Malaysia’s Educational Reform: Yellow States lead the Way


by Azly Rahman@Columbia, New York

July 30, 2008
To evolve into wiser individuals with enquiring minds, we must ask questions and reflect upon the answers suggested to us. If we are afraid to ask questions, our mind and consciousness will be owned and manipulated by those who think they have the right answers, or by those who wants to use force to tell us what the right answers shall be.” – My thoughts on the nature of learning

I currently firmly believe that education should first be a dialectical and dialogical tool to mediate and resolve the contradictions between Existentialism and Cyberneticism, and of Cultures of Disabilities, …and next be a Deconstructive-Reconstructivist tool and social force to engineer personal and social revolutions and progress towards the realisation of a personal republic of virtue, ethics, multiculturalism, and metaphysics; so that human beings endowed with the Natural Rights to be free may collectively become educated to rise above hegemony, domination, and oppression and in the final analysis, journey towards a Pastoral and Natural self .”- My personal philosophy of teaching

Let us take a break from thinking about Malaysian politics. Justice will take its natural course, the natural “way”, like how Lao Tzu would philosophize.

In stead, let us talk about the possiblities in education.

I have some ideas on how we can evolve out of this current political quagmire and focus our attention to an ever-pressing national question: how best to educate the children of our nation.

We need to have the states governed by Pakatan Rakyat to experiment with a new paradigm of educational reform. To showcase what “human capital revolution”, “education across the life span” and “education for creative and critical consciousness” means.

Not only to showcase one but to have a continuous improvement plan that uses data-driven and sociologically reflective techniques to engineer, nurture, and sustain such changes until education becomes the only means to educate the child to become a thinking, feeling, and reflecting human being skilled to live in harmony with people of different races and consistently exploring the power to transform the self.

In other words, we need to interrogate our educational practices and see if indeed the one that is engineered by the current regime of Barisan Nasional is effective.

We can embark upon a longitudinal comparative study – which states will progress better with a different set of idea of what education ought to be. The Yellow states of Pakatan Rakyat and the Blue states of Barisan Nasional can each be given five years to showcase improvement. We need to give them only these concepts to work on: “nature of the human beings”, “nature of the human mind”, “nature of learning and teaching”, “nature of change”, “nature of intellectual freedom”, “nurture of human intelligence”, “nurture of multiculturalism”, and “nurture of class consciousness”.

Game on

Let educational philosophers and planners and practitioners form each camp design their long-term strategies and pull together their experts and their resources.

The ultimate goal after five years is to do this: which states will have the least drop-outs, least at-risk youths, least youths incarcerated, most globally-minded, most employable graduates, and more intelligent, more world-wise, and more emphatic leaders in society.

Which states would have the best teachers with the best teaching skills and strategies, most engaged students, most creative classroom, most frequent integration of project-based learning strategies, most innovative assessment strategies, most inquisitive students, happiest learners, most-mentally resilient and gung-ho graduates, and most internationally-recognized awards?

Which states would still have the most unmotivated teachers, most vandalised schools, most neglected students, most number of daily truancy cases, most absent teachers, most stratified schools districts, most wasted class periods, most under-funded schools, most number of tuition classes, most frequent interference of politicians who do not have any business interrupting schools, most mentally lethargic learners, and most unmotivated and unskilled graduates who still need to be coached during job interviews?

That would be a good experiment in human and social transformation.

We need an independent body of researchers to report on the state of educational improvement in these two set of states – the Yellow and the Blue states. The winner of the game will get to take over the entire operation of the Ministry of Education as well as the Ministry of Higher Education.

The winner will get to set up another ministry – The Ministry of Human Intelligence, fashioned after Venezuela’s many years ago, to look into education in the most comprehensive sense of its definition. We need benchmarks of success; those that would reflect national and international standards of excellence, equity, and empathy in education.

These standards need to be met cumulatively and progressively, pegged meaningfully and authentically to SMART national and international standards.

Point-of-no-return

The current state of education in Malaysia, after fifty years of independence, lacks the excellence and the rigour, the political will to recognise equity and equal opportunity, and lack of empathy in looking at the class divisions forming in the process of schooling. It is slow in restructuring society based on the alleviation of poverty regardless of race.

It has failed in its commitment to instill the spirit of Muhibbah; a concept the current government had asked children to sing to in the early 1970s. It is in fact using more sophisticated ways to divide and rule society so that the hegemony of race-based politics will continue to become a status quo.

We are at a critical stage of “point-of-no-return” in education; our conveyor belt of nationalistic-tribalistic education philosophy guised under the name of “educational progress”, is going haywire, sending our batch-processed children off tangent in this Rostowian ideology of educational progress. What a waste of talent and human capital. Instead of turning them into lotuses of learners that bloom, we are making them bricks in the wall.

But first things first, as Steven Covey would say.

Let us first commission a new study of drop-out/keciciran, using good qualitative and quantitative data next and find strategies to deal with it. Our nation is actually in danger of a major human development crisis, compounded by the current oil and food crisis.

The revolution of March 8 needs a new means to sustain a good idea for human development and social change. It has the potential of political, cultural, and educational renewal. We Malaysians must all rise beyond the current pre-September 16 national-political crisis that is imploding and exploding multi-directionally against the backdrop of a world that is perpetually in crisis.

Winning children

But this proposed game of Yellow-Blue educational reform is not about creating and projecting an image alone. It is about our fear for our children’s future. It is about our passion in education and how one can learn from educational practices worldwide.

I believe talents are wasted.

There are solutions that this current regime has not yet discovered. Our goal is to see children of ALL races progress. That’s what any religion and humanistic philosophy teaches. Whatever success one’s own children have achieved, that success formula MUST be applied to the children of others, especially of the poor.

That’s what a good philosophy of education should mean to us. We cannot discriminate any child; at all levels of his/her development. The mind is too precious to be under the control of the ignorant, the arrogant, and the xenophobic.

Perhaps the state of Selangor as the most progressive state can show us the way forward in education; and the fruits of success shared with others. It can even be a hub for top notch and quality education that will link its institutions with top notch programs, institutes, and colleges worldwide.

Perhaps this state can be spearhead the radical reform and see an intellectually sustainable culture emerging. Perhaps Selangor’s state university UNISEL (Universiti Industri Selangor) can be the impetus for change; spearheading comprehensive reforms at all levels. This will be followed by other state-owned and private universities until we see a parallel paradigm running; each documenting and reporting successes and rooms for improvement based on a “child-centered” curriculum that guarantees success for all.

The Barisan Nasional government has its own idea of what Malaysian education should look like; an idea closely tied to communal/race-based politics and the obsession with mind-control, obedience, and the lessening of critical thinking. It has its own competent Vice Chancellors that are working hard to have their institutions reach world-class status.

But looking at things from a collaborative point of view, perhaps these two ideologies in education (the yellow-blue ideological-dichotomy) can one day be dissolved when the experiment’s over. Ultimately bi-partisan thinking should govern educational change. Ultimately in education, philosophy will triumph over politics.

When must we then embark upon this game of education – the race for excellence, equity, and empathy in education? It must be a game in which every child must come out a winner.

Gloom Has Invaded the Malaysian Political Scene!


Malaysia is Mahathir and Mahathir is Malaysia?

By Ahmad Mustapha Hassan

Some said that they are disgusted as to what is happening in Malaysia’s political scene. Some bloggers like Rocky Bru and two others went on strike as if that would do any good. Disappointment at what is happening should not arise especially to those who had been free with their comments even before the political tsunami of March 8, 2008. Everything that happens must have a reason and it also has to have a beginning.

If we look through Malaysian history since independence, anything that UMNO dislikes it has the habit of turning even a mundane event into a crisis. Any internal conflict in UMNO will affect the national political scene. This is especially so after the ‘assassination’ and demise of the original UMNO in 1988. The political party that emerged from that was not UMNO because it lacked the spirit and dedication of the original when it was formed in 1946. Leaders of UMNO then were dedicated individuals who served the rakyat and sacrificed  a lot for the nation.

The pseudo UMNO of Mahathir Mohamad did away with democracy in the party. No wonder, past UMNO presidents like Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra and Tun Hussein Onn did not become members of this new political entity. The new party was hatched according to the needs of (Tun) Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

In 1987, his presidency in the original UMNO was challenged by Tengku Tan Sri Razaleigh Hamzah. Tengku Razaleigh lost in that fight by a very small margin, a largely due to the help of the “invisible hand” which manipulated the ballot box. His running mate was Tun Musa Hitam who was Mahathir’s first Deputy Prime Minister. The two challenged Mahathir whose running mate in 19897 was (Tun) Ghaffar Baba.

A court case ensued and the presiding Judge, Harun Hashim, declared UMNO illegal. Razaleigh also tried to form a new party, also to be called UMNO but failed. He then set up Semangat 46 (The Spirt of 46). Musa who was his running mate did not join him in this new political undertaking.

Musa is essentially a survivalist. Musa is Musa (period). That is why he can survive. He survived under Tunku Abdul Rahman. He survived under Tun Razak. He also survived under Hussein Onn. He even survived under Mahathir although he challenged Mahathir in cohort with Tengku Razaleigh. Their association was for the mere purpose of challenging Mahathir. A deal of convenience, if you like. That was all.

Both aspired to be Prime Ministers and if Razaleigh and Musa had won and led the government and UMNO, both the government and the party would be unstable. There was nothing common between the two. I know both men and had worked directly and indirectly with each of them. They are poles apart in every way; status wise, one is a member of the Kelantan royalty, and the other a commoner from Johor who learned his politics from the late Tun Sardon Jubir.

In forming UMNO Baru, Mahathir put an end to democracy so that the 1987 incident would not recur. Under his scheme, it would be all but impossibe to challenge him. Thus democracy was never part of it. He could, therefore, lead the new party unchallenged for the next 15 years. His deputies might come and go but not him for he was the party and he was the goverment. ‘UMNO’ was Mahathir and Mahathir was ‘UMNO’. But Malaysia was not yet Mahathir. Thus the murk would soon start flowing. That would be Phase 2 of the Mahathir project which would involve institutions of government.

The civil service since independence was seen by him as being too powerful. It was not subservient to any political master. It had to be put in its ‘proper’ place so that it would become a ready and willing tool,serving the President and UMNO. It was no longer to question whether rules and regulations were complied with. It had become a brain dead institution. It enjoyed generous perks but without the authority as before. The civil service was at the back and call of the Prime Minister who was a political blackguard by nature. If he was instructed by the Prime Minister to “jump in the lake”, the Chief Secretary to the Government would do so with relish!

The judiciary, reputed to be one of the best in the British Commonwealth, was too independent and would not submit to the whims and fancies of the political overlord. Many cases were decided against the government. Mahathir was enraged. Thus Mahathir felt his vision would not materialise if the situation was not changed. He fixed the judiciary by amending the relevant clauses in the constitution to enable him to have absolute power in the administration of justice.

Tun Salleh Abas, the Lord President, belonged to the old school. He believed that the judiciary had the function and role to safeguard the constitution and provide the checks and balances needed in order to maintain democracy in the country. This went against the grain of the Prime Minister.

Tun Salleh therefore had to be removed from his post and replaced by a more amenable and pliable judge like Justice Hamid Omar. So the Prime Minister sought to act against Tun Salleh, precipitating the judicial crisis of 1988. As a result, basic institutions were subservient to the executive branch under an all powerful Prime Minister.

The Royalty too was cowed so that Malaysia too would be Mahathir’s. Every aspect of development would have to embody the Mahathir vision. The twin towers came into being. A new administrative capital Putrajaya (Mahathirjaya?) was constructed costing billions of Malaysian Ringgit. A new ultra-modern but not passenger-friendly airport was also built.

Things were moving ‘peacefully’ and happily until in 1998, with the Asian financial crisis, the Mahathir edifice was challenged by his Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim. Anwar, however, found to his tragic dismay, that Mahathir acted swiftly by charging and trying him for sodomy and abuse of power. Anwar was sentenced by a kangaroo court presided over by a judge, Augustine Paul to ‘rest’ in Sungai Buloh for about seven years.

A trusted and obedient Abdullah Badawi took over from Anwar. He was a yes man to the letter. He could relied upon, so Mahathir believed, to continue with his legacy. Malaysia would still be Mahathir’s. Governing a country without much challenge could be quite boring and it was high time to hand over the reins of power to a puppet.

But Badawi turned out to be his own man with the help of Khairy Jamaluddin, Kamal Abdullah, Kalimullah Hassan and the boys on the 4th Floor, Prime Minister’s Department, and soon enough and bitterly disappointed that things did not materialise the way he wanted,  Mahathir launched vicious attacks against him. Mahathir believed only Najib Tun Razak, the current Deputy Prime Minister could save the situation.

Mahathir had relentlessly supported urged Najib to challenge Abdullah but the latter was quite reluctant. He had other fights to attend to before he could take on Abdullah. To Mahathir, only Najib would be able to keep the Mahathir flag flying again. Anyone trying to disrupt Najib from succeeding Abdullah would not be tolerated by Mahathir. He had gone all out to shield Najib from any attack by Anwar and his Pakatan Rakyat colleagues. But he will fail again because Najib, who has bags of political liabilities, is controlled by Badawi and his supporters.

There will be those who will disagree with me on this and the diehard Mahathirites will definitely dispute this thesis.

Dato Zaid: Just do the right thing


http://www.malaysiakini.com

Zaid: Both sides want me to resign

July 30, 2008
For a politician who is widely regarded as a maverick, Zaid Ibrahim knows the consequences of being ‘politically incorrect’ on issues which do not go down well with those within his own party.

MCPX

“I have been a minister for just about three months and in that time I have talked about various issues – the need to review legislation such as the Internal Security Act, judicial reform, granting wider public access to justice through legal aid, tackling the backlog of cases, the case for greater press freedoms,” said the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department at a dinner function last night.

bar council judiciary dinner 170408 zaid ibrahim speech“Such talk has caused consternation to some elements within my own party, to the point that I am accused of espousing opposition policies, and thus I should resign.”

However, Zaid told the delegates at the Asia-Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur that he would not be deterred by calls for him to quit as “these are issues that the people want.”

The minister lamented that he was caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place as the criticism did not only come from those in UMNO.

“The opposition has also called for my resignation on grounds that I have not done enough to bring about the promised changes.”

Nevertheless, Zaid told the dinner audience that while politicians will have to grapple with political correctness, human rights advocates are made of “sterner, stronger stuff” who should speak their mind.

He said that governments can no longer say they subscribe to the rule of law and yet compromise on the issues of human rights.

“Equally they cannot say they believe in the rule of law and yet practice arbitrary detention without regard for oversights and adequate review process.

“It is the recognition of human rights that we then embrace the rule of law, the right to equality, right to fair trial, right to information and so on and so forth.”

Zaid said governments should realise that human rights can no longer be “discounted as an inconvenient truth.”

“Today, it has the power to determine the outcome of elections.”

Suhakam should develop a spine

He then advised Suhakam, the Malaysian member of the Asia-Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions, to develop a spine.

“It should be able to provide the impetus to change without fear or favour – without being accused of propagating opposition policies or being anti-government.

“It should take a more vigorous stand to have the Suhakam reports discussed and debated in Parliament. Suhakam should not feel defensive or be apologetic for any criticism laid on its doors.”

Zaid also referred to the criticism from NGOs that Suhakam’s status be downgraded from Grade A to B due to the body’s perceived lack of independence, among others.

“Suhakam like any public service body, must understand that being held to account is no longer uncommon. Calls for it to strengthen its independence by practicing a clear and transparent appointments process and for the make-up of its commissioners to reflect Malaysian plurality are not necessarily bad ones.”

The minister also said that the government can no longer continue to be in denial mode or it will have to pay the “heavy price for holding on to this delusion.”

For Zaid, reform is the only choice.

“What is it that the younger generation of this country so desperately wants? I believe they want justice and fairness. They want the institutions of governments to be credible, to reflect integrity, they want an independent judiciary where if all else fails them, the final bulwark of justice will step in to keep the powers-that-be on the straight and narrow.

“They want space to voice their dissatisfaction; they want room to exercise their right to assemble, to expression, to livelihood, education, the right to know and be informed. They want transparent and accountable use of power by the authorities and they want a government that is corrupt free.”

Zaid said he has faith in Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi – the man who appointed him minister after the electoral setback in the March general election – in bringing much-needed reforms in Malaysia.

(malaysianpolitics.wordpress.com)


This report (July 28, 2008 ) is from Michelle Yoon in New Zealand. How pathetic our mainstream media can be!! –Din Merican

Anwar, the media, and us

As I write this, it is now 6pm Malaysian time.

I first found out about the medical report on Saiful which stated that he was never sodomised, on Malaysia-Today this morning, at 4:56am Malaysian time. It has been a 13 hour gap between then and now.

Malaysiakini reported this at approx 1:01pm today. It has been a 5 hour gap since then till now.

Malaysiakini had their news updated at 4:50pm. It has been about an hour’s gap since then till now.

Malaysian Insider had a news article on it at about 4pm. Two hours between then and now.

TheSun has an article updated 5:32pm. Half an hour from then till now.

The Star: nadda
NST: nadda
Bernama: nadda

My question is: why?

Malaysiakini has already authenticated the medical report:

A senior Pusrawi official told malaysiakini this morning that the hospital had launched an internal investigation on how Saiful’s medical report was leaked, which is widely considered as a major infringement of patient privacy.

When malaysiakini showed him a copy of the report, he refused to return it saying, “It’s our document.”

Taken from Din Merican’s blog HERE.

What are they afraid of, the people from The Star and NST and Bernama?

Not even Wong Chun Wai’s personal blog carries any such news item.

Have the papers not learnt anything? Don’t they know that speed is something that they cannot lose out on when reporting on items like this?

This is very similar to the time when Balasubramaniam first came out with the first SD, linking Najib to Altantuya. None of the mainstream news portals reported on the issue, until the evening when Najib came out to deny all allegations.

The Star, NST and Bernama all reported on Najib denying the allegations, without reporting on the allegations prior to Najib’s press conference.

Am I to assume that they are not going to report on this at all until and unless Saiful makes a statement? Or until and unless any government official comes out to say that the medical report was fabricated? Or until and unless the IGP comes out to say that he knows nothing of it?

Must there be a denial of sorts from the government before this issue gets reported in the mainstream media?

I hope not. But it’s not looking good for them.

UPDATE: 6:15pm, NST has an article. Go HERE.

According to the report, the police say that whatever is being circulated on the Internet is yet another attempt to sabotage the investigations.

I guess it is true. Mainstream news portals need someone from the government to deny it before they can report on it.

*****

And nor is this looking good for the police and the government.

I have been aptly reminded by several comments left around blogosphere, about something I once wrote when Bala came out with the first SD.

I said:

It’s not just about them. It’s about us. It’s about how we understand the situation at hand. It’s about how we, as a society, will handle this issue. It’s about how we react.

I have to admit, amidst all the cacophony, I have forgotten the most elementary part of the issue. It’s not only about vindicating Anwar. It’s not only about Saiful being un-sodomised.

It’s about how rotten the system has become. It’s about how we could have let it become the way it is. It’s about what we say, what we do, and where we stand from here on.

RPK ended his article with this:

Civil society movements, NGOs and the Malaysian Bar Council must not remain silent.

WE, the rakyat of Malaysia are the civil society. We cannot afford to remain silent anymore.

Lim Teck Ghee, Director of Centre for Policy Initiatives has this to say:

Further attempts at one sided or politically biased and manipulative handling of the case will cause the nation even more grievous damage than what has already been inflicted.

Taken also from Din Merican’s blog HERE.

Comments from Haris’ blog HERE:

This goes beyond Anwar. I think it is what we do as a nation that will matter. What we demand how far we want to go is what matters now. Telling the truth and standing for it at a time of universal deceit is what makes partiot get counted. We will have to demand the best of our nation and it is now. Keeping silent or standing aside is being part of the crimes being commited against our motherland. Abdul

How are we going to trust our system ever again. I think we all have to stand p and be counted. Inaction rather than opposition is the country’s worst enemy. arianna

This is beyond me. My reaction to this so far has been: What has Malaysia come to?

Are we being led by leaders who don’t lead? Are we being duped by reporters who don’t report? Are we being silenced by fear and paranoia? Are we being robbed by unfair policies? Are we being stepped on by rubbish politicians? Are we being spat at on the face by the very persons we voted into office?

Are we going to keep silent about all this? Are we going to say “I’ve had enough of this,” and simply turn our cheek? Are we going to slowly kill ourselves by thinking it has nothing to do with us?

Haris had this to say in reply to a comment:

Let this fight for equality reach to the highest heavens, I am up to the task, God-willing.

Question is, are you?

I am too.
Are YOU?

Press Statement by Seven MCA PJ Utara Branches


MCA PJ UTARA 7 BRANCHES

PRESS CONFERENCE

THE SAIFUL BUKHARI MEDICAL REPORT

TUESDAY 29 JULY 2008, 11AM

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press.

  1. We meet here today because we, being members of 7 branches of MCA PJ Utara representing more than 1000 members of MCA, wish to do our civic duty to the Rakyat.
  1. We note that MCA cannot remain silent anymore, lest we be accused (if not already accused) of being accomplices to diabolical conspiracies.
  1. In particular, we refer to the medical report widely publicized on the internet by Malaysia Today, malaysiakini and countless other blogs.  We had also taken the liberty to check on the comments contained in the medical report dated 28 June 2008 conducted on Mohd Saiful Bukhari Bin Azlan by Dr Mohamed Osman Abdul Hamid, the Medical Officer at Hospital Pusrawi Sdn Bhd.  Three doctors we have checked with have stated that the comments meant that the results for the alleged sodomy is ‘negative’.  They also confirmed that a Doctor can never change a medical report.
  1. Assuming that the said medical report is true – and we call on Hospital Pusrawi to confirm or deny this – then:
    1. We call on the Police, the Attorney-General, the MCA top leadership and the UMNO top leadership to immediately reveal in full all the evidence against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and stop withholding vital evidence and decide to charge, or not to charge, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.  The Deputy IGP Tan Sri Ismail Omar should also refrain from making statements that the internet reports on the said medical report were aimed at confusing the people when, in the same breath, he declines to comment on the medical report.  Such statements by the Deputy IGP only serve to further the perception that the police is pulling out all stops to withhold evidence crucial to the innocence of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, a fellow citizen of our country, while at the same time fabricates, or attempts to fabricate, evidence against a fellow citizen of our country.
    1. This “bogus charge” fiasco is also causing untold damage and hurt to our economy, our integrity as a nation.  Daily, we are being compared to countries like Zimbabwe and other countries where despotic rulers reign. We cannot in all conscience be a party to the machinations by executive arms of the government to withhold/fabricate evidence against a citizen of our country.
  1. Therefore, we urge the Police, the Attorney-General and the government to treat all our citizens fairly, with transparency, without withholding of crucial evidence and with the proper application of the rule of law.

MCA PJ Utara Branches:

  1. MCA SS2 Town Centre
  2. MCA SS2
  3. MCA SS4
  4. MCA Taman People’s Park
  5. MCA Gardenia Centre
  6. MCA Taman Mayang
  7. MCA Damansara Baru

Contact Persons:

  • Mr LEE CHONG BENG [Chairman, MCA SS2 Town Centre] at 012-3987851
  • Mr PETER CHEN [Legal Advisor] at 012-6824902

Anwar Ibrahim’s PRESS STATEMENT


July 29, 2008

The hospital report leaked yesterday confirms our contention that the allegations leveled against me are baseless and politically motivated and that the complainant is an outright liar working hand in glove with those in power to assassinate my character and attempt to derail the people’s aspirations for transformational change in Malaysia.

This report makes a mockery of the so-called “impartial police investigations” and clearly shows the dubious but persistent attempts to incriminate me by whatever means employable.

How else can we fathom why the police during the last four weeks of their “thorough and professional investigations” have overlooked such a critical piece of evidence? I condemn in the strongest terms their negligence, dishonesty and recklessness in humiliating the nation by dragging us all through this vile and filthy charade.

Our refusal to submit a DNA sample has been vindicated. The failure of the police to disclose this medical report all but confrims their intention to frame me. Although quite apparent even before yesterday (July 28, 2008), their desperate attempt to collect a new DNA sample is now even clearly a last ditch effort to build a casee where none exists.

The statement by Bar President Dato Ambiga Sreenevasan in response to this latest development bears repeating.

The credibility of the Malaysian justice system as a whole is therefore at stake. The integrity of professionals, be they doctors or lawyers, must never be interfered with. The public must be left in no doubt that the criminal justice system in this country will not be misused or abused.”

Several weeks ago I filed a police report implicating Musa Hassan and Gani Patail in the conspiracy to fabricate evidence in my 1998 case. The ACA subsequently opened an inquiry into the matter. Given their current involvement as heads of the police and Attorney General’s chambers, and their earlier attempts ot discredit and defame me, I have consistently asserted that a fair investigation into this matter would be impossible, notwithstanding the dubious character of the complainant and his association with the Deputy Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister’s wife and her staff, as well as key figures in the police department.

I reiterate earlier calls to ensure the safety and security of the doctor who authored this medical report. Reports that he and his family may be in danger must not be taken lightly given earlier instances when key witnesses in high profile cases in Malaysia have been threatened, coerced or gone missing.

My family and I have endured a great deal during the last month. Our fears of a repeat of the trauma and abuse inflicted upon us in 1998 were bearable only with the tremendous outpouring of support from our friends in Malaysia and throughout the world. We breathed a deep sigh of relief upon hearing of the report and after seeing it with our own eyes felt a great burden lifted from our shoulders. We remain eternally grateful to them for their belief in us and their commitment to the cause of freedom and justice in Malaysia.

I have willingly cooperated in the police investigations; careless and vindictive though it has turned out to be. But I have decided that the nation is in a grave situation economically and socially and I can no longer be distracted by such nuisances. I am now determined to move ahead with the reform agenda, which the Malaysian people endorsed in the last elections, and I do not intend to address these scurrilous accusations anymore.

At a time when the world economy is spiraling into recession and Malaysia has struggled to remain competitive with its neighbours, this scandal was raised at the worst possible moment. The problems of inflation, unemployment, and investor confidence grow more serious by the day. The authorities, aided by senior Ministers in the government, appear to be wilfully dragging the nation’s stature down in their last ditcj efforts to retain power. The international community has expressed its disdain for what is happening and that will translate to less foreign investment, less tourism and an even weaker economy.

I call upon the government to rise above petty vindictiveness and maneuvering for power, and to be sincere, honest and hence effective in its actions. The national good that, for the moment now resposes in their hands, demands nothing less.

ANWAR IBRAHIM