Mariam Mokhtar’s Take on Mahathir and The Malays


September 17, 2014

Mariam Mokhtar’s Take on Mahathir and The Malays

by Mariam Mokhtar@www.malaysiakini.com

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

Dr.MahathirDid the Malays let him down?

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

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

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

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

Mat Rempits2The Mat Rempits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah

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

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

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

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

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

Freedom of Expression with Limitations


September 17, 2014

Freedom of Expression with Limitations

by Dr. Azmi Sharom@www.thestar.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rosli Dahlan wins Appeal against NST and MACC


September 17, 2014

Rosli Dahlan wins Appeal against NST and MACC

By Din Merican

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Malaysia Day Today


September 16, 2014

Malaysia Day Today

A Good Message from the Guys at The Malaysian Insider

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/on-malaysia-day-to-remember-our-ideals-and-rights#sthash.Y6KoJNut.dpuf

51 Years On, Sabah has yet to experience true Independence, says Simon Sipaun


September 15, 2014

To Brothers and Sisters in Sabah and Sarawak,

HAPPY MALAYSIA DAY and MAY GOD BLESS OUR COUNTRY

Fear Not, Despair Not. Have Hope because the best is yet to come for all of us. Secession isDr. Kamsiah and Din in Baju Melayu not the way to solve our problems and settle differences. 51 years in Malaysia is no mean achievement, and it is too painful to part, or even to contemplate it. Stay and make sure that what you, Dr. Kamsiah and I and our compatriots do for Malaysia matters, not the politicians, extremists and bigots in any colour, shape or form.

Our capacity to think and act rationally in our parliamentary system of government will lead us to freedom, justice, democracy, unity, peace and harmony. Let us all Malaysians rejoice together on Malaysia Day which falls tomorrow. We dedicate this tune to all of us. Let us dream together. Dr. Kamsiah and I certainly believe in Angels.–Din Merican

51 Years On, Sabah has yet to experience true Independence, says Simon Sipaun

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com

Mount KinabaluYet to Experience True Independence

the_land_of_the_hornbills

As the nation celebrates Malaysia Day tomorrow, over two weeks after marking 57 years of Merdeka, Sabahan Tan Sri Simon Sipaun  has mixed feelings – nostalgia for the ease of life of his youth half a century ago and cautious optimism for Malaysia going forward. To him, the people of Sabah (and Sarawak too) have never really experienced the true meaning of independence and the status of a sovereign state, even as talk of secession festers among some.

Simon2Sipaun (pic), former State Secretary of Sabah, now 76, and a patron of people’s movement Negara-ku, also reminisced about the days of North Borneo (which was renamed Sabah), when there was no talk of Malay supremacy or confusion over the use of the word “Allah” by Christians.

Sabah, together with Malaya, Singapore and Sarawak, formally formed the Federation of Malaysia on September 16, 1963. Singapore left two years later. “It’s not that I’m against Sabah being part of the federation, I am merely stating a fact, that we have never really experienced Independence in the true sense,” he told The Malaysian Insider in a phone interview.

Sipaun said that 51 years ago, they did not have to deal with issues like Malay supremacy ideology, the use of the word “Allah”, and problems with illegal immigrants, among others.

“When we were North Borneo, we did not have to fear being arrested and not getting a fair trial, we did not have to experience the ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ political ideology.We did not have one race claiming superiority over the rest; we did not have a problem using the word ‘Allah’ in churches, the Muslims never said they were confused when Christians used it. And we did not have problems with illegal immigrants before September 16, 1963,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

He added that when the Federation of Malaysia was formed, there should have been a new constitution, national anthem and flag to reflect the formation of a new country, but everything was adopted from what existed during the Malaya era.

“To use today’s language, everything was just cut and paste, the Constitution, the national anthem which was adapted from a love song and the flag, which was improvised. This is my personal opinion, but to me, we were a new country on September 16, 1963, and we deserved a new flag, a new Constitution and a new national anthem. So we have not really experienced what it feels like to be living in a sovereign nation where we get to determine our own future,” he added.

Sipaun said that Malaysian politics today was overly based on race and religion, adding that he hoped for ahishamuddin-hussein leadership that can be fair to all communities. “To be honest, I don’t care who runs the country or what race he belongs to, as long as the person is fair to all communities irrespective of race and religion.

Sipaun, however, believed that there was hope for the nation, especially with new movements like Negara-ku, which strives to heal the nation of its divisiveness.He is also banking on the younger generation, especially young Malay leaders who are more open and liberal in their thinking, to take the country forward.

He also lauded political parties like DAP and PKR, which have managed to attract people from diverse backgrounds. He said Malaysians needed to look back and learn from the past in order to move towards the future.

He said this was also the reason he agreed to become a patron of Negara-Ku, adding that its principles were in line with his own.”They seek fairness for all communities and that is my vision and hope for this country as well,” he said.

Negara-Ku was launched in July as a people’s movement in an effort to heal Malaysia and restore hope, given the recent challenges that threaten the peace and harmony of its multi-ethnic and multi-faith society.

Headed by activist Zaid Kamaruddin, Negara-Ku’s patrons are prominent lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, national laureate Datuk A. Samad Said, and Sipaun, who was the former Vice-Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia.

A total of 68 civil society groups and NGOs have endorsed Negara-Ku, which is aimed at mobilising and empowering people to return to the basics of the Federal Constitution, Malaysia Agreement and Rukunegara.

The Home Ministry, however, declared Negara-Ku illegal as the Registrar of Societies (RoS) had not received an application from the group to register it as a body. –http://www.themalaysianinsider.com

September 16: Time for Sober Reflection and Renewal


September 15, 2014

September 16: Time for Sober Reflection and Renewal

by Malaysiakini  http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/274584

STAND UP for MALAYSIA

zoom-malaysia-logo

As Malaysia Day approaches, Putrajaya is reminded of the need to address discontent in Sabah and Sarawak over the perception that it is often left out of the Federation, said NGO Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM). For instance, its chairperson Tan Yew Sing contended, Malaysia has traditionally celebrated National Day together with Independence Day of West Malaysia on August 31, and the anniversary is often counted from 1957.This is despite the Malaysian Federation, the union of West and East Malaysia, coming into being on September 16, 1963.

“In recent years there has been rising discontent, especially from our Sabah and Sarawak brothers andshabery sisters, with the way our National Day is traditionally celebrated,” said Tan.  However, Tan said Communication and Multimedia Ahmad Shabery Cheek’s announcement that from next year onwards August 31 will be clearly stipulated as Independence Day is a “step in the right direction.”

He added the Minister should go a step further by defining Malaysia Day on September 16 to also be National Day. “The Federal Constitution defines Merdeka Day as August 31,1957, it does not give a specific definition for National Day.As such the selection of a date for National Day is a matter of administrative action,” he said.

Irony in using Sedition Act

Tan also expressed concern about the recent string of arrests under the Sedition Act 1948, pointing out that it was ironic to use a colonial era law post-independence.”The British introduced the Sedition Act as a means to suppress the opposition to their rule. How ‘merdeka’ (independence) are we today if the law that the British used to advance their colonial interests, has not only being enhanced after our independence, but also has been applied selectively?” he said.

Tan added despite these prosecutions, groups that have been perpetuating hate speeches appear to go unpunished. As a coalition of NGOs from different backgrounds, GBM urges all the citizens of Malaysia to be part of the effort to bridge our differences – ethnically, spiritually or ideologically – and prove that diversity is strength that needs to be upheld as part and parcel of our nation building,” he said.