Malaysia is not a Theocratic State


September 18, 2014

Hadi, Harun Din et.al still don’t get it: Malaysia is not a Theocratic State

COMMENTARY by The Malaysian Insider

Malaysia is not a theocracy and never will be one. And the sooner, the PAS hardliners understand that reality, the better for all.The problem is, of course, they don’t seem to get it.

Nik Aziz and Hadi AwangThe PAS Dewan Ulama believes that its vision of an Islamic state will be acceptable to all. It wasn’t acceptable in 1951 when the clerics left UMNO before Malaya achieved Merdeka and it still isn’t acceptable in 2014 when Malaya together with Sabah and Sarawak now make up Malaysia.

And if that doesn’t even impress the conservative puritans who form the Dewan Ulama, how about this fact: PAS has yet to win a state or federal seat in Sabah or Sarawak until now.

And by the looks of its actions in the Selangor Menteri Besar impasse, the Islamist party might even lose more seats in the country’s wealthiest state where the multiracial and multifaith electorate choose their lawmakers on policy, not faith.

Also, the most dangerous theme running through the party is that the cleric class cannot be criticised. This is akin to putting some really flawed individuals on a pedestal reserved for the Almighty.They can’t be criticised by their own members nor can they be criticised by their allies. When did it come to this, that thin-skinned clerics run a party without question? Is this a political party or one of scholars who think they have a heavenly mandate?

We have been making too many excuses for PAS for too long. Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat is an aberration.Harun Din The likes of Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and Datuk Harun Din are the norm and till today none of the PAS leadership have condemned the barbaric beheading by Isis.

Instead, they collected money for one Malaysian fighter who died in the Middle East despite him having been sacked from PAS. And they now dub him a martyr.

The PAS clerics must know that most, if not all, Malaysians want a country that is for all, not for the select few. Malaysia is a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarchy and has been since 1963, and before that Malaya since 1957.

Malaysia isn’t a theocratic state and will never be a theocracy. Any attempt or effort to push that will only shrink PAS’s influence and support in Malaysia. It happened in Terengganu where PAS was a one-term government between 1999 and 2004, and it happened in Kedah between 2008 and 2013. The PAS hardliners must learn from history that their vision for Malaysia will not ever happen. – September 17, 2014.

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Mariam Mokhtar’s Take on Mahathir and The Malays


September 17, 2014

Mariam Mokhtar’s Take on Mahathir and The Malays

by Mariam Mokhtar@www.malaysiakini.com

The Malays will be around, with or without UMNO Baru, but the converse does not hold true. Malays do not need UMNO Baru, but if UMNO Baru were to lose the support of ordinary Malays, the party would cease to exist. Without UMNO Baru, the Malays would thrive. UMNO Baru is like a poison to the Malays. Day in, day out they are inundated with the emotional baggage of race, religion and royalty.

Dr.MahathirDid the Malays let him down?

The outburst last week by former PM Mahathir Mohamad should be considered a betrayal. Mahathir rewards the people on whose backs he rose to absolute power by insulting them. He pushed affirmative action policies, which slowly eroded Malaysia. Behind the backs of ordinary Malays, Mahathir handsomely rewarded select Malays and non-Malays, whom he deemed worthy of his favours. He killed off the aspirations of many generations of Malaysians. Disillusioned by the lack of leadership many left, never to return.

As a doctor, he should have realised the dangers of making the wrong diagnosis. Remember the story about the man who consulted many doctors about his terrible headaches. Eventually, one surgeon said that he could cure the problem; but the remedy was an orchidectomy.

Unable to bear the pain, this man underwent the surgery. He was delighted that his pain was gone. To celebrate the freedom from pain, he decided to buy a new suit. The tailor asked him on which side he “dressed”. The man said he had never given it any thought and asked if it was important. The tailor said it was of paramount importance; if the trousers were not cut correctly, it could cause terrible headaches.

The analogy with Malaysia is similar. Malaysian problems have been misdiagnosed and the wrong treatment has been prescribed. After decades of manipulating Malaysians, dividing the various ethnic groups and rewarding only those from his inner circle, Mahathir turned on Malaysians, in particular the Malays, and called them lazy, dishonest, cheats, liars and Mat Rempits. Mahathir forgot the provisos. Most of the Malays he refers to are UMNO Baru Malays, and the opportunists who are found in every racial grouping.

Mat Rempits2The Mat Rempits

There are millions of Malays who are hard-working, honest, loyal and law-abiding. Like many of their non-Malay peers, ordinary Malays may not have access to the resources needed to succeed. Malaysians are hampered and crippled by the UMNO Baru Malays, many of whom occupy positions of authority, and dictate what can, or cannot be done.

They say that timing is everything in politics. Why did Mahathir insult the Malays in the week before we celebrate Malaysia Day? Was he trying to undermine the reputation of his hand-picked successor, Najib Abdul Razak? He need not bother. Najib has little credibility left.

If anecdotal evidence is to be believed, Mahathir is “upset” that his cronies are losing out on their share of the rich pickings, which are currently being enjoyed by Najib’s cronies.

Is Mahathir angry that his legacy will be forgotten? Is he concerned that many ordinary Malays are beginning to realise that they do not need the crutches of the New Economic Policy (NEP)? Is he angry that time is running out for Mukhriz to win the most coveted prize in Malaysian politics – the Prime Ministership? Is he disturbed that Malays are ignoring racist and religious rhetoric, and joining the exodus to work and live abroad?

What about the large-scale plunder of Malaysia? Mahathir said that some Malays were stealing from his company, ‘The Loaf’. What about the large-scale plunder of Malaysia by UMNO Baru, BN and their cronies, including those from MCA and MIC? The true purpose of UMNO Baru is to prolong the political life of its leaders. With political power comes the ability to squander the wealth of the nation.

The employees of ‘The Loaf’ should be rewarded. They are following the example of UMNO Baru. Most industrialists know that when employees steal, there is something seriously wrong with the management of the company. How were the people who allegedly stole from ‘The Loaf’ punished? Were they arrested, charged and punished by the courts? Malaysians are angry that many multi-billion ringgit government projects, built with taxpayers’ money have failed. Incredibly, no one has been punished.

In Malaysia, many murderers are not made to account for their crimes. The murderers of political aide Teoh Beng Hock, car salesman A Kugan, and teenager Aminulrasyid Amzah, to name but a few.

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah

When Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah challenged Mahathir in 1987 for alleged vote rigging in the UMNO internal elections, the High Court declared UMNO an illegal party. Mahathir was humiliated and exacted his revenge on the Judiciary. He could have been brought down, but the Opposition were in disarray and probably caught by surprise.

Over the past 20 years, several ordinary Malaysians have accused Mahathir and UMNO Baru of destroying the nation; but these people were branded ungrateful, traitors and even apostates. Some received hate mail, death threats and were accused of being in the pay of the opposition, or the communists.

After Mahathir’s outburst against the Malays, the diehard defenders of Mahathir and UMNO Baru supporters, are silent. Did his remarks find their mark? Or did they feel numbed by his betrayal? Mahathir’s latest attack against the Malays is a paradox. He calls Malays lazy, then says that the NEP should continue and that Malays should take advantage of this affirmative action policy.

Mahathir introduced a culture of fear in Malaysians. Look at how Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is emulating Mahathir, and silencing any who disagrees with the government. The Sedition Act is being used to try to cripple the opposition and teach the rakyat a lesson.

Mahathir is wrong about the Malays. One man, Najib, has chosen to ignore Mahathir. That does not mean that all Malays are lazy, or liars, or cheats. The Internet, which Mahathir would love to ban, has opened up Malay minds and brought all Malaysians together. Malaysians have one common enemy. A repressive government! Perhaps that is why Mahathir is scared and feels betrayed by modern Malaysians. In a sense, we have all failed him. We have failed to become his mindless slaves. Yes, we are the recalcitrant children of Mahathir!

Tun Dr. Mahathir and the Malays


September 17, 2014

Tun Dr. Mahathir and the Malays

by Baradan Kuppusamy@www.thestar.com.my

The former premier’s latest remarks about ‘lazy Malays’ cause a stir among Malaysians.

TDMTUN Dr Mahathir Mohamad used to have only two upmarket bakery outlets known as The Loaf – one in the picturesque Telaga Harbour, where luxury yachts berth in Pulau Langkawi, and the other at Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur.

The number of his outlets, which sell breads and pastries using Japanese techniques, has grown to more than five. As such, he has to hire more staff.A few months ago, a manager was caught stealing money from the cash register.

 The suspicion began when the daily collection was not deposited into the bank. The Malay manager was caught red-handed and the incident infuriated Dr Mahathir.

“I am operating a bakery and have given many opportunities to Malays to hold management positions. Unfortunately, time and time again, honesty and integrity appear to be lacking as there have been staff who keep stealing money,” he said at the launch of the book Wahai Melayu: Allah Tak Akan Ubah Nasib Melayu Kalau Kita Tak Ubah Nasib Kita Sendiri by Anas Zubedy.

“They do not seem to understand that it is wrong to take what is not theirs; they do not think of the big picture or the long term,” he said.The statesman repeated the criticism in an interview with Utusan Malaysia last Sunday.

That led to various interpretations, particularly on his criticism of the leadership, especially the current prime minister, especially at a time when the UMNO General Assembly is coming up.But those present at the book launch believe that his remarks were in line with what he has consistently brought up, whenever the occasion suited it. They dismissed any suspicion of political conspiracy.

The book by Anas, a writer and speaker on motivation, is aimed at young Malay entrepreneurs. In the foreword, the author debunks the myth that the Malays are a lazy race who are only good in politics and the arts, but not in business. “These are self-limiting artificial boundaries and we ought to break them.“What we need to do is to find the right motivation and inspiration for a specific culture like the Malays,”,” he writes.

But in his hard-hitting speech, Dr Mahathir spent 20 minutes arguing that Malays “lack honesty and inte­grity” and that they fail to “handle money properly” unlike the Chinese or even Myanmar nationals. Ethnic Chinese, he said, were more honest compared to native Malays where money is concerned. He said these were the reasons for the Malays’ economic failures.

“We have to be trustworthy so people will give contracts to us. When we want to give contracts, we give to the Chinese instead because we know they will do their work properly. This is our weakness – not being trustworthy,” he added. “If we fail, we should not blame anyone but ourselves. We have failed because we did not do what was right,” he said.

In the Utusan interview, Dr Maha­thir said Malay men were still lazy, citing the gender imbalance at institutions of higher learning, where the majority was women.“They (the men) are not interested in studying and revising. If we go to the universities, 70% of the students are women. Where are the men?They prefer to be Mat Rempit, that is why I said they are lazy.”

Dr Mahathir’s comments raised a storm, with some in social media suggesting that he should be arrested for sedition. The Selangor chapter of Malay rights group PERKASA, however, termed his remarks as “father­­ly advice”.

Veteran journalist Datuk Kadir Ja­­sin reportedly said people should not get upset or sulk over Dr Maha­thir’s remarks, especially with regards to the Malays being lazy, as there were those who were hardworking and excelled in whatever they did.

“Give them a crutch and they will turn it into a paddle and a pillar,” he said, adding that there were those from the community who had succeeded and made a name for themselves in the country and all over the world.

Citing legendary warrior Hang Tuah’s famous rallying cry that Malays would not vanish from the world, Kadir said the Malays were rulers and made up the bulk of the civil service, such as the Police Force, Customs and Immigration departments, and the teaching profession.

Not all Malaysians would agree with Dr Mahathir’s assessment, with some saying he is still caught up in racial stereotyping, even if it is aimed at his own community.

Nobody in his right mind would say Malays are lazy, Chinese are greedy, or Indians are disho­nest. In fact, few Malaysians, especially the younger ones, would link any race in Malaysia with any specific trait or even a vocation.

The NEP has, in many ways, succeeded in its two-pronged strategy of eradicating poverty for all Ma­­laysians as well as reducing and subsequently eliminating identification of race by economic function and geographical location.

Lazy and indolent natives were a favourite theme of 19th century colonialists who wanted the natives to work at producing food while putting migrants to work on the modern economy for their benefits.

Thus grew the myth of “lazy” natives and this myth continued after independence and was even believed by some Malaysians. It was only put to rest by scholars like the late Dr Syed Hussein Alatas, who wrote a seminal work The Myth of the Lazy Native to explain British colonial policies.

PerkasaDr Mahathir is, however, a smart man. Not only was he the longest ser­ving Prime Minister, but he also turned the country into an economic powerhouse, and only smart people could achieve that. He also believed in throwing good money at individual Malays in the hope that he could achieve a successful Malay entrepreneurial class in a short time.

Some of his efforts ended in failure while others succeeded – but the failures always got the bigger headlines. Thus was born one of the great themes of his political life – that he had failed to change the Malay mindset and that they preferred to live poor in a rich country.Thus was also born the phrase, Melayu Mudah Lupa (Malays forget easily).

But while such generalisations will guarantee headlines, the reality is that one simply cannot tar a whole race with the same brush, the way you tar a person or two. Dr Mahathir might have repeated the “lazy native” syndrome perhaps to get the attention of the Malays, in particular UMNO members who are in the midst of divisional meetings and passing resolutions in support of Islam, Malays and the Rulers.

It is a given that even after his retire­ment, Dr Mahathir needs to be at the centre of national life. He needs to have everything revolving around him and needs to command the national dialogue.So he relies on an old theme that is sure to spark a huge controversy – like the myth of the “lazy Malays”. But Malaysians want to move on. They want to get out of this race trap and the least said about such stereotyping would be better for Malaysia.

The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.

Freedom of Expression with Limitations


September 17, 2014

Freedom of Expression with Limitations

by Dr. Azmi Sharom@www.thestar.com

Azmi Sharom 3There is a need for some laws and controls over people who would defame others or call for unacceptable things, like genocide.

IN the past few weeks there has been a lot of discussion, indeed in some cases one might say uproar, over the use of the Sedition Act.

I have no wish to talk about the Act itself because it has been done to death in recent times. Furthermore, I am currently rather intimately involved with the Act as I was charged under it earlier this month.Instead, I would like to go back to the fundamental issue here, which is freedom of expression. Clearly the Sedition Act curbs freedom of expression. Is this a bad thing? Well, not necessarily.

You see, despite what some quarters might believe, no one in his right mind would want absolute freedom of expression. That would be ludicrous. However, before we begin to discuss what sort of restrictions on expression there should be, let us first examine our attitudes towards this particular freedom itself.

Naturally I can’t speak for anyone else, so this is a purely personal take. I think that the ideal is absolute freedom. In other words, absolute freedom of expression is the best thing to have. Unfortunately, we all know that in this world, reason and ­honesty are sometimes in short supply.

Therefore, there is clearly a need for some sort of laws and controls over people who would defame others or call for unacceptable things, like genocide.

However, when thinking about the controls and laws you want to impose, a person’s fundamental belief system comes into play. Hence, if you are like me and believe that total freedom is the ideal, then any restriction would be most carefully thought out and applied in order to disturb the ideal as little as possible.

Thus, freedom of expression itself is to be protected as much as possible and any limitation must infringe as little as possible on said freedom. There is no need to defend freedom of expression because it is a given, conversely one has to defend the need for laws that curb those freedoms.

Now, if you don’t believe that freedom is the ideal, then things would look very different indeed. Because there is no inherent appreciation of freedom, one would make laws that curb those freedoms to whatever extent one thinks is necessary for one’s own interest.

Perversely, the laws restricting said freedoms become the given and freedom of expression has to be justified.This is most undesirable because of all the civil and political rights that exist, freedom of expression is arguably the most important. Well, to be honest, in my point of view, it is the most important right of all.

So many other rights are intimately linked to freedom of expression, such as assembly, association, faith and the right to have a democratically elected government.Some people criticise freedom of expression as being an esoteric thing, something that bothers the so-called intelligentsia and not the ordinary man on the street. After all, how does speaking one’s mind put food on the table?

I would argue against such an idea. It is true that freedom of expression won’t feed the poor in a direct manner but, without it, how on earth can we expose poor policies that perpetuate poverty, or corrupt practices that take public money away from doing good and into the ­pockets of the dishonest, or wasteful ineffi­ciency?

To conclude, I reiterate the value of freedom of expression and its importance in making society a better place free from tyrants and despots.

But, what about the limitations that I mentioned earlier? What sort of control should there be?I would suggest that any laws that curb freedom to express oneself ought to be limited to matters such as incitement to violence, civil defamation and perhaps hate speech.

But whatever law one wants to create, great care must be taken in its drafting; great effort must be made in allowing as much open debate as possible and underlying it all the ultimate ideal of absolute freedom must always be kept in mind.

Of course any law, no matter how well drafted, would be an absolute mockery of justice if it is applied in an unequal manner, so the enforcement of the law must also be unpreju­diced.Now being the proponent of free speech is not an easy thing because one has to respect the right of everyone to express themselves, even those who may vehemently disagree with one.

So I shall end this column by saying, feel free to criticise what I have just said. After all, it’s your right.

Azmi Sharom (azmisharom@yahoo.co.uk) is a law teacher. The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.

Rosli Dahlan wins Appeal against NST and MACC


September 17, 2014

Rosli Dahlan wins Appeal against NST and MACC

By Din Merican

rosli-dahlan2Unknown to many, this morning, the Court of Appeal presided by JCAs Clinton Albert, Hameed Sultan and Nalini Pathmanaban today heard NST’s appeal vs the High Court Judgment of Judge Siti Khadijah Badjenid which held NST and MACC liable for defamation vs Lawyer Rosli Dahlan and ordered NST and MACC to pay RM150, 000.00 each to Rosli (total RM300,000.00). The counsel for NST was Harjinder Kaur and counsel for Rosli was Chetan Jethwani and Parvinder Kaur.

The High Court had found that The NST and MACC had authored and published false news about Rosli by reporting that he was investigated and charged for hiding the assets of Dato Ramli Yusuff which they had dubbed as the RM27million Cop story.

Previously, Utusan Malaysia and The Star newspapers had published public apologies and paid damages to Rosli for publishing similar false stories.. Yet, The NST refused to apologise to Rosli. The NST’s misconduct was further aggravated by the fact that the NST’s reporter, V Anbalaga, had claimed that he had obtained the information from the MACC who wanted the news to be leaked, whereas during the trial the MACC denied leaking any information. Judge Khadijah had found that the MACC had breached s.21(4) of the ACA Act by leaking confidential investigation information.

What was comical about the whole thing was that the MACC even republished the NST article on its website and later claimed that the MACC Publication Unit did not know about the case but just adopted the false NST story. During the trial witnesses for NST and MACC blamed each other just to avoid liability. That is how these liars behaved when they are caught lying!

During the hearing this morning, the Court of Appeal Judges asked why the MACC did not appeal if they did not do any wrong to Rosli and if the story that was published on the MACC website was true. They also questioned NST’s lack of remorse by appealing when MACC did not appeal.

Judge Hamid Sultan asked why the NST started and popularised the RM27milion story when the charge against Rosli and Dato Ramli did not mention any amount at all. Judge Hamid Sultan also said there was no basis for stating that amount or that story which was false and indicated malice on the part of the NST- “News cannot add on untrue stories,embellished it to be a fairy tale. Only real news enjoy any privilege.”

Judge Linton Albert said- “The Sting of the Defamation is that you stated he hid RM27milion or that he was charged for RM27milion when that was totally untrue!” When Court resumed at 12.50pm, the Chairman of the Panel dismissed NST appeal and ordered NST to pay cost of RM20,000.00 to Rosli Dahlan.

Malaysia Day Today


September 16, 2014

Malaysia Day Today

A Good Message from the Guys at The Malaysian Insider

i love malaysiaToday is Malaysia Day, and in the words of our founding father, “The great day we have long awaited has come at last – the birth of Malaysia. In a warm spirit of joy and hope, 10 million people of many races in all the states of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah now join hands in freedom and unity. We do so because we know that we have come together through our own free will and desire in the true spirit of brotherhood and love of freedom,” Tunku Abdul Rahman had said on September 16, 1963.

True spirit of brotherhood and love of freedom, the two ideals that all Malaysians must remember as we celebrate the 51st year of our nation. See, there is something Malaysians should never be ambivalent about and that is: loving this land of ours.

Granted, there are scoundrels masquerading as leaders and politicians in the country.Granted, the dream of a strong and vibrant two-party democracy is on the ropes, hoisted there by a trampling of the Constitution, greed and utter disregard of the law.Granted, too often these days, everything is seen through the prism of race and religion.

And granted that some of the most unjust actions these days seem directed at Malaysians, patriotic Malaysians.That should not mean we love our country less – in fact, that should spur all Malaysians to rally together for the country’s future sketched out by our founding fathers but dented by actions that seem to hurt us.

We have to speak up and stand our ground for Malaysia, be it on socio-political or economic issues, or even the most basic of rights – the freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and equality before law.

Some of us will gather today in picnics across the country, watch the Malaysian flag flutter in the sky, attend a forum or two about the country – because we love our country.And we should continue to do so. After 51 years, we have to rely on ourselves to do what is best for Malaysia if our elected leaders cannot do it for us. We have to unite and make the Malaysia that the Tunku spoke about when Malaysia was formed.

“The Federation of Malaya now passes into history. Let us always remember that the Malayan Nation was formed after many difficulties during a long period of national emergency, yet its multiracial society emerged, endured and survived as a successful and progressive nation, a true democracy and an example to the world of harmony and tolerance.

“As it was with Malaya, so it can be with Malaysia. With trust in Almighty God, unity of purpose and faith in ourselves, we can make Malaysia a land of prosperity and peace.

“In doing so let every Malaysian in all the states of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah ensure that our Malaysia is truly worthy of the aims and hopes we have shared, the trials and stress, we have endured, in working together to achieve our common destiny,” said Tunku Abdul Rahman when ending his speech.

Our common destiny. And that destiny is to live as free people and make Malaysia a better country every day with a government that does not fear shadows as monsters or treat some of the people as enemies.

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