Yes. Zaid, I agree with you “[T]he Malays…are not under seige.The institutions are such that the Malays are effectively represented, and there is no way the interest of the Malays can be taken away other than through their own weakness and folly”.
I wish to add that the Malays in general are not the problem. We are a proud and hardworking people. The concern today is that UMNO leadership is incompetent, corrupt and totally undemocratic. That leadership is now using draconian laws like the ISA to silence critics, for instance, Raja Petra Kamaruddin and others now held in Kamunting, Perak, and the Official Secrets Act and other statutes to deny the public access to information on the affairs of the country.
In order to rally the Malays back to their fold, UMNO leaders including Mukhriz Mahathir and his lot have been creating the impression that the Malays are under seige. Again, this is not true. UMNO is under seige because Ketuanan Melayu is a dismal failure.
Let us separate UMNO Malay leadership from the Malay leaders like Anwar Ibrahim and Ustaz Haji Abdul Hadi Awang and their colleagues in PKR and PAS who are an integral part of Pakatan Rakyat. They want change and have plans and programmes to make the Malays competitive and dynamic in a globalised world, while ensuring that Chinese and Indian rights under the constitution are protected. To that end, all forms of discrimination must be eliminated.
We the Malays cannot be the anchor of our nation if we are weak, incompetent and corrupt. To lead, we must be examplary in our conduct.So the Malays must realise now that UMNO is no longer relevant, that UMNO is an obstacle to Malay socio-economic development, and that we need new leadership with fresh ideas and programmes (UMNO wants more of the same failed policies)— for Malays and others so that together we can be a united and proud country where there is freedom, democracy and justice.—Din Merican
Zaid: Ketuanan Melayu has failed
|October 31, 2008|
The ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ model has failed, declared former de facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim in an incisive speech at the LawAsia 2008 conference in Kuala Lumpur this morning.
“It has resulted in waste of crucial resources, energy and time and has distracted from the real issues confronting the country,” said Zaid, who criticised the race-based policy despite being a member of the ruling Umno party which was set up to safeguard Malay interests.
Zaid also noted that ‘deputy premier in waiting’ Muhyiddin Yassin had suggested the need for a closed-door forum for leaders of the Barisan Nasional (BN) to develop a common stand, a renewed national consensus grounded on the social contract.
“This is positive step but it should include all political leaders and be premised on the social contract that was the foundation of independence,” said the lawyer by training who was made senator and subsequently minister entrusted with the task of reforming the judiciary by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi following the March 8 general election.
He quit last month in protest against the arrest of three individuals under the Internal Security Act (ISA) which provides for detention without trial.
Zaid said March 8 was a clear indicator that the ruling BN coalition no longer exclusively speaks for the people.
He also underscored the importance of promoting discourse and dialogue so that Malaysians learn to talk and to listen to one another again.”Communication and trust amongst the people must be re-established,” he said.
The former minister called on the BN government to abandon its ‘reworked’ concept of the social contract and embrace a fresh perspective borne out of discussions and agreements made in good faith with all the communities.
“It is time for us all to practise a more transparent and egalitarian form of democracy and to recognise and respect the rights and dignity of all the citizens of this country.”
Mukhriz singled out for criticism
Singling out Mukhriz Mahathir for criticism, Zaid said the UMNO Youth chief aspirant typifies what is perceived as the kind of UMNO leader who appeals to the right-wing of Malay polity.
Zaid also referred to the recent remarks made by the son of former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad that there was no need for law and judicial reforms as it would not benefit the Malays,
“That he may be right is sad as it leads to the ossification of values that will only work against the interests of the party and the nation,” Zaid lamented in his 16-page speech.
“This type of thinking may pave the way to a suggestion in the future that we may as well do away with general elections altogether as they may not be good for the Malays for, if the justice that a revitalised rule of law would allow for is not to the benefit of the Malays, what is? More inefficiency, more corruption and a more authoritarian style of government perhaps.
“We are a deeply divided nation, adrift for our having abandoned democratic traditions and the rule of law in favour of a political ideology that serves no one save those who rule.”
According to Zaid, the obsession with the Ketuanan Melayu doctrine has destroyed something precious in Malaysians.
“It makes us lose our sense of balance and fairness. When a certain Chinese lady was appointed head of a state development corporation, having served in that corporation for 33 years, there were protests from Malay groups because she is Chinese,” he said referring to the controversy involving the appointment of Low Siew Moi as acting head of the Selangor Development Cooperation (PKNS).
“A new economic vision is necessary, one that is more forward looking in outlook and guided by positive values that would serve to enhance cooperation amongst the races. This will encourage change for the better, to develop new forms of behaviour and shifts of attitudes, to believe that only economic growth will serve social equity, to aspire to a higher standard of living for all regardless of race.
“We need to meaningfully acknowledge that wealth is based on insight, sophisticated human capital and attitude change. A new dynamics focused on cooperation and competition will spur innovation and creativity.
“Some might say that this is a fantasy. I disagree. How do we go about transforming the culture and values of the bumiputeras so that their ability to create new economic wealth can be sustained?
“By changing our political and legal landscapes with freedom and democracy.”
On that note, Zaid said Mahathir was right to have asked the Malays to embrace modernity but the 82-year-old statesman fell short by only focusing on the physical aspects of modernity.
“He was mistaken to think all that was needed to change the Malay mindset was science and technology. He should have also promoted the values of freedom, human rights and the respect of the law.
“If affirmative action is truly benchmarked on the equitable sharing of wealth that is sustainable, then we must confront the truth and change our political paradigm, 40 years of discrimination and subsidy have not brought us closer. There is a huge economic dimension to the rule of law and democracy that this government must learn to appreciate.”
Conflicts of jurisdiction require resolution
Zaid conceded that relationship between Islam, the state, law and politics in Malaysia is complex.
“How do we manage legal pluralism in Malaysia? Can a cohesive united Bangsa Malaysia be built on a bifurcated foundation of Syariah and secular principles? Will non-Muslims have a say on the operation of Islamic law when it affects the general character and experience of the nation? This is a difficult challenge and the solution has to be found.”
He quoted leading Muslim legal scholar Abdullah Ahmad an-Na’im who believed that a distinction should be made between state and politics.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, he noted, believes that Islam can be the mediating instrument between state and politics through the principles and institutions of constitutionalism and the protection of equal human rights of all citizens.
“Whatever the formula, we can only devise a system that rejects absolutism and tyranny and allows for freedom and plurality if we are able to first agree that discourse and dialogue is vital. Democracy and respect for the rights and dignity of all Malaysians is the prerequisite to this approach.”
Zaid stressed that the conflicts of jurisdiction in Malaysia require resolution.
The civil courts, he said, are “denuded of jurisdiction” to deal with matters that fall within the jurisdiction of the Syariah court.
“No court has been given the jurisdiction and power to resolve issues that may arise in both the Syariah courts and the civil courts. The present separation of jurisdictions presupposes that matters will fall nicely into one jurisdiction or the other.
However, human affairs are never that neat. What happens to the children of a marriage where one party converts to Islam and the other party seeks recourse in the civil court? Or when the Syariah Court pronounces that a deceased person was a Muslim despite his family contesting the conversion?
“Or where the receiver of a company is restrained from dealing with a property by a Syariah Court order arising out of a family dispute?
Where do the aggrieved parties go? I had suggested the establishment of the constitutional court, but that plea has fallen on deaf ears.”
Malays not under seige
The former minister had also touched on the use of draconian measures, which according to him have seen a marked increase in dealing with political and social tensions.
“Some people say that groups such as Hindraf (Hindu Rights Action Force) advocate violence and therefore this justifies the use of such measures. They may have overlooked the fact that violence begets violence.
“Was not the detention of Hindraf leaders under the ISA itself an act of aggression, especially to people who consider themselves marginalised and without recourse?
“It is time that the people running this country realise that we will not be able to resolve conflicts and differences peacefully if we ourselves do not value peaceful means in dealing with problems.”
Zaid argued that the situation had been aggravated by the absence of an even-handed approach in dealing with organisations such as Hindraf.
“While I applaud the prime minister for calling upon the Indian community to reject extremism, should not a similar call be made on the Malay community and (Malay daily) Utusan Malaysia?
I call on the prime minister, both the outgoing and the incoming, to deal with such issues fairly. Start by releasing the Hindraf leaders detained under the ISA. The release would create a window for constructive dialogue on underlying causes of resentment.
“I also appeal for the release of (Malaysia Today editor) Raja Petra (Kamarudin) from ISA detention. He is a champion of free speech. His writings, no matter how offensive they may be to some, cannot by any stretch of the imagination be seen as a threat to the national security of this country.”
The Malays, Zaid said, are now a clear majority in numbers and the fear of their being outnumbered is baseless.
“They are not under seige. The institutions of government are such that the Malays are effectively represented, and there is no way the interest of the Malays can be taken away other than through their own weakness and folly.”
Monthly Archives: October 2008
The Prime Minister and His Deputy must be made to face a Royal Commission of Inquiry
Eurocopter scandal: No inspection done on choppers
|Syed Jaymal Zahiid | October 30, 2008|
Defence Deputy Minister Abu Seman Yusop received a beating from Pakatan Rakyat MPs today when he openly admitted that the multi-billion ringgit military helicopters did not undergo any physical inspection.
Abu Seman, in his Budget 2009 winding-up speech, said the ministry’s technical committee had decided to buy 12 units of the Eurocopter Cougar EC 725 helicopters based on documents alone.
He also took pains to explain that the purchase of the helicopters had cost the government RM1.6 billion, instead of the RM1.1 billion figure given by the ministry’s secretary-general Abu Bakar Abdullah in a press statement last week.
His revelation sparked an uproar in the House and prompted several Pakatan Rakyat MPs, led by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, to grill him.
“How is it that a government procurement as big as this did not undergo any physical inspection? I have eight years of experience as finance minister and we have never make procurements without first inspecting (the items),” thundered Anwar.
M Manogaran (DAP-Teluk Intan) took a swipe at the deputy minister, saying that “even when you purchase something as small as a Perodua Kancil, you would want to inspect it first, what more when it is helicopters worth RM1.6 billion.”
Anwar said various aspects have to be taken into consideration like the safety of the pilots should there be any defects in the helicopters and it was absurd of the government not to make such deliberations when procuring the helicopters.
He demanded answers as to why conflicting figures have been cited on the cost of the helicopters.
Abu Seman then replied that it was a mistake on his part as he had overlooked the fact that the services charge and ‘offset package’ like supplementary military hardware had added RM500 million to the original RM1.1 billion to make it RM1.6 billion.
Set up Royal Commission
At a press conference later, Anwar said he could not accept the reasons given by Abu Seman although he believes that the deputy minister was only “reading the text provided to him by his superior” and was not involved in the matter.
“This is a shocking revelation by the deputy minister. A procurement this big without a physical inspection being done is swindling the people’s money par excellence.
“How can you allocate RM1.6 billion for something that you have never even seen or (when you don’t) know if it works or not.”
He said he could “vouch on behalf of the Malaysian army that they would definitely want to inspect the helicopters before purchasing it.”
Asked what he thought of all this, Anwar reiterated his demand for the government to set up a royal commission to probe the matter.
Earlier today, a decision on Anwar’s emergency motion to set up a royal commission to probe not just into the Eurocopter scandal but two other ‘mega-projects’ was deferred to Monday by the speaker.
A RM11.31 billion high-speed broadband project and the RM4.26 billion purchase of the Bank Internasional Indonesia by Maybank were the other projects Anwar had wanted to government to probe.
We can want a free and independent media and Mr. Cheek is off tangent.
No ‘envelope’ journalism in Malaysia
|S Pathmawathy | October 30, 2008|
Malaysia does not practise ‘envelope’ journalism which is the norm in certain developing countries, claimed Information Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek today.
Speaking to reporters at the launch of World Development Information Day in Kuala Lumpur, the minister also said that absolute freedom of the press does not guarantee transparency or a dwindling of corruption.
“In countries that have press freedom, the people hope that the press will play the part of the ‘fourth estate’ in order to reduce corruption and promote good governance.
“But there are countries, where the press is granted unconditional freedom. However, this is not reflected in the level of corruption of the country. The press is free but corruption is still rampant,” he said.
In his keynote address earlier, Shabery said he was perplexed that although Malaysia has achieved “tremendous progress” in terms of income level, infrastructure facilities, investment opportunities and more, it was ranked far below in the world press freedom index.
“Malaysia has been undeservedly ranked as a country with little press freedom, very much below many other countries known to be aid-dependent and not even among the top 20 trading nations.
“This sometimes begs the question whether absolute or near absolute press freedom will bring about greater well-being for the people,” he noted.
“Just because we have curbs on sexually-explicit materials, are less tolerant about gay and lesbian rights or sensitive religious issues… we have been unfairly attacked as having an oppressive media environment.”
The minister said some counties which are ranked higher in the press freedom index may not weigh in equally with their corruption index.
Shabery refrained from providing examples of the supposedly corrupt countries but said it is a “well-known fact that some countries… practise ‘envelope’ journalism”.
“This shows that the connection between the free press and battle against corruption is not clear. It is not based on professionalism but on favouritism.
“The media which is supposed to keep watch on the government, turns out to be crooked and corrupt as they accept ‘envelopes’ from popular figures and in turn provide more coverage,” he explained.
The minister reiterated that such practices are not condoned by the government and the practice has not been heard of in this country.
Shabery also expressed hope that the proposed national media council will be established soon to monitor media activities and enable recourse against malicious reporting.
Asked whether the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) will be repealed, the minister said he would “like to see” less regulation but affirmed that he has no jurisdiction to decide on repeal of the law.
“Even in developed countries, although there is no need for a printing licence, they have a council to oversee the media to ensure that the media does not commit slander,” said Shabery.
He said the council is necessary to ensure the “do’s and don’ts” and that ethical reporting is adhered to in order to protect society.
“Given the far-reaching impact of the media we hope that only level-headed and responsible people will rum media organisations. We also hope that one day anyone can publish a newspaper without having to be subjected to many rules and regulation.
“Looking ahead the government takes the view that the media industry should expand in line with the nation’s progress… (where) people will have access to greater variety of sources of information and entertainment.
“However, one should be reminded that the business viability of such endeavours in a competitive environment depend very much on their content and presentation.
“We have already laid the foundations to open up the media industry but we need to open up at our own pace. But open up we will.”
Pesanan Hishamuddin Rais kepada Che Det dan UMNO
Khamis, Oktober 30, 2008
STATISTIK EKUITI DAN BUMIPUTERA TIADA MAKNA
Tian Chua MP dan Hishamuddin Rais
Pembohongan ada pelbagai bentuk. Ada orang yang membuat janji tetapi tidak ditunaikan. Ada parti politik yang membuat manifesto pilihanraya tetapi sesudah menang dan berkuasa manifesto ini dilupakan. Ada menteri yang berjanji akan telus tetapi apabila berkuasa menjadi kukubesi. Ada menteri yang berjanji menentang nepotisma tetapi apabila berkuasa yang diutamakan ialah kaum keluarga. Semua ini pembohongan yang kita semua tahu, sedar dan faham.
Ada lagi satu pembohongan yang namanya – Statistik. Malah statistik adalah pembohong yang paling tersusun lagi licik lengok jalannya. Saya tidak pernah percaya kepada statistik. Saya menolak statistik sebagai patukan untuk dijadikan rujukan. Ini kerana selama ini saya melihat bahawa statistik ini boleh dimanipulasi dan ditunggang terbalikan. Statistik juga dijadikan senjata untuk mengolah pandangan orang ramai.
Mari kita lihat kes statistik tentang pencapaian ekonomi Bumiputera yang terus dihebohkan. Kes statistik ini menjadi heboh dan sengaja diheboh-hebohkan untuk tujuan mendapat sokongan politik. Mula-mula keluar satu angka statistik mengatakan bahawa Dasar Ekonomi Baru telah berjaya mencapai matlamat. Bumiputera sudah memiliki 45% ekuiti ekonomi negara ini.
Kemudian, satu lagi statistik yang mengatakan Dasar Ekonomi Baru belum berjaya. Bumiputera hanya memiliki hampir 19% sahaja. Kemudian satu lagi angka statistik keluar – bukan yang ini dan bukan yang itu – tetapi dipaparkan satu angka baru. Tiga angka statistik dimunculkan kepada umum. Membingongkan ? Tidak. Lupakan sahaja kerana ketiga-tiga angka ini tidak memiliki apa-apa untuk kita semua.
Saya tidak peduli sama ada Bumiputera memiliki 50%, 60% atau 100% ekuiti ekonomi negara ini. Angka-angka ini tidak memberi apa-apa makna kepada saya. Hujah saya menolak angka statistik ini cukup senang. Statistik ini hanyalah satu ‘omong kosong’. Statistik adalah angka-angka yang dikumpul tetapi dalam kehidupan harian kita ianya tidak bermakna.
Kalaupun Bumiputera memiliki 70% atau 90% ekuiti ekonomi negara ini, untuk rakyat seperti kita, ianya tidak akan mendatangkan apa-apa perubahan yang hakiki. Kalau kita Bumiputera naik bas tambangnya sama dengan yang Bukan Bumiputera, beli sayur harganya sama, bil lektrik, bil air dan harga top-up pun sama. Setiap bulan sewa bilik harganya sama. Di hujung tahun kos kehidupan bertambah – Bumiputera atau Bukan Bumiputera. Pemilikan ekonomi Bumiputera ini tidak ada sangkut paut dengan kehidupan harian kita, walaupun kita Bumiputera.
Katakanlah Bumiputera dalam negara ini telah memiliki 50% dari jumlah ekuiti ekonomi negara. Saya cukup yakin 50% ekonomi ini tidak akan dimiliki oleh semua Bumiputera. Jumlah 50% ekonomi negara ini mungkin dimiliki oleh 10 orang, 20 orang, 200 atau 200,000 orang Bumiputera. Apa yang terjadi kepada 16 juta Bumiputera yang lain? Mereka juga Bumiputera dan apabila statistik ini dirangka kewujudaan mereka juga dihitung sama. Jelas disini statistik ini tidak memiliki apa-apa makna.
Dalam ekonomi kapitalis, setiap individu dan warga diberi kebebasan untuk memiliki sebanyak mana kekayaan. Dalam ekonomi kapitalis disediakan ruang dan galakan untuk warga mencari dan mengumpul kekayaan. Jika kita faham ini maka bermakna kita semua sebagai warga akan mendapat peluang yang sama. Salah. Kita TIDAK akan memiliki peluang yang sama dalam ekonomi kapitalis. Peluang ini tidak wujud untuk kita yang tidak memiliki modal. Hanya mereka yang memiliki modal sahaja yang akan dapat mempergunakan peluang itu.
Bagitu juga dalam hal Dasar Ekonomi Baru ini. DEB ini telah menobatkan bahawa setiap Bumiputera di Malaysia berhak untuk memiliki 30% ekuiti ekonomi negara. Ini dongeng. Ini juga statistik. Mak Jah dari Felda Taib Andak yang memohon untuk mendapat projek membuat Istana Negara yang berharga 400 juta ringgit itu tidak akan mendapat melawan Maya Maju Sdn.Bhd. Mak Jah dan syarikat Maya Maju ini sama , mereka berstatus Bumiputera. Tetapi hakikatnya adalah berlainan. Ada hukum-hukum dan syarat-syarat lain yang TIDAK bertulis. Bumiputera ini hanya satu dongeng sama seperti statistik. Ianya tidak memiliki apa-apa makna yang hakiki.
Heboh-heboh statistik baru-baru ini bertujuan untuk mengolah persetujuan rakyat terutama Bumiputera untuk terus menyokong DEB. Dan terus menyokong gerombolan United Malays National Organisation. Amat jelas dari heboh-heboh ini ada dua pembohongan. Bohong pertama statistik. Bohong kedua ialah Bumiputera. Dua pembohongan ikat berikat.
Saya sedar ramai yang terpengaruh dengan pembohongan ini. Di sini saya ingin menerangkan terutama yang menganggap diri mereka Bumiputera. Saya harap mereka sedar bahawa konsep Bumiputera itu tidak ada apa-apa makna. Konsep ini juga sama dengan peratus statistik pencapaian ekuiti ekonomi Bumiputera – kedua-dua hanyalah ‘dondang sayang’ yang kedengaran tetapi tidak dapat dimasukkan ke dalam saku.
Selama 30 tahun ini bunyi perkataan Bumiputera telah dijadikan kempen oleh gerombolan United Malays National Organisation untuk mengumpul sokongan terutama dari orang Melayu. Rasa saya, manusia Bumiputera ini telah lama berdongeng bukan kerana ganja tetapi kerana mendengar bunyi dan statistik Bumiputera. Masanya telah sampai untuk kita bangun dari terus berdongeng dan berkhayal. Sila lihat disekeliling dan perhatikan apa yang sedang berlaku.
Ini bukan labun atau kempen politik kosong agar saya mendapat menjadi YB. Kalau tidak percaya apa yang saya tulis ini, sila pergi lawat Kampung Chubadak dekat Sentul di mana tanah yang di teroka oleh Bumiputera berpuluh-puluh tahun dahulu akan dirampas oleh pemaju… opps saya tidak jelas pemaju jenis mana – mungkin Bumiputera atau mungkin dari Nigeria atau mungkin dari gerombolan United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) yang buat ‘joint venture’ dengan gerombolan Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA).
Atau sila pergi ke Kampung Berembang di belakang Jalan Ampang – tidak jauh dari KLCC opps…maaf kerana nama ini nama Mat Saleh. Lihat di mana rumah-rumah Bumiputera telah dibumikan. Atau ke Plentong di Johor Bahru. Lihat bumiputera anak beranak ini sedang tidur di atas bumi. Ini bukan statistik. Ini adalah manusia hidup yang boleh kita pegang dan lawan bercakap. Mereka inilah yang tidak termasuk dalam kajian dari pakar-pakar statistik yang asli mahupun dari pakar-pakar statistik ‘cap ayam’.(tt)—Hishamuddin Rais
UMNO Proposes, Malaysians Pray and God Disposes
Najib the prince by Liew Chin Tong, MP for Bukit Bendera
source: The Malaysian Insider
October 30 — While premier-in-waiting Datuk Seri Najib Razak is a household name, few know what he stands for and what to expect of his premiership.
“The prince”, in its various meanings, perhaps offers a crude and simplistic insight into Najib’s possible behaviour as Prime Minister. With less than two weeks to go for UMNO divisional meetings and no rival nomination as yet to his candidacy as president, Najib looks set to become Malaysia’s sixth Prime Minister in March next year.
It has been a long way to the top for the eldest son of Malaysia’s second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein.
Najib’s career had a head-start because of his prestigious family name, but as the skeletons in the cupboard appear to pile up, Najib faces ever more challenges.
Born in 1953, Najib contested his late father’s seat of Pekan when the latter died in office in 1976. He was then slightly below 23 years old and still holds the record as the youngest Malaysian ever to enter Parliament.
Najib held several deputy ministerial appointments between 1978 and 1982. In 1982, at the age of 29, he was made the Menteri Besar of Pahang. He served two stints as Minister of Defence (1990-1995, 1999-2008), and served as Minister of Youth and Sports (1986-1990) and Minister of Education (1995-1999).
A decade ago, Najib was the other candidate in the race to fill the No. 2 post in UMNO and government left vacant as a result of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sacking.
But as Anwar was dismissed on alleged personal improprieties and misuse of power, then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad selected the unimpressive but religious and squeaky clean Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as his deputy and later his successor.
Najib almost lost his parliamentary seat in the 1999 general election, winning with a 241-vote majority.He tried in vain to derail Abdullah’s ascension in mid-2003 and later swallowed his pride to serve as Abdullah’s deputy since 2004, biding his time to make his next move.
In the lead-up to the 2006 UMNO general assembly, Najib and Dr Mahathir were seen preparing the ground for a showdown with Abdullah. But Dr Mahathir was immobilised by a heart attack while Najib was mired in the unfolding Altantunya case. It was thus smooth sailing for Abdullah.
As support for Abdullah within and outside UMNO collapses due to the poor performance of Umno/BN in the general election and Abdullah’s failure to work a post-election second wind, Najib finally comes close to the job he probably sees as his birthright.
Apart from his personal failures, Abdullah’s downfall is, of course, in part the work of Najib the prince, the master of palace manoeuvres. Najib’s camp was said to be involved in sabotaging candidates parachuted by the Fourth Floor during the March 8 general election.
Initially, Najib reluctantly accepted a deal to succeed Abdullah in June 2010 but, in cohorts with Dr Mahathir and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, a groundswell of disaffection against Abdullah was manufactured, leaving Abdullah little choice but to agree to retire earlier.
Years ago in 1987, with an impressive power base and holding the balance of power in the Team A and Team B fight, in a move not unlike palace betrayal, Najib abandoned the Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah camp at the last minute and contributed to Dr Mahathir’s narrow win.
Having the most extensive internal networks within the government and UMNO, and long years of experience in factional trading in UMNO, unlike the hapless Abdullah, Najib is likely to be master of his own destiny in the twists and turns of Umno’s palace.
Najib may also excel as the Machiavellian prince, ever prepared to be hated so long as he is able to maintain power.
Even Abdullah, a man more humane in his outlook than most of his colleagues, failed to push for more civil liberties and democratic reform. Najib is unlikely to be a new democrat, as the fear of becoming Malaysia’s Gorbachev looms large. The Machiavellian-Mahathir recipe of authoritarianism will probably be reincarnated in Najib’s government.
Najib the prince’s Achilles heel could be his political blue blood and his inability to comprehend the common man’s life and needs. During the fuel hike in 2006, Najib’s “change lifestyle” statement was not unlike the “let them eat cake” comment commonly attributed to Maria Antoinette.
The alleged wrongdoings in the multi-billion Eurocopter and Sukhoi deals are just examples that add to the agony of low-level military personnel and reinforce Najib’s image as one who only cares for big-ticket weaponry.
The RM5 billion Valuecap move to prop up the market by using the life savings of the common man with the Employees Provident Fund is another blunder that manifests Najib’s failure to feel the layman’s pain in the face of the impending economic meltdown.
The Najib premiership is likely to be a combination of Najib the master of palace wayang kulit, Najib the Machiavellian authoritarian prince and Najib the blue blood who fails to understand the ordinary people.
Court throws out Munawar’s appeal: what is next in his quest for justice?
|October 30, 2008|
The Federal Court today threw out an appeal by Munawar A Anees for his sodomy charge be remitted to the High Court so that he can argue his case.
Chief Justice Zaki Azmi, who sat with Federal Court judges Nik Hashim Nik Abdul Rahman and Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, delivered an oral decision, stating that their written judgment would made known later.
Munawar’s counsel, Manjeet Singh Dhillon, had asked the country’s highest court to quash the Court of Appeal’s decision on the High Court’s dismissal of Munawar’s appeal against his sodomy conviction and sentence, and to order the High Court to allow him to argue his case.
Munawar, Anwar Ibrahim’s former speech-writer, had served six months in prison in 1998 after pleading guilty to allowing the then deputy premier to sodomise him.
Manjeet had submitted that High Court judge Ahmad Maarop had struck out Munawar’s appeal without hearing the merits of the case and the Court of Appeal had dismissed Munawar’s appeal against the High Court decision without giving any grounds.The Kuala Lumpur High Court had dismissed the case four years ago after Munawar, who is now living in United States, was unable to attend the hearing.
The Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court had on September 19, 1998, sentenced Munawar to six months’ jail after he pleaded guilty to allowing Anwar to sodomise him at Anwar’s house in Jalan Setia Murni, Bukit Damansara, in March 1993.
Munawar has served his sentence but filed the appeal in a bid to clear his name.
Anwar’s former speech writer
Munawar, a Pakistani-American writer who is a biologist by training and an internationally well-respected Islamic intellectual, was detained under the Internal Security Act on Sept 14, 1998.
The former aide of the ousted deputy prime minister was later charged alongside Anwar’s adopted brother, Sukma Darmawan Sasmitaat Madja.
They were convicted after pleading guilty to “allowing themselves to be sodomised” by Anwar.
They were charged with committing the offences at Anwar’s residences in 1993 and 1998 but no specific dates or time were given. They were each sentenced to six months’ jail.
However, in a statutory declaration issued 10 years ago, Munawar claimed that he had been forced to confess following brutal torture while he was in detention.
In the statutory declaration, he claimed that Special Branch officers had abused him mentally and physically.
After serving his sentence, he left for the United States where he currently works as a project management consultant with the US-based John Templeton Foundation.