Monthly Archives: September 2009

Negri Sembilan PAS Chief for Bagan Pinang By-Election to take on Isa Samad

Untuk Pengundi di DUN Bagan Pinang  dari Bekas President UMNO

September 30, 2009

PAS (and Pakatan Rakyat) names Negri Sembilan Chief as its Bagan Pinang By-Election Candidate

malaysian insider

Malaysian Insider reports (By Adib Zalkapli):

PAS today (September 29, 2009) named its Negri Sembilan chief Zulkefly Omar as the candidate for the Bagan Pinang by-election. That announcement was made at a public rally in the Chinese-dominated Batu 9 town near here by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang. “The candidate represents all Malaysians and the people of Bagan Pinang,” Hadi told the multi-racial crowd.

calon bpinang

Zulkefly, 45, a communication graduate, had contested and lost three times. During the last year’s general election he lost Lenggeng state seat in Kuala Pilah by some 1,000 votes.

Speaking to reporters after the announcement, Hadi said he is confident of PAS’s chances of winning the seat. “We have won seven out of eight by-elections, we are confident,” said Hadi. “He is our best candidate — young and educated,” he added.

Hadi dismissed the suggestion that the infighting within Pakatan Rakyat in Selangor will affect the coalition’s chances of winning the seat.

During the last general election PAS lost 12 out of 13 state constituencies it contested in Negri Sembilan. PAS only won the Paroi seat, situated within the Rembau parliamentary constituency. To a question on the Barisan Nasional’s (BN) decision to field Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad as the Bagan Pinang candidate, Zulkefly said he will let the people decide on the former Negri Sembilan mentri besar’s ability to represent them.

“We contested to fulfil the people’s wish, not for other reasons,” said Zulkefly. The Bagan Pinang by-election was made necessary following the death of BN’s Azman Mohammad Noor on September 4.

In March last year, Azman defeated Ramli Ismail of PAS by some 2,000 votes. BN is currently ruling the state with a simple majority after winning only 21 of the 36 state constituencies.

Mahathir’s Advice to Civil Service

September 29, 2009

Bernama LogoMahathir says change strategy to achieve Vision 2020

Malaysia might not be able to achieve its Vision 2020 on time, if it does not change its strategy and remains dependent on foreign direct investments, says former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said Malaysia should focus on developing major local companies that have the potential to produce their ownDr. Mahathir Mohamad brands and compete in the global market

“The government must identify these companies and help them grow by lending them money with low interest rate.

“The profit they make will go back to us, the workers and the country,” he said during the 14th Civil Service Conference here today.

He also said workers at all levels must be paid higher wages but by doing so they must be more productive. “Then only the industry can produce in greater volumes, gain more profit and contribute to the country’s revenue,” he said.

Mahathir said Malaysia should become a medium or high cost country because it cannot compete with countries such as China and Taiwan who could offer lower cost manpower and resources to foreign investors.

Speaking to reporters following the event, he said Malaysia was capable of becoming a developed country but might exceed the set time of 2020 due to the global economic downturn which has affected the country.

“However, if we focus on developing local companies and not depend on foreign investments, it will not be impossible to achieve it in the given time,” he said.

He also said the fixing of minimum wages and increasing pay will not pay off if there was no restructuring as it could make the situation worse especially if productivity levels remain low.

On the 1Malaysia concept introduced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Mahathir said the people, especially the younger generation must be given the opportunity to mingle and study together and build up friendships with different races. “During my time we had more opportunities to make friends with other races,” he said.

Malaysia can learn from Indonesia on Environment

September 29, 2009

Why Indonesia emerged as the true hero at G20

By Jonathan Wootliff *

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

It appears that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) understands what is the real crisis facing our planet. With the continuing popular obsession with global economic woes, most of the leaders attending last week’s G20 summit in Pittsburgh came prepared with more of the same, worn-out rhetoric about the need to fortify the world’s financial systems.

Buoyed up from his recent election victory, a newly emboldened  SBY joined fellow government heads attended the meeting in the US former steel town playing a refreshingly different tune.

He presented a case study to his counterparts on Indonesia’s innovative strategy to wean this nation off addictive fuel subsidies. For as worrying as it may be, he clearly recognizes that the growing threat of climate change will make the current financial troubles look like a fly on an elephant’s back.

This President knows that the untamed escalation in the use of fossil fuels is creating the greenhouse gas emissions that will ultimately cause untold damage to the planet – which all of the world’s treasuries will be unable to fix.

Thankfully, his US counterpart, Barack Obama, shares his concern, which is why he was invited to explain his fuel subsidy reduction policy to the summit, in the hope that other nations would follow suit.

After years of increasing fuel subsidies, Indonesia has instituted a cash transfer system that now enables the government to direct cash payments to more than 19 million households while reducing across-the-board support.

This action has improved the national balance sheet while enhancing the economic condition of the poorest 40 percent of the country’s population, and heralding a whole new approach to our unbridled dependence of planet-heating fossil fuels.

It was SBY’s impassioned public plea and skillful backroom diplomacy at the UN climate change summit in Bali in December 2007 that significantly helped to ensure its successful outcome. Arguably, without the President’s eleventh hour intervention, efforts to allay the prospect of irreversible global warming would have been severely derailed.

Following desperate last minute efforts to avert failure, it was Indonesia that emerged as a true hero. The country’s reputation on the world stage was appreciably enhanced.

Now, as the G8 is replaced by the G20 as the new beacon for global leadership, it is heartening to see Indonesia playing such an innovative and influential role.

Throughout the years of the Bush administration, too many shortsighted Western commentators unfairly blamed the developing nations for hampering progress in instigating effective intergovernmental policies for tackling climate change.

In subsequently rejecting Kyoto, the original climate change treaty hammered out in Japan 12 years ago, the Bush administration took the parochial position that until and unless poorer countries were prepared to cap their greenhouse gas emissions, that it was unfair to expect the US – the world’s single largest polluter – to do so.

The emergence of the G20 has now given seats at the top table to the very nations previously derided by the last US administration for not playing ball on climate change policy.

It is pure political poetry that one such nation has so immediately played such a pivotal role in shaping new thinking on this critical global challenge.

With a key outcome of the Pittsburgh summit being a unanimous agreement of the 20 nations to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, history will again surely show Indonesia was a true hero in the word’s struggle to prevent adverse climate change.

There’s no doubt that the elimination of subsidies is only one small step along a long road to solving the problem. But it is an important stride in the right direction. And the timing is perfect, as governments now turn their attention to the impending climate change talks in Copenhagen in December when it is hoped that a successor to the Kyoto treaty will be agreed.

Planet Earth is sick. Rising sea levels, failing crops, debilitating floods and alarming temperature changes are just some of the many worrying symptoms which will cost far more to cure than the slump on Wall Street.

Climate change is the real crisis facing the world. It’s time for our world leaders to wake up to this harsh reality.

As one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gas emissions, it is gratifying that Indonesia should be taking a leadership stance in helping to avert catastrophe.

We cannot allow our politicians to procrastinate on this issue. Scientists are clearly showing us that time is running out.  SBY should be applauded for his international leadership. He has shown his mettle as a true crisis manager.

As we march towards the Copenhagen summit, with its new found international reputation, I hope we will see Indonesia continuing to play an influential and innovative role in mobilizing world governments in bringing Planet Earth back to good health.

*Jonathan Wootliff is an independent sustainable development consultant specializing in the building of productive relationships between companies and NGOs. He can be contacted at

Sorry, Che Det: Isa Samad is UMNO’s Man for Bagan Pinang


September 29, 2009

Isa Samad is UMNO-BN’s choice for Bagan Pinang By-Election

By Adib Zalkapli in Port Dickson

UMNO's Comeback Man
UMNO's Comeback Man

UMNO’s central leadership bowed to pressure from the Negeri Sembilan party grassroots and picked Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad as the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate for the Bagan Pinang by-election.

The by-election is expected to end Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) winning streak in all by-elections in the peninsula since the last general election.

The announcement was made at the BN main operation centre near here and was attended by some 10,000 party loyalists.

BN election director Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin described Isa, who was the Negri Sembilan mentri besar for 22 years until 2004, as a grassroots leader who has worked hard for the party.

“This by-election is about the people, people first,” said Muhyiddin citing the 1 Malaysia campaign slogan to loud cheers from the crowd.

“Whoever the people want, we will grant the people their wish,” he added.

In his acceptance speech, Isa said he felt rejuvenated by the announcement.

“God willing, with the support of Negri Sembilan mentri besar and other component party leaders, we will retain the seat,” said Isa as he struggled to hold back his tears.

Isa’s selection today marks his second attempt at making a comeback after failing to defend the UMNO vice-president post during the party election last April.

His candidacy was also opposed by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who had advised the UMNO leadership to consider the long-term consequences of fielding Isa as he was found guilty of money politics by the UMNO disciplinary board in 2005.

Earlier this month, the Teluk Kemang UMNO division had insisted on proposing only the name of its chief – Isa – to the supreme council to be considered as the candidate, but Muhyiddin requested that the division submit more than one name.

Yesterday, Muhyiddin told reporters that the division had indeed submitted more than one name, resulting in a minor revolt in the Teluk Kemang division when banners threatening to boycott the by-election was put up across the state constituency this morning.

The Bagan Pinang by-election was made necessary following the death of BN’s Azman Mohammad Noor on September 4.

It is situated within the Teluk Kemang parliamentary constituency represented by PKR’s Datuk Kamarul Baharin Abbas.

Apart from Bagan Pinang, UMNO also won the neighbouring Linggi state seat in last year’s election, while PR controls three other state seats in Teluk Kemang — Chuah (PKR), Lukut (DAP) and Port Dickson (PKR).

In March last year, Azman defeated Ramli Ismail of PAS, by some 2,000 votes.

BN is currently ruling the state with a simple majority after winning only 21 out of the 36 state constituencies.

Breaking News: No show re Kugan case

September 29, 2009

No-show in prosecution of Kugan’s death

mk50by Rahmah Ghazali

The fuss over the expectation that a police officer would be charged this morning for the death of detainee Kugan Ananthan has fizzled.

Thus far, there is no sign that the case will come up at the Petaling Jaya Magistrate’s Court today, as anticipated.

Tun Majid Tun Hamzah, the head of prosecution in the attorney-general’s chambers, said “nothing has been confirmed” at this point.

Kugan’s uncle V Raviroy, who arrived at the court at 8am, said he is uncertain if the police personnel involved will be charged.

“I found out about this from (Kota Alam Shah assemblyperson and lawyer) M Manoharan, but up to 11am today, there has been no sign (of the police officer),” he said.

He and another of Kugan’s uncles, N Ravi, were accompanied by Manoharan and Kapar parliamentarian M Manikavasagam.

Reporters too had been waiting as early as 8am, only to find out that the case may be postponed. However, they are on standby for any developments.

Contacted this morning, Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar indicated that he is in the dark.

“I haven’t any news about this and I am not sure what is happening at the moment,” he said.

Kugan, 23, died on Jan 20 at the USJ Taipan police station, five days after he was picked up in connection with a car theft case. His family has accused the police of foul play.

Two post-mortem examinations were conducted. The second of these revealed that Kugan had been beaten, burnt and starved prior to his death. Concerned groups have long complained about the lack of action in the case, which exploded into a national issue after a video recording revealed severe lacerations on Kugan’s body.

Haris Ibrahim’s Take on Parti Makkal Sakti Malaysia

The New Indian Politics: Political Dancing to succeed the Parti Makkal Sakit (Sakti?) Malaysia Way

by Haris Ibrahim (dated September 25, 2009)

September 27, last year, some of us gathered at Dataran Merdeka to light a candle and wish RPK, who was then being detained under the ISA, ‘Happy Birthday’. You can read about that HERE.

Later, some of us moved on to join the HINDRAF folks who were also holding an anti-ISA candle light vigil that culminated in a gathering at the Sri Ganesha temple in Jalan Pudu.

A huge crowd had built up at the temple but one man, all fire and brimstone, had my attention.

Former Hindraf national co-coordinator R.S. Thanenthiran is the man circled in yellow

I could not understand most of what Thanenthiran (circled in yellow in picture) said, but he certainly roused the crowd to constantly break into a chorus of ‘Makkal Sakti’ and ‘Mansuhkan ISA’.

Just eleven days before this vigil, Thanenthiran was quoted by Malaysiakini as saying that HINDRAF ‘backed Anwar Ibrahim to become the country’s sixth prime minister for it believes that the opposition leader is the only person capable of putting the country back on the right track’.

Thanenthiran was quoted as saying :

“Anwar has assured that he will ensure a free and fair country based on equality, justice and democracy for all, something that Barisan Nasional has not given to Malaysians in its unbroken 51-year rule. He is now the best bet to instill some order to our political uncertainty. HINDRAF wants him to become prime minister and safeguard the Indian community from marginalisation”.

Well, Thanenthiran appears to have vindicated the adage we hear again and again that there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics.

And the perception amongst many that to get anywhere in the world of politics, one (like the man who wears a lounge suit below) has to whore one’s own soul.

Thanenthiran in his dapper suit, a far cry from his street activism days. Photo courtesy of Malaysianinsider

In May, this year, Thanenthiran and his merry men moved to register a new political party. The stated objective of the new party, as reported by Malaysiakini, to spearhead “a political struggle for the betterment of the Malaysian Indian community”.

At that time, sources close to Thanenthiran indicated that this new party would not incline to either BN or Pakatan but would steer its own course.

However, the speed with which the new party, Parti Makkal Sakti Malaysia, secured registration by the Registrar of Societies was, for many, telling.

Malaysian Insider reported yesterday that Najib has been invited to and has agreed to be the guest of honour at the official launch of this new party this coming October 10th.

According to this report, Thanenthiran made many curious statements.

Whilst insisting that the invite to Najib should not be seen as detracting from the independence of this new party he nonetheless candidly shared that “We are working together with him as partners… we walk together for the benefit of the Indian community”.

This ‘working together’, as Thanenthiran disclosed, includes actively campaigning for the Barisan Nasional in the forthcoming Bagan Pinang by-election.

Why this about-turn?

Thanenthiran explains.

“It is true the BN did not do much for us in the past 52 years but the Pakatan Rakyat has done even less for us in the past two years. BN under Datuk Seri (Najib) is beginning to do for the Indians in major areas and we welcome it. We want to work with him to get a fair share of the nation’s resources”.

Getting a fair share of the nation’s resources is all well and good, but for whom?

The marginalised Indians?

Isn’t that what MIC and Samy Vellu have been saying all these years?

So is Thanenthiran and his new party, as Malaysian Insider suggests, merely filling in the seeming vacuum in BN’s divide and rule scheme brought about by MIC’s increasing irrelevance and inability to reform?

Three days before that vigil last September, Malaysiakini reported that Thanenthiran had challenged Samy to seek the forgiveness of Malaysia Indians.

“Samy Vellu should kneel and beg for (forgiveness) for his wrongdoings (against) the community if he is sincere and honest about seeking freedom for our leaders”.

Samy did better than that.

On  April 1 this year, Samy visited a recuperating Thanenthiran in hospital. Thanenthiran was recovering from a heart attack and, quite possibly, the disappointment of being overlooked by PKR as the candidate for the Bukit Selambau by election. Malaysiakini has a report of this HERE.

Was this the turning point for Thanenthiran?

Some two weeks after this visit, Waythamoorthy purged the HINDRAF leadership by suspending several who reckoned themselves as the top guns, including Thanenthiran.

Had Waytha got wind of some wheeling and dealing by those within the ranks of HINDRAF  to further their own agenda?

In a Malaysiakini report dated  May 21, this year, Thanenthiran, speaking on the formation of this new party, admitted to having led a delegation to meet PM Najib a month before.

This would place that meeting with Najib some three weeks after that visit by Samy at the hospital.

Political deals, it would seem, were being made at lightning speed.

And lo and behold, what emerges today is a re-branded and re-cast Thanenthiran, now perfectly kosher for Najib and UMNO.

And the Police.

In June, Malaysiakini reported that Thanenthiran said that  his new party would not follow in the footsteps of HINDRAF in going to the streets to pressure the government to look into the needs of the marginalised Indians in Malaysia.

In rationalising this change of strategy, Thanenthiran, in my view, let the cat out of the bag.

“Going to streets may make one popular, but it will not necessarily resolve the problems at hand”, is what he is reported to have said.

And that, it would seem, was what his street activism was all about.

Profile building.

The question that must now be asked, is whether the Malaysian Indian community will submit itself to another 52 years of marginalisation by being taken in by this political whoring?

Bagan Pinang may provide an early answer come  October 11. 2009.