September 29, 2014
COMMENT: How did UMNO become a party of weak members who are afraid to speak the truth to power in the first place? The Tun had forgotten that UMNO Baru, which he is now criticising, was of his own making. After 1987, he had removed critics like Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Tun Musa Hitam and others who went on to form Semangat 46, since he would not tolerate criticisms from party members.
Today, this UMNO is inundated with members who have neither the conviction nor the guts to attack Najib’s policies and programmes, let alone criticise, or remove him. UMNO members are no longer men and women who think of their party and our country first. Self interest overrides that. In fact, they can now be bought with contracts and other inducements to support the UMNO President. Taking on the patron and dispenser of political handouts is, therefore, an act of sheer folly.
Tun Dr. Mahathir was successful in a creating a powerful UMNO presidency by changing the rules of party elections so that it has become almost impossible for anyone to challenge Najib and his cohorts. He should not complain about a task he systematically executed. Until UMNO becomes more democratic, open and accountable, reform remains a pipe dream. –Din Merican
UMNO needs to be reformed, says Tun Dr.Mahathir
by Koh Jun Lin@http://www.malaysiakini.com
Mahathir said this when asked to comment on former New Straits Times (NST) Group Editor-in-Chief Dato’ A Kadir Jasin’s statement that UMNO is too weak to oust its current President Najib Abdul Razak.Mahathir also confirmed earlier reports that he had written a letter to Najib criticising him and saying that he is withdrawing support for Najib. However he was later asked by an intermediary to retract it. “I just said I would withdraw. I didn’t receive any reason (for the request), since he asked me to withdraw. Later on, I decided that the letter has no effect on him, so that is when I put it on my blog. I said that leaders must accept criticism,” he said.
According to an Asia Sentinel report, the intermediary was UMNO Secretary-General Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and purportedly contained seven demands. However, Tengku Adnan had denied the report, saying “There is no such thing”.IPP purchases ‘public money’When asked what he thinks about Najib’s move to ignore his advice and whether it would be detrimental to the country, Mahathir replied, “I think a leader must listen to everybody, not just somebody around me.”
To a question about Kadir’s blog post that Mahathir is “curious” about 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) acquisition of independent power producers (IPPs), Mahathir said he raised the question because the public has the right to know. “This is public money. Although it is borrowed money, it belongs to the government, and government spending must follow certain procedures.You cannot just spend money as you like,” he said, before elaborating on the parliamentary procedures involved.
He clarified that he was not speculating on any ulterior motive behind the deals. In his blog, Kadir claimed that Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) could acquire the IPPs for a token sum of money if its power purchasing agreement in not renewed.
The agreements last 21 years for gas-fired plants and 25 years for coal-fired plants, he said, and some of these that have been purchased have less than seven years left on the agreement and have long recovered their costs and substantial profits. “Dr Mahathir was curious why 1MDB bought the ageing IPPs when the government could wait a few more years and get them for ‘free’. Something is amiss,” he had written.
September 28, 2014
Najib: Moderation the way to check extremism
by Mergawati Zulfakar in New York
NEW YORK: Malaysia pushed further its moderation agenda on the global stage amid growing concern over increasing violent extremism, religious intolerance and threats of a self-declared Islamic State.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the moderation agenda should involve all religions to pursue the path to peace.“The fight against extremism is not about Christians versus Muslims or Muslims versus Jews but moderates versus extremists of all religions.We therefore need to rally a coalition of moderates, those willing to reclaim their religion and pursue the path to peace,” Najib said in his address at the 69th United Nations General Assembly here.
The Prime Minister in his 20-minute speech on Friday welcomed Pope Francis’ visit to Palestine and his efforts to bring moderate Palestinians and Israelis together to pray for peace.
“By demonstrating moderation in the political process, we can ensure no one is left outside society.By practising moderation in religion, we can marginalise the extremists,” he told the gathering of world leaders and dignitaries. His wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor was also present.
Najib said Malaysia rejected the so-called IS, which is defined by extremism, and condemned the violence being committed in the name of Islam.Muslims, he said, were watching in despair as Islam, a religion of peace, had been used to justify atrocities.“We know the threat to world peace and security is not Islam but extremism: intolerant, violent and militant extremism.”
It was time, he said, for the world to respond differently as previous wars against terror attacked one evil only to see a greater evil emerge.
“First, security and statehood must be returned to the people of Syria and Iraq and secondly, we must pursue a different kind of politics.We must break the cycle where one group gains power only to wield it against the other. We should commit to more inclusive politics.”
Malaysia, Najib said, was ready to share its moderation approach, which he believed could make a valuable contribution to fragile states and international affairs alike.The Prime Minister said countries must confront extremist propaganda and defeat the message that seduced the young into acts of violence.
“This is the work of a generation. To begin, we should focus on the real world conditions that allow disillusion to grow.That means building sustainable economies that bring opportunity for our people and addressing legitimate concerns that drive radicalisim The fight against extremists must be won not just in Syria and Iraq but in Britain, Belgium, the United States and Malaysia,” he said.
“We must confront the myth that committing atrocities in the name of an Islamic State is an act of faith and that death brings martyrdom.Now is the time to advance a vision of peace and moderation. Let us show that Muslims, united in faith, can be a powerful force for progress, knowledge and justice, as we were in the greatest periods of our history,” he added.
September 27, 2014
Politicians Come and Go But People Remain
The Malaysian Insider COMMENTARY
The Selangor Menteri Besar imbroglio seems over and the State Ruler yesterday in not so many words, blamed the nine-month saga on the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and PKR and their Kajang Move. HRH The Selangor Sultan is right, of course.
The embarrassing situation of a Menteri Besar clinging on to power after losing the confidence of his coalition could have been avoided if PR had acted decisively after Election 2013. They did not. And when they finally woke up to the fact that Khalid had to go or cost them the Selangor government in the long run, the Kajang Move was born – ostensibly to strengthen the state government but really to replace Khalid.
The issues against Khalid were many – from the state water industry restructuring programme to the nod for privatised highways and his silence over the settlement for his Bank Islam loan.
Why would a coalition replace a popular Chief Minister unless they had reasons to do so? And just into their second term of office? PKR and PR have explained their reasons although the State Ruler took them to task in the manner they went about to replace Khalid. Fair enough.
Yet, the important thing is this. The coalition had a right to replace Khalid. And once he lost their confidence, he should have gone and a popular replacement, one who has the confidence of the coalition, should have been appointed.But that did not happen.
The mess worsened because scant attention was paid to the Rule of Law, the spirit of the law and the state constitution when naming the new Menteri Besar. The Selangor Palace will have its reasons for its decision but really, it is the people that decide the government that they want.
The power in a democracy where elections are held every few years lies with the people. Just as it is up to the people to throw out a government that has lost their support, it is also up to the government to throw out a leader that has lost their support. Politicians will come and go, but the people remain.
So it is for the people to judge if Azmin Ali and his cohorts perform well. Just as it is for the people to judge the Khalid administration when all facts about the water deal, Kidex and his out-of-court loan settlement are made public.
September 26, 2014
This is a reasonable approach to take since the deals were done during the final days of the Khalid Administration. The substantial increase in the salaries and allowances of ADUNs is not reasonable and should be cut down drastically. I am personally interested in 2014-2015 Selangor state budget proposala as these will signal the start of the new Administration. YAB Azmin, please do what is in the best interest of people of Selangor.–Din Merican
MB Azmin Ali requested to review All Agreements and Deals made by Khalid Ibrahim
With the new state exco line-up over and done with, Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali has been asked to start reviewing all past agreements and deals made during the previous administration.
De facto PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, in a press conference attended by Azmin and four of the party’s exco members today, said attention should be given to two major deals. The two are: the proposed Kinrara-Puchong Expressway project (Kidex) and the water restructuring agreement, both controversial during Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim’s watch.
“PKR fully supports Azmin’s statement that the new administrators will review all the approvals granted for Kidex, especially as it appears to benefit Putrajaya’s cronies. This also includes the water restructuring deal with Putrajaya,” Anwar said.
He said Khalid had failed to brief the party on the water restructuring deal and its approvals. “The new administration should set the example in being transparent and honest. I give my full and undivided support to the new Menteri Besar.”
The Opposition Leader also said Azmin administration should review the pay hike of assembly members that was announced in November last year as it was deemed too high. “We are aware that the last salary increase and allowances were higher than the salary of the Prime Minister.
“In the last Pakatan Rakyat’s council meeting, Khalid had been advised to lower the hike to a more reasonable rate. But that did not materialise.” Anwar said the party advised Azmin to discuss the matter at the next state assembly.
In November last year, the state legislative assembly had approved the salary hike of all 56 members of the assembly effective January 1, this year, with the Deputy Speaker receiving the highest increase of 373.3%. This sparked criticism from various parties, including Azmin and Anwar who denounced the move. Meanwhile, Azmin told party members that he would ensure that his administration would be manage the state with integrity.
“The de facto leader had earlier mentioned the need to ensure that this new administration will be governed by clear principles of integrity, honesty, trust, good governance and care.And, these will be the core values we uphold.”
Azmin, who is the Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman, promised to ensure that the wealth of the state would be spent wisely and responsibly. “We strive to ensure the well-being of the people and ensure that the wealth of Selangor will be spent wisely and responsibly.”
Azmin was sworn in as the new Selangor Menteri Besar on Tuesday, ending the long-winded tussle in the state. His new exco line-up includes PKR’s Elizabeth Wong (Bukit Lanjan), Dr Daroyah Alwi (Sementa), Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (Seri Setia), and Amiruddin Shari (Batu Caves); DAP’s Datuk Teng Chang Khim (Sungai Pinang), Ean Yong Hian Wah (Seri Kembangan), and V. Ganabatirau (Kota Alam Shah); and PAS’s Iskandar Samad (Cempaka), Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi (Sijangkang) and Zaidy Abdul Talib (Taman Templer). They were sworn in today.
September 25, 2013
The Malay Crab Mentality
by Mariam Mokhtar@www.malaysiakini.com
What have these states in common – Terengganu, Perak and Kedah? They were once opposition-held states, each with a PAS Menteri Besar (MB). Selangor which currently has a PKR MB, could soon follow.
The story of these states is one of betrayal, misplaced trust and missed opportunities. Events in these states showed that one person thought he was more important than his party and worst of all, the people who elected him to office.
First, the story of tin, in Perak. Former PM Mahathir Mohamad attempted to corner the tin market on the London exchange in 1981, and because of one man’s folly, Perak, one of the richest states in Malaysia, became one of its poorest.Billions of ringgits were lost because of Mahathir’s greed, and commerce in Ipoh practically ended. Its people left, some to wash dishes in restaurants around the world. The youth were soon forced to join the exodus.
Second, an assault by frogs. After 1981, Perak trundled on as best as it could, and by 2008, things were looking brighter. In 2009, Perak was hit by another cataclysmic event. As PAS MB Nizar Jamaluddin was about to put the silver shine back into Perak, three frogs did what frogs do best – they jumped – and precipitated the fall of the opposition-led coalition in Perak to UMNO Baru.
The main protagonists ignored the wishes of the people. No Perakian has forgotten or forgiven those responsible for the events of 1981 and 2009. The same fate may soon befall the people of Selangor.
Third. Memali, Kedah. The massacre at Memali in 1985, is a scar on Malaysia’s political scene. It was when Muslims turned against Muslims. Some say it was an uprising of the masses against tyranny. Others believe that the massacre was an act to remove a political threat.
Malaysians were deceived. The authorities said that a charismatic preacher, Ibrahim Libya, was practising a cult-like version of Islam. He and 13 villagers were gunned down by 400 members of the police special forces, armed with assault rifles. Four policemen were killed in the crossfire. The villagers were armed with changkuls and farmers’ tools, trying to protect their leader, who resisted arrest under the Internal Security Act (ISA).
Ibrahim Libya had eroded the influence of UMNO in Kedah. With an election around the corner, the UMNO politicians were worried that they would lose. How convenient that Ibrahim Libya was ‘removed’ and with him, the threat to UMNO!
Last March former Deputy PM Musa Hitam revealed that Mahathir was skulking in Malaysia and had not yet travelled to China. Mahathir and Musa played a role in the slaughter, although both would like us to think the other was responsible.
After Musa’s revelation, one would have thought that PAS would have demanded a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the chain of events which led to the brutal killing of many innocent villagers.
One should make a pilgrimage to Memali and see that the village has not benefited from the New Economic Policy (NEP).
Playing the jilted lover
Fourth. Terengganu. Former MB of Terengganu Ahmad Said was on a winning streak when he managed to attract Najib Abdul Razak’s attention by his resignation. For a few days, Ahmad played the jilted lover, until he was wooed, in ways that we cannot mention, without attracting a charge of ‘sedition’.
During his term, Ahmad Said had arranged for an all expenses trip for himself and his extensive entourage to Antarctica. Is Ahmad a closet scientist, or an opportunist? How did the people of Terengganu benefit from that trip?
Fifth: Confusion. In PAS President Hadi Awang’s final speech at PAS muktamar on September 20, 2014, Hadi publicly humiliated and insulted the two PAS assemblypersons, Saari Sungib and Hasbullah Ridzwan, who supported Wan Azizah Wan Ismail for MB. He called them “barua” and alleged that they had been “bought over” by his Pakatan partners.
In one fell swoop, Hadi inflicted maximum damage on PAS, himself and his coalition partners. Hadi’s outburst against the PAS assemblypersons and his condemnation of Wan Azizah’s candidacy as MB of Selangor is a lesson for all.
With friends like Hadi, who wash their soiled linen in public, there is little need for saboteurs from UMNO Baru to cause the break-up of PAS and Pakatan.
Sixth. The party constitution, Selangor. On Sept 6, 2014, Hadi claimed, that as party president, he had the prerogative to submit the names of three candidates for the post of Selangor menteri besar. He said, “In PAS, we have always operated according to the constitution.”
Why bother with a central committee?
Seventh. The Malaysian constitution. On September 14, 2014, Hadi claimed that PAS had delivered three names to the sultan of Selangor. Hadi had reportedly said, “The right to pick the next Mentri Besar is not mine but Tuanku Sultan” (sic).
Hadi has, throughout this imbroglio, acted like someone who is willing to act against his party and the people. Hadi is not content with destroying his party and his reputation. Like a coward, he has hit the ball into the sultan’s court, presumably so that he can be absolved of any blame.
Malaysians will wonder if we really have a constitutional monarchy. Which is the greater threat? UMNO Baru’s version of democracy, with its accompanying injustices, corruption and cronyism, or PAS’s ideology of political Islam?
September 24, 2014
Former Chief Justice distorts Malaysian History
by Mariam Mokhtar @ http://www.theantdaily.com
In his latest attack on the non-Malays, former Chief Justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad disputed the role of the non-Malays in gaining independence for Malaya. He alleged that the Malays were the only people who demanded, and truly fought for the country’s independence.
Why did Hamid encapsulate centuries of history into one sentence and denigrate the non-Malays? What is his real reason for making this remark? Perhaps, the answer lies in the Malay youth. Forget the thuggish Mat Rempits or the pampered offsprings of royalty and the children of the nouveau royalty – the UMNO-Baruputra élite. They only demand more of the excesses to which they have been accustomed. They have no boundaries in life. They are not like ordinary people, who have to work for a living.
Ordinary young Malays are distancing themselves from the ideology of “Ketuanan Melayu” (Malay supremacy). They are not afraid to make a stand and unfortunately, many students now face arrest and charges for sedition. When young Malays think and behave like Malaysians, it is our racist leaders (like this racist former Chief Justice, and the extremists within society, who feel threatened. Our leaders do not want to forge a united and enduring Malaysia, by engaging and communicating with all Malaysians, regardless of ethnicity and religious background.
The Malays would not cease to exist, if Malays were to reject racial and religious indoctrination. On the other hand, parties like UMNO-Baru and PAS, and extremist NGOs like PERKASA and PEKIDA are the ones whose futures are at risk. Race-based parties like MIC and MCA, and others in East Malaysia, would also be doomed.
All over the world, governments are struggling to contain pockets of violence and intolerance, yet this Hamid fella feels compelled to erode the rakyat’s sense of national identity. Each and every ethnic group has contributed towards our place in history. Despite the NEP and other affirmative action policies, the Malays feature prominently in the lists of the poor, the uneducated, the homeless, those addicted to drugs, those suffering from HIV/AIDS and the single mothers. People know that the NEP has failed.
Hamid’s allegations were made at Universiti Selangor (UNISEL), during a seminar called “Islam and Tajdid (adherence to Prophet Muhammad’s teachings). He also claimed that the Malays were opposed to the Malayan Union, that members of the community had sacrificed their lives fighting the communists during the Emergency, and that the motivation for the non-Malays to seek independence was the protection of their own interests.
Hamid is correct about Malay opposition to the Malayan Union, but he failed to mention the reasons for this. He also omitted to say that more ordinary Chinese died at the hands of the communists, because they refused to help the guerrillas. It is also a bit rich to say that “non-Malays only wanted independence to protect their own interests.”
Similarly, in modern Malaysia, UMNO-Baru politicians will cheat and bribe their way at elections, “to protect their own interests”.Hamid forgets that Malaysia was built by the blood, sweat and toil of all the races, in the mines, the estates, the railways, and in defence of the nation. Hamid’s failure is to reveal only the tip of the iceberg, of the history of Malaya’s independence.
Why did he not mention that the early Malay nationalists, in 1900 – 1910, were promoted by people who were hardly Malay, as they were from Acheh, Singapore, Minangkabau or of Arab-Malay descent?He forgot to say that 20th century Malays were parochial and were loyal only to the sultan, of their state. These Malays did not see themselves as citizens of a nation.
In the last century, many ordinary Malays saw royalty as strong supporters of the British. In today’s Malaysia, ordinary Malays know that little has changed in this relationship, except that the new colonial masters are UMNO-Baru.
Hamid did not explain the rise of the Malay élite, who rejected the claims of the Indian-Malays and Arab-Malays, that they were part of the Malay community. Ordinary Malays despised these pseudo-Malays, because of their wealth and capabilities.
Derogatory terms (DKK, darah keterunan keling, of Indian descent and DKA, darah keterunan Arab, of Arab descent) were common in Malay society, then and possibly now. Many of these pseudo-Malays were marginalised in Malay communities. In today’s Malaysia, how many Malays will admit that Malaysians have been ruled by a non-Malay Prime Minister?
From 1922 onwards, many Malays graduated from the Sultan Idris Training College, at Tanjung Malim. This college was formed to train kampung Malays to become teachers for the kampung schools and many radical Malays graduated from this facility. The irony was that giving education to the masses meant liberating the Malay mind. Today, UMNO-Baru fears the same mental liberation, which early Malays underwent.
Ordinary Malaysians today are not confused about their identity. It is their leaders, and their rulers who are trying to cling onto the past. When people like Hamid uses his exalted position in society to belittle others, he does not deserve our respect, only our contempt.
Mariam Mokhtar is “a Malaysian who dares to speak the truth.”