IS ANWAR AN IMF BOY?– No, he is Pro-Economic Growth with Social Justice

August 29, 2008

by Allyn Young(2008)*

When Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad finally announced the inevitable sacking of his Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Anwar Ibrahim on September 3, 1998 following the introduction of Keynesian-style capital controls a day earlier, a group of anti-imperialists and third world nationalists proclaimed that Mahathir had finally laid to rest the so called neo-liberal malaise that Anwar had purportedly subjected the Malaysian economy to with disastrous results.

Anwar was branded as a puppet of the IMF, who was simply seeking personal glory ‘by choosing to sell the interest of Malaysians to foreigners’. Mahathir – himself considered an authoritarian leader who had destroyed the key institutional instruments of governance in Malaysia to check any credible challenges to his leadership – became an icon among these anti-imperialists the world over.

Using evidence from my advisory role, this commentary is targeted to correct this presumptuous claim. Instead of focusing on the scientific and historical evidence associated with epistemology, the anti-imperialists and pseudo critics of the Washington Consensus( IMF, the World Bank and the US Treasury) found a straw man in Anwar and a savior in Mahathir to build this ‘great story’ of how Mahathir saved Malaysia from certain collapse by ‘discontinuing Anwar’s deleterious neoliberal financial policies’.

While I have much to say about the circumstances that faced Malaysia in 1997 which offered the country the option of seeking capital controls when Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines had to go cap in hand to the IMF, I focus on Anwar’s actions as Malaysia’s Finance Minister.

Anwar had time again insisted in some of his meetings that the free flow of capital and the Malaysian ringgit was causing havoc to exchange rates and the stock market. He even lamented once over the massive offshore ringgit kept in Singapore that affected Bank Negara’s capacity to manage monetary policy. He cited that instruments were necessary to provide sufficient control of the ringgit against volatile fluctuations caused by currency traders. What he did not share with Mahathir was his stand on corruption and cronyism.

I remember Anwar saying that all Government linked Companies(GLCs) destabilized by losses should be supported with fresh loans but only after proper audit scrutiny. Now no scholar or sensible politician – whatever their ideological learnings – would support bailouts that arise from losses in consumer benefits through a misallocation of funds to the corrupt and incapable. Anwar was in support of Keynesian style packages but wanted them introduced alongside instruments that would weed out corruption.

Anwar was also serious about fiscal policies to take account of distributive justice in the months between December, 1997 and April, 1998. In fact, he had dismissed a report prepared by a team of IMF-style consultants on measures to rescue the East Asian economies affected by the 1997-98 Financial crisis. He had written on the cover of that report that it must be rewritten to address problems of social justice.

I was approached by his advisors to rewrite the report and took it on eventually after his team headed by Khalid Jaafar agreed to allow me to change it completely. It was unfortunate that Anwar did not manage to present it as he was replaced by Daim Zainuddin and sacked by Mahathir.Yet, there is enough historical evidence to back Anwar’s claim that he is a believer in social justice. After all, mentored by the widely respected social activist and former University of Malaya academic Professor Dr Syed Husin Ali during his undergraduate days, Anwar was arrested and jailed for his role in championing the rights of the poor during the Baling riots and the protests he commandeered as a student union leader at University of Malaya in 1974.

It must be said that the young and brash leader of the 1970s was then a champion of the poor at a time when government policy was very much in line with the dictates of the IMF and the World Bank. However, he had become a mature leader in the 1990s following his apprenticeship as the Finance Minister of Malaysia from 1995 to recognize the need to connect distributive justice with sound economic principles. In addition, in the spirit of intellectual discourse, Anwar had also developed the capacity to exchange views with experts from different schools of economic philosophy in a cordial and constructive manner. As a result, he enjoyed strong friendship with several heads of governments and global organizations.

Anwar remains a strong advocate of the humane economy as articulated in his Malaysian Economic Agenda and reflected in the 2008 Election Manifesto for Pakatan Rakyat, which he again stressed during his ceramahs and meet- the people- sessions during the campaign for the Permatang Pauh by-election. The fact that he won decisively over his UMNO opponent showed that his economic agenda founded on sound economic growth and distributive justice was fully endorsed by voters.

*Allyn Young (2008) is a pseudonym used by a Cambridge educated economist who lectures at one of the major public universities in the Kuala Lumpur area.

Lagu Tan Ah Liat 1

August 28, 2008

by Khalid Jafaar

Lagu Tan Ah Liat 1

Mujurlah majoriti yang diperolehi oleh datuk seri lelaki selalsa lalu melebihi yang diperolehi oleh datuk seri perempuan. Bukan kepalang susah datuk seri lelaki, di saat-saat intim, untuk menjawab sindiran datuk seri perempuan: “Abang, I lebih popular dari you tau!”

Anwar Ibrahim adalah orang yang penuh keyakinan. Dan kadang-kadang keyakinanya itu tidak rasional. Sebelum Kak Wan meletakkan jawatan sebagai ahli parlimen Permatang Pauh suaminya memberitahu beberapa orang, kebetulan saya juga ada di situ, semua tokoh-tokoh kerohanian memberitahu beliau akan menang besar, menang dengan ‘hands down’,maksudnya menang dengan mudah.

Benar mudahkah kemenangan itu? Nampak mudah, setelah keputusan diistiharkan. Tetapi ketika mata hari tegak di Penanti keyakinan datuk seri lelaki mula bergoncang. Ini hanya saya tahu kemudian. Tetapi saya sendiri, mengetuai ketembukan sukarelawan Melaka di daerah mengundi Tanah Liat Mukim 9 dan Sungai Semambu, sesak nafas jam dua petang. Saya tidak tahu Azmin panik atau tidak. Tetapi bibir Dr. Mansor, strategos pilihanraya, toreh tak berdarah.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thank you/Terima kasih, Permatang Pauh

…for shoring up my faith in what is right
…for showing me what is wrong
…for revealing that the Malaysian way is just that, nothing more, nothing less
…for showing me that it mattered that I cared
…for showing me what it is I need to be, to be a better Malaysian

…for a future

and the Malaysian dream…

thank you, Permatang Pauh, for showing us who and what, and why and when we could be everything we were too scared to be…

thank you for Malaysia

Malik Imtiaz Sarvar

To the arrogant Mr. Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar

Dear Mr. Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar,

We are not stupid. If you have grounds to say that Raja Petra is publishing “libellous, defamatory and slanderous” stuff, please take him to court and seek legal recourse.

You are supposed to be a lawyer. So please start behaving like one and do not make arbitrary decisions whch are essentially politically motivated. Stop grand standing since it only reflects your personal inadequacies. I have been reading Petra’s blog and I know how careful he can be. His comments and analyses are fact based and the information is from impeccable sources.

Your government is increasingly repressive and people of this country are sick and tired of the pontifications of our Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and ministers of the UMNO-led and dominated Barisan Nasional government. One would have thought that Badawi and others including yourself would have learnt something from the March 8, 2008 General Election. But it is quite clear to all of us now that the loss of 5 key states of Penang, Perak, Selangor, Kedah and Kelantan and the two thirds majority in Parliament was not humbling enough.

UMNO was again severely beaten only two days ago in Permatang Pauh when Anwar Ibrahim trounced the Mandarin speaking Ariff Shah of UMNO with a majority of over 15,000 votes. If the election was more open, transparent and free from harassment by the Police and the FRU and UMNO’s dirty tricks and threats (using paid agents) with the help of Rashid Rahman and his staff at the Elections Commission, Ariff Shah would have probably lost his deposit! In stead of learning from this latest fiasco, UMNO and the government are flexing their muscle against the Malaysian people.

You cannot win, Mr. Minister, when you take on the people of Malaysia. Please remember this: the winds of change that have hit our shores since March 8, 2008 are unstoppable. You should behave yourself and make sure that you use the power in your hands with a high sense of responsibility. Be accountable. That is my humble advice.

Remember BERSIH, Hindraf and the actions you took in recent months that caused massive traffic jams in Kuala Lumpur including the highway arrest of Anwar Ibrahim by balaclava-clad men of the Police Force, and rectumus politikus (politik jubur) UMNO played in Permatang Puah and the Koran swearing nonsense by Saiful Bukhari, Deputy Prime Minister Najib, and former Menteri Besar of Perak, Tajol Rosli. People put you in office and they can remove you. People are also laughing at the antics of UMNO.

I spent 10 days among people in Permatang Pauh and saw what UMNO with the help of the Police and FRU and Vet 69 personnel, Special Branch,and Military Intelligence and its agent provocateurs were doing. I visited places in Permatang Pauh where you would probably never dare to go. I talked and listened to the hard working ordinary Malaysians in the kampongs.

The message is clear: first, the government is no longer connecting with them, second, UMNO leaders and politicians are corrupt and cannot be trusted, third, they want a change in the leadership of our country and fourth, they no longer believe the mainstream media, tv 1, tv2,and tv3.

Permatang Pauh is a clear sign that people have hand enough of this government. It is time for Badawi and his colleagues to take stock of the government’s performance record since 2004 and act. —Din Merican


Malaysia Today banned for ‘slanderous’ postings

August 28, 2008
Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar said today that the prominent political website Malaysia Today had been banned because it published “libellous, defamatory and slanderous” content.


syed hamid albar putrajaya pc 310708 02“I think we don’t intend to curtail people’s freedom and right to give information and debate,” Syed Hamid told reporters.

“But when you publish content that is libellous, defamatory and slanderous to other people I think it is only natural we take action,” he said.

He defended blocking access to Malaysia Today that has attacked top leaders, saying it had ignored warnings against publishing “slanderous” articles.

“So many warnings and opportunities have been given and it is not heeded, so I am sure they have exercised their authority well under the law.”

raja petraMalaysiakini reported yesterday that government-backed watchdog Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission had ordered all internet service providers (ISPs) in the country to block the errant website, whose founder Raja Petra Kamaruddin (left), has already been charged with sedition.Malaysia media is tightly controlled by the government, and it has expressed frustration over its inability to rein in Internet news portals which have become popular alternative news sources.

Mirror site still up and running

Raja Petra Kamaruddin, founder and editor of Malaysia Today, said a mirror site had been established with a foreign provider.”I will fight the government action all the way. Their action will not stop me from writing,” he said, promising to challenge the shutdown in court.

malaysia today website 270808A check by Malaysiakini revealed that Malaysia Today mirror site is still up as at 4pm.

Raja Petra is already facing a sedition charge and a defamation suit after linking Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife to the sensational murder of a Mongolian woman.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders ranks Malaysia 124 out of 169 on its worldwide press freedom index, and says the main media are “often compelled to ignore or to play down the many events organised by the opposition”.

The government has previously threatened that bloggers could be punished under draconian internal security laws which provide for detention without trial.

Freedom of Media at Work Malaysian Style

Malaysia Today blocked! Order from MCMC
Andrew Ong | August 27, 2008
In a rare move, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has ordered all internet service providers (ISPs) to block controversial online portal Malaysia Today.


malaysia today website 270808MCMC chief operating officer Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi, when contacted today, confirmed that the block was ordered by the commission, which is the regulatory body for online content.

“It is being blocked because we found that some of the comments on the website were insensitive, bordering on incitement,” he told Malaysiakini.

As at 7pm, a check by Malaysiakini showed users are unable to access Malaysia Today through three major ISPs – TMnet, Maxis and Time. However, users can still access the errant website through Jaring.

malaysia today blocked by tm net proof 270808This is the first time such curbs have been initiated against a non-pornographic website, posing questions as to whether the government is reneging on its no-Internet censorship pledge.

Under the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) Malaysia 10 Point Bill of Guarantees, the government promises to ensure no internet censorship.

The domain name – – has been unaccessible to TMnet subscribers since yesterday evening as a result of the blockage – known technically as ‘DNS blackhole list’. [See full image]

Local internet users however can still access the website by typing in Malaysia Today’s IP address or an alternative web address in their web browsers.

‘Ethical blogging’

Mohamed Sharil said MCMC had instructed all ISPs to block access to Malaysia Today based on complaints received by the general public regarding offensive comments posted on the website.

Asked if the move to block Malaysia Today went against the government’s guarantee of Internet freedom, he said that the matter was subject to interpretation.

“We are governed by the Communications and Multimedia Act (1998) which allows us to take preventive measures and advise our license holders (such as ISPs) when a service user may be contravening national laws,” he said.

Under Section 263 of the Act, a licensee must “use his best endeavour” to prevent his/her facilities from being used to violate any law in the country”.

Mohamed Sharil said that MCMC will be communicating with the Malaysia Today owner Raja Petra Kamaruddin and other blog owners soon regarding “ethical blogging”.

“We are not against blogs, but we would like to see ethical blogging,” he stressed.

RPK: Why should I protest?

Meanwhile, Raja Petra said he is in the dark as to why his website was being blocked, adding that he heard rumours of a MCMC circular.

raja petra released from prison 090508 04“I couldn’t be bothered to protest (against the move). What do you expect me to do? Do you think they would listen?” he asked when contacted.

Over the years, Raja Petra has attracted a strong fan base and a string of lawsuits due to his no-holds-barred articles and knack for posting sensitive documents online.

In an immediate reaction, Communication and Multimedia Licensee Association (CMLA) – which represents all ISP licence holders in Malaysia – urged bloggers to practice self-regulation.

“We support the open flow of information across the Internet and a self-regulating environment,” said CMLA chairperson Afzal Abdul Rahim.

“The best way for us to find some amenable middle ground between airing opinions and being partial to community sensitivities, we strongly urge the blogosphere to practise a commensurate amount of self-moderation,” he said.

Terima Kasih Permatang Pauh: Jasa mu kami kenang


Alhamdulillah, Allah memberikan kita kejayaan. Kemenangan ini merupakan saat penentu dan bakal menentukan hala tuju negara ini.

Saya berkongsi kegembiraan yang dirasai oleh semua rakyat Malaysia pada hari bersejarah ini. Ianya merupakan kemenangan buat rakyat.

Pada 8 Mac rakyat Malaysia memilih Harapan Baru. Hari ini di saat kita bakal menyambut hari kemerdekaan, rakyat menyahut seruan tersebut. Dengan ini kita merayakan hari kemerdekaan sepertimana pendiri-pendiri negara kita inginkan-sebuah negara dan rakyat yang bersatu.

Berhadapan dengan cabaran yang getir, kita memilih untuk menumpukan perhatian kepada isu yang berkaitan dengan negara ini. Seruan kita agar negara ini bersatu, mulai mengamalkan urus tadbir yang baik dan memperkasakan ekonomi telah menguburkan kempen yang berbaur perkauman, cita-cita individu yang sering mendapat habuan hasil dari penyalahgunaan kuasa dan eksploitasi politik yang berasaskan ketakutan serta penipuan.

Kami telah menjanjikan satu lembaran baru untuk Malaysia dan kami pasti akan melaksanakan janji kami. Kami akan melaksanakan Agenda Ekonomi Malaysia untuk memulihkan keadaan ekonomi kita, membasmi kemiskinan dan membantu sesiapa sahaja yang terpinggir tanpa berasaskan kaum. Kami akan memulihkan intergriti badan kehakiman, memerangi rasuah dan membina sebuah negara yang bersatu.

Dan kami akan menjadi sebuah kerajaan yang komited untuk merealisasikan aspirasi rakyat.

Dengan kejayaan 8 Mac dan juga kemenangan malam ini saya berani untuk menegaskan kita mampu bersama-sama menghadapi segala rintangan di masa hadapan.

Kita tidak akan menang tanpa dokongan kukuh dari rakan-rakan kami dalam Pakatan Rakyat dan juga sokongan ribuan rakyat Malaysia tidak kira samada Melayu, Cina, India, Iban, Kadazan, yang datang ke Permatang Pauh, bekerja keras, memerah keringat serta mengirim doa demi memastikan kemenangan ini. Saya sangat menghargai keberanian, tekad dan kesungguhan anda semua; saya mengucapkan tahniah terhadap komitmen saudara semua terhadap prinsip bersama sebuah kemerdekaan, keadilan dan demokrasi.

Langkah kecil buat Permatang Pauh hari ini akan memastikan perubahan besar buat Malaysia.



We won! And our victory is decisive and overwhelming.

I share in the joy felt by all Malaysians on this historic day. This is a victory for the people. And it’s great to be back!

On March 8th Malaysians voted for a New Dawn. Today, on the eve of our independence day, we have reasserted that call. We celebrate our nation’s independence in the spirit that our founding fathers intended – a nation of one and a people united.

In the face of the greatest adversity, our campaign focused on the issues that matter to Malaysians. Our calls for national unity, good governance and a vibrant democracy have silenced the voices of racist chanting, those who profit from the abuse of power and exploit the politics of fear and deceit.

We have promised a New Dawn for Malaysia and we will deliver on our promise. We will forge ahead on our Malaysian Economic Agenda to revive the economy, and to uplift the poor and the marginalized of all races. We will restore the integrity of the judiciary, fight corruption and build a truly unified nation.

We will be a government that is totally committed to realizing the people’s aspirations.

With the success of the eight of March and tonight’s resounding victory, I daresay we are indeed ready to face the challenges of the future, together.

We could not have won without the firm, unwavering support of our friends in the Pakatan Rakyat and the tens of thousands of Malaysians – Malays, Chinese, Indians, Ibans, Kadhazans – who have come to Permatang Pauh to work hard for this victory. I truly appreciate your courage, conviction and valour; and congratulate your commitment to our shared principles of freedom, justice and democracy.

This may be one small step for Permatang Pauh but one giant leap for the people of Malaysia.


Pulau Pinang
Ogos 27, 2008

Salam dari Din Merican, Din Ahmad dan Shogun Shah

Kemenangan besar Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim pada malam 26hb Ogos 2008 merupakan satu sambungan perjuangan rakyat yang telah mula digerakkan pada pilihanraya umum 8hb Mac 2008. Mesej yang disampaikan ekoran keputusan pilihanraya kecil Parlimen P.44 Permatang Pauh begitu jelas sekali mengukuhkan kenyataan bahawa Rakyat kini menuntut pembebasan dan perubahan. Perubahan yang dituntut ini bukanlah sekadar menukar watak dan otak di kalangan pemimpin UMNO, tetapi perubahan yang dituntut ini adalah supaya keseluruhan jentera Barisan Nasional diundurkan daripada barisan kerajaan Malaysia.

Kini, harapan kepada perjuangan kita semua amat cerah dan makin hampir. Apabila mandat yang besar diperolehi daripada penduduk Permatang Pauh, Pakatan Rakyat dan khususnya Dato Seri Anwar kini boleh melangkah masuk ke Parlimen Malaysia dan seterusnya bertapak di Putrajaya dengan penuh keyakinan, InsyaAllah.

Wajah dan senyuman manis penduduk Permatang Pauh ketika keluar mengundi jelas mempamirkan keyakinan mereka terhadap pemilihan yang telah mereka buat. Pemilihan yang akan merupakan titik permulaan laungan MERDEKA UNTUK RAKYAT dari Permatang Pauh sehingga Putrajaya. Senyuman manis dalam keadaan kesesakan akibat hujan, sekatan jalanraya dimerata-merata oleh pihak pasukan keselamatan serta keujudan pihak Pasukan Simpanan Polis beserta, lengkap dengan senjata M16 yang agak menggerunkan seharusnya dipuji. Kepada yang datang daripada luar kawasan ini seolah olah zon peperangan.

Namun, Suara Rakyat Suara adalah Suara Keramat. Apa yang diingini oleh Rakyat jelata akan tercapai juga akhirnya, sejajar dengan konsep Ketuanan Rakyat yang diperjuangkan oleh Pakatan Rakyat.

Ucapan…Syabas!! dan terima kasih juga seharusnya dirakamkan kepada Kerajaan Pulau Pinang dibawah pimpinan Ketua Menteri Yang Berhormat Tuan Lim Guan Eng kerana telah banyak menyumbang kepada proses menegakkan demokrasi semasa pilihanraya kecil ini, khususnya apabila mengumumkan hari percutian umum kepada warga Pulau Pinang bagi membolehkan mereka mengundi pada hari yang bersejarah ini.

Kepada penduduk-penduduk di Permatang Pauh, kami amat menghargai jasa mu serta layanan baik tuan-tuan dan puan-puan serta saudara dan saudari semua terhadap kedatangan kami. Pengalaman yang manis ini akan disemaikan di dalam hati buat selamanya. Dengan ini terimalah satu lagi sajian pantut kami buat perpisahan sementara ini:

Seminggu bersama bersua muka

Kini masanya sudahpun tiba

Perpisahan sementara buat ketika

Di masa depan kita berjumpa

Janji dan Amanat tidak dilupa

Akan dipikul bersama sama

Yayasan amal menjadi Urusetia

Kepada Permatang Pauh kami berusaha