unspoken thing going on. In fact, by not doing anything, it could be argued that they are tacitly encouraging such allegations to continue.

It obviously serves the purpose of his opponents, which include former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, that the vilification of Obama continues, even if the facts prove otherwise.

The air is rife with innuendoes — Obama as the new Hitler? — and allegations that the country is going to the dogs. It is good strategy to stoke fear and paint a dark, dank picture of the future; to suggest misdeeds and inefficiencies; to suggest that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and that they are the only ones to right all wrongs.

Does the situation sound familiar? The level of politicking has gone so bad that comedian and talk show host Jon Stewart decided to have a “Rally to Restore Sanity” on October 30 in Washington, DC. His “call to reasonableness” is in response to the vile that has overtaken American politics.

“We’re looking for the people who think shouting is annoying, counterproductive, and terrible for your throat; who feel that the loudest voices shouldn’t be the only ones that get heard; and who believe that the only time it’s appropriate to draw a Hitler moustache on someone is when that person is actually Hitler. Or Charlie Chaplin in certain roles,” he said in the rally website.

It could be a lark or a prank, but satire often leads in cutting through the fat of niceties. Stewart must have struck a chord. In the rally Facebook site, as of Wednesday, more than 132,000 people planned to attend the rally. Satellite rallies are being organised in Chicago, Seattle, Austin and other cities.

It is perhaps coincidental that the rally will be held a few days before the elections, or Halloween. There is apparently a sense of tiredness to the whole intense 24-7 politicking thing, which is dominated by a few, and in language and spirit that have taken the path of the low road. The noises they hear are not necessarily theirs.

The response to Stewart’s rally suggests that people may have had enough. “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it any more!” his website said.

Can we be having our own rally for sanity? I am not sure how many of us are sick and tired of the current state of events — where there seems to be a disproportionate amount of politicking daily, at least at a level I have never seen before in my adult life.

There are, of course, people who make their living or passion in politicking, politicising everything from murder to traffic congestion to race relations. But must we live their lives as well? They dominate our consciousness and seem to revel in pushing their message into our faces, whatever it may be and however they can.

Is politics really uppermost in our minds when we get out of bed, or are we now overwhelmed by the deluge of political talk? Some of us are gasping for air. Now how many of us are slightly tired of this? Maybe none. Maybe we revel in this.

I, nevertheless, believe that we need a time of relative solitude and quiet, to mull over and reflect on all the information that has flooded our consciousness these past few years.

Is the current situation acceptable or have we failed? How bad do we need to fix things or is there anything right in the country, at all? Should everything in the country be politicised, or is politics the only means to the resolution of all our problems?

How many of us hope that politics is reserved for the ballot boxes, and not served daily at the breakfast table? Is there anyone out there who feels that political discourse, when there is a need for one, should be civil? No name-calling, profanities and unsubstantiated allegations — our own Hitler-like allegations.

Yet there is obviously coarseness in our dialogues, we are no longer governed by civility by the very same people who claim to be gentle and learned folks. Everything is thrown into the mix, from the sacred to the profane.

Perhaps it is that notion of whatever it takes, and whipping up anger and hatred is a good strategy, of course.

But should we not welcome sanity? Where political affiliation and support need not necessarily mean discourse that is more for the gutter than the high road that all of us claim to be aspiring to.

What is it that we all want? A prosperous Malaysia, a fair Malaysia, a just Malaysia, and a country we can be proud of. Will any of these be attained by the hostilities we exhibit towards each other? I suppose in the battle for the votes, all is fair.

I know it is strategically brilliant to think that the constant drumming of the message of dread would reap rewards. Maybe it will. But isn’t it like spitting in the wind; sooner or later we will get some back in our faces.

Once we unleash these negative forces, we cannot go back. We have tasted blood and maybe we like it. The end of civility in our politics, I suppose. This is slash and burn, take no prisoner politics, win at all cost gutter brawl politics.

Maybe some of us are not cut out for the intense politicking and negativity being paraded around by professionals. Maybe we like the information but not the language. Maybe we like the politics but not the politicking.

We have figured out that some politicians hate each other, but do they have to drag us along, too? We want to be informed but spare us the histrionics, and vile. A plea for sanity?

zainul@nst.com.my


Awang Selamat’s Rejoinder to Nazri Aziz


September 26, 2010

Awang Selamat’s Rejoinder to Nazri Aziz

In the interest of discourse on this blog, I am posting the rejoinder by  Utusan’s Awang Selamat (whose real name and identity remain undisclosed) to Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz’s comments on the former’s uncalled for attack  in his  article, Alahai Nazri, on the Minister, also known to his friends and detractors in Parliament as Chief. I carried Nazri’s letter from Bucharest, Romania on this blog a few days ago. It first appeared in the Malaysian Insider.

Unfortunately, this Awang Selamat response is in Bahasa Malaysia (the only language Awang understands and write with some proficiency). But it does reflect the quality of his thinking. Awang wants to have a last say on the matter. So he says: “Awang sebenarnya tidak mahu perdebatan dengan Nazri berlarutan. Ia tidak akan menguntungkan sesiapa kecuali pihak yang mahu menangguk di air keruh”.What an excuse, when one does not have strong arguments to rebut Nazri. The SOP is to be sentimental, to look back in nostalgia, and further confuse Utusan’s Malay readers. So I am not surprised at the tone this Awang Selamat piece.

Awang’s last paragraph is most telling: “Maka janganlah perlekehkan Utusan sebagaimana yang dilakukan secara tersusun oleh banyak pihak bukan Melayu. Utusan bukan sekadar akhbar, Utusan adalah institusi Melayu. Awang hanya pertahankan Utusan, tidak lebih daripada itu. KPI Awang dan rakan-rakan di Utusan bukan soal jumlah edaran akhbar semata-mata. Sejak sebelum merdeka lagi, akhbar ini tidak pernah lari daripada tugas menjaga kepentingan agama, bangsa dan tanah air. Apakah itu menjadi masalah kepada Nazri dan sesiapa jua?Is Utusan is a racist newspaper? Tell and convince me that it is not, given Awang’s position.

Having said his piece by an Open Letter from Bucharest, the Minister is not likely to respond to this latest Awang piece. If he did, Nazri would, I think, have repeated his much quoted comment  with apologies to none (below).–Din Merican

http://www.utusan.com.my

Lagi jawapan buat Nazri Aziz

oleh Awang Selamat

Tulisan bertajuk Alahai Nazri… dalam ruangan ini minggu lalu, mencetuskan perhatian besar. Pada hari Ahad itu sahaja, Awang menerima ratusan khidmat pesanan ringkas (SMS) dan e-mel menyatakan sokongan. Tetapi itu bukanlah tujuan sebenar Awang.

Sebagai pengamal media, Awang hanya ingin menyatakan kebenaran dengan menyanggah tuduhan liar Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Nazri Aziz terhadap Utusan. Antaranya beliau mendakwa Utusan mahu menjadikan Dr. Mahathir Mohamad sebagai Perdana Menteri selain kononnya akhbar tersebut tidak menyokong Perdana Menteri, Mohd. Najib Tun Razak.

Seperti yang dijangka, Nazri mengeluarkan kenyataan balas menerusi portal pro pembangkang, The Malaysian Insider menghentam Utusan dan Awang Selamat. Ada hujah yang bernas dan ada yang tidak. Nazri menasihatkan Awang agar tidak mencampuri urusan politik negara. Ini kata beliau kerana Awang sifar pengalaman dan cetek pengetahuan berbanding beliau yang sudah empat kali menang bertanding pilihan raya umum.

Nazri juga tidak semena-mena tampil menyatakan bahawa beliau adalah rakyat Malaysia terlebih dahulu, barulah orang Melayu. Apa lagi… para pemimpin Cina terutama Lim Kit Siang dan anaknya Lim Guan Eng – dinasti DAP – memuji Nazri melambung-lambung. Mereka berdua berharap menteri Kabinet lain mencontohi Nazri.

Akhbar-akhbar Cina berlumba-lumba melahirkan penghargaan kepada Nazri seolah-olah beliau super hero yang turun dari langit. Pada masa yang sama, akhbar Cina mengambil kesempatan membelasah Dr. Mahathir, Perkasa mahupun Utusan. Awang hanya geleng kepala tanpa sedikitpun teruja dengan kenyataan Nazri mahupun pujian ke atas beliau.

Kritikan

Dalam reaksinya, Nazri menyatakan Awang tidak faham mengapa beliau bersopan dengan pembangkang. Katanya, ia adalah tindakan tepat dalam amalan demokrasi kerana ahli Parlimen pembangkang juga dipilih oleh rakyat.

Maka Awang tertanya-tanya apa salahnya jika Utusan juga bersopan dengan negarawan seperti Dr. Mahathir dan berbaik-baik dengan NGO Melayu termasuk PERKASA yang membawa suara akar umbi Melayu.

Antara faktor ramai orang Melayu menghukum BN pada pilihan raya umum lalu adalah kerana merasakan kepentingan mereka tidak dibela sewajarnya. Ramai pemimpin bukan Melayu komponen BN turut menerima padah apabila Melayu tidak mengundi BN. Awang tidak mahu kesilapan berulang apabila kita mengabaikan suara hati orang Melayu. Walaupun bukan sebagai wakil rakyat seperti Nazri, Awang juga mahu BN dan UMNO menang tetapi tanpa mengguris hati orang Melayu.

Awang sebenarnya tidak mahu perdebatan dengan Nazri berlarutan. Ia tidak akan menguntungkan sesiapa kecuali pihak yang mahu menangguk di air keruh. Cuma Awang lebih terpanggil menjawab sinikal Nazri berkaitan kemerosotan edaran akhbar Utusan. ‘‘Kedudukan itu dengan sendiri menunjukkan prestasi dan standardnya yang rendah di mana Utusan terpaksa merujuk kepada laporan media alternatif elektronik baru,’’ katanya.

Awang hairan mengapa soal itu timbul. Apakah hanya disebabkan ada kritikan daripada media maka Nazri berusaha memperlekehkan media berkenaan. Apakah wajar menteri pada era alaf baru bersikap seperti itu. Awang tidak mahu mempersoalkan standard Nazri yang sememangnya tinggi. Namun jika Nazri menjadi menteri di Indonesia, Thailand dan Filipina dan banyak negara lagi, beliau akan dihentam habis-habisan oleh media sekiranya itulah cara beliau menangani kritikan.

Kritis adalah hal biasa apatah lagi dalam dunia media. Menegur bukan bererti tidak menyukai menteri atau pihak yang ditegur. Nazri sepatutnya lebih faham kerana beliau selalu menggambarkan dirinya sebagai seorang yang berfikiran moden, liberal dan terbuka. Bagaimana akhbar arus perdana Melayu mahu berkembang jika ada menteri yang tidak boleh sedikitpun dikritik.

Kemerosotan

Dalam soal penurunan edaran akhbar, trend itu berlaku di seluruh dunia sejak sedekad yang lalu. Di Amerika Syarikat, akhbar berpengaruh seperti The Washington Post, New York Times, Chicago Tribune dan LA Times menyaksikan penurunan edaran yang terburuk dalam tempoh 40 tahun. Begitu juga dengan akhbar-akhbar berpengaruh di Eropah terutama di United Kingdom, dengan purata penurunan 10 peratus.

Akhbar Daily Mirror misalnya yang mempunyai sejarah kecemerlangan dan pengaruh yang hebat, tidak terkecuali menerima tempias fenomena global yang melanda industri persuratkhabaran. Daily Mirror pada tahun 2000 mencatatkan pengedaran 2.3 juta naskhah tetapi pada 2009 hanya mencatatkan 1.4 juta naskhah.

(Bayangkanlah akhbar di Barat yang kebanyakannya bukan di bawah pemilikan parti, menikmati kebebasan meluas, ekonomi lebih baik dan minat membaca yang tinggi di kalangan rakyatnya, ketara merosot. Inikan pula akhbar seperti Utusan, yang turut berdepan dengan tindakan boikot oleh pembangkang atas percaturan politik dan agenda kaum).

The Malaysian Insider

Kepesatan teknologi maklumat terutama menerusi Internet ternyata memberi kesan kepada industri persuratkhabaran konvensional.

Pertumbuhan luar biasa laman-laman sesawang apatah lagi laman sosial seperti facebook dan tweeter, ‘memburukkan’ lagi keadaan. Itu belum mengambil kira radio, televisyen dan penggunaan telefon bimbit dalam menyalurkan berita terkini menjadikan pengguna mempunyai banyak pilihan, tidak semestinya akhbar sebagaimana dahulu.

Di Asia, banyak akhbar kategori serius seperti Utusan jatuh kecuali yang berkonsep populis, sensasi dan bacaan ringan. Di Malaysia, banyak akhbar termasuk Utusan turut sama mengalami penurunan edaran. Tidak perlu Awang senaraikan nama akhbar, sesiapa pun boleh membuat kajian.

Mengulas tanggapan beliau bahawa Utusan selalu merujuk kepada media alternatif, Awang percaya beliau maksudkan adalah The Malaysian Insider, yang menjadi kesayangannya.

Untuk pengetahuan Nazri, sebelum pun tercetus isu beliau menghentam Utusan, The Malaysian Insider kerap menyajikan dan menceduk laporan Utusan biarpun tanpa kebenaran. Laporan Utusan asyik dijadikan perdebatan dalam portal itu, yang turut menyumbang kepada popularitinya. Jadi siapa yang banyak merujuk kepada siapa? Mungkin tanpa isu-isu yang dirintis oleh Utusan, portal berkenaan akan merudum sambutannya.

Dalam pada itu, Nazri tidak tahu walaupun edaran akhbar Utusan mengalami kemerosotan, ia harus mengambil kira jumlah pembaca menerusi versi Utusan Online. Jika digabungkan antara edisi online dan cetak, jumlah pembaca Utusan adalah jauh lebih besar berbanding sedekad yang lalu.

Apa yang Awang ingin sampaikan, era menteri semestinya betul dan menganggap dirinya tahu dalam serba serbi, sudah berlalu.

Institusi Melayu

Awang tidak berhajat untuk berdebat tentang Nazri selepas ini. Cukuplah. Jika ada lagi reaksi beliau selepas ini, Awang akan berdiam. Ini bukan soal mencari kemenangan. Dapat menyampaikan mesej, sudah memadai. Awang tetap menghormati Nazri sebagai seorang menteri.

Sekiranya beliau tidak pro-Utusan, yang telah banyak berjasa kepada agama, bangsa dan tanah air, itu tidak mengapa. Tetapi sebagai menteri UMNO, beliau sepatutnya tahu betapa Utusan berdepan dengan banyak kekangan dan cabaran tersendiri. Pun begitu, Utusan tidak pernah berganjak sejak dahulu lagi dalam mempertahankan Perlembagaan, menolak ekstremisme dan mendokong keharmonian.

Adalah dangkal bagi sesiapa menuduh Utusan rasis sedangkan akhbar ini membawa suara hati orang Melayu, yang selama ini sudah banyak berkorban dan bertolak ansur. Ada media yang sebenarnya rasis terutama media Cina dan portal berita, tidak pula diganyang. Apakah perlu ada kayu ukur berbeza antara media arus perdana Melayu dan Cina? Dalam apa keadaan dan tafsiran – ketika lemah, buruk, sakit dan meratap sendirian – Utusan sentiasa ke hadapan berjuang untuk UMNO dan orang Melayu.

Maka janganlah perlekehkan Utusan sebagaimana yang dilakukan secara tersusun oleh banyak pihak bukan Melayu. Utusan bukan sekadar akhbar, Utusan adalah institusi Melayu. Awang hanya pertahankan Utusan, tidak lebih daripada itu. KPI Awang dan rakan-rakan di Utusan bukan soal jumlah edaran akhbar semata-mata. Sejak sebelum merdeka lagi, akhbar ini tidak pernah lari daripada tugas menjaga kepentingan agama, bangsa dan tanah air. Apakah itu menjadi masalah kepada Nazri dan sesiapa jua?

Netto on Mahathir’s Diatribe


September 25, 2010

Netto on Mahathir’s Diatribe

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

A Keralian Machiavelli?

One way of knowing how close Pakatan Rakyat is to its goal of making Putrajaya is to see what that does to its chief nemesis: Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Just now he is driven to say the most outlandish things, that if Pakatan wins the fast approaching general election the Malays would lose power and that a Chinese or an Indian could become prime minister – all this while taking care to emphasise he is not racist.

Dr Goebbels, the Nazi chief propagandist, said that if you repeat a lie umpteen times it can stick. Dr Mahathir must believe in this theory of repeated iteration, otherwise he wouldn’t so often issue racist statements accompanied by disavowals of intent.

People who will say anything are often the victims of diminished self-esteem. But a paucity of self-esteem cannot be the former prime minister’s problem. Only someone with his bloated sense of self-importance would say anything to get himself out of a spot, confident his high standing would withstand meltdown from perceived asininity.

Those with the privilege of the public ear are obliged to take intellectual standards seriously. When the arena for the extension of that privilege is a university out to confer an honorary doctorate, the recipient is duty bound to avoid suggesting that the life of the mind is the life of the spleen.

Against the West, Mahathir’s bile – of which he has a large natural endowment, augmented by a peculiar combination ego and insecurity – is well documented.  It’s not difficult to discern why: he’s a reflexive autocrat who dislikes the contra autocracy ideas that emanated from the West’s experiment of the last three centuries in democratic governance.

Hence Mahathir fulminates against the West most chances he gets.  “Without you knowing, the world is having moral, social, political and economic crises because they are too tied up and bound by the goals and philosophies derived from Western theories,” Mahathir yesterday told his audience at the Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (Usim) which conferred on him an honorary doctorate.

Presumably, politeness would have prevented members of his audience from admonishing the speaker: “Physician, heal thyself.” It appears only Mahathir does not seem to know that the moral, social, political and economic crises plaguing the Malaysia he governed for 22 years is partly due to his departure from theories of democratic governance emanating from the West at which he has frequently looked askance. There is considerable irony in this.

Disciple of Machiavelli

The Florentine Machiavelli

Of him one cannot say “without [him] knowing it” – because he is enough read a man – that while Mahathir decries the liberal thrust of western philosophy, he has been a sedulous practitioner of the political statecraft of Niccolo Machiavelli and the weltanschauung (worldview) of Friedrich Nietzsche.

The theory that a political leader needs the strength of a lion and the cunning of a fox to prevail is not something close observers of Mahathir’s prime ministerial tenure can say he does not instinctively understand, which political theorist Machiavelli held was of paramount importance if a ruler desired to succeed.

Further, looking at Mahathir’s discipline, his capacity for work and to overcome pressure, his indomitability in crisis, his unconcern for the rules of others even as he makes his own, his ability to espouse today something as true that he yesterday doubted or held as false, recalls Nietzsche’s transvaluation of values, the mark of the ‘Superman’ or Übermensch (in Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra) that the German philosopher counseled one must become if one wants to separate oneself from the run of humanity.

The problem about both Machiavelli and Nietzsche is that their thought marked a sharp reactionary turn in the general liberal trend of western thought from Hellenic times till now. Herein the irony: that while lambasting the West, Mahathir’s political craft and worldview takes its inspiration from two thinkers from the West whose thought marked a sharp departure from their predecessors’.

Machiavelli, in the 15th century, theorised as a pagan nihilist in a time when the Italian states were Christian polities whose rulers shuddered before the deity if their means did not justify their ends. Nietzsche, after Darwin had in the middle of the 19th century persuasively suggested that man had evolved from matter, philosophized against a backdrop proclaiming the death of God.

However, Mahathir is not entirely without grounds when he speculates that what is wrong about western philosophy is its godless cosmogony. Few, save Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking and their ilk, can be imperturbable before the notion that human life is a brief flare of consciousness before two eternities of oblivion – which is the atheist position.

Ruler need not worry?

But Mahathir’s latching on to presumed weaknesses in western philosophy is not motivated by a disinterested contemplation of truth – incidentally, the raison de’tre of universities. Instead, it is prompted by worry that mounting public consciousness in Malaysia that rights have been abused and that the biggest abuser, UMNO-BN, is being shoved by the currents of public opinion into the dock for a much delayed reckoning.

That looming possibility bodes ill for Mahathir Mohamad.  Machiavelli was not necessarily right: that a ruler need not worry about the means which he employs to secure his ends because the public is generally seduced by successful outcomes and bother little, after-the-fact, about the means it took to attain those ends.

As to an afterlife where a ruler needs to account for his conduct before the deity – well, the pagan nihilist contended, don’t worry such a deity simply did not exist. IF Pakatan wins the 13th general election, the first part of Machiavelli’s theory is likely to be proven untrue, as far as Mahathir will be concerned. In that event, longevity may not necessarily be a blessing.

Malaysia-Singapore Relations: Putting the Past Behind and Moving Forward


September 25, 2010

Forging Better Malaysia-Singapore Relations: Putting the Past Behind and Moving Forward

The amicable way and speed with which KTMB’s land-swap deal was resolved made it clear that the two leaders across the Causeway were willing to discard the historical baggage affecting relations between the two nations, writes SHAHRUM SAYUTHI @www.nst.com.my

THE relatively smooth process in which Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong sealed the deal on the Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd’s land-swap agreement earlier this week had most likely taken many by surprise.

The speed with which it was resolved was relatively astounding as the deal was only first discussed between the two leaders in May this year.

Those familiar with Malaysia-Singapore relations should know that past leaders of both countries would have taken years to settle such a prickly issue and with the outcome being hardly satisfying for either side which felt it had lost out in the end.

From the way they speedily and amicably handled the land-swap issue, Najib and Lee had made it clear that they are representing a new batch of leaders who are willing to discard the siege mentality of their predecessors which had affected bilateral relations between the two countries in the past.

Both Leaders had stressed that they were delighted and relieved that the issue had been settled and that both countries could from now on move forward in forward in . Najib went the extra mile to point out that the outcome of the agreement was not only designed to be legally correct but also politically acceptable to both sides.

He described the agreement as the final chapter in the longstanding arrangement, which started 20 years

Stumbling Block to Better Malaysia-Singapore Ties

ago. “We are both delighted as well as relieved that we can put this behind us and move forward,” Najib said.

Even the sole contentious issue of development charges payable on the three parcels of land under the points of agreement (POA) in Tanjong Pagar, Kranji and Woodlands, which needs to be settled at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) did not seem to have dampened the upbeat mood of both leaders.

“We do not have to agree on everything, but the important thing is to have the spirit to settle differences of opinion in an amicable way so that we can move forward and show that two neighbouring countries can work closely together for the better future of both nations,” said Lee.

When a journalist from an international news agency posed a question right after the agreement was sealed on the bickering of past leaders, Najib and Lee were unanimous in their answer, that is, both countries should not be bogged down by their historical baggage.

“People make reference to the past, but what is important is the current leadership of both countries want to move forward and forge better ties. I think that is the most important and relevant consideration,” said Najib.

Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, while summing up the conclusion of the agreement, stressed that it was a win-win solution which had resolved a bilateral issue which had dragged on for two decades.

“We should all be glad that our leaders have finally resolved this matter. The enhanced POA is indeed a fair and balanced agreement which will benefit both our countries as well as enable us to start a new chapter when it comes to our relations with Singapore,” he said.

It was indeed significant that Premiers Najib and Lee had shown genuine intent to bring about bilateral ties to a new height and to find ways to generate ideas on how to change the negative perceptions which had affected the public on both sides of the Causeway.

It should be noted that the two leaders had personally met four times and exchanged correspondence in order to settle the land swap deal. The fact that Najib and Lee had met more times with each other than with any other world leader since the former took office two years ago, also signifies that enhancing bilateral relations between the two nations is now a top priority of both countries’ foreign policy.

There are signs that both leaders are willing to think out of the box to overcome troublesome stumbling blocks in bilateral relations.

Just a day after the land-swap deal was sealed, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha made a startling revelation that the two countries were considering several options, including the building of an undersea tunnel, to accommodate a rail line for the planned rapid transit system (RTS) connecting Johor Baru and Singapore. The proposed RTS is part of the additional understandings agreed with the conclusion of the land-swap deal.

Though Kong had indicated that the discussion on the matter was still at an early stage, sources at the Johor Menteri Besar’s Office in Kota Iskandar pointed out that such a project would most likely take place with a deadline for completion set before 2018, the year when KTMB’s facilities in Woodlands will be moved to a proposed transport hub in Kempas, Johor Baru.

The fact that both sides are willing to consider such a unique project, which will have a massive economic and social impact, augurs well for the possibility of an even more desirable joint endeavour replacing the Causeway with a bridge and letting the waters of Tebrau Straits flow freely again.

Such a dream seems more real now as Najib and Lee had proven that they are not only just interested in improving relations and fostering trust but had already acted on their pledge of moving forward in a direction any reasonable Malaysian or Singaporean would desire.

Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, who was involved from the start in drafting the Malaysian stand on the land-swap deal, said the country, and specifically Johor, would gain tremendously from the improving relations of both countries.

Stressing this, Ghani pointed out that the land swap deal also involved commitent of both side to the joint venture between Khazanah Nasional Bhd and Temasek Holdings Ltd to develop an iconic wellness township in Iskandar Malaysia and the setting-up of a rapid transit system (RTS) link between Johor Baru and Singapore.

“The enhanced POA , will definitely be beneficial for Johor. It probably would have been a different matter if the Singapore side had insisted on the original POA.”

The Johor Menteri Besar had made it clear when the agreement was first mooted in May that Singapore, from the legal perspective, could have insisted that KTMB vacate the land in the republic without offering any form of compensation.

He had also intimated that the new leadership of the republic had indeed made a markedly sincere gesture through the land swap deal in ending the long standing bilateral dispute.

“This agreement is indeed very significant and has reached a good conclusion. I am confident that from now on we can move forward to be better neighbours and regional friends.” Ghani’s view on the improving relations between the leaders from both sides of the Causeway was perhaps most significant because being a Johor Menteri Besar for the past 15 years, he is the most experienced among the country’s leaders in handling the ups and downs of bilateral relations with Singapore. The rapid warming up of ties between the two countries has been significantly felt in Johor ever since the decision on the land swap was reached earlier this year.

For instance, an official of Iskandar Investment Bhd (IIB) said requests for coverage by Singaporean media practitioners on investment activities at Iskandar Malaysia had significantly increased since the middle of this year.

Singaporean newspapers and television channels, which previously seems just interested in crime stories in Johor, had over the past months came up with extensive and positive coverage on issues such as the progress of Legoland Malaysia and EduCity, the two currently most prominent projects in the Iskandar Malaysia development corridor.

In fact, on the very night the land swap deal was sealed by leaders of both countries, IIB’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house at its headquarters in Danga Bay saw the presence of a significant number of Singaporean journalists. Signs of improving Malaysia-Singapore relations are indeed real and despite sceptics from both sides, Malaysia and Singapore are set for better bilateral ties, which was what the current leaderships of both countries had in mind while discarding their historical baggage.

Zunar’s Cartoon-o-Phobia launch attacked by Darth Vader Agents


September 25, 2010

Updated with video clip (11.15 pm)

Zunar’s Cartoon-o-Phobia launch attacked by Darth Vader Agents (Police and Special Branch Personnel)

by S Pathmawathy @http://www.malaysiakini.com

Darth Vader forces struck again at the Chinese Assembly Hall during the launch of Zunar’s Cartoon-o-Phobia book yesterday (September 24, 2010). It was to me an attempt by dark forces within UMNO to embarrass our Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak who is scheduled to deliver his maiden address at the UNGA. Sad, we can’t even show that we are united despite our political differences.–Din Merican

Just hours earlier the police arrested political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque and seized over 60 copies of his latest work, Cartoon-o-Phobia.

But despite setbacks, the launch of satirical publication proceeded as scheduled last night at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) under close observation of the police.

About 10 policemen were deployed outside the hall and they had placed police cones barricading the main entrance to leading to the parking lot.

It was however an unusual book launch owing to the absence of the celebrated comics and the presence of its artist Zulkiflee, better known as Zunar.

Zunar was arrested and brought to the Sepang district police headquarters late evening yesterday after his office, Sepakat Efektif Sdn Bhd, was raided by police officers.

Undaunted by the police’s show of force, Zunar’s launch was greeted with enthusiasm and encouragement for the cartoonist to continue his witty jibes at the Malaysian political scene.

In fact delivering his message last night through his wife Fazlina Rosley, Zunar swore that the clampdown on his work will not hinder his efforts to expose corruption and abuse or power. “This move has reasserted the title of the book – that the government fears cartoons. They can imprison me but they can’t imprison my mind.”

Zunar conveyed to the 150 people present that he is prepared to “change from the comic strip to the prison strip”.

Fazlina, on behalf of her husband, thanked all those present. “He said that he didn’t intend to talk about politics, but (alas this is) the fate of the cartoons which has now proven to be feared by the government,” said Fazlina, whose brave front and wit was greeted with continuous applause.

Zunar’s way of showing ‘middle-finger’

Meanwhile, Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan, who kicked off the event, noted that Zunar should be “admired for his tenacity”.

“For that he is being punished. This is his fourth book to be banned, and this comes months after the other books were banned,” said Gan. “This is Zunar’s way of showing the middle finger,” he added, drawing laughter from the crowd.

He went on to laud the cartoonist, comparing his gritty and gutsy work to the celebrated political cartoonist Mohammad Nor Khalid, more commonly known as Lat, praising him for taking on high-profile leaders “without a safety net below”.

Going down memory lane, Gan described the complexity of summarising an event into one picture by displaying a comic sketched by Zunar six years ago, when Malaysiakini‘s office was first raided and their computers were confiscated.

“As a journalist I know how it is to try to compress a thousand words to 500 words, and Zunar is able to do it all in one comic,” he said.

“I felt a lot of forboding (in the run up to the launch), and when Zunar called to say that there was a raid on his office and the books were being confiscated, I was not surprised,” said Gan.

Three of Zunar’s previous books – 1 Funny Malaysia, Perak Darul Kartun and Isu Dalam Kartun – were banned by the Home Ministry for going against the provisions of the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA).

Ousted Perak menteri besar Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin, who was also captured and illustrated in Perak Darul Kartun, similarly hailed the political awareness brought by Zunar’s works.

“These cartoons transcend the racial and religious boundaries and unite all of us here on a common platform,” said Mohd Nizar.

‘Cartoon-o-phobia’ should be in Wikipedia

He also criticised the moves against Zunar as something that would have occurred “30 or 40 years” ago when books were banned and there were no other ways to express dissent.

“In this era everything can be easily accessed and downloaded from the Internet, but we are still banning books,” he mocked.

He even suggested that the term ‘cartoon-o-phobia’ be included in Wikipedia as “there is now a concrete definition” to the term.

Mohd Nizar described the seizure of the books and Zunar’s arrest as a “desperate” move by a “sinking government” that is “hanging on to its last thread of hope”.

“BN is at the end of its lifespan, and at its end people say we tend to behave funny and weird.”He expressed hope to see more of Zunar’s works that he said would catalyse the opposition’s chances of taking over the government.

‘Authorities paranoid’

Former Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan (right), who attended the event, described the move against Zunar as “nonsensical”.

“The authorities seem to have taken leave of their senses. It reflects and shows poorly on the authorities that they are absolutely paranoid,” she said.

She stressed that media and creative freedom should be embraced and not prohibited.

Zunar just before his arrest related that his latest book has more bite as compared to his previous ones. “The issues covered are the murder of Altantuya, the conspiracy against Anwar (Ibrahim), the PM’s wife, the loss of jet engines, the Scorpene that cannot dive, Sarawak, racism, corruption and the waste of public funds, among others,” he said.

Cartoon-o-phobia is a collection of cartoons published from November 2009 to September 2010 on Malaysiakini and published by Kinibooks.

Cartoon-o-phobia has 80 full-colour pages and is being sold at RM25. It can be purchased online via Gerakbudaya and Cartoon Kafe.