Get those UMNO goons out of our lives

January 31, 2017

Get those UMNO goons out of our lives

Image may contain: 3 people, text

The best message I got for 2017. Keep those UMNO goons out of our lives. They are playing the politics of race, religion and hatred. We Malaysians must not allow them to manipulate us for their personal gain, Malaysia be damned.–Din Merican

Original intentions

January 31, 2017

Original intentions

Original intentions are usually captured in words, symbols, photographs and recordings, plus scripts of any event; whether intended by the co-organisers or not. Truth matters are recorded and captured in history of time; and such matters do tell the different truths of related observers.

If such a spirit of truth of those moments is missing in later life; the original actors and players, as witnessing observers,will revert to those words and phrases implying the original intentions!

Image result for Sabah and Sarawak

Therefore recently, the Deputy President of UPKO and a minister in the current government of Sabah stated that they are not obliged to blindly follow all federal laws, especially those that do not accord with the Malaysia Agreement of 1963 (MA63).

I posted that news on Facebook and I received some legitimate views and opinions of objection about such a non-compliance with Federal Laws. They are valid concerns, but do not the jurisdiction of all such laws and practices involved, have a right to revert to the unconditional historical truths of both; the spirit of those laws, and also the actual words in legal documents?

One case study of our ‘Jalur Gemilang’

Does the flag of our federation therefore reflect such an arrangement of the three (formerly four) colonies of the British Commonwealth into one united nation-state? Those three constituents include the original federation (of 11 Malay states) plus two new states; to make the nation-state we now call Malaysia.

Our federation is also a full member of the United Nations of global nation-states with even some non-nation-states; but all considered entities within some legal but qualified recognition for membership. This includes Taiwan.

Now, let us review the flag of the Federation of Malaysia:

The flag of Malaysia, also known as the Jalur Gemilang (Malay for ‘Stripes of Glory’), is composed of a field of 14 alternating red and white stripes along the fly and a blue canton bearing a crescent and a 14-point star known as the Bintang Persekutuan (Federal Star).

What was the original logic of 14 alternating stripes with 14 points of the star? Can I proffer one logical guesstimate? The constituent member states (the composition with three original others) plus 11 members of the Federation of Malaya made for 14 states. But, today, about 54 years later, we have differing views about whether it should have been only three colonial states and cannot agree to reconstitute them as 14 equal states, per se. Some argue there are only three colonial states; never 14

I have now also heard this argument taught in schools that 14 include (the thirteen plus Federal Territory, to replace Singapore as the fourteenth). But as a rationalist and believer of all human logic systems, I would argue that it could never have been 14; if we understand mathematics of numerals with a base of 10.

Why thus I stopped flying the flag

Some years ago, at the height of federal abuse of Sabah and Sarawak, when most everyone came to full knowledge about the shenanigans of the federal government’s abuse of “Federal Constitution-ordained state rights”, it became obvious to me that Malaysia should have been called ‘Melayusia’ instead.

In my lexicon and language, Melayusia is the real and original Malay word that would have been framed if the original framers wanted to make the ‘Orang Melayu’ the Tuan or Master of all aspects of Malaysian life and therefore conditioning us to be coloured by Malay-Muslim logic systems.

That did not happen, and in fact, Sabah and Sarawak explicitly stated that they are not Muslim and will not accept Islam as their official religion. These views are well-documented.

Therefore, some years ago, I first met a Sabahan minister who challenged my “peninsular Malayan thinking” when he said to me, “We are not part and parcel of your social contract; we have a clear and legitimate membership directly as a result of the Malaysia Agreement 1963”. It only then dawned upon me the full meaning of what he meant about their real independence.

When the truths about that statement and their one-third state argument finally drove into my heart, I realised that as a neo-colonial Malayan, I had genuinely treated my brothers and sisters from Sabah and Sarawak with a post-colonial attitude and a subjugation mindset.

That very year, I wrote a column in Malaysiakini that explained why I could not honestly fly the Jalur Gemilang any more in my home. I have since stopped flying the flag which I had always saluted in the Royal Military College (RMC). I even explained my reasons to my children who grew up being taught to equally respect this symbol of our nation-state.

Integration with integrity

Some Old Puteras, or the alumni of the RMC, recently decided to launch a movement we call OPs4A; or OPs for Accountability on January 15, 2017. We hosted an event of OPs, by OPs, and for OPs plus their guests. We had some notable and a credible group friends and guests, including the Group of 25 (G25) members.

Image result for malaysia tanah air kuNational Monument–Of Any Significance to Sarawakians and Sabahan?

Our theme for the next three events also remains the same: ‘National Integration with Constitutional Integrity’. I was therefore rather amused when some formidable members of the alumni could not decipher this essential meaning of our theme.

Integrity is the adjective and integration is the verb, right? What then is the storyline we are creating or starting for our movement for change? Our honest and legitimate question to every member of our audience is therefore: Is Malaysia moving in the right direction?

Can the current direction and momentum result in our communities being integrated and can we do it clearly and honestly with the sense of integrity found and established in our Federal Constitution? That must be our only legal framing measure of our integrity, right?

Therefore the integrity of the tall and large Flag at the Dataran Merdeka of Malaysia depends on two kinds of constitutional integrity:

  • Upward integrity of the flag being planted exactly 90 degrees upright and therefore fully aligned to the Federal Constitution of the 1957 and 1963 agreements.
  • Outward integrity of policies and public positions taken on every issue and concern on behalf of all citizens, and in most cases also; non-citizens who are here with legal work permits in Malaysia.

May God bless Malaysia to move in the right direction. Truth always matters.

Bank Negara Governor Jaffar Hussein–The Fall Guy in Forex Scandal

January 31, 2017

The Late Bank Negara Governor Jaffar Hussein –The Fall Guy in the Forex Scandal

COMMENT: The truth will always haunt those who abuse power, even if it can take ages before it is exposed. The Bank Negara forex  scandal is just a case in point.

Image result for tan sri dato' jaffar bin husseinMaybe he can help in the investigations

The government of the day must open investigations to uncover the facts of the case and those behind this scandal including bank officers in the Bank Negara Investment Department which managed the bank’s reserves who were protected by the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad should be asked to testify before a Commission of Inquiry. Those who were entrusted with the management of 1MDB too should be treated in a similar fashion. –Din Merican

Nur Jazlan: Father-in-law quit for ‘someone else’s mistake’

Image result for Bank Negara Governor Jaffar Hussein

Nur Jazlan Mohamed has claimed that his father-in-law, a former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Governor, the late Jaffar Hussein, had resigned for “someone else’s mistake”.

The Deputy Home Minister’s remarks came in light of former BNM assistant governor Abdul Murad Khalid’s claims that the central bank had lost US$10 billion in the foreign exchange market during former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s era.

Murad said despite the heavy losses, there was no investigation into the matter. Jaffar, who served as the central bank’s governor from 1985 to 1994, resigned on April 1, 1994. He passed away four years later, in 1998.

His resignation followed his admission that Bank Negara had lost RM5.7 billion the previous year. “After 22 years, my late father-in-law’s story comes out. He resigned to cover someone else’s mistake,” tweeted Nur Jazlan.

The tweet was accompanied with news paper clippings, one on Murad’s revelation last week and an Utusan Malaysia report on the day Jaffar resigned, quoting the former governor as saying he made a mistake, posted side by side.

Image result for Bank Negara Governor Jaffar HusseinTan Sri Jaffar Hussein

Commenting further on his father-in-law’s resignation “to take responsibility for someone else’s mistake”, Nur Jazlan said this was rare in both politics and government in Malaysia, even today.

“Such misdeeds are usually brushed over for unity and stability’s sake to preserve the present order until exposed years later for expediency,” he added

Apart from Murad’s claims that Bank Negara had lost US$10 billion during Mahathir’s tenure as premier, declassified reports by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) suggested that Mahathir’s government was also aware of Bumiputera Malaysia Finance’s (BMF) dubious dealings in the 1980s.

Mahathir had responded to the BMF allegations by accusing the CIA of conspiring against him.He also wrote a blog post to point out differences between the BMF and 1MDB scandals, such as that the CIA report on the BMF scandal did not implicate the Prime Minister.

Trump versus the Media

January 31, 2017


Trump versus the Media

by Mike Minehan

Image result for Mike MinehanMike T. Minehan

It seems that the new President of the United States is happiest when he has an enemy to attack. His fans also love this pugilism, perhaps because this is the feeling of being in the thick of it together, us against them.

‘Them’ in this case is the mainstream media in America, mainly the big outlets such as the New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN.

It suits Trump to berate the media, because these news media were quick to point out his inaccuracies, contradictions and falsehoods during his election campaign.

Almost all of Trump’s rallies were an opportunity to attack the media. “I would never kill them, but I do hate them. And some of them are such lying, disgusting people.” This was Trump’s opinion about journalists at one of his campaign rallies.

Yet one of the most interesting discoveries about Trump’s ascent to the Presidency of the USA is that alternative media, not conventional media, played the most important role in his success. The proof of this, according to Fortune magazine was because the flood of articles and coverage about Trump’s outrageous behaviour, had almost no effect on most of the voters. These were the stories about his falsehoods, his refusal to publish his tax returns, his companies that were ethically challenged, his refusal to place his businesses in a blind trust, and his boasting about sexually groping women.

Trump’s support base simply wasn’t reading or consuming conventional media. This is probably not so much because these supporters couldn’t read, but because they were getting their information from the myriad of new sources that the internet has made available.

“What Trump supporters were listening to was Trump himself on Twitter, and organs of the Trump Nation such as Breitbart News, InfoWars, and other alternative and fringe news sites”.

Also, 44 per cent of Americans had switched to Facebook for their news. News on Facebook consists of the stories that trend the most according to how many other users like them, and according to algorithms which provide more of the stories that you will like.

Image result for Trump vs CNN

This is the ‘echo chamber effect’ where people get the news that they like, and which will reinforce their existing opinions, or biases.

The other new, alarming phenomenon has been the rise of fake news sites. Almost anyone with basic internet skills can set up a site with an apparently innocuous name, and then fill it with pictures and attention-grabbing stories, false or otherwise.

These site were simply working on the principle of attracting enough traffic that, in turn, would generate income when the site owners would then place advertising on it for profit.

The genie is out of the bottle and the news as we knew it not so long ago has irrevocably changed. This is particularly in countries such as the USA, where free speech, almost any speech, is protected by the First Amendment.

Alright, so why should Trump bother any more about mainstream media, when mainstream media is no longer central to his success?

The answer, according to Trump’s biographer, Michael D’Antonio, is that Trump is ‘irritated and even enraged by those who check facts and look for evidence to confirm or disprove his claims. He thinks he should just be able to say things, and that those things should be reported and considered uncritically. So he resents it when people fail to do that and instead hold him to some standard, and he takes it personally’.

It appears that Trump wants to be loved and forgiven by the mainstream media, irrespective of his inability to get his facts straight. This need for constant approval seems to indicate a deep-seated insecurity. There’s almost a child-like petulance and rage about his reaction to criticism. This immaturity would be amusing, it Trump wasn’t the President of the United States, with the nuclear codes within reach.

Well, mainstream media just won’t roll over and suddenly ignore the falsehoods and Trump’s ‘alternative reality‘ where the facts just don’t matter any more. American credibility itself is on the block.

Accordingly, the media wars have only just started, and what we’ve seen so far are only the first shots being fired. More brutal combat is on the way.

The Jacksonian Revolt

January 31, 2017

The Jacksonian Revolt

American Populism and the Liberal Order

Message from George Washington University’s President Steven Knapp

January 31, 2017

Image result for The George Washington University CampusThe George Washington University, Foggy Bottom, Washington DC

Message from GW President Steven Knapp

Dr. Knapp responds to presidential executive order on immigration restrictions.

January 30, 2017

Every year we bring students from around the world to The George Washington University so they can enrich the intellectual life of our campuses and acquire the knowledge and skills that will enable them to build their communities when they return home. They are a vital part of what it means to be a great university in the world we share, and our commitment to their educational and personal welfare is a core value of our institution.

Whatever its intent may be, the presidential executive order banning citizens of seven countries from entering the United States directly threatens the well-being of students as well as of faculty and staff members who come from the affected countries. We are therefore taking the following steps in response to this order.

Currently, the GW International Services Office, the Office of General Counsel and the External Relations division are working to understand exactly how the executive order will affect our students, faculty and staff and for how long. The situation continues to evolve, and there are many questions we cannot answer today. We can say, however, that travel outside the United States for some members of our community is now very risky and may remain so for the foreseeable future. There is the possibility that individuals from the listed countries, including not only foreign nationals on student or scholar non-immigrant visas but also dual citizens and possibly permanent residents (green card holders), will not be readmitted, even if they currently hold a valid visa.

I want to assure you that we will do all we can to obtain answers to your questions and to support the members of our community who are affected by the order. We have invited all affected students whose visas are sponsored by GW to an informational session this Friday.  We encourage others who are affected to contact the International Services Office to be included in this event and future communications on this topic.

We are working with other universities and with professional associations to keep up to date on a rapidly changing situation. Meanwhile, in keeping with the statement of principles we issued on December 9, 2016, the university will safeguard student records and provide legal and counseling services to all who need them. Students, faculty members and staff will not be questioned, held or arrested by the George Washington University Police Department (GWPD) on the basis of immigration status alone. University police officers will not participate in joint immigration enforcement efforts with other law enforcement officials unless required by law.

In recent weeks, I have urged GW students and all members of our community to continue to respect our differences, maintain civility and celebrate our diversity.  Now I am asking also that we offer our support and friendship to our international students, faculty members and staff who are rightly concerned about their and their families’ future in a nation that, in its proudest moments, has opened its doors to the hopes and aspirations of all people.