Malaysians, you truly deserve this Malaysiakini recognition: Newsmaker of 2008

Avoid Lying: New Year Resolution

Yes, my fellow Malaysians, you have done it. You truly deserve this Malaysiakini recognition as newsmaker of 2008. Congratulations, but let us not rest on our laurels.

Because of you, politics of our country can never be the same again. You have overcome fear of intimidation, marched with Anwar Ibrahim, Ustaz Haji Hadi Awang and Lim Kit Siang and their PR colleagues and BERSIH to our King’s Palace by the thousands despite threats of FRU brutality and chemical sprays to demand electoral reforms, participated in ISA vigils and helped Raja Petra, refused to accept the spin and empty promises of the Badawi administration and his UMNO-BN cronies, and voted against Barisan Nasional in the March 8 General Election. As Malaysiakini says, “you have all sent out the unequivocal message that you are no longer spectators, but movers and shakers of the nation”.

We can no longer be bystanders and allow politicians to act in defiance of the rule of law and we must continue our struggle for change and fight to free those ISA detainees who are still held in Hotel Kamunting and denied their right to have legal recourse. 2009 will be another critical year in our political history. We must take to the streets peacefully— if we have to– so that our concerns will be listened to and addressed by the government of the day.

As a blogger with the Raja Petra Group, I will walk with you in the name of justice and will write relentlessly on issues which are of our mutual concern. As a member of Parti KeADILan Rakyat, I will serve its cause for freedom, democracy and justice with renewed vigor.

Let us make 2009 a year where we can begin to transform our country into a liberal and democratic state where men and women are truly free to be what they want to and can be. We have the power to make our country a great and respected member of the international community.

Government should get out of our way; it must stop meddling into our daily lives. We are not a bunch of kids requiring nannies. We have shown the government that we can decide what is good for ourselves, families, friends and our country.

Mediocrity, racism, religious bigotry, corruption, and sheer incompetence must be things of the past.

Happy New Year, my Malaysian brothers and sisters. We have unfinished business to settle and we cannot afford to waste time. Welcome 2009 with confidence and together we will meet the challenges of slow economic growth, rising unemployment and inflation. Hidup dan majulah Malaysia.—Din Merican

And the Newsmaker of 2008 is…

December 31, 2008

The signs first surfaced late last year, but the intelligence reports, the alarming graphs and the ground readings were ignored.


Was it complacency or sheer arrogance that led the authorities to embark on a mission of vilification, arrests and charges in court?

The ‘shock and awe’ tactics did not work. Out of this, instead, grew the courage of convictions that was expressed in the outpouring of disgust which swept away decades of fear, differences and indifference.

For thinking the unthinkable and daring to achieve it, Malaysiakini proudly declares that its Newsmaker of the Year is…

…the rakyat!

newsmaker 2008 cartoonWe salute the silent majority which was sufficiently rankled to find its voice especially in cyberspace, a frontier which dissenters exploited to maximum benefit.

Blogs mushroomed – including that of the never-been silent former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He kept up a constant bombardment of successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, his ambitious son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin and members of the Fourth Floor.

Ordinary people – as never before – huddled in desperate contemplation of a nation falling apart on the political, economic and social fronts.

They found unity in the diversity – everyone was pissed off but for different reasons, and there was no dearth of deep-seated, festering complaints:

  • the spike in fuel prices and knock-on effects on the cost of living, while ministers continued to enjoy all-expenses paid holidays;
  • the perceived unfairness to non-Muslims caught up in cases of conversion to Islam;
  • the recurring episodes of crass, even crude, remarks in Parliament by those elected to represent the people;
  • the perceived persecution of the Catholic community over the use of ‘Allah’ to mean ‘God’ in the Bahasa Malaysia version of their newsletter, which almost lost its publishing licence, and the confiscation of Bibles;
  • the continuing fallout from rhetoric over ‘Malay supremacy’, bumiputera rights, racist remarks and racially-divisive politics;
  • the litany of grievances in Sabah, where locals alleged they were in danger of becoming strangers in their own land because of ‘favoured’ immigrants; and
  • the constant leakages from the national coffer, from the disappearance of savings in reduced fuel subsidies to the unholy haste to invest in indelible ink that could not be used.

The hammer-blows fell with telling accuracy on a ‘selfish, heartless, arrogant, ineffective, greedy and inconsiderate’ BN government led by the sleep-deprived Abdullah.

bersih 1st year anniversary pj vigil arrest 111108 amcorpIn January, a group of disgruntled young Malaysians even handed him a pillow and bolster, in recognition of his all-too-frequent ability to catch 40 winks in the middle of official business.

And still Abdullah was oblivious to the shift in sentiments – perhaps he believed a little too much in his pantang dicabar brand of governance and politics.

The final nail was supplied by Barisan Nasional component parties themselves, which imploded over a squabble for plum seats ahead of the general election on March 8.

All this while, the opposition front avoided pitfalls of the past and presented the public with a plausible alternative. Their veterans and newbies drew mammoth crowds to their ceramah nationwide, coaxing voters to shed inhibitions and embrace a ‘new dawn’.

The Year of the Rakyat

As with the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) and the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) in 2007, the general election of March 8, 2008 stamped the arrival of a new force in Malaysia.

In this, the Year of the Rakyat, Malaysians were shaken awake from deep slumber and kicked out of their comfort zone to make a conscious choice that, in turn, has shaken up the status quo.

YOU, the defiant, threw out the rotten, the corrupt and the inept in an election that was nothing short of inspiring.

YOU, the fearless, continued to press for reform and speak up against discrimination and injustice.

YOU, the marginalised, showed up with a six-year-old’s handwritten letters, teddy bears and roses to appeal to the better nature of those who have locked up husbands and fathers. When outlawed, you have refused to disappear.

YOU, the outraged, have turned up – some with young children – at weekly protests and candlelight vigils against the Internal Security Act, risking arrest in the process.

YOU, the supportive, wore T-shirts declaring ‘I’m with RPK’, paraded these before watchful eyes, and stood with blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin in his darkest moments of captivity.

YOU, the imaginative, gate-crashed the biggest party of the year – the UMNO ministers’ Hari Raya ‘open house’ – to take your message to the highest leaders of the land.

YOU, the fed-up, protested the hike in fuel prices in your thousands and later, the fatwa against tomboys, albeit in a smaller number.

YOU, the brave, stood against bulldozers and barricades for days on end, resisting the demand to pay toll charges.

YOU, the indefatigable, cycled for 16 days from north and south to Kuala Lumpur, campaigning for attention to unresolved issues and impending concerns, in the face of police harassment to the last.

YOU have all sent out the unequivocal message that you are no longer spectators, but movers and shakers of the nation.

Yes, YOU are indeed worthy recipients of the Newsmaker of the Year award.

Report by Malaysiakini team.

9 thoughts on “Malaysians, you truly deserve this Malaysiakini recognition: Newsmaker of 2008

  1. Dear Dino Beano,

    I had always admired your single-mindedness in delving into the core of things, political or otherwise. But as a political apologist that you are attempting to be, you will fail miserably. Your recent posting on the frivolousness of criticisms against the Menteri Besar of Selangor, coupled with your posting of Stanley’s piece incorporating Tony Phua’s and Theresa Kok’s defence of the faltering MB, are lame attempts to prop up an administration that is out of its depths.

    To expect the voters of Selangor to be joyously impressed with the notion that there is now no more political patronage and abuse of power under the new administration is an insult to their intelligence. One do not buy a new car to expect engine-oil leakages – on the contrary, one is to expect that the performance of the new car far exceed the old jalopy one has just traded in. Get my drift?

    What difference is it to the rakyat that there may be no new patronage, if the previous government’s patronage is allowed to continue to flourish? The MB may be keeping his hands clean to enhance his good-boy image but the rakyat knows the leakages are still happening and it’s hurting them.

    The voters did not vote in Pakatan Rakyat to serve to the MB a platform on which can confirm that he is an honest man! As a matter of fact, they didn’t even do it to find out if the MB is good manager of state’s resources.

    They want a leader. One that can catch their imagination that a government can be all-encompassing to better their lot. Not a sectoral approach for a fiscal and managerial report card that has all A’s but fail pathetically at impacting the rakyat’s sense of well-being.

    The voters voted Pakatan Rakyat in because they want CHANGE. Is he is an agent of that change? He needs more time? Ten months is not time enough, for a start, to at least to remove all crony elements in the hundreds of GLCs and state government agencies? Ten months is not time enough to draw up and elucidate a plan of change by which he accounts himself to? Or does he still prefer an adhoc seat-of-the pants reactionary method of governance?

    His apologists may rationalise all they want. Some of what they say are quite acceptable. But the rakyat expect more than mere pussyfooting by their leader at initiating changes. They want a leader that is BOLD and treats the rakyat’s interest as way above his own indulgence at being a good manager of everything numerical. In many ways that is a form of moral corruption too. If he doesn’t listen well, one day he will be in above his head but it is PKR that drowns.


  2. what is so great about Malaysians ?

    there is not a place in this country that is clean tidy and orderly.
    rubbish is everywhere from the drain, pavement the market , housing estate whether its the front or back lane, the food court , the industrial area.

    apart from all these nonsense the electrical pole , traffic light pole, telephone pole , signboard pole are all in slanting position.
    why is it all those majlis perbandaran from the bottom to the top
    are not sacked when it is proven they cannot perform all these years.

    employ only those who really care about cleanliness and love the environment and reward them dearly.

    we voted for change and changes are what we want to see.

  3. there is not a place in this country that is clean tidy and orderly.

    rubbish is everywhere from the drain, pavement the market , housing estate whether its the front or back lane, the food court , the industrial area.

    apart from all these nonsense the electrical pole , traffic light pole, telephone pole , signboard pole are all in slanting position.

    why is it all those majlis perbandaran from the bottom to the top are not sacked when it is proven they cannot perform all these years.

    employ only those who really care about cleanliness and love the environment and reward them dearly.

    we voted for change and changes are what we want to see.

  4. Kepada Saudara Din Merican,

    Harapan saya agar pada tahun 2009 ini
    Abang Din akan lebih proaktif di Tropicana.

    Harapan dan doa saya, semoga ALLAH swt akan
    merahmati dan memberkati usaha kita semua.

    Salam takzim

  5. While you people in Bolehland have many things to complain about, you have not ponder to count your blessings. You are too negative. Look things at the positive angle. When compared to our southern neighbour, Singapore, we are truly very fortunate indeed.

    While Singapore continues to add up more world-class achievements to their laurels, this is normal and expected. Anything that is predictable is not exciting. Life needs to be unpredictable and full of fun.

    In Singapore everything is so clinical, tidy and well-oiled; and mind you, there are many things that Singaporeans cannot do that the denizens in Bolehland can. Try throwing a cigarette butt in the street and you would be fined immediately. In Bolehland we can throw all types of rubbish in the streets, in the drains, in the rivers, in the parks and we can still live happily without being burdened with fines.

    Rivers in Singapore are sparkling clean all the time but that is nothing to shout about. Our rivers outdo those in Singapore: one moment it can be like teh-tarik and the next moment it can change to kopi-oh, milo or sparkling mineral water.

    In Singapore the politicians are very predictable and dull. They are efficient, their hand are very clean, they are intelligent and of high caliber, and they don’t talk rubbish in Parliament. So what? It’s all predictable and dull and devoid of colour and entertainment; but that is expected of them. But in Bolehland we don’t need to have politicians of high caliber and intelligence, but they must be colourful and entertaining. We have all types of animal species in our politicians: orang-hutans, monyets, monkeys, tigers, lions, kataks and ulars, lembus, kerebaus, name it we have all of them. In Parliament we can see all types of animal antics from such colorful characters such as Nasri, Bung Moktar, Khairy, Botak Hamid, and the Sleepy Beauty who can sleep peacefully while pandemonium broke out in the august house. Do you find such entertainment in the Singaporean parliament? No, it’s so business-like and so boring. In Bolehland our politicians need to be clowns and entertainers of every imaginable stripe. And best of all, in Bolehland we can enjoy such high-quality entertainment live on TV.

    Singaporean politicians are not allowed to amass anything that they cannot account for. Not so in Bolehland. Politicians especially of the UMNOputra breed can grab everything and anything that they can lay their hands on and it’s legal because the Anti-corruption Agency can never find any dirt on them. One colourful character is Zakaria Deros of the Klang istana fame. From a humble gatekeeper, this guy can run rings around the local authorities and boss over everyone in power. He can even make a monkey of the Sultan of Selangor and holiday in Malacca when he said that he was sick and cannot meet the Sultan when summoned. Singaporean politicians are really green with envy since they cannot practice such hanky-panky and escape scot-free in efficient and squeaky-clean Singapore.

    We have entertainments and circuses aplenty all year round in Bolehland. We have the sequel of the Great Sodomy trial – all with the same plot, the same characters, and a new star: Saiful who peddle his asshole to the DPM and got top billing in the Pematang Puah by-election. However, part of his fame was stolen from under his asshole when the imam who presided over his swearing revealed that Saiful is a fake! Then we have the 40 BN politicians who jumped out from Anwar Ibrahim fishing-net and escaped to Taiwan to learn the science of agriculture and came back with nothing to show of their expensive trip, which was sponsored by the good people of Bolehland.

    Next, the big jam-up of the traffic in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor based on faulty intelligence of the police. Contingents of policemen were deployed to prevent a non-event. There was no demonstation as blown up in the MSM and there was no arrest. But the people of Bolehland wasted million of gallons of expensive petrol in the wake of the great hike of petrol prices. Prices of everything spiralled out of control with this hike and yet remained in the stratosphere even after oil prices drop like a ton of bricks 3 months later. Why, only in Bolehland profiteers and blood-suckers can thrive. How lucky and fortunate!

    Accompanying these developments is the murder of a Mongolian beauty. Only in Bolehland, the chief suspect decided to swear on the koran and the long arm of the law was checked and stopped in its tracks. Try that in Singapore? Well, criminals in Bolehland are very fortunate indeed.

    And the most unexpected thrill of all was when the people of Bolehland woke up one fine morning in March and found that the undestructible BN Titanic that have ruled the Malaysian waters for half a century struck a coral reef and is sinking fast. The sky suddenly became clear and the air became less suffocating. Malaysians were walking more briskly with an unseen bounce in their stride. This was the most exhilarating experience that Malaysians have enjoyed in a long, long time.

    Singaporeans are still stuck with their old and trusty PAP Bismarck. How unfortunate!

    All over the world, people are bracing for a recession. Not so in Bolehland. Our top-rated economists and ministers have declared that Bolehland is immuned and can carrry on business as usual. So we people in Bolehland are very fortunate that our great and wise leaders have not needlessly frightened everyone out of their wits. Carry on, the happy people of Bolehland while the whole world sinks and quakes in a state of depression and fear.

    If indeed there are any awards that Bolehland can win we can sweep all the Oscars presented by Hollywood and Bollywood combined. It’s no accident that Malaysia is better known by its moniker, Bolehland – the land where everything is possible.

  6. “They want a leader that is BOLD and treats the rakyat’s interest as way above his own indulgence at being a good manager of everything numerical. In many ways that is a form of moral corruption too. If he doesn’t listen well, one day he will be in above his head but it is PKR that drowns.”

    An accurate statement of the problems that await future leaders as well.

  7. In Sarawak, Taib Mahmud, takes all the land he wants,
    In Selangor Miker Tyson took all the water he wanted,
    Khir Toyo took all the contracts he wanted,
    Now this arrogant Khalid is taking ALL THE TIME he wants!

    Same difference Dino!
    Moral corruption, abuse of power – hurts the rakyat, all the same.
    They are all self-centred indulgence of people we elected to care for us.

    This KHALID_WATCH will commence this new year. We are friendly parties bent on ridding Pakatan-ruled Selangor
    from the huge egos of Khalid, Hassan Ali and Manickavasagam. A little constructive criticism might help.

  8. Din
    The comments by Saksi and vsp are an indictment! And deserve a real response. Normally, any new, and I mean new, political leadership should imprints its qualities in the first 100 days! But PR in Selangor is still trying to find its feet. PR is about change. The people voted for change. The only way to bring about change is through changing the managers running the bureaucracy. If you do not take the bull by its horns, you are going to be gored!! Even 6 months should have been enough to launch change. PR has five important states under its control, and the most economically and agriculturally important ones at that, and yet I find it strange that PR has yet to co-ordinate these states economic and cultural activities for the benefit of the rakyat. And launch change. Throw out all the old bureacratic rubbish and slei gh in the new!! I mean even simple things like FDI investment missions could have been together.
    The BN govt is using the same tactics it did with the PAS in Trengganu when it controlled the purse strings. Surely you can find loopholes to raise funds independently thru asset sales on an open tender basis to raise funds for the state. From there you go on to rasie money in the open market. Do you need more ideas, ask us the rakyat and we will give you plenty. Get on with governing and less politicking!!!

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