Your Weekend Entertainment of Malay Songs

March 31, 2012

Your Weekend Entertainment of Malay Songs

It is time we bring to you some well known numbers by Malaysian/Singaporean singers of the 1960s. May they rekindle memories of what it was in those glory days when life in Malaysia was simple and carefree. We feature Ahmad Jais, J. Mizan, Wan Salman, A. Halim and D.J. Dave. Not to be left out, Rafaeh Buang and Kartina Dahari lend the feminine touch to heal wounded hearts. May these tunes also bring back old dreams to Bean, Tok Cik, Semper Fi, Tean Rean and the kerbau riders. Please relax and have a great weekend.- Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican

Ahmad Jais-Lembaran Terakhir

Terbiar Keseorgangan

Di Ambang Sore

J. Mizan–Hari Ini Dan Semalam

Desa Permai

Wan Salman- Keluhan Dara

A. Halim–Salam Mesra

DJ Dave- Nora

Rafaeh Buang–Tangisan Di SisiKu

Sayang Di Sayang

Kartina Dahari–Rindu

Tinggi Gunung Seribu Janji

Burmese Elections: Malaysian Observers Ready (for What?)

March 31, 2012

Burmese Elections: Malaysian Observers Ready (for What?)

by Leslean Arshad, Bernama

Members of a Malaysian delegation are all set to roll up their sleeves and get down to the task of being part of a host of international observers of Sunday’s by-elections in reform-pursuing Burma.

rangoon burma pagodaThe team comprises two Members of Parliament, an Election Commission official, three officials from the Malaysian Embassy in Burma and personnel from the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) and Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM).

They will observe the polls being held to fill 45 seats vacated by lawmakers who have been appointed to fill posts of ministers and other executive positions in the Union Government.

Malaysian Ambassador to Burma Dr Ahmad Faisal Muhamad, who is one of the observers, said preparations have been made to travel to the identified constituencies on Sunday. “We are ready to ‘turun padang’ (go down to the ground) for this job,” he said.

Foreign observers invited

The Malaysian team held meetings and briefings on Friday in preparation for the task. Some the constituencies it will visit are in the Hlegu and Minglataungnyunt regions in Rangoon. Burma has invited its fellow ASEAN members, including Malaysia, as well as other countries to observe the by-elections, which are an indicator of Burma’s progress in the area of reforms.

After six decades of military rule, Burma is fast moving towards greater democratisation under President U Thein Sein. Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwi held a briefing on the polls for more than 100 invited observers and diplomats on Thursday in Rangoon and reportedly told them that they could travel to constituencies of their choice to witness the by-elections.

The polls could herald the return of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to politics. Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), is contesting a seat near Rangoon.

– Bernama

Kedah Politics: UMNO-BN needs a new Leader

March 31, 2012

Kedah Politics: UMNO-BN needs a new Leader

by Rashid Ahmad (03-30-12)@

Kedah Barisan Nasional (BN) has lost a chance to shake the PAS-led Pakatan Rakyat state government when it did not “exploit” the recent crisis in the state administration. Political observers said the internal conflict in Kedah PAS had split the party and made it “vulnerable” to outside attacks but BN did not seize the opportunity, thus making it difficult for BN to retake the state.

Kedah PAS, say some political observers, is being manipulated by two main players keen to helm the state administration and also by “outside forces”.They said Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak, who is from the old school of thoughts, is aligned to party president Abdul Hadi Awang. He is seen as the leader of the “fundamentalists” and is fighting hard against attempts from the liberals to take over the state administration.

Azizan’s “foes from within” – Kedah PAS Deputy Commissioner (I) Phahrolrazi Zawawi and Kedah PAS Deputy Commissioner (II) Ismail Salleh – are aligned to the liberals and they striving to push Azizan out. Words have it that the main reason for the attempted “mutiny” against Azizan is to find a place for Party Deputy President Mohamed Sabu to contest in the upcoming general election.

Mohamed Sabu or Mat Sabu, as he is popularly known, is said to be seeking for a seat in Kedah as he is not wanted in Kelantan, where he once stood as MP and won. The crisis, though resolved, is still a pain in the neck for PAS as Azizan is said to be still sticking to his decision not to entertain or recognise Phahrolrazi and Ismail as followers in the state administration.

Credible leader

So the split in PAS still exists but BN has failed to exploit it to enhance its chances of diluting PAS influence among the fence-sitters in the state.A political analyst, Ramli Mohd Yunus, said another BN weakness in the state was its failure to appoint a credible leader to lead Kedah as Menteri Besar if it comes back to power.

“Apologising [to the people for BN’s mistakes in the past] is one thing but the main thrust is to win back the hearts and minds of the voters, particularly Malays. This can be achieved if BN has picked a credible, MB-material leader who will helm the state if the coalition wins.

“Kedah Malays, including the Chinese who have blended well with the Malay culture, know past and present BN and UMNO leaders in the state very well.They want to hear and see from the Prime Minister himself who he picks to lead the state. The way I see it, if Najib picks the wrong man, the votes will go to the other side.If Najib picks the man they respect and know, then the votes will go to BN. So it’s the man who will lead the state as menteri besar that matters now, not issues,” he said.

Even BN leaders in Kuala Lumpur share the same views. Observers believe that Mukhriz Mahathir is the man who could gain the voters’ confidence.

Matter of personality

Ramli said that he too has heard from the grassroots members in the state and also from some Chinese voters that Mukhriz (left) is the man best suited to take over should PAS fall.

“Kedah Malays and even some Chinese still hold Dr Mahathir Mohamad in high regard and obviously they also respect his son Muhkriz.What they told me is that Muhkriz is a new man and even though he is naïve in politics, he has the charisma to lead the state. Moreover, he is clean. But BN must also not ignore Dr Mahathir in its campaign because from what I gathered from the grassroots members, his presence may bring Kedah back to BN,” Ramli said.

However, there are some local leaders in Kedah who would not take too kindly to Mukhriz’s elevation if Najib decides to tap his shoulder. But Ramli believes the resentment was normal and would fade in time.

“The important point here is that Kedah BN needs a charismatic leader, a new man who has no record whatsoever. In this case, if it’s Mukhriz, it will be easier to win the hearts and minds of the voters because they still respect his father,” Ramli said. “So in my opinion half the battle will be won if Najib picks Mukhriz,” he added.

Thus, the battle for BN in Kedah is a matter of personality – the man who will lead the state after the general election. It all depends on Najib who he wants in the driver’s seat. After all, BN Kedah needs just four more seats to win the state. BN now has 16 out of the 36 state seats (UMNO has 14, MCA one and Gerakan one).

The Unmooring of American Military Power

March 31, 2012

Ny Times Book Review

Books of The Times

Review: Rachel Maddow‘s Drift:The Unmooring of American Military Power

by Janet Maslin(03-28-12)

A squabble is a noisy quarrel over a trivial matter. A polemic is an aggressive attack on the opinions and principles of others. A screaming match is a contest in which contradictory points are stubbornly reiterated, with no regard for whatever else has been said. A political talk show is a gladiatorial contest in which squabbles, polemics and screaming matches are exploited for their entertainment value.

A book by the host of a political talk show is often an ancillary product or marketing tool. But “Drift,” by Rachel Maddow, whose show is on MSNBC, is much more. It is an argument — a sustained, lucid case in which points are made logically and backed by evidence and reason. What’s more, it follows one main idea through nearly a half-century. The subtitle, “The Unmooring of American Military Power,” explains exactly what “Drift” is about.

Ms. Maddow’s point is that the way we go to war has changed: that there has been an expansion of presidential power, a corresponding collapse of Congressional backbone and a diminution of public attention. She does not see this in conspiratorial terms, but she has an explanation for the step-by-step way it evolved. She thinks the transformation began with a question asked by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965 as he prepared to more than double the ground forces in Vietnam: “You don’t think I ought  have a joint session, do you?” Did he need authorization from Congress, he asked the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, to make a troop deployment like that?

That very question indicates that Johnson understood the importance of Congressional authority. But it is Ms. Maddow’s contention that subsequent Presidents have even more deliberately sought to avoid dragging Congress into the conversation, because Congressional debates and military allocations upset the public. So does the calling up of troops. As the waging of war has grown increasingly secretive and privatized, Presidents have built on precedent. They have seen less and less advantage in letting Congress weigh in on these decisions.

“Drift” says this slide was not inevitable. “And it wasn’t inexorable either,” Ms. Maddow (right) writes. “You can trace it to specific decisions, made for specific, logical reasons.” Her book does exactly that, in a crisp, sometimes too-smart-alecky style. (Is “Whoopsie!” the best thing to say about the accidental mishandling of nuclear weapons?) It’s easy to read and just as easy to wrestle with. It is a packaging coup for Ms. Maddow to use this blurb from Roger Ailes of Fox News: “People who like Rachel will love the book. People who don’t will get angry, but aggressive debate is good for America.”

Anyone itching for a fight can simply question Ms. Maddow’s references to the founding fathers. Whoopsie! She misquotes Thomas Jefferson as saying, “One of my favorite ideas is, never keep an unnecessary soldier.” But Jefferson actually cited two of his favorite ideas in that passage. And he probably had even more. Partisan bickering is a good way of missing the founders’ larger point: that they intended the power to declare war to lie with Congress, not with the President.

“America’s structural disinclination to declare war is not a sign that something’s gone wrong,” she writes. “It’s not a bug in the system. It is the system.” On its simplest level, “Drift” is a report card on how well the system has functioned.

President Reagan comes under this book’s heaviest fire for “an unwavering and steadfast faith in the correctness of whatever came out of his mouth.” Ms. Maddow methodically illustrates how Reagan learned as a candidate that saber rattling need not be linked to facts. She finds instances in which William F. Buckley, Senator Barry M. Goldwater and John Wayne, each disposed toward Reagan’s politics, found reason to question his veracity as he inveighed against America’s real and imagined enemies. A letter from Wayne accused Reagan of either “misinforming people” or being “damned obtuse when it comes to reading the English language.”

Ms. Maddow thinks the most durable restraint on Presidents was put in place by General Creighton W. Abrams, President Richard M. Nixon’s Army Chief of Staff. Under the Abrams Doctrine, which made it impossible to go to war without calling up the “in-your-neighborhood citizen-soldiers” of the Reserves and National Guard, official combat was no longer possible without the public’s noticing.

But Ms. Maddow explains how this last restraint became undermined when a “skittish and unsure” President Clinton was faced with Bosnia and the use of private contractors became a form of damage control. Later parts of the book outline how the buildup of C.I.A. secret forces and these private contractors have dimmed public awareness of how and when war is waged.

Ms. Maddow’s way of making points, whether on the page or on the air, follows a distinct pattern. She begins a chapter with something small and piquant, like the Houbara bustard, a bird found in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She will explain the small thing, come up with a cute phrase about it (“poor bustard”) and suddenly leap to explain why the American incursion into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden managed not to be regarded as an outright act of war.

Thank the bustard (which turned out to inhabit conservation land within Pakistan because Arab falconers favor the bustard as falcon prey) for this book’s explanation of how drone warfare is waged. And thank Ms. Maddow for picking this and every other fight that “Drift” provokes. It will be a smarter public debate than the kinds we’re used to.

A version of this review appeared in print on March 29, 2012, on page C1 of the New York edition with the headline: How War Came Home To Stay.

Spending RM600+ million in 11 Weeks

March 30, 2012

Spending RM600+ million in 11 Weeks

by  S Pathmawathy @

The government disbursed RM608.68 million over 11 weeks to Malaysia through Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s and his Deputy Muhyiddin Yassin’s official nationwide visits. According to a parliamentary written reply, the “urgent allocation” approved from January to March 15, 2012 was handed out during their 14-state visit, with Perak recording the highest at RM220.38 million for 34 projects.

Jerai PAS MP Mohd Firdaus Jaafar on Tuesday had asked the Prime Minister’s Department to list to all the allocations approved for the Prime Minister’s official tour of the states. Allocations for Johor ranked second, with RM201.40 million doled out for 24 projects, while the Federal Territories came in third with RM63.25 million dispensed for nine projects.

Najib’s recent marathon forays to Perak and Selangor focussed on opposition-held areas, distributing goodies and promises to boost BN’s popularity, had fueled speculation that polls might be announced soon.

BN suffered its worst electoral defeat in 2008 under former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, when the Opposition won 82 parliamentary seats and gained control of Kelantan, Kedah and Penang, as well as Perak and Selangor.

The ruling coalition, however, wrested away Perak in February 2009 – after three Pakatan Rakyat assemblypersons defected, mere days after Najib took over as state UMNO chief, plunging the state into political chaos which lasted several months.

Political pundits opined that the 13th general election will pose a critical challenge to the first-term premier to reverse inroads made by the Opposition in Parliament and to win much needed votes in Perak and Selangor, a fate analysts believe still hangs by a thread.

GE-13 Outcome Difficult to Predict, says Dr. UMNO

March 30, 2012

GE-13 Outcome Difficult to Predict, says  Dr. UMNO

by  Melissa Lee, Malaysia Chronicle

Former Prime Minister (Tun) Mahathir Mohamad admitted that it would be difficult to predict the results of the 13th General Election due to the “confusing” signals received from the ground.

“What is certain, it won’t be easy for BN to get two-thirds majority this time. The Opposition now is not like that of the past, and the current situation is rather confusing,” Bernama reported Mahathir as saying.

Such an acknowledgement must have been hard for Mahathir to make, given that the Pakatan Rakyat opposition coalition is led by Anwar Ibrahim, who he has tried hard to chop down to size and even oust from the political arena completely.

In 1998, fearing Anwar’s popularity and growing clout with the Malays, Mahathir threw trumped-up sodomy and corruption charges at his former Deputy and succeeded in jailing Anwar for 6 years. It was only after Mahathir retired that the Federal Court could summon enough courage to overturn the charges and acquit Anwar.

Now 64, Anwar is poised to lead the Pakatan into its second General Election as a coalition. Although denied formal registration by the Registrar of Societies, the Pakatan parties of PKR, PAS and DAP have signed a Common Policy Framework and agreed on a joint manifesto – the Buku Jingga – for GE-13 which is expected to be held before the end of this year.

Gaining strength

Since the 12th General Election in 2008, the Pakatan has been gaining from strength to strength, with two of the four states it governs – Selangor and Penang – praised by the Auditor-General as being the best managed. Both Penang and Selangor have also drawn most FDIs, trouncing the BN-ruled states.

A resurgent Anwar and Pakatan are now rated as having an even chance on improving on their 2008 electoral performance, with many pundits predicting they might even wrest the Federal Government from Prime Minister Najib Razak. Mahathir apparently shares this view, saying that the various assumptions made about the support for BN were fluid, with some people saying it was increasing and others saying otherwise. Mahathir did not point the finger at anyone, but a day ago, he called on Najib to allow ‘outsiders’ to contest for seats under the UMNO ticket.

Mahathir lamented the shortage of ‘smart’ Malays in UMNO, for which perhaps he is most to blame  due to his refusal to soften his hardline stance during his 22-year rule from 1981 to 2003.  Indeed, during his tenure, Malaysia experienced huge ‘brain drain” including from the Malay community, but Mahathir had always dismissed the issue as minor and with a ‘let them leave if they wish’ stance.

“None of Mahathir policies contributed to building a succession line in UMNO, so what is there to say now. And the damage was not only to UMNO but extended to the overall economy, where Malaysia lost talent beyond what it could afford. The effects on the economy are being played out now and if not reversed soon by fresh policies and reforms, we can expect further all-encompassing deterioration,” Ramon Navaratnam, the Chairman of the Centre for Public Policy Studies, told Malaysia Chronicle.

Najib failed to deliver

In recent weeks, former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin had predicted BN would easily win in only three states – Johor, Melaka and Pahang. A large portion of the blame has been directed at Najib for failing to lead UMNO-BN out of its quagmire.

UMNO appointed Najib as its President in 2009 after forcing his predecessor Abdullah Badawi into early retirement for losing 5 states out of 13 to the Pakatan as well as the BN’s long-held two-thirds majority in Parliament. Mahathir and other UMNO leaders had hoped that Najib would reverse the slide and regain the crucial two-thirds majority, which would allow them to amend key laws to stay in power for perhaps a few more decades. But Najib’s clumsy political maneuvers were soon rejected by the people, who now see him as a fraud.

In his comments, it was telling of Daim to point out that if Najib failed to improve on Badawi’s results, he would have to step down in favor of either his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin or a ‘new challenger’. So far, no dark horse has emerged but bets are on that it could be Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who has lambasted Najib for his haphazard policies and weak leadership.

During Najib’s tenure which began in April 2009, Malaysia suffered its worst bouts of racial and religious intolerance.  Extremist groups such as PERKASA and JATI were sponsored and allowed to flourish. At the same time, Najib preached policies of moderation to the West. But it looks like even they have found him out, with the influential Washington Post slamming him as a “champion of double-talk”.

Nonetheless, even with his mandate to rule expiring in March 2013, Najib has continued with the same strategies of gutter politicking against Anwar, using racism and religious bigotry to scare the Malays into voting for UMNO so that it can ‘protect’ them from the non-Malays.

Economy soft and Corruption rampant

Meanwhile, the economy remains neglected and soft due to Najib’s frequent overseas trips which have been criticized for burning a hole in taxpayers’ pockets. Corruption remains at a record high, with Malaysia slipping 4 spots to 60 in the 2011 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index. Malaysia scored 4.3 compared to New Zealand, the least corrupt at 9.5, and Somalia and North Korea who each scored 1.0, making them the two most corrupt nations in the survey. In ASEAN, Singapore scored 9.3 and Brunei 6.3.

Malaysia Chronicle