MH370 exposes Hall of Shame


April 8, 2015

MH 370 Exposes Hall of Fame

By Mariam Mokhtar @http://www.malaysiakini.com

The grand self-proclamation of “Malaysia, the Best Democracy in the World”, with its fantastic education system which rivals the British, American and German systems is a myth designed for die-hard UMNO Baru supporters. This fairy-tale was shattered by the disappearance of MH370.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s “best democracy in the world” claim with Malaysia’s 2014 Press Freedom Index falling to the lowest point in nation’s history, even below that of Myanmar.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s “best democracy in the world” claim with Malaysia’s 2014 Press Freedom Index falling to the lowest point in nation’s history, even below that of Myanmar.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, like the prime ministers before him, has let down the nation, but the investigation into MH370 has trashed Malaysia’s reputation.

Prime Minister Najib Razak said Malaysia’s democracy is best in the world.

Prime Minister Najib Razak said Malaysia’s democracy is best in the world.

We need a cull of the political class to regain our credibility as a nation. We should start with the following initiates of the ‘Hall of Shame’. Politicians head the list, then civil servants. If the civil servants were to be replaced before the politicians, the new ones would be corrupted by their political masters, who dictate to them.

Malaysia has been on auto-pilot for several decades and the nation has been performing like a rudderless aeroplane. MH370 signals the beginning of the end of UMNO Baru.

The Malaysian Hall of Shame

Number One: Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak. Two words describe the MH370 “investigations”: Mismanaged. Mishandled. (MM).

The Malaysian authorities have come under fire following conflicting accounts on the last known position of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 before it went missing.

The Malaysian authorities have come under fire following conflicting accounts on the last known position of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 before it went missing.

MH370 may have been an unprecedented incident but the crisis management team was shambolic, with several people issuing contradictory official statements. Our confidence and trust have been shaken to the core despite all the big talk and the hundreds of billions of ringgits spent on military hardware and sophisticated equipment. We may have the best machinery that money can buy, but are monkeys operating them?

In the first few days of MH370’s disappearance, Najib and his wife,Rosmah Mansor, the self-styled ‘First Lady of Malaysia’ (FLOM), sought to gain cheap publicity by “weeping with the families of the passengers and crew of MH370”.

Did Najib make a premature announcement that MH370 had crashed into the Southern Indian Ocean, based on one mathematical interpretation by one company? The local press are conditioned not to ask awkward questions but foreign journalists demand answers.

Number Two: Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein. Hishammuddin justified Malaysia’s mismanagement of the MH370 investigations by saying that history will judge Malaysia well.

Putrajaya refused today to brief Pakatan Rakyat (PR) MPs on the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, even after the opposition coalition submitted a formal request as required by a minister previously.

Putrajaya refused today to brief Pakatan Rakyat (PR) MPs on the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, even after the opposition coalition submitted a formal request as required by a minister previously.

People ask, “Who writes the history books if not the Malaysian cabinet and their proteges?” Hishammuddin told the families of passengers and crew of MH370 that miracles do happen. The act of giving false hope is as bad as trading on people’s grief.

Number Three: Home Minister Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. His response to the stolen passport fiasco at KLIA is symptomatic of a sick nation. He told Parliament, “Furthermore, Interpol’s information of lost (passports) may slow down the process of immigration checks at counters.” Zahid prefers speed to efficiency and safety/security concerns. Interpol has since given Zahid a dressing down and said the checks take 0.2 seconds per passport.

Malaysia is a hub for human trafficking and people have alleged that our Police andIimmigration officials are involved. Will Zahid clean up his department?

Number Four: Deputy Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Bakri. Abdul Rahim told Parliament that the RMAF “assumed” that Flight MH370 had been ordered to turn back by the civilian air traffic controllers.Following a public outcry, he backpedalled and said that HE had made this assumption. So did the RMAF make this assumption or was Abdul Rahim forced to retract his statement. His U-turn is typical of the tactics of the government of Malaysia.

Lack of communication

Number Five: The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) Director-General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman. Azharuddin contradicted the statements of the Home Ministry and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP Khalid Ashburn). More worrying than this is the lack of communication between the military and civil aviation authorities.

From "alright good night" to "goodnight Malaysian three seven zero"  ??

From “alright good night” to “goodnight Malaysian three seven zero” ??

The MH370 investigation has lacked transparency and is mired in intrigue. This incident has reminded us of the question, by the Opposition MP Nurul Izzah Anwar in June 2012, about the roles of the DCA and the Transport Ministry in the award of the contract for the supply of the RM128.4 million air traffic control system to a Minister’s family through “closed tender”.

According to a company search produced by the lawmaker, AAT is half owned by Tirai Variasi, whose largest shareholder is Ikwan Hafiz Jamaluddin, the son of Datuk Seri Jamaluddin Jarjis, who is now Special Envoy to the United States with ministerial status.

According to a company search produced by the lawmaker, AAT is half owned by Tirai Variasi, whose largest shareholder is Ikwan Hafiz Jamaluddin, the son of Datuk Seri Jamaluddin Jarjis, who is now Special Envoy to the United States with ministerial status.

Three weeks ago, we were told that the final words from the cockpit were “All right, good night”. In the past few days, the DCA issued a correction and said the final words were “Good night. Malaysian Three-Seven-Zero”.

How can the public be expected to put their faith in the DCA or the investigative bodies with such a simple error as this? So what else is wrong?

Number Six: MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya. When the reputations of the pilot and co-pilot on MH370 were being trashed, Ahmad Jauhari (right) failed to defend his men. Although he did speak on their behalf, he waited several days and the damage was already done. His failure to act immediately demoralised all of the MAS employees.

The sending of a text message to the families of the passengers and crew of MH370, ahead of Najib’s announcement that MH370 had gone down in the southern Indian Ocean, is symptomatic of the poor customer relations in MAS. Many people have previously stated that their complaints are rarely acknowledged or addressed.

Number Seven: Chief of the Armed Forces Zulkifeli Mohd Zin (He should be asked to retire gracefully). He despatched ships from Lumut on the night MH370 disappeared. He then claimed that a C-130 plane was sent to scout the area the following morning.

What made Zulkifeli confident that he was scouring a potential crash site, thousands of kilometres from where Najib had directed others in the search and rescue (SAR) operations? Is Zulkifeli hiding something from us?

It took four days to wake up and reveal this. Not surprising when the army is more concerned on indelible inks !!

It took four days to wake up and reveal this. Not surprising when the army is more concerned on indelible inks !!

Number Eight: Chief of the RMAF Rodzali Daud (He should be sacked). An unidentified plane was picked up by military radar around 200 nautical miles northwest of Penang in the Straits of Malacca, at about the time MH370 went missing. The military failed to act on this information, wasting both time and opportunity.

Number Nine: IGP Khalid Abu Bakar aka Khalid Ashburn. When asked about the contradictory descriptions of the men using stolen passports, a dismissive Khalid said, “Why ask me? Ask Immigration, or ask Interpol.”

The Defence Minister asked everyone to avoid speculation, but Khalid said that his policemen were analysing all the speculation on the Internet to help in the MH370 investigations. The IGP should focus on facts, rather than investigating speculation and rumour. He should chase criminals, rather than hound opposition politicians and NGOs.

Number Ten: Witch-doctor Ibrahim Mat Zain, or Raja Bomoh. This shaman heaped ridicule on the country when, at the entrance to KLIA, he used his bamboo binoculars and two coconuts to divine that MH370 had been hijacked by elves and the plane was either suspended in mid-air or had crashed into the sea. He should be jailed if he refuses to say who sent him to KLIA, to mock the suffering of the passengers and crew of MH370.

Bonus: It is reported that Najib’s favourite number is 11. When former PM Mahathir Mohamad resigned, he continued to make his presence felt by refusing to hand over the controls of the airship Malaysia, which he was flying to mediocrity. Mahathir completes the list by being the eleventh member of Malaysia’s Hall of Shame.

mariam-mokhtar

MARIAM MOKHTAR, is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO).

Raja Zalim Raja Disanggah


February 23, 2014

Raja Zalim Raja Disanggah

imageby Din Merican

Karpal Singh has been convicted under s.4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948 for saying that “the Sultan of Perak can be sued” for causing the removal of the PAS Menteri Besar Nizar Jamaludin, which  led to the BN seizing control of the state assembly through the back door by bringing in an unelected person to be Speaker,  thus giving majority to BN in the Perak State Assembly to install Zambry Kadir as Menteri Besar.

Sedition is an antiquated and undemocratic offence and most modern states have repealed or put it into disuse. It certainly has no place in a modern and democratic Malaysia that we aspire to be.

Sedition is an antiquated and undemocratic offence and most modern states have repealed or put it into disuse. It certainly has no place in a modern and democratic Malaysia that we aspire to be.

The story of the sneaking in of a new Speaker into the Perak state parliament; the story of how Regent Raja Nazrin waited from morning in the Royal Chambers to deliver his opening speech, only to get to do it in the late evening as if nothing had happened at all are all well documented.

Sivakumar is half pushed, half pulled out of the chambers. He was forcibly removed from the speaker's chair .

Sivakumar was half pushed, half pulled out of the chambers. He was forcibly removed from the speaker’s chair .

The Constitutional Crisis of Perak was unprecedented not only in Malaysian history but also in the history of any country in the world. Even the assassination of Julius Caesar could be justified because Julius Caesar wanted to be Emperor of Rome and Brutus and gang wanted to prevent him from getting that approval from the Roman Senate. Brutus justified the murder by saying “It is not that I love Caesar less but I love Rome more.” So, Julius was disposed in the Senate just before he became Caesar to protect democracy against dictatorship. In Perak, democracy was assassinated  right in the very house of a state parliament.

The Ruler asked Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin to resign together with the executive council members. Sultan Azlan Shah also ominously declared - if they refuse to resign the post (of Menteri Besar and State Executive Councilors) would be considered vacant.

The Ruler asked Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin to resign together with the executive council members.
Sultan Azlan Shah also ominously declared – if they refuse to resign the post (of Menteri Besar and State Executive Councilors) would be considered vacant.

And by whom?

By none other than the constitutional head of the state. This was democracy in modern times being crucified by the very person who is to be the umbrella and protector of democracy and the people’s rights to its elected government. And democracy died.

It is totally unjust and un-democratic for MPs to switch parties and claim that they still represent what the people voted them in for.

It is totally unjust and un-democratic for MPs to switch parties and claim that they still represent what the people voted them in for.

Given that dramatic event, is it beyond the reasonable man’s mind that the people would speak out? Is it beyond expectation that the Rakyat would rise and object? Even if those reposed with trust to advise the rulers on such matters abdicate their duty because of fear as in this proverb “Tohok Raja Tiada Dapat Dielakkan”, the history of mankind has shown that there will always be A Few Good Men who would speak out for the truth. Karpal Singh would not be called the Tiger of Jelutong if he did not roared out his views over something so manifestly wrong. At least Karpal did not throw stones at the royalty of Perak as some people did to express their disgust over what was seen as the palace complicity in the assassination of democracy.

I recall video footages and pictures of the people of Perak throwing stones at the Regent’s car. That was how disgusted the Rakyat felt towards the Perak royalty. As a Malay, I felt very sad to see the consequences when the royalty and monarchy are dragged to descend into the arena of gutter politics. That would be unthinkable in Thailand where the monarch has always remain impartial to party politics. And that impartiality ensures not only the monarchy’s survival in a modern democracy like Queen Elizabeth of England but also remain revered by the people like King Bhumipol Adulyadej of Thailand. The monarchy must learn to read the Rakyat’s pulse and be a unifying force like how Winston Churchill encouraged the stuttering King George VI to deliver that famous speech unfiying Britons as Britain went to war in the  movie The King’s Speech.

A vehicle with a yellow (royal) registration plate, said to be ferrying Perak crown prince Raja Nazrin Shah, was pelted with stones by angry supporters of the PRU12, which has shown PR won the State of Perak.

A vehicle with a yellow (royal) registration plate, said to be ferrying Perak crown prince Raja Nazrin Shah, was pelted with stones by angry supporters of the PRU12, which has shown PR won the State of Perak.

Yet, in Perak the Rakyat’s expressed its utter disgust. Why?

HRH Sultan of Perak is Raja Azlan Shah who before becoming Sultan was the Lord President of Malaysia, the chief judge of the country. There were much hopes when Raja Azlan Shah became Sultan.

HRH Sultan of Perak is Raja Azlan Shah who before becoming Sultan was the Lord President of Malaysia, the chief judge of the country. There were much hopes when Raja Azlan Shah became Sultan.

HRH Sultan of Perak is Raja Azlan Shah who before becoming Sultan was the Lord President of Malaysia, the Chief judge of the country. There was much hope when Raja Azlan Shah became Sultan. There was hope that His Majesty would put some semblance of Rule of Law in the governance of his own state of Perak and in the country when Raja Azlan Shah became Yang DiPertuan Agong of Malaysia. The Perak Royalty was regarded as one of the more educated royalties of this country. So, when Raja Nazrin became regent and espoused all the ideals of good governance, the people became hopeful. The people agreed with everything Raja Nazrin said. He became a symbol of an enlightened royalty of Malaysia like the big white hope of boxing. But all hopes dissipated. That disappointment culminated in the manner that MB Nizar was deposed. And the Perak Royalty lost all credibility. I am saying this because people tell me so and it is my duty to convey this so that our royalty can reflect on their relevance and survival in a new world.

The prosecution and conviction of Karpal Singh who is a parliamentarian and a senior lawyer does nothing to instil respect, love and reverence for our royalty and monarchy. It will do the exact opposite as can be seen in the extinction of other monarchies in the world. If that happens, the Malays will have to blame UMNO, our Malay politicians and our Malay holders of public offices including the Judiciary for being less than wise in managing such issues.

ICJ's International Legal Advisor on Southeast Asia Emerlynne Gil said this conviction sends out a message that lawyers in Malaysia are not free to express their opinions about legal issues.

ICJ’s International Legal Advisor on Southeast Asia Emerlynne Gil said this conviction sends out a message that lawyers in Malaysia are not free to express their opinions about legal issues.

We, Malays, make such a big fuss about protecting kedaulatan Raja-Raja Melayu and, in doing so, we instigate for the prosecution of anyone especially non-Malays like Karpal to teach them a lesson not to memperlekehkan our Raja-Raja. As a result, we bring to the world’s attention the oppressiveness of our archaic laws and the abuses that can arise from such laws. In the end, we will be the losers because we never heed our own peribahasa – “Kasihkan Raja Di Atas Usungan”.

I will not explain the meaning of that proverb so that you, the readers, and hopefully all Malay politicians will research, read and apply that peribahasa in the proper context when dealing with our Malay royalty.

 Same case, same judge, different judgments -- only in the land of endless possibilities! mj


Same case, same judge, different judgments — only in the land of endless possibilities! mj

In prosecuting and convicting Karpal Singh, neither the Malay executive nor the Judiciary gave cogisance to another Malay legal maxim or peribahasa which is so significant in this context. If Karpal Singh can be convicted for sedition just for questioning the powers of a malay monarch, then this maxim must be expunged from the Malay perbendaharaan of peribahasa – “ Raja Adil Raja Disembah Raja Zalim Raja Disanggah“.

Dear Tuanku, Please stop this Robbery in the Name of Islam


February 12, 2014

Dear Tuanku, Please stop this Robbery in the Name of Islam

MY  COMMENT: A few days ago in my article “Islam at theFacebook-K and D Crossroads in Malaysia”, I raised several issues that have been plaguing our country. I received both positive and negative comments, all of which I posted in the comments section as I believe that a healthy exchange of ideas is the foundation for freedom of expression. Even comments from UMNO Cyber troopers were allowed access and posted, so long as they respect my condition for non-vulgar or crass exchanges. It is difference of opinion that will strengthen us as a people of one nation. We must be allowed to disagree. Unity in diversity. That is what that has made Malaysia unique.

I am gratified that most readers were equally concerned about my safety upon hearing about my accident. Even old friends like the former US Ambassador John Mallot wrote in to express concern. But I also wrote about current issus that troubled me, especially about the abuses of the law and legal processes by religious authorities. I also wanted to give moral support to my young friend, Lawyer Rosli Dahlan, that he should not feel guilty about doing cases against the religious authorities. He should not feel guilty about representing Chinese companies or individuals who are robbed of their land, whose premises are violated and trespassed. For that matter, neither race nor religion should be of any consideration when one fights for truth and justice.

The secret of life is to have no fear; it's the only way to function.

The secret of life is to have no fear; it’s the only way to function.

Today, I read in the Malay Mail that Rosli Dahlan had succeeded in persuading the High Court to check the misconduct of Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS). Yes, the same JAIS that seized the Christian Bible with “Allah”. I say bravo to Rosli. I say fight on without fear or favour. I am proud that there is a fearless Malay Muslim lawyer who will take on JAIS, which of late has been committing mischief and seems to be on a frolic of its own. If, as many have said, JAIS takes directions only from HRH The Sultan of Selangor, then I say this to HRH Tuanku:

“Ampun Tuanku, Sembah patek harap diampun. JAIS yang dibawah naungan Tuanku bertindak sesuka hati sehingga mencemarkan nama Islam dan merosakkan perpaduan kaum. Maka Patek mohon sudilah Tuanku perhatikan sedikit hal ini supaya Negeri Selangor Darul Ehsan tidak bertambah porak peranda. Ampun Tuanku.”

Now read the report from Malay Mail below and tell me is JAIS is not committing land robbery in broad daylight in the name of Islam.–Din Merican

THE MALAY MAIL ARTICLE:

February 12, 2014

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/developer-wins-leave-to-challenge-land-acquisition-by-islamic-authority

Developer Wins Leave to Challenge Land Acquisition by Islamic Authority

by Ida Lim

The Shah Alam High Court today allowed a private developer to legally challenge the Selangor religious authorities’ compulsory acquisition of its land.

According to private developer United Allied Empire Sdn Bhd (UAE)’s lead counsel Rosli Dahlan, High Court judge Vernon Ong also froze all action on the 26-acre plot of land until the end of the judicial review proceedings.

“The judge gave a full stay until the judicial review (is fully heard),” Rosli told The Malay Mail Online.

On January 23, the High Court had granted an interim stay, temporarily blocking all action on the land until it delivered its decision today on UAE’s application for a judicial review.

Rosli said the judge today also allowed UAE to include their requests for declaratory reliefs in the judicial review case. He explained that the court usually only allowed judicial review applicants to ask for an order to quash the alleged wrongful actions.

The hearing date for the judicial review has not been set.

In the lawsuit, UAE had accused the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) of abusing their powers to grab its land in Bestari Jaya — an area formerly known as Batang Berjuntai — in the state’s Kuala Selangor district.

 The developer claims JAIS’s declared intention for land acquisition in a government gazette contradicts a notice of MAIS's proposed project, which is seen in front of the existing Masjid Ar-Ridwan mosque in Batang Berjuntai, Selangor.


Given 1 acre by UAE (the Developer) for a Mosque, but MAIS acquired 26.281 acres

UAE had written to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim last April 12, seeking their intervention on the dispute with Jais and other state bodies, but no reply was received, Rosli said last month.

UAE had written to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim last April 12, seeking their intervention on the dispute, but no reply was received, lead counsel Rosli Dahlan said last month.

UAE had written to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim last April 12, seeking their intervention on the dispute, but no reply was received, lead counsel Rosli Dahlan said last month.

As a last resort, UAE last April 22 applied for a judicial review to revoke the compulsory acquisition of its land measuring 26.281 acres — roughly the size of 20 international football fields.

UAE said Jais had hidden their real intention to build a fully integrated Islamic school with hostel, shelter and rehabilitation centre on the land. The government had gazetted the land for the construction of a giant mosque.

The ethnic Chinese-owned company has also accused the state authorities of purported racial oppression and violation of its constitutional rights. It alleged that the religious bodies had abused their powers to avoid paying fair compensation for the land and had shored up their land bank for future development.

According to UAE, compulsory acquisition of private land was only allowed if it benefited the public under Article 13 of the Federal Constitution. The same article also says that property owners should receive adequate compensation for the compulsory acquisition or use of their property.

In its judicial review application, UAE named the Director of Selangor’s Land and Mines Department, the Kuala Selangor land administrator, Jais, the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS), Selangor Zakat Board and the Selangor government as respondents.

The developer also argued that the land authorities’ decision to allow the acquisition amounted to an “unreasonable exercise of power” for failing to ensure legal compliance.

Also read the previous article : here

Islam At the Crossroads in Malaysia


February 8, 2014

Islam At the Crossroads in Malaysia

dato-din-mericanby Din Merican

I am writing this as I contemplate the fate of our country while resting after being involved in a nasty accident last week. I feel very sorry that my wife’s car, Dr Kamsiah’s black beauty, is now a total wreck and we are not sure how long the adjusters will assess the loss as a total loss or whether it has to be repaired.

I hope the insurance company and its adjusters would be kind to my wife and I by not prolonging the painful process of making an insurance claim. The positive thing from that accident was that the driver of the other car, a non-Muslim Chinese and I, a Malay Muslim, did not have a quarrel. We resolved matters in the manner that accidents are resolved. We showed care and compassion for each other to ensure that neither of us suffered grievous bodily injury. We were civil despite our different race and religion even in those tense moments. We behaved as how civil people behave. We behaved like we are one people, like true Malaysians.

Airbags from the car!

Airbags from the car!

What was heartening also was that I received an immediate message from my young friend, Lawyer Rosli Dahlan, who heard about the accident although he was away. He was so concerned to make sure that we were not injured and made prayers for us from Makkah. Apparently, he was in Jeddah for a meeting and entered Makkah to perform umrah and made doa’ (prayers) for our safety.

To Rosli, I say thank you. At my ripe age, doa from well wishers are very meaningful. Alhamdulillah, I am safe in one piece although I was pretty jolted when the airbag exploded. I pray to Allah that the driver and passengers of the other vehicle will also recover as I have.

Religion and Politics

This brings me to the topic of religion that has plagued the country in the last few months. Since 2012, the politics of religion in Malaysia has taken a worrisome development. While Malaysia has long been known as a moderate Muslim country, that perception is beginning to change and change dramatically.

Malaysia’s moderation which is also a characteristic of Malay culture has, in the past, earned us respect in many Muslims countries. It is well known that Malaysian Muslim pilgrims for Haj and Umrah are well liked because in overseas countries Malaysians are extremely polite and rarely act in a radical way, unlike the hooliganism that they now show back at home. I am sure Rosli is one of the example of a pleasant Malay pilgrim. Moderation has become our national emblem, a badge of pride that we can wear on our chest.

Islam Hadhari disappeared when Badawi resigned as Prime Minister

When Abdullah Badawi became PM, he wanted to capitalise on that moderation by conceptualising it as  Islam Hadhari. But, like all slogans, that slogan also went out of fashion and is rarely heard today. As always, Malaysian leadership is less concerned about the substance of leadership and good governance but more concerned with popularity. And that is the problem we face today with the administration of PM Najib Razak.

badawi1Ex-PM Abdullah Badawi was brought down by his own party, UMNO, as he was seen to be ineffective– sleeping on the job, as Dr Mahathir would put it. And then, enter Najib Razak as PM. Malaysians were hopeful of him. There could not be a politician with a better pedigree than Najib. He is after all the son of Tun Abdul Razak, one of the most respected of Malaysia’s Prime Ministers. However, it did not take long for Najib to show that what his father Tun Razak had built, Najib would in a short time almost destroy.

You may ask- is that a fair comment? That is a fair question. So, let us analyse briefly why I expressed what most Malaysians are already saying.

Najib came up with this slogan – Satu Malaysia (1Malaysia). But today,we, as a nation, are not at all one united people. We can’t be more divided than ever. We quarrel about almost everything, including something so flimsy as the proprietorship of the word “Allah”. Thus, it was apt that my friend Tan Sri Robert Phang had rhetorically posed – “Why are we quareling about God?” in his New Year Message. Lim Kit Siang has taken that tag line to raise the same question in his open letter to PM Najib.

Malaysia is becoming to look like a Taliban State where the religious authorities have become so intolerant of different what more dissenting views in the area of religion, religious thought or for that matter anything concerning God, as if we own God. But more worrisome is that they are wrong in the things they did, yet they did not care.

The Borders Case remains unresolved thanks to AG Gani Patail

nik-raina-and-dr-kamsiah1In 2012, JAWI raided the Borders Bookstore and seized books by Canadian author Irshad Manji titled “Allah, Liberty and Love”. When JAWI couldn’t find anyone else to charge, JAWI decided to charge the poor Malay store manager Nik Raina Nik Rashid (seen with Dr. Kamsiah). She was charged for selling a banned book at a time when it was not banned yet.

Lawyer Rosli Dahlan successfully persuaded Tudung Judge Dato Zaleha Yusof to make a bold declaration that JAWI’s raid, seizure of books, and prosecution of Nik Raina were illegal. Judge Zaleha also declared that the Islamic Offences Act used to charge Nik Raina was ultra vires and unconstitutional and chided the Minister of Home Affairs and Minister in the PM’s Dept in charge of Religion for abdicating their constitutional duties in not clarifying the confusion that had disrupted the harmonious relationship in multiracial and multireligious Malaysia.

Despite the High Court ruling, the Syariah court refused to release Nik Raina. Although the law is now clarified that the Islamic Law Act used by JAWI is unconstitutional, yet A-G Gani Patail did not seem to consider it to be his duty to advise the government on what is the proper thing to do. He would rather cause a conflict of laws between civil and islamic law without regard to the disharmony it is causing amongst Malaysians.

I suppose A-G Gani Patail feels that he can survive better when there is anarchy in the country as that would make him more useful to those in the corridors of power. Otherwise, his position would be under threat from lawyer Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah, who has openly declared recently that he is ready to assume the role of Attorney-General to replace Gani Patail who is just a 3rd Class law graduate from University Malaya. That is what happens when the country is led by people of mediocrity.

The Allah Issue

Perkasa Rally on AllahThen the “Allah” issue erupted again, this time in a more virulent way. Unheard of NGOs like ISMA started to appear and condemned Marina Mahathir as a Dalang for LBGT and as anti-Islam. Thus, the line is a drawn between the Axis of Evil and the Defenders of Islam. Any muslim who spoke on the “Allah” issue in a manner not consistent with the Malaysian Standards of Islam (as if there is one!) projected by the likes of JAWI and JAIS are immediately branded as the enemies of Islam. You then see a herd of Malaysian politicians singing in chorus branding Islamic scholars like Professor Tariq Ramadan as liberal muslims. I am appalled.

Tariq Ramadan is the son of Said Ramadan, author of “Islamic Law: Its Scope and Equity”Tariq Ramadan and the grandson of Hassan Al Banna, founder of Ikhwanul Muslimin. Yet, Malaysian politicians conveniently branded him as such just because he gave an impartial and objective opinion about “Allah”. I will not elaborate on this as so many people have already written on the “Allah” issue.

All I would like to add is that PM Najib showed a total lack of moral courage on this issue which is now dividing Malaysians more than ever before. When he eventually made a comment recently, it was at best disappointing. Najib had no qualms about showing that his government will not honour the 10 point agreement.

Najib showed the same lack of courage over the death and burial of Chin Peng.  My counterparts in Thailand informed me that former Thai PM Chaovalit Yongchaiyudh had attended Chin Peng’s funeral in honour of an independence fighter of the time likening Chin Peng to Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam and Che Guevara of the Cuban Revolution and yet Malaysia dishonoured its own son and the treaty that it entered with the CPM. That is how dishonourable the Najib government behaved.

PM Najib also coined the slogan- Rakyat Di Dahulukan (People First). It was a beautiful slogan to show a caring and people oriented government. To demonstrate the government’s care and concern, the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BRIM) was introduced as Najib geared up for  GE13. All kinds of asssistance and handouts were promised to bribe the Rakyat to vote for BN. Yet, immediately after winning the elections (and losing the popular votes), the Rakyat was burdened with price increases– from petrol price increase to tariff hikes in electricity, property assessments, tolls and all other kinds of tariffs. That is how PM Najib’s government betrayed the people. Rakyat didahulukan with all kinds of burdens!

Rosmah Mansor’s Opulence and Defiance

Rosmah and NajibWhen the Rakyat complained, PM Najib asked them to be thrifty, to be austere and so on, whereas all the while his domineering wife is jet-setting all over the world in a government jet, costing taxpayers to the tune of RM44 million. This did not yet take into account the numerous color Hermes and Birkin handbags (not the Shenzen or Petaling Street versions) that Rosmah Mansor is reputed to tot around costing not less than RM100 thousand each. She does not care what the Rakyat thinks about her lavish spending. Sheer defiance of public opinion.

Then, in a blatant display of grandiose and opulence, Riza Aziz, Rosmah’s son from an earlier marriage suddenly emerged in Hollywood as a big budget movie producer. The movie Wolf of Wall Street is nothing but sheer debauchery. I don’t give a hoot that it starred Leonardo Di Caprio or that it was directed by Martin Scorcesse. All I care is that there are enough stories out there in the Internet that Rosmah’s son is flaunting his very deep pockets to fund such big projects. The question on everybody’s mind is where did he get all that money? What is worse, the MACC chose not to investigate the young man.

With all these scandals surrounding his family, PM Najib has no moral authority to lecture the Rakyat about austerity when his wife and family display extreme opulence and questionable wealth.  Najib has no credibility to tell the Rakyat about how fortunate we are to be able to eat cheap kangkung when his family’s lifestyle of the rich and famous are posted all over youtube.

That is how sick the country is that leaders and those in authority cannot be trusted to take care of the Rakyat. And worst still when religion is used to rob people of their property. I read in the Malay Mail a case of the Pentadbir Tanah Daerah Batang Berjuntai conspiring with JAIS to rob a chinese company of its 26 acre land purportedly to build a mosque. I have not seen a 26-acre a mosque especially not in a kampung area like Batang Berjuntai. I became more interested when I saw that the lawyer acting for the chinese company is again Rosli Dahlan.

That makes me wonder if Rosli went to Makkah feeling guilty for acting against the religious authorities or if he was  seeking forgiveness and atonement because of all the condemnations he must be receiving for acting against the  likes of JAWI and JAIS which pretend to be the defenders and guardians of the Islamic faith. If that is why he is in Makkah, I have this to say to Rosli– don’t feel guilty. Seek justice and God will protect you.

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Rosli should take it as his karma, taqdir, predestination or whatever you call it for him to be acting in such causes of justice without discriminating the race, color or religion of the oppressed party. That is what Islam is about- justice and compassion. And that’s  what our country and leadership are not. That is how sick our country is. We are at a crossroad where our professed islamic identity is made a mockery by the leadership and then aped by the Muslim mobs like PERKASA and ISMA.

Islam should be presented without any fanaticism. Without any stress on our having the only possible way and the others are lost. Moderation in all forms is a basic demand of Islam.

Islam should be presented without any fanaticism. Without any stress on our having the only possible way and the others are lost. Moderation in all forms is a basic demand of Islam.

That reminded me of the title of a book by renowned Islamic Scholar Muhammad Asad- “Islam at the Crossroads“. In case the likes of PERKASA, ISMA and their ilk are not aware, Muhammad Asad was born and raised as a Jew in Austria by the name of Leopold Weiss. So, one of Islam’s respected scholars of the recent century is actually a Jew! It was a Jew who correctly projected that Islam is at a crossroad. And I will borrow Asad’s title to say that Islam is indeed at crossroads in Malaysia. It is heading in the wrong direction because of politics of manipulation and subjugation by UMNO of Malay Muslims.

UMNO’s Saifuddin calls for removal of Election Commission Chief!


by Eileen Ng
JANUARY 14, 2014

 Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, speaking at a forum on electoral forum yesterday, says the Election Commission needs a new chairman who is not beholden to Barisan Nasional. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufari, January 14, 2014.


Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, speaking at a forum on electoral forum yesterday, says the Election Commission needs a new chairman who is not beholden to Barisan Nasional. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufari, January 14, 2014.

Umno’s Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah has joined the chorus calling for the removal of the Election Commission (EC) members, especially its chief, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof.

He said there was a need for a new EC chairman, who was impartial, in the wake of the public’s loss of confidence in the commission.

“We need someone who is passionate, independent and who does not say things on behalf of BN,” he said, referring to the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional. “You are not helping BN anyway,” he said at an electoral forum last night.

Newly elected chairperson of electoral reform coalition Bersih 2.0 Maria Chin Abdullah had called for the removal of all EC members, citing loss of confidence.

She had said a petition drive would be launched to be delivered to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The statement came in the wake of an admission by former EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman that past redelineation exercises were designed to keep certain parties in power.

Abdul Rashid led the EC in managing six out of the 13 general elections, as well as four redelineation exercises.

Saifuddin, who is CEO of the Global Movement of Moderates Foundation, said a more independent EC would enable both BN and the opposition Pakatan Rakyat pact to come together to negotiate on the proposed redelineation exercise.

PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli said the people had talked about reforming the EC for years and had even taken to the streets in support of electoral reforms.

He agreed that both Abdul Aziz and his deputy, Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar, needed to be removed but noted that there was a “total mobilisation” by BN in defence of the two officials.

Rafizi said the lack of response from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to Abdul Rashid’s admission was a manifestation of how BN was retreating instead of going forward towards bipartisanship to strengthen democratic institutions.

On the redelineation exercise, the first-term Pandan MP said PKR’s stand was that it should be done on a basis that ensured equitability and fairness rather than the number of seats.

“Any change has to be structural in nature. The dissatisfaction is not in the number of seats but how the seats were gerrymandered in such a way that Parliament does not represent the voices on the ground.”

He said the matter could only be resolved if all political parties agreed on an acceptance variance on the size of constituencies and an assurance that minority interests would be looked after.

Meredith L Weiss, visiting associate professor in Southeast Asia Studies at John Hopkins University, suggested that there was a need to come up with a mechanism on campaign financing to enable the EC to monitor not just candidates’ spending during general elections but also those who are donating to their campaigns.

Social activist Hishammuddin Rais alleged that the EC was doing a “con job” and that Pakatan Rakyat or any other alternative force would never win the general election if the same structure was in place.

“We need to change this,” he said.

Khairy has a brilliant idea: to take Umno into the schools ?


Schools not for political indoctrination of children

by Ravinder Singh

December 16, 2013

If petroleum ringgit was your business, what would you do when your traditional oil wells, once taught of as being bottomless, start drying up after decades of exploitation?

What's next ? Exploitation of the young minds?

What’s next ? Exploitation of the young minds?

With a few wells in West Malaysia having dried up, and the writing on the wall showing that the once rich Barisan Nasional (BN) electoral oil wells in Sabah and Sarawak are also drying up, Umno has to look for new oil wells to exploit to keep itself in business. With this in mind, the brilliant young Khairy had a brilliant idea last week at the Umno assembly – take Umno into the schools!

The proposal is not about teaching children about democracy and the principles of the separation of powers, about good governance, about the way laws are promulgated, debated and passed, etc.

The proposal, if I understood Khairy correctly, is to take Umno into the schools. Yes or NO ?

The proposal, if I understood Khairy correctly, is to take Umno into the schools. Yes or NO ?

The proposal, if I understood Khairy correctly, is to take Umno into the schools.

This means all other non-BN political parties will be barred from entering schools. This has been going on, where elected representatives from non-BN parties have been shown the school gate in the past. So the school children will become the “anak angkat”, or step-children, of Umno and the other BN parties.

Thus the schools are seen as the perfect catchment area for campaigning on an on-going basis. No need to go into the kampongs or house to house. Get the children when they are vulnerable. Brainwash them with ‘history’ such as depicted in Tanda Putra (which will become standard teaching aid). Scare them into believing that they have a moral (and perhaps religious) duty to support the hands that feed them, or give them free education.

Political lectures could become the order of the day where these are prepared by the political parties and sent to schools via the education ministry to be read at school assemblies like Jakim’s Friday sermons for mosques. In mathematics, the meaning of “approximately” will be changed to that of the EC’s.

The calculation is excellent. If this is started in 2014 with 17-year old form 5 children, they will be 21 in four years, the expected GE 14 year, i.e. 2018. Who knows, the next move may be to reduce the voting age to 18, to tap the rich fields of a few million schools leavers a year. The brainwashing can then start with Form 2 children, giving them four years of Umno/BN medicine.

I may be dreaming, but with the EC’s own revelations of how elections are numbers games, how gerrymandering is halal to ensure that the Malays (certain Malays) remain in power all the time and Najib’s badminton games, anything is possible to keep the numbers game going. It is even said that politics is the game of the impossible. Yes, sure, our EC is an expert at legitimising even what the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution prohibits. Yes, there will be endless possibilities in schools.

The motive (remember, it was not required in the Altantuya case!) of Khairy’s proposal is to ensure the continuity of the government that has been winning elections through fraudulent means since 1984. The last two elections showed that the numbers game did not go according to plans and strategies. Hence, with the grim prospect of further failure of the old games, new strategies have to be thought of and implemented. Thus was born the idea of taking UMNO into schools in Khairy’s fertile mind.

Politicians, even from the opposition, may not see anything wrong with this as they too would like to exploit the young minds if they could. But educationists should be able to see through the mischief behind the proposal. School children should not be made political pawns of any political party.

Even without direct politics in schools, they are doing so badly in the kind of education and character development of their charges. There is already racial polarization and racism in schools. Politics will only add fuel to this.

When concerns were raised, Khairy conveniently said he will leave it to the experts in the education ministry to decide whether to introduce politics into schools. This is merely a red-herring. Who is the education minister if not an UMNO man? Will any ministry official dare tell his or her political masters that politics should be left out of schools even if they are not in favour of the idea?  Have we not seen how the wishes of the political masters become orders of the day for civil servants to carry out, for they are not supposed to bite the hand that feeds them?

What's your stand on this NUTP ?

What’s your stand on this NUTP ?

Thus it was very disappointing to read that the NUTP, the largest teachers’ union in the country, did not see anything wrong with the idea. This on-the-spur response was not well thought out. This is a case where there is “udang sebalik batu” – i.e. a hidden agenda. This must be seen for what it is – a scheme to create new fixed deposits of voters by catching them young while still in school and under the control of the schools and the education ministry.

Politics is not for children. What the politicians do can be in total variance to what children are taught in Agama and Moral lessons. Let them reach adulthood and acquire HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills) before delving into politics. School children must never be made the “anak angkat” of any political party. – December 16, 2013.

*Ravinder Singh reads The Malaysian Insider.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

TDM : the man synonymous with crony capitalism tells media how he fought corruption!


December 3, 2013

Tun Dr. Mahathir (TDM): the man synonymous with crony capitalism tells media how he fought corruption

by Lee Shi-lan@www.themalaysianinsider.com

mahathir-Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic) today claimed that corruption in Malaysia is greater now than when he was in office.

Explaining why, Malaysia’s longest serving Prime Minister was quoted as saying that the law was enforced smoothly and without delay during his 22 years in office, compared to the current state of affairs.

“Quick action should be taken by the government on cases involving corruption and bribery as the public’s perception is important,” Dr Mahathir said.

“Corruption depended heavily on the law and the punishment meted out. One of the most important factors to battle corruption is the expediting of the investigation process,” Dr Mahathir was reported as saying by news portal, Malaysiakini.

He was speaking at a press conference at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur today after attending a forum ahead of the UMNO assembly which begins on Wednesday.

Dr Mahathir had been asked to comment on the issue as the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index Report is due out tomorrow.

The former UMNO President also said money politics was on the rise, as seen in the recent party elections.

“Although the voting format has been changed, but money politics is still alive and kicking,” Dr Mahathir said, declining to elaborate further.

Instead, he said he had an idea on how to combat corruption within UMNO and Malaysia.

“I have an idea and I will seek out a platform to explain and expand on the idea,” Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying by Malaysiakini. He also defended democracy in Malaysia, arguing that while it was not perfect, it was still better than having people take to the streets.

“Malaysia’s democracy may not be perfect, but an imperfect democracy is still better than the people taking to the streets and killing one another.”

He was adamant that Malaysia’s democracy was stable and capable of functioning as a social counterweight for all races and communities. However, Dr Mahathir said Putrajaya should own up to its mistakes and work on improving itself to develop Malaysia.

“The essence of democracy is not to achieve victory, but to accept defeat,” he said in his speech at the UMNO International Forum 2013.

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Racism is a cover for corruption


November 18, 2013

Perkauman alat selindung aktiviti rasuah pemimpin, kata bekas Naib Canselor UM

 

 Isu perkauman digunakan oleh sesetengah ahli politik di Malaysia bagi melindungi kegiatan rasuah yang dilakukan pemimpin terbabit, kata bekas Naib Canselor Universiti Malaya Tan Sri Dr Ghauth Jasmon (gambar).

Beliau berkata isu perkauman juga dimainkan bagi melindungi salah laku selain mengelak mereka yang terlibat daripada dituduh atas aktiviti tidak bermoral itu.

“Jika negara dipenuhi dengan pemimpin rasuah, mereka akan menggunakan isu perkauman untuk melindungi kesalahan bagi menarik perhatian.

“Adalah penting kita memisahkan manusia dengan politik. Di Malaysia, kita selalu diingatkan oleh ahli politik tentang masalah perkauman malah terdapat juga kumpulan tertentu yang menyokong isu tersebut,” katanya semasa ucaptama Persidangan Asia Barat dan Afrika 2013 di Kuala Lumpur hari ini. – 18 November, 2013.–http://www.themalaysianinsider.com

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For Saifuddin Abdullah, integrity doesn’t pay


October 21, 2013

For Saifuddin Abdullah, Integrity doesn’t pay

by Ram Anand@http://www.malaysiakini.com

COMMENT: I first met Saifuddin Abdullah slightly over a year ago, when I was asked to go to Temerloh to cover what was called a “consultative council”. You can be pardoned for not knowing exactly how such a council works, because Saifuddin was the only politician doing it at the time.

Then Temerloh MP and a Deputy Higher Education Minister, Saifuddindatuk saifuddin abdullah (right) sported nothing more elaborate than slippers and a loose shirt when he greeted me at a regular “kampung” restaurant.The man was a strong advocate of ikan patin, the trademark Temerloh dish, so much so that at that night, he was actually throwing a treat to all village heads and community leaders in Temerloh.

Somewhere in the midst of it all was I, an alien who sauntered into an unfamiliar environment not knowing how comfortable I am allowed to get with this Deputy Minister.But it doesn’t take long for this man to grow on you- he made me sit next to him along with two professors from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) who were there to study his methods of trying to solve community woes in his constituency. And what came next was a two-hour conversation filled with honesty.

I asked him everything I would expect to ask a BN or UMNO politician, only so because he allowed me to. Every question was greeted with honesty, a smile, or mild laughter. I honestly thought, and still do think, whatever personal bias I might have, that he is truly the only one politician of his kind in Malaysia.

He ran a consultative council every few months to gather all village heads and community leaders along with related agencies to get them to communicate with each other in a single meeting room.

Saifuddin comes, officiates, and then spends the next few hours dedicatedly taking notes before making suggestions. Not at one moment did he “order” anyone to solve anything.

That’s just him – he doesn’t believe in solving just one problem for someone – he always thinks about a system that could solve all problems for everyone. To date, no one has successfully followed his footsteps in setting up such a council.

This was also the man who, despite being the deputy higher education minister at that time, stayed in Parliament till 4am to ensure that the University and University Colleges Act (UUCA) was amended to give more freedom to students to be involved in politics.

Mind you, the UUCA amendments, which came with restrictions initially, were done by his own minister at the time, Khaled Nordin. But Saifuddin was pretty honest about the proposed amendments at that time and as to why more leeway needs to be given – he told me, back then, that “you can’t allow a person to get into the water and ask him not to swim”.

Surprising loss

But all that feels like a memory now- in May, Saifuddin surprisingly lost his Temerloh parliamentary seat to PAS’ Nasharudin Hasan, a result many believe stemmed from internal sabotage.

It was understandable, he probably had more detractors in his own party than he had outside of it – his progressive views earned him brickbats, and his bravery in voicing against some policies did not appeal to the Umno grassroots.

On Saturday, Saifuddin lost his UMNO Supreme Council seat, another sign of rejection from UMNO towards his progressive ideas and actions. But to top it all off, he even lost the battle to retain his post as the deputy chief of UMNO’s Temerloh division.

The Umno grassroots have rendered him positionless within the party. Yes, this man was often seen rubbing shoulders with opposition politicians, and was also well loved by student leaders who are seen to be pro-opposition.

But even all these opposition sympathisers who knew him well enough can tell you, Saifuddin Abdullah will not jump ship. That’s just not him. This is a man devoid of much political ambition, but has plenty of political integrity.

The tragedy here is that the UMNO grassroots rejected a man who was probably more loyal to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s “transformation” clarion call than the party hardliners and top leaders themselves.

Even in the hours after his defeat, he told Malaysiakini that he will seek a meeting with the UMNP disciplinary committee to work out solutions to eradicate money politics from UMNO.

“I accept (the results). I didn’t play money politics,” was all he had to say. However, he will not meet the disciplinary body to complain about his defeat.

“I’m not interested in changing the results, because it involved not only me but also higher positions too, and I’m aware people are not prepared to come forward as witnesses,” he said.

“Money politics is not a legal matter. It’s an integrity matter.”

Future undecided

Saifuddin has made it clear that he has not decided on his political future, though he will continue advocating New Politics, something he has talked about since 2006.

Chances are he will continue being an academic and a CEO of the Global Moderates Movement (GMM), while deciding on whether to have another stab at politics a couple of years from now.

Of course, there would be arguments that people like Khairy Jamaluddin represent the progressives in UMNO – but that can’t be further from the truth.

For Khairy, who comfortably evaded the media when faced with responding to Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s apparent high handed statements, progressive is just a brand and an ideal he wraps around his political image.

But when it comes to challenging the norms, Khairy, just like other so-called BN progressives P Kamalanathan and Nur Jazlan Mohamed, spends half of his time defending his government’s actions rather than challenging them when people expect him to do.

But Saifuddin, as I have said before, is progressive both in thought and in action. There were moments where he backed down from commenting on certain issues, but he never shied away from the media – there was always a pat on the back, even an apology at times, and an explanation as to why he would like to stay out of certain issues.

Saifuddin’s defeat is not so much his loss or his problem, but it rather represents UMNO’s and Najib’s own failure.

His Deputy ministership was Najib’s handpicked appointment to the cabinet, a sign of the kind of progressives Najib wanted to include in his team – but when the political pressure cooker mounted on him after the elections, Najib did nothing but play to the political status quo and maintain the existing dynasty while pandering to right-wing sentiments.

And for Umno, the least said the better. Khairy’s claim that progressives will hold water in the party rings hollow.

At least Saifuddin Abdullah tried and will try, unlike many of us who feel comfortable making armchair criticisms. But the question is – will his failure deter those like him from attempting politics?

How did the 30% equity target for Bumiputera’s come about?


October 8, 2013

30% Equity Target: How did this Magic Figure come about?

By Ranjit Singh

How did the 30% equity target for Bumiputeras come about? The answer is nobody knows.

Why 30%

Why 30%

The answer given by Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, who was a senior civil officer at time just after the 1969 riots, was that the economic consultative body which set up to study Bumiputera economic share just tossed around numbers which they thought was reasonable given that Bumiputera equity share at time stood at around 2%.

The body headed by the late Tan Sri (later Tun) Ghazalie Shafie first proposed a 50% share for the Bumiputera but then this was later brought down to 30% as a consensus figure by Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman.

But several people scoffed at an answer given during the recent tabling of Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s ‘Amanah Plan’, which involved a group of eminent economists and technocrats headed by Tan Sri Dr Kamal Salih.

Yet, the 30% equity target is the basis of another Bumiputera economic plan that was recently announced by Datuk Seri Najib Razak. But the figure bandied about of RM31 billion for the new plan does not add up.

What he announced was the RM700 million for business loans under the TEKUN (Tabung Ekonomi Kumpulan Usaha Niaga) and 10 billion additional units under the Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB).

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The point here is that Putrajaya has put out those figures because it continues to maintain the current Bumiputera equity is at 23%, a contentious figure among economists.

After all, Bumiputeras make up 67% of the population of the country and if GLC companies’ equity was monetized, the entire equity held by Bumiputera’s should exceed the 30% threshold.

However, the truth of the matter is 80% of Bumiputera households in the country earn less than RM3,000 per month and the reason for this is the policies that have favored the Bumiputeras have not trickled down to a wider portion of the population.

Under the policy, wealth had been accumulated in the hands of a small population of the Bumiputeras’ and herein lays the problem.

The New Economic Plan (NEP) had somewhat met its objectives but affirmative action effectiveness continues to mired in weak implementation.

Now it is evident that setting equity targets is erroneous as the real equity level has surpassed the 30% threshold but many Bumiputera households are in the poorest category in the country.

The way forward is to study ways and means of enhancing Bumiputera skills sets and to be fair to Najib, he had announced measures in his Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Plan.

The issue of funds being channeled to a select few who were in the inner circle or to put it bluntly ‘cronies’ under the NEP must be addressed or the new measures would not resolve the issue of lifting the majority of the Bumiputeras who form the bulk of the lower income group in the country to better economic status.

imageIn the same vein, the fixation on the 30% equity is definitely myopic and really does not make sense and makes one wonder how economic planning is carried out in this country without knowing the basis of a target. – October 8, 2013.

* Ranjit Singh reads The Malaysian Insider.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

Borders bookstore manager fails to get charge against her dropped


Borders bookstore manager fails to get charge against her dropped

BY RITA JONG
October 07, 2013

A customer in a Borders bookstore in Kuala Lumpur. – Reuters pic.

Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz, the manager of Borders bookstore, has failed in her attempt to get the charge against her for distributing a ‘banned’ book by Canadian author Irshad Manji dropped.

Syariah judge Abdul Walid Abu Hassan dismissed the application after ruling that the civil High Court’s judicial review decision in finding the charge groundless, should not be used to interfere in Syariah court proceedings.

He said Nik Raina has not been tried and it was up to the Syariah prosecutor to prove their case whether the book was against the Islamic law (Hukum Syarak).

The judge then stayed the trial pending appeal by the prosecutor in the judicial review.

Nik Raina, 36, was accused on June 19 last year of distributing Manji’s Bahasa Malaysia translation of the book titled “Allah, Liberty and Love”.

She was alleged to have committed the offence on May 23 last year at the Borders bookshop at Level 3, The Gardens Mall, in Mid Valley City.

On March this year, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur found the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department (JAWI) to have acted illegally in raiding the bookstore and seizing the books.

The High Court also found that it had acted illegally in charging Nik Raina in the syariah court. – October 7, 2013.

MORE TO COME.

Court lifts ban on Irshad Manji’s book


September 5, 2013

Home Affairs Ministry’s Ban on Irshad Manji’s Book removed

by Hafiz Yatim@ www.malaysiakini.com

NONEThe Home Ministry’s ban on the book by controversial Canadian author Irshad Manji titled ‘Allah, Liberty and Love’ has been removed.

This follows Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Justice Zaleha Yusof’s decision to allow ZI Publications Sdn Bhd’s application for judicial review today.ZI Publications, the publisher of the Malay translation of the book, had sought to quash the Home Ministry’s ban against the book as sales of the English version had been in the market over a year prior to the translated version.

UPDATED

ZI Publications and Home Ministry

by Hafiz Yatim @http://www.malaysiakini.com

The Home Ministry’s ban on the Bahasa Malaysia version of controversial Canadian author Irshad Manji’s book ‘Allah, Liberty and Love’ has been lifted.

This follows Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Justice Zaleha Yusof’s decision today to allow ZI Publications Sdn Bhd’s application for judicial review on the Bahasa Malaysia version.

NONEIrshad Manji’s (right) book was banned by the Home Ministry on May 29, 2012 and the ban on the English version remains.

ZI Publications, the publisher of the Malay translation of the book, had sought to quash the Home Ministry’s ban against the book as sales of the English version had been in the market over a year prior to its translated version ‘Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta’.

Justice Zaleha in her broad grounds reasoned that the English text has been on sale in the Malaysian market for a year and had not cause any disruption to public order. She asked if it is true the book was prejudicial to public order, then why was no action taken to ban the English version when it was first circulated.

“Why was the prohibition made only when it was translated to the national language?As I understand it, the root of the respondents’ concern is it would result in religious confusion as the authority decided to ban the book only when it was translated into Bahasa Malaysia.Does this mean that only the Malay speaking readers will be confused while English readers would not?”

Argument fortified

Lawyer Nizam Bashir who appeared with K Shanmuga for ZI Publications, said this fortified their argument that the sale of the Malay translated version would not result in untoward events.

Nizam indicated that the judge is expected to write the full grounds later.
NONEIn their judicial review application, ZI Publications helmed by Ezra Zaid (right), had named the Deputy Home Minister, Home Minister and the government as respondents.

The company claimed they were not allowed any opportunity to voice their views before the Deputy Home Minister’s ban on the printing, importing, producing and selling of the book last year.

They further claimed that the book only contained opinions in the form of brief summaries criticising current approaches in the administration of the religion, which were not harmful.

The ban, they alleged, was null and void as it was inconsistent with Article 10(1)(a) and 8(1) of the federal constitution, related to freedom of speech and expression. They are seeking to have the order declared nullified, with costs.

Besides this case, ZI Publications had also filed another judicial review application to challenge the power of the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department to prosecute them in the Syariah court citing it limited the company’s freedom of expression.

It was also reported that the Home Ministry and Federal Territory Islamic Department (JAWI) had been ordered by the Kuala Lumpur High Court to drop the syariah charge against Borders Gardens store manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz for distributing the book.

Justice Zaleha Yusof had ruled that JAWI’s raid on March 23, 2012 predated the ban order issued by Home Ministry and that the prosecution of Nik Raina amounted to retrospective enforcement.

Nik Raina’s withdrawal of the charge was supposed to be heard at the KL Syariah High Court on August 28, then postponed to September 3 and postponed again to September 13.

This resulted in the Lawyers for Borders issuing another letter dated September 3 to the court and JAWI, expressing the hope that there are no more postponements as any judge could hear the matter.

Outsource the Altantuya Case to Us, says DAP Legal Bureau


August 25, 2013

DAP Legal Bureau to The Attorney-General: Outsource the Altantuya Case to Us

http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com (08-24-13)

The DAP legal bureau today offered its services to prosecutors in the high-profile murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, suggesting that an overworked Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) may have led to the acquittal of two former Policemen previously convicted of the killing.

The shocking outcome of the Altantuya murder appeal in the Court of Appeal has the effect of bringing further and total disrepute to the Malaysian criminal justice system.

The shocking outcome of the Altantuya murder appeal in the Court of Appeal has the effect of bringing further and total disrepute to the Malaysian criminal justice system.

This comes as Segambut MP and bureau member Lim Lip Eng lodged a police report in Jinjang here over the Court of Appeal’s decision to free ex-police commandos Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar of their conviction in 2009 of the gruesome murder.

“Give DAP legal bureau the fiat (authorisation order), we will make sure the correct person is prosecuted and convicted,” Lim said in a statement here. Lim said the bureau was offering its help to the AG-C due to the high-profile nature of the case.

“Maybe the AGC is short-handed. We just want to offer our help; together we can solve the case,” he said.

Take a leaf from Appointment of Shafee in Sodomy II

He pointed out that the move was permissible by law, citing the recent appointment of lawyer Datuk Seri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah as public prosecutor in the appeal against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II acquittal.

Datuk Seri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah as public prosecutor in the appeal against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II acquittal.

Datuk Seri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah as public prosecutor in the appeal against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II acquittal.

Muhammad Shafee was given the authority by the Attorney-General to lead the prosecution team in its appeal against Anwar’s acquittal on a charge of sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

Anwar’s defence team, however, filed a motion in the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya yesterday to disqualify the appointment.Earlier today, PKR’s R. Sivarasa criticised the Court of Appeal over the two former policemen’s acquittal, saying it should have ordered a retrial instead.

The Subang MP stressed that the appellate court was empowered to do so, especially when there were a number of key witnesses who were not called during the High Court trial that led to the duo’s conviction in 2009.

“There is ample power under the law in section 60 of the Courts Judicature Act 1964 to order a retrial which is regularly done in appeals,” Sivarasa said.

Acquitted instead of Retrial

In a decision that stirred controversy yesterday, a three-man panel of the appellate court unanimously allowed Azilah and Sirul’s appeal.

Azilah and Sirul, both formerly with the Police’s Special Action Unit (UTK), had been found guilty in 2009 of the murder of Altantuya in Mukim Bukit Raja in Klang between 10pm on October 19, 2006 and 1am on October 20, 2006.

The Mongolian model’s murder trial had been surrounded by political intrigue due to links drawn from the personalities involved in the case.

Azilah and Sirul had been part of a security detail for then-Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak while Abdul Razak Baginda, who was charged with and later acquitted of abetting the duo, was a former adviser to Najib.

During the course of their trial, it was revealed that Altantuya was shot and her body blown-up with explosives in a jungle clearing on the night of October 19.

The duo had been charged under section 149 of the Penal Code, which carries the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.

Sirul and Azilah were both released from Tapah Prison yesterday after the Court of Appeal overturned the decision.

 http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=150322:so-incompetent-let-us-help-you-prosecute-convict-the-correct-person-dap-offers-ag&Itemid=2#axzz2czPjbR5J

 

Gangs going public to feel ‘macho’


August 14, 2013

Gangs going public to feel ‘macho’

by P Ramani@www.freemalaysiatoday.com

Secret societies are becoming more open and bold in brandishing their acts via social media.

PETALING JAYA: The sense of self-pride and being macho’ have surfaced among the younger generation who leads the secret society these days, says USM Associate  Professor P Sundramoorthy.

The traditional handshakes and code words used among the secret societies have now been replaced with more open and bold vows displayed on the social media by this generation gangsters.

The gangsters openly display their gang name and logos. Some even receive huge support from their peer groups or gang members. The abuse of spiritual logos by the secret societies is becoming rampant, for example, the swastika emblem is associated with Gang 21 and the “om” symbol with Gang 36.

Secret societies that are popular in Facebook and Youtube are 04, 21, 1804 Kaigelz, and Gang 36 which also known as ‘Bob Marley’. Some of these gangs openly display their gang’s logo during funeral processions of their members or leaders; and further upload their videos on Youtube.

According to criminologist Sundramoorthy, the change of behaviour in becoming bolder is due to decaying moral values among gang members. “This generation gang members are not bothered when they publish their acts, as long they get highlighted and obtain more support. This makes them feel stronger,” Sundramoorthy told FMT.

The criminologist from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) also stated that some of these gang members are passive but joined the gang just to feel they are in an upper elite gangster society.

hans gangstersOnly the active gang members involve themselves in criminal activities such as drug distribution, kidnapping, extortion and so on. To curb this trend, Sundramoorthy suggests that the Police take a proactive approach in curbing the increasing numbers of secret societies.

“Through intelligence gathering and criminal database updates, the Police should do more in preventing this increasing culture among the gangs,” added Sundramoorthy. He also added that tolerance should be minimal and police should not think twice to act on this menace.

Glamour and Security

Meanwhile, HELP University College’s Centre for Fraud Management & Institute of Crime and Criminology director Akbar Satar is of the opinion that these generation gangsters are emulating the acts displayed by overseas’ gangsters.

“It is a common trend followed whereby American gangsters display their gang names and activity on Youtube and Facebook,” said Akbar. He also added that emerging of new platform technologies is abused and it helps the gang to recruit members online as well as help them promote their existence.

Meanwhile, criminal psychologist S Niraj added that social media such as Facebook being used by gangs was no longer a secret.

“The main reason for exposing gangs in Facebook is because of ‘identity’. In psychology and sociology, identity is a person’s conception and expression of their individuality or group affiliation,” said Niraj. He also added that since these youngsters associated themselves with a gang, they feel glamorous and secure.

“Through Facebook, gangs are able to post their activities, show their strength and indirectly use as a tool for membership drive. By adding friends in Facebook, members feel there is a security,” added Niraj.

Zaid : Mentakrifkan Semula Agenda Melayu


Dubai

June 20, 2013

Dr. Kamsiah

Dr. Kamsiah

Komen saya : Saya kurang bersetuju dengan penulisan Zaid dan saya telah membuat kajian saya sendiri apabila isu bangsa dan bahasa di bahaskan di dunia Internet. Saya pernah belajar dan bekerja dengan kaum lain sebelum membuat perniagaan saya sendiri. Saya cuba menenangkan fikiran saya dengan menganggap ia sebagai situasi telur dan ayam atau “tit-for-that”.

Walaupun saya menganggap diri saya “color blind” , tidak rasis tetapi kenyataan ini masih terbelenggu dikepala saya sendiri. Apatah lagi jika kita lihat kajian baru yang berasaskan fakta saintifik. Saintifik bermakna ia boleh diulangi dan mendapat jawapan yang sama. ( ramai yang menganggap bidang pergigian adalah Seni atau Arts, tetapi ia sebenarnya adalah Sains kerana teknik yang digunakan didalam rawatan pergigian boleh diulangi oleh beberapa perawat dan mendapat jawapan yang sama ).

Diskriminasi tetap berlaku seperti mana kajian yang telah dilakukan oleh penyelidik luar seperti 1980 oleh pakar ekonomi, D. R. Snodgrass , Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) pada 2005 bagi pihak Bank Dunia, dan pakar ekonomi Bank Dunia, Branko Milanovic pada 2006 pula mempersoalkan kenapa pekerja Cina menerima gaji lebih tinggi antara 20 hingga 40 % dari pekerja Melayu yang setaraf.

Sementara itu kajian itu dibuat oleh seorang ahli akademik Cina daripada sebuah universiti awam utama negara yang baru baru ini untuk tujuan kajian ilmiah tanpa sebarang agenda politik.

Menurut kajian itu, faktor kaum lebih diutamakan berbanding kualiti pendidikan dengan siswazah kaum Cina lebih berkemungkinan untuk dipanggil temu duga berbanding kaum Melayu yang merupakan penduduk teramai di negara ini.

Kajian selama enam bulan itu mendapati, syarikat yang dimiliki oleh kaum Cina dan pihak asing lebih mengutamakan graduan kaum Cina untuk bekerja dengan mereka.

Daripada 3,012 resume yang dihantar untuk 753 pekerjaan kepada syarikat terbabit, kaum Melayu hanya mempunyai 4.2% peluang untuk dipanggil menghadiri temu duga.

Kaum Cina pula mempunyai sebanyak 22.1% peluang walaupun mereka mempunyai kelulusan setara dan lepasan universiti sama dengan kaum Melayu.

Kajian itu melibatkan 439 jawatan kosong di syarikat yang dimiliki kaum Cina, 131 jawatan di syarikat milik asing dan 73 jawatan di syarikat milik Melayu dan selebihnya di syarikat yang dimiliki secara bersama oleh pelbagai kaum.

Dalam erti kata lain, siswazah kaum Cina mempunyai 5X lebih kemungkinan untuk dipanggil temu duga berbanding siswazah Melayu. Ini adalah kerana prejudis perkauman yang masih menebal antara kaum kaum di Malaysia

Ia juga berpunca daripada persepsi bahawa pekerja Melayu tidak sanggup bekerja kuat dan tidak menghayati nilai etika dan budaya yang telah menyebabkan kaum Cina berjaya dalam bidang ekonomi.

Persepsi ini juga berpunca kerana graduan kaum Melayu dianggap berjaya mendapat pendidikan tinggi bukan hasil daripada usaha sendiri sebaliknya kerana sokongan dasar afirmatif seperti DEB.

DEB sering dikaitkan dengan memperkayakan kroni sering dipandang serong apabila tidak mencapai matlamat untuk menolong semua golongan miskin di negara ini.

DEB sering dikaitkan dengan memperkayakan kroni sering dipandang serong apabila tidak mencapai matlamat untuk menolong semua golongan miskin di negara ini.

Jadi, kita perlu memperbaiki keadaan ini secara lebih profesional dan bukan seperti kumpulan ultra Melayu seperti Perkasa, Perkida atau NGO NGO Melayu yang tidak tahu berdebat secara ilmiah tetapi menggunakan bahasa dan perbuatan kasar seperti tarian punggung dan kek tahi.— Dr. Kamsiah

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News Details

Ada rakan-rakan saya yang agak kritis tentang tweet dan posting saya di dalam blog saya akhir-akhir ini hanya kerana saya membuat komentar mengenai UMNO dan malah memuji-muji Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Mereka yang kurang sofistikated telah mentafsirkan perkara itu sebagai cara saya cuba untuk kembali ke pangkuan UMNO. Tetapi, sebenarnya, sekarang musim pemilihan dalam UMNO, dan apa jua yang berlaku di dalam parti berkenaan, suka atau tidak, bakal memberi impak kepada kita semua. Itulah sebabnya saya menulis posting berkenaan. Harapan saya agar sesetengah daripada apa yang saya katakan itu sedikit sebanyak bakal mempengaruhi para perwakilan dan ketua-ketua parti berkenaan.

Perkara paling utama di dalam kamus UMNO adalah ungkapan Agenda Melayu. Menurut dakwaan parti berkenaan, Agenda Melayu meliputi beraneka jenis hak dan keistimewaan yang merupakan perkara asasi bagi orang Melayu. Ini akan menjadi  teras utama ucapan para pemimpin parti berkenaan dalam Perhimpunan Agung UMNO yang bakal tiba tidak lama lagi. Dengan keputusan PRU-13 dan masyarakat Cina dan India pula menolak UMNO/Barisan Nasional, semua orang dijangka akan menggunakan saat-saat bergelora itu untuk membelasah orang Cina. Sesetengah yang sewel pula bakal mendesak supaya Akta Penderhakaan digubal – mereka akan menggesa supaya orang Cina dihantar pulang ke negara China, dan kedudukan orang Islam dan Raja-Raja Melayu diperkukuh. Inilah gesaan yang bakal didendangkan oleh orang Melayu yang berfikirkan singkat, yang terdapat di dalam UMNO. Inilah sebahagian daripada cara mereka menunjukkan kemarahan yang tidak kena pada tempatnya. Lagipun, ini merupakan satu lagi pusingan yang membazir.

Sebaliknya, saya kira adalah lebih konstruktif sekiranya mereka berbicara soal perkara-perkara yang dapat diterima akal; soal kenapa masyarakat Melayu/Bumiputera terus-menerus meninggalkan UMNO. Tidak ada faedahnya mencemuh dan mencerca orang Melayu yang meninggalkan UMNO/BN itu seraya mengatakan bahawa mereka adalah manusia yang “tidak tahu bersyukur” atau “kacang lupakan kulit”. Sebaliknya, UMNO/BN seharusnya menumpukan pada keperitan yang terpaksa dilalui oleh pengundi-pengundi muda, dan bagaimana hendak mengatasi kebimbangan mereka. Usaha mesti dilakukan untuk menambat kembali hati pengundi-pengundi muda ini. Untuk itu, para pemimpin Melayu harus memberikan tawaran yang lebih baik – bukan sekadar laungan slogan dan ucapan-ucapan yang disarati nada-nada berbaur perkauman. Para pemimpin Melayu perlu menangani soal rasuah, salah guna kuasa, pembaziran sumber serta masalah birokrasi yang tidak berperikemanusiaan. Kalaulah para pemimpin Melayu secara jujur sanggup mengakui kelemahan dalam aspek itu, sudah tentu mereka akan menyedari bahawa masalah-masalah berkenaan tidak akan selesai meskipun dengan memberikan kuasa yang lebih kepada Raja-Raja Melayu dan “memperkukuh Islam” (walau apapun maksudnya).

Supaya bermanfaat, Agenda Melayu perlulah bersifat introspektif (muhasabah). UMNO boleh terus mengambil jalan keluar yang mudah dan hanya perlu menuduh orang Cina, orang Melayu yang tidak bersyukur dan orang lain, tetapi rasuah para pemimpinnya merupakan sebab yang paling kerap disebut-sebut sebagai punca kenapa rakyat tidak menyokong parti itu. Rasuah melambangkan sebuah sistem apabila mereka yang punya wang dapat mengatasi atau menewaskan apa jua dasar atau peraturan kerana pemimpin-pemimpin boleh diberi rasuah (disogok). Jadi, UMNO boleh saja dengan lantang melaungkan “Hidup Melayu” tetapi jika pembuat keputusan, yang rata-rata terdiri daripada orang Melayu, boleh dibeli maka tidak ada dasar atau hak keistimewaan yang dapat menyelamatkan orang Melayu. Perdana Menteri dan Presiden UMNO Dato Seri Najib Razak melakukan kesilapan apabila memerihalkan perkara ini sebagai suatu masalah persepsi sedangkan perkara-perkara yang berlaku itu benar-benar wujud atau merupakan suatu realiti. Untuk terus-menerus menafikan perkara itu merupakan suatu petanda kepimpinan yang lemah dan yang tidak sanggup untuk menangani masa depan rakyatnya sendiri.

Kemudian, mari kita lihat pula soal pendidikan. Jika UMNO berpendapat mereka perlu memastikan bahawa lebih ramai orang Melayu belajar di universiti-universiti kerana dengan itu  mereka dikatakan dapat meningkatkan kuota Melayu di institusi pengajian tinggi, mereka perlu berfikir dua kali. Graduan-graduan yang menganggur atau yang tidak punya potensi untuk diambil bekerja akan menjadi graduan-graduan yang bakal menumbangkan mereka di dalam pilihan raya yang akan datang. Saya kira lebih baik orang Melayu/Bumiputera diberikan kemahiran hingga ke peringkat tertinggi iaitu dengan memberikan mereka latihan yang betul di dalam perniagaan dan pengetahuan teknikal. Ini lebih baik  daripada menghantar mereka ke universiti. Semata-mata mahu meningkatkan bilangan graduan supaya kita mempunyai lebih ramai graduan Melayu berbanding graduan Cina merupakan suatu strategi yang bodoh, kecualilah standardnya tinggi dan pekerjaan terjamin. Kita harus belajar dari Singapura. Negara itu membatasi bilangan graduan mengikut kadar bilangan penduduk negara berkenaan. Graduan yang menganggur, terutamanya graduan yang tidak punya potensi untuk diambil bekerja, sudah sedia untuk berarak ke jalan-jalan raya.

Sejak akhir-akhir ini, usaha membabitkan sesetengah Raja Melayu dalam kontroversi politik telah menjadi-jadi. Ini merupakan satu lagi strategi yang  tolol. Ini kerana kemunduran orang Melayu, atau berkurangnya kuasa politik Melayu, kalaulah benar sekalipun, tidak boleh diselesaikan dengan mengambil jalan yang mempunyai kedudukan emosi dan simbolik. Keputusan-keputusan yang sukar atau keras perlu dibuat untuk memperkasa orang Melayu dan Bumiputera dan perkara terbaik yang harus dilakukan oleh parti-parti politik Melayu adalah dengan mengelak daripada  terjebak atau terperangkap dengan institusi yang tidak boleh mereka kritik. Pengajaran daripada peristiwa tahun 90-an apabila Dr Mahathir terpaksa menghadapi isu-isu berkenaan tidak seharusnya dilupakan begitu saja oleh para pemimpin sekarang.

Birokrasi Melayu merupakan punca yang jelas yang menyebabkan wujudnya ketidakcekapan dan rasuah. Sudah tiba masanya UMNO menangani isu ini. Semakin banyak lesen dan kelulusan yang diperlukan bagi menjalankan perniagaan, semakin besar peluang orang Melayu dan bukan Melayu yang kaya untuk menjadi cemerlang. Rakyat marhaen tidak mempunyai sumber untuk merebut peluang sebegitu rupa. Sesetengah orang mendakwa Najib lebih berkebolehan untuk terus menjadikan negara ini sebuah negara yang lebih moden dan negara industri. Rancangannya untuk membawa Malaysia kepada status sebuah negara maju pada tarikh yang disasarkan itu juga dikatakan lebih realistik. Walaupun demikian, kita masih perlu tahu apakah butir-butir terperinci mengenai rancangan berkenaan. Di manakah letaknya rakyat Malaysia yang kurang pendidikan dan yang tidak mempunyai modal besar – terutamanya orang Melayu – di dalam rancangan yang diketengahkan oleh Najib itu? Mampukah mereka, yakni orang Melayu berkenaan, hidup dalam negara mereka sendiri, atau apakah mereka terpaksa keluar ke Sumatera, tanah dari mana nenek moyang mereka berasal? Ini merupakan isu yang luas yang boleh dibincangkan di kalangan ahli-ahli UMNO, yang membawa kepada perbualan yang agak konstruktif/membina yang dapat memberikan nafas baru kepada parti itu.

Ini merupakan masa yang sesuai untuk ahli-ahli parti membahaskan dan membincangkan dengan panjang lebar hala tuju yang sepatutnya diambil oleh UMNO. Dalam konteks itulah saya menyokong pertandingan dalam memilih pemimpin. Anda tidak dapat memberikan nafas baru kepada parti anda dan menimbulkan keyakinan kepada pengundi-pengundi muda kecuali para pemimpin  menyatakan dasar-dasar yang progresif itu dengan jelas dan terang dan mempamerkan bakat yang mereka ada bagi memegang tampuk kepimpinan negara. Najib dan timbalannya Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin mempunyai pendekatan yang berbeza terhadap kepimpinan, dan dari situ tahulah kita nanti apakah perbezaan antara keduanya, dari sudut ideologi dan juga gaya pengurusan. Apa yang lebih penting, pertandingan tersebut akan membolehkan sebuah parti yang jelas makin kehilangan sokongan untuk bermuhasabah diri dan membuat keputusan besar. Pemimpin yang mana satukah yang lebih berkebolehan untuk menangani ibu segala kebejatan, iaitu rasuah? Ini merupakan salah satu daripada sekian banyak elemen yang berfaedah dalam Agenda Melayu yang baru yang kini ada manfaatnya untuk diteruskan.

Halim’s Suit and Political Business


June 14, 2013

MY COMMENT: An outstanding manager who built Renong intoDin Merican at RSGC a darling of our stock exchange in 1990s became a victim of politics. NEP was supposed to help build a core of Malay-Bumiputra businessmen but in actuality it became a tool to cut down to size successful individuals like Halim Saad.

I have always thought that we should be proud of their success and serve them up as role models of business entrepreneurs and top executives for the young generation of Malays and other bumiputras. In stead, Mahathir did the opposite. He expected Halim and people like him to toe the line and do as they were told. When they did not, Mahathir would let loose the power of his government. Who would understand power better than our longest serving 4th Prime Minister!

Dewan Perniagaan Melayu used to complain that GLCs like Khazanah are being used to compete with genuine Malay business and thereby undermine the NEP objective  of creating a Bumiputra Industrial and Commercial Community. Halim’s fate is an example of what a pro-Malay business government can do to a successful but defiant Malay.

I talked to Halim years ago when I was in Sime Darby in 1980s and from my conversations with him I found him to be a very able, astute, and hardworking accountant turned businessman. When he was chosen to head Renong and spearhead the construction of the North-South Highway, I was not at all surprised at his elevation. He had built a strong management team and made the Renong Group into a flagship of Malay business.

nor-mohamed-yakcobMahathir’s Hatchet Man

When Renong was brought down by the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, Halim should have been given a chance to resuscitate it and allowed time to work out a General Offer scheme to save Renong. He did not have to be “bailed out”–and he was not as his suit reveals– because he had the capacity to raise funds from the banks. Here I disagree with Dr Terence Gomez. My view is that Khazanah was used to serve a political purpose. Mahathir tapped his Special Economic Advisor, Nor Mohamad Yakcop as the hatchet man to frustrate Halim’s ambition.

Nor Mohamad did so willingly. Why? Because with his track record in Bank Negara, Mun Loong, and Abrar Group, he needed political patronage to avoid the slammer. In fact, he survived all these years because he is protected by his political bosses from Mahathir, Badawi to Najib. Now he is Deputy Chairman, Khazanah Nasional as reward for past services. Amazing but for how long?

As blogger Rocky Bru said, he is a top cat with many lives.  But with this suit by Halim, Nor Mohamad as first defendant may finally have to defend himself and clear his name. For a different reason than Professor Gomez’s, I believe this former Minister deserves to bear the full brunt of the law. The suit must, therefore, be allowed to be heard in an open court.–Din Merican

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Halim’s Suit and Political Business

by Terence Edmund Gomez@http://www.econoclast.com

Halim Saad’s billion-ringgit suit against the government, a former minister and Khazanah Nasional puts the spotlight on political business — the ownership and operation of businesses by political parties. Our columnist looks at the suit in this context and opines that the suit should take its full course and that lessons must be learnt from it.

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halim-saad-3Halim Saad’s billion-ringgit suit against the government, a former minister and Khazanah Nasional puts the spotlight on political business — the ownership and operation of businesses by political parties. Our columnist looks at the suit in this context and opines that the suit should take its full course and that lessons must be learnt from it.

When Halim Saad filed his massive RM1.3 billion suit against Khazanah Nasional, it returned to the fore a trend in Malaysia that defines its political system — the practice of political business.

The term “political business” was first employed to describe the practice of political parties owning corporate equity, a factor that led to the rise of large investment holding companies such as UMNO’s Fleet Holdings (which owned, among other leading firms, the New Straits Times Press and TV3), the MCA’s Multi-Purpose Holdings and the MIC’s Maika Holdings.

All these holding companies would come to be mired in controversy, a factor that led to UMNO transferring its assets to trusted nominees in the early 1990s.

Enter Halim Saad, who by his own admission, had long served as an UMNO trustee, though he answered primarily to his mentor, Daim Zainuddin, then the Finance Minister, and to then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Halim had been fortunate to come to hold in his own name the vast corporate base that UMNO had built during the 1980s when Fleet Holdings was under Daim’s control. Halim was also in the right place and at the right time as Mahathir was then actively voicing his intent to produce an ensemble of entrepreneurial Bumiputera capitalists.

Mahathir justified the selective patronage system he would introduce by arguing that the best way to create Malay capitalists was to distribute government concessions to those most capable of generating wealth.

This marked the beginning of a different sort of political business nexus, one characterised by an intimate familiarity between UMNO and elite businesspeople. This form of political business would define Mahathir’s premiership and become a constituent feature of future UMNO-led governments.

Mahathir relied heavily on Daim to aid his vision of creating huge internationally-renowned Malay-led conglomerates. Both men were captivated with the workings of the stock market and saw Bursa Malaysia as a route to rapidly creating domestic capitalists.

Mahathir Mohamad

Malaysia’s stock market capitalisation relative to GDP (gross domestic product – goods and services produced) would emerge as the highest in Southeast Asia.  Between 1989 and 1993, equity market capitalisation as a percentage of GDP increased from 105% to 342%.  By 1997, the Bursa Malaysia was listed as the 15th largest in the world in terms of market capitalisation.

A form of “casino capitalism” was the result of this deployment of the bourse to create conglomerates, which reflected Renong’s pattern of corporate development. This casino capitalism was welcomed, even celebrated — many got rich by it — until the 1997 Asian currency crisis.

Things fell apart quickly and this crisis disclosed not just the problems with this type of corporate growth but why political business ties, ostensibly for the purpose of redistributing wealth equitably and nurturing Bumiputera capitalists, was simply not a viable way to implement policy.

Daim Zainuddin

The history of Renong’s development and Halim’s suit suggests that, in spite of privatisation, Mahathir and Daim would use their now indirect control over this business group to show Bumiputeras how to nurture domestic firms.

The suit also suggests that UMNO leaders, having once granted corporate equity to private individuals, were not bound to honour the latter’s ownership rights. The nationalisation of Renong also reveals that UMNO leaders were capable of using government institutions to relinquish business people of their assets following disputes, a factor that would undermine public confidence and contribute to serious wastage of government resources.

In this context, what is interesting about the suit by Halim is that it does not mention Mahathir or Daim, only the public institution and person deployed by them to sort out the problem of the UEM-Renong share buyback controversy that had undermined investor confidence during a period when the economy was struggling to deal with the repercussions of the Asian crisis.

That Halim did not name Mahathir and Daim suggests that he is open to a compromise, one where he retrieves companies untimely ripped from him, as he would see it, or be privy to adequate compensation to enable him to re-emerge as a major corporate figure in his own right. It also suggests that, to Halim’s mind, Mahathir remains influential enough to determine how his legal suit with Khazanah should proceed.

It would be unfortunate if this suit is not taken through due process in a court of law as there are important lessons to be learnt here. One key lesson would be how not to develop an enterprise. The second lesson is the enormous public cost of selective patronage ostensibly to develop Bumiputera-led big business, a practice which can also contribute to business nominees holding corporate assets in trust for UMNO. The third lesson is the need to end political business ties that continue to define the Barisan Nasional government.

A select group of well-connected individuals is still privy to major privatised contracts while one businessman in particular, Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary, has benefited from numerous government concessions allowing him to develop a conglomerate in a manner that appears strikingly similar to the pattern of growth of Renong under Halim.

najib-muhyiddin-bn-ge13

The Najib Abdul Razak government has already been subjected to serious criticisms for privatising a range of public enterprises to Syed Mokhtar. Selective patronage by politicians in power continues to be exercised in a manner that is not transparent, in spite of persistent statements in government plans about the need to dispense with “rent seeking” and “patronage”.

While patronage continues to define UMNO politics, the nature of the quid-pro-quo has become more obscure with greater difficulty in tracing the flow of funds between businesspeople and politicians, an issue that raises concerns about covert concentration of power.

This multi-billion suit by Halim will draw attention to these facts as well as indicate how things can go very wrong if we do not learn the lessons of history. And, if a similar corporate crisis recurs, a GLC like Khazanah may not be in a position to bail out well-connected over-leveraged firms that can ruin Malaysia’s economy.


Terence Gomez is professor of political economy at the University of Malaya and the author of Politics in Business: UMNO’s Corporate Investments (1990), Political Business: Corporate Involvement of Malaysian Political Parties (1994) and Malaysia’s Political Economy: Politics, Patronage and Profits (1997).

http://www.kinibiz.com/story/quotes/28194/halim%E2%80%99s-suit-and-political-business.html

 

Anwar Ibrahim mulls boycott of 13th Parliament Opening Session


June 7, 2013

MY COMMENT: When will all the post-election politics end so that we can begin the business of government? Lim Kit Siang is right when he was reported to have said that DAP will not boycott the opening of the 13th Parliament.Kudos to him.

Elected representatives must be sworn in as soon as possible. All questions which each representative is required to submit to the government must be sent so that written answers can be prepared and presented to Dewan Rakyat. This is in my view the first duty of a Member of Parliament.

Anwar represents his Permatang Puah constituents in this august house. The Leader of the Opposition (I assume that the DAP which won the highest number of seats in the last election has agreed to Anwar remaining in that post) should set the example. If he wants to be considered as being the opposite number to the Prime Minister in Parliament, then he must act accordingly.

Most of us are not satisfied with the outcome of the elections because of alleged fraud and other irregularities, but our government and Parliament must function. It takes the government and the Opposition to work together if the deep divisions in our country are to be mended. National reconciliation requires cooperation. Nitpicking won’t do.–Din Merican

Anwar Ibrahim mulls boycott of 13th Parliament Opening Session

by Terence Netto@www.malaysiakini.com

Anwar Ibrahim and his cohort

Pakatan Rakyat supremo Anwar Ibrahim is mulling the issue of a probable boycott of the opening session of the 13th Parliament to back widespread suspicions over the legitimacy of the May 5 general election and has refused to submit parliamentary questions.

The deadline for the submission of questions for ministerial replies in the session that opens on June 24 passed on Wednesday.

NONEPermatang Pauh MP Anwar did not submit any questions – a matter that is certain to come in for criticism by detractors from across the aisle.

“Politics is also a matter of perception and the widespread perception is that GE13 was tainted by fraud broad enough for us to mull the option of whether to boycott the opening session,” said Anwar, who is likely to be proposed as parliamentary Opposition Leader despite his party, PKR, trailing coalition partner DAP in the seats tally.

The role traditionally goes to the leader of the party that gains the most seats among the Opposition. DAP garnered 38 federal seats to PKR’s 30 at the May 5 polls. PAS, the third partner in the Pakatan triad, secured 21 seats.

Two-week deadline too long

Anwar said his non-submission of questions was also prompted by a desire to protest the two-week deadline of acceptance of questions for ministerial reply which he described as “unwarrantedly long.”

“You have a three-workday deadline for submission in legislatures around the world. The British Parliament has it and so do several others,” he remarked.

“Two weeks is too long a deadline for a matter of this nature. Political developments spurt and twist such that you frame a question on an issue today, it is rendered obsolete by ongoing events by the time it is answered more than two weeks down the road. Wasn’t it Harold Wilson who remarked a week is a long time in politics? What more two weeks!” mused Anwar.

Former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson is famed for the bon mot – “A week is a long time in politics” – which famously encapsulated the futility of prognostication on a medium as fluid as politics.

Before the opening session of the 12th Parliament in April 2008, several newly elected PKR legislators were caught flat-footed by their failure to submit questions by the two-week deadline before Parliament opened.

The failure was attributable to their status as neophytes learning the ropes rather than in the case of Anwar who is a veteran legislator of three – albeit interrupted – decades’ standing.