Whither Malaysia, asks Balan Moses


September 19, 2014

Whither Malaysia, asks Balan Moses

http://news.abnxcess.com/2014/09/wither-malaysia/

Balan-Moses-ENG NEW-1The 51st Malaysia Day came and went, and life as we know it in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak continued without much change. It has been pretty much the same for decades with little achieved by way of emotional attachment between the two parts of the country separated by nearly 1,000 miles of sea.

While a large number of East Malaysians work and study in the peninsular, the same may not be said about Orang Semenanjung working and studying in Sabah or Sarawak. I know of students from the peninsular studying at universities in Sabah and Sarawak but am not sure of their overall numbers. I also know of members of the uniformed forces from Sabah and Sarawak stationed here.

I made my first acquaintance with Sarawakians in the mid-70s at Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang where they proved to be a friendly but sometimes rambunctious lot, especially after a few drinks. They generally wore their emotions on their sleeves and what you saw was what you got.

Malaysia2After learning about them in geography at school and from stamps in the early and mid 60s, it was refreshing to meet some of them in person and know more about their culture and traditions.Malaysians in the Peninsular in general still don’t know much about their brethren in Sabah and Sarawak and vice versa with the same ignorance and prejudice that existed decades ago still prevalent on both sides.

The Semenanjung Malaysians still at large look at Sabahans and Sarawakians as distant cousins best kept at arm’s length, a sentiment probably stronger in the two states across the South China Sea with the traditional suspicion of “Orang Malaya” still very much alive and kicking.

The fear that Peninsular folk will change the East Malaysian way of life due to their numerical superiority, stronger finances and an arguably better knowledge of the twists and turns of life still persists. The safeguards for Sabah and Sarawak contained in the points of agreement between Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak is testimony to the 51 year old fact that that Sabahans and Sarawakians have always felt the need to be protected from us across the pond.

I would like to talk about the possible reasons for the formation of Malaysia in 1963 by leaders from Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore.I will not go into Singapore’s exit from Malaysia in 1965 as that is a topic to be elaborated upon in a future column.

First Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, probably foresaw the advantages that Malaya would accrueTunku Abdul Rahman from a merger of North Borneo, Sarawak, Brunei and Singapore with their relative strengths in terms of population and natural resources.

Sabah and Sarawak would have been on the radar of both Indonesia and Philippines prior to the formation of Malaysia as later events would prove true.Tunku, the great statesman and visionary that he was, would have seen the possibility of the larger neighbours eyeing the huge tracts of land in Borneo at some point and pre-empted them with his Malaysia proposal.

That it was taken up by the majority of Sabahans and Sarawakians was proof that their sympathies lay with Malaysia with their common British heritage and not with the Philippines with its Spanish legacy or Indonesia with its Dutch colonial background.

Why then is there limited assimilation among West and East Malaysians? Is this by accident or design? The very fact that Sabahans and Sarawakians asked for and received special privileges at the formation of Malaysia is probably proof that they wanted safeguards for the long term to preserve their way of life and practices.

Can we expect this to remain for the foreseeable future?Yes. This is a distinct possibility as East Malaysian politicians by and large agree that they want to rule their land through home-grown political parties although UMNO has anchored itself in Sabah. Sarawak is a different kettle of fish as the people of the Land of the Hornbill have always jealously guarded their relative independence by supporting indigenous political parties. The exception would be the DAP which has won several seats in the state largely through Chinese support.

So where does this leave Malaysia in its 51st year? Probably where it has been for some time now with the cracks in the political and cultural mosaic intact for years to come. The large number of East Malaysians in the peninsular, however, engenders greater assimilation with the Orang Malaya with more intermarriage bringing both parts of Malaysia closer.

I, for one, would like to speed up the process with greater interaction despite the daunting distance between us. How shall we take this off?

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!

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.

 

Secession is not a panacea for East Malaysia’s problems


September 14, 2014

Secession is not a panacea for East Malaysia’s problems

by Mariam Mokhtar@www.theantdaily.com

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe academics who are responsible for writing the history of Malaysia are better suited to work in the kitchen. Being expert at cooking the books, the tripe they feed us, is not history, but just a record of UMNO’s, UMNO-Baru’s and Islam’s milestones. Nothing else matters.

As a test, how many Sarawakians, or Malaysians, are aware that Sarawak achieved its independence from the British on 22 July 1963? Every school child knows that August 31 celebrates the independence of the Federated Sates of Malaya from the British, but do they realise the significance of September 16, 1963?

Some people are convinced that the rising discontent amongst East Malaysians is because Putrajaya has ignored their needs.Others disagree. They blame the leaders of East Malaysia, for being timid and beholden to Putrajaya.

It is bewildering that the man in the street blames politicians for the state of his country, but fails to recognise the folly of his ways. The people of East Malaysia are not blameless. Over several decades, the East Malaysians have voted for BN and returned the same party, which they repeatedly accuse of mistreatment.

In Semenanjung Malaysia, race and religion are used to divide people; but Putrajaya doesn’t have much to do in East Malaysia. Politicians from East Malaysia are so disorganised, they cannot even agree among themselves.  Malaysia Day, September 16 was only proclaimed as a national holiday, after five decades of neglect. Did East Malaysian politicians suddenly awake from their slumber?

Sabah and Sarawak should enjoy equal status with Malaya and yet, their roles have been diminished to mere states. Despite being major oil and gas-producing nations, they remain the poorest and third poorest “states” in Malaysia.

East Malaysians are angry at the disproportionate allocations from the oil revenue. They fear the unchecked rise of extremist Malay and Muslim groups, which threaten the social fabric of East Malaysia. The Allah issue and Bible row have heightened their fears. Where are the collective voices of the East Malaysian Christian and non-Muslim leaders?

Taib-Mahmud-300x199He kept UMNO-Baru out of Sarawak

The repellent Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, Sarawak’s Chief Minister for over three decades, may have displaced many indigenous people from their lands, may have kept the rural people ignorant, and ignored their plight, but he did keep UMNO-Baru out of Sarawak.

If East Malaysia were to secede (?), Semenanjung would lose the BN fixed deposit. West Malaysians will lose the oil revenue, but at least the electoral playing field will be evened-out.East Malaysians wanting self-rule, claim that the increased petroleum revenue, will help rebuild Sabah and Sarawak. More money does not equate to happiness.

East Malaysians boast that with secession, Sabah and Sarawak will become as developed as Singapore and Brunei. Without a change of attitude of its people, nothing will happen. East Malaysians proclaim that Sarawak and Sabah need leaders who are as “strong” as Singapore’s former PM, Lee Kuan Yew. No one should be that naïve! The irony is that Singaporeans look to Malaysians, to learn to rid themselves from their dictatorship. Singapore’s PAP government dreads the day UMNO-Baru is toppled.

Singapore is not free from corruption. Ask knowledgeable Singaporeans and Malaysians who are not blind. Malaysians are terrible at concealing their “bad” practices.One well known Sarawak lawyer, who normally represents members of a prominent Sarawak family, alleged that money from Sarawak’s ill gotten gains is stashed in Singapore, which he dubbed “the new Switzerland”. It is widely known that Dubai is the money laundering capital of the Middle East; Singapore fulfils that role for Southeast Asia.  Secession won’t necessarily stop the exploitation of the rural people.

Singapore deports or jails, anyone who shows the slightest whiff of dissent. Malaysians who protested in Singapore, about Malaysian issues, had their work permits revoked. A British author who wrote about Singapore’s death penalty was jailed. The Singapore government fears that its own people might emulate foreigners, who display any freedom of expression.

Bruneians enjoy many free perks, but has anyone wondered why Bruneians flock to border towns like Miri, for “normality”? Stop waxing lyrical about a place where double-standards are practised, where the subjects are ruled by hudud, but those draconian laws do not apply to the chosen few.

Secession is not a panacea for East Malaysia’s problems. Are East Malaysians patient? The situation will get worse before it improves. Skilled and experienced East Malaysians will be needed to rebuild their countries, but will they return?

Under Taib, the environment was at the mercy of loggers and indiscriminate “developers”. Large tracts of forest and coastline were destroyed. Secession won’t save the environment, unless the corrupt politicians who offer their cronies protection, are weeded out first.

Dayak Headhunter

Politicians line their own pockets with the rakyat’s money. After secession, will politicians share the extra revenue with the rakyat, or will they continue to siphon most, if not all, of this extra money? Does one become less greedy, when more money becomes available?

Increased revenue from oil may result in the average East Malaysian, receiving RM800 instead of the token sum of RM500. Will he then forget the promised roads, bridges, schools and hospitals?Nothing will change unless corrupt politicians are charged and punished for their crimes. Democracy can return, once a free media, an independent police force and judiciary are installed, and incorruptible politicians are elected in a clean and fair process, in Sabah and Sarawak.-www.theantdaily.com