Malaysians are now an endangered species

March 4, 2015

Malaysians are now an endangered species

by Hussein Hamid

Diversity accentuated. Malaysian are now an endangered    species. Politics, race and religion have made it so and politics, race and religion will ensure the extinction of that species!


My first memory as a child was living in a house in Jitra situated beside a road that led to a Chinese cemetery. From time to time I would be witness to Chinese funeral processions as they made their way towards the resting place of the deceased.

I also remembered my grandfather’s house in Kampong Kassippilay in Sentul. His house was surrounded by Chinese and Indians neighbors whose children became my friends in those times when we came back to KL from wherever it was my father was serving as a Police Officer to visit my grandfather and grandmother. We knew each other by sight if not by names and though our times together were fleeting it was enough for me to understand that the Chinese and Indians were part of the world I lived in.

In my first job with MNI our Managing Director was an Indian. And when I left MNI to sell burgers in Padang Brown in Penang I got my supplies from the Chinese owned Cold Storage, my gas was supplied by a Mamak who delivered them as needed and my neighbors to the left, right, center and back at where I lived in Island Glades were all Chinese.

The Alliance were in power then. UMNO was the dominant partner in the coalition but there was a Chinese Finance Minister and I remembered Sambathan as being a senior Minister  in the cabinet. There were Indians, Chinese and Malays in opposition and these were the time when decent man and women could still be found amongst those who were in politics.

We were all Malaysian then. Today in Malaysia there are still Malays, Chinese, Indians, Orang Asli,  Dayaks, Ibans, Kadazans, and a host of other races jostling with pendatangs from Indonesia, Burma and Thailand for living space and the opportunity to earn a decent living.There are Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists and Muslims too.

Some like the Hindus are desperately clinging on to the last vestiges of whatever is left of their temples that have not been destroyed in the name of progress and urban sprawl to benefit commercial interest.

 The Christians are stoically enduring a losing battle against the all-conquering Islam – an Islam that have found renewed vigor from the Muslim politicians who only know too well what religion can do to advance their political agenda.

And for the other religions they take whatever morsel are thrown their way. There are gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender living amongst us  – all non-persons living unrecognized by the authorities and like all marginalized groups that has no significant electoral pull, they are at best ignored and bereft of any rights, at worse, prosecuted and persecuted without respite.

Hisham_KerisNational Integration?

Today amongst all these people living in Malaysia you will be hard pressed to find any Malaysians.You will find Indians who rightly consider themselves marginalized and ignored by the government, by the other races and even by their own political leaders.

You find that the Chinese are a race upon themselves. They are quietly confident that whatever the odds to be faced they have within themselves the ability to survive and survive well. You would not be wrong to think that amongst the Chinese there is a solidarity of purpose to ignore any limitations, overcome any hindrance and surmount any barrier impose upon  them by this UMNO-led BN government to make life for them just that more challenging.

East Malaysia is East Malaysia and never shall the East be Malaysians in any way but name. And then there are the Malays.

Legally the Malays are first amongst equals. That position is well secured in every which way by the political will of UMNO. Whether that dominance is to be used to the advantage of the Malays or to advance the cause of UMNO is moot. Suffice to say that for now both are advantaged by the dominance of the Malays over all things Malaysians.

1Malaysia1Malaysia- A Standing Joke

And so we see the gradual but relentless breakdown of the Malaysia we once knew. In short there are less Malaysian today then there were a decade ago even as our population increase.

We have lost millions of Malaysians who have migrated not to just seek a better life elsewhere but more to flee from a Malaysia that no longer wants them.More worrying for our people and our nation is that relentless process of divide and rule that his UMNO- led BN government choose to impose upon a population that once had as its rallying cry – Unity in Diversity.

Every day in every way the diversity is accentuated and everyday in every way Malaysians are becoming an endangered species.How can it not be endangered if the Malays, the most dominant of Malaysian, are now turning Malaysia into their own nation? A Malaysia only for the Malays, for Muslims and for no other? And all this is done not in the name of Ketuanan Melayu but in the name of Ketuanan UMNO! A corrupt, arrogant and irresponsible UMNO!

Today any hand of friendship extended to those not of your race, your religion , your political affiliation is suspect. Too many of us that have once lived peacefully side by side with each other now eye each other with suspicion.

Dislike now borders on hate. Suspicion of each others intent and purpose are now common as each race are focused on  self preservation in these times of racial and religious paranoia. With each passing day we become more alienated from each other and isolation becomes the norm as we retreat into our last bastion against insecurity, against real or perceived danger to our kind – retreat into the comfort of our own kind, our own race and our own religion.

But in truth it is not race or religion that is the problem.Politics is the problem.The human mind has always been moralistic, judgmental and self-righteous when left to its own devices.

Imagine what the human mind would do if this processed was helped along by government intent upon using race and religion to advance its political agenda to continue in government no matter what! Good people have now become bad because of this.

Today the social pressure from one’s peers to distance oneself from others of a different race, religion and political affiliation is enormous, difficult to ignore and most have succumb to the pressure.

There are some amongst us who try to make some sense of this madness but to date none have succeeded to any degree that could somehow arrest the headlong plunge our nation is now heading into the madness of politics that uses  race and religion as its weapon of choice to dominate the population.

That is why I say that Malaysians are now an endangered species. Politics, race and religion have made it so and politics, race and religion will ensure the extinction of that species!

The Release of Nik Raina

March 4, 2015

The Release of Nik Raina

by Azrul Mohd Khalib

Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz

To say that it had been an emotional morning would be an understatement. The Judge had just delivered his ruling and Nik Raina’s head had turned sharply to the back to glance at her boss. Everyone in that courtroom pretty much expected an application by the prosecutor for another lengthy six-month sojourn of the Nik Raina-Borders case to be granted, depriving her yet again of reprieve and justice.

Discharge of the charges was certainly not what anyone expected to hear that day in the Shariah courtroom. Just a moment before, everyone had heard the response from the prosecutor to lawyer Rosli Dahlan’s impassioned plea on behalf of Nik Raina for compassion, kindness and understanding from the court. To correct an injustice which had been inflicted and sustained for three years.

It was her problem, the prosecutor responded, if she felt that she had suffered humiliation, embarrassment and anguish as a result of this case. He continued by saying that her decision to take the case to the civil court amounted to disrespect of the Shariah court system and that her actions resulted in the prolonging of the case. Basically that it was Nik Raina’s own fault that it had come to three years since that fateful day in 2012.

JAWI was determined to continue the case to the highest court in the land. If the words and actions of the Shariah prosecutor were anything to go by, in the case of Nik Raina, they just wanted to win the case or to at least say that they had exhausted absolutely all avenues in their crusade to do so.

It is rare, for me at least, to hear words of compassion, understanding and most importantly, empathy in these settings. But I heard them that morning.

I heard the Judge, Mohd Amran Mat Zain, emphasise on the need to adhere to the spirit of fairness and justice in which the civil court and the Shariah court are grounded, as well as respecting the Federal Constitution.

The Honourable Judge emphasised that he had considered the fact that the very accusation and the charge itself have been deemed suspect and doubted. He considered that JAWI’s actions had been chastised and were found by both the High Court and the Court of Appeal to be not only illegal but unconstitutional and done in bad faith. He recognised and empathised with Nik Raina’s suffering as a result of this case and spoke of how he considered that the circumstances of injustice could cause kemudaratan.

Amidst the gasps of surprise and disbelief, sharp intakes of breath and the loud slapping of a forehead (a member of the prosecution team), the Judge ordered the charge be dropped.

Just an hour earlier, all of those present had been wondering whether the day’s outcome would be any different than others before. There had been too many disappointments. This outcome caught everyone totally off guard.

Rosli Dahlan (new)

An emotional Rosli then requested permission from the court to permit his client to step out from the dock, as she was no longer under the shadow of a criminal charge, and be allowed to address the court. In a halting voice filled with much joy and fighting back tears, Nik Raina thanked the judge for his ruling. There were very few dry eyes after that. Everyone shed tears, even the normally unflappable Rosli.

In a statement made to the press outside the courtroom, Nik Raina stated that she fought for the right of all Muslims in Malaysia to work without fear of harassment or persecution. “I stand here today not only for myself, but for all my colleagues, especially the Muslims who could face the same action by the religious authorities for merely doing our jobs.”

Because of this case, Nik Raina has become an inspirational role model for so many young women and men. I wish her the very best and I am happy for her that she is able to continue on with her life with this whole episode behind her.

I do hope that the Attorney General’s Chambers will take heed of the learned judge’s judgement and emphasis on needing to uphold the Islamic principles of fairness and justice. There is no longer a need to defend JAWI’s unlawful actions. Let it end here.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

Anwar Ibrahim can’t be in Parliament unless pardoned–Abu Talib Othman

March 4, 2015

 Anwar Ibrahim can’t be in Parliament unless pardoned, says former Attoney-General Abu Talib

By V. Anbalagan, Assistant News

Abu TalibFormer A-G Tan Sri Abu Talib

Convicted Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will not be making an appearance when the Dewan Rakyat convenes next week as no one has the legal authority to direct the prison authorities to produce him in parliament, said former Attorney-General Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman.

The government’s former Legal Adviser further said neither the Dewan Rakyat Speaker nor the Home Minister have the legal clout to order that Anwar be produced in Parliament.

“I don’t think the law has been amended to allow the Speaker and the Minister to order that a convicted MP attend proceedings,” he said.

Talib said Anwar had been sentenced by a court of law in accordance with the Federal Constitution and the applicable law.

“He has been ordered to be placed in custody after he was sentenced to five years jail,” he told The Malaysian Insider in response to allegation that Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was evading his responsibility in deciding whether Anwar could attend Parliament next week.

Anwar Ibrahim Ops Leader

He said the Speaker only presided over meetings and his powers were all provided in the constitution and the standing orders.”It is beyond the powers of the Speaker to direct the Prisons Department to produce Anwar, who is also the Permatang Pauh MP, to attend the daily parliament sittings,” he added.

Earlier in a joint statement, lawyers N. Surendran and Latheefa Koya said the law was clear that Ahmad Zahid was the final and legal authority to decide whether Anwar could attend Parliament’s first sitting which begins on March 9.

Ahmad Zahid had said on Monday that only the Pardons Board, Attorney-General and the Speaker had the final say whether Anwar could attend Parliament. “Zahid’s statement is shocking, incomprehensible and a direct contradiction of the Prisons Act 1995,” they said.

The lawyers referred to Section 13(1) of the Prisons Act which states that the Prisons Director-General “shall be responsible” to the Minister for the due observance of the provisions of the law.

Malaysian Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, pictured in 2010

The lawyers also criticised Ahmad Zahid’s suggestion that the Pardons Board be allowed to make a decision first, saying that if the Pardons Board made a decision one way or the other, the issue of bringing Anwar to Parliament from prison would not arise at all.

They also decried Ahmad Zahid’s move in responding to their request for Anwar to attend the sitting through the media instead of replying to them directly.

Anwar’s lawyer had written a letter to Zahid on February 25 to instruct the prisons department to escort Anwar to attend the sitting. Meanwhile, PKR Secretary-General Rafizi Ramli said yesterday that Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers would stage protests in the event Anwar was barred from attending the sitting.

Although he did not say what form of protests would be held, Rafizi confirmed that his party and allies DAP and PAS would take steps to address the matter.

“There are some plans specific to the unjust decision taken against Anwar that PR MPs will take. I think it is better for the parties’ whips to announce but definitely we will have some action,” he told a conference at PKR headquarters yesterday.

Talib, who was Attorney-General for 13 years until 1993, said Anwar could attend Parliament if he is given a pardon. He said in the interest of Permatang Pauh voters, the Pardons Board should sit as soon as possible to dispose of this matter.”The people of Permatang Pauh must not be deprived of an elected representative in the Dewan Rakyat,” he said.He said attending proceedings was only one of the duties of an elected representative.

“More importantly, the elected representative has to be around to serve his constituents,” he said.

Talib said since the Speaker had made a decision not to declare the seat vacant, it was only fair for the board to deliberate on the petition as soon as possible.

“The administrators should fix a suitable date which is convenient for the King to sit,” he added.

On February 24, Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia announced that Anwar remained as Permatang Pauh MP and Opposition Leader pending a decision on his petition to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Anwar’s wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and daughter Nurul Izzah Anwar presented a petition for a royal pardon to Istana Negara just before the 14-day deadline expired.

Nurul Izzah, the PKR Vice-President and Lembah Pantai MP, said the petition for pardon was made on the basis that her father’s conviction failed to adhere to the principles of justice.

On February 10, a five-man bench led by Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria found Anwar guilty of having carnal intercourse with his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.The apex court also upheld the five-year jail term imposed by a lower court. He committed the offence at a unit of the Desa Damansara condominium in Bukit Damansara on June 26, 2008.

Anwar’s application for pardon would be chaired by the Agong and the members of the board would consist of the Federal Territories Minister, the A-G and two others.

Scramble for Scapegoats begins as 1MDB scandal deepens

March 3, 2015

Scramble for Scapegoats begins as 1MDB scandal deepens

by FMT

Analyst says it looks like PMO has started trying to distance Najib from a possible scandal.

1mdb-scapegoats2Lodin Wok Kamaruddin (Center)

It appears that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has begun the process of trying to wash PM Najib’s hands clean of what may turn out to be the biggest political and financial scandal in recent Malaysian history, according to analyst Shahbudin Husin.

Tied to that process may be a search for a scapegoat, he writes in a blog entry that indicates his belief that the 1MDB controversy is close to reaching a climax.

He refers to a recent report in London’s Sunday Times which quoted the PMO as saying that Najib was not involved in the day-to-day operations of the company.

Rosmah with NajibHe needs Divine Help on 1MDB

“It’s obvious that this was an attempt to distance Najib from any problems 1MDB may now be facing,” he says. “But it’s not so easy to lift the burden off Najib’s shoulders for he is the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and Chairman of the company’s board of advisors. Can we believe that funds in such large amounts can be invested or disbursed without Najib’s knowledge or consent?”

If 1MDB had been successful, he adds, there’s no doubt that the success would have been attributed to Najib’s acumen in his day-to-day involvement with the company. Shahbudin wonders who will become the scapegoat or scapegoats in the event the 1MDB affair unravels and turns out to be a major scandal or, as DAP’s Tony Pua has put it, “the heist of the century”.

“Will the scapegoat be Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, the current Chairman of 1MDB? Will the second and third scapegoats be its former CEO, Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman and his successor, Arul Kanda Kandasamy? Will there be other scapegoats still?”

Shahbudin notes that the PMO’s statement to the Sunday Times came after a claim by whistleblower website Sarawak Report that it was in possession of emails and documents showing that 1MDB’s joint venture with PetroSaudi in 2009 was allegedly a front to channel funds to a company controlled by tycoon Jho Low.

Riza and Jho Low

Riza Aziz and his Penang born Buddy

He says it would be difficult for Najib to deny any association with Jho Low because the playboy tycoon is a close friend of his stepson, Riza Aziz.“Besides reports that Jho Low has become close to the Prime Minister’s wife through Riza, there have also been reports that Najib himself has met him several times overseas,” he says.

“With the new allegation that Jho Low tried to make off with RM2.5 billion of 1MDB’s money, the call for the truth to be revealed to the public, perhaps through a royal commission of inquiry, has grown louder.”

Najib is tough to dislodge as Prime Minister

March 3, 2015

Najib is tough to dislodge as Prime Minister

by RK

Najib and RosmahNajib has tenacious and loyal Rosmah

Unlike Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, his successor is cast in a different mould. He had collaborated with Dr Mahathir Mohamad to remove his predecessor from office. And now, Najib Abdul Razak finds himself in a similar situation.
With Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim incarcerated and the opposition struggling with internal problems, the situation appears ripe for the juggernaut in UMNO to be unleashed again.

The attacks have intensified, especially on the Prime Minister’s links  to the reported problems faced by his brainchild 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). With most UMNO ministers maintaining a wall of silence, the party grassroots are given the impression that their President is a political liability.

This has prompted the question as to whether Najib, now in his sixth year as Prime Minister, will survive to celebrate his seventh.

Najib’s toxicity

However, PKR Vice President Rafizi Ramli believes that unlike Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, dislodging Najib will not be a simple task. “The interests of his family and associates are too deeply entrenched,” Rafizi told Malaysiakini.

“Abdullah is a soft man. Najib appears soft in public, but he is cast in a different mould,” he added.

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi
Setting aside partisan politics, the opposition lawmaker agreed with those in UMNO who are bent on ousting the Prime Minister. Without mincing words, Rafizi described Najib as “toxic” for the nation.

“UMNO has never been in such a situation where there is no clear successor and the incumbent Prime Minister is proven to be toxic to his party and the government.In a way, the dilemma extends all the way to the public in general – while we do not cherish the thought of more right-wing UMNO leaders taking the helm, allowing Najib to continue a single extra day diminishes the country’s potential even more,” Rafizi said.

Is Zahid next in line?

Some speculate that Najib’s exit will clear the path for Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s ascension to the top post. Being the UMNO Vice President with the highest number of votes, he may be named as number two should Muhyiddin Yassin take over the leadership reins.

With UMNO shifting to the right, Zahid is seen as the best man for the job. In order to retain its hold on federal power by playing up racial and religious sentiments, an observer noted, UMNO needs a hatchet man.

Two Cousins
“Someone who is not concerned about his international reputation unlike the ‘WOGs’ (Western-oriented gentlemen) in the party, such as Najib and his cousin Hishammuddin Hussein. A leader who does not bow to pressure and repeal laws that are crucial to ensure the continuance of UMNO’s dominance,” he added.

However, Rafizi pointed out that Zahid’s credentials received a bruising with regard to his infamous letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The PKR leader said Mahathir, the chief architect behind the rise and fall of Prime Ministers, is also suspicious of the Home Minister, who was once a close ally of Anwar.

“Then again, Mahathir never sees things in the long-term. He may agree to Zahid rising, just to take out Najib. But a rapid change of guards in UMNO, more so when each one after Mahathir is pushed out of office, will only weaken UMNO.

“UMNO is used to the authoritarian style of Mahathir and it is as if UMNO now is trapped in its own doing when it doesn’t seem to be able to unite behind any leaders – all of whom are considered weak,” Rafizi added.


Transparency International Malaysia calls for Investigation into 1MDB Scandal

March 3, 2015

Transparency International Malaysia calls for Investigation into 1MDB Scandal

by  The Malaysian Insider

Pressure is mounting on Putrajaya as anti-graft organisation Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) has joined in the calls for an investigation into 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the government-owned strategic investment fund embroiled in a financial scandal.

1MDB-The Scandal1MDB

TI-M said a “special high level task force” was needed to probe the debt-ridden 1MDB, adding that an audit of its accounts by the Auditor-General’s Office would not suffice as its financial irregularities had drawn international attention and cast doubts over Putrajaya’s commitment to transparency and accountability.

“Furthermore, 1MDB’s finances a‎re high level issues of public importance as well as of national interest as it involves tax payers’ money and the potentially consequential damaging impact that it poses to the banking system and the nation’s economy.

“TI-M calls for the immediate formation of a special task force comprising agencies such as Commercial Crime Division of Police, Auditor’s General Office, Bank Negara Malaysia, Ministry of Finance and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate 1MDB’s finances,” said TI-M in a statement.

It suggested that 1MDB’s former auditors, Ernst & Young and KPMG, be included in this task force as their “unexpected withdrawal” could provide explanations and leads into the investigation.TI-M said the collaboration of these various agencies were necessary, given the complicated nature of 1MDB’s financial transactions.

It said the task force must have the power to call relevant organisations and individuals to assist in its investigation.”It may uncover a plethora of larger issues such as corporate crime, embezzlement, corruption, misappropriation, mismanagement of funds, inappropriate decision making and unethical behaviour including and not limited to misuse of public office,” said TI-M.

Najib as 1MDB advisorIt also urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is chairman of 1MDB’s advisory board, to come clean on the fund and assure the public that their interests were safeguarded.

“Hence, it is timely for the government to prove its seriousness with this issue and act in a decisive and transparent manner. Less, the perception of corruption is not a misperception,” said TI-M.

Last weekend, whistleblower website Sarawak Report claimed to have obtained documents revealing that Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, had orchestrated the 2009 joint venture between 1MDB and PetroSaudi International (PetroSaudi). It claimed Low did this so that PetroSaudi could act as a “front” for him to siphon US$700 million (RM2.5 billion) from the deal.

‎Sarawak Report’s expose has received international attention and prompted opposition politicians and anti-corruption organisations here to call for an investigation into 1MDB’s accounts.

However, 1MDB and PetroSaudi have denied any irregularities in their finances, while Najib said he would not allow anyone to misappropriate public funds in the government-owned company for personal gain.

“1MDB, as a corporate citizen, has a role to play and must exercise their professional obligations both to their client and society even though 1MDB has repeatedly stated that its finances are in order,” said TI-M today.

On Sunday, PetroSaudi denied reports that funds from 1MDB went to third parties, adding that its subsidiaries had received the entire cash for a joint-venture company, while 1MDB confirmed that it received back its investment in full from the deal, besides making a profit.

The privately-owned oil exploration and production company in a statement said that upon 1MDB’s exit, PetroSaudi had paid the Malaysian strategic investment fund in full and both parties no longer had any financial or legal relations.

1MDB’s audited accounts as at March 31, 2014, shows that the company received the US$2.3 billion and made a profit of US$488 million.

In a separate statement, 1MDB President and Group Executive Director ArulKanda, newly appointed president and group executive director of Malaysia's state investor 1Malaysia Development Bhd, poses for photographs in Kuala Lumpur Kanda Kandasamy also said the firm “notes with concern” the claims reported about its business arrangements with PetroSaudi.

“1MDB exited the relationship in 2012, and received back its investment in full, with a profit of US$488 million.These facts, and all details related to this transaction, may be verified by reference to our audited accounts, which are publicly available on the Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia website,” he said.

On February 21, Arul Kanda also said the same, in response to earlier criticism about 1MDB’s joint venture with PetroSaudi.