Malaysia is not a Theocratic State


September 18, 2014

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

COMMENTARY by The Malaysian Insider

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/pas-must-understand-one-fact-malaysia-is-not-a-theocracy#sthash.aNeuEpYI.dpuf

Mariam Mokhtar’s Take on Mahathir and The Malays


September 17, 2014

Mariam Mokhtar’s Take on Mahathir and The Malays

by Mariam Mokhtar@www.malaysiakini.com

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

Dr.MahathirDid the Malays let him down?

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

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

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

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

Mat Rempits2The Mat Rempits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah

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

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

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

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

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

Tun Dr. Mahathir and the Malays


September 17, 2014

Tun Dr. Mahathir and the Malays

by Baradan Kuppusamy@www.thestar.com.my

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.

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.

BOOK REVIEW: Francis Fukuyama’s ‘Political Order and Political Decay’


September 16, 2014

Francis Fukuyama’s ‘Political Order and Political Decay’

From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy(Vol.2)

In 1989, Francis Fukuyama published an essay in The National Interest entitled “The End of History?” that thrust him into the center of public debate. Although often misunderstood and maligned, its central argument was straightforward and sensible: With the collapse of Communism, liberal democracy stood alone as the only form of government compatible with socio­-economic modernity. Over the years since, Fukuyama has continued to argue the case, and has now summed up his efforts with a two-­volume magnum opus that chronicles global political development from prehistory to the present. A quarter-century on, he remains convinced that no other political system is viable in the long run, but concludes his survey with a sobering twist: Liberal democracy’s future is cloudy, but that is because of its own internal problems, not competition from any external opponent.

Francis-Fukuyama

Fukuyama (above)began the first volume, “The Origins of Political Order,” which appeared in 2011, by stating that the challenge for contemporary developing countries was how to “get to Denmark” — that is, how to build prosperous, well-governed, liberal democracies. This, in turn, required understanding what “Denmark” — liberal democracy — actually involved.

Drawing on the insights of his mentor Samuel Huntington, Fukuyama argued that political order was all about institutions, and that liberal democracy in particular rested on a delicate balance of three distinct features — political accountability; a strong, effective state; and the rule of law. Accountability required mechanisms for making leaders responsive to their publics, which meant regular free and fair multiparty elections. But elections alone were not enough: A true liberal democracy needed to have its institutions of accountability supplemented by a central government that could get things done and by rules and regulations that applied equally to ­everyone.

Fukuyama showed how throughout human history these three factors had often emerged independently or in various combinations. China, for example, developed a state long before any existed in Europe, yet did not acquire either the rule of law or political accountability. India and much of the Muslim world, by contrast, developed something like the rule of law early on, but not strong states (or, in much of the Muslim world, political accountability). It was only in parts of Europe in the late 18th century, Fukuyama noted, that all three aspects started to come together simultaneously.

“Political Order and Political Decay” picks up the story at this point, taking the reader on a whirlwind tour of modern development from the French Revolution to the present. Fukuyama is nothing if not ambitious. He wants to do more than just describe what liberal democracy is; he wants to discover how and why it develops (or does not). So in this volume, as in the previous one, he covers a vast amount of ground, summarizing an extraordinary amount of research and putting forward a welter of arguments on an astonishing range of topics. Inevitably, some of these arguments are more convincing than others. And few hard generalizations or magic formulas emerge, since Fukuyama is too knowledgeable to force history into a Procrustean bed.

Thus he suggests that military competition can push states to modernize, citing ancient China and, more recently, Japan and Prussia. But he also notes many cases where military competition had no positive effect on state building (19th-century Latin America) and many where it had a negative effect (Papua New Guinea, as well as other parts of Melanesia). And he suggests that the sequencing of political development is important, arguing that “those countries in which democracy preceded modern state building have had much greater problems achieving high-quality governance than those that inherited modern states from absolutist times.” But the cases he gives as examples do not necessarily fit the argument well (since Prussia’s state eventually had trouble deferring to civilian authorities and the early weakness of the Italian state was probably caused more by a lack of democracy than a surfeit of it). In addition, he surely understands that authoritarianism is even more likely to generate state weakness than democracy since without free media, an active civil society and regular elections, authoritarianism has more opportunities to make use of corruption, clientelism and predation than democracies do.

Perhaps Fukuyama’s most interesting section is his discussion of the United States, which is used to illustrate the interaction of democracy and state building. Up through the 19th century, he notes, the United States had a weak, corrupt and patrimonial state. From the end of the 19th to the middle of the 20th century, however, the American state was transformed into a strong and effective independent actor, first by the Progressives and then by the New Deal. This change was driven by “a social revolution brought about by industrialization, which mobilized a host of new political actors with no interest in the old clientelist system.” The American example shows that democracies can indeed build strong states, but that doing so, Fukuyama argues, requires a lot of effort over a long time by powerful players not tied to the older order.

Yet if the United States illustrates how democratic states can develop, it also illustrates how they can decline. Drawing on Huntington again, Fukuyama reminds us that “all political systems — past and present — are liable to decay,” as older institutional structures fail to evolve to meet the needs of a changing world. “The fact that a system once was a successful and stable liberal democracy does not mean that it will remain so in perpetuity,” and he warns that even the United States has no permanent immunity from institutional decline.

Over the past few decades, American political development has gone into reverse, Fukuyama says, as itsFukuyama From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy state has become weaker, less efficient and more corrupt. One cause is growing economic inequality and concentration of wealth, which has allowed elites to purchase immense political power and manipulate the system to further their own interests. Another cause is the permeability of American political institutions to interest groups, allowing an array of factions that “are collectively unrepresentative of the public as a whole” to exercise disproportionate influence on government. The result is a vicious cycle in which the American state deals poorly with major challenges, which reinforces the public’s distrust of the state, which leads to the state’s being starved of resources and authority, which leads to even poorer performance.

Where this cycle leads even the vastly knowledgeable Fukuyama can’t predict, but suffice to say it is nowhere good. And he fears that America’s problems may increasingly come to characterize other liberal democracies as well, including those of Europe, where “the growth of the European Union and the shift of policy making away from national capitals to Brussels” has made “the European system as a whole . . . resemble that of the United States to an increasing degree.”

Fukuyama’s readers are thus left with a depressing paradox. Liberal democracy remains the best system for dealing with the challenges of modernity, and there is little reason to believe that Chinese, Russian or Islamist alternatives can provide the diverse range of economic, social and political goods that all humans crave. But unless liberal democracies can somehow manage to reform themselves and combat institutional decay, history will end not with a bang but with a resounding whimper.

 

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